Nov 212014

Your hobby or vocation is woodworking.  You love it.  You think about it all the time.  Woodworking is almost your “grand obsession.”  You read the Highland Woodworking catalog on the subway, train, or in your car (only at stop lights, please!).  You watch YouTube videos about woodworking at lunch.  You are in your shop every spare minute.  You live, eat, and breathe woodworking.  And you know what gifts people are going to give you over the holidays?  Socks.  A tie.  A gift card to a coffee shop.  A pair of pajamas or a new sweater.  Bah.  Humbug.

Oh, you will, of course, be polite; you’ll ooh and ah, express your gratitude; and as soon as the gift wrap remnants are swept away, you will be back in your shop or deep into your favorite magazine reading… about woodworking.

It may be politically incorrect, but I suggest putting your altruism aside and consider making yourself a gift this year.  Who deserves it more?  Get what you really want!  Maybe a new workbench?  How about a new rack for all your clamps?  Have you been selflessly building projects for others when what you really need is a new router table?  Then damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead… make something for yourself… something for your shop!

Tidy Whities Square
Figure 1 – Tidy Whities? Bah, Humbug! Figure 2 – Now that’s a gift that keeps on giving!

Or perhaps buy something for yourself.  Sound selfish?  Well, it shouldn’t.  Gift wrap it for the full effect.  Try to act surprised when you open it.  Try this… when the spouse and kiddies are away, grab the department store gift box (it is pretty obvious which one) and remove the giftwrap like a surgeon.  Be careful not to tear the paper.  Take the shirt, socks, underwear, or whatever out, toss it or return it, then place that new Woodpeckers Square in the box, re-wrap it, and put it back under the tree.  When you open the gift everyone will be amazed… there really is a magical Santa Claus or philosopher’s stone capable of transforming plaid socks into cool tools!

If you are tempted to feel guilty for what some might consider selfish acts, don’t despair.  The human mind can rationalize almost anything.  A “selfie” gift is actually generous, since you are saving others the torment of trying to figure out what you really want.  Plus, who wants a grumpy woodworker around with piles of useless tchotchkes?  Better you go off to the woodshop to play with your new toys, grinning like a guiltless child.

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Nov 202014

novemberhwtWe’re already gearing up for the holidays and in this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner, we released our Woodturner’s Holiday Gift Guide – full of tools, books, and other gifts that would be perfect for any woodturner.

This month’s issue also includes:

All of this and more in our November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner.


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Nov 192014
Doing a Turning Demonstration - General Information and a To-Do Checklist

Editors Note: This is a continuation of Temple Blackwood’s article from the November 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner, which you can read by CLICKING HERE. I encourage you to engage in doing regular demonstrations as part of your woodturning service to others, both organizations and individuals, because you will ultimately gain in skill, confidence, [...]

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Nov 122014
A Few Ways to Use Large Dividers

Highland is selling large dividers and I got one this week to try it out. I think it is a test, because everybody knows that the only thing you can do with these things is draw, in this case, a very big circle.  The pair I have opens to 24-1/4 inches for a circle diameter [...]

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Nov 112014
Making Shavings with a Tool You Created: Scott Meek's Smooth Plane Class

This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to take a plane making class with Scott Meek of Scott Meek Woodworks. Scott designs and crafts fabulous wooden hand planes and was going to be teaching us his process for making a wooden smoothing plane. We started off the class by going over some differences between wooden [...]

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Nov 062014

I was riding around with a contractor one time and we saw a sign advertising “Ten Famous Nails”.  I immediately wondered who would celebrate 8d, 10d, 10d brite finish, double head form nails and all the rest.  I could think of many more than ten nails and had a vision of bins full of nails [...]

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