Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Secret To Clean Can Rims

IMG_0555I hate build-up that gathers around lids of finish. Pick any finish. Whether it’s, paint, shellac, lacquer or something else, if you pour it from a can, sticky goo comes to visit.  As you pry open the often-stuck lid, crap gets on your screwdriver or on your hands or gloves. Goo is easily transferred to your project and that’s worse than glue spots – OK, nothing is worse than glue spots.

If you think all you have to do is use a brush to clean the rim as you put the can away,  you’re wrong. Junk, partially dried to become sticky, remains in the rim valley. If it would simply dry, it would be good. That’s not the case. For years I suffered with gooey can rims, but no more. I discovered a secret.

IMG_0556The secret is a #6 finish nail and a hammer. You could use a #8 finish nail, but there is no use dropping down to a #4 nail – a hole that small is not going to help.

Take a nail then puncture about four holes per quart can, or five holes per gallon can directly through the valley formed at the rim. It’s easy. A couple taps with a hammer and you’re through. (You can use a big-boy hammer if you do not have one from a kids tool set like I do – remember these?) After you have your holes made, any product left in that valley seeps back into the can. Now you know why a #4 nail hole doesn’t do the job.

It’s even better as you replace the lid. Any product left in the rim is then forced through your holes and not over the rim only to run down the can. You can only imagine the sounds made inside the can as you hammer the lid; a giant squishing noise as shellac spurts back into the can. With the lid in place, no air seeps into your can to ruin the product. It’s so clean.


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Filed under Finish Techniques, Shop Tips

Gorgeous Gams & Other 2013 Classes

I expect to have a busy 2013, so I limited my teaching weeks and weekends this year. Scheduled are only two classes that are week long, and one weekend class that begins on Friday. (Guess that would be a three day class.)

LegOnce again, Bob Van Dyke has invited me back to teach at his Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking (CVSW). April 5th through the 7th is Gorgeous Gams & Foot Fetishes: Its all about the Legs and the Feet- A 3 day weekend of fun and inspiration with Glen Huey. (Click here, then scroll about 2/3 down the page for additional class information.)

There is a lot to cover over the three days. Did you know you can get very accurate patterns from photos?  During the class we’ll rip leg and feet from actual furniture photos then learn how to develop those into full-size patterns. I’ll also show you how to shape cabriole legs. Where to start and what tools make the task easy and repeatable – we do want our four legs to match, right? After you get a leg shaped, it’s on to tapered legs. You may think you have a handle on tapered legs, but I’ll fill in a few blanks on what legs fit with what periods and I’ll demonstrate a couple techniques that are sure to add to your knowledge and abilities. And of course, we cannot bypass feet. An in-depth study of bracket and ogee-bracket feet is sure to bring discussion. Contact CVSW to register for the class.

SAMSUNGLater in April (April 29 through May 3), I show up at Chuck Bender’s Acanthus Workshops to teach the first week long class. Since Acanthus is in Chester County Pennsylvania, what better project could you build than a small chest that’s big with line & berry inlay. (A chest, by the way, that is featured in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, in case you get closed out of the class.) This chest, attributed to Moses Pyle and built for Hannah Darlington, is part of the collection at Winterthur Museum. Not only do you build this chest during the week, but you may get a chance to see the original in a day trip to the museum. If line & berry inlay is your weakness, this is the class to take. Construction is not over the top, so we’re sure to finish the project. (That will make the spouse happy, huh?) During the class we’ll use both power tools and hand tools to inlay the piece. (Acanthus has been plagued by website difficulties over the past few weeks. If the class listing cannot be found, give Chuck a couple days to get things corrected and posted.)

CT LowboyRounding out the year, except for Woodworking in America in October, I return to CVSW to instruct a class building a Connecticut Lowboy. This piece, discovered in a backroom tour of the Connecticut Historical Society, stopped both Bob and I in our tracks. I immediately said that this would be a great class. Great minds think alike. Bob added the class to his summer schedule. The class runs from September 3rd through the 8th.

If you are a study of period furniture designs, you see that this lowboy is a transitional piece – originating as we moved from the William & Mary style into Queen Anne period. I especially like the high arched aprons and the molded profile around the drawers. Also, there is a very interesting building technique used on the inside of this piece.

(Might I suggest a “twofor” at CVSW. Sign up for the legs class then return to build a great lowboy. Contact the school for more information.)

If you would like additional information on these classes, please contact me or the schools directly.

Build Something Great!


Filed under Antique Pieces, Design

Veneer: The Beginning

As I began prep work for the tall clock, I knew I had to have a plan with which to work and I knew I needed veneer for the base front panel and the door. H_ResultsI looked to my normal online sites for veneer, but was not happy with my findings. When I turned to Google for help, up popped Herzog Veneers Inc. ( Once at the site, I stayed because I liked the many mahogany crotch bundles available, I liked that I could see the individual leaves of each bundle as well as each leaf size and square footage and I liked the fact that there were prices, at least on some of the bundles.

I chose my bundle and worked through the online ordering system where I hit a snag that halted my purchase.  I picked up my phone and called the company. A_Delivered PackThe General Manager of the company, Sam Parisette-Herzog, answered my call. He explained that they were updating the store and gladly completed my order himself. During our conversation he asked about my plans for the veneer and how I worked with veneer. He suggested that I have the veneer pressed onto a backer to make each leaf two-ply. He explained that storing and working with two-ply would be much easier, and I knew that I would not have to treat or flatten the pieces in my shop prior to pressing. I took his advice. My veneer cost $5 per square foot. I know that was expensive for veneer, but I can tell you it’s the best decision I’ve made.

My veneer arrived in a few weeks. Inside the cardboard bundle was bubble wrap and the stack was encased in black plastic. F_Cut VeneerThe leaves were stacked face to face in matching pairs with each pair labeled. (I had the leaves pressed for book match instead of a slip match – I envisioned large veneer doors with the extra leaves I ordered.) The plain mahogany backer was laid cross-grain of the veneer for additional stability. The two–ply pieces of veneer are easily cut with a sharp knife.

I’ve laid four pieces of the two-ply veneer so far and each press was a complete success. G_Veneer PressAll I do is apply glue – yellow glue of whatever kind is on sale at my woodworking store when I need to replenish my inventory – to both the two-ply back and my substrate, slip a properly sized piece of melamine over the top and add clamps. (This is where I tell you to have plenty of clamps at the ready.) I also used a couple cauls to get pressure in the middle of my glue-up.

The opening photo shows one of the panels after it came out of the clamps. Not a blemish or bubble found, and no bleed through of glue. I plan to order veneer with a backer from now on. It makes a huge difference in workability and stores so easily.

Build Something Great!


Note: I returned to last week only to find that while the bundles are shown and tally sheets are available, there were no prices listed. I contacted Parisette-Herzog and was told that this is due to the website transition. Once the change is complete by mid-March, prices will be listed online.


Filed under Shop Tips, Veneer

Re-purpose A Great Bench Vise

IMG_0469This week, while working on a project for an upcoming magazine issue, I ran into a little problem. The drawer fronts I worked on were too small to easily hold as I hand-cut the dovetails. I had just enough room to clamp my front as I sawed for tail sockets and during waste removal I could have moved the clamp halfway through, but that was time consuming and monotonous. So I opted for help.


Many of you recognize the apparatus shown above as Christopher Schwarz’s Moxon Double-screw Vise. I was a big fan of it when he wrote about on his Popular Woodworking Magazine blog back in June 2010, and continue to sing its praises. (You can read his post here.) This bad boy gets used whenever I have a stack of drawer parts on which to hand-cut dovetails – it saves my back so the only pain I feel when building some projects is a bit farther south.

IMG_0481Instead of sawing to define pins and tails, this time I used the vise to hold parts as I removed waste. (Something I most often do with the part lying flat on my bench.) To do this I had to modify the vise. I wasn’t at all interested in any permanent changes, so I simply added a small shop-made jig to the large shop-made jig. The piece you see spring-clamped to the rear member of the Moxon vise is L-shaped scrap assemblage where the back piece extends far IMG_0485enough beyond the ends of the top piece so as to get clamps in place. The top piece then acts as a support for my trim router.

Using this arrangement is quick and simple to use. Load a drawer front into the setup, level the front using a small flat scrap as shown in the photo to the right then twist the two hand-screws tight to secure the workpiece. That’s all there is.

IMG_0486My trim router sits atop the added jig and sits level as waste is removed from the drawer front. Just as demonstrated back in August of last year in “Dovetail Evolution”, you freehand guide the router to remove waste. The work is easy as long as you stay clear of your layout lines and saw cuts.

As you can see below, after the router work is complete all that’s left is to chisel away the remaining waste – work that is completed with the front still clamped in the vise. Notice this time I’m working with half-lap dovetails whereas in the earlier post I worked through dovetails. Setup is a bit different, but results are equally great.


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PS. Next week I promise that my post includes zero router work.

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Filed under Jigs, Power Tools, Routers, Shop Tips