By Steve Shanesy
Amana Tool has four new countersinks with various-sized drill bits and non-marring depth stops.
Each countersink has twin carbide-tipped flutes, and these are the only countersinks in the industry with this feature. Carbide-tipped flutes allow the bit to cut cleanly and last longer when working with hardwoods, plywoods and other engineered wood products.
Article: Learn more about countersinks and countersink bit designs. Read more
By Steve Shanesy
Spyder, a Kansas City, Mo.-based company, has introduced a jigsaw blade with teeth on the front and back edges. At first glance, these blades look odd at best and gimmicky at worst. But after taking these blades for a test-drive, I began to understand the versatility offered by this innovation. Of course it’s possible to cut moving backward, but the bigger surprise is how tight of a radius cut you can make – less than 3⁄4″ in diameter.
Video: See the Spyder double-sided jigsaw blade in action. Read more
By Christopher Schwarz
Every shop needs a square that is the ultimate arbiter of squareness. It is the tool that determines if your jointer fence is 90° to the table, if the end of a board has been shot square or if a drawer’s joints are correct.
While I love my combination square, it has worn a bit after 16 years of daily use to the point where I don’t trust it for high-tolerance tasks. So this spring I purchased a 7″ try square from Chris Vesper, an Australian precision toolmaker, and it is now my favorite square.
Blog: Read about a visit to Chris Vesper’s shop in Australia. Read more
Good, better or best? Small details and design decisions make a difference.
By George R. Walker
It’s every manufacturer’s dream to have “one size fit all.” Yet imagine a trip to the shoe store and upon arriving, you discover they offer only one size. We understand clearly that function is tied directly to size; a poor- fitting shoe is painful. Yet less obvious is how the “right fit” to our eye can affect aesthetics. We respond viscerally to something far off-kilter, but struggle with those small judgments that can make the difference between the good, the better and the best. That’s at the heart of making design decisions.
Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his Design Matters blog.
In Our Store: George R. Walker’s DVDs, “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design,” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings.” Read more
Discover a bit about clean, accurate boring.
By Megan Fitzpatrick
There are many tools in modern woodworking you can use to bore holes: powered drills (both corded and cordless), drill presses, hand-powered eggbeater drills, braces and more.
Drill presses are the powered method of choice when accuracy is important. Battery-operated drills are convenient and fast. Corded drills are fast, never need charging and are usually lighter in weight than their battery-powered brethren. Eggbeater drills are awesome when you need just a few holes. Braces are ideal for drilling large-diameter holes with ease, and making holes at odd angles (as in chairmaking) without a lot of crazy jiggery.
Video: Watch as the author demonstrates how to reduce splintering while boring – Coming soon.
In Our Store: “Become a Better Borer,” an article by Christopher Schwarz on using auger bits and braces.
With sweat equity and a few simple tools, you can split strong, stable stock.
By Adam Cherubini
Though sawn lumber was available to 17th- and 18th-century European woodworkers in Colonial America, many American craftsmen split wood to produce stock for furniture. Rive or split marks are typical of 17th-century furniture and not at all uncommon on the finest pieces of “high style” late 18th-century American furniture.
For early craftsmen, splitting logs into lumber offered several advantages. Splitting could be done where the log was felled, saving the cost of hauling logs to saw yards. Because careful splits follow the grain of the wood, the resulting boards typically dry straighter. Perfectly quartered boards are both more dimensionally stable and easier to plane than modern quartersawn stock. For chairmakers, riven stock allowed them to bend wood more successfully and produce thin, high-strength spindles.
Blog: Read the Arts & Mysteries blog.
In Our Store: Newly updated, “The Arts & Mysteries of Hand Tools” on CD. Read more
Discover how (and when) to give old, deteriorated finishes new life.
By Bob Flexner
As finishes age, they deteriorate. First they dull, then they begin showing small cracks (called “crazing”). The culprit of this degradation is oxygen, which attacks the finish very slowly. Crazing is accelerated so much by ultraviolet light and heat, however, that it’s more helpful to think of these as the real causes.
As the deterioration worsens, not only does the finish look bad, it loses its primary function of protecting the wood from contact with liquids. Excessive moisture getting to the wood leads to veneer cracking, as well as joint and veneer separation, splits and warps.
Old furniture with a deteriorated finish usually ends up in a landfill. This is the reason the “Antiques Roadshow” message, “Don’t refinish,” is so unfortunate. Refinishing saves old furniture.
But old finishes can often be “revived,” and most methods are quite easy. You just need to have some idea of situations and ways to proceed.
The Deterioration Process
As light and heat attack a finish, they begin breaking up the surface molecules. At first, you don’t see the separations, you see just the dullness caused by light being randomly reflected. Eventually the crazing becomes visible to the naked eye.
Articles: You’ll find many free finishing articles on our web site.
In Our Store: “Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated with beautiful full-color images and updated, and “Wood Finishing 101.”