Thursday, January 8, 2015

MWA Podcast Episode 67 - New Year 2015

Show Notes:

Hello, everyone and welcome to this - the 67th edition of the Modern Woodworkers Association online discussion about all things woodworking. Let me introduce our usual panel. I'm Tom Iovino of Tom's Workbench dot com, and I'll be your host for this program.

This episode of the Modern Woodworkers Association podcast is sponsored by The Gorilla Glue Company - for the toughest jobs on planet earth.

What’s in the shop?
Live Edge Table
for his fancy hall office

It’s a bandsaw, baby
It Finally Sucks
Some Day Cars Will Drive On This
Only 6 boxes to go

Blog post that piqued our interest
Al Navas
    • His injury has kept him out of the wood shop, but he’s now just as passionate about quilting. He’s also still being very generous to woodworkers.
  • Nice shop tip from @archelements on Instagram
    • Adding a leather strap to protect wood and act as a tool holder.

Goings on in the MWA

Main topic
  • What did you get for Christmas that was woodworking related
    • Chris
      • Chis had to buy his own gifts
    • Dyami
      • My Book
    • Tom
      • Bought a saw
  • What you build for others for Christmas?
    • Chris
      • Spoon
    • Dyami
      • This bench
    • Tom
      • Made cutting boards for his co-workers

If you’re missing us already, you can subscribe to the show on itunes. Just search for the Modern Woodworkers Association. Once you’re subscribed, you’ll be sure never to miss an exciting episode. While you’re in iTunes, please leave us a 5 star rating. It helps our rank so others can more easily find us.

If you want to find out more about the Modern Woodworkers Association, be sure to visit, follow the MWA on twitter @MWA_National, like the MWA on Facebook or circle Modern Woodworkers Association on Google+. While you’re there, join the MWA Google+ community for project sharing, discussion and loads of woodworking banter.


Wednesday, December 31, 2014

And, for those Last Minute Elf winners...

Well, the holidays are just about over, but the fun is getting ready to begin!  First, we would like to thank everyone who took the time to submit projects for the Last Minute Elf event. We had 28 entries, and all of them were winners in our book!  There were some great ideas in there, but, as you know, there can only be a few winners. So, without any further ado, here they are:

1) Best turned project: Adam Wroten's light sabers. 
The force is strong with young Adam, as he turned the handles on his light sabers. Using PEX tubing and some inexpensive flashlights, he is ready to rule the galaxy...

Adam's light sabers

2) The greenest project: Krishen Kota's lobster sign.
Take some scrap wood, put it together with a great image, and you have a beautiful hand-made sign that would be fit for anyone in your family. A great reuse of materials!

Lobstah, anyone?

3) The best project to fit inside a USPS flat rate shipping box:  Brian Igielski's candle centerpiece. 
This project's simplicity made it a favorite, with the sloping sides and alternating species of wood adding a touch of elegance to any holiday table.

Brian's Candle Centerpiece.

4) Best for a child: Chet Kloss' child block carts.
What child wouldn't love one of these colorful block carts? Chet made these babies to be fun, exciting and something that kids could enjoy for hours!

Chet's fleet of block carts

5) Best for an adult:  Marilyn Guthrie's flag box.
Not only is this a great box for a commemorative flag, it's also a beautifully built version of it. We loved the use of the splines to hold the edges together.

Marilyn's flag box
6) The coolest tip:  This one came from Gary Shuler. He made a number of cribbage boards as gifts, and gave us a few golden bits of advice, including making an extra board or two in case something should go wrong during the build, and finishing the boards before drilling the holes, making finishing a little easier.

And, for the best overall gift, it was a tough choice. We had to go deep into the monkey cage on this one to find out, but this year, the best overall prize goes to Brian Eve for his Coffee and Cream Roorkee Chair. I mean, who wouldn't be pleased to receive a fine piece of furniture like this?

The chair in all of its glory
Congratulations to all of our winners, and we hope you enjoy your gift packages courtesy of the Gorilla Glue Company!

By the way, we will have more opportunities for prizes, including the upcoming Get Woodworking Week. Mark your calendars for the week of February 8 - 14.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Last Minute Bench

Happy Boxing Day dear woodworkers. Have you given your saw its Christmas Box?

I haven't either, though I did wrap up the bench I made for my Dad for Christmas.

In the coming weeks I'll share more of the build and I'm working on a video showing my method for reinforcing the bench seat. In the mean time, here's a brief photo essay of the bench build.

Don't forget, now that Christmas is over, there's still time to share the gifts you made as part of the +Modern Woodworkers Association Last Minute Elf contest. You can read all about it here. Just send an email to and you'll be entered.

I hope you enjoyed your Christmas build as much as I did.

In order to flatten the bench seat, I hot glued it to a piece of melamine and ran it trough the planer.

Here is the bench leg, also hot glued to a piece of melamine, midway through being flattened.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Inlay your epoxy

So, how about that decorative box I was working on?  It looks nice as is, but if you think I'm done there, you have got to be kidding yourself.

Yes, I often let the wood grain speak for itself, but there are times when you want to embellish a project - to guild the proverbial lily - and make the project a little more special and personalized. Now, normally that might involve cutting a decorative inlay for your project, and that's great with the proper inlay kit, router bit and a steady hand. I've tried it, and have yet to really make a quality, perfectly matched inlay.

A quick epoxy trick makes beautiful inlays...
Fortunately, there is an easier way to get a sweet looking inlay for a project - using color tinted epoxy. In this case, I routed out the shape of a heart on the lid of this box and decided to fill it with tinted epoxy. It's simple to mix in about 10% by volume of an artist acrylic paint to make the epoxy stand out without weakening its bond.

As you can see, it's a very simple project. I used some Gorilla Glue five minute epoxy, but let it cure overnight just to ensure it was hard enough to sand and not gum up my sanding disks.

And, no, you aren't hearing things. Those are indeed the dulcet tones of one Marc Spagnuolo crooning the theme to Tom's Tips. This is the triumphant return of Tom's Tips, and I'm happy to see the animated open my sons and I worked on now being used!  I hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Handle those miters

A small box is a great project to tackle. It uses little wood, yet pushes your skills to the limit. It can be as simple or as complex as you would want to make it.

Just think about something as basic as corner joinery. Do you want to try your hand at cutting some dovetails? Maybe finger joints are more your speed.

For this project, I was going for splined miter joints. They are plenty strong for a small box, yet look very slick. One of the questions I get a lot at my blog is how do you clamp miters and keep them tight. I mean, it's not easy to get a clamp on them, and they want to slide all over the place when they are covered with glue.

Fortunately, the answer is something as simple as reaching for a little bit of Gorilla packing tape. As this video shows, you can use the tape to capture the miter joints for the glue up, and with the tape still in place after the glue dries, cut the miter slots on your table saw with just a few passes.

It's a simple yet totally awesome technique for getting even the trickiest miters to close up tightly and it works like a champ.