May 16, 2010

Shopping for a Router and Router Table

Do you remember a few weeks ago when I talked about buying a new router with the profits from my furniture making exploits? Well, I decided to go for it, and when I went to Highland, I was really impressed with the Triton 2-1/4 HP plunge router.

301006.jpgThe thing I like best about this router is that you can crank the bit all the way up or down using the router handle. There is a ring inside the handle which, when depressed, allows you to move the bit up and down. You can move it a fraction of an inch, or you can move it the full range of motion in either direction. There is also a fine motion screw on top of the motor which operates for the full range of motion of the bit. When you crank the bit all the way down, a lock engages the collet and you can then use the wrench to remove or install the bit with one hand. It's a beautiful thing.

In addition, when you mount the router upside down in a table, there is a crank handle which fits through the top of the table and attaches to the crank mechanism on the router, which you can use to adjust the bit very precisely from above the table. When you need to change the bit, simply crank the bit all the way up (or would that be down?), it locks in place and you can change the bit with one hand from above the table. And with 2-1/4 HP, this thing will do pretty much everything you want to do in the average woodworking shop. (For heavy production work, there is also a 3-1/4 HP model.)

Kreg table.jpgAbout 15 years ago I made myself a wooden router table that was just awful. It is still sitting in the shop and almost never used because it was not well made and the router is very difficult to adjust from under the table. I'm going to throw it away this week. So while I was at the store looking at the routers, they also showed me their Kreg router tables. Kreg's basic model is a benchtop style which works very well with the Triton router.

Kreg router tableI ended up buying
Kreg's deluxe precision floor mounted model
. It comes with a set of very sturdy legs, which you can purchase wheels for if you like. The top is extremely stable, plenty big, and has a pattern of bumps on top of it that makes wood slide easily. It comes with a sophisticated precision fence, and has universal mounting hardware to fit most popular routers. When you drill a single hole in the right place in the top, then the crank handle that comes with the router will operate the height adjustment flawlessly. It effectively eliminates any need to buy one of those expensive third-party router lifts.

When you compare this total outfit price wise to one of those router lift mechanisms you see elsewhere, pricewise it comes out looking very good indeed. I really like this package, and am excited to have one in my workshop.

CLICK HERE to check out this router and the router tables

April 15, 2010

The Power8: A Workshop in a Suitcase

The store loaned me a Power8 Workshop to take home and see if I could make it dance. I was skeptical since these all-in-one cutesy things have come and mostly gone for years. Having only seen the brochure, I placed it on that great continuum of woodworking tools somewhere just north of the deluxe Xacto knife set (the one with the saw blade included) and just south of the Shop Smith Mark 5. I took it home, watched the video and plugged it up so it could charge itself and waited, all the time thinking Easy-Bake Oven.

Power8 workshop

Well, here's the verdict. If you ask the right question, this thing is the answer. First of all, I started out by asking the wrong question. Am I going to use this instead of my Delta Unisaw? Not if I am in my shop. Would I use it instead of my band saw to cut a curve in 8/4 cherry? Not if I can help it. But if I have to repair the upstairs bath cabinet in my rental house, then I will put this thing over my shoulder and save three trips back to the shop.

When I was in the store to pick this up last week, we had a good discussion about who would buy this thing. I never felt I had a clear answer until I got it home and started thinking outside the box (so to speak). (It's all in one box, don't you see?)

If you approach it from the standpoint of one of those kits of portable tools you might see on sale at the big box store around Father's Day and Christmas, then it makes a huge amount of sense. The total price is right in line with the name brands for a kit that includes a cordless jig saw, circular saw, drill driver, and flashlight, all running on an 18 volt battery.

And then on top of that (and beyond any of the other kits), you can turn the drill driver into a drill press, the circular saw into a table saw, the jigsaw into a scroll saw and the flashlight into a table light, and you can see where this is going. If I want to get a set of portable tools, then why not add the table saw/scroll saw/drill press/table light functions on top of it for no additional charge?

If you are a handy-person with limited funds, live in an apartment or small house with little space and big dreams, or a student starting out in woodworking, or a modelmaker, then this would make an excellent tool system for you. And say if you have a cabin at the lake or in the mountains, or work on boats, or go traveling in a motor home, or handle other folks' home repairs out of the back of your truck, well, you get the idea.

It's versatile, it's very compact, and it's highly portable, and there are really cool functions built into this box. A large canvas tool bag containing all the basic tools stores in a sturdy steel-reinforced padded case with a total weight of about 30 pounds.

Take the soft bag out of the box and plug the battery/handle into the corner of the table where it powers any of the tools mounted on the table. If you purchase an extra battery/handle (for $49.99), you can plug the second battery into an alternate extension on the back corner of the table so it will charge while you use the table.

Changing tools is a snap – lift the table top, pull back one slide, pop in the tool, plug it up inside and you're ready to go. I timed myself changing from the table saw to the jig saw and it took me 29.2 seconds.

The saw fence is the post for the drill press, a saw fence, a carpenter's level, a post for the light, an iPod speaker system, (well, maybe not) and it stores out of sight on the bottom of the box when not in use. The miter gauge doubles as a protractor, there is a plastic shield for the scroll saw that fits onto the post, there is a plastic blade guard for the table saw in addition to the retractable blade guard for the circular saw, the push stick for the saw is also the handle for the drill press – it just goes on and on.

Oh yes, there are two plastic storage boxes full of drill bits, nut drivers and jig saw blades and they snap neatly into the back of the hard case. I love the way this thing fits together.

So, do you need versatility? Compactness? Portability? Affordability?

There's even a video. CHECK IT OUT

And hey, Father's Day is just around the corner.

March 29, 2010

My New Leather Apron

I am trying to get my new leather apron dirty and more worn. I am considering tying it to the back of my truck and dragging it down a dirt road for a bit. I may leave it on the floor of the shop and walk on it a while. Maybe leave it hanging up in the weather outside for a few weeks.

What brought this on was a visit to the shop last week by a couple of potential customers. I was wearing my new apron ($49.99 on sale at Highland) when they came in about some custom turning work. Now when you are considering hiring someone to do custom work, you want an experienced worker, someone who has been around the bend, a dirty apron kind of person. You don't want someone learning how to do wood work on your dime. A couple of hundred years ago, when you asked for proposals on work, the bidders brought their tool boxes with them for your inspection. They would spread their tools out for you to inspect, including the tool box itself as a sort of portfolio of the type of work you could expect. Probably not a bad idea.

Even today, when you go to a Habitat site you can tell in the first five minutes who knows what they are doing by the tool belt they are wearing. If you want to get something done, find someone with an old leather belt and a smooth worn hammer handle and follow them around.

Now it happens that I know what I am doing in the turning field, but the problem is that my apron does not yet convey my skill level to potential customers. It needs more wear and signs of usage and I am doing everything I can to get it there. If I can just find a muddy dirt road. leatherapron.jpg

March 18, 2010

Candle Stands and Tools

candlestand2.jpgWow, learn something new every day. A few weeks ago, my son the seminary student, asked me to make a candle stand for his church. It was not something I was familiar with, but he and I looked it up and after several back and forth discussions settled on a design we both liked and I could make. The only design issue was making sure the proportions were right and it looked good. I mocked one up full size out of scrap to check the shape and then I made one to match the pulpit furniture at his church. It was kinda fun and not too difficult and I was pleased with the final product.

And then just as a lark, I put it up on my Etsy site ( and put a price on it. Well, guess what! It is still a couple of weeks until Easter (everyone wants them for the Easter season) and I have sold three more of them. Churches in Louisiana, North Carolina, and Massachusetts will enjoy my handiwork during the Easter season. I had to set up a virtual assembly line. Thank goodness I measured the original and made a quick drawing of it before I sent it off. (Guess I coulda used Sketch-Up.) In fact I will try to make an extra one or two in case I get more orders in the next few days.

Bead system.jpgThat leaves only one other question to be answered — what new tools shall I buy with my profits? (Remember, tools are ALWAYS a worthwhile investment!) I've been watching that new beaded face frame tool at the High, and I sure could use a new router. Maybe I could make some more church furniture. Turns out to be more profitable than bowl turning. Triton router

January 20, 2010

Woodworking Tips: Tool Ignorance vs Tool Stupidity

All woodworkers know if necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the grandfather and stupid is the father. (I think I'll try to get that added to Bartlett's Quotations.) All jigs, templates, shortcuts, power tools, dumb moves and safety practices are heirs of this illustrious family.

I must admit that grandfather laziness is high in my gene list, but father stupid works quicker for me than the other two. Fifteen years ago, in the very first two minutes I had my brand new table saw in the shop, I stuck a scrap of 1/4 inch plywood in the blade free hand. It kicked back into my midsection and the palm of my hand and I learned a good lesson very early. I instantly gained an immense respect for the tool with thankfully little damage. Good lesson not soon forgotten.

band saw.jpgLong as we are on stupid (ignorance can be cured, stupid is forever), I was working on the switch on my new Steel City band saw a few weeks ago, and like a good boy, I unplugged it first. When I finished I pushed the "on" button to check my work, and to my surprise and horror, the saw started. Totally not logical and I instantly looked to see the plug still on the table where I put it before starting to work. Now I only had one course in electricity in college a long time ago, but transmitting electricity through the air is not common even if it is possible. Soon as I got back from the bathroom, I turned the saw off and checked the cord. There are two cords on the saw, one to the task light attached to the back of the saw and the other for the saw itself. They are identical and both were next to each other in a filled four socket outlet. I had unplugged the light but not the saw. Another lesson not soon forgotten. (I taped the cords together so it wouldn't happen again.)

Then yesterday when I put a new piece of old wood on the lathe, I failed to note sufficiently the crack across the top of the wood. Ever stand out in the yard and watch a vee formation of geese fly over (never do that with your mouth open) heading away for winter vacation? I remember standing there and watching that chunk of wood fly across the top of the shop like a flock of geese. Seemed like it took a week. I have learned instinctively to stand out of the line of fire and I always wear a full face shield and thank goodness for that.

When it finally landed, I picked that missile up off the floor and screwed it to the wall (love them Spax screws) behind the lathe to remind me of what can happen. At least there was no blood or brains on it. Maybe that started curing stupid.

More Free Woodworking Tips

January 6, 2010

Kreg's New Beaded Face Frame System Is a Winner

When we saw this jig demonstrated at the AWFS Show in Las Vegas last summer, our first thought was "Who needs another specialized router table jig?"

Boy, were we wrong! Kreg's new Beaded Face Frame System has taken off like you cannot imagine. Simply put, it easily produces cabinet face frames that feature attractive professional-looking beads that connect flawlessly around the entire frame. It's either doing the work of a specialized machine that would otherwise cost thousands of dollars, or it quickly and efficiently replaces a long and laborious tablesaw project plus tedious assembly.

John Lucas has provided a detailed illustrated tutorial on using the jig on his website Wood Shop Demos.

We also have a 3-minute video demo of the tool in action.

Watch the Video Demo

December 21, 2009

Wood for Bowl Turning

Do you think you will ever have enough wood? I intend to have way too much wood left over when I stop working. There are several sources for wood and each has its advantages and disadvantages. Right now let's talk about wood for turning bowls.

The first place you might try is Dave and Sandy's house and get some of what is left of that cherry tree they cut down last week. They are two of my church friends and they took down a large cherry tree next to their driveway. I went by with my chainsaw and chopped out some wet pieces of beautiful native cherry and lugged it home. I dropped it by the back door of the shop and put the bark side up so it could dry for a few weeks. It has some beautiful crotch wood but lots of soft sap wood and I can't wait to get it turned out.

The next step up is a raw wood dealer. I have a dealer I use on a regular basis that used to be a tree surgeon and he has a warehouse full to the ceiling with wood and wood blanks. The wood spills out into the parking lot and when you go to his place, he's got a better chain saw than you do and you better bring your pickup truck.

bowl turning woodLast week I bought several bowl blanks from the High. Highland sells woodturning blanks which are either eight inches or ten inches in diameter and three or four inches thick. They are coated in a waxy preservative to keep them from drying out and they are already made round, something which Dave and Sandy will not do for you. Blanks are cherry, pecan, walnut, sycamore and maple amongst others and range in price from about $15 upwards to $30 or so. They are round and flat and ready to turn, though they are green wood and will need to be dried after they are roughed out. Sometimes a flat round piece ready to turn is a real pleasure compared to a piece of a green stump and a chain saw. Unfortunately they don't mail order the wood. You have to drop by the store and browse through the blanks in stock to find the ones you want to buy.

bowl turning wood bowl turning wood Now the ultimate wood for turning at Highland Woodworking is outside in the enclosed space next to their parking lot, and you have to go to the store to shop for these also. If you look to the left just before you enter the store's side door, there is a wonderful collection of huge cherry and walnut burls and crotches back in the corner. At first glance it looks like some kind of wood graveyard, but don't let appearances fool you -- there are diamonds in the rough here. One of these days if I keep working and getting better at my craft, I will buy one of those wonderful burls. I will study it for weeks looking for that one make or break cleavage plane. I will take a thin steel wedge and place it carefully on the burl and I will probably take it away several times before very carefully and firmly whacking it with a little mallet while holding my breath. Course I may just cut it carefully with my chain saw (while holding my breath). The result will likely be wonderful.

Wood is everywhere and if you pay attention, you can have plenty of it.
bowl turning wood
bowl turning wood

December 6, 2009

New Rikon 10" Bandsaw is a precision cutting machine, only $199.99

We just got in a large supply of Rikon's brand new upgraded 10" bandsaw.

We wondered if it could handle some heavy duty cutting like resawing, so we installed one of our 1/2" Wood Slicers on the new demo Rikon 10" bandsaw that we set up in our showroom the day after our shipment was delivered.

Rikon 10
      Rikon 10
After squaring up a piece of 4x4 poplar, we were able to resaw full-length slices from it that were uniformly 1/64" thick along the entire length! Can your bandsaw do that? That convinced us this little machine can perform precision work despite its low price tag.

While it's obvious the Rikon 10" benchtop bandsaw will make an excellent starter saw for someone just getting into woodworking on a limited budget, it can also be a valuable time-saver even to woodworkers who already own a larger bandsaw but don't want the inconvenience of having to constantly change different width blades back and forth for different operations. For instance, put a 1/8" blade on this little beast and you'll always have an excellent, powerful scroll cutting machine that's ready to go. Ditto if you wanted a dedicated small resawing and ripping machine on material up to 4-5/8" thick.

191042rh.jpgThe Rikon 10" bandsaw's cutting capacity is 9-5/8" wide by 4-5/8" high. Its table is solidly built out of cast iron. Motor is an ample 1/3 HP, 110 volts. Blade speed is 2780 feet/minute. A nice rip fence with integral inch scale is included. The entire unit weighs 66 lbs. The Rikon 10" band saw uses 70-1/2" long blades that can range in width from 1/8" - 1/2". (One 1/4" wide blade comes with the saw.) The Rikon 10" bandsaw includes a two-year factory limited warranty.

We're pleased to offer this exceptional Rikon benchtop band saw at a very affordable price.

December 2, 2009

The Leather Shop Apron for Real Men

bandsaw.jpgYou know by now that I do a lot of woodturning, and one thing I do dislike is chips falling down the front of my shirt. A few years ago I made up a turning shirt by taking two old work uniform shirts and cutting the shoulder yolk and collar off one and attaching it to the front of the other. It looked like one of those old western movie shirts with the buttons down both sides and a clerical collar at the top. Worked like a champ, too.

As I got more skilled at turning though, I felt like my attire was holding me back. Perhaps I could be a better artist if I were wearing a better turning outfit. So I bought the red turning smock from Highland and whether or not my work is better, I sure do look better when I'm working.

aproncover.jpgNow I do have one bad habit when sanding finished bowls. I tend to hold the bowl against my body while sanding with the electric drill so that the dust goes down the dust collector hose. Unfortunately, I sanded a hole in my beautiful red turning smock. You've heard of chiseled abs; I have sanded abs.

Well the answer to that sanding problem is one of the new leather aprons as found on the front cover of the new Highland Woodworking catalog. These leather aprons are beautiful! I went by the store today to look at them and I suppose I am just partial to leather, but when you walk in the front door of the store, there are at least 40 aprons on display all over the place. (You really need to come see the store at Christmas.) aprons.jpgThey are made of four basic pieces of leather stitched together with four pockets added to the front. The two larger lower pockets have riveted flaps over them to keep chips out and the other two are made for pencils, calculators and this time of the year, candy canes. The back of the apron is the naturally rough leather and the front is smooth and finished. I looked at a bunch of them before picking the one I wanted and the naturally occurring marks on the leather really add to the appeal.

Some aprons are slightly thicker than others and have more marks, and some are lighter or darker in overall color and appearance. I was also very surprised when I picked one up and found how lightweight they actually are. This thing will not weigh you down. I bet if you call the store and ask them to pick out some particular feature for you, they will do it. With the light and strong flat straps across the back, and a quick snap connection, the whole thing is supported by your shoulders and still easy to get on and off. Beautiful!

If by some very small chance you don't want this one, you could get one of the others that Highland carries, such as the ballistic cloth turner's apron, the leather turner's apron, the belt apron, or a regular cloth apron. But the really good leather ones are on sale, and come on people, this is Christmas. Get the good one!

November 2, 2009

Just the Spax, Ma'am

I love Spax screws. I bet I have ten different sizes and lengths of screws in my shop and I use them all the time for all sorts of things. My primary use is attaching the faceplate to a new chunk of wood to put it on my lathe. With my little impact driver I can put in six screws in about ten seconds and I am ready to turn

I went to the Spax website and checked out their history and would you believe 1823? The company started in Germany and has been in business all this time and is still very successful today. While you are there, take a look at the neat little games on their web site. There is a car racing game, a retail counter service game to see if you can sell enough screws fast enough to keep the customers happy (that's a new one on me), and a football game that is really a soccer game — they are German, remember?

The secret to the screws is in the shape of the barrel of the screw and in the shape of the threads. The bottom threads are wavy with serrations which act like a miniature drill to cut right through most materials. The net result is effortless work without having to drill pilot holes first unless you are running them into masonry. That's right, the same screws work for mounting things to a masonry wall. And oh yes, the same screws work on sheet metal up to 24 gauge without pre-drilling. Are you getting the idea here? THESE THINGS JUST WORK.

Of course Highland has all the Spax screws you could want. Go try out an assortment to begin and then find the ones you really need on a regular basis.

October 9, 2009

My Woodworking Book Collection

Kari Hultman over at "The Village Carpenter", my other favorite blogger, (besides me of course, who'd you think?) posted pictures of her woodworking library the other day. She has quite a collection of books, more than I do, I'm afraid, but with her kind permission, I stole her idea. Here are my books:

woodworkingI buy books for three reasons. First is to find out how to do something, the most basic reason. When there are few people to ask about some arcane little bit of work, then books are the way to go. Sometimes I buy the book after a class because it keeps me from having to take notes in the class, and it is good for reviewing something I may have missed.

The second reason is vicarious enjoyment of the hobby. There are times when I think I want to start a new phase in my woodworking career by trying something totally new. My standard practice is to buy a book on the subject and after I read the book I can decide if I really want to go buy the tools and devote the time it takes to learn something new. Most of the time, I let the book make up my mind and decide that the vicarious lift from the book will serve my purposes. You may even be able to save a lot of money on tools that way. Best examples so far are the books on violin making and boat building, though I must say the boat dream endures.

woodworkingThe third reason is a peculiar one for me. I buy books, movies and videos because I want to encourage creative people to keep doing stuff I enjoy and I think they should be rewarded for what they do. I have been known to see a movie in the theatre and then buy it on video simply to encourage the creators. Maybe if we all did the same thing we could end up with better stuff all around.


My favorite book in all this: Well, how can you beat Krenov? The details in his work are amazing and then all of a sudden you grasp the scale of those beautiful pieces and it kind of makes you wonder if you should just give up the hobby because you think you will never get there.

The other best one has got to be Tage Frid's series on woodworking. Volume one is the book lying open on my workbench whenever I am trying something new. And not to put myself in the same class as those guys, how can I pass up my own book on nail pulling? woodworking

You will enjoy all of these books. Click over to the High and look at their collection of over a thousand books for sale.


I realized after I took the pictures that I had left out one of my favorite woodworking books. I have a copy of the original non-Disney "Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi. How can you beat that for high skill wood working?

Feel free to post a comment on this blog entry and let me know some of your favorites.

October 7, 2009

Festool Drill Now $400, THE LAST DRILL You'll Ever Need to Buy

T12a.jpg Festool has repackaged their new 12+3 and 15+3 lithium-ion powered cordless drills making them a bit easier to afford. Previously each model came with 4 different drill chucks. Now each drill comes with 2 standard Fastfix chucks: the 1/2" drill chuck and the Festool Centrotec chuck. The right-angle chuck and the eccentric chuck are available as optional accessories.

Both Festool drill models still include two high-efficiency lithium-ion batteries, smart charger, advanced electronic clutch, 3-year warranty and stackable Festool Systainer. The Festool T12+3 sells for $400. The Festool T15+3 sells for $450.

• The Festool drill's extreme light weight (thanks to the lithium battery) means less operator fatigue.

• The exclusive Fastfix chucking system allows each drill to perform the function of several different drills.

• The Festool drill's second generation brushless motor is electronically protected against burnout and maintains constant power regardless of load or speed.


• Tests have shown the Festool T+3 drills outperform the competitions' 15 and 18 volt drills. You can literally drive more than 1,000,000 screws with one of these drills. Built to last a lifetime, it is literally the last drill you will ever need to buy.


August 23, 2009

The Gorilla Gripper makes it easy to lift and move heavy panels

If there is one thing I really dislike on a construction site it is Oriented Strand Board or OSB. It is full of splinters even when fresh off the stack. It puts out a most irritating sawdust when cut and it is heavier than it ought to be. I try to avoid it whenever I can, but in my part of the country, it is used as sheathing on the side of the house and under the roofing. Handling this stuff is just an unpleasant part of the deal when you are building a house.

Highland has a new tool that I am looking at. It is called the Gorilla Gripper and is specifically designed to work on stuff like OSB. Have you ever seen the highway construction guys moving those concrete barricades used for traffic control when the highway is being built? They put a big gripper on it which clamps the top of the block and when raised by a big enough tractor, grips tighter and tighter as the weight increases.

Gripper.jpgSame thing with the Gorilla Gripper. You just grab the middle edge of the sheet with it and the harder you pull, the tighter it grips. The trick to picking up a heavy sheet with a Gorilla Gripper is to get your hand under the Gorilla handle and fold your arm under the load while you bend your knees, and then straighten your legs to lift the material. Your hand ends up at your shoulder and the heavy sheet hangs comfortably by your side so you can walk with it.

If you are less than four feet to the shoulder, you might have a little trouble with the sheet dragging on the ground. (Someone a little taller than you could always put another Gorilla Gripper on your head and pick up you and the sheet, and if you are still able to talk, you can tell the secondary lifter where you need the sheet. If you can't talk, you still have one hand free and you can point with it to get the sheet where you want it to go.)

If your shoulder is over eight feet from the ground, then you can work from the end of the sheet rather than the side. You really big guys can even put one in each hand.

The other thing that had not occurred to me is dragging a heavy 4x8 sheet up a ladder. I watched their video and the demonstrator carried a sheet to the bottom of the ladder and then turned his hand over and holding the Gorilla Gripper at his hip simply walked up the ladder dragging the sheet behind his feet as he walked onto the roof. Works like a champ!!

All you cabinetmakers out there will love this thing too. Banging those precious sheets of 3/4 inch hardwood veneer plywood around the shop gets to be a real pain, plus they cost a lot of money and you sure don't want to mess one up. If using a Gorilla Gripper saves you just one sheet of walnut or cherry ply, this little machine will have already paid for itself.

Click over to the Highland Woodworking website and see the Gorilla Gripper video and then place your order.

August 16, 2009

Contemplating the Patternmaker's Vise

I had heard of the Emmert Patternmaker's Vise for many years. People talked about it in awed whispers with their hands cupped next to their mouth and you just knew it was something special. I never got to play with one, so the other day when Chris and I were examining the Emmert patternmaker's vise clone that they sell at Highland Woodworking, I got interested.

First, you may not know what a patternmaker is. A patternmaker is about the penultimate woodworker, called upon to make the pattern for a metal casting out of wood (or these days, plastics or other modern materials). In days past, patterns were more likely made out of wood than anything else. Since (most) metal shrinks as it cools, the pattern has to be made slightly larger than the finished product. Try to picture making a wooden precursor to all the cast metal parts in a Model T Ford, making sure they are 1.5% bigger than the finished product.

Patternmakers Vise.jpgBeing able to hold the wood securely while the pattern is being sawn, carved, drilled, filed, sanded or however else formed is the whole purpose of the patternmaker's vise. You can clamp almost any shape, then twist the vise in almost any direction without taking the piece out of the vise. Does your vise allow you to twist your work up and make it parallel to the top of the work bench — without taking it out of the vise? Mr. Emmert figured it out back in the 1880s and his company continued making them up through the 1970s.

I checked on eBay and you may be able to find an original for sale today at anywhere from $500 to $900 depending on its condition. There are several Web sites dedicated solely to the Emmert, and the one which appears most often is called "The Iron Hand". I kept trying to figure out why they called the site "The Iron Hand" until I finally had this image of a guy sitting under the bench with his iron hand holding the piece and turning the work in whatever direction you needed it to go, including laying it down flat on top of the bench. I guess if they were still making them, you would probably be able to give it voice commands by now. Anyway, go look and see what this thing will do.

When you get through looking at what it will do and you get through lusting for an Emmert, go ahead and search eBay and check deep within your soul to see if you really want to pay that much to have a secondhand original. (Its shipping weight is about 90 pounds by the way.)

After you get the answer, come on over and buy the clone at Highland. Our imported Patternmaker's Vise (manufactured nicely in Taiwan) is $299.99, and is based on the original design. It will do virtually anything any normal less-than-a-patternmaker woodworker is EVER likely to do. (Do study the installation instructions since it usually involves a fair amount of modification to whatever workbench you attach it to.)

If you could just figure out a way to use your new vise to hold the bench while you install the vise — well, you get the idea.

August 13, 2009

Why Woodworkers Love our Wood Slicer Resaw Bandsaw Blade & our Woodturners Blade

085272.jpgHere are a couple of unsolicited testimonials praising our legendary Wood Slicer Resawing Bandsaw Blade and our Woodturners Blade:

I have a 12" Jet bandsaw that I absolutely hated. It couldn't cut a straight line on a piece of 1/8" ply. A friend told me to check out your Wood Slicer resawing bandsaw blade. I went to your site to check it out. At first I kind of choked when I saw the price of the blade. I then read your testimonials and decided to give one a try (you do guarantee that I will like it). The first piece of wood I cut was a chunk of mango. It went well, but then again, it is a softer wood. So I decided to try a piece of Koa as it is a bit harder.....cut like butter. Being the skeptic I am, I decided to put it to what I considered an extreme test. I have a large chunk of desert ironwood that has been sitting around for a while (because I just can't cut it). In previous attempts, I could barely slice a 2" section. The results were not pretty, it took forever and a day to cut, and the dust was incredible. I figured what the heck, I am going to make this blade cry, so I put a four inch thick slab on the bandsaw, turned it on and it cut through it without a problem.. There was no smoking, no dust clouds, and the finish on the cut side of the wood was unbelievable. Bottom line....I will NEVER buy another band saw blade other than this one. It is everything you said it was. Please feel free to use me as a reference. I would love to be able to help other woodworkers discover this blade. On a side note...I no longer hate my bandsaw. -- Thank You, Rick G.

183482.jpgHello Highland Woodworking,

Recently I purchased some of your Woodturners Bandsaw Blades, plus a few new items to help rebuild my 15 year old Delta 14" bandsaw. As a professional woodturner-studio artist I just wanted to pass along my observations : namely, these are the absolute BEST bandsaw blades for woodturners. Over my 25+ years of woodturning I have tried them all, every brand, every configuration including carbide tipped (very expensive but nice) ... but these are incredible. I just mounted one and began trimming a fresh chunk of green ambrosia maple, very wet and heavy. The blade never stalled, never even whimpered ... and I am sometimes a bit aggressive. Add to this the rapid response time from your store and the fast delivery, and you can mark me a VERY Satisfied customer. Please feel free to use this as an endorsement or recommendation or whatever. I have already passed along the info to several other woodturners I know and I expect some of them to also switch to your blades. Keep up the good work! -- Dick G.

July 31, 2009

Recommended Improvements for SawStop Tablesaw

sawstop8.jpgWell I have read all about the SawStop tablesaw and watched all the demonstrations and I like it a lot. I have analyzed this new technology carefully in light of long years of woodworking experience, some close calls, stories from friends and other legendary tales, including the guy who worked for me once making survey stakes who left his left index finger lying on the saw table. Cut it right off. Clean. They couldn't sew it back on because he was a smoker. When he got mad at somebody later and wanted to poke them in the chest to make a point, he had to use the other hand. Couldn't do that magic trick where your finger comes off anymore. Well, you get the idea.

However I think the SawStop tablesaw is missing two things and I hope somebody from SawStop reads this and takes immediate action to improve their already excellent product.

My last pick-up truck had OnStar® in it to summon emergency help in case of an accident and I was not able to use my phone to call for help. If I am using the SawStop tablesaw and come that close to cutting off a finger, the saw better be calling for somebody to come and get me because I guarantee you I will be lying on the floor passed out. The good news is they won't have to sew my finger back on. OnStar for SawStop.

Secondly, it has long been a standing joke in our family that if we ever have a serious accident, you need to call for an ambulance and a Porta-John. That is the other thing the SawStop tablesaw needs, because again, even when my fingers are safe, we still gonna need it.

You will notice I did not recommend a surgical field kit, tourniquet, large bandages, ice packs to deliver the finger to the emergency room, or any of that other stuff you would need in similar circumstances on other brands.

There you have it. I know many corporations depend on feedback from experienced users to improve their products and I am happy to participate in that process. I hope you will bring your suggestions to them in the same spirit, although I cannot imagine how anyone could improve on a table saw equipped with SawStop's safety technology that's also backed up by OnStar® and a Porta-John.

July 24, 2009

Going to the Dogs

I saw a video once of the guy who invented the bullet proof vest police officers wear, shoot himself in the stomach while wearing the vest. He stood right up and took out two watermelons. Pretty good proof of the usefulness of the vest.

PCS240.jpgJim Yahres left a comment on Chris's post below about the new SawStop table saw. In it he referenced a YouTube video showing the famous "hot dog" demo. At the end of the video, the host challenged the inventor to put his finger in the saw. He did. Wow!

Drop by Highland tomorrow (July 25th) and see which unlucky hot dog gets to risk life and limb on a SawStop table saw. 10:45 and 2:45 Live in the Store.

Hot dogs all over the City are crawling towards the back of the meat cooler. Inventors too.

Do Not Try This at Home!!

July 20, 2009

SawStop Table Saw Comes to Highland Woodworking

Every now and then a tool comes along that features an innovation so unique that it distinguishes that machine from anything else ever used anywhere. The SawStop Tablesaw is one of those rare tools that has totally revolutionized tablesaw safety in the woodworking shop, and we are proud to add SawStop tablesaws to our offering of fine woodworking machines.

The inventor of the SawStop Table Saw is passionate about preventing table saw accidents. His greatest contribution to state-of-the-art tablesaw technology is the SawStop table saw's unique safety system which stops the sawblade in less than 5 milliseconds after coming in contact with a woodworker's hand or finger.

The SawStop table saw safety system works like this. The blade carries a small electrical charge that is constantly monitored. When skin comes in contact with the blade, the natural capacitance of the human body changes the charge on the sawblade and is immediately detected by the safety system, which triggers the release of a heavy spring, jamming an aluminum brake into the teeth of the spinning sawblade. Within milliseconds the blade stops its 100 mph rotation and comes to a complete stop. After the aluminum brake stops the sawblade, the blade's centrifugal force causes it to instantly retract below the surface of the table just as the tablesaw's electrical motor shuts off.

In the 4 years since the SawStop tablesaw came on the market, the manufacturer has documented almost 600 cases in which a tablesaw operator's hand or fingers were saved when the safety system triggered.

The total cost of a tablesaw accident in which fingers are amputated has been calculated between $250,000 and $400,000, including hospitalization, medical bills, lost worktime, rehabilitation and loss of hand function, not to mention repeated painful surgeries and protracted healing time.

SawStop table saws are available today for less than $2000.

(Why wait for an accident?)

July 12, 2009

Hammering for Humanity

I have been working for my local Habitat for Humanity Affiliate this week framing up houses. We nailed together four houses this week in the warehouse and we will stand the walls up on the site for a total of eight houses in a few weeks. Few people get the chance to change somebody's life as dramatically as this in such a short time.

hammers.jpg I am a fan of hammers and take every chance to look at what people select when they know they are about to do some substantial work on a house. Since we have been framing this week, everyone brought their framing hammer. Unless you are really into hammers, you may not know that you can spend just about any amount on one. Considered the top of the line is the hammer made from titanium and designed to strike with maximum force and minimum weight. Some of these high end hammers can go for $250 and more per each. Try to explain that to your wife when she can't even get you to cut the front lawn.

Framing Hammer.jpg
Highland carries a wide range of hammers, from the three and half ounce cabinetmaker's hammer

all the way up to the

twenty three ounce framing hammer. Talk about putting a nail into a stud, this one will do it. The joke on site amongst us graybeards is that the number cast into the hammer head for the weight is actually an age limit — you need to be less than 23 years old if you are going to drive that hammer all day. Nonetheless, it is a beautiful thing, and when you walk up on the site with one on your tool belt, people in the know will gasp in awe at the sight of it. These are the same people who will pour water on your face trying to revive you when you are lying flat on the ground about two that afternoon from trying to run that hammer when you exceeded the age limit clearly cast into the hammer head.

Take a look at Highland's selection of hammers, pick out one which fits you and your tasks, and then find your local Habitat chapter and give them a hand. You will be glad you did. Then go home and cut the front yard.

July 6, 2009

Liquid Wood and WoodEpox = Wooden Concrete

The customer service guys at Highland have noticed a real run on two products lately, both by the Abatron Company. The first is called WoodEpox and the other is Liquid Wood. Now when I studied concrete in college (did you know there are people who take entire college courses in concrete?), they told me that the Egyptians and Romans were the first to make extensive use of concrete in construction. Look at the aqueducts and the other major engineering projects still standing in these cultures and you can appreciate the massive use of concrete even in that time and place.

Look around you anywhere in our cities and try to picture making any kind of large structures without concrete and you get some idea of how important it is to be able to make a solid permanent shape by preparing a form and pouring in a semi-liquid. Then along comes Abatron's WoodEpox and Liquid Wood, allowing civilization to take another step forward.

With Liquid Wood, simply mix it up and paint it onto a decayed wooden surface and it will absorb into the wood and return the wood to something very close to its original condition. For instance, if you are turning a bowl and find a punky spot where normally you would put in a little CA glue to harden it up, this stuff works much better. You can sand it, cut it, turn it, shape it and paint it just as if it were the original wood. If some of the wood is missing, you apply Liquid Wood first to firm up the underlying layer and then use WoodEpox to reshape the part that is missing. The guys at the store say the mixture is about the consistency of a dry pie crust dough (don't ask me if any of them could actually make a pie) so you can shape it, make a form for it, and work it close to the finished shape before it hardens. You can also tint or stain it if you want. Then after it hardens to a compressive strength of 5000 psi (about twice that of regular concrete), you can continue to shape and sand it with regular woodworking tools until you achieve the final shape. You can paint it if you need to and it'll blend right into the surrounding work and nobody but you will ever know it's there.

The possibilities are endless, but one big usage that comes to mind (particularly in neighborhoods like the one where Highland is located) is window sills. The houses there were mostly built in the first third of the last century, and some (well, many) of the window sills are beginning to go. This stuff is perfect for repairing them — knock off the really rotten stuff, paint the rest with Liquid Wood, reshape the window sill with WoodEpox to match the remainder, prime and paint, and you are off for the rest of the weekend. How can you beat that?

The Romans would have been proud. You may even find yourself thinking about building an aqueduct next weekend.

MORE INFO ON WoodEpox & Liquid Wood

June 1, 2009


Kidegory III ($250 and up) is the ultimate Kidegory and the gifts are fitting. Now that you are out of graduate school and the big wedding is done and you are settled into that big job with the investment firm, it is time to come across with the good stuff.

Festool cordless drill

Festool T12+3 Drill Set
Saying "FESTOOL" is like saying "BENTLEY" or "ROLEX". Festool has just moved it up about two notches and this new little drill set is a fine addition to the Festool line. Most woodworkers have built up a collection of drills and accessories over the years,. They get a new drill for Christmas, or they buy a little up-scale drill for a special project, and subsequently have three to five drills in the shop. Each one does a specific task and Dad knows which one is best for each use. Now comes the Festool T12+3 drill. On most drills found at the big box stores, this "12" would define the drill's rated voltage. With the Festool drill, however, I think the "12" must stand for the nuclear reactor model number. Thanks to the efficiency of its one-of-a-kind brushless motor, the Festool T12+3 drill produces greater torque than either Makita or DeWalt drills rated at 14.4 volts. (Its big brother, the T15+3, out torques their 18 volt drills!) All this while being so ergonomically balanced that you hardly know you're holding it in your hand.

Besides its regular chuck, it also comes with three other specialty chucks that attach or detach in about 3 seconds so you can, for instance, drill at a right angle in a tight spot, or offset the bit to drill right up close to a corner. Another neat little quick-attach chuck allows you to change a bit or driver in 2 seconds flat, and it's included too. The whole set comes in its own sturdy toolbox, and until the end of July, you even get an ADDITIONAL toolbox filled with neat little removable boxes for keeping your screws and bits organized. You know the story about the guy who paid ten cows for a new wife when everybody else was paying as cheap as they could at two cows. You can bet his wife stood tall in that village. This is a ten cow drill.


Fein Multimaster Top
You may already seen this in a TV infomercial. Usually infomercials sell overpriced hoopla. In this case however, you have stumbled upon a solid performer. The FEIN MultiMaster powers a variety of different blades which oscillate at a ridiculous rate (up to 20,000 times a minute!) and will cut through (or sand or polish) many different materials at an astounding pace. It does those annoying little tasks around the house and the shop that you really can't get another tool to do. For instance, if you are cutting off the bottom of a door jamb to set some new flooring, this is the best and easiest way to do it. Takes ten seconds. Sand up in the corner of a drawer to get some glue out; cut the grout from between tiles in the bathroom; trim some molding to fit another piece into place; and dozens of other similar tasks. This is a top quality tool, solidly made and well worth the price. Come on here people, I mean he did pay for the honeymoon, didn't he?

Tormek T-7.jpg

Tormek T-7 Sharpener
You know how in the movie "Independence Day" when Will Smith flies the alien space ship for the first time and he says "Man, I got to get me one of these"? Well that is the Tormek. Now every woodworker knows about the Tormek. You see, sharpening is a skill best learned over many sessions, easily lost, and maintained only by regular and constant practice. There are people who can tell you all about secondary micro-bevels, and whether 28 degrees is better than 24 degrees for end grain, and polish the back of the chisel enough so the evil Queen can find out about Snow White. But very few people really enjoy it and are good at it. Most consider it a necessary evil. In comes the Tormek. This thing will sharpen almost anything quickly and easily, and can be set so that whatever angle you find that works for the task at hand can be precisely reproduced. The stone is constantly bathed in water so the tools don't overheat, but it is made so that the water doesn't splash all over the place. And oh, yes, the kitchen knives which need sharpening to keep peace in the family since you moved out -- Dad will sharpen those for funsies. And by the way, for the next couple of months, it even comes with an AXE. That's right, you get a free axe. Don't tell Dad about the axe part and keep it for yourself. (Would you really do that? Do you know how many times he changed your diaper?)

Oneway lathe

Oneway Lathe
This is the biggest baddest boy on the block. This is Father of the Year stuff. This is new grandbaby, job is working out just beautiful, spouse is going back to work soon, new car came in yesterday stuff. In fact, if you want to do this right, take Dad with you to Highland Woodworking and the guys over there will help you and him pick out the right one. Just bring the checkbook.

Oneway makes beautiful lathes which are the standard in the field and Highland has the complete range. (There is even one where you can sit down in a chair or a wheelchair and the lathe folds forward into your lap.) Each lathe has a four digit label — the first two digits indicate the diameter you can turn and the last two indicate the length of spindle you can turn. For instance, there is the 2436 model upon which you can make a 24 inch diameter bowl or a 36 inch long spindle. The 2436 is likely too big for most people unless you're doing heavy commercial work. Model 1640 is an excellent all-purpose machine that will serve most people for the rest of their lives. While you are there, sign Dad up for a class on woodturning from Highland and let him start doing it correctly from the beginning. Pretty soon you should start getting handmade signed bowls from him which will be a joy forever.

There is joy and peace and pleasure in woodturning, and isn't that the best gift of all for Father's Day?

Happy Father's Day! Give your Dad a great big hug.

May 25, 2009


Father's Day is creeping closer every day and we need to continue our quest for proper gifts for Dear Ole Dad. In a previous post, we discussed the three kidegories and posited the proper gifts associated with Kidegory I. Now it is time to move up to Kidegory II and find the gifts related to that group.

Kidegory II ($50 to $250) If you are between high school and the end of graduate school, you fit in Kidegory II. Dad's either paying college costs or saving for college hoping your grades will get you in somewhere. He may have bought you a clunker to drive and he pays the insurance and gas bill. Maybe you are living in an apartment where Dad pays the rent and you don't even invite him to dinner. It's time to get with Mom and rustle up a little money and get something for Dad that he will appreciate. Time to grow up a little bit here. Here are the suggestions for this kidegory:

198503.jpgShop Sign with Saw Hanger — What a great idea! If Dad already has a shop, then think up a name (Dad's Shop?) and order one of these shop signs. He can hang it on the wall in the basement (Sawsations?), or over the garage door (Sawdust Village?). If he doesn't have a shop already, then maybe this is the incentive he needs to start building one. Plant a post at the spot where the shop will be built (The Woodwright's Shop? Oh, wait, that may be taken already) and then let him build the shop around the sign. This is a great gift.

block planeLie-Nielsen Plane — These guys make wonderful woodworking planes and anything with a hyphen in the name is pretty certain to be first class. Now when you look in the catalog, there will be so many different planes you will not know which one to buy for him. There are block planes, shoulder planes, jack planes, rabbet planes, and on and on. But here's the solution. Buy the standard block plane. This little plane is perfect for every small task around the shop. You can use it to put a rounded edge on the corner of that broken pediment tiger maple highboy that took sixteen months to build, or you can plane a little bit off a piece of raw wood at the mill to check for grain. Dad can carry it with him to the hardware store and other woodworkers will point it out to their kids and say, "Look, that guy is Kidegory II." You might have it engraved with his initials, or maybe your name and the date. (Just be sure to put the engraving on the side, not on the bottom.) He will keep this forever and when you are old and gray, you can put it on a shelf in your living room and let people ask questions and you can tell them it was a gift to Dad from when you were Kidegory II.

026446.jpgSharpening Waterstones — Go for the set of five waterstones running from 200 grit up to 8000 grit. He will know what those numbers mean. Rest assured these stones will cover the complete range of sharpening needs. He can sharpen anything from his straight razor up through the Lie-Nielsen plane blade above. Stones like these will last for a lifetime if properly cared for. You can use them in your shop when you inherit them. Waterstones are lubricated with water (hence the name) instead of oil, as in would you believe — oil stones. Even comes with a nagura stone which is used for flattening the higher grit stones and creating a slurry for polishing. Every shop needs a good set of sharpening stones.

We will continue next time with the ultimate Kidegory III. Some of the gifts in there are just extraordinary and if you are a III, you can be very proud.

Don't forget the Highland Woodworking Gift Certificate if you are still in doubt.

Print this out and leave it lying around the house. Maybe somebody will circle something on here.

May 8, 2009

Tormek T-7 Grinder Purchase Now Earns a Gransfors Bruks Axe Delivered to your Door at no Additional Cost


The folks at Tormek in Sweden have come up with a great opportunity for woodworkers to elevate their sharpening expertise while also acquiring a premium Gransfors Bruks Swedish-made hand axe at no additional cost. The Tormek T-7 Grinder Sharpening System delivers astoundingly sharp edges to every edge tool in a woodworker's shop in a matter of minutes. The beautiful Gransfors Bruks axe is a handy addition to any woodworker's tool chest, and will be a source of pride that is handed down to future generations.

Highland Woodworking is making the Tormek Grinder available to its customers with no additional shipping charge within the 48 contiguous U.S. The Gransfors Bruks hand axe will be delivered to the customer after the Tormek Grinder purchase is registered with the manufacturer so long as the Tormek T-7 Grinder is purchased between May 1 and July 31, 2009.

A video demonstration of the Tormek Grinder in action demonstrating its exceptional versatility is on the Highland Woodworking website. The Highland website also provides additional information on sharpening using a Tormek Grinder.

April 23, 2009

New Festool T+3 Cordless Drill


Festool's new T+3 cordless drills bring a new paradigm to drilling machines, and are far more affordable than they appear at first glance. These Festool cordless drills are the first and only drill to offer a 3 year warranty on the entire drill, including the drill itself, the charger, as well as the battery. That's right, even the batteries will be replaced within the first 3 years of purchase if they fail to hold a charge!

The Festool cordless drill is really four drills in one. The Festool FastFix chuck system permits instant swapping of chucks. Our Festool T+3 drills come complete with a drill chuck, right angle chuck, eccentric chuck, and Centrotec chuck packed in a fitted storage Systainer along with the drill, battery and charger. An optional depth-stop chuck is also available.

Most cordless drills rely on a mechanical clutch. This new Festool cordless drill uses an advanced electronic clutch, resulting in better control and far less wear and tear on the motor and bearings.

Unlike its competition, the Festool T+3 cordless drill features an advanced BRUSHLESS motor which brings tangible higher efficiency, better reliability and longer service life. You will drive more screws faster.

The state-of-the-art lithium-ion cells used in Festool's T+3 cordless drill batteries are individually selected to exactly match one another, resulting in a balanced load and absolute optimal charge and discharge cycles. They take a full charge in less than 70 minutes. The advanced intelligent charger provided with the Festool cordless drill is also compatible with existing Festool NiCad and NiMH batteries. Special sensors plus strategically-placed air vents on the drill reduce the risk of damage from overheating under constant use.

The Festool cordless drill's torque is electronically controlled to produce the same torque regardless of which speed setting is used. And you can switch back and forth between drill and drive modes without losing your clutch setting.

Like all Festool machines, these drills are ergonomically designed and built for maximum comfort, perfect balance and reduced user fatigue.

These tools may be in short supply when they first become available on May 1, 2009. Pre-order your Festool cordless drill now for prompt delivery.

March 18, 2009

New Parallel Guides Take Guided Rail Cutting to a Whole New Level

From the latest issue of Wood News:

Festool parallel guide system
Festool parallel guide system

New Parallel Guides Take Guided Rail Cutting to a Whole New Level

Text & photos by Jerry Work
©2009 The Dovetail Joint
Those familiar with the Festool guided rail cutting and routing system know just how useful it is to be able to move a circular saw, jig saw or router across a stationary work piece in a perfectly straight line. In my studio I use guide rails daily to make all kinds of cuts. Festool's new Parallel Guide system also makes an excellent squaring cut guide as well, turning the guide rail and plunge saw into a fast and efficient substitute for a table saw for most cutting operations. Yup, with Festool's clever new Parallel Guide System you can virtually eliminate the need for a bulky and dangerous table saw.

February 6, 2009

Fein Multimaster FREE Demonstration Saturday, February 7, 2009

Fein Multimaster
Fein Multimaster FREE Demonstration Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 10:00am

You've probably seen the Fein Multimaster infomercial on late-night TV. Come see the real thing in action at Highland Woodworking this Saturday, Feb. 7. FEIN's engineers have added almost every conceivable function to this safe, vibration-free power tool. The Fein Multimaster is truly one of those rare tools that earns the undisputed title of "the best there is". It's a great sander, bringing fast, high-quality finishing into places that no full-size sander can reach. Fein's industrial-quality 2.3 amp motor (variable speed) drives the machine spindle at speeds from 11,000 to 20,000 opm, making this far and away the most efficient and smoothest-running tool in its class. With accessories, it's a saw that cuts wood and metal, scrapes paint, performs precision sanding, and much more. It can save you both time and money on a wide variety of home improvement and repair jobs. Come see it in action. We think you'll be impressed. Join us for a fun and educational visit to Highland Woodworking's unique Atlanta store.

All Saturday morning demonstrations take place in Highland Woodworking's retail store in Atlanta, Georgia and begin at 10:00am Eastern Time.

Map and Directions to Highland Woodworking
1045 N. Highland Ave, Atlanta, GA 30306.

February 3, 2009

Steel City Bandsaw, a great package deal at Highland Woodworking

Steel City Bandsaw

The Steel City Bandsaw just got a great deal better! We've bundled together our heavy duty bandsaw rip fence and 12" bandsaw height attachment with the Steel City bandsaw (14" model 50100) which also includes a big 1.5 HP motor (115/230V), enclosed steel stand, magnetic work light, built-in mobile base, large cast iron table, ergonomic safety switch, ball bearing blade guides, 2-speed drive system and 5-year warranty.

            CLICK for More Information

This Steel City Bandsaw works great resawing hardwood lumber up to 12" wide when paired with our optional Wood Slicer bandsaw resawing blade. The Wood Slicer also comes in dozens of different lengths and gives outstanding results with most other bandsaw brands as well.

Steel City Bandsaw Package Deal available while limited supply lasts. Freight charges extra.

January 25, 2009

Steel City Tools Exhibited at Atlanta Woodworking Show

sam2.jpg Steel City Tools representative Andrew Bondi was on hand working with Highland staff members demonstrating our Steel City Tools bandsaw, jointer, tablesaw, dust collectors and air cleaner at the recent Atlanta Woodworking Show. (Pictured above is Highland Woodworking Asst. Manager Sam Rieder talking tablesaw with one of our customers.)

The performance of our premium Wood Slicer resawing bandsaw blade running on the Steel City Tools 14" bandsaw showed woodworkers what could be achieved milling lumber to custom sizes in their own woodworking shops for a modest investment.

Steel City Tools are on display every day in our retail store showroom at 1045 N. Highland Avenue in Atlanta, and more new models of Steel City Tools featuring solid granite fences and tables are on their way.

January 16, 2009

A Look Inside an Outstanding Book about the Woodworking Workbench

theworkbench.jpgOur thanks to Taunton Press for giving us permission to reprint in Wood News, our monthly online magazine, Lon Schleining's introduction to his excellent book, The Workbench: A Complete Guide to Creating Your Perfect Bench, NOW ON SALE FOR 25% OFF.


In its simplest form, a woodworking bench is nothing more than some sort of raised platform so you can work standing up. Even a piece of plywood on sawhorses would fit this definition. Such a bench would certainly be inexpensive, fast to build, and very portable. If it got rained on, or stained by spilled coffee, no big deal. Though less than ideal, this may be all the bench some woodworkers would really need. But what they really yearn for is another matter entirely.

Woodworkers' notions of the ultimate bench are as diverse as their activities. What's ideal for one woodworker is wholly impractical for another. A great bench for a furniture maker may not work for a carver and vise versa. A boatbuilder's bench is utterly different from a violin maker's, yet they all work wood and they all need benches.

Much as woodworking pundits might like to say their particular workbench is the only proper configuration, many of the choices in design are simply a combination of familiarity and personal taste. If there is a common thread, it's a tendency to think the bench you learned on is the best bench. A shoulder vise, for example, is a device some woodworkers simply could not get along without. For others, it's a somewhat fragile appendage of little use in a modern wood shop. Such is the subjective and very personal nature of the workbench.

The "classic" workbench originated centuries before the invention of the equipment modern woodworkers take for granted. These days, rare indeed is the woodworker who does not use an electric drill or surface planer. A perfectly suitable bench for the type of work people did 300 or 400 years ago may not be the best one today.

Some things haven't changed. Virtually every woodworking tool, power or otherwise, requires two hands to operate safely. Holding the board securely is, if anything, more important with power tools than with hand tools since the consequences of a slip could be more serious. Woodworkers who think a traditional bench has no place in a modern shop need only consider how difficult it is to hold a furniture part with one hand while belt sanding it with the other.

Woodworkers of today do work differently. We often work with large panels and sheet goods and so need to clamp our work somewhat differently. We have access to hardware that can speed construction. Modern materials like Melamine and laminates are better than solid wood for some applications. Vacuum pressing makes building large torsion boxes easier. Throughout this book, I have tried to point out how modern methods and materials can be applied to workbench design and construction.

For some people, building their own bench is almost a woodworking rite of passage. Their bench is an expression of the pride they take in their work, an opportunity to demonstrate their skills and to show off a little. These folks probably envision a solid-maple behemoth with intricately constructed vises, a gleaming finish, lots of accessories and cool hardware. Sure, it cost a bundle and took months to build. Yes, there may be just a bit of reluctance about actually using the bench for fear of getting that first scratch or dent. But for those bench builders, the satisfaction of having built it is justification enough.

Then there are the folks who sit down and do the math. They figure the cost of lumber and hardware, then estimate (or should I say underestimate) the time it wll take to build the bench. They compare their figures with the cost of having a finished bench shipped to their doorstep. It slowly sinks in that it's entirely irrational to build a bench from scratch. For these practical souls, the only logical choice is to buy a finished bench outright.

The bottom line is that however you get your hands on it, you need a good bench to do your work safely. You need some vises and holddowns for joinery, fitting pieces, and finish work like installing hinges. At the very least you need a true flat surface for gluing.

This book is intended as a guide for asking the right questions and then making the right decisions about what you really need and what you really want. A workbench is a very personal choice. Your opinions and personal preferences are the most important. Take your time pondering the questions. And remember, only you can provide the answers.

January 11, 2009

Free Demonstration of the CarveWright CNC Routing Machine at Highland Woodworking, Sat., Jan. 17

CW.jpg Experienced woodcarver Ben Arthur will give a free live demonstration of the CarveWright CNC routing machine at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta on Saturday, January 17, 2009 from 10 AM to noon.

Until recently, Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) routing machines were available only in large industrial models costing upwards of $100,000. The CarveWright is the first CNC machine available to purchase for less than $2000, making it available to small commercial woodworking shops as well as serious amateur woodworkers who wish to eliminate much of the laborious work required to reproduce 3-dimensional objects and designs.

The CarveWright's onboard computer and design software make it simple for even a novice to carve decorative reliefs, make signs or mill just about anything imaginable in wood, high density foam as well as some plastics. Although compact (just slightly larger than a benchtop planer), the CarveWright can handle work up to 5" thick, 14.5" wide and almost any length. Users have great latitude in their ability to manipulate designs from an extensive 3D pattern library, or can create their own designs. The CarveWright is compatible with both PC and Mac operating systems.

Ben Arthur has extensive experience in CNC production, and owns and operates an industrial model CNC machine in his own production shop in Atlanta.

Attendance at the demonstration is free to the public, and no advance registration is necessary.

January 3, 2009

Fantastic Woodworking Workbench

mediumworkbench.jpgBelow is an unsolicited testimonial from a recent purchaser of our medium Hoffman & Hammer premium woodworking workbench (received 12/31/08):

"This workbench is fantastic, especially for the price. It was packed and shipped beautifully and I was able to assemble it in 15-20 minutes. The two vises close flush with the bench surface and the top is near perfect flatness. It had minor racking when used heavily, but I built a short cabinet underneath to triangulate the stretchers and legs... needless to say it is now a COMPLETELY solid bench. I have used an Ulmia bench for years and this bench fits right in."

December 21, 2008

Steel City 40615G 6" longbed jointer now available from Highland Woodworking

Steel City Tools 40615G 6 We are pleased to announce the addition of Steel City Tools model 40615G 6" jointer to the Highland Woodworking product line for nationwide distribution.

We are extremely impressed with the Steel City Tools 40615G 6" longbed jointer. (Click image for close-up view). It is a solid, professional quality machine that Highland Woodworking is pleased to offer our customers at the unusually low price of $599.99 because we are at the end of its 2008 model year.

The 40615G jointer's oversized cast iron infeed and outfeed tables (measuring 68" total length) provide extra support and control, great for jointing long, heavy stock. Each is mounted on sturdy dovetailed ways providing stability and long life.

The Steel City Tools 40165G's signature oversized center-mounted solid granite fence provides maximum support throughout the entire cut, allowing unsurpassed accuracy when edge jointing. The granite fence will never warp, twist or rust. It tilts 45 degrees in and out, and has positive stops at 45 and 90 degrees in and out.

The Steel City Tools 40615G jointer's 3-knife cutterhead is driven by a powerful 1.5 HP TEFC induction motor, and rotates at 5000 rpm, producing 15,000 cuts per minute. An ergonomic paddle type electric switch is positioned high above the table for greater visibility and quick operator access.

Weighing 317 lbs. net, the Steel City Tools 40615G jointer's enormous mass provides a solid base for serious work, while it's cleverly-integrated sturdy mobile base allows easy repositioning of the machine whenever necessary even in tight quarters at no added expense.

Maximum depth of cut is 1/2". Rabbeting capacity is 1/2". Maximum width is 6-1/8". An easy to read depth of cut scale is right up front and features a positive 1/8" stop.

Our offer includes the sturdy enclosed steel stand with mobile base, a comprehensive FIVE-YEAR Steel City Tools factory warranty, a set of 3 HSS knives, a 4 inch dust port, push blocks, wrenches, and the Steel City Tools 40615G jointer User Manual with complete parts breakdown.

Highland Woodworking has in stock a limited supply of the Steel City Tools 40615G jointers available for the special price of $599.99, which considering the unit's massive size and excellent features and benefits is indisputably an outstanding bargain. Previously the unit sold for $879. While our limited supply of the 40615G jointer's 2008 model lasts, we can ship the machine to destinations within the 48 contiguous U.S. states for a freight charge of $125. Price for both the 40615G machine and its shipping charges are current as of 12/21/08, and are subject to change.

December 20, 2008

Steel City 50100G 14" Bandsaw now available from Highland Woodworking

50100g.jpgWe are proud to announce that we have added Steel City's model 50100G 14" Enclosed Stand Bandsaw to the Highland Woodworking product line for nationwide distribution.

The Steel City Tools 50100G 14" Bandsaw is a step up from other 14" bandsaws in nearly every respect. Its precision-balanced cast iron wheels provide enormous mass and inertia for smooth, steady performance, and are driven by a powerful 1-1/2 HP, single phase 115/230V TEFC motor. The Steel City Tools 50100G's two-speed drive system enables you to set the speed and torque of the blade to suit your particular application and density of material.

The Steel City Tools 50100G bandsaw's eccentric-adjustable ball bearing guide system maintains exceptional control of the blade, and the smooth rack & pinion adjustment mechanism for the guides allows the user to reset thickness of cut quickly and easily up to a 6-1/4" maximum. The 50100G bandsaw also features Steel City Tools' signature solid granite table, which will never rust, twist or warp.

More than half our bandsaw customers install the optional cast iron height adapter which in the case of the the Steel City Tools 50100G increases the bandsaw's maximum depth of cut from its standard 6-1/4" up to a full 12". In tandem with our legendary optional WOOD SLICER precision resawing blade, phenomenal versatility becomes possible for producing wide, thin boards (or even your own veneers) from thicker stock with minimal waste of material.

A quick release lever makes it easy to instantly apply appropriate tension to the blade. The Steel City Tools 50100G band saw comes equipped with an ergonomic on/off safety switch and integral dust port, and a sturdy mobility kit is built into the heavy steel stand.

Our offer includes Steel City Tools comprehensive FIVE-YEAR factory warranty. A sturdy rip fence with removable resawing pivot bar, fence rails, wrenches, built-in magnetic light, the mobility kit and the Steel City Tools 50100G Bandsaw User Manual with complete parts breakdown are all included as standard equipment.

Highland Woodworking has in stock a limited supply of the Steel City Tools 50100G bandsaw available for the special price of $599.99, which considering the unit's features and benefits is indisputably an outstanding bargain. Previously the unit sold for $899. While our limited supply lasts, we can ship the 50100G bandsaw to U.S. destinations east of the Mississippi River for a $100 freight charge. For delivery to contiguous U.S. states west of the Mississippi, the freight charge is $225. Price for both the 50100G machine and its shipping charges are current as of 12/20/08, and are subject to change.

Additional Steel City Tools 50100G Band Saw Specs:
Height under guide: 6-1/4"
Max Rip Left of Blade w/Rip Fence: 11-3/4"
Max Rip Right of Blade w/Rip Fence: 7-1/2"
Blade: Length: 93-1/2" (105" with optional riser kit)
Max. Blade Width: 3/4" (we recommend a practical maximum of 1/2" blade width)
Min. Blade Width: 1/8"
2 Speeds: 1500/3000 surface feet/minute
Table: Size: 16" x 16" granite
Tilt: 48 degrees Right and 10 degrees Left
Miter Slot: 3/4" x3/8" (Miter guide is optional)
Overall bandsaw dimensions: 68" H, 38" W, 24" D.
Weighs 271 lbs. including motor and stand

November 26, 2008

Tormek T-7 Sharpening Tool Rated as "Best Buy"

tormek7.jpgOur Tormek wet grinding system continues to draw accolades from independent rating services. Most recently Wood Magazine rated the Tormek T-7 its "Best Buy" in woodworking wet sharpening systems. In this case the honor carries special distinction, for despite its premium price tag, the Tormek sharpener was still the Editors' first choice for greatest value in relation to its dollar cost. In the words of the Wood Magazine Editors:

"Price often indicates quality, and we certainly found that to be true in wet sharpeners. Tormek's heavy-duty T-7 proved impossible to stall, no matter how hard we pressed on the tool during sharpening; none of the lower-priced units even came close. Its tool-holding system (tool rest and holders) fit together like hand in glove and gave us dead-on bevels and square ends with little fuss. And the stone wore much slower than less-expensive models we tried. If you sharpen hand tools or knives at least once a week, the versatile T-7 is the sharpener for your shop."

In judging the Tormek's outstanding performance, the key word has always been repeatability. With the Tormek, the woodworking tool is guided while secured in a dedicated jig, allowing you to accurately remove only a tiny fraction of the steel during each sharpening. This not only saves valuable time, but also allows your woodworking edge tool to last many years longer since it grows only minutely shorter with each successive sharpening.

The Tormek enables you to tune your woodworking tool exactly to your needs. Complicated shapes such as fingernail turning gouges, spoon carving gouges and oval skew chisels with radiused edges are often cause for consternation among woodworkers. With the Tormek, these tools are easily ground for optimum edge geometry, after which the blade can be honed to a precisely sharpened edge. After the shape has first been created, that edge can then be resharpened in a matter of seconds whenever necessary.

The Tormek's water-cooled slow-speed grindstone works in harmony with the physical laws that preserve the integrity of the woodworking tool's steel. The edge is prevented from overheating and thus avoids losing any of its inherent hardness.

The Tormek's water-lubricated grindstone works in tandem with the leather honing wheel in the same exacting manner as a woodworker would approach traditional benchstone sharpening, except in this case the Tormek's motorized function speeds the sharpening process considerably. After the tool has first been initially shaped and generally sharpened, the woodworker then impregnates the leather wheel with fine honing compound which allows him to further polish the edge to razor sharpness.

Operating the Tormek wet grinder at low speed allows one exquisite control over the entire sharpening process, and further avoids the creation of sparks, which allows the machine to be safely used even in areas at high risk of fire. The wasted steel particles are deposited into the Tormek's water trough along with particles abraded from its grinding wheel, thus preventing the formation of an unpleasant cloud of grinding dust as the machine goes about its work.

Highland Woodworking has been selling the Tormek Sharpener to satisfied woodworkers for almost two decades. We have yet to find a faster, more efficient or more reliable system to serve the needs of our customers.

October 10, 2008

Taking an informed look at Dust Masks & Respirators

Fine Woodworking's Jeff Miller, a professional woodworker and writer, just completed and evaluation of dust masks including reusable masks with replaceable filters and powered respirators. Jeff highlights the convenience and economy features of the North CFR-1 reusable mask as a good alternative to disposable masks. For serious task, when the chips are flying he reviewed powered respirator offerings. Among top brands tested, Triton's Powered Respirator and Trend's Airshield and Airshield Pro earned high marks. Jeff weighed a number of factors in his evaluation and selected Trend Airshield and Airshield Pro as the favorites, "The Trend Airshield and Airshield Pro distinguished themselves for comfort, clarity of vision, and overall user-friendliness".

117003.jpgNorth CFR11 Dust Mask nicely fills the gap between flimsy disposable dust masks and more serious respiratory protection like the Dustfoe 88. Replaceable filters (NIOSH rating N95) offer excellent dust protection. The low-profile mask body is made of very soft rubber, and is held in place with a double elastic strap. An exhalation valve vents the warm, moist air you exhale downward—helping the filter medium last longer and leaving safety glasses unfogged. All masks are size medium. Also available as a mask with 21 filters kit.

Trend Airshield, Fine Woodworking says is "...distinguished for comfort, clarity of vision and overall user friendliness".

The more we learn about long term exposure to airborne wood dust, the more important powered respirators become. Even with the best dust collection setups, certain operations create unrecoverable dust, which gets into the air and eventually ends up in your lungs. The Trend Airshield helps protect you by providing 4 hours of respiratory protection (to BS EN 146 THP2) with a 4.9 to 6.3 cfm flow of freshly filtered air passing through 2 filters, which you experience as a cool breeze. It's light weight (1.6 lbs) and has room for a second battery to bring run time up to 8 hours with a full charge. The respirator's face shield is rated to withstand low-energy impacts, and replaceable overlays protect it from scratches. The Airshield suspension system changes sizes in place with the twist of a single knob.

301311.jpgA great defense against this nuisance dust is Trend's Airshield Pro personal dust filtration respirator. Its dual filters provide a 98% efficiency factor and a flow 5.6 cfm to 7 cfm of freshly-filtered air. A comfortable face seal cradles the sides of your face and beneath your chin to seal out dust. The on board battery and motor sit further back on your head than in the original Airshield model, providing for greater balance and comfort as you work all day on a the 8 hour run-time battery. A clear plastic face shield provides low impact protection (ANSI Z87.1 rated) and replaceable visor overlays keep the view clear. Accepts optional clip-on hearing protectors. Headband adjusts from 20-1/2" to 24-1/2". Low battery audible alarm. Includes battery charger, 1 NI-MH battery, 1 visor overlay and carrying bag. Weight 2.2 lbs

September 9, 2008

Narex Chisels Have Arrived!


Narex Chisels have just arrived—in stock now! Fine Woodworking Magazine selected Narex Czech Republic Chisels from 23 top brands as Author's Choice for "Best Value" western style bench chisel.

Don't pay too much for Narex chisels! Our customers tell us that some retailers have raised Narex Chisel prices because of increased demand. Don't be fooled—Narex Chisels are a great value here at Highland Woodworking!

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information on this and all of our fine woodworking products.

August 1, 2008

Highland Woodworking's Narex Chisels Earn "Best Value" Bench Chisel in Fine Woodworking's Evaluation of 23 Chisel Brands

Narex Bench ChiselsAugust 1, 2008 Atlanta, GA. Highland Woodworking announces the results of Fine Woodworking Magazine's bench chisel tool test. Among 23 top brands tested, Narex Czech Republic Chisels earned Author's Choice for "Best Value" western style bench chisel. Fine Woodworking's Chris Gochnour, a professional woodworker and writer, considered a number of criteria in determining the top chisels. Chisel evaluations included tool performance in dovetail, paring, chopping and durability tests. Additional factors included out of the box condition, tool ergonomics and edge retention properties. Mr. Gochnour enlisted the help of the Department of Material Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio to fully access each chisel's edge-retention qualities. Under the direction of Professor David Matthiesen chisel edges were examined in a scanning electron microscope at 100X resolution.

Regarding Narex Bench Chisels:
"The beech handle, with a hoop and ferrule, is easy to grasp whether chopping with one hand or paring with two. The back of the chrome manganese blade was nice and flat and the edges were beveled sufficiently for excellent dovetailing. The cutting edge held up quite well and at $6, this is the obvious choice for best value among the Western-style chisels."

Highland Woodworking's Narex Chisels are available in sizes ranging from 6mm - 50mm, and also are available in sets of 4 (6,12, 20 & 26mm) or sets of 6 (6,10, 12, 16, 20 & 26mm). Their blades are fine-grained, nicely tempered chrome-moly steel (Rc 58).

Narex Czech-made bevel edged chisels are a fine value. Stained beech handles feature well seated heavy steel ferrules to withstand vigorous mallet work; bolstered tangs are also ferruled for durability. The blades are excellent: fine-grained, nicely tempered chrome-moly steel that takes and holds a beautiful edge without brittleness. Like most edge tools, they'll need sharpening before use; and like most chisels, they'll feel better and work better after you've gentled their long edges and flattened their backs.

Highland Woodworking, Atlanta, GA USA is a purveyor of fine woodworking tools and supplies with a 30 year reputation for quality tools and service. It is the exclusive source of the Wood Slicer Resawing Bandsaw blade, voted by Fine Woodworking Magazine as the best resaw blade available. Highland Woodworking is a trusted source of woodworking education and information. A schedule of woodworking classes and detailed product information is available at Highland Woodworking 1045 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 800-241-6748.

July 18, 2008

The Fretboard Journal is now available at Highland Woodworking

fretboard.jpgJuly 18, 2008 Atlanta, GA. Highland Woodworking is pleased to announce the addition of The Fretboard Journal to their collection of woodworking books, magazines and DVDs. An important journal for luthiers and instrument enthusiasts, the quarterly publication is archival quality and chronicles the most innovative fretted instruments and instrument makers of the last 150 years. Fretboard's writers, historians and photographers from around the world provide well researched and insightful stories highlighting the best players and the most interesting tales in music.

The Summer 2008 Fretboard Journal features David Grisman's Chris Thile interview, details about veteran luthier Rick Turner's Compass Rose acoustic guitar and examines the tradition behind Kamaka ukuleles. The Fretboard Journal published by Jason Verlinde is a magazine for musical instrument makers, players, collectors.

Highland Woodworking, Atlanta, GA USA is a purveyor of fine woodworking tools and supplies with a 30 year reputation for quality tools and service. It is the exclusive source of the Wood Slicer Resawing Bandsaw blade, voted by Fine Woodworking Magazine as the best resaw blade available. Highland Woodworking is a trusted source of woodworking education and information. A schedule of woodworking classes and detailed product information is available at Highland Woodworking 1045 N. Highland Ave., Atlanta, GA 800-241-6748.

July 17, 2008

New Festool Kapex KS 120 is now available at Highland Woodworking

kapex.jpgThe Festool Kapex KS 120 Miter Saw has shipped in North America and is now in stock at Highland Woodworking. The culmination of years of testing and engineering, the Kapex KS 120 was developed with one goal in mind: to be the best sliding compound miter saw ever manufactured. The Kapex KS 120 is the first miter saw with variable speed, enabling the user to match the speed of the blade with the requirements of the material for perfect cuts, every time. Finally, a sliding compound miter saw that combines a large cutting capacity with a compact lightweight design. The Kapex delivers 12" miter saw capacity in a revolutionary 10" miter saw design.

Festool, founded in 1925 by Albert Fezer and Gottlieb Stoll in southern Germany, has constantly set new benchmarks for innovative tool design and development, and the Kapex KS 120 Sliding Compound Miter Saw does so again. The innovative twin-column forward rail design gives the Kapex saw greater precision in an extremely small footprint. And Festool's meticulous engineers designed the saw to capture 91% of the saw dust when used with a CT dust extractor when using a 36mm hose.


  • Power Consumption: 1600 Watts
  • Speed: 1,400-3,400 RPM
  • Cutting Depth 90°/90°: 12" x 3-1/2"
  • Special Cutting Depth: 4-23/32" x 3/4"
  • Crown Nested Capacity: 6-5/8"
  • Max Bevel: 47°/47°
  • Miter Range: 50°/60°
  • Dimensions: 28" x 19-3/4" x 18-1/2"
  • Weight: 47 Lbs

Highland Woodworking is located in Atlanta, Georgia USA. Call 800-241-6748 for sales or visit for more information.

June 12, 2008

CarveWright CNC Wood Router at Highland Woodworking

Carvewright CNC Wood RouterHighland Woodworking adds the CarveWright CNC Wood Router to our collection of woodworking tools. The CarveWright Woodworking System is winning awards for product innovation in woodworking, as it brings modern CNC technology and the power of the internet together with traditional woodworking. The CarveWright can be used to perform a variety of functions such as routing, cutting, carving and jointing and while considered a woodworking machine, it is also capable of creating detailed designs in other soft materials like HD foam and suitable plastics.

The CarveWright while compact, just slightly larger than a bench top planer, is a full-on, 3-dimensional CNC milling/carving machine. Use it to make signs, carve decorative reliefs or mill just about anything you can imagine in wood, HD foam and some plastics. The CarveWright can handle work up to 5” thick, 14.5” wide and almost any length. Its onboard computer and project design software makes it simple to use even for the novice. Just insert the memory card into the machine and an LCD screen walks you through the process. You don't need to bring your computer into the shop or even have it connected to the CarveWright. You can manipulate designs in almost anyway you like from their 3D pattern library, or create your own. For PC users the minimum system requirements are Windows 2000 or XP with 128MB RAM, 75MB of hard drive space and graphics card with OpenGL support. Mac users need OS 10.3 or later.

The CarveWright includes a carving bit, a cutting bit, two 1/4” bit adaptors, a bit removal tool, a vacuum bag, memory card w/programmer, design software and instructions.

Highland Woodworking is also pleased to announce an addition to our popular Saturday Mornings at Highland Free Demonstration Educational Series. On Saturday, June 28th, 2008 at 10:00am visit our retail store in Atlanta, Georgia where Ben Arthur will demonstrate the basic use of the CarveWright Machine.

June 5, 2008

John Jordan Wood Turning Tools at Highland Woodworking

jordan_tools.jpgHighland Woodworking is excited to announce the addition of John Jordan Turning tools! An internationally renowned Wood Turner and teacher, John Jordan's works have graced The Renwick Gallery of The Smithsonian, The White House, The Boston Museum of Fine Art and Atlanta's High Museum of Art.

John Jordan tools have been developed over time and are a result of his many years of creating pieces that are known for their creative detail and texturing. Mention the name John Jordan while around any group of wood turners and the reaction is one of amazing respect. The fine reputation that follows him is echoed in the tools he has created.

Visit the John Jordan Wood Turning Tool collection at Highland Woodworking!

May 20, 2008

FEIN Launches the New Generation of MultiMasters

FEIN ToolsFEIN, the premium manufacturer of professional and reliable power tools is pleased to introduce its latest MultiMaster generation. The universal system for interior work and renovations is now significantly more convenient to use thanks to the new QuickIN tool changing system, and newly developed accessories that further extend the range of possible applications.

FEIN MultiMasterSince 1986, the FEIN MultiMaster has been selling with enormous success all over the world. More than 40 years of experience in oscillating power tools has gone into the development of the new FEIN MultiMaster. This new generation supersedes the previous MSx 636 II (Start) and MSxe 636 II (RS and XL) models and strengthens FEIN's market leadership in oscillating power tools.

The versatile and precise special tool assists professionals and homeowners working on interior fittings, tile restoration, window restoration, laying floor coverings or assembling furniture. The MultiMaster can also easily handle repair work on cars and boats as well as model building work. One single tool can sand, profile sand and rasp, polish, saw, scrape, cut and cut out, file and sharpen.


  • New Starmount spindle provides high torque transfer
  • New ergonomic design with non-slip softgrip
  • New more powerful motor

Watch the new MultiMaster in action!

May 19, 2008

Soft-Sanders™ Flexible Sanding Blocks

Soft-Sanders Flexible Sanding BlocksEver tried to roll sandpaper around a dowel rod to smooth a molding profile, or attempt to hold on to it while sanding a spindle? Easy to grip Soft-Sanders are shaped sanding blocks that fit every imaginable contour, curve and crevice. Think of them as three-dimensional French curves. Each of the six color-coded 4-3/4" long sanders is supple enough to prevent gouging but firm enough to maintain details. They work with their Super-Flex adhesive backed sandpaper, but we found them to operate well with any paper you're already using. Just hit the back of your own paper with some spray adhesive, and apply it to the profile you want.

Soft-Sanders are solvent resistant, so you can wet sand with them or wash off any residual goo with spirits. Turners will love Soft-Sanders' ability to get into the bottom of bowls and to keep spindle features crisp. They're heat resistant, so they won't fly apart on you.

It didn't take much convincing for us to carry these U.S. made Soft-Sanders. They're deceptively simple devices that perform exactly how you'd expect them to without disappointment. Comes with one each of 80, 120 and 180 grit Super-Flex Sandpaper. What's not to like?

Click the "Play" button below to watch a video demonstration!

May 12, 2008

CMT Forstner Bits at Highland Woodworking

cmt_forstner.jpgHighland Woodworking is pleased to announce the addition of CMT premium HSS Forstner Bits to our selection of fine drilling tools. With the ongoing scarcity of Austrian bits in the marketplace, our CMT bits now offer discriminating woodworkers an excellent alternative. CMT Forstner Bits are carefully sharpened in CMT's Italian state-of-the-art machine shop, and are manufactured from superb-quality high speed steel enabling them to retain their sharpness and precision far longer under heavy use than ordinary Forstner bits made from carbon steel.

CMT first began manufacturing top-quality cutting bits more than 30 years ago in a small workshop in the center of Pesaro, Italy, and since then has grown to become a global leader in the production of woodworking tools. Today under the careful guidance of the second generation of the Tommassini family, CMT operates two factories in the Pesaro area, and distributes their industrial-quality products throughout the world. We are proud to add these fine tools to our broad selection of wood cutting tools.

See our Sharpening Forstner Bits article and more woodworking tips and advice from our popular woodworking library!

March 7, 2008

New Red Hot Special!

New Red Hot Special!Posted as a limited time offer!

Highland Does It Again! A deal too good to pass up.

This nicely balanced electric detail carving tool conveniently depends upon high speed reciprocating action instead of old-fashioned elbow grease to power carving blades quickly and effortlessly through both hardwoods and softwoods.

Our manufacturer routinely provides these power detail carvers to the largest tool companies under various private labels. An importer's overstock is allowing us to offer them to you as a Highland Red Hot Special at a greatly reduced price.

The power carver's split collet chuck design accepts our optional premium Flexcut blades including the Flexcut Power Roughing Set (125008), the Flexcut Power Detailing Set Set (125003) and the Flexcut Deluxe Gouge Set (125011).

The tool's variable speed feature allows you to dial in the exact amount of power you need, and its reciprocating action begins only when the blade actually contacts the work.

The power detail carver comes with 5 blades, including 1/8" and 5/16" straight chisels, 1/4" V-gouge, 3/8" gouge and 3/8" round nose chisel, along with a wrench and a small 400-grit sharpening stone. Tool weighs 19 ounces. Overall length 9".

Check out the Red Hot Special!

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

February 29, 2008

Gorilla Glue's New Precision Glue Pen

gorilla_pen.jpgGorilla Glue is now available in a new Precision Glue Pen applicator ideal for small projects and repairs requiring pinpoint application and control.
Originally used as a commercial adhesive for hard-to-glue materials, today Gorilla Glue is the preferred brand among professionals, DIYers and consumers because of its industrial strength sticking power.

The Precision Glue Pen is easy to use and manipulate so professionals and hobbyists can easily master intricate detail work, while everyday users don't have to worry about over-gluing and making a mess. And, it fits conveniently into a purse, desk drawer, glove compartment, backpack, or toolbox for emergency, "on the spot" repairs.

The Precision Glue Pen is available with Gorilla Glue's new Fast Cure, Dries White formula, which sets ultra-fast in just 30 - 60 minutes. Gorilla Glue securely bonds materials that typical all-purpose adhesives won't hold, including wood, stone, metal, ceramics, glass, foam and more. Waterproof and temperature resistant, Gorilla Glue can be used for projects and repairs indoors or out.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

November 28, 2007

DMT 8" XX-Fine Dia-Sharp Diamond Stone

DMT XX-Fine Dia-Sharp Diamond StoneDiamond stone fans will now be able to hone a fine edge on their tools without switching abrasive types. The 3-micron grading makes this stone similar in performance to a hard Arkansas, a 6000-grit waterstone or an extra-fine ceramic stone, plus there's no break in period. It's ready to go right out of the box. The mono-crystalline diamond abrasive is bonded to a solid steel plate which measures 8" x 3" x 3/8" thick. Because it won't chip, crack or dish out, it may well be the ultimate jobsite toolbox stone. Diamond stones can be used wet or dry, but for best results lubricate with soapy water. Occasionally scrub the surface with a scouring powder to unclog the surface.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

November 8, 2007

Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening Center

Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening CenterThis sandpaper-based sharpener is a good value for the budget conscious woodworker or the enthusiast who wants to forego the learning curve of other methods. The Work Sharp is designed to sharpen carving tools, chisels and plane irons up to 2" wide. The 1/5 HP motor spins at a comfortable 580 rpm, so you can easily sharpen other tools freehand.

When sharpening chisels and plane irons, an air-cooled heat sink prevents burning and eliminates the need for messy lubricants. You flatten and polish tool backs on top of a 6" diameter x 3/8" thick piece of tempered glass coated with adhesive backed sandpaper. You then hone the bevel from underneath the glass on the angle port. The angle port adjusts to 20°, 25°, 30° and 35° for predictable and repeatable sharpening.

Carving tools are ground underneath a slotted backer disc, so you can see the tool's bevel as you sharpen. Just color the edge with a black marker, and grind sharpen until the mark disappears. The slots in the backer disc keep cool air flowing over the tool to prevent burning.

Strip paper and clean glass and plastic backers with acetone. 2-year manufacturer's warranty.

NOTE: The Work Sharp comes with some 400 grit paper that attaches to the angle port to remove any burr left by the sharpening process. We recommend not using this paper, as it will scratch the back of your polished tool. To remove any leftover burr, just lightly rub the back of the tool over the 3600 or 6000 micro-mesh paper with the machine off.

The Work Sharp 3000 Sharpening Center includes:

  • Work Sharp 3000 Sharpener
  • 2 tempered glass wheels (you can mount abrasive on both sides) for flat tools
  • 1 slotted see-through wheel for carving tools
  • Top tool rest for free hand sharpening
  • Crepe stick for cleaning the sandpaper
  • An abrasive kit, which includes one each of the following: 120, 400, 1000 & 3600 grit sharpening discs; 80, 400, & 1200 grit slotted sharpening discs.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information on this and all of our fine woodworking products.

October 28, 2007

The New Complete Guide to the Band Saw by Mark Duginske

203681.jpgIn the world of small shop woodworking, Mark Duginske is the unquestioned maharishi of the bandsaw. His Band Saw Handbook has been a best seller here since anyone can remember. Mark's new book is completely updated with color pictures and with information on today's bandsaws. For instance, he compares newer steel frame saws to conventional cast iron ones. As usual, he debunks myths, dispels rumors and generally gives you the straight dope on issues such as after market accessories, blade selection, saw tuning and techniques. The book also includes chapters on resawing, jigs, joinery and projects. Of particular interest is Mark's take on the dubious value of saw blade tension meters. As with all of Mark's books and videos, this is an excellent resource that you'll refer to often.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

August 16, 2007

New Red Hot Special!

New Red Hot Special!

In recent years, many companies have tried to copy the venerable Bessey K Body clamps - with varying degrees of success. One of the better clones has been the Gross Stabil PC2 Parallel Clamps. Recently, Bessey purchased Gross Stabil. They don't need two different versions of the same clamp, so the Gross Stabil model has been discontinued and you benefit from outstanding prices on some great clamps! Quantities are limited, so act fast - once they're gone, they're gone for good!

Check out the Red Hot Special!

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

August 4, 2007

Update on new Leigh products!


I know that many of you are anxiously waiting for us to ship your new Leigh VRS or Super jig. Originally, they were scheduled to arrive in mid- to late-July. Unfortunately, Leigh has had some delays. Here is the latest from Matt at Leigh Industries.

Dear Blair,

As you are all aware, and us more particularly with all the calls we get, the interest in the new Super Jigs and VRS is tremendous. Having been manufacturing for 25 years we thought we had anticipated all the delays in introducing these new products, from problems with tooling to errors in tolerances; save for one….summer shut downs. Rightly or wrongly, to this day there are many companies that still close there doors for a couple of weeks in the summer. With parts ordered long ago, and final approvals of samples done, the proverbial supplier’s voice says “we are sorry but we are closed for our summer shut down”. We all need holidays, but couldn’t they have waited until after they made and shipped our parts?

The good news is that the last items to finish these products will be in our warehouse on the 24th of August, yes this year. Therefore we will start shipping to dealers on the 27th. As we have a lot of pent up demand we hope to have all current orders out the door before month end.



Given that Leigh is about 2900 miles away from here, we should have our shipment around September 5th. When it arrives, we will process it as quickly as possible and ship all of our outstanding Leigh orders the same day. We apologize for the delay.


July 25, 2007

Great New Fein MultiMaster Prices!


One of the big announcements at the AWFS show last week was Fein's introduction of a new improved line of MultiMaster tools. The new MultiMasters won't be here for a couple of weeks, but Fein has reduced the prices of the original MultiMasters effective immediately.


The single-speed "Start" model has dropped from $199.99 to $149.99.


The variable-speed "RS" model has dropped from $279.99 to $219.99.


The variable-speed "XL" kit has dropped from $359.99 to $299.99.

Quantities for all three models are limited, but we will try to keep them available as long as Fein has them in stock.


July 24, 2007

New Red Hot Special!

New Red Hot Special!

Don't miss the new Highland Woodworking Red Hot Special! We are offering a special buy a - Set of 3 Wooden Pocket Tapes - at an absolutely amazing price. You'll get 1 Ebony tape, 1 Rosewood tape and 1 Padauk tape - all 3 for less than the price of 2 tapes! They make great gifts and stocking stuffers. 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!

July 13, 2007

New Lie-Nielsen Router Plane


Ever since Stanley discontinued the 271 router plane back in 2003, we have been searching for a quality small router plane. Lie-Nielsen recently introduced in their own improved version of the old Stanley plane. It is typical Lie-Nielsen quality and we have plenty in stock.



June 4, 2007

Details on the new Leigh Vacuum & Router Support

We listed the Leigh VRS in our last catalog even though we didn't have all of the details yet. As I blogged a few weeks ago, I visited Leigh Industries to tour the factory and see some new products, like the VRS.

Now we have the details for the VRS. There are five models.

  • The VRS D24 is $69.99 and fits the D4R (and the D4, D3, D1258R, D1258).
  • The VRS 16 is $64.99 and fits the D1600.
  • The VRS 12 is $59.99 and fits the Super 12 jig.
  • The VRS 18 is $64.99 and fits the Super 18 jig.
  • The VRS 24 is $69.99 and fits the Super 24 jig.

Wait....what's a Super Jig? See the details here on Wednesday.

We should have them in stock in July.


May 31, 2007

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 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 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



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!

April 25, 2007

Tormek 2006 Supergrind Sharpener Special!

FREE TT50 Truing & Dressing Tool! For a limited time only! While supplies last!

Tormek 2006 Supergrind Sharpener SpecialWe've never seen an easier, more efficient way to sharpen cabinetmaking tools, turning and carving tools, knives, and practically anything else to a razor edge—even jointer and planer knives. The Swedish-made Tormek 2006 Supergrind Sharpener runs a water-cooled 220-grit aluminum oxide grinding wheel which restores damaged edges and reshapes bevels with absolutely no risk of overheating and damaging even the most delicate steel. The wheel rotates at a genteel 90 rpm, slow enough to avoid slinging water at you but fast enough, given its 10" diameter, to grind quite respectably. You could grind faster on a bench grinder with good wheels, but then you'd miss Tormek's ingenious next step, turning the grinder into a sharpener and power strop which can polish any cutting edge to a mirror shine in seconds.

Continue reading "Tormek 2006 Supergrind Sharpener Special!" »

April 10, 2007

Festool has arrived!

Festool Logo

We are happy to announce that Festool has arrived in our store. Come by anytime to see the tools!

In the world of professional power tools, Festool is arguably the best. If we could engineer the highest quality tools with every conceivable feature and without limitations, the result would be Festool. Superb design and meticulous German construction ensure low tool vibration, unmatched accuracy and rock solid reliability. Even the little details give the feel of unparalleled innovation: power cords that unplug from the tool allowing an extra level of safety and ease of replacement if damaged, and the sturdy Systainer® storage unit that comes with every power tool and can be stacked and latched together to keep things organized. Standing behind their products with a 3 year warranty and first-rate service, we feel Festool offers exceptional long-term value for those who depend on their tools and want the best.

If you are in Atlanta and you haven't visited our store, you can get directions here.

If you can't make it in to the store, you can see our selection of Festool products here.


March 28, 2007

A Review of Make Your Own Woodworking Tools by Mike Burton

Make Your Own Woodworking Tools by Mike BurtonThis book could also be titled "Metallurgy and Blacksmithing for Woodworkers". In no time, Burton will have you making chisels, knives and specialty tools with little more than a few files, a Mapp gas torch and a toaster oven. No, really. I’ve used the information is this book personally, and it works. I’ve made dovetail chisels, carving knives, scorps and countless other unique items necessary to finish tricky jobs. What a joy to create a tool you can envision but can’t find anywhere. The book has chapters on the different types of steel, equipment, safety, blacksmithing, heat-treating, sharpening, handles and projects. Although the information is specialized in nature, Burton’s homegrown style and humor will keep you from fighting the zzz monster. It is loaded with good quality, close-up color photography to highlight the text. If you want lots of charts, graphs, facts and figures, then go elsewhere. But if you want good practical folk knowledge from a lifetime of doing, then you’ll want this book near the bench.

Several books of this nature have sadly gone out of print. It is unfortunate because woodworkers in general are excellent problem solvers and researchers, given the right references. For the most part, we can jig up or improvise whatever we need to get a job done. Having books like Make Your Own Woodworking Tools: Metalwork Techniques to Create Customize, and Sharpen in the Home Workshop on the shelf is a true blessing. Typically when you want useful and concise information most resources barrage you with a ton of overly technical jargon, so that you quickly lose interest. You might even wind up with more questions than when you started. So there you have it, just enough how-to to bang out a few useful items without all the rigmarole.

Chris Black

March 27, 2007

New Red Hot Special!

New Red Hot Special!Don't miss the new Highland Woodworking Red Hot Special! Our popular Deluxe Router Bit Storage Box is featured at an unbeliveable price, 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!

March 23, 2007

The Wixey Digital Angle Gauge Is Here!

The Wixey Digital Angle Gauge Is Here!Our first full shipment of Wixey Digital Angle Gauges (168321) arrived today. They’ll be featured on p. 7 of our new catalog, which should be hitting your mailboxes in the next week or so. We get sent a whole-metric-bucket-ton of stuff from manufacturers to evaluate, so we’re pretty jaded to all the gadgetry out there. Most of the stuff gets tossed in a box in our store’s attic, and at some point finds its way to our clearance table. We’re particularly weary of any product that has a laser or digital readout. The Wixey Digital Angle Gauge is different. For one, it actually works! You’d think a manufacturer or distributor that wanted one of his or her products in our catalog would make sure it worked before sending it to us. We get things all the time that either have no apparent purpose or that just plain don’t work.

Not too long ago, a client asked me to build a couple of Japanese style sconce lamps. Nothing terribly complicated except for a series of lengthwise miters that had to be ripped on the table saw. Since the angles weren’t common, I went through quite a bit of trial and error to make everything line up. Eventually, I got it right, but it’d been nice if I’d had one of these angle gauges to set the bevel on the blade from the protractor reading.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

March 15, 2007

Irwin Quick-Grip XP Bar Clamp & Spreader

165701.jpgThe Irwin Quick-Grip XP Bar Clamp & Spreader is a super heavy-duty version of Irwin’s famous one-handed Quick-Grip Clamp. They’ve replaced the standard bar with a thicker/wider steel I-beam that definitely resists bending, bowing and racking. The jaws of the XP toe in like a good bench vise, so clamping pressure stays exactly where you want it. Irwin claims the XP can achieve 900 lbs of clamping force when using two hands. Of course we just had to take it apart to see why it’s able to exert so much more force than standard one-hand clamps. Pulling the metal plate off the trigger housing, we noticed two sets of massive clutch plates that give you a fantastic mechanical advantage. The first set moves the jaws for clamping/spreading while the trigger release operates the second set. The trigger provides enough leverage to free the clamp even at maximum pressure without pinching your hand or shooting the bar back at you.

Like all current issue Quick-Grips, the XP’s fixed head reverses with a pull of a clip for spreading operations. If you’ve ever tried to repair a chair or tighten tongue and groove flooring, then you know how handy this feature is. Oh, and don’t worry about losing the retaining clip, it’s permanently attached. Irwin also seems to have eliminated the annoying habit of pads popping off the jaws. The bottom line is that these are some impressive clamps that should hold up and perform well in real world conditions.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

March 14, 2007

Cupran Special Hand Cleaner/Paint Remover

188323.jpg3M Paint Buster Hand Cleaner was one of our favorite products. So, we were very disappointed when they discontinued it. While searching for a replacement, we were surprised to find a product that is better and cheaper. Check out Cupran Special Hand Cleaner. We think that you'll love it!

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

March 12, 2007

Adjustable Torque Screwdriver with 28 Bits

Adjustable Torque Screwdriver with 28 BitsHere's a truly unique screwdriver that stands out in a crowd - an Adjustable Torque Screwdriver with 28 Bits! With a turn of a wrist, the spring loaded slip clutch goes from 2-36 in/lb of torque with an accuracy of ±6%. When you've reached the desired torque, the clutch disengages. A built-in scale indicates your setting.

If you're looking for a gift, they can't possibly have one of these yet. Comes with 26 hex bits with 1/4" shanks, a 2" extension, and a 1/4" drive adapter for sockets, all in a fitted plastic case.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

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

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.

January 13, 2007

Critter Spray Gun

Critter Spray GunIf you've always wanted to try spray finishing but were overwhelmed by the expense and the complicated options available, then the Critter Spray Gun is just for you! I had never sprayed a finish before and I refinished my kitchen cabinets with the Critter by spraying tinted Ceramithane, and had amazing results. You can read my review here.

The simplicity of the gun belies its excellent performance. The unit consists of a siphon gun that screws onto a standard 16 oz. Mason jar and can be used with a compressor as small as 3/4 HP. Plus the Critter is a snap to clean - simply fill another jar with the appropriate solvent, splash the liquid around, and spray it though the gun. Wipe off the liquid nozzle, lid and gasket, and you're done. The finish doesn't flow through the gun, so there are no tips or hoses to clog. Any unused finish can be stored in the Mason jar until your next use.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

December 15, 2006

Elbo Tool Hollowing Tool

Elbo Tool Hollowing ToolThe Elbo Tool's innovative design almost eliminates the drudgery and physical exertion associated with end grain vessel hollowing. With a minimum of set up time, it readily attaches to any lathe without retaining bars or special hardware. One end clamps to your lathe's tailstock barrel while the cutting arm slides over your tool rest. Three elbow-joint pivot points let you guide the cutter effortlessly. No more tense muscles or bone jolting rides as you hollow. Pull the cutting arm out of the tool holder section and you can insert your favorite 3/4" round shafted hollowing tool. Purchase a separate Elbo Tool Adapter - 1/4" Adapter, 3/8" Adapter, 1/2" Adapter or 5/8" Adapter - and you can use any round shafted hollowing tool from Sorby, Oland, Crown or other manufacturer. A minimum of 24" from your vessel's edge to your tailstock barrel is necessary for installation, so it will fit most full sized lathes and mini-lathes with bed extensions.

A Laser Pointer can be mounted to a Magnetic Base that attaches to the cutting arm, so you can judge the thickness of the vessel's side in relation to the cutter. Use the Square Adapter Tray if you want to mount the laser and magnetic base to a round tool. A 1" Round Steel Cutter (199919) is available for smooth cutting, or choose the 1/2" Nano Carbide Cutter for the ultimate sheer cut.

The basic Elbo Tool includes: clamp assembly, 2 pivot arms, 14"cutting arm, and tool holder with 1/4" cutter. All accessories sold separately.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information on the full line of Elbo Tools we offer.

December 1, 2006

Hydrocote Resisthane Plus

Hydrocote Resisthane PlusHydrocote Resisthane Plus proves itself as a top waterborne finish. Recently, in a Finish Test conducted by Fine Woodworking Magazine, Hydrocote Resisthane Plus was selected as "Best Value" from 13 highly regarded waterborne finishes. The testing considered various factors such as: ease of application, adhesion quality, surface hardness, heat and stain resistance, along with clarity and color.

Ease of application must be consistent whether the finish is being brushed or sprayed. Utilizing industry standard methods of evaluation the finishes were tested for vertical sag, brushing and spraying. The Hydrocote rated excellent for vertical sag. For both spraying and brushing properties, a finish was rated excellent if it dried flat with no bubbles and if it sprayed in a similar way as solvent lacquer. The Hydrocote rated excellent in all three areas.

All of the finishes were run through an amazing battery of tests to determine their level of durability. In what they called their "Peel-a-way Test", a large X was cut into the finish with a knife, packing tape was applied and then removed. This was to determine the level of adhesion. In a heat resistance test, steel bolts were submerged into a pot of boiling water then removed and immediately place on the finished surfaces. 24 hours later the test pieces were examined. They were inspected for damage to the surface and to evaluate what would be required to return the surface to original condition. For the "Stain Resistance Test" everything shy of the kitchen sink was utilized. Vinegars, mustards and other items were left on the surfaces for 24 hours (a test that is utilized by the Kitchen Cabinet Manufactures Association).

Ultimately, Hydrocote Resisthane Plus ranked as Best Overall Waterborne finish. It was determined to be the clearest of all of the finishes that were tested and ranked as excellent in most all of the areas evaluated. Vertical sag, brush and spray application, and adhesion. Obviously, a finish should be rated based on performance (as in the Fine Woodworking test), but the Hydrocote Resisthane is also a value in cost. It can be found in both Clear Gloss and Clear Satin.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

November 15, 2006

Kreg R3 Rocket Jig Kit

Kreg R3 Rocket Jig KitThe R3 replaces Kreg's popular and portable Rocket pocket hole jig. It has some premium upgrades and a lower cost. The R3 jig has 9 settings for varying wood thicknesses from 1/2" to 1-1/2", so you get the right spacing for the right screw. A glance at the applied reference chart tells you what you need to know.

Kreg includes a new clamp pad adapter that is compatible with C-clamps, Quick-grips or Kreg face clamps (sold separately). Probably the best new feature is the carrying case that keeps all your Kreg paraphernalia compact and accessible. A built-in gauge sets the stop collar on the step drill without trial and error.

The R3 includes a 9-position jig, clamp adaptor (clamp not included), step drill bit w/stop collar, 6" driver bit, a sample of screws and plugs and a plastic storage case.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

November 1, 2006

Amana A.G.E. Series Saw Blades

Amana AGE Saw Blades

Highland Woodworking is excited to introduce Amana's A.G.E. Series saw blades. These German-made saw blades are significantly less expensive than other professional quality blades, yet deliver impressive performance.

Unlike most so-called "bargain blades", these are all a full 1/8" thick, have precision ground, resharpenable carbide teeth, good tooth geometry and careful machining. What they lack are heavy advertising, fancy packaging and special coatings. If you don't want to spend a gang of money for specialty tooling like laminate and non-ferrous metal blades, or if you just want a couple of first-rate back ups to your standard blades, then these Amanas are an excellent choice. Now you can afford several specific blades instead of relying on your old combination blade for everything!

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information

October 15, 2006

Woodturner's Bandsaw Blade

Woodturner's Bandsaw BladeCreating bowl blanks from green wood on the bandsaw can be taxing for standard blades. Many of our customers, happy with our Wood Slicer® Resawing Blade when cutting kiln-dried lumber, have asked us for a worthy blade to handle the difficulties bandsawing green wood.

Our 3/8" wide WoodTurner's Bandsaw Blade, with its 3 TPI, alternate set w/raker tooth pattern & stout band thickness of .032", is just the blade for the task. The significant tooth set of this blade provides ample room to keep the blade zipping along through dripping wet, kerf-closing, growth-tensioned logs. The deep, rounded, hook-toothed gullets allow chips to be easily removed from the kerf enabling quick, aggressive cuts. The hardened teeth (RC64-65) stand up to dulling bark & log grime (we recommend removing as much grit as possible from your stock before cutting with any blade). The 3/8" wide band allows a cutting radius as small as 1-1/2".

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

October 1, 2006

ScrapeRite General Purpose Blades with Holder

ScrapeRite BladesPlastic razor blades scrape grime, glue and other shop scum without collateral damage to your tools and projects. They make excellent small putty knives and epoxy squeegees. Although safer than steel razors, they're sharp enough to remove dried paint from windowpanes and glue dribble from woodwork. (We recommend waiting until the glue is semi-hard to avoid additional squeeze-out.) The general-purpose blades flex somewhat to conform to curved surfaces like windshields and tool handles. They are ideal for use on softwoods like pine.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information on this and on the ScrapeRite Rigid Blades.

September 15, 2006

JoolTool Sharpening System

JoolTool Sharpening SystemThe JoolTool is a versatile freehand grinder, sharpener and polisher. Since your work piece is applied underneath the spinning abrasive, the process is in your direct line of sight. Abrasives are attached to perforated backer discs so you can see the workpiece while the discs are spinning.

Think about the complex geometry of a carving/turning gouge. Just paint the bevel edge with a black marker, bring the gouge under the JoolTool's abrasive disc and grind until the mark disappears. You won't have to remove the tool from the machine to check your progress. It's surprisingly intuitive to use even though your hands are the only jig.

A variable speed motor adjusts to your comfort level from 500 to 5000 RPMs. The unique shape of the abrasive's back pad creates enough wind current to sufficiently cool your tool's surface as you grind. The JoolTool's housing tilts forward 17° for ease of use. Its spark shield has a 1-7/8" OD - 1-1/2" ID vacuum port, but we recommend using it only for nonsparking materials.

Included with the JoolTool Special:

  1. The JoolTool
  2. Informational/instructional DVD (the instructional part is quite good)
  3. 1 Ninja back pad
  4. 3" Ninja buff/polish felt wheel
  5. Small block of green honing compound
  6. 1 each 3M Purple Ceramic 80, 120 and 200 grit
  7. 1 each 3M Triact 35, 20, 10 and 5 micron
  8. Tapered spindle for attaching accessories

We recommend getting some additional back pads so you won't have to remove the paper each time you want to switch grits.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

September 1, 2006

Shop Sign with Saw Hanger

Shop SignHang a shingle outside your Olde Shoppe with a custom cast sign. This double-sided, aluminum sign suspends from a symbolic handsaw that fastens to a wall with two screws. You can personalize the sign portion with up to 2 lines of text with a maximum of 17 characters/spaces per line. The sign itself measures 15" wide x 8" high x 7/16" thick. Overall dimensions, including the handsaw hanger, are 17" wide x 17" high. The raised characters are 1-1/4" high.

The sign background is powder-coated brown with gold raised letters while the handsaw blade is pewter color. Makes a handsome gift.

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.