Kelley Bagby

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

Nov 082012

This month’s issue of Wood News is out – click here to start reading!

If you’ve been thinking about updating your shop, you might want to take a look at the first part of Mike Smith’s series My Last Shop, in which he goes through the process of building his workshop from the ground up. You can also check out another amazing shop in our Show Us Your Shop column – Shawn Nystrom’s beautiful shop that he shares with his wife, who is also a woodworker.

Check out a great article from Steve McClintic in which he recounts his own woodworking history and the stories that go along with each piece of woodworking he has built. We’ve also got a new book review of Jim Tolpin’s The New Traditional Woodworker by J. Norman Reid.

Steve Johson, our Down to Earth Woodworker is waxing nostalgic about his childhood memories in the local barbershop – but he feels you can get that same community feeling by visiting your local woodworking store. He also writes up a full top-to-bottom strategy for getting your shop cleaned up and in working order just in time for you to get in there and make some gifts for the holidays.

All this and much, much more including some great deals and previews of several woodworking books from Fox Chapel Publishing, available this month in Wood News Online. Go take a look!




Oct 312012

Michael Sweet’s amazing totem pole was featured in the woodcarving column in the June 2012 issue of Wood News. He recently updated us on some of his most recent carving work:

For Christmas I decided to make a Shogi game for my son. He was stationed in Japan during his stint with the USMC and his soon-to-be-wife’s father turned him on to this game.

Ironically, at the same time, I was researching a game to make and thought that this would be a challenge. This game is similar to chess but more difficult. There are two sides to most of the pieces with one being red and the other black. I wanted to make a case that could travel well so I found some oak and cherry in my shop and started building.

The pieces were made from some maple that I had. I’ve had this maple for about 20 years stored in my basement. My brother-in-law gave me about 350 child’s crib headboards that he could not sell. I spent time removing things that I thought would be useful. There were many slats that were about 3/8″ thick and a an inch or so wide. I had to plane the pieces down to 1/4″ and 1/8″ thick. Since my planer could not reduce the stock to that thickness, I built a jig to do it safely.

The Shogi game has pieces that are varied width, lengths and thicknesses depending on the rank of the piece. The difficult part was to draw Japanese characters (Kanji) onto the pieces and then woodburn and carve. I used a Foredom to make the letters thicker. I also made a universal set that showed the directions of the pieces and their ranks. This way my son would play the game until he learned the Japanese characters (he is presently studying Japanese in college). Of course, most of these pieces had to be carved on both sides. I then painted the red ones and once I completed all of them, I used some HUT wax and buffed each piece. I just used an old refrigerator motor with a mandrel (left-handed threads) and attached some pads.

At the same time I was making this, I also made a Rummikub game for my son’s wife. That game had 8 sets of 1-13 with jokers. Each one carved, painted and buffed. Both of the games took about 3 months to make. It was real tedious work but I was proud of the outcome and both recipients of the gifts fell in love with the games. I’ve made many things in my life and this one is right up there with one of my favorite and most difficult to make (the others being a totem pole, dollhouse and Southwestern chair).

I’m currently working on this GO game – woodburned and airbrushed.

Oct 292012

Our chip carving instructor Mickey Hudspeth has won numerous competitions for his exceptional chip carved pieces. At the Smoky Mountain Wood Carving Show in Townsend, TN earlier this month, Mickey added a couple more ribbons to his collection.


Here is a picture of Mickey’s table at the show, where his beautiful ornaments were featured.

Mickey teaches a fantastic chip carving class at Highland every year – this year it is scheduled for December 2nd. CLICK HERE to find out more about this class and sign up!

Oct 262012

Recently we heard from a customer who had a great experience with Lie-Nielsen and we asked him to recount his story here. Read below for an incredible tale of turning what could have been a very low moment into a great statement about human kindness and compassion. We applaud Lie Nielsen for upholding the very highest standards of customer service and are proud to work with them. Now, on to the story!

Fire – last thing you want to have happen in a woodworking shop.

Some years ago I found myself taking up woodworking as an avocation.  Having traveled with work for many years I was unable to do it on a consistent basis. I had some basic carpentry skills and tools from working on my own houses but knew little of woodworking.  My interest was first sparked by reading a book on restoring and turning hand planes.  While traveling I was able to acquire several Stanley Bedrock planes and begin to restore them.

I had previously lived in the Highland Hardware neighborhood and was aware of their change from a neighborhood hardware store to a place for woodworkers.  So, I returned to the neighborhood to take a sharpening course and now was hooked or years to come.

It was on a return trip to Atlanta and Highland Hardware I watched a demonstration on Lie Nielsen hand planes and actually had the opportunity to observe and feel what a well-made and turned hand plane could do.  I was hooked and bought my first Lie Nielsen plane – a number 4 smooth plane and then later I received a Jack plane for a birthday gift.  Being pleased with the hand planes when it came time to upgrade my dovetail saw I again chose Lie Nielsen and recently received as a gift a Lie Nielsen cross-cut saw.

Now back to the fire.  My shop is located in the high country of North Carolina was housed in two bays of a detached three car garage.  The fire was a result of a brush fire that came up through the woods in the fall of the year. It started at the end of the garage where the wood shop was located.  The loss was devastating. After the fire I went through the shop and salvaged what I could and stored the items in a friends building.  Most of the major equipment that was exposed directly to the fire was destroyed but a lot of my hand tools that were in wood cabinets survived.  Knowing that it would be next spring/summer before I could get it removed and rebuild I deceived to use a space in the house to restore the hand tools.  The metal parts were covered with baked on soot and the handles wee heavily scorched and beyond repair.  I started with the planes and after I finished cleaning and polishing the metal parts it came time to order the wooden parts.   For the Lie Nielsen planes I called the company and spoke to a very courteous and knowledge employee who answered by questions and offered to replace the parts at “No Cost” including the shipping.  I was impressed.

But this was not the end of the story. Some months later when it came time to work on my dovetail saw I realized I did not have the appropriate screwdriver to remove and replace the handle.  I again called Lie Nielsen and spoke to an equally helpful employee and explained my conundrum.  She said no need to order the driver but to put the saw in a box and ship it to the company.  Several weeks later I received a box containing the saw – with a new handle, polished steel and bronze and sharpened.  Again at “No Cost” “No Shipping” – unbelievable.  All I could do was sit down and write them a thank you.

While my dealing with other companies during the process was generally positive they paled in comparison to Lie Nielsen.  It was not just a matter of cost but of service that was done with caring and professionalism.  Again thanks to Highland Hardware in introducing me to such a fine company and to Lie Nielsen for being a model for excellence in manufacturing and service.


Oct 242012

If you haven’t seen it yet, you should check out the October issue of The Highland Woodturner!

In his column this month, Curtis Turner offers his strategies for doing woodturning demonstrations for the public. From showing off his spring pole lathe to providing a visual example of what happens to wood when it dries and everything in between, Curtis gives a great woodturning demonstration, and with his notes on how he does it, you can too!

We’ve also got a great article on understanding and turning spinning tops by Federico Kuhlmann, some impressive wood turnings by Jeff Brockett (including a couple of wooden hats!) and a few more helpful ideas for how to use magnets around the shop from Phil Colson.

Now go take a look and then get out to the shop and start turning!

Oct 222012

Have you always wanted to trek to Atlanta so you can step inside Highland Woodworking and just breathe in the woodworking all around you? Well, you should still plan to do that someday. Atlanta in the springtime is a lovely place to visit!

But until you get that chance, here’s a video tour of Highland Woodworking to hold you over. Morton took his camera all throughout the store, showing off some of our neat little nooks and crannies. We hope you enjoy it, and if you find yourself booking tickets to Atlanta after watching the video, well, all the better – we’d love to see you!

Oct 152012

Finally, a reason to look forward to Mondays! We’ll be rolling out a new woodworking movie every Monday on the Highland Woodworking YouTube channel, so make sure you check back each week to see what we are featuring! From product tours and technique demonstrations by Morton to video visits to the Down to Earth Workshop with Steve Johnson to woodturning technique demonstrations by our own Phil Colson, we’ve got some great videos in store for you.

Check out the first Movie Monday topic today – it’s a good one: Morton explains his process for flattening a large board using his Lie-Nielsen #62 Low Angle Jack Plane. Click on the image below to take a look, and subscribe to our YouTube channel to be notified whenever a great new woodworking video is available to watch!