Aug 282014
 

LN-tormek-giveawayBetween April-July, 2014, customers were able to enter our Lie-Nielsen/Tormek Sweepstakes for a chance to win a great prize package, which included:

The lucky winner was recently announced and we are happy to congratulate Kevin Meske on his lucky win!

We recently spoke with Kevin on his woodworking background and what kind of woodworking he plans to do with his new tools:

kevinmeske1. Can you give us a history of your own woodworking? What types of woodworking do you do? How did you get started?

I have always had a passion for building things. My mother use to tell me that I would tear apart all my toys as a young boy just to see how they work and then put them back together. I started woodworking at a young age, mainly birdhouses and other small projects. My passion for it really took off when I found Norm Abram and the New Yankee Workshop. Today I am employed as a carpenter and also love watching Tom Silva on This Old House. Although I love carpentry, nothing beats trying to replicate a Norm Abram piece out in the workshop. Furniture building is my favorite kind of woodworking.

2. How did you find out about the contest?

I saw the Tormek Grinder on the New Yankee Workshop. I went to google and did some more research about it. There was a link to the contest on the search page. I added it to my Amazon wish list that same day. Thanks to you, I was able to remove it.

3. Can you describe your reaction on finding out that you won?

I was going through my email deleting spam/junk mail and I ALMOST deleted the email saying I won because I didn’t recognize the name. The only reason I gave it another look was that I saw that it had an attachment with it. I couldn’t believe it that I had won. My wife was sitting next to me and I just told her in a low voice (in shock),” I won.” Then we screamed and celebrated together. 

4. What do you plan on using your new tools for? What will you do first?

I plan on sharpening everything I can get my hands on, which is exactly what I did first. No more dull chisels! I am excited to build a new project to break in my new hand planes.

5. Hand Tools or Machines?

They both have they advantages and disadvantages. I like to use power tools to get me as close as to finished piece as it will take me. I like to fine tune with hand tools. for example fitting a tenon into a mortise.

Any final words?

Just want to say thank you for helping me add more tools to my workshop. I have many more to add as I am a young man and just getting started and buying what I can afford and when I can afford. Thanks to you and this contest I have a couple top of the line goodies that I will cherish forever! (Also, below is one of my Norm Abrams replications that I created)

meskeproject

Keep reading the blog to find out when our next contest will be!

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Aug 262014
 

benhamtableMany times as furniture makers, we will put a finish on the underside of a tabletop to prevent it from warping or cupping. The theory being, if you put the same finish on the top as you do the bottom the moisture transfer will be equalized on all sides, helping to prevent wood movement. Regardless whether or not this theory is true, there are other reasons to finish the bottom of your tabletop.

I am often asked to match a stain color and in doing so I end up mixing different colors together in an attempt to get the color just right. The underside of the tabletop gives me a blank canvas and plenty of room to dial in the color. This also adds extra reassurance that the stain will react the same on the top as it did on the bottom because I am staining the same piece of wood. If the bottom blotched badly I know the top most likely will too. I can then adjust my application method before applying the finish to the show side.

Staining the bottom also give me an opportunity to see what the color will look like on a larger scale, to be sure I like the final color. This is especially helpful if you have a customer or spouse that has a hard time visualizing what the entire piece will look like from a little stain sample. It is much easier to strip the finish off the bottom to try a different color opposed to the whole piece.

Having the blank canvas on the bottom also allows me a risk free area to practice a new application technique. When I first started using water based gel stains, I found the application method I typically used for oil based stains left streaks and overlap marks. The water base finish dried much faster than an oil finish. Without using the right application technique, I found the water based stain would dry before I had a chance to come back and wipe up the excess, leaving overlap marks. That is something I would have never discovered on a small test board, and would have been devastating to discover when staining the show side of the tabletop.

However, practicing my application technique has saved me from many tabletop do overs; it is not the main reason for finishing the underside of a table. When I build any piece of furniture, I want people to be drawn to it. I want them to reach out and feel how smooth the finish is by running their hand across the top. I think we both would be disappointed, if as there hand glides across the smooth top, wrapping around to the underside of the table, only to discover a rough unfinished piece of wood. When someone buys custom furniture, I believe part of what they are paying for is for the craftsman to pay attention to the details. I think finishing the underside of a table adds a nice detail.


Brian Benham has made his lifelong passion for woodworking his profession. He enjoys taking his clients’ ideas and combing them with traditional woodworking techniques to create a unique piece of furniture. You can find more about his furniture at http://www.benhamdesignconcepts.com/

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Aug 212014
 
The Highland Woodturner- August 2014

Have you read the new issue of The Highland Woodturner yet? Our August issue contains several great articles, projects, and tips that can be used in the woodturning realm. This month, Curtis Turner focuses on the use of Liming Wax and Sandblasting to help embellish and enhance the surfaces of your turned projects. He goes over [...]

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Aug 152014
 
"Measure twice, cut once"- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far)

Every month in our Wood News Online publication, we feature Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, who provides a variety of woodworking project ideas, tips, and stories from his own recent experiences in the shop. In this month’s DTEW column, Steve discusses his illegible handwriting, which started as a child and has never seemed to [...]

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Aug 142014
 
New Shop Toy

Got a new toy in the shop and no, it’s not Festool.  Let me tell you about it. Twenty five years or so ago, I designed sewage lift stations for land developers. One day a salesperson came by with a demonstration pump on a small trailer behind his truck.  All the trailer sides rolled up so [...]

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Aug 072014
 
Woodturning with a Cause and Building an Electric Bass Guitar in the August issue of Wood News

We just published the August issue of Wood News Online, which contains a lot of great project ideas, safety tips, and woodworking community stories. One of our community stories, Woodturning with a Cause, written by Aaron Cooley, talks about Aaron’s work with the organization We Ride to Provide, an organization dedicated to “honoring, serving, and supporting [...]

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