Molly Bagby

Jun 112014

This Down to Earth Woodworker column first appeared in the June 2014 issue of Wood News. To see the rest of the issue, CLICK HERE.

by Steven D. Johnson,
Racine, Wisconsin

dtew8smRecycled pallet wood is beginning to be a popular source of wood for projects these days and there are several companies like World Wide Box & Packaging Corp. that sell recycled pallets that have been “repaired” to work like new. This month, Steve took a tour of this company and shares with us some facts and insights into the real world of pallet manufacturing.

CLICK HERE to read more about pallet recycling and manufacturing, and take a tour of the World Wide Box & Packaging Corp. 

Jun 052014

junewoodnewsOur June Issue of Wood News was just released today!

Don’t forget, Father’s Day is Sunday, June 15th. For everyone looking for a Father’s Day gift (and those fathers/grandfathers who want to give people some ideas), we’ve got a great Father’s Day Gift Guide full of books, tools, and fun woodworking gifts that Dad will love!

Also this month, we’ve got two in-depth articles from our regular Wood News contributors J. Norman Reid and Lee Laird. Norm has an extensive article on Getting the Best From Your Dovetail Jig, which includes some tips on how to get the best dovetail joints both quickly and efficiently. Meanwhile, Lee Laird focuses on another popular woodworking tool, the Japanese Chisel, and in his article Does Hand-Made Equal Perfect? , he discusses his new collection of Japanese chisels and whether or not the fact that they have been “hand-made” makes them the perfect tool.

This month’s “Show Us” columns include:

Show Us Your Shop: We’ve got Howard Boehm’s garage shop that has been designed around his table saw.

Show Us Your Woodworking: Mike DeCarlo of  DeCarlo Woodworks specializes in handmade custom furniture, and in his column he shows off a variety of beautiful tables and cabinets.

Show Us Your Carving: Philip Malenfant, all the way from North Pole, Alaska, comes from an airline background and enjoys fishing, which are both represented in his carvings.

Our monthly woodworking tip columns include:

Safety Tip:  Brock Friedman has both a story and a tip about how you should be sure to have a clear head when working with your saws and other machinery.

Finishing Tip: Alan Noel has a tip on chemical safety and the precautions you should take when using finishes with high chemical contents.

Tips from Sticks-in-the Mud: Jim’s June tips include a lesson on how to record your favorite woodworking TV shows, as well as how to find and organize all of the woodworking tips and project ideas that are in abundant supply online.

The Down to Earth Woodworker discusses woodworking acronyms (including BBCL), his experiences with a “deep-discount foreign tool seller”, and his adventures at a wood pallet manufacturing corporation.

Have you ever wondered what happens if you use a SawStop and cut pressure treated lumber that is still slightly wet? So did Marvin Cok, and our technical department was happy to provide him with the best way to make his cuts!

We’ve also got some informative product reviews on the Lie-Nielsen No. 101 Bronze Violin Maker’s Block Plane,  the Knew Concepts Woodworker’s Titanium Birdcage Fret Saw, and Christopher Schwarz’s book, Campaign Furniture

Enjoy reading!

Jun 042014

This month we featured Howard Boehm’s woodworking shop that he created within his garage. Within this shop, Howard has been working on several big projects, and as a continuation of his shop column, we wanted to include all of the pictures from these projects.

Wine Cellar Project

Home Office Project:


Bar Project:


May 302014

Every month in both Wood News Online and The Highland Woodturner, we feature YOU, our customers and readers who submit their photos and woodworking stories, which we then publish in our monthly publications. If you are interested in submitting, SEND US AN EMAIL with photos of your shop and/or woodworking, turning, or carving!

This month in our  May issues of Wood News  and The Highland Woodturner we featured the following woodworkers:

Show Us Your Shop: Robert Schweiger- Robert used to have his shop in Atlanta before retiring and moving to Satellite Beach, Florida. Once in Florida, he set up his new “retirement shop”, which was downsized from 2500 square feet in Atlanta to 850 square feet in Florida on the second floor of his house. Luckily, Robert has a vertical closet in his shop, in which he is able to store most of his machinery including a scroll saw, Tormek grinder, mortising machine, oscillating sander and bench grinder. He also gets a good workout when bringing in lumber and taking finished projects out of the house. Many of Robert’s projects are made for his church including a serving cart, step-stools, flower stands, and a beautiful oak table that holds bibles and bulletins.

View from the Retirement Shop.

View from the Retirement Shop.


Church Table

Show Us Your Woodworking:  Thomas E. Jones- Thomas is a very inspired woodworker who has drawn inspiration from many different sources including first and foremost, his father, as well as his local woodworking club and all of the woodworking magazines, books, and now internet videos and TV shows. Thomas’s first major project was a rocking horse made of maple, wallba, and cherry. Most recently, Thomas has been working on an urn project for indigent veterans after hearing how some of these veterans bodies have been found buried in cardboard boxes.


Rocking Horse


Urns for the indigent Veterans.

 Show Us Your Woodcarving: Shar Troost- Shar is a painter turned woodcarver who is self-taught, mostly from woodcarvers found online. While it is difficult for her to carve due to arthritis, she is still able to work the tools and spent a year on a beautiful piece of 100 year-old walnut to create a music relief. Shar has also ventured into carving human reliefs, where her human anatomy training at The American Academy of Art in Chicago came in handy.


Relief carved in an old beam made of walnut.
The piece is abut 5″x2″x3″, or there about.


Black Walnut Human Relief

Show Us Your Woodturning: Lawrence Wroten- Lawrence has been a woodworker for over 20 years and although he tends to find faults in his work and doesn’t enjoy building things for himself, he has created a lot of projects for others as well as his church. He has just recently become a woodturner and one of his first major projects was turning a tabernacle, which forced him to use nearly every single tool that he owned. This project incorporated a lot of woodworking and turning techniques, including the creation of a segmented bowl for the dome of the tabernacle.

Domed-top Tabernacle

Domed-top Tabernacle

Fridays on the Highland Woodworking Blog are dedicated to #FollowFriday, where we use this space to further highlight a woodworker or turner who we have featured in our monthly e-publications Wood News and The Highland WoodturnerWould you like for your shop or woodworking to appear in our publications? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your shop or work along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking (Email photos at 800×600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.

May 212014

mayhwtOur May 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner has just been published with a great new feature from Popular Woodworking!

This month’s issue includes:

Turning of a Different Sort, by Curtis Turner: Curtis recently got into metal turning and explains the features and differences of metal turning lathes vs. regular wood turning lathes, as well as how he made his first project, a refrigerator magnet!

Gavels with Threaded Handles, by Temple Blackwood: Temple gives us a new project idea and the how-to of making a judge’s gavel with a threaded handle, a must-have for your next family meeting!

Show Us Your Woodturning, by Lawrence Wroten: This month we chose the woodturnings of Lawrence Wroten to display in our monthly ‘Show Us’ column. Lawrence creates a lot of projects for his church, including a beautiful wooden tabernacle.

Phil’s Turning Tips, by Phil Colson: This month, Phil has a tip on how to keep the inevitable wood chips and scraps from landing in your shorts pockets.

And a special feature from Popular Woodworking: Woodturning with Tim Yoder, a new online web series featuring woodturning lessons and projects. Check out their bi-weekly episodes!

And lastly we have our monthly featured products, which include the Easy Woods Tool Aluminum Faceplate and the Beall Wood Buff Kit.

Let’s get turning, shall we?

May 172014

safetydayWoodworkers Safety Day is TODAY, May 17th!

This commemorative day in woodworking history was started as Woodworking Safety Week, by The Wood Whisperer, Marc Spagnuolo back in 2008. Since then it has been trimmed down to just Woodworking Safety Day and is now sponsored by the folks over at Modern Woodworker’s Association, spearheaded by Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench.

So take some time today to read through the last years worth of safety tips that have been featured in our monthly publication Wood News Online. Hopefully these tips will inspire you to practice woodworking safety, not just today, but every day of your woodworking ventures.

Let us know if you have any of your own safety tips by leaving a comment!

1) Tablesaw Safety: Unplug the machine whenever you are making blade adjustments or changes. -Tom Moran

2) Fire Extinguisher Placement: Have a good fire extinguisher at the point furthest from the exit so if a fire starts between you and the exit you can damp it down and get past it to safety. -Roger Webb

3) Long Sleeves: Not too many years ago, a neighboring school had a student’s arm get sucked into a radial arm saw, while the student was wearing a hoodie with long sleeves. The sleeve got caught in the blade. The arm was cut-off just below the elbow (instructor was only 5′ from the student). Any rotating equipment should have a NO LONG SLEEVE safety rule. -Dale Dunlevy

4) Rehearsing the Cut: Before you do any operation in the shop, rehearse it. Think about what you are going to do. Put your hands in the position you will use to perform the operation (with the machine off). If it feels at all unsafe, rethink it. If a piece you are about to machine on a router table has any chance of being torn out of your hands or having your hands pulled into the bit, think of another way to hold it, such as a hand screw. Do what you need to in order to keep your hands safe. -Barry Saltsberg

5) Multiple Safety Precautions: Recently, I was working on my table saw. Knowing the kind of damage that the blade can do has caused me to use just about every type of safety device I could find. On this day, I was ripping turning blanks for spindles to be used as staircase balusters. My blanks were 1-1/2″ squares and I needed 1-1/4″ stock. I was using my index finger to hold the stock against the fence. I was watching the blade as it passed through the upper surface of the blank. My left index finger came in contact with the blade and I lost about 3/16″ of the side of the finger about a 1/2″ along the right side. There was lots of blood and the finger felt like it had been struck with a hammer. No tissue could be saved. I could have saved a long recovery period if I had used a feather board. So my safety tip is to use all of the safety equipment you can get your hands on. It may take a little longer, but you will end up saving yourself a lot of pain. -John Nelson

6) Clear the Floor: I would suggest that you don’t leave anything laying on the floor. I was working in the shop of our air museum and forgot a tool and it was like stepping on ice. I hit on my hip that had been replaced. I was very fortunate. A washer or any thing that could cause one to trip or slide on can cause a serious injury.-Jim Porter

7) Loose Hair and Accessories: Way back in 1975 I was working on a drill press. I had long hair but I wore it tied in braids secured at the nape with one braid on each side. Since it was cinched behind my head I felt I was safe. While working on that drill press I looked down and to the right. My left side braid got caught in the spindle and I lost nearly all the hair on the left side of my head. I’m lucky I didn’t lose my scalp! When I was able to return to work (two full weeks) I had a hair cut and have never let it grow long again. It’s not worth it. Men and women with long hair (even medium length hair) need to know that simply putting it in a pony tail or braids is not sufficient for protection. One careless moment and that loose hair becomes a nightmare. Loose hair, like a bracelet or dangling earrings is an accident waiting to happen. -Christine Brean

8) Chain of Decisions: There is a chain of decisions that ultimately result in an accident. Breaking the chain at an early point can ultimately prevent it from occurring in the first place. The key is to recognize the decisions as they are being made. For example: it is late in the day, dinner is waiting, the project deadline is getting close. You leave the saw guard off after changing from a dado blade to a rip blade to save a few seconds, the push stick is not readily available, but the cut is 4 inches wide. The saw is already running, so you decide to make the cut (you’ve done this cut a hundred times before anyway); so you press on…This is an accident just waiting to happen in a millisecond of inattention, but could be prevented with a different choice at any of the previous decision points: knocking off for the day, installing the blade guard, turning the saw off to get the push stick, etc. Sometimes as experience builds many of these decisions happen automatically, without a second thought. But thinking about your decisions, or turning off a tool when something doesn’t feel right can make all the difference between getting a job done on time or having to go through months of rehab, or worse. Work safe. -Ric Blamer

9) Unexpected Shop Guests: When working in my shop with a door open (either the passage or the overhead) I have some plastic yellow chain that I string across the opening. Why? The main reason is for MY safety and then for anyone else that comes within the vicinity. I was working with my Router one day rounding over small parts for a rocking horse and the idiot of a UPS driver walked right in. I had my headphones on and I couldn’t hear him and so he tapped my shoulder to get my attention. Oh, he got it alright! I just about put him through the side of his truck! Since then the rule is DO NOT ENTER or PASS BY the chain when it is up. -Ron Conrad

10) Think of the Finish Before you Start: Just as in sports (golf, baseball, tennis, etc.) the follow through is part of the action. I can’t tell you how many times I ruined a turning by not thinking of my follow through after “finishing” a cut. The “catch” as you carelessly pull the tool away can not only ruin the workpiece – it can also toss a very sharp tool if it is carelessly held. The cut is not finished until the tool is clear of the work. Plan your finish before you start, set your body position for the finishing act – or if you have to move to finish the cut do it in small increments as you proceed. This is particularly important for me as I have a prosthetic leg and have a bit of a problem shifting position, but it applies to every one. Make sure the area is clear, nothing more frustrating than to find yourself at the end of a band saw or table saw cut and have the work piece bump into something. It is also dangerous as you can get a kickback easily. You need the clearance to be able to pull the work piece through cleanly – and don’t forget that that means both the work piece and the waste. The end of the cut is not the time to figure out your “follow through”. -Jon Murphy

11) When to Walk Away: When I walk into my shop, I put on my safety glasses. This isn’t the “tip”, just a smart practice. My tip is that I feel the slightest discomfort with a cut on the table saw, a pass on the router table, or any other procedure; I walk away and think of another way to accomplish the task. Often, my discomfort arises from making a cut on a small piece of wood. My usual solution is to use double sided tape to attach the small piece to a much larger piece. That way my fingers are out of the way and the chances of a kick back are minimized. -Doug Lewis

12) Avoid Being Startled: I have a wireless doorbell in my shop with a lighted button next to the door knob. A sign next to the button tells people to ring the bell before entering. That way, I am not startled which can cause a accident. A side benefit is my wife has a button in the kitchen and can ring my doorbell when it is time to eat or she needs me. -Brian Howe

CLICK HERE for even more Woodworking Safety Tips.

CLICK HERE to go to Highland Woodworking’s Safety Equipment page to make your shop safe!

May 072014

wn105blogThis month’s Wood News is a shopful of some great woodworking tips, tools, and project ideas.

Our monthly Show Us columns include:

Show Us Your Shop– Robert Schweiger from Satellite Beach, Florida shows us his “retirement shop” that he moved from a larger 2500 square foot shop in Atlanta, and is now 850 square feet. Robert also shows off a variety of his woodworking projects that he has created in his shop.

Show Us Your Woodworking-Thomas Jones has had a typical woodworking “upbringing” by reading articles, watching how-to videos, joining a woodworking club, and then delved into his own world of woodworking. This month he shows us a beautiful rocking horse, several end tables, and a few other projects.

Show Us Your Carving– Shar Troost from Burns, TN is an artist and self taught woodworker turned carver, after getting stuck on a project that needed some carving technique. Shar shows off a variety small and large carvings, all with intricate detail.

We’ve also got a special ‘Show Us Your Shop’ this month, with Steve Hay’s Australian Workshop from Down Under. Steve shows off his shop with lots of different pictures, and also talks about his woodworking tv show, which is broadcasted through Australian network television.

Another special that we’ve  included  this month is Rick Howard’s article on Lithium-Ion Batteries and the best practices to keep them long-lasting in your portable tools. Rick explains how the batteries work, what they’re made of, and ways to improve their battery life.

In every issue we review a different woodworking book, tool, and Lie-Nielsen tool, and this month we’re highlighting the Micro Jig GRR-Ripper Advanced GR-200 System, Roubo’s To Make As Perfectly As Possible, and the Lie-Nielsen No. 60-1/2R Low Angle Rabbet Block Plane.

Lastly, we include a variety of woodworking tips provided by several different contributors including:

The Down to Earth Woodworker, Steve Johnson, includes a variety show within his monthly column, including woodworking inspiration (talking trees), his design process for 2 heart-shaped benches, and the “ultimate pallet wood project” (as well as pallet project safety).

Jim Randolph (Tips from Sticks-in-the-Mud Woodshop) has a tip on Compact Fluorescent Lights as well as the use of trash cans in your shop.

Alan Noel has a finishing tip on stripping finishes off of your furniture.

Lastly, we’ve got a reader-submitted tip on tablesaw safety from Tom Moran.

All of this and more in our May 2014 issue of Wood News Online.