Human all too human to quote Fred N. Yes we makers are too human. We’re too ready to find error in our work. The voice in our head keeps repeating: Not good enough, not perfect enough. We are always so ready to point out our mistakes, to find the tiniest of errors. When our client never sees them. When another maker doesn’t see them nor care. They see the whole, the entire piece and they’re delighted. So I say, keep your standards high but learn to forgive yourself for your errors that no ...
The measure of an eye, of a thumb extended, of one cubit is seen in the result and how well things fit. We all know it when we see it. One can sense the art in craftsmanship by simply looking at the product. Some things we have made work better for the eye and hand. It is not luck. It is the experience of your efforts showing. It is the mistakes you have made along the way and their lessons learned that now inhabit your work. Confidence is gained by your error and more importantly your und...
Joinery is the art of knowing what wood to remove and what to leave behind. Reductive & simple, yet seductive in its intricacies balancing negative space with strength. Take too much wood away and you leave no strength. Take too little and you’ve compromised the tenon. You are the joinery designer/ engineer. There are several important details to know about wood and its properties. Double a board’s measure in height and it is twice as strong as doubling a board in its width. Hmm. Wood ...
I built this table for Summers Woodworking contest. I used an old ratty 2×4 stud from a demolition project. I milled enough pieces from the one 2×4 for 2 of these tables, but have only had time to complete the first so far. I have been thinking about my design tendencies lately and wanted to break out of the mold a bit with this one. I usually build tables with a structural apron that secures the top, but I decided to try to make the top structural in this case instead. I lik...
I double checked the layout this morning, fixed them. then decided to tweek the size of the dovetails to be more safe and reduce the risk of splitting. Then I set about mortising. One of my biggest limitations in woodworking in an apartment is not being an obnoxious neighbor and banging on a chisel all day with folks trying to enjoy their weekend below you. So I went ahead and used my brace and bit to remove some of the waste, but at the end of the day you gotta bang on those chisels. I ended...
On Saturday, I had my last session of Introduction to Japanese Woodworking at Laney College in Oakland, CA. It’s taught by Jay Van Arsdale, an active woodworker working professionally in the Japanese style in the bay area since the 1970’s and the author of a well known book on Shoji. His class is hands down the best woodworking instruction I’ve ever had. If you’re at all interested in hand tool woodworking and are curious about Japanese tools and live somewhere in t...
I somehow missed the part where the teacher showed how to make a compound miter joint—I think I was stuck on the previous exercise. After coming home, I spent some time just futzing around trying to figure out how he did the cuts for the joint so quickly. I ended up getting lazy and calling my architect dad for help with a hand-cut friendly approach. As a software programmer my spatial sense isn’t anything to brag out, my brain works in code. As for my dad, he’s always been ...
These beautiful saws arrived in the mail a few days ago, a Lumberjock care package from TerryR. Terry was the recipient (poor guy) of the plane I made for the 2013 Hand Plane Swap. He found out I didn’t have any (real) hand saws and determined to rectify said deficiency. I was speechless when I saw them (pun not intended). Between work and a fall on the ice I wasn’t able to try them out until today. With my husband instructing and offering needed advice, I cut my first blind m...
I am building my first real piece of furniture out of ALL wood. I have made tables, beds and bakers racks, among other things, out of steel and wood with some glass. I have never used nice hardwood and made what I consider fine furniture. I have been working on this cradle for a long time. Not everyday and only a couple hours at a time. I have run into some problems a long the way and have chalked them up to just a learning curve issue. Most could have been avoided with better plannin...
Ok, here are a couple of more evenings of progress behind me. I need to cut 16 tenons total to fit the head board and foot boards on the two beds. This part of the project is going a little slower than the earlier parts. But I’m having fun on this part so its all good. I first scribed a line all the way around the shoulder with a knife, then cut the v groove to guide my saw. Sawed the shoulder, with my dovetail saw. I tried Paul Sellers advise here and used this saw even though it is a...
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