Monthly Archives: February 2014

Wabash Valley Woodworker’s Club

TapperI was suppose to make the three-hour drive to Lafayette, Indiana on Friday night, but a clipper snowstorm changed my plans. Instead, I left home at 4:50AM Saturday morning only to arrive at 8:20AM. Then there was another 20 minute ride out to the shop where the presentation took place.  A conflict that pits me against Mother Nature is nothing new when meeting with the Wabash Valley Woodworker’s Club. The last time I visited with them, I made it up on Friday, but an overnight snow storm made morning travel a bit dicey. I pleaded that the next invitation be sometime in late July or early August. (The gentleman pictured is Tapper – his shop was the meeting place for the day.)

LogoYou may wonder why I would fight a snow storm to talk with this group. Just take a look at the club’s logo (at right). Notice the figured hardwood? There’s something that draws me in, and the fact that Dave Redlin is very persuasive.

I had a great time talking with these guys. There is a lot of interest in woodworking, and they’re all quick to share stories, which keeps the meetings lively. Group 1We talked about small box joinery and decoration. I shared a couple of jigs to add a little punch to dovetail joinery, used a small router extensively and demonstrated differences between power tools and hand tools when producing line & berry work. And we walked through the steps to make a sand-shaded fan. We worked at a band saw, table saw and spindle sander to make the inlay for the spice box I first built for Popular Woodworking Magazine back in December 2001 and February 2002.

Group 2If you live near Lafayette and are a woodworker or thinking about woodworking as a hobby, you should get in touch with the Wabash Valley Woodworker’s club. I might see you there if I’m asked back. And if so, bring your swimming trunks – the river in front of the shop would be a nice way to cool off and I’m hoping it will be hot.

Build Something Great!



Filed under Uncategorized

Shop Fasteners

IMG_1468I consider myself a furniture maker; to me, that’s a sub-group of woodworkers. A furniture maker is more narrowly focused on building furniture. As a result, I have a narrow view on fasteners.

In my shop, I do not have the need for a drawer full of various-sized screws and nails. Throughout my shop life, I’ve found that I use one size slot-head screw for most every furniture-building need. That size is a #8 x 1-1/4″ flat-head wood screw.  That length allows me to join, even if I countersink the screw, two pieces of 3/4″ thick material – the thickness most commonly associated with furniture – without the worry of the the pointed end of the screw making an appearance on the show side of my project. (My hardware, whether brasses from a specialty hardware supplier or low-end hinges from my local hardware store, comes with the screws needed to use the pieces purchased. I do replace Phillips-head screws with slot-head screws)

I buy these screws by the gross. When I use them, for the most part, I strip off the zinc plating using gun bluing purchased from a sporting goods store – at least that’s where I easily find the solution.

IMG_1469Other screws I buy are square-drive, self-tapping screws used for jigs and other shop stuff, and I sometimes purchase other sizes of wood screws if I find the need. But that’s not often.

I have a similar philosophy when it comes to nails. I keep 1-1/4″ and 1-1/2″ fine finish (reproduction) nails on hand. And I have 1-1/4″ shingle nails (the headed ones in the above photo). The finish nails are used on show faces of nailed-together furniture, and the shingle nails are used mainly for backboards, and for interior work where the nails seldom show.

I’ve had a box of headless brads gathering dust in the shop for nearly 20 years. I discovered that these nails were a pain to install and set, IMG_1471but more importantly, I discovered that the small rectangular depression left by the #18-gauge nails driven by my air-powered nail guns look almost identical to hand-driven brads.  The only difference is that on occasion, hand-driven brads need to be pulled, and that messes up the surface. And before you write that air-driven brads can shoot out the sides of your projects, remember that you need to accurately size the brads for the task, and pay attention to grain direction. I have a couple of lengths of #18-gauge brads – 1″ and 1-1/4″.

I also use a #23-gauge fastener. These fasteners disappear, and are perfect on small moldings.

You can call me nail and screw deficient, but I’ve made it 22 years and built a few more than 500 pieces of furniture using just the fasteners. I think that’s all I need.

Build Something Great!



Filed under Hardware, Methods of Work, Shop Tips

More Uses for Handscrews

IMG_1459This week I worked on the hood details of my tall clocks – the plinths for brass finials. The parts are small. As I worked, I discovered that my handscrew clamps were often drawn into action. These clamps are a great way to hold small parts.

The center plinth had to be shaped with a small radius cut at the front and sides. The first use of the handscrew was to hold the two (one of each clock) plinths face to face so I could easily drill the front radius; one 3/8″ forestner bit cut and created a small 3/16″ radius. I then went to my spindle sander to form a similar radius on each of the two sides of the plinth.

IMG_1462After the radius was created, I had to remove the material left below and sanding away that amount was too time-consuming. Band saw, here I come. At the saw, I wasn’t going to hold the plinth with my hand. Handscrew to the rescue. With the small part locked in the clamp, it was easy to trim the waste.

Two more uses for what should be a staple in the shop. And I find old clamps best, so shop auctions in you’re looking to add handscrews to your selection.

The hood (shown below) is coming along great. I now need to begin final sanding and finish. Below is a look at the hood without the brass finials. I need to get those ordered. At $70 each, I’m not in a big rush.


Build Something Great!

Glen D. Huey


Filed under Methods of Work, Tall Clock