Sep 172019
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In the August issue of Hock Tool’s monthly newsletter, we saw the familiar face of perennial Highland instructor Jim Dillon in a fantastic interview.

Many woodworkers local to Atlanta have taken classes with Jim and many more of you have seen some of the videos he has produced on the Highland YouTube channel, including ones on Broad Axes, the Narex Spoon Carving Kit, SawStop Router Tables, and Adding a Hock Blade to Your Hand Plane.

Read the interview with Jim and perhaps it will inspire you to take a class or watch a video and improve your own woodworking skills.

Sep 122019
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I had some visitors in my shop this week and one of them noted all the mallets and hammers. I explained that sometimes you want things to move and most of the time you want them to move quickly. I spread some of the movers out on the table saw to take a photo and I was a little surprised myself to see the range and number of them. There was a whole family of Movers!

At the bottom mid-right is my new Papa Mover, the two pound baby “sludge” hammer from Christopher Schwarz and Crucible Tools. Beautifully made, it is a Prime Mover and gives a good solid blow to anything that needs to get out of the way fast. Mama Mover is the slim rounded mallet in the top center that I bought from Highland a couple of years ago. You can buy a one pound or a one and a half pound size in the metal head. It is beautiful, well made and a joy to use as well as surprisingly effective for moving a carving chisel. You may not think it is easily controlled with the round shape, but that shape has been around for centuries and works like a champ. In fact I was watching a video on stone carving the other day and even with stone the guy choked way up on his round mallet and using a little tap-tap motion that I thought was too delicate for stone, he was able to cut the rock very effectively. This mallet by Shenandoah Tool Works has turned into my favorite and the one I pick up first for any kind of chisel work.

Two younger daughters at the top are ones I made just for the fun of it. The top right is a mallet made from a dogwood tree root. You can see it split to the pith cause I didn’t know any better at the time, but dogwood is one of the tougher woods and the root is the toughest part of all. The baby sister on the top left is a whim from the lathe too light to be useful. Lesson learned.

Cousins Ralphi and Vin down on the bottom left are the ones I use when I want to move a board without leaving a mark and where a round head like Mama will not work. Vin is a dead blow hammer with lead shot inside the non-marring head and serves very well for tightening up a furniture joint. I made Ralphi out of maple a few years back and the handle is too big for my hand — wait!! I know how to fix that, but you can bring a blow with it. Not bad on leaving a mark, but you can set a wood scrap between if you need to.

Course down on the bottom right is a brother to Papa Mover, the ever faithful trim/claw hammer, Carl. Uncle Carl is that middle weight trim hammer with the smooth head that is fairly difficult to find these days. There seem to be a lot fewer hammer manufacturers around than there used to be. I looked a long time to find Carl with his wooded replaceable handle. It is a beautiful hammer and my favorite on any carpentry project. I have a smaller trim plus a much larger straight claw framer and and I am a fan of all of them.

Bottom line, it takes a family to keep things moving quickly and efficiently.

Sep 102019
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If you’ve been thinking about getting a Dovetail Jig for your shop but you aren’t sure which is the right one for you, this video might help you decide. With a comparison of the Leigh D4R Pro and the Leigh Super Dovetail Jig, the video breaks down the body construction, finger style & joint spacing, […]

Sep 052019
Branching Out with Wood Finishes – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2019 – Tip #1
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Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideas. Please share them in the COMMENTS section of each […]

Sep 022019
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No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip from Sticks in the Mud woodworker, Jim Randolph. It’s OK if you call him “cheap.” How did I come to use Arm-R-Seal on the mantle project? Because I’m […]

Aug 302019
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If your shop feels too small for a standard tablesaw but you would still like the safety afforded by a SawStop, take a closer look at the newly updated SawStop Jobsite PRO Tablesaw. In the short video below, Jim Dillon shows off the features of the Jobsite PRO, demonstrating its easy portability, its many capabilities […]