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Bandsaw Guides

Here’s a set of band saw guides made for my D&W 20″ saw by my friend and neighbor, woodworker/machinist Kim Thoma. We worked on the design together, and Kim did the work on his  Bridgeport and lathe. The configuration is similar to the Wright and Davis & Wells guides, which place a stationary guide pad just above and just below the thrust bearing. The upper guide was the prototype — perfectly functional but a little clunky — which served as the jumping off point for the lower guide (still not perfect, but more refined than the upper). The guide body is aluminum, the pads are off-the-shelf 1/2″ x 1/2″ ceramic blocks. So far, these have worked exceedingly well — from my perspective, better than any commercial guides I have ever used.

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TIRES

When the D&W 20″ came into my possession a couple of years ago, the tires were grooved and flat from long use with narrow bands. I should have trued and crowned them then, but chose to wait and see how they behaved in use. And they worked OK, in a ‘if-it-ain’t-broke…’ kind of way, so it wasn’t until I started noticing some vibration and inconsistencies in the cut that I decided it was past time to true and crown the tires. To do it, I set up a steady rest that allowed me to present the edge of a turning skew chisel to the spinning lower wheel at the proper angle (about 90° to the axis). I was very easy to true the tires — removing those old grooves — and crown them slightly. I do the lower wheel first, then pop both wheels off and spin the upper wheel on the lower axle.

 

 

The Millwork Outlet welcomes the New Year with a new and exclusive door series

2011 was a rough year for the door industry. We saw one of our favorite door companies, International Door and Latch close their doors as well as many of our suppliers significantly reduce their product lines and inventory. Additionally, the bust in the construction and real estate market had a severe impact on the pipeline of our surplus products. Determined to not be defeated, the owners of the Millwork Outlet did what they do best: they got creative and adjusted to the changing market.

The project that best exemplifies the creative genius of the Millwork Outlet owners is the release of our new rustic series door. Each door in our rustic series was designed by our owner, Dan Drllevich and  are hand crafted by our door hangers and local woodworkers and artisans. The door series was created to offer our customers doors they cannot find anywhere else and provide something that is completely different from the box store norm. These doors are evidence of Dan's passion for incorporating nature into his designs as well as his formal art training. Each design uses different wood types, broken lines and finishing techniques to create positive and negative spaces that transforms each door into a true work of art. These doors are more than a product line extension for Dan and if you spend any time talking with him about his doors you will see this first hand. Because these doors are designed around the natural designs of the wood, no two doors are the same.  To view these amazing doors in person please come visit our showroom in Maple Valley.
 

Out With The Old… (not so fast!)

Those who know me know that I prefer old machinery, almost universally, to new. So it will come as no shock to learn that I have recently acquired a 14″ Davis & Wells band saw, the smaller (and I think somewhat younger) brother to my 1940-ish D&W 20″ saw. I like to leave the 20″ machine set up for resawing, while the 14″ model will serve for smaller jobs, circle and curve cutting, etc. I have to re-rubber and crown the wheels, and repair or replace the broken lower guide assembly — otherwise I think the saw is in operational shape. While it’s down for cleaning and refurbishment, I may strip the original paint, which is a little shabby, and give it a fresh look. We’ll see. I’m really looking forward to putting this saw in service. Here’s a few “before” images:

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Note: The Comet Manufacturing company, of Los Angeles, made some Davis & Wells machinery in the 1950′s and ’60′s. This saw had remnants of the ‘Comet’ badge (decal) on the upper wheel cover, but the heavy cast base leads me to believe this saw was made by D&W proper, late ’40′s or early ’50′s, placed in Comet’s inventory and badged and sold as shown. Existing Comet product info from the late ’50′s shows the 14″ saw on a steel base.

So, you may rightly ask, why would I think this saw has any advantages over a more modern, or new 14″ saw produced by Delta, Powermatic, or any of the other usual players? Weight, quality of materials and casting, precision milling (where it counts) and overall design and craftsmanship. One look at the trunion assembly under the table, in the image above, says just about all that needs to be said. Compare that to any modern saw, and I rest my case. I would also mention cost as a factor. Typically, you can find older saws (and even an old ’50′s-’60′s Delta beats it’s modern descendant by a long shot, quality-wise, IMHO) for less than you pay for the poorer, newer stuff.

I guess I won’t wait by the phone to field endorsements from the current manufacturers.    :-)

 

Never Underestimate the beauty of Tongue and Groove Boards

Tongue and groove boards are extremely useful in a number of practical purposes. Flooring, shelving and decking commonly utilize a tongue and groove system for easy installation. Lately, we have seen tongue and groove boards being used for decorative purposes. Using thick tongue and groove boards as mantel shelves adds dimension to a typically flat surface and is becoming popular among interior decorators and designers. I have also seen tongue and groove boards used as tables, shelving and racking. Using the tongue and groove edges as an accent adds an extra dimension without going over the top.  We recently received a tuck of large tongue and groove boards that look beautiful when sanded and oiled. They are one of a kind pieces that are sure to stand out in your home. Come by to take look as these are selling fast and won't be around long!
 

Don Williams Replicates the Gragg Chair

Don Williams Replicates the Gragg Chair
Of all the furniture of the 18th and 19th centuries, the work of Boston chair maker Samuel Gragg (1772-1855) is some of the most shocking to modern eyes. His elastic, steam-bent chairs are based on the ancient Greek “klismos” chair,” yet they have unexpected curves and a lightness that is contemporary. There aren’t many Gragg [...]
 

New Closed-throat Routers from Lie-Nielsen

New Closed-throat Routers from Lie-Nielsen
In the great battle to make the best router plane (what, you weren’t aware of the war?), Lie-Nielsen has raised the stakes by introducing two new closed-throat routers. For those of you who don’t follow router plane minutiae like I do, the throat of a router plane can be either open or closed. Closed-throat routers, [...]
 

Great Price on a Good Book

Great Price on a Good Book
I was in a rock ‘n’ roll band in college, and we dreamed about getting a record deal, selling dozens of copies of our album and ending up in the cut-out bin. For those of you who aren’t music nerds, the cut-out bin is where a record store puts albums that have been dumped on [...]
 

Exploring the Roorkhee Chair

Exploring the Roorkhee Chair
I’m gearing up to build a run of Roorkhee Chairs for some customers and (fingers crossed) this magazine. But before I can even order the wood I had to do something I thought I’d never do again: Buy a piece of commercial furniture. The Roorkhee Chair is a seminal piece of British campaign furniture and [...]
 

A Close Look at ‘Furniture in the Southern Style’

A Close Look at ‘Furniture in the Southern Style’
As a lifelong Southerner, I can attest that things are done a little differently below the Mason-Dixon line. Things might seem a little backward or slow to newcomers. The manners, the way you do business and even the pace of life is out of sync with the other regions of the United States – a [...]
 

Another Solid $10 (and Change) Saw

Another Solid $10 (and Change) Saw
It sounds like a difficult question, but it’s really not. “I really want a Wenzloff & Sons handsaw, but I am a (graduate student, hobo, philosophy major) and cannot afford it. Can you recommend a saw that works almost as well but costs only $10?” Yes, I can. For many years I have been recommending [...]
 

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