May 082009

The folks at Tormek in Sweden have come up with a great opportunity for woodworkers to elevate their sharpening expertise while also acquiring a premium Gransfors Bruks Swedish-made hand axe at no additional cost. The Tormek T-7 Grinder Sharpening System delivers astoundingly sharp edges to every edge tool in a woodworker’s shop in a matter of minutes. The beautiful Gransfors Bruks axe is a handy addition to any woodworker’s tool chest, and will be a source of pride that is handed down to future generations.
Highland Woodworking is making the Tormek Grinder available to its customers with no additional shipping charge within the 48 contiguous U.S. The Gransfors Bruks hand axe will be delivered to the customer after the Tormek Grinder purchase is registered with the manufacturer so long as the Tormek T-7 Grinder is purchased between May 1 and July 31, 2009.
A video demonstration of the Tormek Grinder in action demonstrating its exceptional versatility is on the Highland Woodworking website. The Highland website also provides additional information on sharpening using a Tormek Grinder.

Apr 232009

Festool’s new T+3 cordless drills bring a new paradigm to drilling machines, and are far more affordable than they appear at first glance. These Festool cordless drills are the first and only drill to offer a 3 year warranty on the entire drill, including the drill itself, the charger, as well as the battery. That’s right, even the batteries will be replaced within the first 3 years of purchase if they fail to hold a charge!
The Festool cordless drill is really four drills in one. The Festool FastFix chuck system permits instant swapping of chucks. Our Festool T+3 drills come complete with a drill chuck, right angle chuck, eccentric chuck, and Centrotec chuck packed in a fitted storage Systainer along with the drill, battery and charger. An optional depth-stop chuck is also available.
Most cordless drills rely on a mechanical clutch. This new Festool cordless drill uses an advanced electronic clutch, resulting in better control and far less wear and tear on the motor and bearings.
Unlike its competition, the Festool T+3 cordless drill features an advanced BRUSHLESS motor which brings tangible higher efficiency, better reliability and longer service life. You will drive more screws faster.
The state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells used in Festool’s T+3 cordless drill batteries are individually selected to exactly match one another, resulting in a balanced load and absolute optimal charge and discharge cycles. They take a full charge in less than 70 minutes. The advanced intelligent charger provided with the Festool cordless drill is also compatible with existing Festool NiCad and NiMH batteries. Special sensors plus strategically-placed air vents on the drill reduce the risk of damage from overheating under constant use.
The Festool cordless drill’s torque is electronically controlled to produce the same torque regardless of which speed setting is used. And you can switch back and forth between drill and drive modes without losing your clutch setting.
Like all Festool machines, these drills are ergonomically designed and built for maximum comfort, perfect balance and reduced user fatigue.
These tools may be in short supply when they first become available on May 1, 2009. Pre-order your Festool cordless drill now for prompt delivery.

Mar 182009

From the latest issue of Wood News:

Festool parallel guide system
Festool parallel guide system

New Parallel Guides Take Guided Rail Cutting to a Whole New Level

Text & photos by Jerry Work
©2009 The Dovetail Joint

Those familiar with the Festool guided rail cutting and routing system know just how
useful it is to be able to move a circular saw, jig saw or router across a stationary work
piece in a perfectly straight line. In my studio I use guide rails daily to make all kinds of
cuts. Festool’s new Parallel Guide system also makes an
excellent squaring cut guide as well, turning the guide rail and plunge saw into a fast and
efficient substitute for a table saw for most cutting operations.
Yup, with Festool’s clever new Parallel Guide System you can virtually eliminate the need for a bulky and dangerous table saw.

Feb 162009

Roy Underhill, the master woodworker and historian famous for his long-running PBS television show “The Woodwright’s Shop,” has announced the opening of his new woodworking school, “The Woodwright’s School” in Pittsboro, NC. HIs first one-day classes will begin Feb. 28, 2009.
Roy has equipped the fully functional shop with traditional woodworking workbenches and hand tools for use by up to 10 students at a time. For the shop he has chosen full-size Hoffman & Hammer premium German workbenches which are available in the U.S. only through Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, or via their website at .
The first class on February 28 will be a busy day of hand tool joinery. Under Roy’s tutelage, students will learn to cut dovetail joints as well as mortise and tenon joints using traditional hand tool methods. This same one-day class will be repeated on March 1, March 7 and March 8. Cost for each of these introductory classes is only $95.00 for those signing up in advance.
Anyone interested in receiving more information about events at the Woodwright’s School should email Roy at .

Feb 102009

woodworking toolsHighland Woodworking will host chairmaker Charles Brock of Columbus, GA for a seminar in Atlanta February 28-March 1, 2009. During the two-day event, Mr. Brock will demonstrate the intricacies of replicating the style of rocking chair made famous by woodworking legend Sam Maloof.
Mr. Maloof, who recently celebrated his 93rd birthday at his home in Alta Loma, California, is widely regarded as the most respected furniture maker alive today. His elegant chair designs are admired and sought after by artists, world government and business leaders, as well as craftsmen of every skill level. His signature walnut rocking chairs are on display at the Smithsonian and in use at the White House.
Charles Brock combines his skill as a craftsman with outstanding teaching and communication skills to make this challenging project approachable for the amateur woodworker. A Maloof-inspired chair combines the rich beauty of walnut lumber with the subtle grace of line and curve, using joinery techniques perfected long ago by Mr. Maloof.
Students attending Mr. Brock’s weekend demonstration will learn how to sculpt the saddle of the chair, how to attach the legs utilizing Mr. Maloof’s unique visible joinery techniques, and how to carve the hard and soft lines of the legs, arms, headrest and back spindles using bandsaw, spokeshave, rasp and scrapers. Mr. Brock will take the mystery out of creating the signature cyma curved laminated rockers with ebony and maple highlights, and will demonstrate preparing surfaces for an extraordinary oil and hand rubbed beeswax finish.
A separate Friday evening design lecture, “Form Follows Function” precedes the weekend seminar, and is included for those enrolled in the weekend event. Registration information for both the Friday lecture and weekend seminar is available at, or by calling 800-241-6748.

Feb 062009

Fein Multimaster

Fein Multimaster FREE Demonstration
Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 10:00am

You’ve probably seen the Fein Multimaster infomercial on late-night TV. Come see the real thing in action at Highland Woodworking this Saturday, Feb. 7. FEIN’s engineers have added almost every conceivable function to this safe, vibration-free power tool. The Fein Multimaster is truly one of those rare tools that earns the undisputed title of “the best there is”. It’s a great sander, bringing fast, high-quality finishing into places that no full-size sander can reach. Fein’s industrial-quality 2.3 amp motor (variable speed) drives the machine spindle at speeds from 11,000 to 20,000 opm, making this far and away the most efficient and smoothest-running tool in its class. With accessories, it’s a saw that cuts wood and metal, scrapes paint, performs precision sanding, and much more. It can save you both time and money on a wide variety of home improvement and repair jobs. Come see it in action. We think you’ll be impressed. Join us for a fun and educational visit to Highland Woodworking’s unique Atlanta store.
All Saturday morning demonstrations take place in Highland Woodworking’s retail store in Atlanta, Georgia and begin at 10:00am Eastern Time.
Map and Directions to Highland Woodworking
1045 N. Highland Ave, Atlanta, GA 30306.

Jan 162009

theworkbench.jpgOur thanks to Taunton Press for giving us permission to reprint in Wood News, our monthly online magazine, Lon Schleining’s introduction to his excellent book, The Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench, NOW ON SALE FOR 25% OFF.
In its simplest form, a woodworking bench is nothing more than some sort of raised platform so you can work standing up. Even a piece of plywood on sawhorses would fit this definition. Such a bench would certainly be inexpensive, fast to build, and very portable. If it got rained on, or stained by spilled coffee, no big deal. Though less than ideal, this may be all the bench some woodworkers would really need. But what they really yearn for is another matter entirely.
Woodworkers’ notions of the ultimate bench are as diverse as their activities. What’s ideal for one woodworker is wholly impractical for another. A great bench for a furniture maker may not work for a carver and vise versa. A boatbuilder’s bench is utterly different from a violin maker’s, yet they all work wood and they all need benches.
Much as woodworking pundits might like to say their particular workbench is the only proper configuration, many of the choices in design are simply a combination of familiarity and personal taste. If there is a common thread, it’s a tendency to think the bench you learned on is the best bench. A shoulder vise, for example, is a device some woodworkers simply could not get along without. For others, it’s a somewhat fragile appendage of little use in a modern wood shop. Such is the subjective and very personal nature of the workbench.
The “classic” workbench originated centuries before the invention of the equipment modern woodworkers take for granted. These days, rare indeed is the woodworker who does not use an electric drill or surface planer. A perfectly suitable bench for the type of work people did 300 or 400 years ago may not be the best one today.
Some things haven’t changed. Virtually every woodworking tool, power or otherwise, requires two hands to operate safely. Holding the board securely is, if anything, more important with power tools than with hand tools since the consequences of a slip could be more serious. Woodworkers who think a traditional bench has no place in a modern shop need only consider how difficult it is to hold a furniture part with one hand while belt sanding it with the other.
Woodworkers of today do work differently. We often work with large panels and sheet goods and so need to clamp our work somewhat differently. We have access to hardware that can speed construction. Modern materials like Melamine and laminates are better than solid wood for some applications. Vacuum pressing makes building large torsion boxes easier. Throughout this book, I have tried to point out how modern methods and materials can be applied to workbench design and construction.
For some people, building their own bench is almost a woodworking rite of passage. Their bench is an expression of the pride they take in their work, an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to show off a little. These folks probably envision a solid-maple behemoth with intricately constructed vises, a gleaming finish, lots of accessories and cool hardware. Sure, it cost a bundle and took months to build. Yes, there may be just a bit of reluctance about actually using the bench for fear of getting that first scratch or dent. But for those bench builders, the satisfaction of having built it is justification enough.
Then there are the folks who sit down and do the math. They figure the cost of lumber and hardware, then estimate (or should I say underestimate) the time it wll take to build the bench. They compare their figures with the cost of having a finished bench shipped to their doorstep. It slowly sinks in that it’s entirely irrational to build a bench from scratch. For these practical souls, the only logical choice is to buy a finished bench outright.
The bottom line is that however you get your hands on it, you need a good bench to do your work safely. You need some vises and holddowns for joinery, fitting pieces, and finish work like installing hinges. At the very least you need a true flat surface for gluing.
This book is intended as a guide for asking the right questions and then making the right decisions about what you really need and what you really want. A workbench is a very personal choice. Your opinions and personal preferences are the most important. Take your time pondering the questions. And remember, only you can provide the answers.