April 26, 2010

Woodworker Dilo Fernandino Featured on Brazilian TV

More well-deserved recognition has been visited upon Dilo Fernandino, the man who builds full-size rosewood baroque masterpieces by hand in his 42 square foot workshop. After his first solo exhibition in Belo Horizonte, Brazil in February, TV Globo, one of the world's largest television networks, featured his signature work and interview during a program on April 3, 2010. Here is a video of the interview, along with a transcript of the audio translated into English:

Introduction: (0:13) Antique furniture and the greatest Brazilian sculptor, Aleijadinho (known as the Little Cripple) have inspired the work of a contemporary Brazilian sculptor. Our TV team followed his creative process, which starts with research and design.

Narrator: (0:27) The origin of it all is what was written in books. Dilo is a researcher of the old woodworking techniques. There are complicated methods that are described only in foreign literature.

Dilo: (0:41) The English-language books, for example, teach elementary things that our old woodworkers used to know, but that most of the young ones do not know any more. For example, how to sharpen a chisel or a scraper.

Narrator: (0:56) Practical knowledge and a keen eye for a special art period: the rococo.

Dilo: (1:03) The carved decoration of a rococo artwork is balanced concerning its vertical axis, but it is asymmetric. One side is different from the other. So I think this "finesse" pleases the eye and is a challenge to the carver.

Narrator: (1:20) Research and talent guide his work. The first lines begin in his study. The project must be precisely drawn.

Dilo: (1:31) Whatever I can draw on paper, I create it in the wood accordingly. If it is not good on the paper, it will be bad in the wood. Sometimes it takes months. My trial sketch has to be laid aside for some time so that my mental concept can ripen. I come back and take a look. If I do not like it, I remake it three or four times, until the moment it pleases me.

Narrator: (1:55) From the study to the tiny shop inside his apartment. The drawing of an ancient Greek god is glued on a board.

Dilo: (2:05) People usually draw it by hand on the wood. However there can be a transposition error in this step. Whenever you transfer a drawing from the paper to the wood, you make a little mistake. The drawing gets distorted. My procedure of gluing the paper to the wood keeps the drawing like the original idea. That one is a glued photocopy to keep its fidelity.

Narrator: (2:31) Dilo is a master of "ebanisterie," a specialty that melds cabinetmaking with sculpture. The particular way in which the work is accomplished makes this craft more extraordinary - done only by hand utilizing traditional tools.

Dilo: (2:47) The feeling of cutting the wood by hand is very pleasant to me. I think the machinery would steal this pleasure from me.

Narrator: (2:58) His tools look like ancient tools.

Dilo: (3:02) I have rasps and files in this toolbox which are used for removing the wood by friction. Those other toolboxes contain chisels. These are English micro chisels from a factory that has been producing chisels for over 200 years. These are Japanese chisels that were made with a very important technology called laminated steel - the same used for producing samurai swords, because it keeps a very sharp edge.

Narrator: (3:44) For carving this way, skill and strength are necessary. The artist sorts from old salvaged wood only the noblest and strongest: rosewood and "pau marfim."

Dilo: (3:56) If you carve in a very soft wood, its fibers will get torn or smashed. The hard wood is difficult to cut, but it accepts the high level of detail you want to define.

Narrator: (4:12) The Poseidon mask is Dilo's most recent work. The first ones were this reliquary [a receptacle for displaying sacred relics] and the crucifix. At that time he was still a sixteen-year-old boy looking for his own style. Afterwards he built the bed, the side tables and other pieces of furniture. He spent five working years to build this cabinet decorated with scrolls, sculptures and masks. His signature written in Latin increases the nostalgic impression.

Dilo: (4:43) I began by sculpting the frontispiece followed by the façade. Afterwards I made its laterals, the Atlases and the abutments. The abutment design was based on my research of Aleijadinho's works found in a Mother Church.

Narrator: (5:06) This Mother Church is famous due to its rich set of Aleijadinho's preserved 18th century artworks: 3 altars and 2 hanging pulpits. The ground pulpit was built by Dilo. It was a challenging commission.

Dilo: (5:20) I was panic-stricken at first. I hesitated to accept such a big commission because my shop is so small.

Narrator: (5:29) However Dilo accomplished it in a record period of time: 45 days. We can imagine how proud he was. Now we can understand the real meaning of the word "achievement."

Dilo: (5:41) I wanted to reach the level of Aleijadinho's feet, and in a way I actually have. Everyone who visits that church will see Aleijadinho's hanging pulpits, and mine standing below them.

(6:09) [Narrator previews a future program]


More articles telling Dilo's story:

My Unusually Small Workshop

Readers Respond to "My Unusually Small Workshop"

Genesis of a Lower Cabinet

Progress on my Lower Cabinet

A Dream Comes True

Solo Furniture Exhibition in Brazil

Dilo can be reached via email at

Visit Dilo's woodworking website at

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!!

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.

May 2, 2008

Kreg Tools Joinery Jigs Latest Video Featuring the Kreg Trak And Stop System

Kreg Precision Trak and Stop Kit

When Your Pencil and Tape Measure Just Won't Cut It...

Are you frustrated with projects that never seem to turn out quite right? Are you sick and tired of having to measure and mark each individual workpiece? Never again.

The Precision Trak and Stop System is the fastest and easiest way to add incredible accuracy to your miter saw and the modern replacement for the tape measure and pencil. It's designed to make each and every cut you make easier to reproduce and more accurate than ever before, resulting in projects which are easier to reproduce and more accurate than ever before. It's time to throw away your pencil, throw away your tape measure, and start getting real precision out of your miter saw!

Watch the video below to see how!

Visit Highland Woodworking for more information.

September 22, 2007

The Woodwright's Shop with Roy Underhill on the web


One of our favorite woodworkers is Roy Underhill of The Woodwright's Shop on PBS.

He's been a guest at several of our sales and he's taught classes here as well. He's talented, entertaining and we like his style.

I just discovered this week over on the Toolmonger blog that PBS has posted all of Season 26 of The Woodwright's Shop on the web for free!

Check it out here.

You can see some of Roy's books here.


August 12, 2007

How do you make square lumber from rough stock?

Here's a quick video that explains making square lumber 7 easy steps.


June 10, 2007

Making a Whale Tail Joint Stool

Here's an interesting video show how to make a stool with the unique whale tail joint. It's an interesting video, but I suggest that you turn the sound down.


June 5, 2007

Highland Woodworking Customer Profiled on CNN

Here's a great video of a Highland Woodworking regular - profiled on CNN! (We'll give him a pass for the Woodcraft apron.)


June 3, 2007

How Strong are different types of joints?

Which joint is stronger? Biscuits? Dados? Dowels? It's a constant source of debate among woodworkers. Click the link below for an interesting video showing a test of various joints.



May 30, 2007

A new PBS Woodworking show!

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

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

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

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

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


May 27, 2007

An interesting use for chisels

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