Saturday, December 22, 2012

BLOG: The reason for the season... JUNK MAIL!

There's nobody on this earth I like enough to buy a $2000 tool for as a gift, I don't care what the ads in my mailbox say. This week's video blog is all about the reason for the season... JUNK MAIL. And there's some great old woodworking photos to look at while you listen to my sweet, soothing voice...

If you're a smarty pants and prefer to read, here's the text version:

I love this time of year. The snowy streets, the sparkling lights on the rooflines of every building, the gaudy inflatable snowman villages on my neighbor’s front lawn. If you asked me what I liked most about the month of December I would answer, without hesitation, that it’s easier to clean up after the shop dog now that his poo is frozen. But a close second is the junk mail.

Now, we live in an electronic world. No longer are our mailboxes the only receptacle for flyers and catalogues and coupons and crap. We get loads of virtual mail to sift through as well, and these are often the most fun. On a good day I can get half a billion emails advertising everything from pills to make me skinnier to food to make me fatter. If I ever need testosterone boost to help sprout more chest hair, or a twelve bladed razor to shave that mess off, there’s an email for that.

But the best ads by far come from the woodworking suppliers. Woodcraft, Lee Valley, Whiteside, Highland Woodworking, everybody has a “Black Friday” or “Cyber Monday” or “Overspend Tuesday” or “We Just Made This One Up For The Heck Of It Wednesday”. I suppose they weren’t satisfied with the buying everyone does for Christmas so they had to make up a bunch of new shopping holidays too. Soon Roy Underhill’s birthday will be a national holiday and everyone will have buy suspenders and mustache trimmers as gifts.

Of course, it’s not all bad. There are some good deals to be found if you have a few hours to sift through the garbage. Just yesterday I found a free half sandwich my neighbor didn’t finish. But more on topic, I feel like some people are getting a little too carried away with the gift giving. Case in point: Today I got an email from a tool company telling me about their one day deal for the woodworker in my life. Touted to be the perfect gift, it cost a mere $2500… on sale. Now, I’m no cheapskate. I spend freely on foam brushes and dollar store sandpaper. But to me, $2500 is a big investment. A huge investment, especially for a tool. So if I’m going to shred that kind of lettuce I don’t think I’d be giving it away. There is nobody on this earth that I like enough to buy them a $2500 tool. I didn’t spend near that much on a health plan for the workshop, and have you seen the prices of tourniquets and sewing needles? Do people really spend that much money on someone else?

I’ve given a few gifts in my day. A month ago I gave Randy the shop boy an Arby’s coupon that expired two month ago. Chip got a free smack in the head just yesterday. I even bought Joy a foot bath so she can soak those big kankles of hers while she does the paperwork. I gave all these great gifts freely, not because of some new holiday that Hallmark made up just to sell more cards. (Secretaries day… seriously?) Nor was a single gift inspired by an email, except for chip’s smack in the head, which resulted from an email he sent me asking for time off.

The point is this… As much as I enjoy sitting on the toilet and reading the woodworking ads, I am seldom going to spend enough money on things in those ads to justify the enormous expense of producing all those ads. I’ll buy the $2 glue brush and the 70% off honing film if I need some of it. But the big stuff you’re trying to get me to spend on just so I can give it to someone that won’t really appreciate it as much as I appreciated all that money I laid it down to buy it… not going to happen. Because if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that there’s more happiness in giving than in receiving. So if receiving my gifts isn’t what makes people happy, why should I waste the money?

Friday, December 21, 2012

A message from Stumpy Nubs for survivors of today's Mayan Apocalypse...

When the Twinkies ran out we should have known the end was near. This video was recorded from the Blue Collar Woodworking bunker just before the world ended. If you're watching it, you must be one of the few survivors. Good for you. I hope you enjoy it...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Episode 28- Homemade Dust Collection P1

This week Charles Neil visits the Stumpy Nubs Workshop to help make me smarter; with the help of Bill Pentz we begin our three episode dust collection series with a big ol' wooden cyclone; and I talk hand plane physics with the Japanese. Plus a review of the Wixey digital angle gauge, tips on doing segmented glue-ups, and why my abs don't look like Tommy Mac's... that and a whole lot of fun on this episode of Blue Collar Woodworking...

Saturday, December 1, 2012

BLOG: I had a dust collection breakthrough while eating tapioca from a hospital trashcan!

The other day I yawned and a thick cloud came out of my gaping mouth, floated around my face for a moment and then disappeared, sucked into my nostrils as I inhaled my next breath. For a moment I assumed it was a cloud of pipe smoke, like my grand mother used to puff out in rings above her head to impress us kids on special occasions and weekdays. But since I don't smoke, I knew this was something more serious.

*(Tired of reading? Listen to Stumpy read this for you below. Or read on like a stuck up, smart-alec. It's your funeral...)*

Now, as you can tell by looking at me, I'm the type of guy that likes to take care of himself. Sure, I eat a lot of cheese and drink my share of malted beverages, and my wife's share too. And my idea of exercise is to sit in a lawn chair in front of the shop swinging a flyswatter and yelling at the neighborhood kids. But just because I neglect my waistline and my arteries doesn't mean I'm not concerned with my lungs. If I can't breath, I can't talk. And if I can't talk I can't order at drive through. So this is a health crisis.

The first thing I did was visit my doctor. And by doctor I mean Randy the shop boy. I make him smell my breath several times a day, so if anyone knows my breathing habits, it's him. Now, I could go into detail about what Randy said and how much garlic I had eaten that morning but I'll cut to the chase. Randy is an idiot and I've got dust in my lungs. Yes, you heard me right. My chest cavity has more filth in it than most internet videos, woodworking ones excluded. I should have guessed the problem months ago when I was kicked out of the wine club for saying everything was oaky. I wrote that off as a case of a bunch of fru-frus who can't stand to see a chubby guy shotgun a bottle of Cabernet with his shirt off. (Another joke, I drink only in moderation and only out a brown paper sack.)

Anyway, my mailman told me that what I needed was a good lung dusting so I went to see a real doctor and was immediately admitted. Now, the best part about intensive care is the food. They get a whole different menu from the rest of the hospital. And I quickly learned to take advantage by sneaking into that wing and looking for the comatose patients with unguarded trays. That's when reality really hit me, a real bottom of the barrel moment. Here I was sitting next to a recently deceased old woman eating tapioca from her trash can and I had to ask myself, was this all worth it? Wouldn't it be better to just get a new dust collection system and avoid this whole rigmarole altogether?

I mean, we all spend vastly more time sweeping the sawdust from the floors and blowing dust from every surface than we spend with our children, and only half the reason is because we woodworkers hate kids. Am I right.. huh? I'm winking, nodding and elbowing you like an idiot trying to make a point right now, and the point is this: My dust problem has overgrown my shop's ability to suck. Not that my shop doesn't suck in a lot of other ways. I don’t have cable for one thing, or an omelet bar. But neither of those is as important as getting that dust away from my giant nose and into some sort of filter like God intended. Chip collection isn't doing the job any more, my raw windpipe and splintered nostrils can attest to that. I tried to battle the dust clouds by opening the shop doors and windows and installing fog lights on the table saw. I'm tired of chewing after every breath. I'm tired of burrowing through the shop like a hamster. But most of all, I'm tired of being tired… which I've been told is caused by the low oxygen levels in the shop, and if there's one thing my Union employees demand, it's oxygen. And a break every ten minutes.

So, right then and there, on the cold tile floor of the late Mabel Butterfield's hospital room, I decided to change my life. No longer would I be a slave to the sawdust and wood chips that a good deal of my projects became. From that moment on the only thing I was going to sniff was glue fumes because nobody was ever harmed by those. I fell to my knees, took a final swig of ensure and swore to myself and Blue Collar Woodworking fans everywhere that I would design a dust collection system of such beauty, such efficiency, such unparalleled genius that Einstein himself would sit up in his grave, take a snort of my workshop air, wipe a tear from his eye and say… "Stumpy, you complete me."

In the next three episodes of Blue Collar Woodworking history will be made. Will you be there to witness it?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Episode 27- Router Table Madness

"I nearly lost my lips kissing my beautiful router" This is a router table/lift/fence combo that will terrify the the guys at Festool and Incra. As Stumpy completes the three episode router table series he unveils the completed setup- two router tables complete with micro-adjustable lifts, built in bit storage, dual dust collection, a fantastic sliding table and a fence that uses Incra's innovative positioner technology without violating any patents.

In the meantime you'll see how to get a high quality router plate for about $10 and Stumpy will talk about how his magnetic personality makes tools stick. Oh, and the "deep thoughts" style humor segment returns under a new name.

All this and more on the latest episode of Blue Collar Woodworking...

Sunday, November 25, 2012

BLOG: I survived Black Friday at Woodcraft!

Listen to the audio version above, or read the text version below...

The biggest holiday of the year has just past. Bigger than Christmas, bigger than Rosh Hashanah, even bigger than Washington’s Birthday. It’s called Black Friday and for good reason. It’s the day the shopping gods are appeased by the sacrifice of virgin greenbacks. When America’s trailer parks empty and the Walmarts fill with herds of greedy consumers looking for a deal on something, anything that will satisfy their lust for stuff. I’ve seen a dozen overweight women brawl like ultimate fighters over a bin of bath towels as if they were desperately hungry and this was the last stock of government cheese. (OH SETTLE DOWN! Before you call the P.C. Police you should know that I spent a good chunk of my childhood living in a trailer park off government cheese, which makes me qualified to make a joke or two about it!)

How does a woodworker fit into this grand celebration of consumerism? As the saying goes, if you can’t beat ‘em… well, bring a bigger club. That’s exactly what I did this past Friday. Determined to find a deal worthy of a reasonably adequate woodworker with a tendency to pinch a penny or two, I got out of bed at the crack of 9am and pointed the pickup toward Woodcraft. I was prepared, sales paper neatly folded in my pocket, wallet stuffed with plastic, pepper spray secured in a holster at my hip. You could say I was a late shopper, but you’d be wrong, so why would you say that? No, I was arriving just in time because Woodcraft doesn’t open early like the other stores. They know that woodworkers won’t camp out on the sidewalks days in advance, sacrificing sleep and dignity to save a few bucks. But I wasn’t taking anything for granted; I was prepared to defend myself should any nut-job, drunk with the holiday spirit, want a piece of this. As I pulled into my parking spot I pointed an eye in each direction like a gecko, scanning the lot for dangerous hooligans.

At this point I should tell you that I was once infected with the Black Friday disease. Yes, even I, in all my worldly wisdom and maturity, could once be found standing in predawn lines, thawing my blackened toes over tiny fires kindled among discarded McDonalds wrappers on electronics store sidewalks. I’ve elbowed my way into more than one store, emerging through narrow entryway doors with my shirt torn from my body and my pants in tatters around my ankles, scarcely alive but deeply focused on the mission ahead. The intoxicating smell of discount televisions and giant summer sausage rolls for a buck has enticed me to do things I am not proud of. I excused myself with the fact that I’d never shoved an octogenarian with a walker or used a child as a human shield. But I’ve lost a great deal of self-respect simply by being among the crowd as passersby mockingly honk their horns and shout expletives on their way home to warm beds as we fend off hypothermia with body to body heat. I have spent long hours waiting to save fifty bucks without considering that a minimum wage job would net me more for those hours, and spared me the painful amputation of frostbitten digits. So I speak from experience, from wisdom earned the hard way. You might even call it street smarts. I know the sort of people that a reasonable shopper must look out for, because I once was that sort of person. I’d kill you for a cup of lukewarm coffee as soon as look at you.

So as I emerged from my pickup at Woodcraft my senses were keenly alert. I scanned the sidewalks in all directions like a man in a horror movie being stalked by brain hungry zombies. I gripped a chunk of hardwood in my right hand, spikes fashioned from drywall screws driven through the end. I sniffed the wind, listened intently for any sign of danger. But there was none. The few customers I saw seemed to be human and they were filing into the store with order and something I had never seen before: I think my grandfather used to call it…. manners. One man held the door for another who smiled, yes, SMILED! This was no day for smiling! This was Black Friday! It had to be a trick; I resolved keep my guard up. But even so I surrendered my club and stalked toward the entrance with my hand over my pepper spray like a desperado ready for the quick- draw. As I entered the store the scent of coffee struck me in the face like a slab of hard maple. I wasn’t expecting this, it felt wrong. The lady at the front counter greeted me by name and I shouted “LEAVE ME ALONG! I’M JUST BROWSING!”

This is where the whole incident took a dramatic turn. You see, I had come expecting to me molested by angry crowds whipped into frenzy by the tantalizing sales papers and the heartless employees mocking us through the glass as they delayed opening the store for a few seconds just to see if one of us would go off the deep end. But I found no long lines at Woodcraft, no toothless cussing or savage beatings among unruly shoppers. People were browsing, chatting, even laughing and enjoying themselves! The “door-buster” items that many had come for were easy to locate, without the crushing disappointment of losing out on the last one to some teenager with an infected nose ring that is clearly just going to put it on ebay and make a tidy profit. I drank three cups of coffee without a rebuke from anyone; the salespeople were accommodating, even friendly.

Now, you may think an internet woodworking celebrity such as me would have a hard time in a Woodcraft store. But I swear it was as if I was just another customer. Nobody asked for an autograph, not a single child peed his pants with excitement, nor did any of the store’s female clientele toss their undergarments at me when I walked down the aisle. I hovered around the front of the store for a good long time just to confirm my suspicion, and was satisfied that everyone was just too polite to bother me. Clearly they were trying their best to pretend that they didn’t know that I was among them, and I was very grateful for their convincing act. I collected my items, drank another cup of free coffee and checked out with speed and efficiency. It was like an episode of the Twilight Zone, without the poor acting and even poorer special effects. In a city full of chaos, where sirens could be heard in the distance as emergency personal rushed to the latest scene of consumer carnage, I had found an oasis of peace and tranquility, a place where a person could spend a little more than he could afford without feeling like a steer in a stampede toward the killing floor with the smell of blood in the air. I wasn’t shoved; nobody tried to feel me up. I only had to throw one punch and that was over a cookie, so it’s at least partially excusable.

The bottom line is this… I survived Black Friday at Woodcraft because woodworkers know how to deal with shopping without losing their minds. We don’t shoot anyone; we don’t get into our cars and try to run down the guy who got the last VCR. We are a breed of honest, reasonable people, with a ratio of nut-jobs that is infinitesimal when compared to your average population. I take at least partial credit for that, as the host of Blue Collar Woodworking. I mean, after all, what clams the holiday nerves better than good old fashioned woodworking entertainment from a chubby guy with questionable skills?

Next year, I might even leave my flak jacket at home. But the pepper spray stays on my hip. You never know when you’ll need it.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

BLOG: Old School vs I-Phones- My "Traditional Woodworking" Manifesto...

Technology is unavoidable in today’s workshop. Be it a smart phone in your pocket that rings just when you’re stretching to apply that last clamp in the most awkward of positions, or an e-reader filled with the last two decades of woodworking magazines and sawdust, only the most stubborn among us has successfully banned all technology from their workspace. Even Roy Underhill, who will not allow something as modern as a steel measuring tape in his shop, tolerates the digital filming equipment that beams his show into our television screens.

A woodworking shop is by definition a place where a bit of the past is kept alive and the future is held at bay. In a world where more and more furniture is made from manufactured wood products that a tree would never recognize as its kin, by machines that suck a board in one end and spit a chair out the other, the small garage shop is a throwback to vanishing way of life. When we make something by hand, one piece at a time, with a material that is widely considered an old fashioned luxury, we are reversing some of the progress of our modern and enlightened society. So, why would a woodworker allow his shop to be invaded by the very essence of this society, the computers and cellphones and the tablets that are the tools of the society that seeks to destroy what the small shop stands for? Why would a man who retreats to the garage to unwind, after a forty hour work week in an office, flip on a satellite fed, high definition LCD television screen over the bench? Why would a person who cuts his dovetails by hand design that project on a sixty-four bit, four gigahertz hyper threading computer with three dimensional modeling software?

Today’s woodworker is a sawing, sanding contradiction. We take pride in our traditional craft, but if you offer us a faster way to dovetail a drawer we’ll give you four hundred bucks for the jig. We rail against cheap, mass produced furniture, but if we could justify the expense of a CNC machine you can bet we’d make every project with a digitally controlled router bit and just assemble the parts like a puzzle.

Of course, not every woodworker embraces all of the latest technology. Some still insist on the quiet, dust free bliss of traditional hand tools. Not the wood-bodied planes used for centuries, mind you. No, the best “traditional” hand tools are precisely machined to tolerances measured beyond the thousandth. They upgrade to the new tool steels created in labs and cryogenically hardened. They sharpen that steel with state of the art honing films and diamond pastes that are far finer than the messy old oil stones.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of you. I love the idea of traditional woodworking. I imagine myself sitting on a shaving horse with a drawknife and hickory shavings up to my waist. But I also love the idea of a micro-adjustable, multi-functional, lead-screw driven box joint jig.

I suppose it all comes down to the meaning of two words: “technology” and “traditional”. I imagine that the first caveman woodworker simply banged a stick with another stick. To him, any edged tool was “technology” and those who used them were betraying the “traditional” craft. I’ll bet the great masters of the eighteenth century had an entirely different idea of traditional woodworking than we have today. To a guy with an iron combination plane, a set of wooden skew rabbet planes must have seemed old fashioned indeed. When Stickley began mass producing his craftsman furniture in a big shop full of steam powered workstations Roubo surely rolled over in his Paris grave. But who today would look at a piece of Stickley furniture and call it a betrayal of the craft?

The point I am making is a simple one. If you want to be a true purist you’ll have to reject far more than workshop computers or power tools or even iron hand planes. You’ll have to go back to rocks and sticks. Otherwise you will just be the newfangled woodworker with all the fancy tools to the first cave man you meet. Today’s latest technologies are sure to become tomorrow’s traditional tools just as yesterday’s innovations are today’s antiques. My solution is to embrace the true tradition of the craft, and it has nothing to do with the tools or the way you use them. It has little to do with your selection of materials or choice of joinery. It’s what drove the first woodworker to pick up the first stick and say “ugh… me turn this into chair for Thag…” It’s the desire to create something from scratch, to take raw materials and turn them into something you can point to and say “I made that”. It’s art even if you’re not artistic, you’re creating even if you’re not creative. THAT is the true woodworking tradition, and it won’t matter if woodworkers of the future cut flawless joints with lithium crystals controlled by a series of eye blinks from an easy chair. Because some day, even that will be considered old school woodworking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Episode 26- Tables & Feathers

Part two of the three episode router table series: Stumpy makes a router table that will rival the Festool CMS (at least he thinks so)... We make some featherboards and show a unique safety jig from an old woodworking magazine. Then Stumpy tells you how he keeps Randy sharp, what Joy does when you call her fat and starts a revolution. It's a lot to fit into one short eposide, so you'd better get started...

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Episode 25- Router Lift and Wood Chisels

The “great particle board build off” that’s captivated the woodworking world is progressing nicely, but Stumpy takes some time off to make a router lift that just might save the universe. Then he chisels away at the confusion surrounding what types of chisles people should own, does a tool review, and gets Randy to touch dog poo. That and a lot more on the new, exciting, action packed and informative episode of Blue Collar Woodworking.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Episode 24- Pin down those particles!

The Bunyan brothers challenge Stumpy to a particle board contest and that can only mean one thing... A NEW JIG. You've never seen a shelf pin jig like this. And Stumpy gives his hard learned, top five tips for ending your hand plane frustrations. Plus a bunch of other stuff, so... enjoy.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Episode 23: Homemade Jig Saw

When I saw the commercial version of our new “invention” I thought… why would anyone ever spend $200 on that? Then everyone started arguing about the term “jig saw” and the old man next door went out looking for the Kaiser and I bought a ton of old 8-track tapes… next thing you know it’s a great new episode Blue Collar Woodworking. And a new homemade shop machine is unveiled.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Episode 22: Carving Copier & Radial Arm Saws

This week we reveal the latest "invention"- A copy machine that duplicates woodworking projects. Then we talk about using a radial arm saw without losing any fingers, bees wax and hand planes, before ending with a tribute to a lost loved one.

This episode is one for the Woodworking Hall of Fame... enjoy...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Blog: Grandpa's Green Monster

Grandpa had a secret that he kept covered with an old blanket in the back corner of the basement where we were forbidden to go. It was a big evil monster that would leap upon and devour any unsuspecting soul that wandered too close. But I was fascinated with it, and I often risked death to peek beneath the cover. I admired its scaly green body, its long arm and gleaming teeth. I knew it was old, because most everything grandpa had was old. But it still looked like the day it was born because grandpa took good care of it. Once in a great while he’d chase us from the basement so he could let it out, allow it to run for a bit and keep its joints loose.

Grandpa bought his “pet” many years before I was born, from a friend who got it new and had little use for it. It was magnificent, and grandpa paid a pretty penny, as he liked to say. Grandma wasn’t as excited to have it move in with them, but she always let grandpa have his way. So it was given a place in the basement when my father was just a boy, and there it sat for thirty years. In 1990 they sold the house and grandpa moved the monster to the new place, where it sat in a new corner still covered, still waiting for the day when grandpa would have time to play with it.

Grandpa died last week. He’d been fighting a very aggressive cancer for almost two years. He was a hard worker his entire life, running three separate businesses including a hardware store, a well drilling business and a water treatment business. His “pet”, his pride and joy, was a circa 1950 radial arm saw, which to him was the pinnacle of woodworking machinery. He bought it with big plans, but he had a family to raise and little time for woodworking. So he stored it away, only occasionally getting it out to dream of the time when he’d retire and make furniture with his saw.

But grandpa never did retire. He worked right up until the cancer made him too weak to do anything at all. The radial arm saw sat, covered up in the corner, waiting over half a century for a time that never came. Now that green monster, in all its magnificent glory, is in my workshop. I already had a radial arm saw, but I just had to make room for this one. Grandpa might be gone, but every time I use his radial arm saw I’ll remember him, and in some small way I’ll fulfill his dream of making furniture with his beautiful green monster.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Blog: Teach a kid something useful for goodness sake!

I’ve been married for almost 16 years, an unbelievable accomplishment for a guy who picks his nose in public. I remember when I first announced I was getting married. Some said “To a girl?” others said “How old are you?”

I was 18 years old, old enough to tie the not, but too young to lead a toast at the reception. She was 19 and I was a lucky man. And I am still a lucky man, because I got in on the ground floor of marriage. We learned as we went along and now we’re professionals.

It’s much like the French classes I took as a first grader. They taught us young, when our minds were open and before “french fries”, “french toast” and “french kissing” spoiled our ability to understand what France was really about.

So today I am a French speaking, happily married man in my mid-30’s, trying my hardest to be a good woodworker. Therein lays the problem. Why the heck didn’t they teach us woodworking at a young age instead of a language we would only use if we were shanghaied into the French Foreign Legion? What good is a handful of French words to me now, in Michigan, a million miles from the nearest madamwaselle? (Yes, I know that’s not the proper spelling Mind your own bees wax.)
If my parents would have put a chisel in my hand instead of a book, I am convinced that I would be the third Greene brother today. (If you don’t know what Greene & Greene furniture is you need to move out of the cave and read up on the finest woodworkers of the last century.)

The point is, kids should be taught something useful. Something like woodworking.

I don’t have kids. But I would be more than happy to teach yours. I promise to treat them well. I only spank occasionally with a good leather belt or perhaps an extension cord… but I always unplug it first. I don’t swear, but I am willing to teach them a few. I won’t teach them to smoke or chew, but I can spit like a champ and they’re sure to pick that up. Most importantly, I plan on teaching them to pound a few nails, saw a few boards and which glues are safe to eat. Two or three years with me and you’ll have a son (or daughter if you’re one of those “modern families” that allow that sort of thing) freshly programmed to love something besides video games and texting. The down side is they might become addicted to my “unique” sense of humor. But it’s better than those special brownies they’ll be jonesing for once they get into collage.

Of course, you could teach them yourself. I suppose that would be a far less traumatic option. Fewer calls from Social Services, and all. But for the love of everything holy, TEACH THEM! Cram something useful into their young skulls full of mush before they get filled up with the nonsense they learn in school like science and… math.

If you do decide to go it alone, try sitting them in front of the television with a bowl of cheerios and a few episodes of Blue Collar Woodworking. I hear it’s the best woodworking show since the invention of wood. Then you can sit back and have a cold one… because you’ve earned it, my friend!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Episode 21: Drill, Baby- DRILL!!!!!!!!

Some homemade jigs just have to be called what they are… stinking amazing. This week we come back from our summer break with a vengance. And the drill press is in our sights once again.

We’ve completed the “Drill Im-press Table” by adding some unique bit storage, and some attachments that allow you to turn spindles, knobs, even pens without a lathe. Add that to the innovative X-Y sliding table and milling features, downdraft dust collection, and the microadjustable positioning capability, and you’re looking at a woodworker’s dream come true.

The best part is, you can build it with just a little hardware and some plywood scraps. And once you try it… well, you’ll see…

After that we talk about getting the biggest bang for your buck in the drill press market, deal with a feud between a 90 year old man and a chicken, and Stumpy puts something up his nose for science.
All that and more, this week on Blue Collar Woodworking.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Episode 20: Woodworking Jig Awards!

It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for! Stumpy takes off his blue denim shirt and slips into a tuxedo for the biggest night of the Summer!

The second, semi-annual “Stumpies” is the world’s first low budget, mostly random and poory produced awards show just for woodworkers, and this time we’re giving out prizes for the best woodworking jigs. Who will win? Who will walk away with a free subscripton to Shop Notes? Which of Stumpy’s dumb jokes will be the biggest groaner? You have to watch to find out, and believe me… you won’t be disappointed!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Episode 19: The Drill-"impress" Table

Once in a lifetime we achieve a level of perfection so high we wonder if our very lives will ever be the same! That is what I imagine all of you will think the moment you see the new drill press table. Or, at the very least, you'll have a good time laughing at me.

This episode of Blue Collar Woodworking is all about the new drill press table, complete with downdraft dust collection, drawers for storage, and a micro-adjustable, X-Y sliding table.

After that we show ou how to make a downdraft sanding station, and pack a bunch of machines into a small space. Then Stumpy shows off his three unique measuring tapes, complains about hampster bedding and makes his own studio lighting from a lasagna pan.

All that and more is packed into the best fifteen minutes you'll spend sitting on your rear. So enjoy...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Episode 18: Cardboard

This week is all about card scrapers: how to sharpen them, how to use them, we make a rack to store them and a jig to burnish them. Along the way we do some fooling around and talk about Roy Underhill's mustache!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Episode 17: The Accidental Invention

I just wanted to build a jig to cut raised panels, I never imagined I would be turning the woodworking world on it’s ear. The jig we built last episode has gotten out of control. Now it does everything from cutting miters to trimming my toenails, and I am considering adding an adapter to open my cold ones.
You’ll get to see the new invention run amuck, plus I demonstrate how to survive without a jointer and still flatten wood like a man. Then I tell you why my neighbor thinks I’m a lunatic. Enjoy…
(Plans for the new machine are at the Stumpy Store)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Stumpy Nubs is sponsoring a Jig Design contest! It's simple... make a jig. Doesn't matter how complicated or how simple. It doesn't have to be your own invention (don't violate any patents) it just has to be useful, unique, or even humorous. Just have fun with it.

Take some photos and write a brief description, then email it to jigcontest@runbox (.com)

All entries must be received by midnight EST on June 1, 2012.

We will judge them based on uniqueness, usefulness, and various other factors. Winners will be announced on June 10, 2012 on a special episode of Blue Collar Woodworking. Three prize winners will be selected at our discretion. They will receive a special prize package from Stumpy Nubs. A number of entries will be given honorable mention on the show.

We are not responsible for any submissions that may be made without proper authorization of the jig designer, patent holder or any other concerned party. By entering the contest you are assuring us that you have the legal right to produce the jig, and you authorize Stumpy Nubs or his representatives to produce, exhibit or share design features of the jig for any and all purposes.

Stumpy Nubs does NOT demand exclusive rights to any jig submitted.

Episode 16: Raise your panels!

I don't know why anyone would want to skin a cat, but I hear there is more than one way to do it. The same is true with raised panels, you know, the ones we use on all our fancy cabinet doors... So this week Stumpy tries to make one with nothing but a Stanley #4 hand plane...

...then he decides to make a machine to do it for him.

Before all is said an done we have a new jig that does far more than it was originally intended to, and Stumpy is telling us the next best thing to having a different router for every bit.

Then we make a *BIG ANNOUNCEMENT*, and Stumpy tells you why he hates April 15th.

It's sure to be more fun than a barrel of Kool-whip, so enjoy.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Episode 15: Biscuit Drawers

What is the difference between Stumpy Nubs and the Townsend brothers? While you're pondering that unbelievable brain teaser, ask yourself what is the best tool you own that cost less than $4 new, and try to picture Stumpy cutting his hair with a lawn mower. Those are just some of the things you'll find in the latest episode of Blue Collar Woodworking.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Stumpy Short #3: A use for your old CD stuff

In this "Stumpy Short" I answer a viewer's question about how to use his old CD/DVD spindles in the workshop. Here's a hint: your hairy chest problems will be a thing of the past!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Episode 14: Da Plane! Da Plane!

This week is all about hand planes... We start out with a quick tool review, then we make a scrub plane for just #10. Along the way we learn the fastest way to put a camber on a plane iron, we reveal the plane till on the Ultimate Tool Cabinet, we design a deluxe, wall mounted hand plane cabinet, we discuss which bench planes every woodworker should have and why, and then we wrap up with Stumpy confessing his obsession. This one has a LOT crammed into a short episode, but I think it's one of the best, so enjoy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stumpy Short #2: An Incra LS fence for $100?

I always wanted an Incra LS table saw fence. But I didn't want to sell a kidney to get it. So I bought a much less expensive positioner and adapted it to my existing fence. Now I have the best of both worlds, and it can be used on all of my shop machines... enjoy...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Episode 13: The Boxer

We make a micro-adjustable, multi-feature box joint machine that just might kill the dovetail forever. And then Stumpy tells the farmers where to stick it. This box joint machine has a lead screw advance and a template option, smooth, non binding sliding carriage, and a quick release so you don't have to crank it all the way back. Plus, it will handle the biggest of jobs, and the best part is, you can build it for CHEAP. Enjoy...

Friday, March 2, 2012

Episode 12: Tails vs Pins

Part two of the dovetail series shows how Stumpy cuts 'em with a 2 handles saw! Lots of great tips, and the twisted humor you've come to expect. (Note- the episode is about 12 minutes long. For some reason he video goes on after the end for a couple more minutes. You don't have to watch the blank screen if you don't want to...)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Episode 11: The Amazing Dovetail Machine

We've begun dovetailing the carcass of the "Ultimate Tool Cabinet" and it got us thinking about making our own dovetail jig. What we came up can only be called a "Dovetail Machine" and we think you'll like it...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Episode 10: Homemade Biscuits

In this episode we unveil our shop-made bench top biscuit joining machine designed for fast, accurate glue-ups... and we begin the "Ultimate Tool Cabinet Build". Plus, Stumpy gives you a list of things to do with your Sundays now that football season is over...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Episode 9: The Stumpy Awards!

NOTE: This is a special episode. It isn't our usual format, and people who are not familiar with the show may want to watch some previous episodes instead. This doesn't give a good introduction to what our show is about. But it was fun for a everyone, so we made it anyway It's an event as big as the Oscars... a night so special that Stumpy put on a tie. The latest episode of Blue Collar Woodworking reveals who won the "Tubafore Contest", who lost, and who the heck is that guy in the wizard outfit... It's twelve of the best minutes you're likely to spend today... enjoy...

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Episode #8: Now that's just plane smart!

This week Stumpy does hand plane surgery to make his own rabbet planes form a Stanley #110 and a #4... then he tames a "tubafore", and rants about technology in the workshop.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Episode 7: Who Says Stumpy's Not Very Sharp? (Part 2)

Lots of hand tool work leads Stumpy to develop his own fully featured, completely adjustable, precisely accurate, sliding grinder tool rest. And how did a CHICKEN get into the workshop?