Years ago when touring Winterthur, I saw a lot of wacky Pennsylvanian dovetails on old chests. These joints had been wedged through their pins – a feature I had not seen in person before. While the museum personnel wouldn’t let me take photos, I did make a few sketches. Whenever I cut dovetails, my mind Continue reading»
Simple improvements make a mortising attachment work great.
By Tim Johnson
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Even though they’re sexy, benchtop mortising machines aren’t the only power-tool option when it comes to cutting square-shouldered mortises. A drill-press mortising attachment can be just as effective and it costs a lot less. I’ll show you how to tune any out-of–the-box mortising attachment so it’s easy to install and a joy to use.
Mortising attachments are available for almost every drill press. Although they vary in appearance, they all have three basic components: a fence, a chisel holder and a hold-down. Upgrading these parts to stabilize the workpiece and operating the drill press at the optimal speed are the keys to success.
Two-piece mortising chisels cut square holes. The auger bit fits
inside the chisel and protrudes slightly. During operation, the auger
drills a round hole and the four-sided chisel squares the corners. Cut
side by side, square holes create mortises (see photo, above).
If you ever want to try out a lot of different workbench designs before you settle on building one for your shop, you might want to take a class at Kelly Mehler’s School of Woodworking. During the last five years, Kelly and his students have been building different style benches with all manner of vises Continue reading»
I’ve hauled my tool chest all over the United States and Canada, and I remain impressed – deeply impressed – by how it has handled all the miles. I’ve even dropped it from a height of 36” – fully loaded – onto concrete. One corner of the chest’s dust seal splintered a bit, but the Continue reading»
We had our first DESIGN: Open House on Wednesday night and it was a great opening event. Kent Saunders and Jim Parker Jr. were our guest speakers. They were graduates two years ago from our Local Mastery Program and showed examples of their chair models, prototype chairs, and finally their completed chair designs. It’s always [...]
Lie-Nielsen’s heavy-duty chain-drive mechanism has recently been used to create two new vises from the Warren, Maine, tool manufacturer – a dovetailing vise and a leg vise. I got a chance to use both new vises while in Maine in July, and am both impressed and convinced. By “impressed” I mean they are worthy of Continue reading»
Whenever I teach at a woodworking school, I’m always fascinated by what happens when I open my tackle box full of cut nails. Usually, the students react as if I’d opened a case of ticked-off scorpions. At The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, one of the students asked: “Are those allowed here?” That was on Monday. Continue reading»
How hard could it be? We’ve been sitting on stumps for 10,000 years. Designing a chair should be easy right? Turns out it is one of the harder pieces to design and develop. My Mastery students find it the most challenging piece they do in the program. This is because the slightest addition or subtraction [...]
In the world of design, you read a lot about the acceptance or rejection of symmetry. Wait, wait. Don’t go away. This blog entry, by the way, has to do with Audrey Hepburn’s gorgeous face. You can reject symmetry in design based on the fact that human beings are decidedly not symmetrical. A perfectly symmetrical Continue reading»
While teaching a recent class, I nicked my thumb on something sharp, and the shop’s first aid kit was locked up for some reason. No matter – I closed up the wound with cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) and bandaged it with toilet paper and blue painter’s tape. While I won’t win any MacGyver awards (that requires Continue reading»