Welcome to Issue #11 of
Wood Shop News

brought to you by: wooden-box-maker.com.

sharpening woodworking tools

In this issue:

  • half-blind dovetails
  • woodworking classes
  • new and for sale
  • in progress: turning
  • on a personal note
  • final words

  • Half-Blind Dovetails

    Last month I wrote about a kitchen island I was making. To help strengthen the case I used half-blind dovetails to hold the corners together. half-blind dovetails

    I made the dovetails in a couple steps. I laid out and cut the pin first. Then I traced it onto the leg. half-blind dovetails

    Next I routed out the beginnings of the dovetail, this gave me the exact depth for each dovetail and also saved a lot of chopping time.

    My next step was to cut along my pencil lines, keeping as close as I could without cutting the line.

    Since I wasn't cutting all the way through the leg I had to hold the saw at an angle so I ended with a partial cut that still needed to be cleaned up. half-blind dovetails

    I used a sharp chisel to chop out the tail and clean up the edges. I checked for fit as I went along so as not to make the hole too large. half-blind dovetails

    The final fit should be tight enough to need a gentle tap to get it seated. If you have to smack it, back off and shave off a bit more. If you go too far you can glue a shim onto the pin and trim again.

    As always, it's best to practice before trying on your actual project.half-blind dovetails

    Woodworking Classes

    (Located S/SW of Boston)

    Learn new skills or hone old ones in small group sessions tailored to the individual. woodworking classes Classes are limited to 3 people and take place in my shop outside Boston. They generally meet once a week for 2-3 hours. The sessions go on as long as students are interested, a few months or a few years.

    woodworking classes As students progress, class becomes "open shop" time when they work on the projects of their choice while I answer questions and give suggestions as things come up.

    Individual instruction is also available.

    Click on the links below or contact me for more information.
    woodworking classes
    student work

    New & For Sale

    Click photo for more information.

    Visit my sale page for new work and sale items.
    Or visit wooden box maker recommends for ideas on books and tools (category list top right of page).

    In Progress

    I have a few projects going on at the moment, as always I have boxes in the works, some more interesting than others, more items to sell in galleries, that sort of thing.

    I finished the island woodworking and here is the photo I promised last time.

    What has caught my attention recently, however, is turning. I don't do it often, but when I do I remember what fun it is. I have been making small bowls and plates.

    I start with a blank which I rough out on the bandsaw. Then I take it to the lathe and start playing. Here are a few recent pieces.

    wood turning

    I've been experimenting with different kinds of finish. So far my favorite is mineral oil. I wipe it on with a rag, then polish with my hands (nice for dry skin). I've found that it leaves a deep, rich color. The only problem is that it takes a long time to dry.

    I've heard from many sources that it is safe to use just about any finish on pieces that will be in contact with food, as long as the finish is well dried before use. However, it is nice not to have to worry about ventilation and gloves.

    My next experiment will be with salad bowl finish and some of the non-toxic finishes.

    On a Personal Note

    vernal: |ˈvərnl|: adjective: of, in, or appropriate to spring

    signs of spring

    This month I have to write about signs of spring. Here in Mass it feels like it's in full bloom, although we have to be careful, for another winter storm is not completely out of the question. Today may hit the mid-60's, but tomorrow could still be in the 30's. That's the joy and sorrow of spring in New England. Last frost comes in May, so until then, all bets are off.

    Still, the snow is gone (for now) and the crocuses are in bloom. The birds have started their spring songs. The songs are longer and more varied. Mockingbirds ramble on and on, grackles and redwing blackbirds are back in town and beginning to claim territory. The robins, who have been here through the winter are started to sing at last. signs of spring

    It's the light, not the temperature, that tells the birds when to sing. The light has definitely changed. It starts in late February. I'm not sure what it is that is different. The light holds more promise. It's stronger, lands more easily, it's beginning to have warmth. By March the days are clearly getting longer. The long green shoots of tulips are started to pop out from the leaves, reminding me it's time to rake the flower beds and spread new mulch.

    On my last dog walk I heard wood frogs for the first time, quacking away, filling their pond with noise.

    signs of spring

    We have our own pond here. Actually, I think of it as our vernal puddle (appears with the spring melt and is gone by summer). We have a pair of mallards who show up every year. I've seen them for at least 7 or 8 years now. The peepers will arrive in another few weeks and last year we had a pair of muskrats who seemed too big for the puddle, but were around as long as it lasted.signs of spring

    So, with that joyous news I'm going to end this newsletter and head out to do some spring cleaning - rake the yard and gardens, cut back brush, clean and tune up the mower, trim the hedges, spread mulch, check for asparagus..... Oh right, I also need to do some woodworking.

    Spring is not a lazy time.

    **frog photo from Wikipedia

    Final Words and Errata

    I hope you have enjoyed reading this ‘zine. Do you have ideas for future topics? Comments? Feedback? I'd love to hear from you. Just hit reply and tell me what you think.

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    Kate Taylor Creative Woodworking