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When Your Liquid Hide Glue Turns Bad

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There are lots of tests for when your liquid hide glue has gone bad – the most common one that I know of is to put some glue between your index finger and thumb. Tap your finger and thumb repeatedly to see if the glue turns tacky and produces long stringy strands. If it does, then your glue is good. I’ve done this test with glue during woodworking classes all […]

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Use ‘Gun Blue’ to Instantly Blacken Hardware

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I use blacksmith-made hardware whenever I (or my customers) can afford it. But if you’re on a budget or have hundreds of pieces of hardware for a project, it’s time to visit the gun store. My favorite way to blacken steel, iron or even zinc-plated hardware is to brush on a thin coat of liquid “gun blue” – typically a combination of selenious acid, nitric acid and cupric sulfate. If […]

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How to Test for Case-hardened Lumber

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Thanks to the long-term relationships I’ve made with lumber merchants, I have little trouble with them sending me crappy stock. But even after 20-something years of buying wood from my suppliers, there are times when I get a bogus load of wood. Most problems can be solved by knowing what is standard in the industry. About 15 years ago, I bought 200 board feet of cherry from my dealer that […]

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How to Test for Case-hardened Lumber

maple_IMG_5156

Thanks to the long-term relationships I’ve made with lumber merchants, I have little trouble with them sending me crappy stock. But even after 20-something years of buying wood from my suppliers, there are times when I get a bogus load of wood. Most problems can be solved by knowing what is standard in the industry. About 15 years ago, I bought 200 board feet of cherry from my dealer that […]

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Don’t Forget the Quality of the Kiln

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While I prefer to work with air-dried lumber, that’s not always possible for woodworkers who use a lot of wood or don’t have access to a dealer who air-dries stock. One of the major problems with kiln-dried lumber is that it is sometimes rushed through the kiln to get it to market. As a result, the stock can become case-hardened (among other defects). You can’t tell a piece of lumber […]

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This Maple Eats Tools

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Yesterday was the first time in 20 years I wished for an electric sander. I’m finishing up a new table design and am just about to finish all the surfaces before assembly. The only problem is that this maple trashes every plane iron after about two strokes. I’ve seen this happen with exotics such as purpleheart that naturally have a lot of silica. And with a stick of Douglas fir […]

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On Logging and Woodworking

The first time I visited the hardwood forests of Pennsylvania I was handed a hardhat. At first I thought the loggers were just trying to get me to wear a stupid hat, but within about three minutes, I realized I was wrong. Logging is incredibly dangerous. And while I marveled at the beautiful forests and huge kilns during that visit, I was mostly astounded by how easy it is to […]

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The Epicenter of Wood – Cincinnati, Aug. 23

Without exaggeration, I have at least 10 blog entries I need to post. What with my trip to England, some new Lost Art Press products and a short journey to Charleston, S.C., I have a lot to tell you about. But before I launch into any of that, this is a news item. On Aug. 23, 2014, there will be another (perhaps the final) wood sale at Midwest Woodworking in […]

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An Economic Truth About Cut Nails

An Economic Truth About Cut Nails

I prefer to use cut nails in reproduction work because they hold better and look right to my eye. But when it comes to cut headless brads, which are used to hold moulding in place while the glue dries, I don’t think these nails are the right choice for me. While cut nails are always more expensive than the equivalent wire nail, cut headless brads are crazy expensive. A 1 […]

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