Tag Archives: school

Hand Tool School #32: Which Saw to Get First

I get asked which saw a beginning woodworker or even someone wanting to use more hand tools should buy first. There are a lot of things that make this answer “it depends” but I feel pretty strongly that it should be a carcass saw. This video is a detailed look at why it should be the first saw you buy and depending on how much hand tool work you do, maybe the last saw you buy.

PS: sorry I forgot to correct for the fisheye effect in a few of the wide angle shots, I think it looks kinda cool, but I’m sure someone out there won’t like it.

Saws Used in the Episode:

Bad Axe Small Tenon Saw with Hybrid Filing

Lie Nielsen Carcass Saw

Bontz Toolworks Carcass Saw

Bad Axe Sash Saw

Bad Axe Dovetail Saw

Bad Axe Stiletto Saw

Not shown, but still a great saw is the Veritas Carcass Saw

Don’t forget the vintage Market and guys like Hyperkitten or Jim Bode Tools

_______________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #32: Which Saw to Get First

I get asked which saw a beginning woodworker or even someone wanting to use more hand tools should buy first. There are a lot of things that make this answer “it depends” but I feel pretty strongly that it should be a carcass saw. This video is a detailed look at why it should be the first saw you buy and depending on how much hand tool work you do, maybe the last saw you buy.

PS: sorry I forgot to correct for the fisheye effect in a few of the wide angle shots, I think it looks kinda cool, but I’m sure someone out there won’t like it.

Saws Used in the Episode:

Bad Axe Small Tenon Saw with Hybrid Filing

Lie Nielsen Carcass Saw

Bontz Toolworks Carcass Saw

Bad Axe Sash Saw

Bad Axe Dovetail Saw

Bad Axe Stiletto Saw

Not shown, but still a great saw is the Veritas Carcass Saw

Don’t forget the vintage Market and guys like Hyperkitten or Jim Bode Tools

_______________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Design Job: Make a Visual Impact! Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) is Seeking a Director of Design in Providence, RI

RISD is seeking a Director of Design to convey the collective imagination of the college community through integrated print and digital communications that engage and inform diverse audiences, including prospective and current students, donors, faculty members, alumni and the general public. The director, who reports to the Chief Marketing

View the full design job here
Core77

Hand Tool School #31: Building a Simple Tool Tote

If you’re a fan of Roy Underhill/The Woodwright’s Shop, you’ve undoubtedly seen the handy tool tote he carries. In this video I’ll show you how to make one. Plus I detail a stupid-simple method of making compound butt joints by hand; no angle charts or compound miter saws necessary.

As usual, no electrons were harmed in the making of this project.

_______________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #31: Building a Simple Tool Tote

If you’re a fan of Roy Underhill/The Woodwright’s Shop, you’ve undoubtedly seen the handy tool tote he carries. In this video I’ll show you how to make one. Plus I detail a stupid-simple method of making compound butt joints by hand; no angle charts or compound miter saws necessary.

As usual, no electrons were harmed in the making of this project.

_______________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #31: Building a Simple Tool Tote

If you’re a fan of Roy Underhill/The Woodwright’s Shop, you’ve undoubtedly seen the handy tool tote he carries. In this video I’ll show you how to make one. Plus I detail a stupid-simple method of making compound butt joints by hand; no angle charts or compound miter saws necessary.

As usual, no electrons were harmed in the making of this project.

_______________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Old School Audition Polaroids Show Famous Actors When They Weren’t Famous

The vast majority of famous actors started out as not-so-famous. Only a few were famous as kids and stayed that way into adulthood. But for the rest, they had to go through the same grind that all actors in Hollywood do: dozens and hundreds of auditions, and often just as many rejections.

Back in the day, casting director Mali Finn revealed some of the famous actors he auditioned in the past. Check out the photos below, which include, among others, Ben Stiller, Benicio Del Toro, and Billy Bob Thornton, who looks nothing like an actor in his photo.

Finn, who cast movies such as Titanic, The Matrix, and Green Mile, passed away in 2007 at the age of 69.

h/t: bleachbypass


Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Old School Audition Polaroids Show Famous Actors When They Weren’t Famous

The vast majority of famous actors started out as not-so-famous. Only a few were famous as kids and stayed that way into adulthood. But for the rest, they had to go through the same grind that all actors in Hollywood do: dozens and hundreds of auditions, and often just as many rejections.

Back in the day, casting director Mali Finn revealed some of the famous actors he auditioned in the past. Check out the photos below, which include, among others, Ben Stiller, Benicio Del Toro, and Billy Bob Thornton, who looks nothing like an actor in his photo.

Finn, who cast movies such as Titanic, The Matrix, and Green Mile, passed away in 2007 at the age of 69.

h/t: bleachbypass


Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Hand Tool School #18: Wood Strength 101

Last night my Maple 18″ bowsaw broke. It’s a relatively well-made tool that I’ve maintained and used properly, but regular use over the last few years has weakened it and last night it just wore out.

This should be expected since the wood choice, Maple, was not the best to begin with. For those of you surprised by this, I’ll go into a little Wood 101 , slightly oversimplified, to explain. 

Hardness Does Not Always Equal Strength

The tiny pores are spread all over so there is no distinct plane of strength and little room to bend.

Yes, Maple is very hard, but hardness should not be confused with strength. Usually the harder a wood, the more brittle it becomes. The hardness is a reflection of the wood’s density. The tighter packed the fibers are, the less space in between them and less compression. This means that the wood doesn’t bend much, and very often you will find a higher MOE (modulus of elasticity) rating accompanies the species. When something doesn’t flex under a dynamic load, it relies only on the fibers to withstand the force and often will break or micro cracks will develop. When this break occurs it usually shatters instead of splinters. A good example of this is a Maple baseball bat versus an older Ash bat. In this case, Maple is a diffuse porous wood so it is very tightly packed and the open space (the pores) are tiny and evenly spaced in no particular pattern throughout the wood.

This ring porous wood clearly illustrates the lines of strength between the pores

Ash is ring porous, with larger pores ordered in neat rings, thus leaving non-porous material also lined up in between the pores. This makes for long strands of fibers that have room to flex into the open pores in a predictable manner.

Here is a food analogy you can use to illustrate this. Grab some spaghetti and hold 10 or 12 pieces loosely in your hand. Now bend them. They will flex a bit with the open space around them. Take those same pieces and grip them tightly so they are packed tightly together. Now bend them. They will snap very easily because there is no room to flex into.

Those pieces of spaghetti are all the same material with the same hardness properties. So hardness alone can’t be used to determine the strength of a wood since both Ash and Maple have similar Janka hardness ratings. (It is a good starting point, however, especially when you get into hardness ratings above 1500.)

Kiln Drying Makes the Cookie Crumble

Now add to the mix a kiln-dried wood. Kiln drying hardens the wood fibers, just like most things harden when they are baked. Take a flour tortilla and put it in the oven. In a few minutes you have a crispy tortilla that will break when you try to bend it. This is what is happening in a lumber kiln to some extent.

Kilns also use steam to lower this shock and keep the fibers more pliable. Take that same tortilla but wrap it in a wet paper towel then bake it. You will get a warm, but more flexible tortilla. (Anybody getting hungry yet?)

Air-dried wood does not rely on heat to force evaporation, so the fibers do not harden and they retain their natural pliability. The woods that are the strongest and handle dynamic forces best are ones that are air-dried regardless of species.

Sawing Goes Against the Grain

Sawing by its very nature cuts the wood fibers and rarely follows the natural grain. When you cut across the wood fibers you weaken the wood dramatically. Riving the wood splits it along the grain and exploits the natural weakness between the fibers while leaving long, continuous strands of wood fiber which are ridiculously strong.

A board comprised of a bunch of short fibers relies entirely on the “glue” between the fibers to hold it together. Cut a 1 inch piece off a board and you will see how easy it is to break in half across the grain with just your fingers. The “glue” isn’t strong enough to withstand even a little force. (Sorry no food analogy here, if you can think of one let me know.)

What is Strong?

In all of the cases above I am thinking about a situation where dynamic stresses will be placed on the wood. Let’s face it, if we make furniture, this is most of the time. From sliding a table across the floor to leaning back in a chair, our joinery and the wood itself is being subjected to varying levels of force.

A bowsaw is an extreme example, where a rigid cross piece aligns its strongest dimension against the weakest dimension of the arms. Then tension is applied by shortening the distance between the arms at the top while restraining the bottom with a saw blade. This is akin to breaking a board over your knee—it doesn’t take much force. The bowsaw arms are the same and you can easily snap one by applying too much tension. Likewise the constant tightening and loosening will wear out the fibers. Take a credit card and bend it and straighten it repeatedly. It will become very weak and eventually break.

So how does this help us choose a strong wood? It is all situational and one needs to recognize where the force will be placed on the wood and how much. A keepsake box sees very low stress so there is nothing to worry about. A dining chair sees a lot of stress and a combination of well-planned joinery and wood selection is in order. Usually chair makers rely on riven wood and optimize their joinery to place the strong dimensions so they are resisting or supporting each other.

Strength requirements vary dramatically and in most furniture it isn’t something we need to worry about. It’s when we get into the stuff that takes the most dynamic pressure that we need to start planning. Axe handles, chairs, roof trusses, and bow saws.

In a perfect world we could all be working with riven and air dried material. It would be ring porous to allow for a natural bending tendency. When some of these factors can’t be found then the others become all the more important.

The hardest is probably the air dried thing. Most of us only have access to kiln dried material so we need to choose our species wisely and if possible split out our parts to maximize the long grain. If you don’t have the extra stock to split it out then all you have going for you is choosing the species wisely and a nice ring porous wood is your best option. Think Ash, Hickory, Oak, or even Walnut (semi-ring porous).

A larger bow saw means a longer and wider blade so wood choice is key

So with all of this in mind, why did I make my own turning saw out of Maple? Simple answer, because it was pretty and I had it on hand. This saw needs much less tension with a shorter and narrower blade so it will perform nicely and has for some time. However I won’t be shocked when one day it snaps on me as I’m probably introducing micro fractures every time I use it.

The model available from Gramercy uses Hickory, and will outlast my shop-made one easily because it is a naturally bendy, ring porous wood. My larger bowsaw was expected to tension a much wider and longer blade plus cut through thicker stock. It makes sense then that the more heavy duty the tool, the more thought needs to go into wood choice.

If I can leave you with anything it is not to run for the hills panicking that all your projects will fall apart because you are using a hard and brittle wood that is kiln dried and sawn. Heck even my kiln dried, sawn, Maple bowsaw lasted four years of hard use before giving up. The key is that when it snapped, I was not surprised at all and even expected it. When I remake the arm, I will make two and use a more appropriate wood species.

The bowsaw is an extreme example with the forces it is expected to withstand, but hopefully a look at these principles will help you understand the material we all love that much more.

Now go make a spaghetti burrito.

___________________________________________________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #18: Wood Strength 101

Last night my Maple 18″ bowsaw broke. It’s a relatively well-made tool that I’ve maintained and used properly, but regular use over the last few years has weakened it and last night it just wore out.

This should be expected since the wood choice, Maple, was not the best to begin with. For those of you surprised by this, I’ll go into a little Wood 101 , slightly oversimplified, to explain. 

Hardness Does Not Always Equal Strength

The tiny pores are spread all over so there is no distinct plane of strength and little room to bend.

Yes, Maple is very hard, but hardness should not be confused with strength. Usually the harder a wood, the more brittle it becomes. The hardness is a reflection of the wood’s density. The tighter packed the fibers are, the less space in between them and less compression. This means that the wood doesn’t bend much, and very often you will find a higher MOE (modulus of elasticity) rating accompanies the species. When something doesn’t flex under a dynamic load, it relies only on the fibers to withstand the force and often will break or micro cracks will develop. When this break occurs it usually shatters instead of splinters. A good example of this is a Maple baseball bat versus an older Ash bat. In this case, Maple is a diffuse porous wood so it is very tightly packed and the open space (the pores) are tiny and evenly spaced in no particular pattern throughout the wood.

This ring porous wood clearly illustrates the lines of strength between the pores

Ash is ring porous, with larger pores ordered in neat rings, thus leaving non-porous material also lined up in between the pores. This makes for long strands of fibers that have room to flex into the open pores in a predictable manner.

Here is a food analogy you can use to illustrate this. Grab some spaghetti and hold 10 or 12 pieces loosely in your hand. Now bend them. They will flex a bit with the open space around them. Take those same pieces and grip them tightly so they are packed tightly together. Now bend them. They will snap very easily because there is no room to flex into.

Those pieces of spaghetti are all the same material with the same hardness properties. So hardness alone can’t be used to determine the strength of a wood since both Ash and Maple have similar Janka hardness ratings. (It is a good starting point, however, especially when you get into hardness ratings above 1500.)

Kiln Drying Makes the Cookie Crumble

Now add to the mix a kiln-dried wood. Kiln drying hardens the wood fibers, just like most things harden when they are baked. Take a flour tortilla and put it in the oven. In a few minutes you have a crispy tortilla that will break when you try to bend it. This is what is happening in a lumber kiln to some extent.

Kilns also use steam to lower this shock and keep the fibers more pliable. Take that same tortilla but wrap it in a wet paper towel then bake it. You will get a warm, but more flexible tortilla. (Anybody getting hungry yet?)

Air-dried wood does not rely on heat to force evaporation, so the fibers do not harden and they retain their natural pliability. The woods that are the strongest and handle dynamic forces best are ones that are air-dried regardless of species.

Sawing Goes Against the Grain

Sawing by its very nature cuts the wood fibers and rarely follows the natural grain. When you cut across the wood fibers you weaken the wood dramatically. Riving the wood splits it along the grain and exploits the natural weakness between the fibers while leaving long, continuous strands of wood fiber which are ridiculously strong.

A board comprised of a bunch of short fibers relies entirely on the “glue” between the fibers to hold it together. Cut a 1 inch piece off a board and you will see how easy it is to break in half across the grain with just your fingers. The “glue” isn’t strong enough to withstand even a little force. (Sorry no food analogy here, if you can think of one let me know.)

What is Strong?

In all of the cases above I am thinking about a situation where dynamic stresses will be placed on the wood. Let’s face it, if we make furniture, this is most of the time. From sliding a table across the floor to leaning back in a chair, our joinery and the wood itself is being subjected to varying levels of force.

A bowsaw is an extreme example, where a rigid cross piece aligns its strongest dimension against the weakest dimension of the arms. Then tension is applied by shortening the distance between the arms at the top while restraining the bottom with a saw blade. This is akin to breaking a board over your knee—it doesn’t take much force. The bowsaw arms are the same and you can easily snap one by applying too much tension. Likewise the constant tightening and loosening will wear out the fibers. Take a credit card and bend it and straighten it repeatedly. It will become very weak and eventually break.

So how does this help us choose a strong wood? It is all situational and one needs to recognize where the force will be placed on the wood and how much. A keepsake box sees very low stress so there is nothing to worry about. A dining chair sees a lot of stress and a combination of well-planned joinery and wood selection is in order. Usually chair makers rely on riven wood and optimize their joinery to place the strong dimensions so they are resisting or supporting each other.

Strength requirements vary dramatically and in most furniture it isn’t something we need to worry about. It’s when we get into the stuff that takes the most dynamic pressure that we need to start planning. Axe handles, chairs, roof trusses, and bow saws.

In a perfect world we could all be working with riven and air dried material. It would be ring porous to allow for a natural bending tendency. When some of these factors can’t be found then the others become all the more important.

The hardest is probably the air dried thing. Most of us only have access to kiln dried material so we need to choose our species wisely and if possible split out our parts to maximize the long grain. If you don’t have the extra stock to split it out then all you have going for you is choosing the species wisely and a nice ring porous wood is your best option. Think Ash, Hickory, Oak, or even Walnut (semi-ring porous).

A larger bow saw means a longer and wider blade so wood choice is key

So with all of this in mind, why did I make my own turning saw out of Maple? Simple answer, because it was pretty and I had it on hand. This saw needs much less tension with a shorter and narrower blade so it will perform nicely and has for some time. However I won’t be shocked when one day it snaps on me as I’m probably introducing micro fractures every time I use it.

The model available from Gramercy uses Hickory, and will outlast my shop-made one easily because it is a naturally bendy, ring porous wood. My larger bowsaw was expected to tension a much wider and longer blade plus cut through thicker stock. It makes sense then that the more heavy duty the tool, the more thought needs to go into wood choice.

If I can leave you with anything it is not to run for the hills panicking that all your projects will fall apart because you are using a hard and brittle wood that is kiln dried and sawn. Heck even my kiln dried, sawn, Maple bowsaw lasted four years of hard use before giving up. The key is that when it snapped, I was not surprised at all and even expected it. When I remake the arm, I will make two and use a more appropriate wood species.

The bowsaw is an extreme example with the forces it is expected to withstand, but hopefully a look at these principles will help you understand the material we all love that much more.

Now go make a spaghetti burrito.

___________________________________________________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #18: Wood Strength 101

Last night my Maple 18″ bowsaw broke. It’s a relatively well-made tool that I’ve maintained and used properly, but regular use over the last few years has weakened it and last night it just wore out.

This should be expected since the wood choice, Maple, was not the best to begin with. For those of you surprised by this, I’ll go into a little Wood 101 , slightly oversimplified, to explain. 

Hardness Does Not Always Equal Strength

The tiny pores are spread all over so there is no distinct plane of strength and little room to bend.

Yes, Maple is very hard, but hardness should not be confused with strength. Usually the harder a wood, the more brittle it becomes. The hardness is a reflection of the wood’s density. The tighter packed the fibers are, the less space in between them and less compression. This means that the wood doesn’t bend much, and very often you will find a higher MOE (modulus of elasticity) rating accompanies the species. When something doesn’t flex under a dynamic load, it relies only on the fibers to withstand the force and often will break or micro cracks will develop. When this break occurs it usually shatters instead of splinters. A good example of this is a Maple baseball bat versus an older Ash bat. In this case, Maple is a diffuse porous wood so it is very tightly packed and the open space (the pores) are tiny and evenly spaced in no particular pattern throughout the wood.

This ring porous wood clearly illustrates the lines of strength between the pores

Ash is ring porous, with larger pores ordered in neat rings, thus leaving non-porous material also lined up in between the pores. This makes for long strands of fibers that have room to flex into the open pores in a predictable manner.

Here is a food analogy you can use to illustrate this. Grab some spaghetti and hold 10 or 12 pieces loosely in your hand. Now bend them. They will flex a bit with the open space around them. Take those same pieces and grip them tightly so they are packed tightly together. Now bend them. They will snap very easily because there is no room to flex into.

Those pieces of spaghetti are all the same material with the same hardness properties. So hardness alone can’t be used to determine the strength of a wood since both Ash and Maple have similar Janka hardness ratings. (It is a good starting point, however, especially when you get into hardness ratings above 1500.)

Kiln Drying Makes the Cookie Crumble

Now add to the mix a kiln-dried wood. Kiln drying hardens the wood fibers, just like most things harden when they are baked. Take a flour tortilla and put it in the oven. In a few minutes you have a crispy tortilla that will break when you try to bend it. This is what is happening in a lumber kiln to some extent.

Kilns also use steam to lower this shock and keep the fibers more pliable. Take that same tortilla but wrap it in a wet paper towel then bake it. You will get a warm, but more flexible tortilla. (Anybody getting hungry yet?)

Air-dried wood does not rely on heat to force evaporation, so the fibers do not harden and they retain their natural pliability. The woods that are the strongest and handle dynamic forces best are ones that are air-dried regardless of species.

Sawing Goes Against the Grain

Sawing by its very nature cuts the wood fibers and rarely follows the natural grain. When you cut across the wood fibers you weaken the wood dramatically. Riving the wood splits it along the grain and exploits the natural weakness between the fibers while leaving long, continuous strands of wood fiber which are ridiculously strong.

A board comprised of a bunch of short fibers relies entirely on the “glue” between the fibers to hold it together. Cut a 1 inch piece off a board and you will see how easy it is to break in half across the grain with just your fingers. The “glue” isn’t strong enough to withstand even a little force. (Sorry no food analogy here, if you can think of one let me know.)

What is Strong?

In all of the cases above I am thinking about a situation where dynamic stresses will be placed on the wood. Let’s face it, if we make furniture, this is most of the time. From sliding a table across the floor to leaning back in a chair, our joinery and the wood itself is being subjected to varying levels of force.

A bowsaw is an extreme example, where a rigid cross piece aligns its strongest dimension against the weakest dimension of the arms. Then tension is applied by shortening the distance between the arms at the top while restraining the bottom with a saw blade. This is akin to breaking a board over your knee—it doesn’t take much force. The bowsaw arms are the same and you can easily snap one by applying too much tension. Likewise the constant tightening and loosening will wear out the fibers. Take a credit card and bend it and straighten it repeatedly. It will become very weak and eventually break.

So how does this help us choose a strong wood? It is all situational and one needs to recognize where the force will be placed on the wood and how much. A keepsake box sees very low stress so there is nothing to worry about. A dining chair sees a lot of stress and a combination of well-planned joinery and wood selection is in order. Usually chair makers rely on riven wood and optimize their joinery to place the strong dimensions so they are resisting or supporting each other.

Strength requirements vary dramatically and in most furniture it isn’t something we need to worry about. It’s when we get into the stuff that takes the most dynamic pressure that we need to start planning. Axe handles, chairs, roof trusses, and bow saws.

In a perfect world we could all be working with riven and air dried material. It would be ring porous to allow for a natural bending tendency. When some of these factors can’t be found then the others become all the more important.

The hardest is probably the air dried thing. Most of us only have access to kiln dried material so we need to choose our species wisely and if possible split out our parts to maximize the long grain. If you don’t have the extra stock to split it out then all you have going for you is choosing the species wisely and a nice ring porous wood is your best option. Think Ash, Hickory, Oak, or even Walnut (semi-ring porous).

A larger bow saw means a longer and wider blade so wood choice is key

So with all of this in mind, why did I make my own turning saw out of Maple? Simple answer, because it was pretty and I had it on hand. This saw needs much less tension with a shorter and narrower blade so it will perform nicely and has for some time. However I won’t be shocked when one day it snaps on me as I’m probably introducing micro fractures every time I use it.

The model available from Gramercy uses Hickory, and will outlast my shop-made one easily because it is a naturally bendy, ring porous wood. My larger bowsaw was expected to tension a much wider and longer blade plus cut through thicker stock. It makes sense then that the more heavy duty the tool, the more thought needs to go into wood choice.

If I can leave you with anything it is not to run for the hills panicking that all your projects will fall apart because you are using a hard and brittle wood that is kiln dried and sawn. Heck even my kiln dried, sawn, Maple bowsaw lasted four years of hard use before giving up. The key is that when it snapped, I was not surprised at all and even expected it. When I remake the arm, I will make two and use a more appropriate wood species.

The bowsaw is an extreme example with the forces it is expected to withstand, but hopefully a look at these principles will help you understand the material we all love that much more.

Now go make a spaghetti burrito.

___________________________________________________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

For Design Geeks: Old School Tattoos That Pay Tribute To Famous Typefaces

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, designer Will Jr. has created a series of temporary tattoos that feature well-known typefaces, including Helvetica, Garamond and Futura. Inspired by old school tattoo artworks, each of these designs consist of a single letter that is surrounded by decorative elements like floral motifs—the name of the typeface is spelled out on a banner placed across the letter. For instance, the Raleway tattoo features the letter ‘C’, while the Playfair one is built around the letter ‘D’.

More info: Behance (h/t: designtaxi)












Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

For Design Geeks: Old School Tattoos That Pay Tribute To Famous Typefaces

Based in São Paulo, Brazil, designer Will Jr. has created a series of temporary tattoos that feature well-known typefaces, including Helvetica, Garamond and Futura. Inspired by old school tattoo artworks, each of these designs consist of a single letter that is surrounded by decorative elements like floral motifs—the name of the typeface is spelled out on a banner placed across the letter. For instance, the Raleway tattoo features the letter ‘C’, while the Playfair one is built around the letter ‘D’.

More info: Behance (h/t: designtaxi)












Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Hand Tool School #6: If I Build This, Would I be Profiting From Someone Else’s Design?

I need some help, dear readers. As I’m outlining projects I want to build in future semesters of The Hand Tool School, as well as future projects on my Renaissance Woodworker site, I have come across a design conundrum:

The iconic Conoid Chair by the Nakashima Furniture Company.

Technically everything I do both on my free RW site and my premium Hand Tool School site is, in some way, for profit. The RW site is really a marketing engine for the pay site, and through it I also receive income (albeit small) from affiliates and Google. So if I build a project based on a modern design where the originator is still alive, or at least a company maintains the design, is this unethical?

For example, I have been wanting to do some more contemporary stuff in The Hand Tool School. I would love to build a Conoid chair by George Nakashima or a Maloof style chair. I’ve also had readers write in and ask how I’d go about constructing the Yaffe Mays Sligo chair. Is this profiting from someone else’s design if I build it and document it on my website? What if I build it as part of a paid semester at The Hand Tool School?

Using words like “inspired by” or “in the style of” gets into some hot water too as no matter what changes I make, the source will still be obvious. And in many cases, the original design is just right and why would I want to alter anything?

The Sligo chair by Yaffe Mays Co.

If I were just any old woodworker documenting one of his builds, I don’t think this would be an issue. However, the Renaissance Woodworker persona and everything related to it has become its own business (and a full time job) so do I now cross a line by building a modern piece? I may be building a piece for my own use and enjoyment and not even trying to “teach” someone how to build the piece, but the fact that I broadcast it on one of my properties could be seen as profiting from the design. Of course legality is a major concern, but there is also the gray area of perception. While I may be legally safe, would I become a pariah in the woodworking community for being perceived as stealing someone else’s work?

I want to do the right thing, but you can see how this gets a little hazy. What do you think? And where do you draw the line between a direct copy and a piece “inspired by” someone else’s work? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

________________________________________________

This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


Core77

Hand Tool School #6: If I Build This, Would I be Profiting From Someone Else’s Design?

I need some help, dear readers. As I’m outlining projects I want to build in future semesters of The Hand Tool School, as well as future projects on my Renaissance Woodworker site, I have come across a design conundrum:

The iconic Conoid Chair by the Nakashima Furniture Company.

Technically everything I do both on my free RW site and my premium Hand Tool School site is, in some way, for profit. The RW site is really a marketing engine for the pay site, and through it I also receive income (albeit small) from affiliates and Google. So if I build a project based on a modern design where the originator is still alive, or at least a company maintains the design, is this unethical?

For example, I have been wanting to do some more contemporary stuff in The Hand Tool School. I would love to build a Conoid chair by George Nakashima or a Maloof style chair. I’ve also had readers write in and ask how I’d go about constructing the Yaffe Mays Sligo chair. Is this profiting from someone else’s design if I build it and document it on my website? What if I build it as part of a paid semester at The Hand Tool School?

Using words like “inspired by” or “in the style of” gets into some hot water too as no matter what changes I make, the source will still be obvious. And in many cases, the original design is just right and why would I want to alter anything?

The Sligo chair by Yaffe Mays Co.

If I were just any old woodworker documenting one of his builds, I don’t think this would be an issue. However, the Renaissance Woodworker persona and everything related to it has become its own business (and a full time job) so do I now cross a line by building a modern piece? I may be building a piece for my own use and enjoyment and not even trying to “teach” someone how to build the piece, but the fact that I broadcast it on one of my properties could be seen as profiting from the design. Of course legality is a major concern, but there is also the gray area of perception. While I may be legally safe, would I become a pariah in the woodworking community for being perceived as stealing someone else’s work?

I want to do the right thing, but you can see how this gets a little hazy. What do you think? And where do you draw the line between a direct copy and a piece “inspired by” someone else’s work? Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

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This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


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Cozy School Bus Conversion

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According to the bus owner: “It’s a 1997 school bus, not too long, not too short. There is a sofa, table, woodstove and full bed. There is ambient light and electricity on the bus as well as several candles. It has a wood floor and wood wall siding. It’s in a private area of my yard and in the warmer weather there is a hammock and tree swing to be enjoyed just outside the bus.”

More info: Airbnb

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“Aside from the bus, my bathroom is shared and my kitchen can be used also if requested. It depends on what the guest seems to prefer. I have had dinner with guests and taken them on tours of the area, picked them up from the train, given rides, etc. Many guest prefer to just have some privacy in the country and I respect that totally. I also work a lot which can hinder my availabilityon certain days.”

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Design You Trust. Design, Culture & Society.

Hand Tool School #3: Difficult is Just Easy Work Done Slowly

What was the last difficult moment you had with a project? Was it a particularly complex joint or a nasty bit of figured grain? How did you tackle it? I bet the solution, regardless of the tools being used, was to slow down and take care of it meticulously. If you think about it, “difficult” tasks just force us to slow down. Sometimes to glacial speeds.

So when you look at it that way, no project is really that hard to make, but rather just slower.

It’s quite liberating!

I’m a firm believer that any woodworker of any skill level should feel free to tackle any project that strikes their fancy. Woodworking is just a series of individual tasks, often repeated many, many times. Break down those tasks far enough and you will see just how simple a project can be. For that matter, the tools we use to do those tasks play a major role in how “difficult” it is to accomplish.

Consider the humble groove for, say, a drawer bottom:

Option 1

Cut with a router and a bearing guided bit, this is fast and easy. The slow part is in setting the bit height and securing the workpiece. Now drop that router into a table with a lift and the groove becomes even easier (faster). 

Option 2

On the non-powered front, using a plow plane is just as easy. Set the fence and depth stop and the joint is a cinch. 

Option 3

Take away the plow plane and hand the woodworker just a chisel. Funny how “difficult” that simple groove is now. In actuality, the act of using a chisel to chop out a groove is as simple and easy as can be, but you have to go slowly and meticulously lay out the extents of the groove. And you’ve got to be careful of taking too heavy a bite with the chisel while ensuring you maintain an equal depth. There are a lot of variables to keep track of that, with other tools, we could rely on fences and depth stops and bearings to take care of.

It’s the same joint, but each method discussed above takes different amounts of time and can therefore be perceived as more difficult than another.

Now I have cut grooves using all of these methods (plus a few more) and one quickly learns that this “difficult” joint can be made easier by bringing to bear a different tool. But that’s not always the case. Whether because the best tool is cost prohibitive or just so specific as to not be logical for a unique situation. But there are also times when no matter what tool you throw at the problem, it won’t speed things up. These tasks are the truly difficult ones that scare many a woodworker away.

For me it was the ball and claw foot. There were several lovely furniture pieces I wanted to build but they all included the ball and claw foot. I loved this detail and didn’t want to skip it so I seemed to have no option but to either cower in fear or suck it up and learn to carve this detail.

My first example took me about five hours, but when finished it looked really good. I would not have hesitated to use it in a project. There was no way to speed this up other than make some more and to get more comfortable with the steps and with the carving gouges. But as evidenced by the respectable appearance of my first foot, it wasn’t hard at all, just slow.

Hopefully you are starting to see what I’m talking about and perhaps that bucket list project of yours went from scary and difficult to something that you just need to slow down and get done.

Your Turn

Name a difficult woodworking task that has you stumped. I bet we can figure out an easy way to do it slowly.

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This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


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Hand Tool School #2: Defect or Opportunity?

I’m building a tool cabinet right now for the final semester project at my Hand Tool School. I was going through a stack of rough sawn Cherry, matching color and grain and assigning each piece to a part of my build. I came across a 10 by 50 board that had a small knot right in the middle, about 2/3 of the way down the length. Not really a big deal. It would make hand planing the board a little more difficult but I figured I was up to the challenge.

I flipped the board over and that little knot had bloomed into a canyon on the opposite face. Probably a branch formed at this point on the tree and then had broken off leaving this chasm. What to do here? The grain around the knot of course begins to swirl like water down a drain and in order to cut out the knot and leave straight grain that would match with the rest of my piece, I would need to sacrifice quite a bit of material leaving me with two much shorter pieces around 26 and 12? long. These two pieces would fit within the dimension I need for parts in my build and I could move on happily without the defect.

Maybe this “defect” is really just an opportunity. I think that there is a way to embrace this knot hole and make it a feature in a table top. Imagine creating a spot for a built in Ikebana style flower arrangement growing right out of the top. Or fill the hole with clear resin and encase something within it. The swirling grain around the knot makes me think of a Zen rock garden so I have visions of turning the knot into a tiny Koi pond and highlighting the grain around it. Even just leaving the knot open and planing the board until you get a through hole would make for a real point of interest in a top while making it clear to the casual observer that this piece came from a tree. You could use this as a door panel that provides a sneak peek of what is inside the cabinet. Maybe I have been reading Nakashima too much lately, but I’m really excited by the opportunity presented by this “defect.”

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This “Hand Tool School” series is provided courtesy of Shannon Rogers, a/k/a The Renaissance Woodworker. Rogers is founder of The Hand Tool School, which provides members with an online apprenticeship that teaches them how to use hand tools and to build furniture with traditional methods.


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Design Job: Turn Your Career Around as Parsons School of Design’s Ceramic and Wet Shop Technician in New York, NY

Parsons School of Design, a division of The New School, seeks a full-time Ceramics & Wet Shop Technician in the Parsons Making Center. The technician will oversee the day to day operations of the wet shop facility and should have a strong command of current ceramic, clay, and plaster processes.

View the full design job here
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