Video 8 – Paper Towel Rack

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)


SketchUp Drawing – Paper Towel Rack

paper_towel_rackOkay I did have some fun, perhaps too much fun with this one, but both our cat and dog make a guest appearance in this video. ūüôā I will state for the record, despite the light cast on the Pudge, our cat, she is a very good cat.

This project is good way to help freshen up the look of any kitchen. If I had to change one thing on the design, I would have put the rabbets on the sides rather than the back. It would have eliminated the clamping issues I had in the video, as well as made a cleaner looking joint. I had actually debated whether I wanted to redo the entire video to make the design change. After thinking it through, I felt there is still a lot of good information in the footage I had, and attempting to recreate that footage, some of that information may have been lost. However, this will be something I keep in mind as I design future projects for video.

The wood I used in the paper towel rack is cherry, and the finish is shellac that was buffed with a carnauba wax finish. It has hung over the sink for about a month now, and everyone in the family loves having it now.

March 2015 Shop Update – Redesigned Website!!

Published on by Mike  (2 Comments)

logo So if you haven’t noticed yet, I have completely redesigned my blog! ¬†Before I get into too much detail, there is a group of people, that are in The Woodwhisperer Chatroom that I need to give a shout out to. ¬†First is Travis (aka SynCro) he took the photo that I use as a logo, and made it into a more usable image for me, and his advice went a long way in coming up with the header design. ¬†He did a great with it! ¬†Next is Jason (aka Beamer) as he gave some great design advice as well helping me debug some Javascript and CSS. ¬†Another shout out to Gary (aka EI). ¬†He also did some treatment to my logo that I hope to eventually turn into a t-shirt design. ¬†A big THANK YOU to you guys! ¬†Finally, one last thank you to the entire chatroom. ¬†The feedback you guys gave really inspired me to reconsider my ideas of web design.

There are a few features I want to highlight on the redesigned website.  First, the fresh look is a huge improvement over the old one.  The new look was long over due.  Next, I have made it easier to find the various avenues to subscribe to my content with the social network bar under the main menu.  More links will be coming soon as I am expanding those options as well.   Another improvement is that I made the comments links more apparent, in hopes that more comments are left.  The last new feature I wanted to highlight is the Video page.  Since I am planning on making videos a more integral part of my blog, there is a video page where my most current videos will be nicely laid out.  Over the next days & weeks I will likely be making tweaks as I go, so if you seem something out-of-place, let me know and I will get it fixed.

2015-03-30 23.56.33On the topic of videos, yes it has been too long since my last video release.  The good news is I have footage for two more video projects that are ready to be edited.  The delay in getting them edited was a result of getting the website redesign going.  Now that is complete I am going to circle back and get those videos edited and posted.  I really do want to get to a point of where I can post these weekly, but that may take a while to build up to.  Right now, especially since the weather is improving, I am hoping to get them out every other week.  If you have an idea of project you would like to see a video, leave your idea in the comments, or send it to me via the contact link.

kimmyLast, I mentioned a couple of updates ago that I quit drinking pop just after Christmas.  It has been 3 months now and I am happy to report that my beverage of choice is still water!  I have not touched a can or bottle of Coke or Pepsi at all since then.  I have lost around 10 pounds as a result, and have found I have a lot more energy.  Now with the weather warming up I try to take a daily walk with our dachshund mix, Kimmy.  The next phase is also trying to take the bike out a couple of times a week as well.

Until my next shop update, happy and safe woodworking to all!

Tool Buying

Published on by Mike  (4 Comments)

sanderBefore my woodworking hobby became as serious as it is today, when I bought a tool, I would go to a box store and bought what I thought was a good value on a good tool. ¬†For many years, this worked well for me, especially as most of my projects were more DIY home improvement, where tolerances were a little more lax, and putty was available. ¬†ūüôā ¬†Most of those tools were bought during the early years of my home ownership. ¬†As much as I hate to say, ¬†nearly all the power tools I bought during this period of have been replaced, over a period of the last 4-5 years. ¬†Granted, these tools were bought for a different purpose and a much more limited budget than I have today, so in most cases it is hard to say I regret buying “x” tool because it did serve its purpose at one time, until my needs changed. ¬†However, there were also some uninformed tool purchases over the years that I did regret. ¬†Today, I take a very different view on my process for tool buying.

routerplaneSo what do I look for when buying woodworking tools today?  First lets look at hand tools.  When I buy a tool that I know I am going to get a lot of use out of, I tend to go for the premium tools.  My feeling is that these are truly once in a lifetime purchase, so I want to buy something that I know is held to a high standard of quality so that I can get that lifetime of usage out of it.  Also, a premium hand tool, while expensive, are easier to save up for than premium power tools.  I am not necessarily brand loyal when it comes to these tools, in fact my collection has tools from many different companies.  In fact, even though it is a premium brand,  I still do my homework on them.  Also, with hand tools, I think it is important to hold them in my hand and give them a try. Both Lie-Nielsen and Veritas travel around the country and give opportunities to take their tools to wood.  Typically, the one that feels best in my hands while using them is the one I buy.

bandsawWhen it comes to power tools, I would love to say I buy premium brand machines as well. ¬†But, I can’t. ¬†Unlike a premium hand tool which sells for a few hundred dollars, a premium machine sells for thousands of dollars, and lets face it, not all of us have the budget for these machines. ¬†To make matters more challenging, very few places will let you fire up a saw and make test cuts right in the store, so getting a feel for a machine before purchase may not be possible. ¬†I typically buy what I consider middle of the road machines. ¬†With this level of machine, there are some real gems out there, but there are also some real stinkers as well. ¬†To me, this is where it becomes vital to do my homework. ¬†I still expect these machines to be long term purchase, and with this level of machine, this is feasible. ¬†The first thing I look at is the construction and motor of the machine. ¬†When possible I want the machine body, or at the very least the machines work surface to be cast iron. ¬†The next thing I look at is the motor. ¬†Is it a belt driven induction motor, or a direct drive universal? ¬†The belt driven induction motor in most cases is superior to a direct drive system, with less vibration and more power. ¬†Next, I look at what are the machines capabilities, and more importantly what are its limitations. ¬†With the type of machines I buy, there are often trade offs to buying the premium version. ¬†This can mean less power, smaller work surface, and possibly less precision & accuracy. ¬†If I am willing and able to work around these limitations, that machine will go on my short list. ¬†Finally, I check out reviews, forums, blog posts, and various other means of information about the machines on the Internet. ¬†Once I have all the information I need, I make a decision on which tool I will buy. ¬†ūüôā

jointerWhen buying tools, it is possible to buy quality without busting your budget.  It may take some time to do your homework, as well saving up a little extra to meet your needs.  Most importantly, whatever you do buy, read up on how to safely use it, and them start making sawdust!

Video 7 – Phone Stand

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)

Download SketchUp 2015 File


This phone stand is a very and easy project to make.  I built the two stands from left over cherry from another project.  This is a perfect use from some of that scrap you have lying around the shop!  While I used my full complement of machines, this project can easily be built with a minimal set of tools.  These design of these stands can easily be modified for any size phone or even a tablet.  Have fun and enjoy!

Get Woodworking Week 2015 – Video 6: Knick Knack Shelf

Published on by Mike  (Leave a comment)



Download SketchUp and PDF Plans

jrhigh_shelfIt is Get Woodworking Week, a week that every woodworker should find time to get out to the workshop! Tom Iovino over at has organized this once again to help motivate us all to get out to the shop!  Realizing that many of us have garage shops that can only be heated for short period of times, it is worthwhile to find  projects that can be completed in a short period of time.  When looking for project to produce as a video for this week, I turned to one of my very first projects I ever made.  In 7th grade wood shop class we each made a knick knack shelf.  The shelf I made has been with me all these years since then and has a prominent spot on our mantel.  This project has very simple joinery that can easily be taken on by any woodworker of any skill level.  This project also fits the bill that it can be completed in a couple of days.

new_shelfThe wood I use in the video is¬†cherry, largely because I have a lot of cherry in the shop. ¬†This project can be completed with any wood species, including what the box stores sell. ¬†If you have to buy pre-milled lumber, you will want to get 1/2″ thick boards.

A quick note on finishes.  If your shop is like mine, it is cold most of the time during the winter.  Most finishes do not cure well in cold weather, especially oil finishes.  As mentioned in the video, I used shellac.  The finish looks good, and it dries very quickly.

I had fun building this project, for a second time, and hope that you will as well!  Get out in the shop and get woodworking!

A quick thank you to Jason Beam, as he gave me some help in learning a new video editing program for this video!