Woodworking Articles

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Woodworking Articles
Articles about woodworking

Achieving a High Quality Wood Finish My favorite furniture woods are maple and cherry, both have a nice figure, are easy to machine, and cherry has a wonderful fruity smell when cut. Maple has a couple of advantages over cherry. Nicely figured maple is easier to find and less expensive, and since it has a similar grain pattern, properly stained maple is almost indistinguishable from cherry, but, both cherry and maple have a reputation for being difficult to finish.

Advice for a New Wood Carver

Always have sharp tools. They cut clean, even against the grain if you are careful. They are also safer to use than dull ones, because you exert more force and that is when things start to slip and slide and bite you. So, learn how to sharpen properly first.

Basic Woodturning Tools and Equipment

If you're like most turners you subscribe to a number of magazines and have a library full of books. These books and magazines are great at telling you all the things you have to have to increase your woodturning abilities, but where do we draw the line.

Basic Woodcarving Tools

Woodcarving can be as simple or as complex as the project requires or as the carver cares to make it. An amazing amount of work can be done on small basswood or butternut carvings with just a chip-carving knife or an X-Acto knife. Add a few gouges and your range of carving possibilities increases.

Bench-top Tools

Bench-top woodworking tools comprise one of the few booming segments of the tool industry. This is obviously due to the number of amateurs and hobbyists who can jump-start their shops by a quick trip to the local home improvement store. Retail hardware stores now devote considerable space to stationary tools that would have seemed esoteric just a few years ago. You'll have no trouble locating tools for the Two-Car Wood Shop. But once you purchase a major tool, you're stuck with it for some time, so it's a good idea to understand what you're getting.

Building A Workbench

The design of a woodworker's workbench is a very personal choice. This article is to help show how and why I built mine, and hopefully to help you as you make your own choices. It was hard for me to decide, from all the great options, on the types of workbenches to build, with its vises, hold-downs, and dog-holes. And there are many great workbench styles out there.

Burl Bow for New Woodturners

Burl wood is some of the prettiest wood in the world. It’s twisted and multi-directional grain give a fascinating activity to the surface of the wood. Burls usually come from large knob-like projections from along the tree trunk. These irregular growths are usually caused by a fungus. Very twisted and irregular growth patterns can also be obtained from the roots of trees. Burl bowls make a very good project for the beginner turner. Because the wood is so beautiful, it is not necessary for the novice turner to create the most difficult turning to have a very nice artistic result.

Choosing the Best Wood for Woodcarving

Wood comes in many types, it is important to know each woods individual characteristics to know how to use them while wood carving. Each wood type has a different texture and color, you need to know the purpose it will be used to choose the right type.

Choosing a Woodwork Router

Routers offer woodworkers a fast and fairly easy way to add unique details and personalization to their wood projects. Wood joints made with routers can be made faster and more precisely than other joint-making methods. Before you buy a router, though, consider how you will use the router most often and what kind of power and price level you need.

Edge Joining For Panels and Table Tops

Edge joining is the process of bringing two or more boards together edge-to-edge, and is done in order to create a wider board. The first thing to consider when planning to edge join two non-book-matched boards together is how the boards look next to each other. This is a two stage process. First, look at the boards in their rough sawn state before milling them. Look at the rough sawn boards to see potential matches of grain pattern. Use chalk to mark the significant patterns in the boards, such as cathedrals and knots. Do the grain patterns of the boards have anything interesting I want to showcase? What direction does the grain run? How do the cathedrals (arched shape of the grain line) run in the boards?

Eight Steps for Preparing Lumber for Woodworking Projects

There are eight steps to preparing lumber at the beginning of the construction phase of a project. Whether you buy rough or surfaced lumber from the mill, the lumber yard, a home center, or a specialty wood store you have to prepare the lumber for use.The lumber can be "rough cut" from the mill, or "surfaced" lumber that has been smoothed on two, three, or four sides. Regardless of whether or not you buy lumber rough or surfaced, the wood has to be prepared for use. You have to take into account the design size of the pieces required for the project, any grain pattern considerations for the project from the plank we are cutting up, and any warping in the wood. Rough lumber gives you more thickness to work with when preparing the lumber to eliminate a warp. Rough lumber is usually 1/8th inch (3 mm) to 1/4 inch (6 mm), or more, thicker than surfaced lumber.

Fixing a Damaged Wood Carving

It's often said that carving is an art form that requires multiple skills. Most carvers will readily acknowledge the obvious disciplines: sculpting, painting, engineering, designing the list goes on and on. One skill that should be definitely included in the list of a carver's talents is that of repairman. Damage and repairs are topics carvers usually don't like to think about because they represent a setback or at the very least, an interruption in the forward movement toward a finished piece.

Finishing and Decorating Woodwork

Once you have built your woodwork projects and sanded them smooth, you'll need to get them ready for the finish and final decorating. Few supplies are more important than tack cloths. Usually make of cheesecloth and soaked with a mixture of varnish and turpentine, they're very sticky and are used to remove sawdust and fine wood particulate from the projects. Tack cloths will prevent your projects from having that "crinkly" look to the finish. It's an extra step, but the last thing you want to have happen is for one of your projects to look like it was poorly made.

Guide to Putting an Edge on a Carving Knife

This information refers to putting the edge back on a carving knives, but if you have dinged, nicked, or a badly damaged your blade, you need to find someone who can restore the edge of the knife to working condition. This information is intended to keep your knife edge razor sharp, you will need to know a something about steel in order to be able to sharpen properly.

How to Carve Turned Wood Usually it is best to decide on the design you want to carve before you turn the bowl. Otherwise, you'll be surprised by how limited your design possibilities are. A thin completed bowl, for instance, will not allow you to make deep carvings on it. If you want to carve a decorative band, you'll probably want to leave a band of thicker wood to carve.How to Clean-up Glue Squeeze-Out

If you're gluing properly, your joints will after clamping, squeeze-out excess adhesive you've applied to the joint prior to assembly. If you don't get any squeeze-out, you're almost certainly starving the joints. The excess glue should form small beads at the joint, and it's worthwhile to pay attention to this and learn from it, adjusting your gluing and clamping techniques with each project until this occurrence becomes normal and predictable.

How To Correctly Set-up a Drill Press

It is important to know your drill press before operating it. The information provided here is of a general nature but appropriate for most drill presses. For specific data on your drill press, carefully check the owner's manual that came with it. By using the owner's manual, along with the information provided here, you will be able to get the most out of your drill press.

Article on woodwork Saws

How to Set-up A New Band Saw The table must be level and flat, this can be checked with a level and a straight edge. If you have purchased a used machine and it is not flat you have the option to have the table ground flat, but it could be costly. If purchasing a new machine take a straight edge and check the same way before purchase. The table must be square to the blade, use an accurate square to check this. If not 90 degrees the table can be adjusted using the trunnions which are located under the table, which when released can move the table from square to any angle you may require.

How to Turn a Wood Platter

Platters are a beautiful, useful, and enjoyable project for turners. They make great gifts, they sell well, and they can be made from scrap wood. With all these desirable attributes platters should be found much more often in art galleries and internet galleries.

Identifying your Wood Turnings

One way is to literally sign it using a ballpoint pen, a felt-tipped pen, or even by using a sharp stylus. Many people use this method and it is adequate, quick, and easy. One problem with this method is that your signature probably won’t last more than a few years. It surely will be illegible before your grandchildren need to find out who made it.  Another way is to use an ordinary rubber stamp such as you use to stamp your return address on your envelopes. This is probably the least expensive and surely the quickest way to identify your work but in my personal opinion this is the least desirable method. You have just spent many, many hours of your time - not to mention the cost of the materials - and now you cheapen the piece with a rubber stamp signature. Secondly, the ink will surely fade with time.

Marquetry and Intarsia

There is a lot of confusion on the internet concerning the difference between Marquetry and Intarsia. I’m sure they are plenty of people whom have never seen these terms before, or are familiar with them, but never knew what they meant, so I thought I’d do a piece explaining these and related terms.

Making Money for the Woodworker Hobbyist

There are three broad groups making money from woodworking, full-time woodworkers, part-time woodworkers, and hobbyists. Full-time woodworkers are deriving most or all they’re income from woodworking, and part-timers are deriving some income from their woodwork. But the average hobbyist derives little or no income, it is a hobby.

Power Tools and Hand Tools for the New Woodworker

My advice when buying any tool is to buy the best tool you can afford. Price usually follows quality, and quality does matter in woodworking. It may be difficult to buy top-of-the-line equipment when starting out. There are a number of strategies, however, that you can take. Buy one tool at a time. Or, buy used equipment. If you have to start out with less than the perfect equipment, at least you'll have time to learn what features are most important to you when you go to buy a replacement tool.

Planning for Wood Expansion and Contraction in Woodwork

Wood expands and contracts. This movement has to be taken into account in the design and building of any project. Typically, wood moves twice as much in the tangential direction as it does in the radial direction. For woodworking purposes, we ignore movement in the axial direction. Wood moves because of the change in moisture content (amount of water molecules) in the wood. Wood that is freshly cut, i.e. green, has the maximum amount of water it can hold, called the fiber saturation point (FSP). The FSP runs from about 25 percent to 31 percent, depending on the wood. On average, we figure 28 percent.

Power Tools and Hand Tools for the New Woodoworker

My advice when buying any tool is to buy the best tool you can afford. Price usually follows quality, and quality does matter in woodworking. It may be difficult to buy top-of-the-line equipment when starting out. There are many strategies, however, that you can take. Buy one tool at a time. Or, buy used equipment. If you have to start with less than the perfect equipment, at least you'll have time to learn what features are most important to you when you go to buy a replacement tool.

Preparing your Woodwork for a High-Quality Finish

Finishing wood involves a process.  You can get outstanding results by taking the time to understand the processes involved in finishing, and by taking your time to perform each process with care.  Great finishing depends on both mechanical and chemical processes.  Mechanical processes are all about sanding and scraping wood, applying finishes with rags, brushes, or spray equipment, and other techniques in finishing.  Chemical processes have to do with the products you choose to use: Stains, dyes, oils, lacquers, varnishes, solvents, etc.  Each finishing product has its own unique set of properties, which give you different effects or results, and the rules vary guiding the use of these different chemicals.

Producing a Smooth Finished Turning

One of the marks of a master craftsman is how smoothly he can get his finished turns. The extremely smooth surface is a delight to see, feel, and apply a finish. Several factors influence how smooth the final surface will become:

By improving any of these factors the end result will improve. If you improve all of the factors the results can be quite dramatic. I was pleased to find that wet cutting and wet sanding worked so well that in some cases you can start sanding at 320 to 400 grit sandpaper if the quality of the wood is good enough.

Purchasing a Woodworking Lathe

A woodwork lathe is a specialized woodworking machine, they are not for everyone, but they can be extremely rewarding. Woodturning is the most fluid form of woodworking and once started can be addictive. Whether you turn pens, bowls, sculpt, or make legs and parts for furniture it can be very satisfying to see the material change as you engage the cutters. Capacity is the first thing you look at on a wood lathe; it controls what you can make and how you make it. If a lathe has a length capacity of 36” that is the longest you can turn in one piece. You can go longer but you must do it in separate sections and join them afterwards.

Random Orbit Sander and Corner Detail Sanders

Random orbit sanders have been around since the 1940s in the automobile and other metal-finishing industries as air-driven models. It was only when they were converted to electrically run tools twenty years ago, that they gained dominance, as the finishing sander of choice with woodworkers. While they won't replace a belt sander for heavy-duty rough surface smoothing or a 1/3 to 1/4 sheet pad sander for getting into tight corners, overall, they will end up doing 90% of your sanding for you...with much better results and far less effort.

Reciprocating Saws: The Saber Saw

This relatively inexpensive woodwork saw is a must in any home workshop. The Saber Saw is one of the most common power tools in any workshop. Its primary purpose is to cut shapes and patterns, which it does very well. However, this tool is also very good at cutting project workpieces to their overall widths and lengths, and in some cases to their final size. Our special Basics section will show you how to use the saw properly, how to maximize its capabilities, and what to look for when buying a new Saber Saw. With virtually hundreds of Saber Saws and other reciprocating saws on the market, buying the right tool can be really difficult.

Safety Tips for Working with a Drill Press

A few safety precautions must be remembered while operating a drill press.

Selecting a Table Saw

A table saw is a multipurpose woodworking tool consisting of a circular saw blade mounted on a stabilizing arbor, which is driven by a motor. The blade extends above and through the plane of the tabletop, which in turn provides support for the wood being cut. The wood is used mostly for larger project and is cut by pushing it through the saw blade. The depth of the cut is changed by repositioning the blade higher or lower. Deeper cuts are made in the panels by moving the blade higher above the tabletop. The blade's angle can also be changed allowing the board to be cut at an angle.

Setting up your Ultimate Woodworking Shop

Setting up a woodworking shop can be easy. To get started, ask your woodworking friends for help or join a local woodworking club. Making the shop perfect will take years. Designing your ultimate woodworking shop layout depends on the type of woodworking you like to do. For example, wood turners might change their shop design to put the wood lathe in the shop's central work area with the best light. With different woodworking styles in mind - here are some general tips I've learned over the years that I hope will help you to get the most pleasure out of your woodworking shop., no two dream shops are exactly alike.

Simple Handmade Wooden Car Plan

This toy could provide some of the happiest memories for your little tikes. A homemade wooden toy car that they can put things in and push around and ride on will be a novel change from the plastic toys that they are used to. This toy car is perfect for daycare, nursery, preschool, kindergarten, or any play center.

Solar Kiln Design

A kiln, regardless of the type, is a controlled environment where the monitored extraction of moisture can take place. The conditions the wood is exposed to throughout the drying process remain somewhat constant and allow for minimal degradation. The wood used for fine furniture and cabinetry should initially be dried to 6%-8% moisture content (mc), some woodworkers prefer 5%-6%, and only a kiln of some sort can remove that much moisture.

Solving Jointer Problems by Doing a Correct Setup

Setting up a jointer is sometimes a difficult and frustrating venture, and with the vast number and styles of machines out there, it's often difficult to get good advice concerning how to set up and adjust a machine for optimal, repeatable, and accurate performance. They're quite simple machines for the most part, without a whole bunch of adjustments -- but if any one of those adjustments is not made correctly, the machine can be rendered pretty useless. So here are what I consider the most salient points in setting up and adjusting a jointer.

Successfully Setting Up a Home Woodworking Shop

How to set up a woodworking shop should be determined using your own personalized decisions. There is no single right way, so set it up using your own individualized needs and inclination, don't let anyone influence you into making choices that are not what you want, it's your workshop build it your way.

Table Saw Explained, for the Beginner

For all intents and purposes, there are three kinds of table saws. Listed in order of size and cost, they are: Benchtop, Contractor's, and Cabinet. What they all have in common is the fact that they all rely on a table for the stock to pass over, a saw blade that tilts from it's normal vertical position of 90 degrees to the tabletop to anywhere in a range of 45 degrees, and a motor of some type somewhere under the table to drive the blade. How they do it can vary in multitudes of ways within each category.

The Protection and Maintenance of Tools

The condition of your tools is important to the quality of your pieces. Your tools working correctly and efficiently add to the satisfaction of your efforts but also ensure your safety. You probably have spent a lot of time and money collecting your tools, and even more, setting them up and arranging them in your workspace. But it is just as important to set up a routine maintenance program to ensure everything is running correctly, is correctly sharpened, that calibration is true, and tools are clean.

The Trick to Cutting Detailed Scroll Saw Patterns

If there was a magic formula I would give it to you, but there isn't.  Cutting patterns is challenging, but scroll saw patterns are designed to have enough strength and stability so that they can be cut by almost anyone with the patience and confidence to attempt it.  Start in the center of the piece and work out, watch the order of your cuts, and be determined to finish the piece and you will be surprised what you can accomplish.  You don't need the top-of-the-line saw a hundred years of experience, or even divine intervention.  You do need the desire to push yourself into working outside your normal comfort levels, and once again confidence.

Tips on Setting Up a Two-Car Garage Woodwork Shop

The Two-Car Wood Shop reverts into a garage at night and all woodworking materials, tools and equipment are stored along the perimeter walls. This can consume 30-40 linear feet of wall at an average depth of 18 inches. In most garage configurations this will still allow one wall for storage of non-woodworking possessions, should there be any.

Top Tools for Beginning Woodworkers

Woodwork is an art form that can create the most beautiful of objects. Some jobs are going to be easy and some are going to be difficult. The trick is to have the right tools to get the job done quickly and correctly, the first time. Unfortunately, most beginning woodworking enthusiasts think that you need to by a whole garage full of useless expensive tools that might be used once in your life.

Welcome to Woodworking

This article is aimed at anyone thinking about starting or re-entering the hobby of woodworking. There are about as many reasons to start woodworking as there are people thinking about getting into it. Fundamentals Of Woodworking.com is targeted towards beginner and novice woodworkers, with hopefully, enough information that the experienced hand will keep coming back for a look around.

What does made by hand mean today? 

What defines something as handmade? At first glance, it appears straightforward – crafted by someone's hands. But let's explore further. Hands are essential, but what about tools? Consider clay; although you can shape it with your hands, tools often play a crucial role. Now, onto wood – my primary material. Shaping it with bare hands is challenging, so like many woodworkers, I rely on a toolkit as my sidekick to craft 

What Exactly is Chip Carving?

Chip Carving is representative of the Chipping Away style; it has a history of use in decorating various wood household objects including furniture, and in creating wholly creative pieces. Although the finished chip-carved pieces often display an intricacy and beauty one may think is attainable only by a long-lived master carver, chip carving can be surprisingly easy to learn. In the United States, it is typically used with pine, basswood, butternut, or mahogany. Chip carving tools are often used for whittling, cabinetry, or general workbench functions.

What to look for when Purchasing a Bandsaw

There are two types of band saws, 2 and 3-wheel. When buying a saw for the first time, the three-wheel saw appears to be the best bet. I give heaps of throat (distance of cut between the down-traveling cutting side and the upward return side of the blade) for cutting larger widths of wood.

What to Look for in a New Circular Saw

Circular saws are used to make rough cuts in wood of all sizes. Since circular saws lack a fence and table system, they are less accurate for making straight cuts, but circular saws are portable and powerful and have plenty of uses in a woodshop. If you want to add a circular saw to your power tools collection, here are some things to consider before you buy.

What to Look For When Purchasing a Drill Press

The drill press was designed originally for the metalworking trades. However, with the availability of cutting tools, jigs, and attachments, the drill press is now one of the most versatile tools in the shop. It not only drills into metal but also bores into wood and performs other woodworking operations such as mortising and sanding. After the table saw, the drill press is easily the second most important piece of equipment in the average home workshop.

Wood Cabinets: Fundamentals of Cabinet Making

At its most basic, cabinetry is the production of cabinets. But often what is produced would not be recognized by most people as a cabinet, but whatever you are building basic cabinet production is the same. A cabinet or furniture piece consists of a carcass or case with two sides, top and bottom, front and back. The front can have various combinations of shelves, drawers, or doors. By varying the basic construction process the cabinet maker can produce kitchen cabinets, free-standing cabinets, bookcases, desks, bathroom vanities, toy boxes, and more.

Woodcarving Basics

To carve efficiently, your tools must be razor-sharp. They should leave a shiny cut through the wood, with no white streaks that indicate a nick in the blade. To determine the direction of the grain, look at the long cell fibers. The darker streaks of the annual rings can help indicate the direction of the grain. Carve in a downward direction onto the parallel lines of grain. Note, that if the wood seems to be tearing, and your tools are sharp, then you are probably going in the wrong direction. Turn around and carve in the opposite direction. You can also carve diagonally across the grain and even parallel to it, but if you carve upwards against the grain, it will only tear and splinter the wood.