Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The Three Tools Every Shop Needs

We have seen people fall in love with one tool buy it and then have it sit in the corner of a garage because it was not the right first, second, or even third major tool purchase a starting woodworker should make.

A frequent question posed to Glen and me is, "What tools do I need to get started?" Well there are a few more questions that we need to ask prior to answering:

  1. What will you be doing in your shop? - If you answer I will be making pens, tops and kids toys the tools needed are different than if you will be making furniture projects, etc.
  2. How big of a space do you have? - Have you begged half of the garage away from the spouse or do you have a big barn to turn into a shop.
  3. How much money do you have to spend? - Always a factor.

Let's assume that you want to do furniture projects, you have little space, and a limited budget (this is how I started my shop after I moved away from my Dad). Here is my list of major tools needed - I like to call it bare minimum - in order of purchase:

  1. Table Saw - the work horse of the modern shop - spend the dollars here - with a good table saw you can do a lot. My budget = $1,600
  2. Joiner - try to buy an 8" longbed joiner. The key to good furniture is starting with squared and true wood. = My budget = $850
  3. Thickness planer - here is where I chose to save some money. The bench top planers currently on the market are great for the single person shop. My budget = $275 - $350
  4. Dust Collector - You got to clean up and for the money these things take the drudgery away from cutting wood. My budget = under $350
  5. Hollow Chisel Mortiser - They run under $300 and are a great specialty tool.
  6. Bandsaw - Once again agreat work horse in the shop used for many things even in some ways it shouldn't. My budget - $675 or less
  7. Lathe - You have to be able to turn legs, feet, and finials eventually. (Have no budget because I don't have one in my home shop yet.)
  8. Dual Action Sander - This is a big one - it really reduces the sanding drudgery of woodworking - but to have this you need a large scale compressor. Most people who do wood for a hobby do not buy this tool. If you have the money and space it is a must have.
  9. Mitre Saw - Highly useful tool that helps you do all the cross cutting. To get the full use from this you need long bench space but it should not discourage you from buying it. My budget = $325
  10. Open - I think that this is where we should stop - my next piece would be a Hi pressure - Low Volume sprayer for finishing but this is something most people can do without for a long time. For most people applying the finish by hand is sacred and I do not want to stir them up.

Those are my top ten. The first three are the main stationary tools you should aim to buy. I hope this helps.


Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My Favorite Woodworking Book!

I recently was asked about my favorite woodworking book. While it is not technically a woodworking book, it is a book that most woodworkers would benefit by owning and reading. Or, at least looking at the pictures. The book is Albert Sacks "Finer Points of American Furniture" or what we affectionately call The Good, Better, Best Book!

In the book Mr. Sack, whom I had the pleasure to meet in their shop in NYC before it was closed, has taken pictures of some of the greatest pieces of antique furniture ever built and explained why one was particularly better than another. If you read and/or study the pictures you can gain a wealth of information as to what makes a piece great!

I have found it to be one of the most used books in my collection. I have used this book to combine aspects of a number of pieces to reach just what my customer has in mind as well as inspiring a few pieces that I have included in my books.

Just after you purchase my books, make sure to find a copy of "Finer Points of American Furniture". You will be pleased to have it your collection.

Build Something Great!

Glen Huey

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

New DVD Coming - HeppleWhite Night Stand

Glen and I are pleased to announce we are in the final stages of our newest instructional DVD - The HeppleWhite NightStand!

This is really a great package it includes the following:
  • Over an hour and twenty minutes of instructional Video content
  • Step by step photos with captions
  • Full Size Project Plans
  • Scaled Project Plans
  • Cut Sheet
  • Resources Page
  • Small Tools List

Check out our website to see more details http://www.woodworkersedge.com

More later,


Tuesday, February 01, 2005

The New Wood Masters?

We often think about our peers in the wood trade and ask of them who will be the new masters of woodworking? I bet that everyone has their favorites as we have ours. I am going to give you a few of the woodworkers that I would nominate for the title of new master. These guys are in my opinion on par with the masters in furniture making from the past.
(In no particular order and yes I am leaving some great craftsmen out - more on that later)
  • Randy O'Donnell (what a great Bombay chest he makes)
  • Charles Bender (A real craftsmen artist - see his highboys - amazing)
  • Donald Dunlap (our generation's Tage Frid - amazing work in NH)

I wonder if 200 to 300 years from now what the people will be saying about these craftsmen's work. I bet they will place these guys at the level of the Townsends and Goddards.

The standards set by John Goddard and furthered by the three modern craftspeople above is what we strive for in our work. We want our pieces to have a "soul" when finished. You can't achieve that feeling in your work if you always use the newest machines, bits, etc. Sometimes you have to pick up a chiesel, a mallet, and give life to your furniture.

We try to help you learn some of these things in our instructional packages available at www.woodworkersedge.com

Please pass along the modern master that you think captures the spirit of the old masters, I would love to be exposed to the people you think rank in this exclusive class.


Monday, January 10, 2005

Introductory to new Woodworker's Edge Blog

Hey - This is a new blog dedicated to woodworking!

My brother, Glen Huey, and I produced our first multi-media DVD package in which he helps woodworking hobbyists gain a better understanding of woodworking basics and build a few beautiful pieces of furniture.

Glen is an accomplished woodworker. He has had his pieces featured in several period magazines, he is an adjunct professor at University of Cincinnati, and contributing editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine. He is also the author of two books on woodworking.

To find out more about the multi-media series please visit www.woodworkersedge.com.

In this blog we will share woodworking tips, short cuts and our thoughts on the tools making the news.

If you have specific questions please email us. I can be reached at steve@woodworkersedge.com and Glen can be reached at glen@woodworkersedge.com

Woodworker's Edge Tip:

When making a case piece, I often use a router to cut out the slots for the drawer dividers on the sides of the case. The problem is that I always seem to flake out the wood at the divider. The solution is quite simple. We suggest you use a table saw to cut an eighth off the front edge of the side. This will leave you with a nice smooth front side edge to work with and saves you from filling or sanding to get rid of the flake out.

I would love to hear about issues you are having with your projects.