Monthly Archives: September 2012

Powered-up, Super-thin Dovetail Pins

I have not spent many hours in the shop this past week. Had a photo shoot on Tuesday for a Popular Woodworking Magazine article (more on that upcoming), then spent the balance of the week preparing for my classes at Woodworking in America – West Coast which begins on October 12th. As a result, I am responding to a few email questions. After numerous requests, I am posting this dovetail pin video. (It’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.) When I moved sites I dropped the collection of router videos that resided on my homepage. If you are an old friend, you have seen today’s video. If you’re new to Woodworker’s Edge, it is new to you.

Build Something Great!

Glen D. Huey


Filed under Joinery, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips, Video

A Move Toward the Dark Side

This week I found myself moving toward the dark side. I installed bench holes so I could use a holdfast. Why a holdfast? I am working on a piece that has 10 drawers – 10 hand-cut dovetail drawers. I couldn’t stand the idea of turning an F-style clamp that many times, so I opted for the holdfast.

To use a holdfast meant that I needed to add a couple through-holes to my bench. (My Shaker-style bench has a bank of drawers underneath, so I did not drill the original holes completely through the top.) For this operation I used a plunge router and 3/4″-outside diameter router bit. When I posted this technique while at Popular Woodworking Magazine, I didn’t include where I found the router bits. I will not make that mistake again. I have two sources for 3/4″ up-cut spiral router bits. The first is Lee Valley & Veritas (item #86J01.42). A second source is Woodcraft (item #03K53). Also, the holdfast is from (Here’s a link)

Below is a short video that shows the process. It is too easy!

Build Something Great!



Filed under Hand Tools, Routers, Shaker, Shop Tips, Video

The Pain of Furniture Delivery

I haven’t been the shop much this week due to my travels to South Carolina to make a delivery. To pack and load furniture for a lengthy trip can wear a guy out. A guy needs time to unwind and relax. If it wasn’t for the “fun in the sun”, great food in the evenings and good friends to make it all top tier, I’m not sure I would have made the trip.

To keep this post woodworking related I have loaded up a few photos of the walnut secretary that I delivered, but if you want to see what it really takes to unwind after a painful delivery, check out the quick video below. Life is tough!


Filed under Delivery

Portable Spray Booth & Combination Square Video

I’ve had a couple questions about my spray booth when it appeared in a couple blog posts a while back. Before I tell you about my booth, let me tell you how I sprayed in the past.

For a short time – about 11 months – I had an actual spray booth. Before that I confiscated a room, installed an overhead fan that was ducted nearly ten feet to an outside wall vent and called that my spray room. (The exhaust fan wasn’t much help.) And when I began woodworking in my two-car garage, I used a 20″ box fan – it wasn’t explosion proof, either – set in a window. Also, none of these so-called booths had an explosion proof light. No, I’m not flirting with danger, I just do not think all the safety crap is necessary.

Today I have 1500 square feet to work in and my booth is a setup toward the front of my shop. (You can see it in the opening photo.) Still no explosion proof light, and no direct exhaust fan. What you do see is an old aluminum show booth to which I have packed the curtains away and hung inexpensive tarps to keep over-spray to a minimum.

You can see light streaming in from the right-hand side of the booth. That is a larger overhead door that I can open or closed depending on the temperature and weather condition. I also have a 48″ drum fan to clear the shop of unwanted fumes – I’m in an industrial-type setting.

If you’re interested in a booth like mine (who wouldn’t be) you can pick up the entire boot for around $217. You would need four 8′-0″ uprights ($15 each), four base plates at $64 and three adjustable drape supports that would run you $26 per support. The supports allow you to setup your booth between 6 feet and 10 feet wide. The same sizes are possible in depth. Three 8 x 10 tarps are maybe $15. Oh! I need to add in a set of shower curtain rings to hang the tarps. That pushes up the price a bit. Hey, it beats a cardboard box.

At the beginning of August, I wrote about a #21 Combination Square. Read the blog here. In the blog, I included that I had purchased one of these squares and would share video sometime in the future. This is the future and below is the video. Enjoy.
Build Something Great!



Filed under Design, Hand Tools, Questions, Shop Tips, Shop Tool

Design: Follow Your Gut

One of the very first large pieces of furniture I built to sell to the unsuspecting public was a Shaker cupboard. As I worked on the cupboard, built from an antique newspaper photo, I was unsettled with the crown molding. It was a single piece that was too small and nondescript. It didn’t feel right, but it was a piece of Shaker furniture so who was I to make a change.

I carried that cupboard from show to show way too long. When I built the piece a second time, I changed the molding to a village-appropriate design that better fit the cupboard. That cupboard sold at the second show. Was I lucky, or was the design an improvement? I learned to follow my gut.

This week I built a corner unit (shown above) that is to be used as a television stand. Being that the components kept inside the base are adjusted with infrared controls, and that glass was not a request from the future owner, I designed the doors with small openings. The gridded panels are made up of simple half-lap joints. Once assembled, the so-called panels are trimmed and fit into grooves in the door parts. I’ll have to let you know how or if the design works in real life.

The “follow your gut” part of this build has to do with the fluted columns. To the right is a photo showing the original idea I had for the columns. (This design I used on the cased openings throughout my house – when the house was built 20 years ago this idea was fresh.) I made the two columns, then temporarily attached them to the case to get a look. BLAH! Didn’t like that at all, so I needed something different.

I immediately thought about an inlay detail I used on an Arts & Crafts mirror built for Woodworking Magazine, issue #7. (You can download the SketchUp model here.) The detail was 1/8″-wide strips of ebony arranged in a simple design. Bingo, I had a design change. It’s easy to do and I think it looks good. Here are the steps if you want to give it a try.

Use a fence setup on your router to plow the grooves – I like to use an odd number of grooves to make the layout easy. Cut the center groove first, then with each adjustment your router is setup for two grooves, one from each side. (Stepped grooves add eye appeal.) Rip the thin strips of inlay at your table saw. I installed a 7 1/4″, thin-as-I-could-find saw blade to do the job. (Hey, ebony is expensive.) Wanting to tweak the fit, I left the strips a bit thick then used my inexpensive thickness planer  shown above to bring them to size.

With the strips properly sized, cut the lengths to fit your grooves. Here you’ll find a simple bench hook works great. I used small amounts of yellow glue to hold the inlay in place. After the glue dried, I decided to leave the inlay proud of the surface to add a little texture, too.

This is a simple process that I believe really adds to the overall look. It definitely looks better than the rounded flutes I had planned to use, as you can see in the photo below. Don’t be afraid to follow your gut when it comes to design. It’s only wood and nothing that cannot be fixed or replaced.

Build Something Great!

Here is a comparison look at the two fluted column designs. You have to agree that the inlay looks best.


Filed under Design, Inlay, Routers, Shop Tips