Just about every feature of this 15″ band saw is impressive. By Steve Shanesy Page 12 Powermatic’s new 15″ band saw is quite a package: good looking, heavy-duty in every way and packed with features. The fit and finish make a strong first impression. The paintwork is excellent, parts fits well and the chromed handwheels … Read more
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A low-tech solution for a family on the go. By Steve Shanesy Pages: 26-27 From the February 2012 issue #195 Buy the issue now. The kitchen is the crossroads for today’s busy family. And while we have high-tech gadgets to text messages, take notes and keep a calendar, I’ve found a kitchen message board has … Read more
By Steve Shanesy Page 16 In the world of routers and routing accessories, it seems that small is big these days. The popularity of trim routers has been growing for some time; in fact, it’s now been a couple years since we praised Micro Fence’s plunge router base for the Bosch Colt, and we recently … Read more
By Steve Shanesy Page 18 The biscuit or plate joiner category of the hand-held power tool world has been pretty sleepy over the past few years. But Makita has introduced a new model that, while not revolutionary, adds some nice, user-friendly features. The PJ7000 packs plenty of power in its 5.6-amp motor, yet the motor … Read more
This Iowa-born toolmaker, woodworker and luthier strives for perfection.
By Steve Shanesy
Family has clearly played an important role in the development of Iowa-born woodworker and toolmaker Jameel Abraham. In 2006, Jameel, along with his brother, Father John Abraham (an Orthodox priest), and their father founded Benchcrafted – makers of a handful of high-quality, primarily workbench-related products including leg and tail vises and a Moxon-style benchtop vise.
But family influences run much deeper than the relatively recent origins of Benchcrafted. Jameel traces his woodworking interests to both of his grandfathers, who he describes as “serious hobbyists.” He fondly remembers spending time in the shop with both, and watching many an episode of Norm Abram’s “The New Yankee Workshop” and Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” with his maternal grandfather. Who knows – this may partially account for Jameel’s mastery of both hand and power tools.
There is also a strong tradition of operating a family business. His father started a beeswax candle making business that Fr. John continues to oversee while also helping out with the Benchcrafted business. And until Benchcrafted began to consume all his time, Jameel worked in that business, too. Family influences and obligations aside, the accomplishments of this 38-year-old craftsman are keenly driven by a native sense of engineering and a self-imposed drive for excellence.
Web site: Check out the Benchcrafted site and blog. You’ll also find a link there to Jameel Abraham’s extensive blog about the oud.
Article: Go online to read our review of Benchcrafted’s Glide Leg Vise.
Video: See the oud being played and discover the beautiful sound of this ancient instrument.
Video: See a clip of the new Benchcrafted Crisscross vise mechanism in action.
To Buy: Popular Woodworking Magazine April 2011 (#189) with Jameel’s article ”Precision Inlay, Simple Tools.”
In Our Store: Find books and videos by Christopher Schwarz on bench design and construction. Read more
By Steve Shanesy Page 16 M-Power Tools offers an aftermarket router base that offers a number of features at the very reasonable price of about $90. It can be mounted to any router that has 5/16″-diameter edge-guide holes spaced between 35/64″and 51/8″. One key feature is an indexed micro-adjusting wheel that lets you dial in … Read more
The editors present some of their favorite designs.
By Matthew Teague, Robert W. Lang, Megan Fitzpatrick & Steve Shanesy
Whether we spend most of our time building 18th-century highboys, production cabinetry or toys for our kids and grandchildren, we all build small boxes from time to time. Because we produce so many small offcuts of beautifully grained and highly figured woods, to do otherwise would be a shame. Building small boxes can be the mainstay of our shops – or simply a nice diversion from our usual work.
Often, a simple box can be made in just a few hours, either to break up the work on a more involved project, or simply to test our skills with a miniature masterpiece. Boxes can be customized for display, built to house jewelry, cigars or various keepsakes and collections. Plus, small boxes are lightweight, which makes them a nice respite if we’ve logged hours muscling larger timbers around the shop.
strong>Blog: View a series of step photos that show how to assemble a solid box then cut the top off using the table saw.
In our store: “Box Builder’s Handbook,” by A.J. Hamler. Read more