Raw Materials

How to Make a Quick Kiln

When I released my Compwood arm bows from the clamps this morning, I saw a little bit of springback. It was less than I’d get with other bending techniques, but it was more than I expected. I had expected zero springback. When Chicago furniture maker Jeff Miller had introduced me to the material, he...

Video: Bending the Wiggle Wood, Solo

After not burning down the city with my lightbulb-in-a-box scheme, my first CompWood armbow dropped to 8 percent moisture content overnight. I removed it from its form and put one clamp on it across the ends – with a 2×4 between. Then I resolved to bend my second armbow by myself. So I modified...

Make the Arkansas Insty-Kiln

I was surprised by how much my CompWood arm bow dried out overnight. It went from 20 percent moisture content to 12 percent moisture content. But I’m not ready to take it out of the clamps yet, and Megan wouldn’t do it, either (she smelled a trap/workers’ comp claim). So I decided to do...

Two Men & Their Wiggly Wood

I’ve been working with some slabs of CompWood I purchased late last year to make some arm bows for some Welsh stick chairs (and an article in the April 2011 issue). Don’t know about CompWood? It’s a freaky cool way of bending wood. Read all about it here. I was attracted to this material...

Quartersawn Animation

Quartersawn white oak is one of my favorite woods, and we’re fortunate in Cincinnati that the largest source for this wood in North America is just a couple hours away. Frank Miller Lumber in Union City, Indiana has been producing this wood for more than one hundred years, and it’s worth a visit, as...

That is Some Texas-sized Ebony

During the Woodworking in America conference, several readers brought along some boards of nasty wood for me to try to tame during my lecture on scraper planes. I was able to plane or scrape all the woods, except for one. Texas ebony. Also known as the dreaded Ebenopsis ebano. Just seeing that taxonomic nomenclature...

The Science of Rented Mules (aka Chisels)

Sometimes when I write, I come to a question that paralyzes me – and I cannot continue until I get it answered. As a newspaper journalist, I was trained to “write my way around the problem,” which probably is one reason I don’t work for newspapers anymore (the other reason: there aren’t any newspapers)....