Archive for April, 2012

Choosing the Right Tablesaw

Tablesaws can be one of the most useful power tools of the woodworker. It can be quite an investment, so you want to make sure that you choose the right one for yourself. There are portable saws, cabinet saws, hybrids, and contractor saws. Each class of saw is different and knowing the difference will help you to choose the correct one for your needs.

Portable Tablesaw: The portable saw is great for people who may want to move their saw around from one site to another. You can simply lift up one side, like a wheel barrow, and then the wheels are engaged for easy maneuverability. This saw is great if you keep your tools inside the garage, but do your actual cutting outside of the garage. It is also useful if you’re doing carpentry jobs at other people’s homes. These saws use a smaller motor than the bigger tablesaws, so they might lack a little on power and make more noise, but they are still great for most home improvement.

Keep in mind that portable saws have aluminum tops, as opposed to cast iron, so they are louder with more vibration, and don’t make finely accurate cuts that you may be looking for if you are planning on doing more serious woodworking or cutting more hardwoods.

Contractor Tablesaw: Contractor saws are portable tablesaws with cast iron tops and more precision than the aluminum portable saw. This is what most people use for hobby woodworking. It is an affordable option, but is still loud due to the motor not being enclosed. Some people, like contractors, like having the higher quality saw while still retaining the portability of the portable saw.

Cabinet Tablesaw: The cabinet tablesaw is meant for serious woodworkers. It is made of cast iron and steel parts, has very little vibration, and can cut through thick and hardwoods with ease. This tablesaw has less alignment problems and needs less calibration than other saws. This saw is ideal for woodshops because it can handle pretty much anything that you throw at it. The motor is enclosed and produces a lot less noise than other saws. It does require a 220 volt circuit to operate and weighs over 500 pounds, cost more and is not portable, so consider that before you buy.

Hybrid Tablesaw: A hybrid tablesaw is the saw that most woodworkers can afford without sacrificing some of the qualities that they would like in a cabinet saw. This one would be considered “in between” the portable saw and the cabinet saw. The motor is enclosed, giving you quieter performance than portable saws. Hybrid saws also have better built motors and belt systems than portable saws. They can be used with your standard outlets and are easy to calibrate. This saw gives most woodworkers the performance and precision that they need without having to make a hefty investment in a cabinet saw.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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In the Style of the Shakers

Shaker furniture has been popular for centuries. The basic idea behind the design is that it is simple, sturdy, and functional. It is said that the Shakers believed that what they produced should be “devoid of all that is useless and vain”. Many woodworkers admire their designs because while decoration and embellishments are absent, sound structure, intricate joinery, and innovative designs are abundant.

Shakers came to America from Manchester, England in 1774. The Shaker style of furniture was developed by the “United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing”, who were a devout group of Christians known for their work ethic and communal living style. Their designs are inspired by the simplistic lives that they chose to lead based on their religious beliefs and practices. Because the Shakers were not interested in modernization and mass fabrication, their furniture makers were not influenced by the outside world. Perhaps this is why their minds were left free to invent many of the woodworking tools and techniques that we use today, like the circular saw and many types of joinery.

Many people love to collect and build Shaker furniture and enjoy the timeless simplicity of the classic pieces. Each piece built is said to be an “instant heirloom” because of the high quality and sturdy designs of each piece. The Shakers believed that they served God by taking great care in completing every task. Quality woods and materials were used to build Shaker style furniture. Finishing was always done by hand and no shortcuts were taken. If you want to build something that is reminiscent of the Shaker tradition, then you should take your time and make sure that everything is done in the best way possible. Even dovetailing is done by hand on traditional Shaker pieces.

Shaker furniture is thought to be the inspiration for we consider “modern” furniture design. Dressers were often built with many drawers in anticipation for future family growth. Fanciful details were not tolerated by their Millennial Law. It stated that form and color of architecture, furniture and even art must be void of odd or fanciful styles among Believers. They believed in keeping everything efficient, tidy, and easily maintained. Buildings and furniture alike were created symmetrical and free of embellishments. However, they did not sacrifice quality on any level. In fact, they used marble and granite as foundations for their buildings, even after concrete was readily available to them.

Studying the Shaker history will definitely put you in the right frame of mind to work on your Shaker style woodworking or furniture project. The product that you end up with is sure to be a treasured piece in your home for generations to come.

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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Chair Repair DIY

Many furniture pieces tend to fall apart over time. This is especially common of antiques or any furniture which may bear the brunt of weight, such as chairs. This may be particularly true of chairs with backrests made of dowels. Certainly, when it comes to antiques, the goal is to maintain the unique, aged piece for as long as possible. And as it pertains to more modern day styles of furniture, the goal is to maintain each piece for as long as the style remains chic and to the owner’s liking, as well as to maintain it for as long as possible in order to conserve economically. Should mishaps happen to a chair’s backrest, however, you may be able to salvage it by replacing the wooden dowels on your own.

Start by removing the weakened or broken dowel. If the dowel doesn’t come loose on its own, you may have to use pliers, a claw hammer, or even a drill to loosen it, depending upon the original design and method used to secure the dowel. This will need to be done for the joints at both the top and the bottom of the backrest.

Next, remove any residual of the original glue that remains in the dowel joint. You can use rubbing alcohol or a water and vinegar mixture to soften the remaining glue. If the dowel joint is large enough to allow it, use a cloth to remove the residual glue by wiping it away. If the dowel joint is too small to allow that, however, you may use a drill with a small 1/8 drill bit to gently drill away the residual glue. As with removing the dowel, this will have to be done on both the top and the bottom of the backrest, anywhere wood glue residual is observed.

Use the dowel you’ve removed to gauge the approximate width and length of the wood dowel you will need to replace it. Depending upon any breaks or other defects, this may not provide an exact measurement, but can certainly assist in a useful estimation.

Once the replacement dowel is measured, cut, sanded, or any combination of these preparatory actions, apply wood glue on either end. Also, apply a nominal amount of wood glue into the joint in which the replacement dowel will be inserted.

Then, carefully insert the replacement dowel into the joint. Use a damp cloth to remove any excess wood glue that may spill over once the dowel is inserted. You may use a clamp to secure the replacement dowel until it dries completely.

Once the replacement dowel is completely dry, tested as secure, and the clamp removed, paint the new dowel with the same or a highly similar color as the remainder of the chair. If the chair is stained, stain the new dowel with the same or a highly similar finish.

With minimal investment, a hardwood dowel can be used to salvage your chairs and any number of other furniture pieces which might cost a considerable amount if replacements are purchased. A dowel’s versatility and a woodworker’s imagination can make so much using so little!

About the Author: Dave Murphy is the founder and president of Good Wood, Inc., which makes a high quality wood dowel and the best hardwood dowel on the market. They also create wooden balls, wood knobs, wooden toy parts, custom wood parts, and more. They offer safe wood finishing, wood turning and can import from off-shore when necessary. Visit http://www.goodwoodinc.com for all of your wood product needs.

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