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May 31, 2007

Virginia-Highland Summerfest

This weekend the Virgina-Highland Civic Association will be hosting Summerfest right here in our neighborhood. When you come in for woodworking supplies, take some extra time to check out the festival. For more information, click on the logo.


Summerfest celebrates the beginning of summer with diverse arts, great food, live musical performances and much more. The festival takes place along Virginia Avenue, in the heart of historic Virginia-Highland.

Voted the "Best Neighborhood Festival" in Creative Loafing and consistently revered by art professionals as one of the best artists' markets in the southeast, Summerfest is a great event for the entire family. Make sure you stick around and explore the unique shopping and eclectic dining throughout the Virginia-Highland neighborhood.

If you are coming in early to shop or take a class, be advised that there will be a 5K Fun Run in the neighborhood. Some streets will be blocked off from about 7:45am until about 9:00am. Click here for a map of the race route.


Festool Domino Special Ends Today!


Hey everybody, today is the last day of the Festool Domino Introductory Pricing promotion! On June 1st, the Domino tool, all Domino packages and the Domino Cutter & Tenon Assortment all go up by $40. Place your order before midnight to take advantage of this offer.


May 30, 2007

A new PBS Woodworking show!

PBS plans to premier a new woodworking show early next year. It"s called Woodworking Together and is hosted by Gail O'Rourke. See the details and trailer below.

"Woodworking Together" is the first new woodworking show to come to public television in more than 10 years and features the very first woman to host a true woodworking show, Boston-area cabinetmaker Gail O'Rourke.

Our show is geared toward woodworkers of all skill levels, with a special emphasis on beginners.

Woodworking Together will premiere nationwide on PBS stations in January of 2008.

Good luck Gail. It's always great to have more woodworking on TV.


May 28, 2007

Protect ALL Body Parts!

Foreign object in eyeThe other day I had a slight mishap in the shop that as in most cases, was completely avoidable. After breaking out into that "Jeez, THAT was a close one!" sweat, all I could think was "This is exactly how accidents happen - sheer oversight and carelessness."

I was cutting thin slivers of wood from pen blanks on the miter saw to make segmented pieces. Since the blanks are roughly 3/4" x 3/4" x 6", I was very concerned with how to hold them while cutting. After a lot of thought, I made a simple sled with a toggle clamp to hold the blank, which allowed me to keep my fingers far away from the blade as I chopped. I went so far as to use double-stick tape to further secure the smaller pieces to the sled, since I couldn't clamp some of them down as well as I would have liked.

So I'm cutting away, carefully taping and clamping each piece, when a piece manages to fly up and hit me squarely in my right eye. Why? BECAUSE I WASN'T WEARING EYE PROTECTION!!! I took all that time to plan out my cuts and protect my hands, yet completely neglected my eyes and face. My eye seemed okay after the initial shock, and you can bet I put on a faceshield for the rest of my cuts!

Later I noticed my eye felt a little sore, so I looked at it in the mirror. I had a small chunk of wood about 1/16" x 3/16" stuck in the inside corner of my eye! No wonder it hurt when I blinked and even more so when I rubbed my eye! Fortunately I was able to remove the wood without incident. Again I felt my body flush with sweat as I considered how seriously I could have injured myself.

From the Merck Manual Home Edition:

The most common eye injuries are those to the cornea and outer surface of the eye (conjunctiva) caused by foreign objects. Although most of these injuries are minor, some—such as penetration of the cornea or development of an infection from a cut or scratch on the cornea—can be serious.

I guess shop safety entails protecting ALL body parts!!! Shop for safety equipment at Highland Woodworking

* Send us your account of a shop injury or close call for a future Wood News Online feature: woodnews@highlandwoodworking.com.

May 27, 2007

An interesting use for chisels

This is an entertaining video, but we don't recommend this as safe shop procedure.


May 25, 2007

The best vacs in the business!

Who has the best tool-triggered vacs around? We do! Fine Homebuilding says that we have the best vacs around.

OK, that's not quite what they said, but they rated the Fein Turbo II Vac is their "Author's Choice for Best Value".


Fine Homebuilding also says that their "Author's Choice for Best Overall" is the Festool CT33!


The best in the business are both available at Highland Woodworking.

I've had my Fein Turbo II for 9 years now and I love it! Now that I've used a Festool, I'm considering adding it to my shop. Not to replace the Fein, but to cover the other end of the shop.


May 24, 2007

Festool Domino Special Expires Soon!


Hey everybody, there's only one week left in the Festool Domino Introductory pricing promotion! On June 1st, the Domino tool, all Domino packages and the Domino Cutter & Tenon Assortment all go up by $40. If you are considering a Festool Domino, take advantage of this special pricing while it lasts.


May 21, 2007

Highland Woodworking Rated "Best Hardware Store"!

The Sunday Paper, All You Need to Know

The Sunday Paper, an Atlanta alternative weekly newspaper which focuses on news, culture, entertainment and local events and issues, recently voted Highland Hardware (now known as Highland Woodworking) as the "Best Hardware Store"! In their May 13-19 issue, The Sunday Paper published the results of their 2007 Reader's Choice Awards, an annual compilation of local favorites, as voted upon by readers. The listing reads:

"A spot of Zen on an otherwise bustling street, Highland Hardware is a respite for burgeoning and expert woodworkers alike. Hardware staples are available, but it's the staff's know-how that transforms a trip to pick up a bandsaw into what feels like a homey chat with community crafts-people. The store also offers a variety of woodworking classes."

Although Highland Hardware started out 28 years ago as a local hardware and woodworking retailer, over the years we have grown to become exclusively an international purveyor of fine woodworking tools. In late 2006 we changed our name to Highland Woodworking to reflect our departure from a traditional hardware store inventory to a selection of specialized woodworking and finishing supplies, tools and educational programs. Our new name is a truer reflection of the nature of our offering and our position in the woodworking industry.

Directions to Highland Woodworking.

The Sunday Paper 2007 Reader's Choice Awards

May 18, 2007

Leigh Jig's New Side Stop Fence Upgrade for the FMT Jig


As I blogged a few weeks ago, I visited Leigh Industries to tour the factory and see some new products, like this one.

105732.jpg 105732-1.jpg

The New Side Stop Fence for the Leigh Frame Mortise and Tenon jig is a big step forward. It is much larger than the original side stop, it easier to adjust for vertical and angled use. It can even serve to steady your workpiece and prevent vibration during mortise routing. For all of the details, check out the bulletin on this product from Leigh. It is a PDF, so you'll need Abobe Reader. If you don't have Adobe Reader, you can get it at the link below.

All of the FMT jigs now shipping include the new Side Stop. If you have an older FMT, you can upgrade for only $14.99.

Download Leigh Bulletin



Woodworking Link: Matt's Basement Workshop

MBW logo.jpg

Matt Vanderlist is an amateur woodworker. He podcasts regularly on a variety of woodworking topics, from safety to tuning handplanes. His blog includes descriptions of his podcast plus jig plans and links to cool sites. I've been listening to it regularly for a few months now and I think you'll find it interesting. You can download the podcast directly from his website or through your normal podcast aggregator.

Matt's Basement Workshop


May 15, 2007

Festool comes to Highland and Highland goes to Festool


We were fortunate to have Dan Durant of Festool on hand demonstrating the impressive line of Festool tools during the Highland Woodworking Spring Tool Sale on May 5th. Then last week on a trip to see my daughter who is studying in Germany, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit the Festool factory. Festool is a world-renowned tool manufacturer known for its high quality, precision and reliability. The factory is located in Wendlingen, a beautiful small town south of Stuttgart. Mr. Raichle, a representative for Festool, greeted us and kindly gave us a complete tour of the factory.

First, we visited the manufacturing section where we found the heart of Festool, the motor. They cast their own motor housing and wind the armature after turning the shafts with zero tolerance. Festool feels that the motor is the most essential part of any of their tools, and therefore will never outsource its production.

We then proceeded to the assembly division. Every tool has its own U-shaped assembly line. Mr. Raichle explained that this was a new concept for Germany and Festool. With the U-shaped assembly line the workers stand inside the U and parts are loaded from the backside. The U-shaped assembly line is very efficient. Festool went to Japan to Toyota and studied their manufacturing techniques. Along with the U-shaped assembly line, Festool started a "just in time" parts program. Mr. Raichle explained that the non-manufactured parts come into the factory up to four times a day depending on demand. Workers replenish parts for the assembly line. The supplier supplies parts on consignment, paid only for each delivery. This new system has doubled Festool’s efficiency and improved the quality control. Festool is selling their knowledge about manufacturing, assemblage, and just in time parts programs to other manufacturers in Germany and England.

U-shaped assembly line

Another unique part of the assembly line is the demand cards system that dictates the workers' hours. Festool employs workers on a demand basis. Each section in the plant has a demand board, which tells the workers what specific tool needs assembling or parts manufactured. Depending on the quantity demand, one to eight technicians perform the necessary assemblage of any tool. When there are no cards on the board, the workers go home.

Festool has great respect for ideas offered by their employees and encourages their input. The workers receive extra money for their ideas. We saw several ideas by workers that are now a part of the production process. We also got a sneak preview of some of the new tools Festool will be offering. We saw a compound sliding miter saw with a dual laser. You are going to love the chop box when it gets here later this year. We also saw a portable tablesaw with the precision of a stationary saw. They did not know when this tablesaw would get to the USA, but hopefully it will be soon.

We left the factory with a new appreciation of one of the world's great tools. Check ’em out in our new catalog or online on our website. As one customer of Highland Woodworking told me before I left for Germany, his fellow workers would drive to the jobsite in big new trucks with their cheaper tools, while he drove an old truck but had the best tools to do the job. He said while their tools would wear out from use, his Festool tools where always reliable. I guess it true when they say, “The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of cheap price is forgotten”.

Shop for Festool at Highland Woodworking.


May 11, 2007

Hock plane blades

Hock Tools makes a large selection of excellent quality hand plane blades. In this video, Ron Hock explains the benefits of his blades and shows how to set up hand planes. It's 8-1/2 minutes - so it will take a long time to load on a slow connection.


May 9, 2007

Upgrading your Anant Rabbet plane

Anant 77

A while back, one of our customers e-mailed me about upgrading his Anant #77 Rabbet Plane. He wanted to know if there was a better quality plane blade that would fit, even suggesting that the blade for the Clifton 3-in-1 plane might work. Well, I knew that neither Lie-Nielsen nor Hock offered blades to fit the 77. I went to try out the rabbet plane blades that we stock. Sure enough, the Clifton 3-in-1 plane blade fits the Anant #77 rabbet plane. Unfortunately, it is thicker that the standard Anant blade. As a result, you have to modify your plane to make it work.

Take a file to the tip of the blade retention screw (see diagram) and remove enough of it so that you can fit the thicker blade in the plane. Viola! Better edge retention, less chatter in just a few minutes.

77 mod


May 8, 2007

New Red Hot Special!

New Red Hot Special!Don't miss the new Highland Woodworking Red Hot Special! Our brand new Set of 6 Soft-Sanders is 20% off, but quantities are limited, so you'll have to act fast! Visit Highland Woodworking to order yours!

If you don't see the Red Hot Special icon on our homepage, that means we've sold out, so check back soon for our next item!

May 2, 2007

Highland Woodworking Welcomes Back Toshio Odate

It is a rare privilege and a real delight to welcome Toshio Odate back to Highland Woodworking. We're honored to offer this rare opportunity to spend a aweekend learning and practicing with this eminent master.

It was just after giving his first class here in Nov. 1981 that Toshio began work on his first book, Japanese Woodworking Tools: Their Tradition, Spirit and Use, which has become an enduring classic both here and in Japan. Decades later, we welcome him as a renowned author, craftsman and sculptor.

These classes offer a unique opportunity to experience a wonderfully different culture and practice of woodworking, even as you learn about specific tools and practical techniques.

* BONUS! Receive a complimentary $15 Highland Woodworking Gift Certificate, good on any non-power tool purchase, when you enroll in either class! †

Handplane Demonstration with Toshio OdateHandplane Demonstration with Toshio Odate (991533) *

Friday, May 11 from 6pm to 9pm
Tuition: $60

NOTE: This class is included in the tuition for those taking Sharpening Handplanes & Japanese Tools class.

Mr. Odate will demonstrate the sharpening, adjustment and use of the traditional Japanese smoothing plane, the tool that produces the polished surfaces that distinguish Japanese woodwork. Also covered will be the power handplane and how to get the most out of it. Mr. Odate will show how his innovative approach to sharpening both tools with a slightly crowned edge allows for the best results.

* BONUS! Receive a complimentary $15 Highland Woodworking Gift Certificate, good on any non-power tool purchase, when you enroll in this class! †

Sharpening Handplanes & Japanese Tools with Toshio OdateSharpening Handplanes & Japanese Tools with Toshio Odate (991534) *

Saturday & Sunday, May 12 & 13 from 9am to 5pm
Tuition: $195

We're honored to offer this rare opportunity to spend a weekend learning & practicing with this eminent master. Students will get to practice their sharpening technique on their own plane irons & chisels, with hands-on tutoring by Mr. Odate.

Over the course of the weekend, Toshio will plane and prep a wide, thick plank - too heavy and too wide for normal jointing and planing - flattening and polishing it to dining table standards. We're sure that Toshio's running commentary and pointed advice will be as inspiring as ever, and that you'll come away impressed and enriched.

Students should bring their own waterstones. Recommended grits are 1000X, 4000X or 6000X and 8000X stones. Some sharpening experience suggested.

* BONUS! Receive a complimentary $15 Highland Woodworking Gift Certificate, good on any non-power tool purchase, when you enroll in this class! †

† Gift certificate offered in conjunction with valid enrollment in class Sharpening Handplanes & Japanese Tools (991533) or Sharpening Handplanes & Japanese Tools (991534) only. Good on any on-hand, regularly stocked, non-power tool purchase. Not to be combined with any other offer. No adjustments on prior sales.