Hole Boring Bits with a 1/4″ Hex Drive

The Vancouver area is a great place to be a woodworker. There are literally dozens of quality lumber suppliers, a handful of big box stores, a scattering of specialty woodworking stores, and even toolmaking companies.

One of those toolmaking companies is MEGAPRO, which specializes in making screwdrivers and bits, including three very unique bits – two gimlet bits and one square (birdcage) awl.

Megapro Bits

The bits have a standard 1/4″ hex drive, with a groove for a quick-release chuck and a sprung ball to help hold the bit in place. They work nicely in my dogwood screwdrivers.

Dogwood Screwdriver & Bits

You can find my current selection of screwdrivers available on my Screwdrivers page.


Coffee Table Build-Off

Just last weekend, I announced a new box build-off hosted by Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine.

Today, I’m writing again to tell you about another build-off coming up in the near future. Neil Cronk of The Cronkwright Woodshop (and winner of the Shop Stool Build-Off) is hosting the Coffee Table Build-Off from November 1 (five weeks from today!) to 22. I am compiling pictures for inspiration on my Coffee Table Build-Off Ideas Pinterest board.

Neil Cronk with Shop Stool

The following information is from his website:

The premise is quite simple – design and build (or build from a pre-existing plan) a coffee table that strikes your fancy. There are no rules regarding size or materials, though at least one material used should be a wood or wood composite. Officially the projects should be started and completed between November 1st and November 22nd, though we obviously can’t stop you from starting sooner. This rule will not be enforced and will be based on the honour system. The idea is to challenge yourself to build the best project within the given time constraints.

We would love it if you Tweeted/Instagrammed/blogged your progress using the hashtag #CTBO. One of the biggest reasons for these build-offs isn’t just to make a great piece of furniture, though that’s definitely a perk, but to foster community among online woodworkers which is the big reason we’d love to see everyone blog and tweet about their work. We also have a communal Pinterest Page where people will be invited to share images and ideas for coffee tables.

Registration is not mandatory, as this competition will be open to anyone who submits an entry by midnight on November 22nd, 2014, however if you pre-register you will get your information listed on our participants page so people can follow along with your build.  Pre-registration will only be open until the contest starts on November 1st, 2014, so if you want folks to visit your sites and follow your progress, sign up today!


Woodworking In America Recap (The Chris Edition)

The weekend before last, I was in Winston-Salem, NC for Popular Woodworking’s show, Woodworking in America. It was a great weekend with lots of opportunities to learn and connect with other woodworkers (named Chris or otherwise).

I was there to represent my other company, Time Warp Tool Works. I showed and talked to attendees about our moulding planes and other products. Many people were surprised at how simple it was to cut a moulding by hand. Of course, it helped to have the right tools!

Photo by Megan Fitzpatrick via Popular Woodworking

Photo by Megan Fitzpatrick via Popular Woodworking Blog

Outside of show hours, there were plenty of opportunities to socialize with other woodworkers. Christopher Bowen was a big fan of #Woodchat on Air (hosted by Scott Meek, Matt Gradwohl and myself).

Finnigan's Wake

Myself and Christopher Bowen, aka @abysmaljoiner (right).  Photo by Megan Fitzpatrick via Popular Woodworking Blog

Here are some other gents named Chris. Krishen and Chris Atkins represent the Modern Woodworkers Association, Chris Vesper is the man behind Vesper Tools, and Chris Kuehn is from Sterling Toolworks.

Chris etc.

Krishen Kota, Chris Vesper, Chris Atkins, myself, and Chris Kuehn

One of the many highlights of the show was seeing the Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest (FWCTC) in person. Carl C. Hein was the lucky winner of the chest.


From left to right: Eleanor (daughter of Fred West), Andrew Gore (maker of the chest), Carl C. Hein (winner of the chest), Randy Weber (contributor to FWCTC), Maggie (Fred’s sister), Scott Meek (co-facilitator of FWCTC).

I took these detailed photos of the chest and its contents.

Scott explained to Carl the significance of the chest, and briefly talked about each tool in it.

IMG_20140913_123133433Oh, and I also used moulding planes to shape a twisted moulding.


Big thanks to Mark Hicks of Plate 11 for letting me use one of their benches at the show!


Some Basics About Wood

While I feel like I’m near saturation point for reading about wood, tools and techniques, I still enjoy perusing articles with useful information and interesting ideas.

This “fun fact” sheet about woods from around the world caught my eye (from Furniture UK).

Woods The Difference

Here’s another helpful graphic about wood identification.

Hard & Softwoods

I hope you learned at least one thing.


Canadian Woodworking Box Build-Off

Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine is hosting a build-off called Canadians Building Together (it is open to all woodworkers, regardless of your nationality or where you live). The following information is from their website.

During the week of October 12th to 19th we’re inviting members of the Canadian Woodworking Forum to join together and build a box of your choice. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is, or what kind of box you want to build. This event is a great way to improve your woodworking skills, virtually work alongside other woodworkers, learn from your peers, and interact with other woodworkers from across Canada. Plus, there are some great prizes to be won.

If you’re not a member of our Forum, it’s a great time to join us. It’s free and easy. Just click here to begin the registration process.

Participating in the Box Building event is easy. Here is all you have to do:

  • Begin building your box the week of October 12. (We’ll be announcing the start on our website, on the Forum, and via Social Media).
  • As you build your box, post occasional photos and commentary on the Canadians Building Together: Boxes section of our Forum.
  • Post a final photo of your box, and fill out the entry form by October 22.


Crossing Joint as Door Joinery

I developed the crossing joint as a possible solution to how conventional joinery results in a disruption of grain along the rails and/or stiles of a frame and panel door.

Cabinet Doors Intersecting

I cut one sample joint, then did some photo manipulation to see how it would look in a similar situation.

First, I looked at the fingers in a horizontal orientation.

Crossing Joint Horizontal

Then I tried the fingers in a vertical orientation.

Crossing Joint Vertical

I liked this second orientation because I felt the inside finger of the stile that extended to cover the end of the rail provided the mental idea of an border and finished off the edge of the door. I suspected that this was because most doors opened horizontally – if this joinery was used where doors opened vertically (e.g. lifted upward), the first orientation might have been preferable.

What do you think?


Original Joinery – Crossing Joint

This joint was inspired by the realization that joinery used in frame and panel doors always results in a visual discontinuation of the vertical component, whereas the horizontal component usually carries through to an adjacent component.

Using mortise and tenon, bridle, or cope and stick joinery resulted in one member (usually the stile – the vertical member) cutting off the rail – the horizontal member.

Cabinet Doors Intersecting

Mitre joints didn’t harshly interrupt the visual flow, but made the eye turn the corner and follow the door frame.

I wondered if it was possible to make a joint so that both components visually continued through the joint. I started sketching.

This was the first joint that I made, based on that idea. I called it a crossing joint.

Crossing Joint Crossing Joint Scale There was a lot of glue surface, but much of it was long grain to end grain which does not have as much strength when glued together as do two long grain surfaces.

Gluing Crossing Joint

Ryousuke Ohtake – Spiny Lobster


Artist Name:  Ohtake Ryousuke
Title:  Spiny Lobster
Details:  circa 2014 – 31cm – Boxwood, “beard of whale”

Why It’s Notable:

The form of the spiny lobster was impeccably replicated in boxwood.



But the realistic appearance wasn’t enough to get recognized as a Notable Inspiration. This was: the joints were carved so they move just like a real lobster would.

This amazing video (duration – 3:04) shows how the lobster moves. Note how the artist holds the part he is working on at the 0:12 mark – so simple!

I think that the ball and sockets are snapped into place.


Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest at Woodworking In America September 12-13, 2014

Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest, photo by Andrew Gore

Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest, photo by Andrew Gore

This artful tool chest contains fine hand tools and media donated by 16 individuals/organizations to honour Fred West who was an amazing supporter of the woodworking hand tool world.

The chest and its contents will be on display at Woodworking In America this September in Scott Meek’s booth. At his booth, you can enter to win it all!

I will be attending the show for Time Warp Tool Works and will be in the booth next to Scott, so when you visit his booth to enter the draw, come say “hi” to me, too.


Behind the Design

One of the design blogs that I follow, 2Modern, is beginning a new series called Behind the Design with the intent to “tell the story of the person behind the handcrafted pieces on the 2Modern site.”

Their first article is focused on designer/woodworker/maker Andy Johnson.

I will be watching for more of this series, for sure!