Nov 132018
 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

We all love spending time in our workshops, but what if we could make our shop a little nicer to be in by adding a couple of capable accessories? Listening to some music or a sports game would certainly make that sanding task go by more quickly. And a brightly lit space is much more enjoyable than a dark, poorly lit shop.

The Festool Sysrock and Festool Syslite II can help. Take a look at the video below to see our Down to Earth Woodworker Steve Johnson’s thoughts on the Festool Sysrock. And click the link below the video to read about the Festool Syslite II and why Steve no longer thinks of it as a ‘glorified, overpriced flashlight’.

More Than a Worklight: The Festool Syslite II

Click to find out more about the Festool Sysrock and the Festool Syslite II, both available at Highland Woodworking.

Nov 072018
 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Is plywood acceptable in fine furniture? And, while we’re at it, what is fine furniture? Is it furniture made only with hand tools? Is it made only with solid wood? Is it defined by certain joinery?

My answer to all those questions is, “Whatever gets the job done, has an eye-pleasing design, has well-fitting joints, is strong and has a beautiful finish.”

Of course, “eye-pleasing” is in the optical structure of the beholder. Even classic lines and traditional rules of proportion aren’t going to delight everyone.

How strong is strong? Some might be thinking, “It just needs to be strong enough to last until I move out of this apartment.” “Or the twenty years I live in this house.” Others want to be able to pass their handmade furniture down to their children, grandchildren and beyond. I read a piece recently in which a Japanese woodworker said that 100 year old furniture had barely begun its life, that it might be 200 years old before it really has character.

As for plywood, let’s face it: it’s hard to get stronger than quality plywood.

How beautiful does the finish have to be? It, too, should be durable. To some, that means varnish. To others, paint. Some might think an oil finish is durable enough, even if it has to be renewed periodically. Perhaps the beauty of the oil finish outranks the need for durability.

Can we agree that ill-fitting joints would universally take a piece out of the running for “fine?”

The bottom line? We’re all entitled to our own opinions, and to make and finish our furniture however we like. And, if we want to call it “fine,” after all, it’s our furniture and our viewpoint.

I considered this my very first foray into “fine” woodworking. Our son, Andy, wanted a cabinet to display his photography books, magazines and classic equipment. He sent me a sketch on a napkin and wanted to know if he could make it with a circular saw and hammer. I think that was his way of asking me if I would do it. I made it from furniture-grade oak veneer plywood with red oak solid wood banding. Andy wanted to finish it himself and sent me these photos when he was through.

Perhaps it’s a stretch to call a picnic table, much less a diminutive picnic table, “fine” furniture, but I intended this table to be an heirloom our eldest granddaughter would pass to her grandchildren and beyond. It’s plenty strong. There is no plywood. This was her second birthday party.

Nov 052018
 
Dusty Tissues – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – November 2018 – Tip #3
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideas. Please share them in the COMMENTS section of each […]

Nov 022018
 
Off Switch Identification – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – November 2018 – Tip #2
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.” A fundamental principle of power tool safety is that the operator needs to be able to cut the electricity to his/her […]

Nov 012018
 
Festool CT Cyclone Separator - Tips from Sticks in the Mud – November 2018 – Tip #1
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideas. Please share them in the COMMENTS section of each […]

Oct 302018
 
Take a Look at The Highland Woodworker Archives
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

From Roy Underhill’s saw mill home to Nick Offerman’s LA workshop, Charles Brock has interviewed many woodworkers in between and told us dozens of fascinating stories in the 7 years he has been hosting The Highland Woodworker. Now you can find any episode of The Highland Woodworker in our ALL NEW Highland Woodworker archives page! […]

Oct 252018
 
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

The ‘famous’ Wood Slicer Resaw Bandsaw Blades, available exclusively at Highland, cut more smoothly and quietly than any other bandsaw blades on the market. Fine Woodworking rated the Wood Slicer ‘Best All-Round Performer’ in their independent test for speed, flatness and smoothness. Mike Morton takes a closer look at the Wood Slicer, how to set […]