Saturday, April 27, 2013

Kreg Jig Table Top

   When you are trying to attach trim to the edge of a table or counter top the KREG jig is an outstanding tool.  As you can see I have my old jig set up so that I can drill the holes along the edge of my plywood table top.  The new jig is lighter and more nimble, but this old best does the job fine too.

   Once the holes are all drilled I used my Right Angle Clamps 
to hold the trim in place while I drove the screws in to hold it.

   Those two clamps enable a mere woodworker to overcome gravity and to assemble their work with ease.  Notice that although the top is plywood, the trim is oak and so the screws used are fine cut screws.  

Course for softwood, fine for hardwood.

   A sideline story about the Right Angle Clamp.  I was working for KREG when they introduced the RAC and we where giving the clamp as a bonus if you bought a Master Kit at the wood shows that year.  Some times I couldn't get people to take the clamp because they just never imagined that they would use it.  In following years I sold lots of RAC clamps, once people caught on to the clamps real value.  Further proof that innovation sometimes takes a long time to find acceptance. 


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Why Wood ? Check this out.

   It has been a couple of pretty rough weeks and I finally broke down and made a trip to the Doctor.  The Doctor's best guess is I have Piriformis Syndrome  sort of sciatica with a slightly different cause.  Whatever it turns out to be he prescribed some serious drugs and now I am not driving or working around whirling blades for a few days.  That doesn't make much difference since I have been so miserable the last five days that I've not really wanted to do much.

   Anyway, the prohibition against machines and the idea of not getting my fingers removed from my hands made me think for a bit this afternoon about some past woodworking projects and so I went looking,

   I found this:

    This is a trivet/hot-pad that I made for Eva years ago, it clearly has gathered lots of real life experience. It was one of the Christmas gifts the year that I went crazy and did the 12 days of Christmas.  My best guess is that this woodworking project is 8 or 9 years old.  You can see the patina (!) that has developed with age.  Actually patina is in this case a grand way of saying, it is looking pretty tired and just a little gross.

   This is the hot-pad after a short trip to my workshop.  It is clean enough to see that I wasn't a very good craftsman when I made it, the palm tree's board is not that square, but that is OK,  the hole that it sits in isn't all that square either. 

     This was an early scroll saw  project, and it has lasted because we don't have a fire place.  There are at least a couple more trips to the shop for a cleaning before it has been sanded away to nothing.  Try doing that with plastic....

   A while ago I was writing blogs talking about the basic tools that a person/home owner should have. This is a good time to remind folks that a 5 inch random orbital sander with a selection of disks ( 80, 120, 220, 320) had lots of uses in a homework shop.  Here is a whole page of sanders, everything from a Chevy to a Lincoln.  Buy the best that you can afford, that way the tool is an aid, not an obstacle. 


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

TED talk : how to save trees by using fewer paper towels.

    Sometimes I find things on the net that make me think.  In this case, this short  talk made me think about washing my hands in public washrooms.  I confess to being on the the guys that stepped up to the towel dispenser and automatically grabbed three or four towels. 

   I watched this video and tried out his shake and fold method.  You really only need one paper towel, and that means fewer trees cut down and much less processing of wood fiber.  

   It is a small thing, but it is also an easy thing.

Friday, April 19, 2013

10,000 Villages

  There is a 10,000 Villages store in Hamilton and I have been   helping then out doing repairs on wooden products that have suffered during their trip across the planet.  These three boxes were made in India from sheesham wood.  

   I've said this before but I believe it enough that I'll say it again.  If you are a hobby wood worker, wander out and see if there is a good cause that could use your talents.  There must an organization in your town that could use a little bit of wood working help.


   These little boxes can use a little TLC and I have the time and tools available to provide it.  

   New Product Report   Deck Keeper Video:   The Deck Keeper is what you need to keep the wind from rearranging your deck furniture.
The DecKKeeper for 1x6-inch Decking (2-pack) GMDK2B

    Long live the weekend.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Damstom Clamps - Made in Canada

Damstom D300 Panel Clamp System

  I saw these clamps at a recent wood show and was very impressed.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is the way I will go when I need more panel clamps.  I love my Bessey clamps but for panel work this is the bee's knees.

    A link to a short video showing the Damstom D300 in 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Laundry Room Shelves

Three Shelf Unit built for our Laundry Room

shelf unit beside a mirror for which I made the frame a season or two ago.
 The glass making tool box is on the counter too.

    We have lived in this house for 4 1/2 years and there are still jobs to be done. ( though I am grinding away at them)  We have completed and tiled the kitchen and the powder room.   The only thing remaining in the down stairs bathroom is the glass panels for the door, the tile work was done last summer.

   This weekend I designed and built this shelf unit in our main-floor laundry room.  There are several clear plastic bins to be filled with "stuff" and added to the shelves before the job is technically complete, but my part is done.  Eva is going to do the painting and the final stocking of the shelves.

   The design of the unit makes use of 'French Cleats' to hold it up.  There is a cleat on the top and bottom shelves, and because I am a "belt and suspenders" sort of engineer the middle shelf sits on two large "L" brackets.

  The brackets are not so much to aid in holding the shelf unit up as they are to keep the unit pulled against the wall and prevent any chance of the shelf unit being mistakenly lifted off the cleats.  This way the shelf unit's weight is carried by the cleats and it is made stable by the bracket.  It also means that I have less than half dozen screws to remove to lift the unit right off the wall, for painting for example.

     Making a shelf like this from shop available materials means that there was an extra amount of joining, gluing and planning.  All those tools are available to me and I love to make use of them.  

   Once the project is completed installation becomes the next challenge.   A few years ago I bought a stud finder.
   Zircon, SENSOR, STUD/ JOIST LOCATOR 010108090

      A home handy guy needs a stud finder as badly as he needs a level.  I used the stud finder to locate four studs into which I drove 2 1/2 inch screws to hold the top cleat.  I screwed in one end first and then used the level to true the cleat and then screwed the rest of the cleat to the wall.  I made the cleat 50 inches long so that I could attach it solidly and easily to four studs, the shelf is 48 inches long.  Once the cleat was up the shelf just hung there while I located and fit the bottom cleat and the "L" brackets.  Baring catastrophe  the shelf is there to stay. 
details of the construction.  The shelves are spruce, the cleats are pine and the up rights are left over oak trim. The whole thing will need to be painted to keep from looking like a Franken-project.

Friday, April 12, 2013

EZ Story Stick by and

   The story stick made by Andy at is a very cool little tool.  I got the Mini and the Large last week and immediately put the large stick to use while trimming a door.

  As you can see I have the two vertical pieces in place and now need to measure the top piece of trim.

  The stick sat perfectly on the frame and then gave me an easily copied dimension.  You can see the close up, the end of the stick is designed to make the transfer of measurement easy and accurate. 
   I while ago I carved a couple of elephants to hold computer tablets, these are prototypes and lucky for me I keep all the prototypes because they turned out to be perfect EZ Story Stick holders.

   Thanks for a good tool at a great price.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Glass Workers Tool Box

   Some people are doers, and some people are watchers.  My wife is a doer, she is always busy on some sort of project, except when she is surfing the net looking for the next great deal on a trip. So on the doing side she knits and bakes, I once made her wooden knitting needles because she couldn't find the size that she needed for that project, I've also make wooden spoons and spatulas for the kitchen. Recently she had taken up stained glass and so needed a box to hold her tools, glass and projects.  She had been hauling stuff around in a big shopping bag, okay for groceries but terrible for tools.
   I have always believed that an organized and portable tool box is the first step in doing good work and so since I am a wood worker I made her a Stained Glass Tool Box.  As I reward she made me a whole bunch of oatmeal cookies.

   This is the box filled with the gear that she hauls with her to the Centre where she has her stained glass class.  You know that you are a woodworker when you can go down stairs to your shop and whip a tool box like this up out of stray bits and pieces of wood.

    The handle is a piece of broom handle that I kept from years ago, you never know when you will need a bit of heavy, semi straight dowel. So there, its makes a good job with only a little bit of sanding.

   The sides are reclaimed wainscoting from a bundle that I picked up at the Re-Store a few years ago.  I didn't get enough wainscoting to do a big project has come in handy when I wanted some thin stock, for example to made the sides of a tool box.

   I used my router table to plow two dadoes into which I slid a couple more pieces of the wainscoting to provide two compartments   You can see that is where the glass and the current projects are carried, while the tools sit in the middle section.
  The ends, which are painted in that lovely contrasting white are made from the last cupboard door that I kept when we replaced my Mother's kitchen cabinets two years ago.  I hate to buy sheet stock so I hoard it when I find it for free.  The bottom that you can't see is made from some really nice pine that was a futon frame once upon a time.  

   The moral of the story is the entire project cost ZERO dollars in materials and maybe an hour of time.  And, it is the right tool for the job, no more carrying glass around in a shopping bag worrying about the whole thing falling over and your work crashing to the ground.

as a PS.

another wonderful carving from the Niagara Wood Carvers Association Show.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Niagara Falls Wood Carvers Association Show 2013

On Saturday last I went to the Niagara Woodcarvers Association Show at Optimist Park.  I truly don't know weather to be inspired on depressed.  As with the Hamilton Wood show entries the quality of work was fantastic.  These are just a small selection of things that I saw on Saturday.

All of these carvings and all the other ones that were there represent talent and commitment.  In our busy modern times we sometimes forget that talent is nice but that it will come to nothing without hours of hard work and a constant drive to improve. The men and women that do this work are to be admired and respected regardless of whether you like cute bunnies or not.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

KREG Follow Up

   I said that KREG had a number of patterns and plans on their web site in my last blog.  If you couldn't get the KREG site to co-operate and supply you will some patterns, here is the link to their work bench plan on site.

  Even if you do not need a bench, this is a very flexible plan and can give you the guidelines of a work stand for your planner or band saw.  If you put good casters on your stand you will have a very useful addition to your shop.

  One a side note I was at the Niagara Wood Carving show today and saw some very interesting stuff.  I think the one of the things that I liked best was:

   There were entries for young people 12 and under and 13 to 16.  I know there weren't many entries, but I was pleased as punch to see that there were any.  If you know some young people, encourage them to play with wood, they are the craft's future.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

KREG Tool Videos

Kreg Tool Company

   The world famous KREG jig is solidly represented at  In fact there are 16 pages of KREG products listed on website.  I suspect that is the most complete coverage of the KREG line in Canada.
  As you have read in the past, I use pocket holes regularly but I also use the self tapping screws and KREG clamps in other situations and have a Multi-Mark too,
Kreg KMA2900 Multi-Mark Lay-Out Tool 14507

it is part of most layout jobs in my shop.

  What has prompted this KREG love-in? the KREG YouTube channel.  Recently Facebook reminded me about all the cool videos, both instructional and informational that KREG has put on YouTube for us to see.

    I haven't worked for KREG for 4 or 5 seasons now but I still stay very informed about their products because they make good tools, and we all love good tools...

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

In Praise of Sets and Order

Setsof  tools

makes organisation 


    A few weeks a ago their was a brief flurry of activity in my shop while I did some spring cleaning/organizing.  Needless to say, it was short lived, work got in the way of getting ready for work.
wouldn't a magic broom be a great thing???

  However, one thing that I learned a few years ago is to buy drill bits, sockets, and screwdriver bits in sets, in a box.  Nearly everything that comes in a box or case gets unpacked and the fitted box tossed to the curb at the earliest opportunity.   Those plastic cases always seem to take more space than they need and offer more aggravation than protection, so the boxes go.

  The exception to that rule is sets of little things. I have a set of teeny tiny screwdrivers for fixing musical instruments and weeny electronics that I absolutely keep in the case I bought them in.  In this case it is to protect the fine tips from damage in the rough  and tumble world of my shop.
  In the case of sockets, drill bits and screwdriver heads it is less for protection and more of organization.  If I ever need to be reminded how handy a set with a dedicated holder is all I need to is look at my jar filled with Allen Keys. Never buy loose Allen Keys, in my jar exists all sizes, both metric and imperial, sadly all loose, mixed and in a total jumble.  
Bondhus 16099 .050 - 3/8 inch Extra Long Ball End Allen Wrenches BLX13XL
this is the way to go.

Finding the size you want is a long process and worse, I no longer have any idea what sizes are missing from the set. When you have a set and a holder  like this one for drill bits you know what is missing and needs replacing. I have found that it is cost effective to buy a fairly cheap set of bits to get the solid case, and then replace the bits with higher quality versions when the time comes.    That way you haven't spent serious coin on the 17/32 bit that never get used, and you've broken and replaced the 1/8 with something high quality and lasting. (you know, if you buy good drill bits they can be sharpened, and it is worth the time).

   Drill Doctor  comes highly recommended, though I've not used one yet.