Wednesday, February 27, 2013

BLOG: Ohh- You meant THAT kind of stool sample!

Have you ever said something you regret? I’m not talking about the time you cussed out that noisy baby in the movie theater or when you asked the fat lady if she was expecting. I’m talking about something that seemed to make absolute sense at the moment you said it, but upon further examination, you wish you could cram it back into your pie hole before anyone else noticed how stupid it was.
As a maker of fine films, I have learned the importance of carefully considering what you will say before the cameras role. In this day and age only two things last forever: Little Debbie snack cakes and things you put on the internet. If you make yourself look stupid on video, as I try to do every couple of weeks, your stupidity will spread like wildfire as it is linked to and embedded upon websites across the world wide web.
Here’s a classic illustration. I came across this video on You Tube last night. Here I was, minding my own business, enjoying a cold one, when George at WWGOA made it all come out my nose. Watch the two minute video below and see if you notice…

See how one word can change everything? A video about stool design suddenly becomes a parody by inserting the word “sample”. By the time he said he liked to invite people to sit on his big stool samples to see how they felt under their butts, I had figured out his true (and very funny) intention. My wife, who is not one for potty humor, wasn’t fooled either. Intentional or not, I am here to tell you that even the smartest people can look dumb if their words aren’t chosen properly.
Take it from me, a guy who looks dumb for a living!

Friday, February 22, 2013

BLOG: Rappin' Roy Underhill Video

I made this one for the Rockler Nordy's video awards. It's a little cheesy, but a lot of fun. Plus it expresses my true love for Roy Underhill!

The video had to be limited to 2 minutes, so a lot was cut out. Here's the full transcript. It's done to the tune of Weird Al's song "Couch Patato", which is a parody of Eminem's "Lose Yourself".

What inspires me to work wood? Yo-

My hand plane is ready.
It’s hot in here, armpits are sweaty.
There’s a grumble from inside my belly.
Too much spaghetti.
I’m nervous but on the surface I look calm and ready.
To push on, but tear out is all I’m getting.

I could try a plow, see if that that would work somehow
Another minute from now I’m throwin’ in the towel
I’m dying, wow, I feel like crying now
I bite my tongue or I’ll shout something foul

Snap back to reality
Stop the insanity
Think of your family
No cause for profanity

I don’t give up that easy
If I try it again I’ll see
Shavings curl wonderfully
I’ll be working happily

It’s just like on that show
With that guy we all know
34 Years in a row
With those suspenders he wears
Wish I had a pair
He has more talent than most in just one mustache hair.

You’re gonna lose your fingers in woodwork they told me, they scold me
But this is what know
Set up shop and you can’t stop, do not give it a go
Unless you’re prepared to do it for a lifetime

You’ll never be like those guys on the TV, they told me, cajoled me
Turn off those videos
But I love it a lot, do not- touch the remote
Woodworking isn’t just a hobby of mine

My back is aching
Don’t care how long it’s taking
A highboy is what I’m making

Made to order, with bi-fold doors or,
Maybe a lowboy if the boards come out shorter

The next project will be the same story
I’ll make one object or I may just make forty

Half done projects, all over they’re layin’
I try to do work, but just end up playin’
With a new tool- just for a minute
I had to go all the way to Rockler to get it

You’re gonna lose your mind with this woodwork, they told me, they scold me
You do too much of it you know
All that sawdust and wood lust- your mind will blow
They don’t understand this hobby of mine

Turn the channel on the TV, they told me, cajoled me
No more woodworking videos
I love PBS, can’t take a rest, I have to know
How to finish southern yellow pine

I never miss Tommy Mac, season 3 is back
He’s got a knack for spreading shellac
I built a wood rack like the one in his shop
Can’t wait to pack it up to the top

Norm Abram can make anything in a half hour
I guess that’s why all his tools run on power
Bob Villa thinks that he’s the one that’s got ‘er
I wouldn’t let that hack grout my shower

And then there’s Charles Neil with all his DVDs
I’d own ‘em all if money grew on the trees
I could learn to bump cut with a router bit
I’d never screw up if I sneak up on it
He’s got a website and an internet show
He’s forgotten more stuff than I’ll ever know

I watch ‘em all cause I’m a woodworking freak
I can’t wait to see what they’re making this week

A 30 minute spot where joinery is the plot
I’m always learning more stuff that I forgot.
I try it all out right here in the shop
Till my fingers are numb and my eyes are bloodshot
Cause I’ve only got
One favorite spot
I’m gonna be at my workbench a whole lot.

You waste your time with this woodwork, they told me, they scold me
None of them really know
I love dovetails, stiles and rails, the raised panel
Let me work and I’ll be just fine

You’ll never be like Roy Underhill they told me, cajoled me
But I’ve seen every show
His floppy hat and all that he lets me know
Not a minute of it has been wasted time

You can learn anything from woodworking shows.
I’m outta here.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

BLOG: Look out evil- I have a measuring tape!

Woodworkers get inspiration from the most unlikely of sources. Recently I was eating a sandwich when it hit me: I’ve been getting ripped off! Maybe I should give you a little background on this…
A couple of weeks ago I read a news story about a guy who was suing Subway restaurants because his “foot long” sub wasn’t a full twelve inches.  Apparently he felt a little empty inside after consuming his cold cut combo. So he went around town ordering from every Subway he could find and measuring the sandwiches. His suspicions were confirmed when he discovered, to his horror, that the average length was a mere eleven inches. Someone in the dark, smoky back rooms of Subway’s corporate offices was conspiring to cheat him out of a full inch. So he did the natural thing in such a situation. He sued. The case is currently pending, but I know we are all sitting on the edges of our seats, waiting to see if a jury awards him a lifetime’s supply of the bread end stumps that he so desperately wants.

Settle down, I’m getting to the woodworking part…

So, here I am eating my third eleven inch sub when I start to wonder if I was also a victim. I’m not worried about my sandwiches since I always steal a few napkins to make up for the smaller buns. But when it comes to woodworking, value is paramount. Had I been taking too much for granted? I wiped my mouth, stuffed a few extra mustard packets into my pocket and slipped out the door to do some investigating.

My first stop was Home Depot, the place where every fine woodworking project begins. As I walked through the automatic doors I made my way straight for the coffee stand. No orange vests in sight, so I put a few extra creams in my cup. I like my coffee milky. Over at the 2X4 pile I started pulling lumber off the neat stack and tossing it into a pile on the floor. I like to get my boards from the middle of the pallet. As I held up a particularly damp specimen of Douglas fir, sighting down it’s length with one eye closed, I noted a slight twist. It may have been the lighting, it may even have been my imagination, but I demand the best so I tossed it aside and continued rummaging through the stack. Finally, at the very bottom of the pile I found the perfect board. I pulled a measuring tape off the rack, ripped open the package and used it to check the width and thickness. I KNEW IT! It wasn’t even close to being a 2X4. Home Depot was peddling undersized lumber.

By now I was ready to blow the top off this whole thing. I took my measuring tape all over the store, tearing packages open, filling a shopping cart with evidence. Drywall screws were a 64th of an inch shorter than the label claimed. The quarts of wood finish were only 90% full. Every single sheet of plywood was off by at least a 32nd.  It’s true that a great deal of the stuff I destroyed in my investigation was fine; some of it was over the size or weight on the package. But I managed to collect a full cart of fraudulent merchandise which I pushed up to the front of the store and left by the service desk with a note that said “I’m on to you, fella!”

I wasn’t ready for a confrontation. I didn’t want to blow my cover until I saw just how high up this conspiracy went. So my next stop was Woodcraft. Same story here, extra cream in the coffee, and I ate six of the mini donuts before I grabbed a pair of calipers and headed over to the router bit cabinet. The lock wouldn’t budge no matter how hard I rattled the cabinet. Well played Mr. Woodcraft, keep the inspectors out and you can get away with anything, I bet. This nut was going to be harder to crack.

I called the clerk over to the lumber racks and asked him to cut me six board feet off a piece of Honduran rosewood, in one foot chunks. I watched closely, sometimes leaning over his shoulder so he could feel my warm breath on the back of his neck as he made the cuts. Finally he laid the last piece on the bench and I immediately snatched it up. With one accusatory eye on him I measured each piece. Then I asked him for a board foot calculator, which he surrendered without question. Good, I thought, it’ll go easier on you if you cooperate. To my surprise, each piece came out slightly over sized. They must be on to me. I threw the calculator toward the magazine racks and used the distraction to escape back to the free coffee station to refill and regroup. I knew something was fishy; I just couldn’t put my finger on it. And I’m usually very good about where I put my fingers. After all, I’m a woodworker.

That’s when the manager and a very tall security guard brandishing a Taser asked me to leave. Someone must have told them about my investigation. This was much bigger than I ever imagined. I knew right then and there that I was destined for a special purpose. I am to be the advocate of the regular woodworker, the eyes and ears of the helpless masses. Whenever there is a sale item out of stock, wherever the free coffee is less than hot, I’ll be there. Like a mysterious superhero in a Roy Underhill hat I will hide in the shadows behind tool displays and lumber racks in woodworking stores and home centers everywhere, waiting to expose those who try to cheat woodworkers out of their hard-earned money. My identity will be a mystery, my name only heard as a whisper in the wind as I swoop past faster than the eye can see, responding to every call. Justice will be my legacy, thrift my daily mission. And I will not stop until woodworkers the world over can buy a 2X4 with the confidence that they will be getting their $2 worth!

…After all, it’s not like we demand too much sometimes!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Episode 30- Dust Collection part 3

The good times never end at the Stumpy Nubs Workshop- this time build our own 6" square wooden duct work, we make a ceiling mounted air filtration unit from a furnace blower, we talk all sorts of technical details about dust collection, and we welcome four guests including Charles Neil- who gives us a tip on making face frames really pop; Paul Moore- who entertains us with a crazy Canadian 100HP lathe; Mustache Mike makes his first appearance on the show as Stumpy's new sidekick; and Puddles the shop dog sits and shivers on the bench. All this and more on this episode of Blue Collar Woodworking...

This is part 3 of our 4 episode dust collection series. In part one we began building our wooden cyclone; in part two we addressed blowers, and in the next episode we'll have the conclusion of the wooden cyclone build where we'll show how we hook up two Harbor Freight motors for dual suction, plus we're trying out a Clear Vue cyclone on our wooden duct work.