Monthly Archives: March 2013

Happy Easter from Woodworker’s Edge


Should I have used a saw filed for a rip cut? Or should it have been filed for a crosscut?

Just as in woodworking, it doesn’t really matter. Just eat the damn chocolate.

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Filed under Hand Tools

Clock Movement Arrives

IMG_0813This past week, the movement for my Egerton Tall clock arrived from Green Lake Clock Company. Because many woodworkers do not often order clock movements, I thought it would be interesting to see photos of not only the movement and what comes in the package, but also get a look at the crate in which everything is packed.

First, the movement ordered for this clock has the dial that has a coating over the entire front and back of the dial. Generally, these dials come as bare metal, but this appears to be a base coat onto which the hand-painted surface can be added. A quick call to the company confirms that the coating is what is used if you purchase a painted and silk-screened dial. (Green Lakes ran out of bare dials, so a few orders were shipped with the primed surface.)

IMG_0814The movement itself – shown in the photo to the right – is a Kieninger Bell Strike movement which includes the top-mounted bell, cable pulleys and the gears and internal workings which are behind the back plate. The saw-like wheel that you see above the bell is the moon dial.

A moon dial rotates slowly as the clock moves throughout the day. Different scenes are painted on the moon dial to reflect the time of month. This, along with the main dial can be customized for a personal effect. A  clock that was built by the customer to which my tall clock goes, has an image of his house painted on the moon dial. Very cool.

IMG_0818Other parts of the movement – sent packed in three layers of Styrofoam – are the weights and pendulum bob which are cast iron, and a winder and a few miscellaneous parts. These are shown to the left. Also included with the package are clock hands.

Below are a couple more photos. The left-hand photo is a close-up view of the movement, and at the right is a close-up view of the rear of the moon dial. Overall, the entire package is ready to install into the clock. Now if I just had the clock ready for the movement.

IMG_0819     IMG_0816






And kudos to Green Lake for how the movement was packaged for shipment. Below you can see a corner of the crate. Notice the rabbeted sides that capture the top and bottom of the crate. And look at the dado for the mounting board. Nice, quality work. IMG_0820I am impressed. You can reach Green Lake Clock Company through the highlighted link above, you can call Mike Siemsen – company owner and instructor at the 2013 Woodworking in America conference (WIA), (read more about WIA here) – at 651-257-9166 or send snail mail to: 9912 Green Lake Trail, Chisago City, MN 55013. Oh, you can email him at

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Filed under Hardware, Tall Clock

How Do You Mortise?

IMG_Mortises2WaysThis week I have gotten little time in the shop. During the week that’s understandable because of my return to Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM). But Saturdays I generally get six to eight straight hours woodworking – except for a lunch break for wings and a beverage at local eatery. However, this weekend I am teaching a class at the Dayton, Oh., area Woodcraft; the class is building a splay-legged end table.

In the class after we discussed how to taper legs at the jointer – no it’s not multiple passes made using a stop block (see the process here in a short video I made while at PWM) – we went over a couple ways to cut mortises. IMG_RouterMethodOf the six guys in the class, three chose to use a benchtop mortise machine and three elected to router-cut their mortises. (It didn’t surprise me that no one attending my class would decide to chop mortises by hand.) I was left wondering how you guys cut your mortises.

I’m partial to my floor-model mortise machine.  I would recommend that machine to woodworkers that plan to use mortise-and-tenon joinery in most of their projects, if that is, you have the funds necessary and are interested in spending a sizable chunk for one machine. But if I had to choose between a benchtop machine and my router, I think it would depend on how many mortises I cut annually.

What do you think? How do you cut mortises for your furniture projects? Leave a comment to let me know.

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Filed under Joinery, Power Tools, Routers

Screw Stripping

IMG_0729When I teach seminars or do presentations, it’s a two-way street. While I’m the one standing in front of the room sharing my knowledge with attendees, I am also the one that picks up a new tip or technique from someone in attendance. That is one of the things about woodworking that I enjoy so much. Not any one woodworker knows it all. Every day there is something to learn.

These past couple weeks, at least around my woodworking world, there have been talks about how to remove plating from hardware. Since day one I’ve been turning store-bought hardware from shiny to dull black using gun bluing. My hardware store use to carry the product, but that is no longer the case. These days I travel to one of the bigger outfitter-type stores, trudge to the gun area and pick up four or five small bottles at a time. Those days my be over, too.

IMG_0742For the first time in nearly twenty years, I heard – it’s possible that I heard this before, but did not pay attention – that many woodworkers dull their hardware using regular household white vinegar. Yeah, right. I had to give it a try, so yesterday morning I pored vinegar over some of my plated screws. I established the time because I thought it might take days to get the plating off. A hour later, I had bare screws. See the results in the photo, just above.

I dumped the screws from the vinegar, patted them dry then laid them out on my bench. The plating was off, sure enough. But the look wasn’t exactly what I expected – where was that black appearance? Funny thing, though. As the screws sat exposed to the air, a small amount of rust appeared. That added to the look.

In the photo below I have two sets of stripped screws. The black screws, of course, are those that took a gun-bluing bath. On the right are screws stripped using vinegar. I am still torn between black and rusty. Which screws do you think better represent antique screws? Which are better to use when building reproduction furniture?

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If you’re interested in reproduction furniture, I have three project DVDs available (click here for information). All three use slot-head screws somewhere during the build.



Filed under Hardware, Shop Tips

Another Woodworking Jig

My friend Dave Griessmann and I traveled up I-71 last night to visit the Columbus, OH. stop of The Woodworking Show. Actually, we went to meet with Chuck Bender who was presenting seminars during the show.

As Dave and I walked around the show, I got a look at a table saw sled shown at the left. The sled at the show reminded me of the ones prevalent at Marc Adams School of Woodworking. SAMSUNGAdams has taken his sleds the extra step by adding on a thick block on the front side of the jig in which the blade is buried as your cut is completed. This, I’m confident, is to lessen exposure to students unfamiliar with everyday woodworking. Adams also nails a stop to the benches that surround his table saws to keep the jig from sliding any farther forward, also keeping the blade buried in the attached block.

I’ve always been partial to a sled design made popular by Mr. New Yankee Workshop. IMG_0722In fact, I have built and used a sled similar to the one shown at the right for many years. It’s easy to build, simple to use and the only downside I see is that there is no support for the cutoff piece – it falls to the tabletop. That’s not a big deal because I use this jig to square panels or cut at 90 degrees, so I’m mostly trimming the ends and the cutoff is waste.

Another reason I chose this jig design is because you can cut over-sized panels; those larger than the jig base. The jig shown at the top cuts panels only as wide as what fits between the rails or inside the jig.


I like this jig so much I built a smaller version for use on my Bosch Job-site saw that I use when traveling.

If you’re interested in building this jig for your shop, Popular Woodworking Magazine has posted the article I wrote for a Jig Journal column online. Click here.

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Filed under Jigs, Shop Tips