Welcome to Issue #18 of
Wood Shop News

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

sharpening woodworking tools

In this issue:

  • sanding for a beautiful finish
  • new and for sale
  • woodworking classes
  • on a personal note: light
  • final words

  • Sanding for a beautiful finish

    I don't know many people who like to sand. I actually wouldn't mind too much if it wasn't for all the dust. I wear a mask, but I feel like Pig Pen (for you fans of Charlie Brown out there) trailing a cloud after me, whenever I spend an afternoon sanding.

    Still, the end result is worth it. A beautiful finish begins with thorough surface prep. Check out the link for more on sanding.

    New & For Sale

    This month I'm featuring a walnut box.

    Click photo for more information.

    Mention this newsletter and get $5.00 off this box (through October 31, 2010.

    Visit my sale page for other new work and sale items.

    I've also created a new "Etsy" store. Click on the link to check it out:

    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

    On a Personal Note

    A couple issues ago I was working on a kaleidoscope and it got me thinking about light. I was distracted last issue by my beautiful fresh tomatoes (hey, it happens), but now I'm back on track.

    What exactly is light anyway? Light is electromagnetic radiation that hits the cells in the human eye and is translated into vision.

    To oversimplify, electromagnetic radiation is energy, in the form of photons, that travels through air in waves. Each wave has several properties. The length between the high (or low) points of the wave is the wavelength, the height of the wave from the center point to it's top (or bottom) is it's amplitude, the the speed of the wave (length of time it takes to go from crest to crest measured in waves/second aka Hertz (Hz) is the frequency and the angle at which the wave travels through space is it's polarization.

    Different wavelengths have different properties (amplitude, frequency, etc) which cause the electromagnetic radiation to behave differently when it hits matter.

    An awkward analogy would be the difference between throwing a hard boiled egg and a raw egg at a wall. They are both eggs, but with different characteristics, so they react to the wall differently.

    The wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation range from billionths of a meter (gamma rays) to centimeters and even meters (radio waves). Visible light has wavelengths that are longer than gamma rays but still fall in the billionths of a meter range.

    Vision is what happens when electromagnetic radiation bounces off an object and hits the cells of our eyes at a particular frequency, amplitude, etc. Our brains interpret different wavelengths as different colors.

    Since some wavelengths are reflected back and others are absorbed we interpret objects in different colors. A black object, for example, absorbs all the waves in the visible spectrum, while a white one reflects them back (that's also why darker objects heat up faster in the sunlight, they are absorbing the energy of the electromagnetic radiation).

    However, not all electromagnetic radiation is visible. Some wavelengths don't cause any response in our eyes. If they don't stimulate the cells they are invisible to us (for example, some animals can see infrared, while humans can't). Other waves are able to travel through different surfaces.

    X-rays for instance travel at a frequency that allows them to move through flesh. Since they don't stop at our eyes we can't see them. (X-rays are stopped by bone, however, so when we put X-rays on film we can see what our skeleton looks like.) Radio waves can also travel through us, but are stopped by metal. By creating antennas with specific electrical characteristics we can amplify the radio wave.

    The wavelengths of the light we can see range from 400 to 700 billionths of a meter. But the full range of wavelengths included in the definition of electromagnetic radiation extends from one billionth of a meter, as in gamma rays, to centimeters and meters, as in radio waves. Light is one small part of the spectrum.

    In each case, the electromagnetic radiation is the same thing. It is just the specific characteristics of it's particular wave that causes it to interact with the material world in a different way.

    And of course, different eyes see the world differently....


    think quest

    how stuff works

    Final Words

    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.

    If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter, please feel free to send it on. If a friend passed this on to you and you like what you read, please subscribe by visiting my website.

    Brought to you by the good people at
    Kate Taylor Creative Woodworking