The Legs on my Federal Oval Table stand in stark contrast to the curves of the top and skirt and – competitively speaking – give the table a strong set of legs to stand on. The tapered legs add a formality to the overall design that really set the style firmly in the Federal period.
The heart of my Federal Table is definitely the oval top and matching curved skirt. I chose an oval because the shape really stands out to me as a distinctive characteristic from the Federal period, and, to be honest, I enjoyed the challenge posed by this tricky geometry. Sure, there are lots of common practices for drawing an oval, but they can be difficult to get the right size and shape without a lot of trial and error. Duplicating your first perfectly drawn oval to make the pair is a chore by itself, and after all that work you still need to actually cut the shapes out perfectly, so the whole process can become a test of your technique, process, and patience.
To draw and cut out my top and to lay out the curves for the skirt I chose to use the Infinity Oval and Circle Cutter with Vacuum Base. Using this jig was immensely helpful because it took away a good deal of the guess work when laying out the design, and the results were repeatable for making multiple items. Continue reading
One of my favorite styles of furniture originated in America between 1780 – 1830 and is known as the Federal style. For the first time in the U.S. we see the emergence of the heavy use of exotic wood veneer, intricate inlay patterns, and a trend toward a more formal styling. Some of my favorite tables ever built came from this period. Striking straight lines paired with formal curves, and veneer work that goes against the grain (pun intended). All of these details really set off the style of the newly founded nation excited to create its own identity. It truly was an exciting time for both politics and furniture. Continue reading
Even at the best of times, the Lock Miter is a tricky joint to master, and I often get requests for tricks to help improve cut quality when using lock miter bits on difficult species of wood or finicky end grain. The Lock Miter bit was originally designed to create box beams, posts, and other long grain projects. However with such a lovely and strong joint the bit has been adopted for many applications beyond it’s original intent. Trial and error is always going to be a factor when working with the lock miter joint, but there are some tricks that can lead to a finished joint more quickly, even in the most difficult pieces. Continue reading
Some may be aware that the earliest known hand planes originated in Ancient Greece during the bronze age, but many don’t know that the Greeks were the early inventors of the disk sander! For the first Olympics a woodworker is reported to have donated the disk from his sander for use in the track and field discus event …ok, that my not be entirely accurate but the disk sander is an extremely helpful tool that has its place in every shop. The Greeks called it a discus sander. Continue reading
Let’s get two facts straight; dust control is the biggest battle we fight in the wood shop and your lungs are NOT dust filters. It doesn’t matter if your shop is a one car garage or a 10,000 square foot professional cabinet shop, you need good dust protection every time you turn on a machine. Fortunately, Rikon have a couple dust weapons that really suck – to help you win the battle over dust. Continue reading
Hock tools has an awesome Chef’s Knife Kit that allows you to make your own custom handled 5″ long kitchen knife. Anyone with some basic tools can tackle this project and the end result will really amaze you. In just a few hours you’ll make a custom high quality knife while finally using those small pieces of scrap stock you’ve been collecting for just this occasion. Did we mention this knife kit also makes one of the best gifts for anyone that enjoys cooking?
One of the inescapable truths while woodworking is that there is always debris and dust, neither of which are good for you. Most of the time it’s small particulate you breathe in but sometimes it’s also part of the tool you are using to do the cutting. That’s why it’s always wise to wear your safety equipment, the more protective, the better. The Dust Bee Gone Mask and our Polycarbonate Face Shields are exciting new safety products we think every woodworker should have (and use) in their shop. Not only do they offer impressive safety credentials, they’re the most comfortable safety accessories we’ve ever worn while woodworking.
If I was forced to get rid of all my power tools except one, my bandsaw would be the last tool standing. I don’t think I have built a project without using it since I brought it home. I sometimes catch myself fantasizing about getting another bandsaw to keep it company. I think you get the idea, I love my bandsaw. If you don’t have a bandsaw, or just don’t love your machine as much as I love mine, I suggest you take a close look at these two 14″ Rikon bandsaws. Continue reading
Woodturning is one of those hobbies that once you give it a spin you never look back. Maybe it has something to do with instant gratification and a touch of pragmatism. Most furniture build projects can take weeks, months, or even years to complete and the material list can be pricey. A wood turner on the other hand, can transform a chunk of what would be considered scrap wood into a lovely bowl or platter in as little as an hour. Pen turning is a good example, take a cut-off from your scrap bin and turn yourself pen that you can be using to write with the very same day. Heck you can incorporate turning into your furniture by making legs, knobs, pulls or any number of other decorative items. If this sounds like fun, it might be time to take the Nova Comet II for a spin. Continue reading