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One of the most recognizeable joints in woodworking is the dovetail joint. It has been around for centuries and is always associated with quality. In the past century one of the main purposes of dovetail joints is in making drawers, which is a real pity because dovetail joints are such a pretty joint they should really by "seen" more often. What many woodworkers don't realize is that as popular as dovetail joints are, they are often confused with another joint called "box joint", which is similar in design and look, but box joints have square pins and tails compared to dovetail which have angled pins and tails.
When comparing the two joints, the dovetail joint is easily the prettiest of the two but slighly more difficult to make. The dovetail joint It appears to take more time to make and just looks better. Among woodworkers, anyone who can actually hand-cut high quality dovetails are often held in high regard. One of the best people for hand cutting dovetail joints that I have had the pleasure of meeting and working in association with at woodworking shows is Rob Cosman. I can't imagine how many dovetail joints Rob must have cut in his lifetime, but the quality of his cuts is evidence that practice make perfect. Check out Rob's website for more information on dovetail joints at www.robcosman.com.
Now, back to the topic of box joints, and comparing the jigs and how to make them.
What most woodworkers don't realize is the most people who know a bit about fine furniture will call box joints dovetail joints. There is really only a small portion of the population that really know the difference. It's almost like what a woodworker told me once, "if you want to impress another woodworker, make a dovetail joint, if you want to impress the rest of the population, a box joint will work just fine". To back up his claim, I told him that I had been in a number of situations where people have called box joints dovetail joints, and he agreed and confirmed that only a very few, knowledgeable furniture experts have been able to identify the difference.
So, what are some of the best ways to make these joints, well, read on and we will show talk about them.
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One of the miracles of the last decade is the invention of anti-slip (or anti-skid depending on who you talk to) material. I`m not entirely sure what this material was invented for but has spawned a whole new realm of inventions and ideas. And that idea is what was the see for this article. An interactive video on what members are currently using this anti slip material for.
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Working with wood can be challenging enough with out having to be fighting tools as well. One of the drawbacks of working with wood is that it is always moving due to moisture in the air that wood is constantly either absorbing or releasing depending on the humidity.
As woodworkers we are always striving to make the most accurate, and straightest cuts we can and that is why we purchase expensive machinery with highly accurate fences and micro adjustments, so that we can make perfect cuts. The reason we want perfect cuts is the wood is MUCH easier to work with when we work with flat, straight and right angle cuts. When these cuts are bad, wavy rough or otherwise at some sort of an angle, it either means wasted wood, or having to re-do of fill something, which costs more time and money.
One of the best investments is purchasing excellent quality table saw blades. Even if your saw is not the best in the world, you can still make excellent cuts if you have an excellent blade to work with. One of the features of a good blade is reduced vibration during cutting. A blade that is "dead" is far more likely to product a good, straight and accurate cut that one that wants to vibrate.
We decided to test some Freud blades with their non-stick Permashield trademark coating to see if this actually make any difference to the "resonance of the blade" ... have a look a the video and you will see that an excellent quality "dead" blade is not created that way with coating, but during the actual manufacture of the steel. There is no substitute for good quality tools
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One of the great things about woodworking is that there are often more than one way to accomplish things. This fact is true with setting jointer knives. There is really only one rule in setting jointer knives and that is NEVER let the knives fall below the height of the out feed table.
When this happens, when you joint wood, instead of your wood being nice and straight and flat, it will be flat but will come out "arced" and will look like your board has "sagged" along the edge that was just jointed. The lower the knives are from the out feed table the more exaggerated the arching or sagging will be. This of course makes it impossible to glue boards together, or in many case to even connect your wood together.
One of the tried and true methods I was taught many, many years ago was that when setting jointer knives the correct height is when you lay a steel ruler on the out feed table and slowly turn the jointer knives by hand, the knives will grab the ruler lift is slightly and move it ahead by about 1/8". This setting will joint or plane the board while leaving a very shallow amount of snipe at the back end of the board being jointed. (snipe is that small depression that jointers and planers can leave a the very end of boards).
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The most economical way to purchase lumber is to buy green, rough cut lumber. Of course the disadvantage is that you have to dry it yourself, which takes time (yes this can take up to 3 or 4 years with some hardwoods), and then in order to make it useable, you need to break it down or "dress"; the lumber (at least in most cases) which simply means making it useable for woodworking projects.
The problem with this process is that frequently your wood will warp and bend as it dries, which is normal. Some wood will bend and move slightly while other pieces will bend wildly out of shape. Most lumber as it dries will bend and move in more than one plane creating what is termed a "propeller" shape.
Dressing this lumber down can be a real hazard if you are not careful because of the the way the wood is warped, and especiallt if you are working with 8 or 9 quarter inch thick boards ( 2" - 2 1/2"). thinner lumber such as 4 quarter (one inch thick) is less a bit easier to work with but BOTH can be a hazard, and here'w why ....
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Almost every woodwork has used stain to change the color or wood at one time or another, but few of them have ever used "wood dye" to color wood, in fact, few woodworkers have even heard of wood dye so now is the opportunity to see the differences and understand the pros and cons of each. With this information we can then go about choosing which products to select for any given project.
Stain - Pretty much the standard of the woodworking industry, wood stains are primarily made from dirt. Yup, that's right dirt. Ground up and pulverized clays of various colors are the primary ingredient in stains.
They are then often mixed with some sort of oil type base and a few other ingredients like driers and emulsifiers to give them specific paint-on and adherence features. Because stains are made from earthen material they are very color fast, in fact, that is why they are used on fences, the outsides of buildings and many other out-door applications, because they are so color fast. Basically if you can get a stain to adhere to a wood, and leave it in the sun, it will barely fade after years and years of exposure. What actually happens in most cases is the stain dries and slowly falls off after time because the oil base can no longer keep it adhered to the wood. The key with stains, is they are earthen and that when they are painted on, they are primarily coated on the surface of the wood. There is very little penetration of the stain into the wood, mostly the stain lays on top the wood. Because most stains are oil based, they don't raise the grain of the wood and all in all, for most projects they give a great finish. So now you may be wondering, if stain is so good, why would anyone even bother with a wood dye? The answer of course is in what are the properties of wood dyes and why should a woodworker know about them and want to use them? Read on for the answers ....
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