As you may know, I recently moved to a new shop where I’m building furniture full time. This gave me the opportunity to overhaul my old dust collection system. Previously the system used a 2hp single stage collector with 4″ flex hose running to all my machines. I was never happy with its performance and assumed it was the fault of the collector since my shop at the time was small and the runs were short.
The new system uses the same 2hp collector but the ducting is 6″ diameter HVAC metal ducting with 4″ diameter flex hose only at the tool. This system performs so much better than my old set up. I now blame the olds system poor performance solely on the flex hose.
Check out the video below to see how I installed the new system and look below the video for links to the products I used in building it.
Items used in building the dust collection system:
Recently I built an iPhone charging dock to give as some gifts. I used Mahogany on these ones but in the past I’ve built them from Walnut as well. These are a super easy project and you can knock them out really quickly. If you’d like to see how I make them check out the video below.
Every year people always ask what sort of gifts I would like for the holidays. Of course my mind immediately goes to woodworking, as does theirs. But buying gifts for a woodworker can be intimidating. We all have our own preferences and gifting something that falls within those preferences can be difficult.
This year, I’ve decided to put together a list of woodworking related gifts that can be purchased for the woodworker in your life. Or that the woodworker in your life can point you to for a little help. The majority of these gifts can be had for $50 or less!
Corner Chisel – This is a super handy tool for cleaning up the corners of hinge mortises.
This is just a small list of things that any woodworker would love to get as a gift for the holidays or any other occasion. I personally use many of these very same products or would love to have them in my shop. Buy with confidence for the woodworker in your life this year!
All of the links above are affiliate links. That means when you purchase something, anything, through a link I’ve provided I’ll receive a small kick back from Amazon at no extra cost to you. Thanks for the support.
Last year my buddy Mark Dolan (@markspens on Twitter) came up with the idea of the Make it Forward Project (@makeitforward). Essentially it’s a project that is created by several craftspeople and artists around the country in a collaborative effort. Then, once completed the piece would be auctioned off for charity.
This is the first iteration of the Make It Forward Project and I’m sure there will be more to follow.
This time around we built a chess set. Mark built the chess boards, I built the casework and drawer, Brandon Fischer turned the knob, Sean Rubino made the sculpted feet and Jimmy DiResta cast the chess pieces.
This is truly a one of a kind piece that was made by some amazing craftspeople, builders, makers and woodworkers.
The charity that will benefit from the proceeds of the auction is Paws 2 Care. This is a great organization that used therapy dogs to help people suffering from cancer, children with special needs and wounded warriors and their children (a cause that is very near and dear to me as an injured combat veteran). Even if you can’t bid on the piece please check out Paws 2 Care.
Head over to the auction page and if you can place a bid. Your bid will help out a great organization as 100% of the proceeds go to charity as well as it shows support for local makers, builders, woodworkers and artisans.
In this shop update I talk about my YouTube subscriber count, I just passed 1,000, making baby toys and Patreon.
If you aren’t familiar with Patreon, it’s similar to KickStarter except instead of supporting one large project you support content creation on a continuing basis. I’d really appreciate it if you checked out my Patreon page and considered making a contribution. There are many different levels at which you can contribute with rewards for each level!
Today my family and I went for a trip to the Hicksville Planing Mill. My “local” lumber yard of choice. I say local in quotations because its an hour and a half away. There are others near by but most of them only sell wholesale amounts (500 board feet or more) and their prices are way higher than at Hicksville.
Here’s a quick video of the trip. I must warn you, the video does include some cute footage of my children.
Generally when I go to buy lumber a buddy of mine from work goes with me. We usually leave bright at early around 5:30 am or so. On the way we usually stop for breakfast at a Waffle House. I thought I’d continue the tradition and stop there with my family. Once we ate our breakfast we headed on to the mill.
I really like the atmosphere of this place. The guys who run it aren’t pushy and they let you dig through their stacks looking for the right board. Just be sure to re-stack it the way you found it. It’s run by some mennonite guys so you won’t find a website for the place. I found it doing a good search for local mills and Charles Neil wrote an article about it. Otherwise I probably never would have known it existed. The address is: 14464 Hicksville Rd. Clear Spring, MD 21722 in case you’re in the area.
The lumber here is excellent and they have a very decent variety. Of course they have the usual stuff: oak, maple, mahogany, walnut, cherry etc., but they also have a small exotics section. Today they had: wedge, Caribbean rosewood, purple heart, yellow heart, zebra wood, padauk and some others.
Today I was after some 10/4 and 16/4 poplar for some blocks that my wife wants me to make for our daughter. I bought way more lumber than I needed so I’ll probably make some extra to sell. My wife says that handmade baby toys are huge these days.
After showing the family around the yard I went to work finding my lumber. The shed that it was located in doesn’t appear to be organized very well but the guys here always seem to know where everything is. They never have to go searching around for it. They just bring in a fork truck and move things around a little to pull out what I need. Then I start searching for my boards. Like I said earlier the lumber here is excellent so I usually don’t have to dig too far to find what I’m looking for.
Being that this is a lumber mill they do custom mill work and flooring in addition to just selling lumber. When I buy lumber here I usually have them skip plane it on one face and put a straight edge on it as well. I have a pretty small jointer in my shop so having them do this really saves me a lot of time. And the price is right, $0.10 a board foot. You can’t beat that, I’ve checked. Since I haul my lumber in my mini van I have to have them cut the boards to 8 foot lengths or less. Today the 10/4 board I bought was 12 feet long so I had them cut it in to two boards, one 8 feet long and the other 4
feet long. The 16/4 board was 8 feet so it didn’t need to be cut down. In case you’re wondering the 10/4 poplar was $2.30 b/f and the 16/4 was $2.50 b/f.
After that it was a simple matter of paying for my lumber and loading it in the van. The kids seemed to have a good time as well.
This week while reading over his article I was pleasantly surprised to see that he included a video of mine on building the Extending Trestle Table! I’d include the video for your viewing pleasure here but I want to encourage you to visit his site. So here are the links again!