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.

August 3, 2009

Sell That Stuff

You keep making all this stuff and it keeps piling up in the dining room and all your family has more than they want, but you just have to keep making it because it's what you do and who you are. What do you do now?

Here's one answer. Put it up on line and sell it. I tried it and it works. You will be constantly amazed at what people are willing to purchase from you (no offense to either party) and if you work at it some, you will be able to sell more than you can make.
For instance, I am shipping today a bag full of cedar shavings swept from the floor of my shop from a bowl off my lathe, (a beautiful Oneway 1640 from the High by the way), to a lady from Illinois who uses them to make little cloth cedar pillows to put in stinky tennis shoes. She is paying $30 plus shipping for two quart bags of shavings I was going to sweep into the dust collector and use for mulch. She turns around and sells the bags for $15 per set and both of us giggle on the way to the bank.

There are several choices on line for selling, but my choice is a site called "Etsy". pronounced like Betsy. They only allow handcrafted and vintage items and it is really simple to use. First you have to pick a name nobody else is using; "" is taken by the way. (See me sneak that one in. Look at my new shop sign from Highland.) If it is clear, then just walk through the steps and put your stuff up there. Get a digital camera and upload some good pictures, decide on a price, write up a description using words like "found lumber', "recycled", and "green" , check your shipping costs and go for it. It costs something like twenty cents per item to list it and then something like a 2% commission when it sells.

Set up a PayPal account, which is really simple to do and people will pay you through PayPal before you ship. On top of that PayPal will print out a shipping label with two clicks and take the postage out of your PayPal account leaving you with the net. Call the Post Office and they will pick up the box off your back door steps. How cool is that?

I average a sale a month and there are things on my site which over 300 people have looked at, including people from England, France and Afghanistan. My record so far is a large salad bowl for $ 105 to a lady in California who gave it as a wedding present. Go for it!! Get that stuff out of the house!! Make some more!! Buy more tools from Highland!!

June 8, 2009

Woodworking Blogs on the Web

woodworking toolsThe Internet is filled with woodworking videos, blogs and websites which offer a plethora of information and entertainment. If you're not aware of very many of these, here is a little help.

"Blogs" (shorthand for "Web Logs") are one of the most popular items. A blog is a diary of sorts set up online so everyone can see it. Bloggers usually post information and articles several times a week on topics they think are of interest to like-minded people. One can simply navigate to a blog of interest and read what is available. Many times there are links to other blogs included and simply by clicking on those links, you can navigate to other sites on the web to dig deeper into a subject or find other things which interest you.

Here are three very good blog websites:

The first is produced by Kari Hultman, who calls her blog (and herself ) The Village Carpenter, and her approach and style make her one of the best bloggers around on woodworking. Kari is a graphic artist in real life and it shows in the blog. She has a beautiful shop and does excellent woodwork and then writes about all of it several times a week. Last week she posted a video of her shop, and you need to turn your speakers on so you can hear the perfect music for a shop tour. (By the way, do you recognize the shop sign at the beginning of the video? Scroll down to Kidegory I below to order yours.) Note the comments section at the end of each entry. Kari gets lots of comments on her entries.

fd.jpgLost Art Press at is written by Christopher Schwarz, who also publishes Woodworking Magazine. Chris writes very well and his topics are usually about hand tools and hand tool methods, plus his musings on woodworking as a craft. Very well done.

Stephen Shepherd produces the Full Chisel Blog. He is an old fashioned woodworker who spends a lot of time in research on old methods and tools. Right now he is working on the repair of an antique spinning wheel and blogs about it as he goes through the process. In his day job he works in history parks and museums as a docent and the way he does things is fascinating. He just published a book on hide glue that should answer all your questions on that subject. You will enjoy this blog.

Links to other sites are often listed in all these blogs, so you can spend hours and hours chasing blogs all over the Web. You can also send comments to all these sites or ask questions about the topics being discussed. Join in, it's fun.

June 13, 2007

Cool Woodworking Link: National Wood Carver's Association


The National Wood Carvers Association was founded in 1953 and has memebers in every state. It is for amateur and professional carvers. Their website is not quite as extensive as the AAW, but it does have a link to join and subscribe to their magazine Chip Chats.

National Wood Carvers Association


June 1, 2007

Cool Woodworking Link: American Association of Woodturners


Today's Cool Woodworking Link is the American Association of Woodturners. The AAW was founded in 1986 and now boasts more than 13,000 members in 268 local chapters around the country.

If you are a woodturner or are interested in woodturning, the AAW is a great place to start. The AAW website has a listing of all of their local chapters. (The Georgia Association of Woodturners meets here at Highland Woodworking on the third Thursday of each month.) If you are interested, you can also find info on the annual symposium.

In addition to club information, the AAW site features want ads, forums, galleries and woodturning news.


May 18, 2007

Woodworking Link: Matt's Basement Workshop

MBW logo.jpg

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

Matt's Basement Workshop