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February 27, 2007

E.T. Roberts & Lee Handsaws from England

E.T. Roberts & Lee Handsaws from EnglandFor years we've searched for professional quality, western style carpenter's saws. You know, the kind Disston, Stanley and Sandvik used to make. All we wanted were well-shaped wooden handles, brass buttons, taper ground blades, a choice of rip or crosscut teeth and decent stel; too much to ask apparently.

Well, guess what we found in the U.K.? E.T. Roberts & Lee has been manufacturing really first-rate handsaws in England since 1908. Their Dorchester series is their premium line. Not only do they make carpenter's saws, but wonderful joinery saws as well.

All E.T. Roberts & Lee Dorchester saws come with American black walnut handles, solid brass hardware and high-grade steel blades.

See these fine hand tools for yourself on our website.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

February 23, 2007

Coiling Bandsaw Blades

Coiling bandsaw blades is easier than you think. As with many apparently complex woodworking chores, complication arises from trying to assimilate or carry out too many steps at once. Taken one at a time, each step is almost childishly simple and easy to accomplish.

Therefore, we'll try to show you, one step at a time, an effective way to coil bandsaw blades. We suggest that you compel yourself not to read ahead. Read just one sentence; do what it says until you're comfortable, then read the next sentence. You can do everything very slowly; speed is neither necessary nor helpful. A death grip doesn't help either. If you squeeze the blade too hard it will bite you back, so hold it lightly.

1. Go get a bandsaw blade to practice with, preferably between 1/4" and 1/2" wide. Hold the uncoiled blade in a horizontal circle in front of you, teeth up. For the purpose of this discussion, we'll identify 6 o'clock as the point nearest your navel; 12 o'clock is the point farthest from you.

Coiling Bandsaw Blades 12. Support the blade with your left hand at about 9 o'clock: palm up, fingers below the blade pointing toward 2 o'clock, thumb closing lightly over the top.

3. Hold the other side of the blade with your right hand at 3 o'clock: palm down, fingers above the blade pointing left toward 10 o'clock, thumb wrapped lightly beneath.

4. Move your hands toward each other to halve the distance between them, squeezing the blade into an oval.

5. Without moving your elbow, bend your left wrist up toward you as if you were tipping a beer.

Coiling Bandsaw Blades 26. Without moving your elbow, bend your right wrist down as if you were casting a fly. When both fists are roughly vertical (like holding a steering wheel), the blade will be bent into the shape of a saddle, with high lobes left and right, low lobes front and back.

7. Without moving your elbow, rotate your left wrist 45° clockwise, bringing the left lobe of the saddle down to the right.

Coiling Bandsaw Blades 38. Without moving your elbow, rotate your right wrist about 45° counterclockwise, bringing the right lobe down to the left above the left lobe. As you rotate your wrists you'll see the low lobe at your navel moving up and forward, while the front low lobe moves back toward it. It doesn't matter which lies above the other.

9. Keep on rotating your left wrist, letting your hand migrate toward 6 o'clock, until the left lobe (now a loop) is horizontal.

10. Rotate your right wrist, letting your hand move to 12 o'clock, until its loop, too, is horizontal.

11. Step back and admire. If you've been living right and thinking good thoughts, you just coiled a bandsaw blade! If it didn't work perfectly, never fear. It was only a first try, after all. Have another go at it, one sentence at a time. Sooner or later it'll work, and there'll be a new blade coiling expert in the woodworking world.

Copyright © 2001 Highland Woodworking

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Saturday Mornings at Highland Woodworking

Saturday Mornings at Highland WoodworkingWe are excited to introduce a new educational series, Saturday Mornings at Highland, to complement our current class offerings. Beginning February 17, 2007, join us at our store in Virginia-Highlands on Saturday mornings at 10am EST for FREE, live demonstrations featuring a wide variety of woodworking skills, tools & techniques. These 1 to 1-1/2 hour-long demonstrations will feature our knowledgeable staff and instructors, local clubs & guilds, guest authors, and others. Upcoming events include woodturning, woodcarving, care & use of hand tools, joinery, book signings, an introduction to woodworking design software, and much, much more.

Please check the online schedule or the display in our store for updated schedules of coming events. Everyone is welcome to drop in - these demonstrations are free of charge. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to expand your skills as well as explore new woodworking techniques!

See the Saturday Mornings at Highland Schedule

Directions to Our Store

Curtis Buchanan: Windsor Chair Maker

Windsor ChairOne of the woodworkers that we came to love almost instantly is renowned Windsor Chair maker Curtis Buchanan. Curtis can be found teaching Windsor Chair Making to groups of eager students at least once, sometimes twice, each year at Highland. His visits are always highly anticipated. With much fondness for him we are always very proud when others find out how great he is.

For those who haven't seen it yet, he is on the cover of the recently distributed February '07 issue of Woodwork magazine. Written by Stephanie Stone, a research psychologist who teaches at Johns Hopkins University, the article is illustrated with photos by Doug Thompson, Tom Pardue, Pete Montanti and many of Curtis's own pictures. It is a really well done piece that captures a lot of Curtis's personality.

In the latter part of the article, Curtis mentions that the comfortable chair, also know as a "sittin' chair", was always offered to family and friends because you wanted them to stay and visit, versus a "company" chair. Curtis, know that we will always have a sittin' chair with your name on it, saved for you here at Highland Woodworking.

See a listing of Curtis's upcoming April Workshops being held at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta, GA.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

Anant Bench Holdfast

Anant Bench Holdfast

Anant has reintroduced Record's super useful Holdfast at an irresistible price. The Anant Bench Holdfast works much like traditional workbench hold downs by clamping work directly to the bench wherever you can drill a 15/16" hole, but it is much more effective than the single piece iron types. Once you have positioned the Holdfast over your project, an acme screw forces a pivot arm down with enormous pressure exactly were you need it. The clamp pad also pivots to accommodate odd shaped parts. You will want to use some scrap wood or glue a piece of leather to this pad to keep it from marring your work.

The Anant Bench Holdfast has several mounting options. If your bench top is at least 2-1/4" thick and made of hardwood, just drill a hole wherever you like. For softwood and thinner tops, an iron flange is included to mount either flush with the top of your bench if it is at least 2" thick or surface mounted to the underside if it's thinner. Of course, you could choose to use the flange on either side of hardwood benches as well. Throat capacity and maximum height are 8".

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

February 21, 2007

The Flowing Forms of Furniture Artist & Sculptor Sabiha Mujtaba

dancer.jpgBlending her talents as a master craftsperson and designer, Sabiha Mujtaba creates original custom wood furniture and art pieces. While adhering to the functional principles of furniture making, Sabiha's primary focus is on the aesthetic relationship between rigid and flowing forms. Her work is influenced by her South Asian heritage and by her love of nature and organic forms.

Originally from Karachi, Pakistan, Sabiha was raised and educated in London, England. She moved to Atlanta, Georgia in 1981 where she apprenticed at Sutherland Studios, a nationally renowned custom furniture studio. In 1986 she opened her own studio, Chrysalis Woodworks, which today operates from the basement garage of her home.

Sabiha's work is part of several private collections and has been exhibited in various shows, galleries, museums and publications. She has also been a featured artist on the Discovery Channel's "Lynette Jenning Designs", a nationwide televised program on homes and interiors.

Read our interview with Sabiha

View a slideshow of Sabiha's work

Visit Sabiha's website