Handworks 2015 and The Studley Exhibit – Part 1

Published on by Mike  (2 Comments)

Handworks Banner Probably the biggest issue about my hiatus from writing on the blog is that I never wrote about my visit to Handworks 2015 in Amana Iowa, and the Studley display that was in nearby Ceda r Rapids Iowa.  Well, now that I am writing again, I am going to correct this issue!

The trip was simply flat out awesome.  It was about a 7-8 hour drive for me, and I stayed neared Amana Iowa for a couple days to attend the various events.  First and foremost, I met with several friends that I know from The Wood Whisperer chat room, Karen, Jason, and Kip.  While we have gotten to know each other very well over the last few years, this was our first time with all of us meeting at the same place.  It was really great getting to meet up with these folks!

Waiting in Line For the Handworks 2015 to Open
Waiting in Line For the Handworks 2015 to Open

The show itself is still a very young show.  It is put on by the Bench Crafted people every other year, with the first year being back in 2013.  Handworks 2015 was the second time this show was put on, and I believe in 2017.  As the name implies, the show is all about traditional woodworking hand tools.  The tools that are on display and available for purchase range from antique tools to high quality mass produce tools, such as Lie-Nielsen and Veritas, boutique tools, and everywhere in between.  The show is put on for two days, and I needed every bit of that to really shop around!   The line that formed before the show opened was amazingly long!  It was incredible to see the amount of woodworkers who came to this show.  In my mind this is proof that our craft is most definitely alive and well!  The time spent in line actually went fairly quick as it was a great opportunity to talk with other woodworkers.

Many Great Vendors

Normally when I go to a woodworking show, I spend the first couple hours or so exploring the various booths to see what is out there before I made any purchase decisions.  While I did do this, I did actually deviate from this a little bit.  One item that I have had my eye on for several years now is Bench Crafted’s Moxon Vise kit.  Once the doors opened on the first day, I went directly to that booth, and immediately made that my first purchase! (Don’t worry, there will be more on that in future posts)  The next thing I did was immediately jump into another line.  The month before I was at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Popular Woodworking magazine.  Besides Lie-Nielsen, Lost-Art Press was one of the vendors at that show, and I purchased “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker” by Roy Underhill.  This line I was standing in was the chance to get to meet Roy and to have him sign my copy of his book!  After that, I was able to explore around the show.  The show itself was in three buildings around the Amana Colonies.  Not only were there tool vendors there, but there were demonstrations all around. There was an incredible amount there too learn from!

A Small Part of Amana’s Huge Shop

The Amana colonies has a woodworking shop that they produce custom made high-end furniture.  After the workers close down for the day, they do provide tours of the shop, which I was able to take.  This was actually a fascinating tour to see the range of tools that professional woodworkers use.  It is mostly traditional power tools, but they have also have a couple CNC controlled machines.  It was really interesting to see how they integrated modern and traditional tools and methods together.



Roy Getting the Crowd Going

The second day of the show started with a speech from Roy Underhill.  This was actually the second time I have seen Roy speak in public.  One thing I can tell you is that he is absolutely phenomenal speaker.  He tells a great story that is both hilarious and informative.   His speech at handworks was no exception!  After his speech, I spent more time shopping around, until it came time to travel to Cedar Rapids to see the Studley Tool Chest and Workbench.  I am going to write more about that in my next post.

Compass Made By Peter Ross
I Won!

The tools I ended up purchasing, besides the Moxon Vise, included a couple rasps from Tools For Working Wood, a burnishing kit from Czeck Edge Tools, and a dove tail saw from Lie-Nielsen.  However, the most memorably tool I was able to bring home wasn’t one that I purchased, but rather I won!  The door prizes at the show where amazing.  In my case I won a 6” compass that was made by Peter Ross.  If you watch the Wood Wright Shop, that name may sound familiar.  He is the black smith that Roy often has on his show!  This compass now has a prominent spot in my hand tool cabinet.  I will have a video coming out at some point in the future.

Over all, the show was nothing short of awesome!  It was a great time to meet up with friends, learn some new skills, and of course to bring home new tools!  I am looking forward to writing about the Studley Exhibit in my next post!

Breathing Easier – Shop Air Filter Installation

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

air filter
Air Filter

One of the constant battles that any woodworker should be fighting is keeping the air quality of the shop as clean as possible.  When it is warmer than 60 degrees outside, I typically have the garage door open, so I have pretty good air circulation going on.

Air Filter Mounting Holes
Air Filter Mounting Holes

However, I do work as much as I can during the cold months, so the shop is closed up.  As I am working in the shop, even when using dust collection, quite a bit of dust does get airborne.  So to help this out, I recently purchased a used Grizzly air filter via Craigslist.  It appeared that the previous owner used it on a shelf as the ceiling mounts for it were long gone.  However,

Air filter ceiling bracket
Air Filter Ceiling Bracket

I did want to mount this to ceiling in my shop so that I could get the best possible air circulation in the shop.  The cabinet of the filter did have mounting holes, so I got some measurements, and I constructed a bracket from a pine board I had laying around.  The bracket actually serves two purposes.  First it allowed me to make sure I was able to mount it securely to the ceiling joist, as well as spacing the filter far enough from the ceiling so that it wouldn’t interfere with opening the clips that hold the filters in place.  The
cross pieces are attached simply with pocket screws.  I then found where the ceiling joists were, and attached the bracket with screws into those joists.  With some help lifting the filter to the ceiling, using screws and washers, I attached the filter to the bracket.


Air filter hung
Air Filter Hung on Ceiling

Whenever I am running any machinery, including the dust collectors, I keep the air filter running.  I do notice that it does circulate the air in the shop very effectively, and it does seem the air is cleaner.  As I said, this is still an ongoing battle to keep the air in my shop as clean as possible, and I do have plans to expand on my dust collection even further.  I will write about those as well.

A New Year With a Site Announcement

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

madermadeit_website_tpHappy New Year all!  As a new years are about new beginnings, I am making a new start with my blog.  Often with new beginnings, changes occur as well.  As you may have already noticed, I made a pretty big change with my blog.  Sawdustnewbie.com has now become Mader Made It.

As you may have noticed, I have been away from my blog and video production for a little while now.  There are a couple reasons behind it.  As you may recall in some of my previous posts that I gave up drinking pop a year ago.  The result of that has been extremely positive, and I have had considerably more energy.  To help get myself in better shape, I spent a lot of time working in the yard this past Spring and Summer, which took time away from the woodshop.  Also, earlier this year, I did a complete site redesign which overall I am happy with.  Unfortunately, I had some other significant technical issues come up with the website, and while they have all been resolved, I did get a little burnt out from its upkeep, so I decided it was best to step away from it for a little while.  The good news is, I have been in the shop for a while now, and have several projects that I will be writing about.  Also I have been shooting footage of many of the projects I have worked, and hope to soon resume producing videos as well.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy new year!

Still Alive, Doing A Bit of Retooling

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

Hey All,

I am still alive and well, but have been away from the keyboard a bit.  I have more videos coming down the line as well as many more blog posts. I had some technical difficulties earlier this summer, and after resolving those decided to take a step a way and take a little break.  I have been out in the shop and have at this point 3 projects videos shot and ready for editing, as well as many more planned!

Before I start releasing new content, I am doing a bit of retooling, both for my videos and for the blog.  I think it is going to be an exciting set of changes.  Be sure to check back this fall!

Hand Tool Cabinet Drawers Followup

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

drawersI know I said back when I did the video of the drawers I was going to do another follow-up video.  I will be honest, in many ways, I felt that video is a bit of a disaster, so much that video prompted me to retool my video production capabilities a bit.  However, I am ready to move on to other projects and videos, so I decided to finish up the drawers without the eye of the video camera.

knobThe first thing I worked on was the pulls.  I went through several design ideas, including sometime on the lathe, band saw, and shaping with hand tools.  In the end I went with simple square pulls that taper inward.  I did this by ripping a couple of strips of maple on the band saw, with the table set at 15 degrees.  Keeping the fence and table in the same position, I crosscut each strip to the square pulls.  I sanded them down thoroughly, and glued them on to the drawers.  After the glue dried, I put a good coat of boiled linseed oil on each drawer.  I let them sit and cure for a week.  I then sprayed them with several coats of shellac, and then gave them a light sanding to smooth out the finish.

full_cabinetWhile completing the drawers for the hand tool cabinet is a significant milestone in its build, I will not call it done.   As my hand tool collection grows and evolves, new additions will be made to the cabinet.  I will of course document them here and on video as well.

When I posted the pictures of the drawers out on social media, I got quite a few comments about the Asteroids sign on top of the tool cabinet.  The sign is an old marquee off of an Asteroids game cabinet that I bought via E-Bay.  When I was a bit younger, and not yet married, along with some coworkers, I set out to start build an arcade cabinet.  I built a control panel, but never got beyond that.  I had the marquee lying around, so I built a small case for it, and put a light behind it.  Skip ahead a few years, after moving out of thatasteroids house, getting married, going back to school for my masters, and several job changes it had been put in a corner of the garage and gotten forgotten about.  When I hung the hand tool cabinet, I did a fairly extensive clean out of the garage.  A lot of junk gotten thrown away, when I came across that sign.  I found that the light still worked, so I put it on top of the cabinet, and plugged it in with the shop lighting.  It now displays proudly whenever I am out working in the shop. While the sign has nothing to do with hand tools or woodworking, I often think back at what I had when I made that sign.  I was still living on my own, and had a very modest amount of tools, mainly for home renovation.  I didn’t have anywhere the woodworking tool capacity that I have today, but yet I was able to build a simple piece that has held up well over the years.

What a journey its been, and will continue to be!