Tag Archives: Blog

Ditching the Numbers

Hi Folks, I just wanted to post a quick update that I am dropping the numbering from video posts. I’ve removed the numbering from this site and Youtube, but you will see them within the videos themselves to date, but not going forward. It seems a little antiquated to me at this point for video content that doesn’t have a large back catalog.

I hope to focus on more video content in the future and I wouldn’t want to “label” videos by how old or new they are, but rather they stand on what content they present on their own. More to come! Until then…

Keep experimenting in your shop!

Jim

Happy New Year! Some New Year Goals for 2014

First things first… Happy New Year! I hope that you have a great and safe New Year, and that you all had a great Holiday season!

In looking back over the last year, I have made some improvements to the shop, attended Fine Woodworking Live, and completed a couple of projects, but I wanted to outline some goals I have for 2014…

  • Since I’ve turned my table saw around 180 degrees from what I had before, I now have the space available for a true outfeed table. The roller stand I have is nice, and will certainly use it elsewhere, but it will be even more nice to not pick up offcuts off of the floor. The outfeed table will add safety and convenience.
  • This improvement is already in the works: I finally ordered an RF remote unit for my dust collector. No longer will I have to walk over, turn it on, then walk to the tool with the hose connected and then turn it on. Because of where the dust collector is, after I build the outfeed table, this will be a huge gain in convenience, since once the outfeed table is in place, the dust collector will be that much harder to get to.
  • A workbench. What I have now is not impossible – it’s an MDF top on a metal cabinet base. It’s flat, well, except the corner that got wet and is now swelled. It does though, seriously lack in workpiece holding ability. While I haven’t ironed out all the details, I do know that this will be a “bench on a budget” so to speak. I don’t expect to have the resources for a large Roubo with expensive vise hardware, but I do think I can complete a bench that will be a huge upgrade over what I have, and not break the bank. I am coming from no specific experience, and therefore bias, toward certain vises or other wood holding systems, or styles of bench. My “vise” has  been a wooden screw clamp that is clamped to the bench top. I’m leaving on the table the various types of vises: metal jaw,  twin screw, leg vise, etc. Face vise with planing stops? Face vise and end vise? Some combination? Expect some further posts on this as things roll along.
  • In keeping in what I try to do with every project, whatever further furniture projects I end up doing, I will continue to incorporate some new joinery that I haven’t done before, or perhaps some other new technique I haven’t tried.
  • Continue to attend some woodworking events or classes. While my personal circumstances with a special needs child may prevent me from any significant travel, I do hope Fine Woodworking will have FWW Live close enough to home that I can make that drive again, and offer day passes. The Woodworking Shows will be coming to the area in the next couple of weeks, as well as perhaps the Design Build Show in Boston in February. I understand why WIA doesn’t typically move much beyond the Cincinnati area (there’s a LOT of stuff to move), but if they did find their way to southern New England, I would certainly try to attend that. There is also the fairly new Woodcraft in Walpole, MA that is now offering classes, so I plan on looking into their offerings as well.
  • And of course, anything can happen during the course of a year, so will keep an open mind to anything that comes along!

So Happy New Year everyone! Take care, be safe, and happy sawdust in the new year…

A Couple Of Quick Updates

Hi folks. I just wanted to update everyone on a couple of changes here at The Wood Lab.

First, I finally got around to mapping the domain name I bought a while back to this blog. So less typing! You can reach this blog now at thewoodlab.net! Old bookmarks and links will still work; anything going to thewoodlab.wordpress.com will point to the new URL.

The second item has to do with videos that I do for the blog. A while back I changed all the embeded videos to the YouTube version, as I found it played nicer across a more varied set of phones and tablets. I had also been using Blip.tv to host the videos, but they have decided to axe many folks’ accounts, including mine, so that they only focus on regularly produced, higher production quality content. I wasn’t thrilled about it, but I also don’t think it’s a huge deal. I never really advertised that I had the videos available via Blip in the iTunes directory. My gut feel is that most folks visiting my site view the videos here, and not subscribe to them in iTunes or some other podcatcher. Hopefully that’s the case anyway, since the handful of videos I have are now just on YouTube. (If you did subscribe using iTunes or a podcatcher, let me know in the comments. I’m curious.)

Video Introduction & Shop Tour

After doing a couple of “alpha” test videos with the Narex chisel videos I did, I thought it would be cool to start adding video content more consistently to The Wood Lab blog. Here is the introduction to this video series, and then cap it off with a tour of my shop! Let me know what you think!

The True Value Of Free

I’m still what I would consider a novice woodworker, and ever since I’ve become interested in woodworking, I’ve been soaking up any information I can get. Books, magazines, DVD videos, and especially online content available for free.

As someone who wants to learn about all facets of woodworking – not just techniques, but also ideas from others on how to build one’s hobby, shop ideas, etc. – I very much value any information I can get for low cost or free. Let’s face it, I think most of us are on a budget; and I sometimes struggle with finding time and money to keep my modest hobby going consistently, especially since we’re currently a one income household with a young mildly austistic son.

And yet, there are some that would find fault with a few seconds of advertisement in one of these free online videos from The Wood Whisperer (Marc Spagnoulo). And to boot, it’s only the online embedded version of the video that has the ads. The iTunes podcast and downloadable versions of the videos don’t even include the ads! At first I couldn’t believe it, but remember that it takes all types, and that some people are just not happy unless they’re complaining about something.

What these folks, who provide their content for free, have invested in their craft cannot be measured – in their shops and in their own learning. What they then do is invest yet more: their cameras, microphones, editing software, computer hardware, writing ability, and TIME. Time to create the content, edit it, answer email questions, administer online forums, scour the internet to let us know of the upcoming deals, and the list goes on.

Some have made woodworking their full time career; guys like Marc Spagnoulo and Tommy MacDonald. Others have been doing it as their hobby, while maintaining their work and family life balance, such as Matt Vanderlist and Tom Iovino. Then there are the others I am continually discovering, such as Shannon Rogers, Kari Hultman, David Pruett, and so many others.  All these people who create content and share their knowledge and ideas, and those who offer their insight via sites like LumberJocks, other community forums, and their blogs, do so to the betterment of the entire woodworking community. Those that need to add a few advertisements or sponsorships to keep doing what they are doing is certainly more than understandable, it’s common sense.

Knowledge sharing in exchange for a few seconds of ads – I’ll take that any day…