Kelley Bagby

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

Dec 072012

Who wouldn’t like to have a little extra time during this busy holiday season? With all the parties, decorating, family and friends visiting, gift building and buying, it seems like there is always something that needs to be done. Well, just in time, the Down to Earth Woodworker is here to offer you a few quick time-saving tips for the busy woodworker. Time Saver #1: Put all your favorite DTEW columns on your smart phone so you can read them anywhere you encounter a long and boring wait!

Take a look at more time-saving tips and more in the Down to Earth Woodworker column in this month’s issue of Wood News.

Dec 052012

The December issue of Wood News Online is out and ready to read. This month we’ve got a woodworking bucket list from Howard Van Valzah, an impressive workbench carcase design story from John Bonin and an entertaining story from Dick Rank on designing the ‘perfect’ bottle stopper.

We’ve also got another great column from our Down to Earth Woodworker, Steve Johnson, where he offers a series of holiday time-saving workshop tips. If you are feeling pressed for time in your shop during this busy season, take a look at his article for a few ways tips that might give you a little more time to do the fun stuff.

Six new Fox Chapel woodworking books are available for incredible discounts for the month of December, just in time for holiday gifts!

We’ve also got Jeff Street’s dream shop, Greg Little’s amazing carved boxes and a special double edition of Show Us Your Stuff featuring rocking horses built by Jack Masten AND Kenneth Sternberg.

All this plus our holiday gift guide and woodturner’s gift guide, and much more! To take a look at all of it, just CLICK HERE.

Happy Holidays, everyone!

Dec 042012

The tree is up, the lights are strung and the stockings are all hanging on the mantle.  The only thing left to do is to start dropping hints to my the family about what I really want and don’t want under the tree this year!

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting a new pair of stretchy pants every December 25th, but what I really want is something I could USE in the shop vs WEAR in the shop!

This year I’m going to make it easy for my family to find the perfect woodworking gift for me:

1. Set of 5 Lie-Nielsen Bevel Edge Socket Chisels with Tool Roll – every woodworker knows the value of a good chisel, imagine the value of an entire set of these high quality Lie-Nielsen Bevel Edge Socket Chisels?

I know my family will say I already have a set of chisels but while they work fine like a good commuter car, who doesn’t want to drive a classy luxury vehicle?  That’s what the Lie-Nielsen chisels truly are.

2. Bowclamp Clamping Cauls – we’ve all heard the old adage “You can never have too many clamps” but I think just as equally important is knowing what a tool like a clamping caul can do to make the few clamps you already have, work like they never have before.

If you’ve never used a caul before they are an amazing shop accessory that incrementally increases the clamping reach and power of an ordinary clamp.  Where an ordinary clamp may only reach a few inches across the length of a wide glue up, a caul will apply pressure across the entire length of its body.

It’s an amazingly simple tool that does an equally amazing job!

3. Kreg Precision Miter Gauge System – I have a feeling I’m not alone when I say the standard miter gauge on my table saw is “just ok”.  It works well for what it does, it’s easy to setup and use, but it always has me concerned it’s about to fail me when I need it most.

That’s why I would really love to see a Kreg Precision Miter Gauge System under the tree this year!  “The CNC machined gauge head with an easy-to-read Vernier” means I don’t have to second guess the angled cuts I’m trying to set up.

And the long 24″ Heavy Duty Aluminum Trak and Kreg Swing Stop means not only is my stock being supported through the cut, but I can easily setup a stop that makes repeatable cuts as accurate as ever.

4. Festool DF 500 Q Domino Joiner Set w/Cross Stops – Last thing on the list of the perfect Christmas morning would have to be the Festool DF 500 Q Domino Joiner Set.  This tool would probably get used so much in my shop I might end up wearing the paint off the body!

Festool makes amazing tools and the Domino is no exception.  It’s a great tool that belongs in my shop.

Just in case that wasn’t enough for them, a few more dreamy tools I wouldn’t say no to include:

Lie Nielsen No. 51 Shoot Board Plane OR a Lie Nielsen Iron Miter Plane – who doesn’t want to have better results on a shooting board?

8″ Forrest Dado-King set – because the Forrest Dado-King has given me the best dado cuts EVER but my new SawStop saw won’t work with my 6″ stack.

Regardless of what ends up under the Christmas tree, or in my stocking this year, I’ll be very grateful for just being together as a family.  But if a Christmas Miracle were to happen in the Vanderlist household that involves wish lists being fulfilled, mine is all set.

Did you know you can create a wishlist at and send it out by email to anyone who might be searching for the perfect gift for you? CLICK HERE to get started with your own wish list.

Dec 032012

Not sure what to get for the woodworker in your life this Christmas? We’ve got some amazing discounts on Fox Chapel Woodworking books that will appeal to any woodworker. If you aren’t sure, take a peek inside each of the books by clicking on the image above. Order these books from us during December 2012 and save 33% off the list price.

CLICK HERE for more information on each of these great books.

Nov 282012

We featured Gary Smith’s meticulous horse-drawn wagon in the woodcarving column in the November 2011 issue of Wood News. He recently updated us on one of his latest woodworking pieces:

These are my new wagons – this time I carved them in even more detail.

Everything works the way it would on a real wagon – I carved them at 1/8th scale in every way. When you lock up the breaks, the back wheel slides.

Each wagon is made out of hard wood. The wheels have 24 parts, the same as they would if a wheelwright had made them. I hammered the iron out like a blacksmith would have.

Making them this way is a lot more fun but really time intensive. There are over 100 bolts holding all the parts together.

Nov 212012

Alright, I know I am a little late to this party. The Anarchist’s Tool Chest has already been out for more than a year, but I am just now reaping the benefit of its lessons this week. I finally snagged a copy of Chris Schwarz’s ode to the individual craftsman and I can honestly say that after reading it, whatever part of myself can claim to be a woodworker is now a changed woodworker.

Tools are like people to Chris Schwarz, or at least they are characters in the story he tells here. They eat crackers in bed for example. It is clear that he has spent his life around tools and has seen nearly every variety of make and quality of every type of tool out there. Reading this book is akin to peering inside the Schwarz brain, where stacks of tool manuals appear to be carefully organized, even if the manuals themselves are rather unkempt.

To the beginner (that’s me!), reading about woodworking can be a chore, with many technical details I haven’t quite wrapped my brain around, jargon I’ve not been exposed to before, and traditional vs. modern naming conventions for tools only adding to the confusion. The writing in The Anarchist’s Tool Chest is not typical woodworking writing. This book will likely be exceptionally readable, accessible and enjoyable for both a reader who has never done a day of woodworking in his or her life as well as for a woodworker with years of experience under his or her (tool)belt. Schwarz doesn’t just spout facts at you willy-nilly. His writing makes you feel as if he has invited you over for a beer and a talk about woodworking tools. He even includes a picture of his cat to make you feel at home.

Getting into the heart of the book, Schwarz breaks down the tool categories by chapter and provides the reader with the ultimate list of the tools they need in their tool chest. For each tool, Schwarz offers a multitude of details about what features it should have and how it should function. And this is where Chris Schwarz’s body of knowledge really shines. Take the hand planes chapter for example. My notes after reading that chapter: “Wow. Thorough. Overwhelming. Exhaustive.” Tear that chapter out and bring it along if you are buying a new or vintage plane, because it is an excellent reference. Even if you are just working with a plane that is new to you, it will be useful. I especially appreciated the encouraging bit at the end of the chapter addressed to beginners like me – perhaps disheartened by their first less-than-successful attempts at maneuvering a hand plane.

While reading the section on dividers, I started to realize that these discussions of each individual tool are more than just reference guides for how to purchase or use that tool (however interesting and entertaining those reference guides may be), but in fact Schwarz is telling the reader in broad strokes about the craft of woodworking. Take this quote for example:

Dividing up space is one of our primary jobs as woodworkers. We divide up boxes into compartments for tools, dishes or underwear.

Two short sentences to boil down such a large segment of woodworking, in a way that makes so much sense.

Schwarz is also great at driving the reader to action. A lot of woodworking books can be good reads, very enjoyable, and once we read the last page and put them back on the bookshelf, we return to doing things the way we always did them. Not this book. Reading the chapter about saws made me want to jump in the car and drive to my nearest woodworking store to try out a range of different totes until I find one that fits me perfectly.

On workbenches, we all know that Schwarz is a workbench connoisseur as evidenced here and here, but in the chapter devoted to them he boils it down to ten golden rules for what you need in a workbench – a helpful list for anyone looking to build or buy their first (or second, or sixth) workbench, especially if you want it to be your last workbench.

And it is that idea, that any tools you buy for your shop are the last version of that tool that you will ever need, that left the most profound impression on me by the end of the book. That idea extends to the things you make and buy as well. And it is the philosophy that springs from this basic idea that leads to the ‘Anarchist’ part of the title. Not a violent sort of anarchy, but a revolution, where we change our basic wants and needs to fit with a more sustainable vision for woodworking, and the beginnings of a plan to save this craft.

It’s an important book. It’s a good book. It changed me as a woodworker, and it just might do the same for you.

For a peek at some of the goodness inside The Anarchist’s Tool Chest, take a quick look at the index, available online.

Click to order a copy of The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.

Nov 152012

Well it has been almost two weeks since the midwest edition of WIA2012 and we are still missing the market place and all of those great and informative classes, and can’t wait until next year. During times like these when we wish we were back in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky right now, it helps to be able to read a great description of the weekend on The Highland Woodworker blog. Take a look if you too are wishing that a Skyline Chili would open closer to your house.