Thursday, June 24, 2021

Looking for a job?

 Look, woodworking is often a thankless job. Especially when wood is at an all time high, cost-wise. So it's not like you're going to retire wealthy, unless you own a crazy successful woodworking business. And even those people have their share of woes. 

So I'm putting this post up, with the hope that someone will read it and get a spark of interest. 

One of my favorite non-profit organizations is looking for a woodshop instructor / coordinator.  Transition Services is a few miles from my school, and thanks to the funds raised by the Sin City Woodworkers, they have some new tools (a Sawstop!) and a new workshop. 

But now comes the hard part - they need a shop coordinator. 

If you're interested - here's the info.... 

I'll keep my fingers crossed! 

Saturday, June 19, 2021

This was a fun little repair!

There's nothing more invigorating than a woodworking challenge - and this one was an interesting one!

A very sweet couple brought this stand into my shop. 

It holds a wooden boat - the San Filipe 

and it needed repair.  These two small turned pieces hold the keel,

 and one was broken. 

Simple enough... one would think!

This was a collaboration - since my buddy Jeff has been teaching some pen turning classes at the shop, his lathe was handy and he volunteered to turn some new supports, with beefier tops, so they wouldn't snap like the old one did.

 But the big question was... how do we cut a slot into it, to hold the keel?

 A little brainstorming was involved, and with some experimentation, we figured out that a 7/8" hole would hold the piece. 

 Jig time! 

I marked the center, and since the slot was 5/16" wide, I put a dado stack in the saw, and pondered how to hold the piece whole it was being cut. 

That's a really tricky cut, and could possibly ruin the piece if it wasn't supported properly while running it over the blade. No - I wasn't about to hold it!  So I decided that a simple temporary brace would work well to hold it in place while being cut.  

A few lines for centering, 

and I was ready for the cut. 

Although it ended up being slightly off-center, I'd say this piece came out exactly as I'd hoped. 

I did a little staining to match the rest of the base, honestly, they matched perfectly.   

The attachment? Some epoxy and a screw... better than new!

Sunday, June 13, 2021

 OK, this is a little outside of what I normally post on this blog, but I'm furious over this video I saw on Twitter today. 

This sociopath employee needs to be fired, and charged with animal cruelty.

Sunday, June 06, 2021

Changing the knives on a Bridgewood planer

It's not glamorous, but it IS pretty satisfying doing a little maintenance on some of the tools around the shop.  

In the past few weeks, I've replaced a few motor belts, sanded a few tablesaw tops, and generally tried to get the school in shape for the upcoming summer session. As one might guess - this maintenance is never-ending.  

But oddly enough - I enjoy it. When I put on some music and pull out a tool manual, it's time for a little R&R. That doesn't stand for "rest and relaxation" - in this case, it stands for "remove and replace."

The 24" Bridgewood planer's knives needed some attention,

 mostly due to nicks like this. 

The nicks are a little hard to see, but those nicks make grooves across boards when they're run through the planer. And the quality of the cut is a little fuzzy, leaving the boards in need of more sanding. 

Good news is - this maintenance really only takes three tools. Well, four if you count the manual. 

Some needle nose pliers, a wrench, and the knife press gauge that came with the planer. 

Lifting up the top cover exposes the cutterhead. 

Over the years, I've made some notes inside the planer, 

 like the size of the wrench needed, and which direction tightens or loosens the gib bolts.  

When your hands are full and you're juggling a few things, and holding a razor sharp knife, it's nice to have this info right in front of you. 

By the way, I would NEVER attempt changing the knives without gloves. In this video, I've loosened all of the gib nuts and am taking the knives out. Before you start blowing all of the dust out of the cutterhead, make sure you remove the springs that sit below the knives.

 Reinstalling the knives is a breeze with this knife press gauge.

Simply put the springs back into their little slots,  slip the gib and one knife back into place, and then place the press gauge over the knife. 

It will gently lower the knife to the correct height while you tighten the bolts. There's no guessing, but if it's your first time, you may want an extra set of hands. I tighten the two outside bolts first, to get the  knife locked into place at the correct height. Once you have it set at the right height, just go back and tighten all the rest of the bolts and you're done. 

Honestly it takes about ten minutes per knife to take one out, blow the area clean, and reinstall it at the correct height.  It almost took me longer to write this post than it did to change all three knives... about a half hour, with some extra minutes used for shooting photos and the video. 

BTW, over the years, I've had many people write to me, asking for a copy of the BRIDGEWOOD manual. If you need a PDF of it, email me at and I'd be happy to email a copy to you.