Kelley Bagby

I grew up around woodworking tools (see picture, age 4-5ish) but only recently started doing some of my own woodworking.

Oct 022015
Every time I go to WIA, I am struck by the same things that make the show great – classes taught by master woodworkers in which you can ask questions directly to these folks you have idolized for years, a marketplace filled with beautifully made tools and the expert artisans who can show you the ins and outs of each tool while you stand at their booth, the camaraderie of your fellow woodworkers walking back and forth from class to marketplace and back again. And of course there are the other things you can count on, like the guys at the Lost Art Press booth consistently being the funniest people you will meet all year, like Roy Underhill and Megan Fitzpatrick taking over the loudspeakers at the Marketplace to tell people they are hungry for dinner so get the *bleep* out, like Scott Meek, Jason Thigpen, Anne Briggs Bohnett and so many others gathered in their booths chatting and smiling and welcoming to all.


chriskuehnBut one specific interaction really stuck out for me as an example of why you would want to attend Woodworking in America every year if you are a woodworker. I was standing at Chris Kuehn’s Sterling Toolworks booth, and he was talking to a woodworker who mentioned that he struggled with dovetails and needed to improve his sawing technique. Chris instructed him to come around to the inside of his booth, set a piece of wood in his vise with the endgrain up and pulled out a hand saw, and proceeded to provide him with a way forward to becoming a better sawyer.


Mark straight lines all the way down this 1×6 from right to left, said Chris, and then saw each of those lines. Once you’ve sawed all the way across that board, you are done for the day. If you can stay on the line by the end of the first day, you are ready to move on to the next exercise. If you are straying from the line, then cut off the top 2″ of the board to a clean part, and do another night of the same exercise. Within 3 nights, most people are clearing the lines at will (only kerfs show, no pencil lines). If you are not you have “saw issues” where it is not tracking correctly due to improper sharpening or you have body mechanic issues where you need feedback to adjust your body mechanics.
Once you have worked sawing straight vertically on command, it is time to work on a slope; use a dovetail marker or sliding bevel to mark diagonals from right to left all the way across your board, and saw each of those lines. Again, you are looking to track the line with your saw kerf so that you don’t see a line. You are gaining muscle memory by doing so many of these cuts all in a row. Do the same thing each day until you do it reliably. Then switch to the opposite angle. When you can cut to a line in these three instances, your dovetailing with be 1000% better. Not to mention you will be a much better hand sawyer!


Hearing Chris Kuehn talk to this burgeoning woodworker inspired me. It made me want to practice my sawing and take a better shot at good dovetails. And it made me understand, once again, the true value of attending an event like Woodworking in America. Not only are you in classes and a market filled with woodworking experts and a great selection of tools to work with, but those experts will freely and happily give you their knowledge, if you only stop to ask. I will be returning to Woodworking in America again, and I will make sure to gather my questions beforehand. And I will make sure to stop and ask.
Sep 172014

We were excited to see our friend Scott Meek in the WIA 2014 Marketplace, showing off his beautiful wood body planes. Take a look at Scott demonstrating one of his planes in the video below:

If you want to see this smooth planing action in person, or just meet an amazing toolmaker and a pretty cool guy, you have a couple of opportunities. Our One Day Sale is October 17th & 18th and Scott will be there creating more shavings. He will also be teaching a class on Making a Wooden Smoothing Plane at Highland in November.

And if you are already sold on Scott’s planes just from watching the video above, you should take a closer look at his Highland 35th Anniversary Limited Edition Smoothing Plane. Only a few more available!

Sep 162014

There was a lot to see in the WIA 2014 Marketplace, and we were excited to find a booth featuring one of our favorite chairmakers, Peter Galbert. We got him to do a quick demo of his Galbert Drawsharp to show us just how easy it is to use. Take a look at the video below!


Happiness is a sharp drawknife


Checking out the fit and feel of a Galbert-original rocker.
It was quite comfortable!

Oct 222013

We are excited to have Peter Galbert returning to Highland for a Windsor Chair class in March of 2014! Take a look at Peter’s great video below and just try to not be inspired to build your own Windsor Chair.

Presented by Peter Galbert, you will see how chairs are made by hand and some examples of hand made chairs made right here in Sterling and the tools used. Sterling has a long and prestigious history of chair making with as many as eight chair manufacturers in the area. Many were scattered throughout West Sterling and Princeton including the Buck Chair Factory.

To sign up for Peter Galbert’s Windsor Chair class at Highland in March 2014, CLICK HERE.

Oct 172013

In the October episode of The Highland Woodworker, we’ve got some great interviews with a few of the woodworkers who participated in the French Oak Roubo Project as well as some footage from the event itself. We’ve also got Popular Woodworking’s Steve Shanesy showing off a useful technique for live edge carving, and much more in this episode – take a look!

Sep 032013

What did you do this summer in your shop? Steve Johnson aka The Down to Earth Woodworker has been working away at designing and building a mobile sanding center, in hopes of making the dreaded chore of sanding a bit more enjoyable. Steve documented the whole build in the videos below, finally all gathered in one place for easy watching. Build your own mobile sanding center, or just use some of Steve’s techniques shown here on your own building projects.

And check out Steve’s latest column in Wood News here!

Part 1: Design Criteria

Part 2: Cutting out the Parts

Part 3: Making The Dadoes

Part 4: Glue Up

Part 5a: Drawers & Box Joints

Part 5b: Drawers & Box Joints

Part 6: Installing Drawers

Part 7: Drawer Fronts & Trim

Part 8: Attach Drawer Fronts, Easy!

Part 9a: Dust Collection

Part 9b: Dust Collection

Jul 102013

coffee1frontIn this month’s issue of Wood News, David Brearley of Austin, TX shows us the method he has used to restore and refinish a number of vintage coffee mills he has found. Given the often inseparable relationship between woodworkers and their coffee, we can see how these two topics might go together so well!

Take a look at David’s process, and some of the beautiful vintage coffee mills he has restored in his article in this month’s issue of Wood News.

Click here to read the July issue of Wood News.