Call me crazy, but I find chopping a mortise by hand to be one of the more enjoyable parts of a project. I get to grab a big beefy mortise chisel, a mallet that Thor would appreciate, and take out all my aggression on a piece of wood that will actually be of use when I am done!
But it may surprise you to know that this wasn’t always the case. In fact, before I got a proper set of mortise chisels, I would put off the task for as long as I could manage. The right tool can make all the difference on your outlook about the work that we do, and once you make the step into a quality set of chisels the difference really is quite staggering. If you are ready to make that step, then I think that you’ll find these Narex Profi Mortise Chisels will make a world of difference…
Paring chisels, the Clark Gable of the chisel world.
Paring chisels are the Clark Gable of the chisel world. Tall and Slender, graceful yet masculine, not perfect for every part but when the right role comes along they will knock your socks off. Narex makes a great set of these not-so-common tools and when it comes to fine tuning the fit of a tenon, reaching into tight stop dados, or cleaning up some end grain, these paring chisels are Oscar-worthy.
Paging Doctor Dovetail: your new set of skew chisels are in the operating theater.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried finishing up a hand cut dovetail with a square bench chisel only to find that the nice sharp detail I worked so hard to add ended up just beyond my reach. This is where a skew chisel shines, because the angular design of the cutting edge allows me to trim the fuzz out of the minuscule corner of a half blind dovetail or finish off any number of other little details on a project without fear of damaging the surrounding material. I was very excited when I finally got the chance to get my hands on some of the Narex Skew Chisels now being offered here at Infinity Cutting Tools. I have always been impressed with the tools Narex produces, like their bench chisels and rasps, and I was quite hopeful that these new skew chisels would leave me equally enamored. Continue reading →
The iVac Pro Tool plus makes it easy to hook up any machine in your shop to an iVac Automated Dust Collection System.
One of my favorite devices in the Infinity Cutting Tools workshop is our iVac Pro Dust Collection System. It automatically activates our three horsepower dust collector whenever I turn on one of our table saws or our jointers or our surface planers or… you get the idea. It’s an absolute dream that keeps us from having to think about dust collection when we’re already trying to think about everything else that goes into a project.
The Compass Rose is one of my all time favorite inlay designs and makes a great addition to many projects.
One of my all time favorite inlay designs, and the focal point of my federal style tables, is the compass rose inlay. It is a striking geometric design that looks to the eye extremely complex when it is in actuality a very straightforward pattern to make. All you need are a few simple tools and the right procedure for putting all the pieces together. The alternating dark/light pattern helps hide minor flaws, so don’t be afraid to dive into making one of these inlays as it is a great starting project for the beginner. Read on to learn how I went about crafting the compass rose inlays on my award-winning federal oval tables. Continue reading →
With a few tools and know-how, veneering can bring many projects to the next level
Veneering is one of those techniques that has gotten a bad reputation over the last few decades. I think this is to do with production cabinetry and laminates on factory made particle board furniture. Don’t be put off by the naysayers who chant “give me solid wood or give me nothing” in every forum and club meeting, because they are just missing out. Veneered furniture has been around for hundreds of years, and some of the most amazing pieces of furniture ever made were done with the thin stuff. If you decide to take the plunge into this very rewarding woodworking discipline, an array of different species and figures will be available to paint your pieces. Veneers are available in figures that are scarcely found in regular dimensional lumber and at a much better price point. You don’t need a lot of expensive tools to do some pretty fancy work, either. I used hot hide glue and a home made veneer hammer to do all the veneer work on my tables. Here is how I did it… Continue reading →
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.
When used correctly, a simple tapered leg can balance the stance of a piece of furniture and draw the eye to those elements of design you want to highlight
Designing the table top using the Oval and Circle Cutter with Vacuum Base.
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 →
Federal Oval Tables, winner of Best of Show at the 2015 Florida State Fair.
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 →