George T. (Terry) Chapman

Terry Chapman is a Professional Engineer (Civil) and Land Surveyor who lives south of Atlanta. He has done woodworking for many years and particularly enjoys bowl turning and making Windsor Chairs. He currently works as Site Development Manager for a local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity and has one son who pastors a Church in Connecticut. You can email him at

Jul 062009

The customer service guys at Highland have noticed a real run on two products lately, both by the Abatron Company. The first is called WoodEpox and the other is Liquid Wood. Now when I studied concrete in college (did you know there are people who take entire college courses in concrete?), they told me that the Egyptians and Romans were the first to make extensive use of concrete in construction. Look at the aqueducts and the other major engineering projects still standing in these cultures and you can appreciate the massive use of concrete even in that time and place.

Look around you anywhere in our cities and try to picture making any kind of large structures without concrete and you get some idea of how important it is to be able to make a solid permanent shape by preparing a form and pouring in a semi-liquid. Then along comes Abatron’s WoodEpox and Liquid Wood, allowing civilization to take another step forward.

With Liquid Wood, simply mix it up and paint it onto a decayed wooden surface and it will absorb into the wood and return the wood to something very close to its original condition. For instance, if you are turning a bowl and find a punky spot where normally you would put in a little CA glue to harden it up, this stuff works much better. You can sand it, cut it, turn it, shape it and paint it just as if it were the original wood. If some of the wood is missing, you apply Liquid Wood first to firm up the underlying layer and then use WoodEpox to reshape the part that is missing. The guys at the store say the mixture is about the consistency of a dry pie crust dough (don’t ask me if any of them could actually make a pie) so you can shape it, make a form for it, and work it close to the finished shape before it hardens. You can also tint or stain it if you want. Then after it hardens to a compressive strength of 5000 psi (about twice that of regular concrete), you can continue to shape and sand it with regular woodworking tools until you achieve the final shape. You can paint it if you need to and it’ll blend right into the surrounding work and nobody but you will ever know it’s there.

The possibilities are endless, but one big usage that comes to mind (particularly in neighborhoods like the one where Highland is located) is window sills. The houses there were mostly built in the first third of the last century, and some (well, many) of the window sills are beginning to go. This stuff is perfect for repairing them — knock off the really rotten stuff, paint the rest with Liquid Wood, reshape the window sill with WoodEpox to match the remainder, prime and paint, and you are off for the rest of the weekend. How can you beat that?

The Romans would have been proud. You may even find yourself thinking about building an aqueduct next weekend.

MORE INFO ON WoodEpox & Liquid Wood

Jul 042009


I found a way to celebrate the Fourth which I have been smiling about for two days. I went out to supper the other night at a local restaurant out by the Interstate, and at the next table was a soldier with his wife, his two small children and his mother-in-law. Now these soldiers are all volunteers these days and it is very hard on them and on their families — I mean are you willing to leave home for a year, live in a hole in the ground, and get shot at for $35,000 a year? The people in our military do a wonderful job and whether one believes in the politics or not should not affect our support for them. With that in mind, I asked the waitress to bring their check to me. It doesn’t count if they catch you doing it, but I really hope they smiled all the way home like I did, and just maybe felt a little appreciation for their service. Welcome Home Brothers! Thanks for serving your Country. Happy Fourth of July!!

Jun 082009

woodworking toolsThe Internet is filled with woodworking videos, blogs and websites which offer a plethora of information and entertainment. If you’re not aware of very many of these, here is a little help.

“Blogs” (shorthand for “Web Logs”) are one of the most popular items. A blog is a diary of sorts set up online so everyone can see it. Bloggers usually post information and articles several times a week on topics they think are of interest to like-minded people. One can simply navigate to a blog of interest and read what is available. Many times there are links to other blogs included and simply by clicking on those links, you can navigate to other sites on the web to dig deeper into a subject or find other things which interest you.

Here are three very good blog websites:

The first is produced by Kari Hultman, who calls her blog (and herself ) The Village Carpenter, and her approach and style make her one of the best bloggers around on woodworking. Kari is a graphic artist in real life and it shows in the blog. She has a beautiful shop and does excellent woodwork and then writes about all of it several times a week. Last week she posted a video of her shop, and you need to turn your speakers on so you can hear the perfect music for a shop tour. (By the way, do you recognize the shop sign at the beginning of the video? Scroll down to Kidegory I below to order yours.) Note the comments section at the end of each entry. Kari gets lots of comments on her entries.


Lost Art Press at is written by Christopher Schwarz, who also publishes Woodworking Magazine. Chris writes very well and his topics are usually about hand tools and hand tool methods, plus his musings on woodworking as a craft. Very well done.

Stephen Shepherd produces the Full Chisel Blog. He is an old fashioned woodworker who spends a lot of time in research on old methods and tools. Right now he is working on the repair of an antique spinning wheel and blogs about it as he goes through the process. In his day job he works in history parks and museums as a docent and the way he does things is fascinating. He just published a book on hide glue that should answer all your questions on that subject. You will enjoy this blog.

Links to other sites are often listed in all these blogs, so you can spend hours and hours chasing blogs all over the Web. You can also send comments to all these sites or ask questions about the topics being discussed. Join in, it’s fun.

Jun 072009

woodworking tools

Have you been to the store lately? I mean, have you visited Highland Woodworking lately? I realize many of you who might be reading this live far away and may have to buy a plane ticket to get to Atlanta, but come on, do you really like woodworking tools or not? I happen to live near Atlanta and I go by now and then just for the pure pleasure of it.

plug cutter I was in last week and I can tell you, it is quite an experience. First of all, it is truly a community of woodworkers. While I was waiting to check out, a lady came in and asked for a “bung hole cutter“. Now I happen to know what that is, particularly as it applies to wine barrels, but what was really neat was that two clerks immediately took off to go get one for her. How many stores do you know of where you could walk in and announce you need a bung hole cutter and not get blank stares all around. I mean I was in the grocery store last week and they could not find the bouillon cubes.

You need to see the new displays around the store. For instance, there is a whole wall of hand made axes imported from Sweden. When have you ever seen that? There are also video monitors hanging from the ceiling all over the store running tool demos plus some of the various videos available for sale.

Another lady was checking out and mentioned she wanted to learn to carve a bird. Try telling that to someone in the big box store — you would certainly get some strange looks, if indeed you ever got the courage to announce such a thing. The bung hole cutter customer went immediately and pulled a magazine off the shelf and turned to an article about bird carving and the customer bought the magazine on the spot. A Highland clerk suggested that he had just gotten back from a class at the Penland School of Crafts in North Carolina and she might want to call them for a class schedule. Someone else in line suggested she look up John C. Campbell Folk School, also in North Carolina about two hours north of Atlanta, and see what classes they have. I got the feeling she left very satisfied and is probably carving that bird already.

The point of all this is that Highland Woodworking is not just a trade name, it is a community of woodworkers who love what they do and go to huge efforts to make your woodworking more enjoyable. Stop by the store and you will see what I mean.


May 252009
Father’s Day is creeping closer every day and we need to continue our quest for proper gifts for Dear Ole Dad. In a previous post, we discussed the three kidegories and posited the proper gifts associated with Kidegory I. Now it is time to move up to Kidegory II and find the gifts related to that group.

Kidegory II ($50 to $250) If you are between high school and the end of graduate school, you fit in Kidegory II. Dad’s either paying college costs or saving for college hoping your grades will get you in somewhere. He may have bought you a clunker to drive and he pays the insurance and gas bill. Maybe you are living in an apartment where Dad pays the rent and you don’t even invite him to dinner. It’s time to get with Mom and rustle up a little money and get something for Dad that he will appreciate. Time to grow up a little bit here. Here are the suggestions for this kidegory:

198503.jpgShop Sign with Saw Hanger — What a great idea! If Dad already has a shop, then think up a name (Dad’s Shop?) and order one of these shop signs. He can hang it on the wall in the basement (Sawsations?), or over the garage door (Sawdust Village?). If he doesn’t have a shop already, then maybe this is the incentive he needs to start building one. Plant a post at the spot where the shop will be built (The Woodwright’s Shop? Oh, wait, that may be taken already) and then let him build the shop around the sign. This is a great gift.

block planeLie-Nielsen Plane — These guys make wonderful woodworking planes and anything with a hyphen in the name is pretty certain to be first class. Now when you look in the catalog, there will be so many different planes you will not know which one to buy for him. There are block planes, shoulder planes, jack planes, rabbet planes, and on and on. But here’s the solution. Buy the standard block plane. This little plane is perfect for every small task around the shop. You can use it to put a rounded edge on the corner of that broken pediment tiger maple highboy that took sixteen months to build, or you can plane a little bit off a piece of raw wood at the mill to check for grain. Dad can carry it with him to the hardware store and other woodworkers will point it out to their kids and say, “Look, that guy is Kidegory II.” You might have it engraved with his initials, or maybe your name and the date. (Just be sure to put the engraving on the side, not on the bottom.) He will keep this forever and when you are old and gray, you can put it on a shelf in your living room and let people ask questions and you can tell them it was a gift to Dad from when you were Kidegory II.
026446.jpgSharpening Waterstones — Go for the set of five waterstones running from 200 grit up to 8000 grit. He will know what those numbers mean. Rest assured these stones will cover the complete range of sharpening needs. He can sharpen anything from his straight razor up through the Lie-Nielsen plane blade above. Stones like these will last for a lifetime if properly cared for. You can use them in your shop when you inherit them. Waterstones are lubricated with water (hence the name) instead of oil, as in would you believe — oil stones. Even comes with a nagura stone which is used for flattening the higher grit stones and creating a slurry for polishing. Every shop needs a good set of sharpening stones.

We will continue next time with the ultimate Kidegory III. Some of the gifts in there are just extraordinary and if you are a III, you can be very proud.

Don’t forget the Highland Woodworking Gift Certificate if you are still in doubt.

Print this out and leave it lying around the house. Maybe somebody will circle something on here.

May 122009


fd.jpgFather’s Day is coming up soon and in the spirit of the season, Highland Woodworking is here for your woodworking gift selections. All you sons and daughters and grandsons and granddaughters of woodworkers out there need to get on the stick (so to speak) and pick out something for the ole “Pater Familias”, (that’s “Father of the Family” in Latin for you non-woodworkers), preferably in the woodworking genre. Enough with the ties, the underwear, and the aftershave, let’s get down to some real woodworking stuff that he really wants and will always remember that you gave to him.

We can make some good choices here by seeing what kind of kid or grandkid you turned out to be. There are three standard non-gender specific categories of offspring (hereafter called “kidegories”) and each kidegory has some suggested woodworking gifts associated with it. We publish those kidegories and the gifts that go with them here for the first time as a guide for the uninitiated, similar to those guides to the proper gifts for each wedding anniversary for husbands who don’t know any better. (You know the jewelry stores made those up don’t you? Could be the same thing here.)

Kidegory I ($20 to $50) — This is the Base Kid group. You are between birth and high school. Tiger Cubs, Pre-K, Band Camp, no car, still living at home, video games, Miley Cyrus, that sort of thing. Only money you will have is money from your Mom to buy your Dad something. Normally wait until the last minute and rush out to get something on Saturday night. If you are this age, you cost a lot of money and time and because of you, Dad doesn’t have a lot of tools (guilt trip!!) and is just getting started in making sawdust. You owe him already, so buy good stuff that is timeless and will last a lifetime. Here are a few suggestions:

201603.jpg “The Woodwright’s Guide” by Roy Underhill. This is the latest in Roy’s series of seven books and it is just marvelous. Roy writes so well and the book is a doorway to woodworking with very few tools. Since Roy is working 200 years ago, his information is timeless. This is the book your Dad will spend Father’s Day afternoon reading between naps on the sofa after he has run you out of the house. Why don’t you offer your absence for the afternoon on a note to him stuck in the front of the book as part of the gift. I mean you made Mom breakfast in bed, didn’t you? And oh yes, sign (your name, not Roy Underhill’s – (unless you are Roy)) and date it on the inside front cover. Add some appropriate sentiment, something that includes words like world and best and Dad. He will keep it forever.
Eight Oz. Trim Hammer — This is not one of those cheap forged framing hammers they sell at the corner hardware store. This is a beautiful polished head hardwood hammer that you would use to put the last nail in a piece of work you spent months making. The face is polished and the handle is curved and it is a joy to just pick it up, much less using it for driving a nail or a dowel or a wedge. These hammers have been used on appreciation plaques presented to major corporations in Atlanta – they are that pretty. You should know this information because he appreciates hammers like you appreciate Hannah Montana. Sign the handle with a Sharpie and he will think of you every time he uses it. Plus all his woodworker friends will be so envious that he may have a hard time holding on to it. Do not try to borrow it and do not do it the indignity of using it to hang a picture – that would be like hitching a race horse to a plow. This is a keeper.

126440-4.jpgSilky Bigboy Folding Saw – This is a lovely Japanese style saw which cuts on the pull stroke, opposite the way most American saws cut. It folds up so you can stick it in your hip pocket and take it to the lumber yard, or you can walk around in the garden and prune a limb off that tree hanging over the fence and shading the tomatoes. It cuts very aggressively and pull type saws are very easy to use. This is one of those things he doesn’t know he needs until you get it for him, but once he uses it, you can bet he will use it and keep it a long, long time. And he will think of you every time he sees it.
gc.jpgAnd if none of these works for you, you can always get the famous Highland Gift Certificate, which actually comes printed on a piece of wood. How can you beat that? Plus all the clerks at the store are woodworkers of long experience and will be happy to help you if you get stuck. Most of them were kids at one time and some of them are Dads by now.

Next time, we will move up to Kidegory II and Kidegory III. Save this information for future reference. You may want to print it out and leave it in conspicuous places around the house with big red circles on the things you like.