Archive

Archive for the ‘Shop Tips & Tricks’ Category

Building A Simple Knife Block

February 12, 2011 Leave a comment

The other day I was at my mother-in-laws house for dinner and she asked me if I could make something for her. I already had several irons in the fire but what was one more.

Before I even knew what it was, I told her “yes” so I was committed to the project, large or small.

She walked over to her kitchen counter and picked up a small knife block and set it on the dining room table in front of me. I looked at it and said, “Is that it?” I was shocked and relieved that I had just been asked to do one of the simplest woodworking projects I had ever seen. She told me she wanted some more to set out on the tables during large family gatherings and parties.

That evening I took her store bought version with me as a sample, even though it was not really necessary.

The next day, I gathered up some wood scraps and cut offs I had sitting around the woodshop and immediately went to work.

The cores of the Knife Blocks are 2” wide, 5” long and 2” thick. I put a full kerf blade in my table saw and set the height of the blade and my fence to the spacing I desired.  After a few passes through the table saw, I had 6 slots for the knives. I cut two 1/4” side panels for each block and glued them in place.

After a little sanding and finishing the Knife Blocks were complete. The setup process was so quick and easy; I made about 20 Knife Blocks and plan to pass them out to the rest of the family.

So, if you are looking for a simple project to make your mother-in -law happy, make her a Knife Block for her knives.

Just remember not to start making jokes when she’s putting the knives in it!

Timely Projects

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Are you looking for a quick and easy project that you can complete in a weekend?

Do you need to make a gift for someone but have no clue what to make?

Here is your chance to make a one-of-a-kind project or gift that requires only a few tools and can be enjoyable for woodworkers of all skill levels.

What could this project be?

Clock making of course!

Clocks make great gifts and can be as simple or as complicated as you want them to be. With today’s broad selection of movements, hands, faces, and wood species, clock making allows your creativity to shine and show people what you can do.

 

I started making clocks when I was a child. I would go to the local woodworking supply store with my father or grandfather and inevitably end up in the clock parts section. I was always fascinated by the mechanics of clocks. I can remember getting a simple quartz movement and going home to search through the scrap wood pile to find a leftover piece of unique looking wood. Sometimes I would get lucky and find a nice burled piece.

 

With just a little cutting, sanding and finishing, I had the perfect backdrop to insert my quartz movement into. Then I would quickly assemble my clock and show it off to the family. I still see many of my simple clock creations to this day when I visit with my family.

So, moral of the story is: Be creative and the next time you need a unique gift or you are looking for a simple and unique project to occupy your time, build a clock. They can be great fun!

Abatron Wood Rebuilder

February 9, 2011 Leave a comment

Dan writes:

Last year I showed you what a wonderful job my Earlex sprayer did on my old porch rocking chairs. Well it was a bad weather season and the lower rockers were starting to rot out on me. What was I to do about that? Well, Abatron’s Wood Restoration Kit came to the rescue!

 

This two part epoxy system was easy to use and did the trick.

 

 

I first cleaned out the rotten wood and  mixed the Liquid Wood resins in a rubber mixing bowl and brushed it onto the rotted out runners. While the Liquid Wood was still tacky, I mixed the two parts of the WoodEpox on a piece of glass and using my spatula, I spread it over the rocker and built up a nice base.

 

A helpful hint was to keep placing my spatula in  water which really helped smooth it out.

 

After a few days of curing and drying, it was sanded, painted and ready for another few years of good use on the old front porch at my house.

 

 

 

 

But I didn’t stop there.

 

To protect it and make it slide a little easier, I put a slick strip (400-1158) over the runners.

 

It was fast, easy and a pleasure to work with. I have lots left over for more “rotten” projects in the future.

The Router Bit Basics

January 21, 2011 1 comment

*** This post is courtesy of Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench ***

So, you have a router.  Great. It’s a very useful tool, allowing you to cut joinery, shape moldings, thickness boards and a host of other uses. Maybe yours has an ultra-smooth plunge action. Perhaps a soft electronic start. A massively useful edge guide. Go ahead. Open the case on your router and breathe in the multitasking goodness.  Take your time.  I’ll give you a minute…

Tom really, really loves routers!

Oh, wait, there may be one little detail you have overlooked, isn’t there? That’s right – the router itself has to be paired with router bits to do its woodworking goodness. Without router bits, your router is really a high-tech, tricked out paperweight.

So, what can you do to remedy this situation?  There are two different routes you can take.  First, you can buy bits one at a time as the need arises. But, if you do that, there’s a chance you’ll be mid-project without the bit you need.  The other option is to buy a set of bits to have the basics on hand. In this scenario, you’ll discover that you use some bits until their carbide is about to fall off while others sit idle in the case.  I’ve approached the router bit buying routine from both sides as my woodworking skills have developed and have arrived at a third avenue of choice.  That would be to ask your woodworking friends what bits they use the most and pick those most useful up first.

What are my most used bits?  I’m glad you asked.  They include:

A 1/2” straight cutting bit. If you are going to route dadoes or rabbets, you could do a whole lot worse than this workhorse. If you are working with material thicker than ½”, you can cut your dado and then use the bit to rabbet the material being inserted into the groove so it fits the channel. This bit can also be used to set your router table up as a jointer using an offset fence.

A 3/8” up-spiral bit. Your plunge router makes a very handy and effective mortising machine. Since I frequently use 3/8” mortises when joining ¾” material, this bit gives me the dimension to shoot for. The up-spiral bit helps eject the router shavings effectively while you are plunging the router.

A 1/2” top bearing pattern following bit. If you want to ensure that identical project pieces are truly identical, cut a template from an inexpensive sheet material such as MDF and pattern-route the pieces to shape. A very cool technique that will improve your woodworking. A bonus use – you can run this bit against a straight edge and cut dadoes in sheet goods.

A 1/2” round over bit. Cut pieces of wood have very sharp edges on them. Easing these edges makes your projects more comfortable to handle and the rounded over edge is less likely to splinter if handled roughly. You can adjust how much is cut by changing the amount of bit that’s exposed for cutting.

A 1/2” cove bit. This bit cuts the mirror image of the round over bit, scooping out an area of wood. Combining the round over and cove bits creatively can allow you to cut some very cool looking moldings with basic bits.

A 3/4” chamfer bit. In addition to knocking a 45 degree edge off of projects and moldings, you can also use this bit to ensure mitered project parts are accurately milled to 45 degrees, ready to be joined into perfect, airtight miters.

A 3/4”, 14 degree dovetail bit.  When you buy a router jig to cut dovetails, you probably won’t be using this bit to do your cutting.  Most jigs require different sizes or diameters of bits to work properly.  However, this bit can allow you to master another awesome joint – the sliding dovetail. Once you learn how to cut one, you’ll be hooked.

*** Specials thanks to Tom Iovino, a true Shop Monkey,  for this post.  He will be providing posts on a monthly basis for Eagle America, check back again soon. *** Read more…

He rang the bell, you can too!

January 20, 2011 1 comment

You can imagine how excited we were when we stumbled across this blog post at KimbertonWoodWorks.com.  He did an amazing job creating hardwood bowls & trays with his router and our Bells bowl & tray template.  Take a look at his results:

 

Making bowls & trays with your router is fun, easy and rewarding.  We have a large selection of templates for you to choose from, as well as all of the router bits and router accessories you will ever need to get the job done right the first time.  Click over to www.EagleAmerica.com today and start making bowls tomorrow.

Choosing a Saw Blade

January 13, 2011 2 comments

Our friend Rob Robillard at A Concord Carpenter just posted a great blog article on how to choose a woodworking saw blade.  If you get a chance, click over and give it a quick read.  He reviews saw blade safety, the different types of woodworking saw blades and the three basic tooth designs of blades.

 

Quality Always Comes First

One of my favorite tips in the article is “don’t buy a saw blade on price”.  I couldn’t agree more!  However, that needs to be qualified.  What he is saying is that cheap manufacturing often gives you cheap results.  I am a huge proponent of VALUE shopping, trying to find the best possible quality for a very fair price.  So, if you cannot find a Forrest  blade in your price range you are better to look at a high quality Freud blade rather than a generic brand that you might find at Home Depot.

 

I would rather say “don’t buy a woodworking saw blade based on list price” for two reasons.  One is the quality manufacturing argument I make above.  The other is simple – sometimes there are GREAT sale prices on high quality woodworking saw blades.  For example, this week only Eagle America is running a huge Table Saw Blade Sale.  We have taken 15% OFF our entire selection of high quality saw blades from some of the woodworking industry’s biggest names.  Click over today and save,  you won’t be disappointed in either the quality of these blades or the price you pay.

Sharpening Router Bits

January 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Simply put, woodworkers are busy people.  If woodworking is your profession (you lucky dog!) then you practice the craft from 8am to 5pm all week-long and often on weekends.  If woodworking is your hobby, you probably work all week and try to carve time out for your projects at night and on the weekends.  Long story short, you probably don’t want to slow down to sharpen all of your tools…especially your router bitsThis recent post on LumberJocks.com caught my attention…and since we are “The World’s Router Bit & Woodworking Source” it really caught my eye.

Pocket Diamond Honing Stones are perfect for sharpening your bits

As the article illustrates, you should really own a set of Pocket Diamond Honing Stones as pictured above.  Our 4-Piece set is available for only $29.99 and they are well worth the investment since they can be used to quickly and easily sharpen your router bits, shaper cutters, hand chisels  and other woodworking tools.  We take pride in our router bits, both our domestic Eagle America brand as well as our imported PriceCutter line, and think you would benefit greatly by keeping them in tip-top shape.  All cutting tools, be they table saw blades, router bits or shaper cutters, are designed to give you optimal performance when they are nice and sharp.  Will you make a Woodworking New Year’s Resolution to sharpen your tools every time you are done using them?  It could be just a quick pass or two with the honing stones, it doesn’t have to be hours of work.  That way your tools are ready to go the next time you need them.  Is that practical or just wishful thinking?  Let us know what you think.

Woodworking Gift Tips from The Shop Monkey

December 11, 2010 1 comment

Our friend Tom Iovino over at Tom’s Workbench is once again featured in the December/January issue of Wood Magazine.  This month’s article is titled “Living in the Present – Keep your sanity during the holidays”.  What a great article on making woodworking gifts!  Keep reading below…

Tom "The Shop Monkey" Iovino is back - are you living in the present?

The article can only be read by purchasing the current issue of Wood Magazine, they don’t offer it online for free for some time.  However, here are the three key tips Tom covers in the article:

  1. Start Early
  2. Build it Small
  3. Stick to the Known

You need to buy the magazine to see what else Tom has to say but I couldn’t agree with him more!  However, with only 2 weeks to go until Christmas you might be in a pinch to start early this year.  At this point you should build something small and stick to techniques and tools that you are familiar with.  At Eagle America we have some great project suggestions for you:

  1. Make Holiday Bowls and Trays – they are very quick and easy to make, the perfect mass-production weekend project.  We have the router bits and router templates you need to get the job done right the first time.
  2. Make Hardwood Signs – Help your loved ones personalize their woodshops, homes or offices.  Again, we have the router bits and router jig you need to get it done now.
  3. Make Beautiful Keepsake Boxes – A project that lets your loved ones keep their jewelry or other keepsakes protected.  We have the router bits and box making accessories that you need to make that box beautiful…and even to help it sing.

Time is short, stop reading this blog post and click over to Eagle America today.  Pick a project, get your supplies…and get to work!

Shaper Cutters – The Next Best Thing to Router Bits

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

You know the fondness we hold at Eagle America for Router Bits.  However, many professional woodworkers or professional cabinet shops often opt to use a Shaper as opposed to a Router.  We have nothing against the Shaper, we promise!  That’s why we offer a wide selection of our Advantage brand Shaper Cutters for you to choose from.

As with the woodworking router, the woodworking shaper is only as good as the shaper cutters that you put into it. Ours will make you smile when you see the clean, smooth finishes that they produce thanks to their razor-sharp edges. Each features:

  • Extra thick German K-20 industrial carbide that will last many sharpenings
  • Longer life and smoother cuts due to being diamond honed to 800 grit
  • Precision ground steel bodies
  • Special coating to prevent rust and resin buildup
  • Three wing anti-kickback design

The shaper is only as versatile its shaper cutters. Eagle America is proud to offer you one of the widest selections of woodworking shaper cutters on the market. Wood shaper cutters have never been better than this!  Ours have been contractor and professional tested, we know you will love them. Click over today to see our full selection.

Beautiful Bowls & Trays Made By Someone Like You

November 30, 2010 Leave a comment

I was reading a thread on Router Forums earlier today and stumbled across a post from Danny.  In short, he said this: “I’m making a bunch of candy trays and chip trays for Christmas presents, and the wife decided I need to make them in the holiday shapes using templates from Eagle.”  Want to see his handy work?

Amazing Craftsmanship by Danny from Router Forums

Amazing Craftsmanship by Danny from Router Forums

 

Well done Danny!  We know there be lots of smiles on people’s faces when they open those presents on Christmas morning.  Any way you can email us some pictures of those warm smiles!?!  If you are motivated by Danny’s work, it is not too late to get started.  You still have a good three weeks to make some bowls and trays of your own.  Just click the image below to see our vast selection of router bowl & tray templates as well as the router bits and supplies that you will need to get the job done right.

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.