"Art Box" Tutorial- Helpful Hints

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Blog entry by Andy posted 07-07-2009 03:44 PM 3975 reads 5 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I thought it would a good idea to have a chapter dedicated to detailing some of the tools and tips used in this series.

This will be an open chapter,adding to it as I can.

#1-Moaning Chair

The most important item in the shop is of course,the Moaning Chair.These have been an important part of boatbuilding since the beginning.First there was the Moaning Rock,and then came the Moaning Stump and when wolves were present, safety could be reached by scurrying up the nearest tree to the Moaning Limb.Actually,any place to sit and cry over a recent blunder could be given a title of “Moaning
I have a Moaning Stool.I paid three dollars at a yard sale and with the help of Krylon,we gave it new life.
If you find yourself making frequent mistakes,then you might consider something a little more comfortable,such as a Moaning Lazyboy or a Moaning Sofa.
I try to downplay its heavy use in my shop by throwing a handful of sawdust on the seat when I get a visitor.

Moaning with dignity.
Its also important to keep your moaning down to a low level.Dogs have very sensitive hearing and will start howling out of sympathy.And,if you live in the city,keep in mind that some car alarms go off with very little provocation.I have learned over the years that wailing,or keening, will bring my wife out to the shop with her finger poised over the phone,ready to speed dial 911.By maintaining a low moan, I can convince her that its just a bearing going out in the router.

This is how I use my Moaning Stool.Feel free to select something that suits your personality and budget.And dont worry about posture,it will come naturally.Mine has been perfected by many projects.


#2-Bent Wrench

After mounting my Porter Cable router in a Jessem/Jet lift,I found a problem.The wrenches were not shaped for that application.The collet is below deck level,which means the wrenches are at a steep angle.They would barely grab the collet and I was never confident in how tight I was getting it.This did not instill confidence as that large rabbet bit was cutting away.
So,I did something about it.I threw the wrenches in the woodstove,onto the coals,and let them get a nice cherry red.Then I placed them in a vice and hammered them into a Z shape.(Actually one is a Z shape and the other is more of a sweep.) It took a couple of reheatings to work them into shape.When they were bent to the right shape,I reheated them and while red hot I quenched them in oil.After several years of constant use they still work perfectly.


A few thoughts: If you need bent wrenches,you may be able to buy them for your model.

If you want to try bending your own,just be sure they are not cast steel.It is not malleable.

This is not a tutorial on forging steel.My skills in this area are pretty limited.I have made a knife and a scoop and a few other things but dont feel qualified to instruct anyone.There is a lot of info,including videos on the web that cover this subject very well.

Be careful you dont start a fire when quenching.Do this outdoors and have something to cover the oil container with in case it ignites.

#3-Sanding Block

When routing the lip you will notice that the bit cuts a little deeper in the corners than it does on the straght sections.I dont know for sure why it does this,but I think its because it is cutting more wood all of a sudden that it pulls the bit in just a little.Thats hard to believe since I am using the largest router that PC makes,it is firmly mounted in a table and the bit has a 1/2’’ shaft.There should not be any flexxing.But,I always get this arc that is deeper by about the thickness of 2 sheets of paper.
The problem of course,is that when you fit the lid,you wind up with a gap at the corners.
You cant really cut the lid to fit that shape,so you need to sand the straight sections just a little to minimize the gap.BUT,you need to stay out of the corners,we dont want them sanded any deeper.

How I do this:
Do this prior to cutting the top to size.
I made up a simple sanding block that has corners that roughly match those on the box.Put a piece of tape or two on each end to act as bumpers so you dont ding up the opposing ends as you complete each stroke.
I use PSA paper and attach it only to the edges,so as not to sand the bottom of the lip.Cut the paper back from the corner too,so that you are only sanding the straight sections.Take slow deliberate strokes.Check your progress often using a straight edge.If you have burns in the corners,clean them up first.


I make these specialized sanding blocks whenever I need to sand one surface while riding against another that must remain untouched.I am sure you will find uses for this in your projects.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

15 comments so far

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3933 days

#1 posted 07-07-2009 03:54 PM

I knew I was missing something in my shop. I’m getting me one of dem dere moaning chairs.

A good and important addition to the series.

-- Working at Woodworking

View PurpLev's profile


8535 posts in 3643 days

#2 posted 07-07-2009 04:05 PM


just a stool? I have a moaning workshop….

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3571 days

#3 posted 07-07-2009 04:19 PM

Oh no I can’t believe I don’t have a moaning stool what will I do what will I do , Its horrible to be with out one why can’t I have one right now what will I do . (My Moaning Post)Good Moaning good Moaning….

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View gbear's profile


512 posts in 4094 days

#4 posted 07-07-2009 05:12 PM

Oh no…I can see it now…Festool’s New Moaning Stool, complete with a vacuum attachment to suck up those tears. Order yours now…only $800.00 (not including special attachments such as the guide bar to insure that you are sitting on your “Fes Stool” perfectly square). No shop should be without one.

-- gbear, Carmichael, CA

View Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)'s profile

Dustin Ward (aka Tearen)

176 posts in 3945 days

#5 posted 07-07-2009 05:14 PM

What a great idea! Normally I just curl up on the floor in a ball. Using a Moaning Chair is probably so much more comfortable. Thank you Andy for helping me see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Cannot wait for the next installment!

View RWR's profile


42 posts in 3596 days

#6 posted 07-07-2009 05:33 PM

Hmmmm…..I have several dents in my head from my “moaning” wall. Keep up the good work.

-- Wayne

View ahock's profile


102 posts in 3318 days

#7 posted 07-07-2009 05:33 PM

I could have used that last night…I just normally fall to my knees and groan. Last night i landed on an errant screw, I guess I should learn to clean up better.

-- Andy, PA ~Finding satisfaction in creation

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3521 days

#8 posted 07-07-2009 06:45 PM

Ah why moan? Oh the challenges and excitement of conquering ones own “dang it” with a whole series of them! MickeyD corrects me when I head for the woodshop that it’s the “Dang It” shop. You know its going to be an exciting day when just opening the door a good robust DANG IT just comes out automaticly. Yes I do have the latest dang it saw and the oldest dang it hammer and let me not leave out the most important dang it of them all, the tape measurer!

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Andy's profile


1694 posts in 3903 days

#9 posted 07-08-2009 05:26 AM

Haha! I like the comments from all of you.What a bunch of comedians we are.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View scrappy's profile


3507 posts in 3425 days

#10 posted 07-08-2009 09:09 AM

I got me one of those in my shop! It is used way too often!

-- Scrap Wood's the best...the projects are smaller, and so is the mess!

View Hix's profile


161 posts in 3272 days

#11 posted 07-09-2009 04:36 AM

I am not as advanced as some of you so I have something sturdy to hold up to years of denim rub. It is an 18” diameter oak stump. Camoflage is important. I keep it next to my big lathe so that if anyone asks I can say “that’s my next project” and they will be suitably impressed or terrified, depending on their awareness of my skill level.

I have been following your blog faithfully. I appreciate your placement of this installment because this will be where my moaning will most likely begin-or maybe after page 2. We will see.

-- ---call me---- Mark

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4058 days

#12 posted 07-09-2009 03:10 PM

Time for me to evolve beyond the simple man’s “Doh! Corner”.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3491 days

#13 posted 07-10-2009 12:18 AM

Thanks again Andy and BTW, I assume the same posture, on the same kind of “moaning stool” way to many times…............. but in the end, after thinking about it…............ it does work out.
Of course after a couple of choice #&*$............

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Andy's profile


1694 posts in 3903 days

#14 posted 07-16-2009 04:30 AM

Here is the next chapter.This one covers the pins and getting the lid to open.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4155 days

#15 posted 07-18-2009 01:29 AM

could have used a moaning chair yesterday.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

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