In my last Craftsy blog post, I covered techniques to cut perfect mitres. If you’ve ever made a mitred joint before, you probably discovered that cutting them accurately can be finicky, but assembling them was downright agonizing.
However, with a couple of tricks and the right clamping tools on hand, and some practice, assembling mitres can be a smooth and stressless process. I also describe various fixes for common cosmetic problems where the two parts meet.
Read Frame-Worthy Work: How to Perfectly Assemble Miter Joints on the Craftsy blog.
Sadly, this is my final article for Craftsy, as they have decided to abandon woodworking indefinitely. I will still, of course, be posting regularly here on my blog. Have you subscribed yet?
Early on, I regarded mitre joints as difficult and finicky, so I often used other joinery that I could execute more easily (even dovetails) instead. But once I figured out a good process for making mitre joints, I found them to be no more difficult than other joinery, and certainly quicker than dovetails!
My latest article for the Craftsy blog explains the steps that I take to cut perfect mitre joints, as well as things to watch for that can cause you problems.
Read Cut Perfect Miter Joints in 3 Steps on the Craftsy blog.
Today, I’m doing whatever I please
so I set up my horses under the trees.
My workpiece is happy, content in the shade –
these perfect conditions I wouldn’t dare trade.
Finish goes on easily. I’m in no rush;
I make slow, deliberate strokes with my brush.
The urethane flows nicely and quickly dries
before it bears witness to footprints of flies.
I’m almost done now and the sun is quite near
so I clean up my brush, then head for a beer.
Ever since the Shop Stool Build-Off, woodworkers everywhere have been looking for more opportunities to participate in online group builds. Canadian Woodworking recently announced their second build-off called, Building Together – Shop Tools.
I’ve made a number of tools for my own shop, and this scrub plane could well be the most-used.
Yellow birch and Lignum vitae scrub plane
The event runs for the duration of August and is open to everyone – you just need to share your project on the magazine’s forum. Currently, prizes are being organized. Check out their website to get full details and inspiration for shop tools you can build.
In 2007, I was into turning in a big way. I got into turning pens using exotic woods carefully paired with a package of pen hardware. My preference was chrome-plated hardware for its durability and affordable price. The result, when paired with African Blackwood, was an undeniably classy pen.
Black & Chrome pen
One special piece of wood was often inspiration enough to turn a pen. For this lead holder, I used a piece of bocote which was half heartwood and half sapwood.
Bocote Lead Holder
Eventually, I began playing with different shapes and materials. I particularly liked the shape of the lower barrel of this European pen, and liked the bold colour and pattern of this acetate.
Black & Blue pen
However, I eventually grew tired of working with stock pen kits, I opened all of my pen kit hardware and threw the parts into a big jar and I was free to mix and match parts.
In an attempt to see how short of a pen I could create that was still comfortable to use, I created this Micro-Ebony pen. It was exhilarating cutting the Cross refill shorter and shorter, hoping that I wouldn’t hit ink. I never did. The streaky African ebony offered a sophisticated look and a strong contrast to the chrome hardware.
Micro Ebony pen
I’ve made all sorts of pens, but eventually grew tired of turning pens, which are fairly limiting in form. I have always done my best work when pushing the limits, and turning pens had too many constraints. The other reason I stopped making pens was that I had way more pens than I needed.
In that spirit, I am listing the four writing instruments shown above for sale.
After routing the jigsaw puzzle design, I made a base out of four mitred lengths of black walnut to raise the table up off the ground. That way, it didn’t just look like a cube sitting on the ground.
Then came finishing. Let’s just say that it required some patience to get an even coat of finish on the edges of each of the 169 puzzle pieces.
After the finish dried, I set it up for some studio photographs. This one shot captured the essence of the table pretty well, I thought.
Find all the details for Jigsaw Puzzle Table on the product page.
It’s official! I’m now a contributor to the Craftsy woodworking blog.
My first article, fittingly, is about shop stools. In the article, I discuss some basic principles that make a good shop stool, then provide some practical ideas backed up by photos from the Shop Stool Build-Off.
Read the article on the Craftsy Woodworking Blog.
After gluing up the four sides, my next step was to rout in the puzzle pieces.
I used three combination squares referenced off of each edge to lay out a grid, which represented the size and location of the puzzle pieces.
Pencil can be difficult to see on black walnut, but I found that roughing up the planed surface with 120-grit sandpaper made the lines easier to see.
I routed the jigsaw puzzle design with a 1/8″ spiral bit, doing one line at a time.
It was very gratifying to see one surface completed.
Next, I rolled the cube and continued routing puzzle pieces into the other faces.
After a week making the inside surfaces glossy and blue, I was back to making sawdust.
I mitred the ends of the panels with my sliding table saw, using a stop block to ensure that they were all the same length. I appreciated the fact that my carefully-painted surfaces were able to just sit on the sliding table and glide past the blade, rather than be pushed across the table and risk scratching them.
To make assembly easier, and for reinforcement, I cut mortises in the mitres with my Domino Joiner.
Using Domino floating tenons, all I had to do was get them started in the mortises, then use a mallet to drive the parts together. Alignment was guaranteed.
The floating tenons are strong, too! I first assembled the sides in pairs.
Then I put the two halves together and clamped the entire assembly with web clamps.
It was really exciting to get to this stage, but the next stage is pretty exciting too – cutting the puzzle pieces!