Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Little Shop of Horrors Part 2

Little Shop of Horrors:
Which shop machines are a must?

This is the second part of the Little Shop of Horrors. Hope you enjoy!

This is a tough question and will depend greatly on what type of shop you are setting up. If you plan on setting up a basic shop to build cabinets or furniture, you will need different tools than you would need if you’re just setting up a shop for carving or doing metal work. In this article we will discuss setting up a basic woodworking shop for building a wide variety of projects from whirligigs to kitchen tables or other furniture.

The main tools you will need are a tablesaw, which will be the primary tool in your shop so don't skimp on this tool by buying a cheap model (not necessarily price, but quality) with a shortage of horse power and an inaccurate fence. The entire shop should be built around your tablesaw as it will get used more than any other tool you own. You will also need a jointer, planer, a bandsaw, and a drill press. The bandsaw and drill press can be a bench top version depending on your needs. Most projects can be built using these basic machines. You may be saying to yourself that, "You can use a planer as a jointer or vise versa," but that is just not the case. These tools were not designed that way. You can't mill to a specific and consistent thickness using a jointer and you can't square and flatten stock using a planer. There are many other machines that a shop would benefit from, such as a drum sander, dust collector, which we will discuss further, a wood lathe, and the list goes on.

If your shop is in your basement or an attached garage then you will definitely want to look at some type of dust collection as dust will ALWAYS find a way to migrate into your home. This was a sore spot for me as my wife didn’t like that part of my home shop at all. The beauty of that though, was the frustration she had regarding dust enabled me to remedy that if she would "allow" me buy a new tool. Not long after that I had new 1-1/2hp dust collector and an air filtration unit, which hung from the ceiling. I never would have dreamt my wife would have actually requested that I buy new tools because in her mind I had more than I needed. But after some discussion she relented and was pleased with the dustless outcome. Having this dust bagged and filtered served as a good safety measure as well, which is another important feature for any shop. Dust collectors come in a wide range from your basic "shop vac" to a large horse power cyclone unit. Again, shop size plays a factor in your decision. You will also have to decide whether or not you will move the dust machine around or place it in a corner and run dust hose around the shop to each machine. The latter is more efficient if it's an option for you. You won't have to keep connecting to one tool and then taking off the hose, going to the next machine and then repeat, which can become a hassle - trust me. Plus, it frees up floor space not having the dust collector following you around while you're working. Besides not breathing in that dust and having a dust-free shop when it comes time to finishing a project is a huge plus, as you won't have to worry about the dust settling on the piece while finish dries.

Other necessary shop tools & accessories

Besides the bigger machines for your shop, you will also need a few power tools, hand tools, and other basic shop helpers as well. The list and use for each would be as follows:
  • Circular saw for trimming and precutting larger sheets of plywood.
  • Chopsaw for cutting parts & molding.
  • Router and a variety of bits for edge profiling, grooving, making doors, etc. (usually a smaller 1-1/2 to 2hp for hand work and a 3hp for use in a router table). Next to the tablesaw, a router will probably be the most frequently used tool in your shop.
  • Hand drill for drilling, some assembly, and hanging doors (corded are typically stronger but cordless are more convenient).
  • Jigsaw for cutting a radius and notching out.
  • Sanders (1/4 sheet, 1/2 sheet, disc, and/or a belt disc combo) for rough to finish sanding and shaping.
  • Clamps for holding projects together while the glue dries ("You can never have enough clamps" is an old saying which holds a lot of truth).
  • Hand tools like a set of chisels, a mallet, tape measure, hand planes, calipers, dividers, etc.

The above list is basic and short, but the list of tools at your disposal is very, very long. If driving nails with a hammer isn't your thing then you will want to look at a small pancake air compressor and a brad gun. Depending on whether you plan on spray finishing or not will determine the size of your air compressor, unless of course, you will be using a HVLP unit. If you plan on using a spray gun then you will want a larger compressor, at least 4-5hp and up, to provide the needed requirement of continuous air to supply that spray gun. Don’t forget that you will have to put a finish on those projects, so make sure your shop has room to store and apply finishes, brushes, and solvents.

About Chris Smith
Chris began his woodworking career early while in high school. With three years of woodshop class under his belt, he graduated in 1993 and then began work for a cabinet shop.
His work in the cabinet shop spanned over several years. He continued his skills in cabinetry on his own before joining Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in 2001.
He found an immediate interest in woodturning while at Klingspor. But, for Chris, it is more than just woodturning as he finds enjoyment in all aspects of woodworking. He has a wealth of 20 years experience in cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodturning, and more.

Native American Style Drone Flute

(Click on the image to see it larger)
Enjoy this talented work from Bob Child of Ugly Boy Flutes in Waynesville, NC. This is an A4 Native American style drone flute. A quote from Bob, "Most phenomenal piece of curly/figured White Oak I've ever laid eyes on!"

Thanks for sharing Bob!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Cinderella's Carriage

Thanks to Roy W. for submitting his customer project to us! What a beautiful wooden Cinderella Carriage. Note: Click the image to see it larger. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Little Shop of Horrors Part 1

Little Shop of Horrors:
Setting up shop in small space

Little Shop of Horrors will be presented in 3 parts. Hope you enjoy!

I know we all want a huge shop with a milling room, a work room, and a finish room, but most likely that’s not what you have. I remember the first shop I had was half of a two car garage. We (my wife) parked on one side and my shop was set up on the other, which meant my truck was outside. I just couldn’t convince her to park outside with me so I could have the whole shop, or garage, to myself (hard to believe, I know). I started out with a Shop Smith and a couple power tools and slowly progressed to designated tools, all on mobile bases or carts, until finally, I had all the tools I wanted (I thought).

Setting up shop in a small space doesn’t have to be an event that you dread. There are just a few things you need to do to make it work to your advantage. Hopefully, this will help give you a plan to follow that will get you started in your shop.

Where to start:
Before you go out and buy your dream tools, which I would love to sell you, be sure that you have room for them all. It would be bad for your shop, and wallet, if you had all those tools and nowhere to put them. In an ideal shop there is room for all the tools you will need and more, regardless of the type of shop you’re setting up (cabinet shop, machine shop, carving, turning, etc.). Space is always the biggest factor, so setting it up with the best overall efficiency is paramount.

The best thing to do before laying out your shop is to think about a project from start to finish (from rough lumber to the final top coat) and how each of the steps in between will be handled. Mobile bases on your tools and benches will be crucial to setting up a small shop, so that things can be rolled out for use and back in with minimal time and setup. Figuring out how much space each tool, workbench, lumber, etc. will take up can be confusing. Not to mention a pain in the back if you just bought the tools and shuffled them around several times until you got the layout you wanted.

Scaling it out on paper or the computer
Start by laying out your shop to scale on paper, or if your web savvy, try using an online planner like the one found on the Fine Woodworking website or Google Sketch. You can also use Photoshop, Microsoft Word, or any other similar software as well. If the web and computer programs aren't your thing just graph out your shop & tools the old fashioned way, to scale on graph paper. Once everything is to scale, cut out the tools and play around with the design, moving the templates around the scaled floor plan of your shop to find the best "flow" that works for your situation.

*Important tip - When you are laying out the shop, be sure to allow room for the infeed, outfeed, and side-to-side cutoff of your lumber. Utilize open garage doors as one way of helping to accomplish this. The tablesaw for instance will seem like it requires an airport runway at times, but with proper layout, taking advantage of those open doors, you can allow for plenty of room. It would be a nightmare if you had room for your tools but not be able to actually use them.

Groups of tools & support
Grouping tools by what they do in regards to the project flow can save a lot of time. If your shop is designated and does not double as your parking spot, then this will make things much easier when you are in the middle of a project. For example, if your lumber rack is near the milling machines – Jointer, planer, and table saw, as opposed to the other end of the shop, then you can get right to work without maneuvering 8’ lumber or sheet goods from one end of the shop to the other, bumping into benches and other tools. Put your machines that are used in a sequence near each other as well. Grouping those milling tools close to each other you can go from one step to the next without a lot of travel. For example: You know you will start with a jointer to flatten, straighten, and square a side and face of a board. Then that board will go to the planer to be milled to thickness. Once milled to thickness, you take it to the table saw to cut it to width and then back to the jointer for a final pass on the side recently cut off. After all that work, you don’t want to have those three tools in different parts of the shop.

Also, allowing for a tool or bench to serve multiple functions can be a huge space and time saver. In the early days of my small shop I had a bench top planer and jointer that I bolted to a mobile cabinet I made, which had a rotating table using a 1" dowel as a pivot hinge. I had a tool on each side, so I unlocked the corners and flipped the table over depending on which tool I needed, and then locked the corners again using eye bolts and plastic knobs. I could change it easily in less than thirty seconds and didn't have to change my dimensional setup on each tool, saving me a lot of time.

Removing the fence, lowering the blade, and placing a piece of plywood on your tablesaw can make for a great assembly table or sanding table. Yes, I said the usually dreaded word, "sanding". Sanding and finishing can make or break a project. If you spend a great amount of time milling and building to precision, you don’t want to ruin your project by a poor sanding or finishing job.

There are several ways of utilizing tools for multipurpose use. Another example is if you build your workbench so it can also serve as an outfeed table support for your tablesaw, this will take up less room than having a designated support table. Speaking of support tables; be sure you have them. In almost all cases, you will be alone in your shop and safety is very important. Don’t attempt to be a hero and muscle around heavy plywood without some support, as it could result in a bad cut on the wood or worse, your finger.

Multifunction tools and storage
You can build storage under the right table board of your tablesaw and utilize that as storage for blades, wrenches, featherboards etc. I built such a cabinet for mine and put a small tray on top to hold pencils, push sticks, and an extra tape measure, which I always seemed to misplace. I had a router table mounted on the left side of my saw that was made of cast iron which replaced my left table extension. With all these additions plus a mobile base, my tablesaw transformed from "just" a tablesaw, into a space-saving mobile mega tool that was a tablesaw, a router table, and a storage center, all on wheels for easy maneuvering.

Storage is a premium so make sure to utilize the space you do have as much as possible. It will allow you to keep your hand tools, finishes, fasteners, etc put up and out of the way so there is room to actually use your work surfaces. It will also help protect those items from being damaged while not in use. You can cut out a portion of a counter or bench and put smaller power tools, like grinders, miter saws, bench top belt sanders, etc on a wood base that will fit into that cutout. This will allow for quick change of tools and allow them to again be stored on a shelf when not in use.

Making a lumber rack on the wall, or even better from the ceiling above the garage door, to stack your various species of wood will also help in creating less clutter around the shop. Be sure that your rafters will support the extra weight if you use this method. You can also make a bin or use a barrel to put the smaller sticks of lumber that you just can’t bring yourself to throw out.

Many manufacturers of tools have seen the need to help out the small shop by making multipurpose machines. There are both positives and negatives to these tools. If you have a small shop there can be many benefits, as space is a premium. If you are setting up your shop and will be cutting sheet goods and milling many different parts, multifunction machines may not always be the best choice. Many of these machines have to be totally changed and readjusted to transform into another tool. My first machine was that way. Some of its features enabled it to be used as a tablesaw, bandsaw, drill press, wood lathe, & horizontal boring tool. Plus it had other attachments available that I didn’t own. The demo guys you see at shows often make it look quick and simple, but in reality it took a good bit of time. If I forgot to make a cut, it then required me to set it all back up again and hopefully recreate the exact same dimensions. This is just a small sacrifice though if you are working in a limited space.

Also, many of these machines work great in one area but not in another. For instance, I am a bit on the short side and when I used the table saw on my multi-machine, it was uncomfortable because the table was high and top heavy, which made it difficult to cut plywood safely to width without first precutting it using a circular saw to make it more manageable, which in my opinion defeated the purpose of having a tablesaw. If small crafts is your primary use of a tool like this then that won’t bother you at all.

Tools like the one Jet puts out, which is a combo planer/jointer , is a very nice tool to have around. It performs nicely during use of both operations. The industrial 12" model has a 3hp motor (FYI - the 3hp version is NOT ideal for a small shop, but will work well if you have the room). We will discuss types of tools needed in your shop a bit later, but I wanted to get you thinking about ways to utilize things in a way to serve more than one purpose.

About Chris Smith
Chris began his woodworking career early while in high school. With three years of woodshop class under his belt, he graduated in 1993 and then began work for a cabinet shop.
His work in the cabinet shop spanned over several years. He continued his skills in cabinetry on his own before joining Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in 2001.
He found an immediate interest in woodturning while at Klingspor. But, for Chris, it is more than just woodturning as he finds enjoyment in all aspects of woodworking. He has a wealth of 20 years experience in cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodturning, and more.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are You Finished Yet?

Here is a look at the most common finishes used before you "finish" your project. Hope you enjoy!

A very soft "finish", which offers very little protection. It is best used as a polishing and preserving agent on top of other finishes or as a finish to preserve the natural color of the wood.

Linseed Oil
A natural oil finish made from the seeds of the flax plant (the same plant that is used to produce flaxseed oil, which is found in health food stores & used to help prevent heart disease and arthritis. However, linseed oil is NOT edible as it contains other chemicals to aid in the drying process). It is one of the least protective finishes, but it is easy to apply and yields a beautiful hand-rubbed look. Like all oil finishes, it's best for items that won’t see a lot of wear and tear.

Tung Oil
A very old, natural finish made from nuts of the Tung tree, which grows in the eastern Asia. Slightly more water resistant and paler in color than linseed oil. Often used as the base oil component in other finishes. Also a good choice if the hand-rubbed look is what you're after.

Oil-Varnish Blend
A very popular "hybrid" finish made by mixing a little varnish with a larger quantity of oil. It is easy to apply like true oil finishes but with some of the protective qualities of varnish. Some types include antique oil, teak oil, Watco Danish oil, various salad bowl finishes and some home-made versions.

One of the oldest and most under-appreciated of all finishes. Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and is available in a variety of colors ranging from nearly transparent to orange/amber and is available in flakes or pre-mixed. It dissolves in alcohol or Behkol and is similar in scratch-resistance as oil or oil/varnish-blends but not as protective as varnish or water-based finishes. It's easily repaired and not as toxic as oil-based finishes. Interesting fact about shellac is that it is also used as a food and candy glaze and was used in making old phonograph records.

A synthetic cellulose-based finish that is the finish of choice for many professionals. It dries fast, has decent protective qualities (somewhere between oil-varnish blends and varnish), provides excellent clarity and depth, rubs out well, and is fairly easy to repair (we offer a variety of colors in aerosol toners for easy touch-up). It also sprays like a dream with the proper equipment. It's available in several varieties including nitrocellulose, CAB-acrylic, catalyzed (pre-cat & post cat), & water-borne. Pre-cat & post-cat simply means the hardener is either mixed in before, or after you get it. The most popular type used is the pre-cat. It can also be tinted slightly using toners or dyes for a deeper appearance.

A very protective and durable, amber-colored finish that holds up well to wear and tear, water, and solvents. It's commonly available in one of three ways, depending on the resin used; alkyd, phenolic, or polyurethane. Negatives include a longer curing time, strong fumes while curing, and poor reparability. It also yellows more over time so it's not the best choice for light-colored woods.

A good choice if you're looking for a non-yellowing finish that's safer for you and the environment. It has decent toughness and scratch resistance but not as resistant to water, heat, and solvents as standard varnish. The first coat has a tendency to raise the grain of the wood, which can be frustrating, especially if you are staining. Water-based finishes typically cost more than their oil-based counterparts. Due to new Volatile Organic Compounds laws (known as VOC), more and more finishes are now being made with a water base to them.

A fast curing finish with excellent resistance to heat, wear, water, and solvents. Typically used for institutional furniture. Highly toxic solvent and formaldehyde fumes - a professional grade spraying environment is essential.

For a more in-depth look at finishing, check out the following books and videos: New Wood Finishing Book, Understanding Wood Finishing, & Refinishing Furniture DVD. For a complete listing of all of the finishing products we have available and get that project "finished."

About Chris Smith
Chris began his woodworking career early while in high school. With three years of woodshop class under his belt, he graduated in 1993 and then began work for a cabinet shop.

His work in the cabinet shop spanned over several years. He continued his skills in cabinetry on his own before joining Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in 2001.

He found an immediate interest in woodturning while at Klingspor. But, for Chris, it is more than just woodturning as he finds enjoyment in all aspects of woodworking. He has a wealth of 20 years experience in cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodturning, and more.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Customer Project

Puzzle Rocking Chairs by Warren T. Lowe was submitted to us recently. Nice work!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Wood Finishing Advice & Tips

Every WOODWORKER knows that WOOD FINISHING is the most important part of the project. We’ve compiled a list of WOOD FINISHING advice & tips. We hope the list will give you added knowledge for your future woodworking projects!

Do you have any tips not listed here that you would like your fellow WOODWORKERS to know about? If so, leave it in the comments section!

  • Remove glue splotches before staining (stain will not color glue).
  • Use a low-angle light to identify glue splotches and blemishes.
  • Seal resinous knots with a shellac-based sealer, such as Bullseye SealCoat
  • Apply a filler, such as Behlen's Por-o-pac to open-grain woods (e.g., oak) for the smoothest possible finish.
  • Use a test strip of wood to check the color and quality of the stain and top coat finish.
  • Reduce stain splotching in pine by applying a "washcoat" sealer or a gel stain.
  • Sponge wood and re-sand when dry to minimize grain-raising from water-based finishes.
  • Sand end grain to a finer grit to prevent excessive stain darkening (or use gel stain).
  • Apply a "washcoat" to end grain to prevent excessive stain darkening.
  • Finishes containing oil (including varnish) yellow over time.
  • Most woods darken as they age.
  • Arrange pieces horizontally to reduce runs and sags (especially when brushing).
  • Use shellac or lacquer if reparability and reversibility are most important, as these types of finishes allow for easier repair.
  • Use water-base finish for low toxicity, non-yellowing, and ease of clean-up.
  • Use lacquer or dewaxed shellac for the best clarity and rubbing qualities.
  • Use pure oil finishes for the "natural" look (at the expense of protection).
  • Use polyurethane if you want an inexpensive, very durable, very protective finish.
  • Use spar varnish, paint, or outdoor specific oils for the most durable outdoor finishes.

About Chris Smith
Chris began his woodworking career early while in high school. With three years of woodshop class under his belt, he graduated in 1993 and then began work for a cabinet shop.

His work in the cabinet shop spanned over several years. He continued his skills in cabinetry on his own before joining Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop in 2001.

He found an immediate interest in woodturning while at Klingspor. But, for Chris, it is more than just woodturning as he finds enjoyment in all aspects of woodworking. He has a wealth of 20 years experience in cabinetmaking, furniture building, woodturning, and more.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Making a Scalloped Edge Bowl by Richard Morris

We would like to invite you to read a recent article by Richard Morris of Richard Morris Art. "Making a Scalloped Edge Bowl" article is featured on his website, http://richardmorrisart.com, under the Educational & Other Stuff section.

 You may also click the link to go directly to the article, http://richardmorrisart.com/site/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/Turning-A-Scalloped-Edge-Bowl-4.pdf.

 Please note that the article is a PDF file. It may be downloaded to read or viewed within your browser depending upon your software and/or browser settings. You must have either Acrobat Reader (Acrobat Reader is a free download from Adobe.com), a third party software, or a browser plug-in to view the file.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Blue Ridge Woodworking

If you love high quality furniture with unique beauty, you should visit Blue Ridge Woodworking online. Their main focus is crafting unique, high quality furniture that will stand the test of time. Classic designs never go out of style. And, with the selection of high quality hardwoods, you'll have a functional work of art to display in your home that will bring both pride and dependability.

 Visit Blue Ridge Woodworking online at http://blueridgewoodworking.myshopify.com/.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Get the Scoop Woodworkers!

Woodworkers! Get the Scoop only at Klingspor's Woodworking Shop:

  • MSDS Sheets on your favorite finishing products GOT IT!
  • Charts of all kinds GOT IT!
  • Forms to make your shopping experience easier GOT IT!
  • How-To Instructions GOT IT!
  • Additional Product Information GOT IT!
  • Videos of Woodworking and Related Products GOT IT!
So, visit our Woodworking Scoop page online @ http://www.woodworkingshop.com/scoop.aspx. Bookmark it too as we will be adding more Woodworking goodies!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Retail Store Locations

Get to know our stores on a more personal level by visiting our newly created store pages! We have three retail locations and those stores are in NC. Our retail store locations are Hickory, Raleigh, and Winston-Salem. Each store's page has unique information related to that store from classes to announcements and even calendar of events.

Main store page link: http://www.woodworkingshop.com/locations/

Hickory store page link: http://www.woodworkingshop.com/hickory/

Raleigh store page link: http://www.woodworkingshop.com/raleigh/

Winston-Salem store page link: http://www.woodworkingshop.com/winston/