What Jigs Would You Like to See on Rough Cut?

RC_Jig_input_season4We’re hard at work planning an awesome new season of Rough Cut for you and we want to hear from our fans! One of our shows this season will be featuring jigs of all kinds – the favorites from Al, Eli, Steve, and Tommy! We’d like to hear about your best jigs – and if we like your idea we’ll include it in the show.

Posted in Blog, Rough Cut - Woodworking with Tommy Mac | Leave a comment

Choosing the Right Garden Trellis

TommyMac_TrellisBlogIf you haven’t already done so, be sure to pop over to the Video section of the site to catch full-length episodes of past projects. New episodes are going up regularly. The Garden Trellis from Season One is one such episode.

With Spring just around the corner, the trellis project is a great one to enhance your home’s outdoor spaces. If there’s one lesson to take away from the episode, however, it’s that improperly sizing your trellis to the vine may lead to undesirable outcomes. Of course if your trellis won’t be playing support to flora of any kind you can carry on with construction. Just be sure to follow a couple other pieces of advice from the episode: 1) use a wood variety that’s naturally weather-resistant (redwood, cedar, etc) and, 2) only use stainless steel fasteners.

If you plan to match your trellis to your climbing plant, you’ll probably want to pick out your climbing plant first. There are a few types of climbing plants, and they all climb a little differently. There are wrapping climbers, adhesive climbers and curlers. Here’s a few you’ll be choosing from:

Think peas. Tendrils are slender and will grow into the air until they find your trellis. Then they’ll curl and coil and grow. Gardeners will commonly use netting or mesh to encourage these dainty climbers. A trellis isn’t out of the question, but the crosspieces can’t be too thick or space too far apart of those baby tendrils won’t be able to take hold and curl around.

The famous trellis-busting wisteria featured in the episode is an example of a twiner. There are two types of twiners: those that have twining leaves and those that have twining stems. Leaf twiners use their leaves like tendrils, and use string, slender branches and other leaves for support. With leaf twiners, a thin support is key, so those slats will need to be slender. Twining stems will pretty much curl and twist around anything. Some twining stems don’t take a real firm hold, while others–like the wisteria–have a vice-like grip and can become very large and heavy. Determine ahead of time what you’ll be dealing with.

Climbing and rambling roses are an example of scramblers. They actually can’t climb on their own, although it may look like they can. With these types of climbing plants, you’ll need to tie or wire them to the support to help them climb or grow upwards.

If you plan on making a trellis this Spring, share with the others in the 207.

Posted in Blog, Thomas J. MacDonald | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharpening Your Woodworking Tools

TommyMac_SharpeningChiselNo matter how much experience you have at the bench, it still pays to be reminded of some basics. Shop safety, for example. We’re probably all guilty on this front from time to time, particularly when it comes to keeping eyes and ears protected/healthy. Keeping tools sharp is another. No, it’s not the most glamorous part of this craft, but failing to stay on top of those tools is the quickest way to sloppy work and/or a frustrating session in the shop. Hand tools like chisels and planes can quickly lose their edge with frequent usage, leading to glue accumulation, dulling and burrs. With the right technique and equipment, these tools can be razor-sharp and working like new in no time.

If you’re familiar with the show, you know that Tommy sets aside a moment here or there to share a trick of the trade. Although he frequently dives into the sexy stuff (like cutting rabbets, flush cutting with a hand router or applying a wax finish), he also has accrued a nice collection of T-Mac sharpening Tips. We’ve assembled below the list of those sharpening tips, with the hopes that you’ll dedicate your next visit to the workshop to making sure your chisels, planes, etc. are sharp enough to shave a bear.

Got a favorite sharpening system? Sound off in the comments below. Tommy swears by DMT (says they’re the best he’s ever used), but we want to hear about your go-to.

Sharpening a Chisel
Sharpening a Hand Plane
Sharpening a Hand Plane (alternate version)
Sharpening a Plane Iron
Sharpening Chisels

And since we’re on a roll, here’s a link to DMT’s YouTube channel, which has a robust library of sharpening videos that should provide the final kick in the pants to go put an edge back on it, already!

Enjoy and happy sharpening!

Posted in Blog, Woodworking Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day!

ringTo all those smitten woodworkers with a special someone in their lives (and also to those without!), we wish you a very Happy Valentine’s Day.

We’re sure a fair number of lovestruck bench jockeys out there put their skills to use and crafted up some woodshop goodies to give to the significant other today. If so, we’d love to hear about it!

If you’re looking for a woodworking love story to ignite some sparks, take the leap over to the Woodcraft Blog, Woodworking Adventures. Blogmaster Frank cooked up a heart string-pulling tale of a woodworker, his longtime girlfriend and a very special wooden ring (picture above).

The ring was made from Redwood burl and Cocobolo. The blog post tells the full tale, complete with the step by step breakdown of how lovebird/woodworker Kevin Richards conceived of and created the token of his affection.

We also wanted to share this video from fellow woodworker Steve Ramsey of Woodworking for Mere Mortals. It’s a sweet little book box gift with a crowd-sourced hinge solution. Jewelry box, anyone?

Posted in Blog, Woodworking Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Furniture Project 2014

Chimney cabinet by Scott Phillips.

Chimney cabinet by Scott Phillips.

As many of you know, that humble celebration of woodworking that we called WoodExpo took on a new form last year. Long-standing Rough Cut guest Eli Cleveland took the event by the reigns in 2013 — changing the name to the Furniture Project — and poured a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears into it. The woodworking contest element featured entries of the required “cabinet on stand” piece across two categories to be judged: Open and Interpretive. (View those winners here.)

This year, the Furniture Project is asking for Chimney Cabinets (like the one pictured left). They must be between 3 and 6 feet tall, no wider than 24 inches, and less than 18 inches deep. They must also feature at least one door in order to qualify. Other than that, all designs and interpretations are fair game. For more info on the requirements, check out TFP’s Call for Entries page. You have until the 15th of February to get your entry in.

For those more interested in being inspired than contributing a piece, the Furniture Project 2014 will once again be held during the New England Home Show (now in it’s 64th year!) at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston, MA. The show runs February 21-23. More info can be found here.

Are you planning to attend? Got a piece in the works? Let’s hear about it.

Posted in Events, Woodworking Industry | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment