Category Archives: Uncategorized

Pen Decorator – Reworking the Drive Strategy

After trying a number of different solutions to speed up the stepper that is used on the drive screw:

  • changing the mode from SINGLE to DOUBLE
  • experimenting with the speed settings
  • trying a different motor drive board version

I’ve come to the conclusion that the the current 20 tpi 1/4″ drive rod approach isn’t going to be fast enough 😦 . So I’ve ordered a timing gear and a timing belt – these have little teeth on them … read more

a box distraction

This looks like the approach I want to take for storing and transporting my chip carving stuff…



It begins with this little box I made. Had been practicing chip carving in butternut & pine. Turned it into a box that right now holds small sharpening stuff. Nailed construction. 

butternut top

That led to this one. Not very practical for holding carving tools; which is what it’s doing right now. they slide around when you open the drawer. It will be re-assigned soon.

Then, two things happened. No, three. I finally met Winston James Burchill, who has been kind enough to send me some of his chip carvings – and I saw these two boxes; the Pennsylvania one in a book, the Swedish one on the web. 

chip carvingchip carving by Winston James Burchill

detail detail

The minute I saw this box in the book Paint, Patterns & People I knew I would make some. It’s just taking me a while to get to it.

PA boxpainted box, Pennsylvania; early 19th century

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Knockdown Nicholson Workbench – oops!

A new take of "bench on bench" design?

A new take of “bench on bench” design?

Sometimes we just bull ahead in a project build. “I don’t need to measure, I have an idea where things are”. While drilling the recess and holes for the mounting bolts in the top, I got to close to the edges. I missed the legs ok, but wasn’t far enough inside to allow for the mounting nut to be attached. So, after I got the holes placed correctly, I had to mix up some epoxy to fill the mis-located holes and that means leaving it over night. Yes, I could have left the holes as is, but who wants to do that! And since I left the epoxy clear, there will be a visual reminder that I goofed to talk about 🙂

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REPOST: For 2015 (and this Weekend): The Knockdown Workbench

I’m going to put one together… seems like a good idea to have one available. Here’s the article from Chris Schwarz:

Lost Art Press

KD Nicholson Workbench

I’ve built a lot of knockdown workbenches in the last 15 years, but I’ve never been 100-percent happy with my knockdown mechanisms.

The problem: barrel nuts, bedbolts or whatever you want to call the cross-locking nut.

KD Nicholson Workbench_apart

When installed, these things work OK. But installing them so they work smoothly is a lesson in precision down to the gnat’s angstrom. This summer I’ve been noodling a bench design that is inspired by three things.

  1. Mike Siemsen’s Nicholson workbench that he built for “The Naked Woodworker” DVD (coming very soon!) and has been taking to woodworking shows.

2. Planemaker Caleb James’s knockdown version of Mike’s bench, which used hardware found in woodworking jigs. I saw this bench at a Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Charleston, S.C.

3. McMaster-Carr part 94122A200.


It was No. 3 that pushed me over the edge. I have vowed to build a 6’ version of this bench…

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Aestivation or æstivation (from Latin: aestas, summer, but also spelled “estivation” in American English) is a state of animal dormancy, similar tohibernation, characterized by inactivity and a lowered metabolic rate, that is entered in response to high temperatures and arid conditions.[1] It takes place during times of heat and dryness, the hot dry season, which are often the summer months. (

Things picked up with work, and with the temperature and activities. As a result, the shop has been very quiet. I’ve been relaxing a bit, catching up on podcasts and reading – as I’ve been working on some jobs at remote sites. I’m slowly working my way back into the shop now – refinishing a beach umbrella table that we use when we go to the beach – and there are some new project kits at woodcraft that I’m assembling (pump action pepper grinder and a paddle shaped ice cream scoop).

I hope everyone is enjoying there summer as well!

Happy 4th – what a great time

We got away for a while, and spent time with our grand kids. Life is good. Just before vacation, I captured an imperial moth which laid eggs. While we were out, the eggs hatched – so I’m trying to raise them on maple leaves (they seem to prefer those over the cherry leaves).

Mommy moth her eggs... hatched... and growing!

New Arrivals to the shop!

photo (18)I had planned to do an un-boxing type of post – however, I’m impatient, and I’ve been looking forward to these for a while now. I’ve been using a 10″ carcass saw that I got from Mark Harrel (BadAxe Tool Works)some time back – and I absolutely love it. I had a 16″ and 14″ tenon and sash saw that I got from Lie-Nielson, but I always went back to the carcass saw at my bench. There was something about the way the saw worked for me that I just can’t put my finger on. I don’t know if it’s sharper (Mark sharpens the saws for the wood I use – mostly cherry and white oak) or if its the handle, or the hang, but the BadAxe saws just feel better.

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