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Dovetails in SketchUp — the Easy Way

NBSS sketch

Recently I got the opportunity to create the SketchUp model and plans for the North Bennet Street School Toolbox featured in the video workshop series by Matt Wajda. There are a bunch of dovetails in this project which makes it a challenge in the shop. In SketchUp, with the right tools, they’re a walk in the park. In this video I’ll show you how I cut the dovetails in the case and the dovetails for the back of the drawers.

Now of course you can layout and draw dovetails manually. It’s more like cutting them by hand in the shop. To save myself time, I used the WWX Dovetails extension from Wudworx. I also used Trim and Keep from Jim Foltz which has to be one of my most favorite plugins. Admittedly it only works in the Pro version of SketchUp but it saves huge amounts of time. I use it for every mortise in every project and for many other tasks. In this video, I use it to cut the tails on the drawer sides because it’s fast and saves a little work on the half socket located just above the drawer bottom.

–Dave

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Published at Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:38:51 +0000

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Shop Storage And Furniture – FineWoodworking


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I’m probably going to rile a few folks with this blog simply because talking about sharpening often borders on talking about religion or politics; everyone has an opinion and firmly believes the discipline they have chosen is the best. While I’m an advocate of using sandpaper on granite for sharpening, I’m also a firm believer that nearly every sharpening system is valid. Whether you are using waterstones, oilstones, diamond hones, sandpaper, powered disks, or grinding wheels, they all can make chisels and irons scalpel-sharp—with practice.

1The important aspects of a good sharpening system are simplicity, familiarity, and availability.

An overly complex sharpening regimen that requires multiple setups or complex jigs can lead to frustration and offers too many chances to wreck an edge rather than enhance it. Keeping the process simple is the best way to achieve a quick, keen edge.

Familiarity with any process is essential and the only way to become comfortably familiar is with practice. Practice sharpening and then practice some more. Like any discipline, you can’t understand and perform good sharpening by simply buying the “right” equipment and reading a book or watching YouTube videos. It takes hours of dedicated practice to understand what works for you with your system. When I want to spend some quiet time in my shop and don’t feel like working on a project, I sharpen stuff. Sharpening is a pretty low-stress task and requires enough concentration that you can get lost in the process for hours. Sharpening can be both meditative and productive, and you get consistently better at it.

One of the best things I’ve done for my sharpening system is to make it mobile. When I had a big shop, it seemed I was always far away from my sharpening station. So I would push a slightly dull edge until it was truly dull—with the resulting catastrophes that a bad edge can cause—before I’d take the long walk across the shop to my sharpening equipment. To cut down on the mileage and maintain my edge, I bought a three-drawer roll-around tool cabinet for $60 and turned it into a mobile sharpening system. I can hear it now: “You’re a woodworker and you BOUGHT a cabinet?” Yes, for less than the price of a good set of casters and three sets of drawer guides I bought a very serviceable solution, but I DID add a white ash and cherry top for holding my granite blocks!

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I have four stones on the cabinet, so it allows me to have eight different grits at hand (both sides of the stones have abrasive paper attached). The stones are the size of a full sheet of sandpaper (9 in. by 11 in.) for adequate room to use my honing guide or flatten and polish chisel or blade backs. The drawers hold all my sharpening jigs, camellia oil, sandpaper, adhesive, and other necessities. I also keep all of my card scrapers, cabinet scrapers, and the equipment needed to keep them sharp in the cabinet.

I move the cabinet to where I’m working and my tools stay sharper. When I have all my sharpening stuff at arm’s reach, I find that I am frequently honing and refining edges. I don’t have to interrupt my work process to put that sharp edge back on a chisel or plane blade.

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If your sharpening system consists of just a couple of stones and a jug of water, having a dedicated space that can be close at hand will result in better sharpening habits. And the drawers will be useful for storing bench hooks, shooting boards, and all the little tidbits that always seem to be in the way on the bench.

For those interested in sandpaper on granite (or glass), here’s how I use my system. The sandpaper is glued to the granite with 3M #77 spray adhesive. Apply the adhesive to the back of the sandpaper, place it on the granite, and use camellia oil as a lubricant on the paper when sharpening. Camellia oil is vegetable oil, won’t cause finishing problems, won’t rust your tools, and helps keep the sandpaper clean and cutting for a long time. When the paper finally wears out, pull up a corner and use a hair dryer to soften the exposed glueline. It takes just a few seconds to remove the sheet. Clean the glue residue off the granite with naphtha or acetone and put fresh paper on the stone. It takes less than a minute to replace the paper. I use 3M or Mirka paper but any high-quality paper will work fine. And I always use a honing guide. It keeps my stuff sharpened at consistent angles with sharp, square corners, and it’s fast (with a little practice).

If you have a question or a topic you’d like Rollie to cover, email talkingtools@finewoodworking.com.

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Woodworking on a Grand Scale


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Originally published Aug 1, 1996

Fine Woodworking’s Aimé Fraser visits pipe-organ builders, who say that their work is pretty straightforward woodworking. It’s just that there’s a lot of it. Building a pipe organ is a nearly two-year job with multiple woods that will weigh, when finished, more than 19,000 lb. and contain more than 3,800 pipes. Old, European styles of craftsmanship won’t work in the United States, because seasonal movement is three times greater in the U.S. Builders study the old pieces, but merely as guides. Fraser explains tracker keyboards and why they’re sought after, and she details the tools the builders use to create such magnificent pieces.

From Fine Woodworking #119

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Published at Mon, 06 Mar 2017 04:00:00 +0000

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Desks – FineWoodworking


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To recognize and support the work of students, Fine Woodworking will be devoting future Readers Gallery space to showcase current student work. Eligibility extends to current work by full-time students enrolled in the 2006/2007 school year in a high school (secondary) or post-secondary school program such as colleges and universities as well as woodworking, art, and design schools. The deadline for submissions is May 15, 2007.

Photographing your work
Taking good photos of your work is one way to improve your chance of being featured in the magazine or on FineWoodworking.com. Here are some tips:
– Shoot your work against a neutral background; a bed sheet or drop cloth will suffice.
– Make sure you have plenty of indirect light from windows or light fixtures.
– Take photos from many angles, overall and up close, to provide a complete presentation of your work.
– Clean the furniture, and don’t clutter the object with items such as books or collectibles.
– Do not alter the images or remove the background electronically.

How to make a submission
Download, Print and complete this form and send it along with any photos (prints, slides, or digital images on a photo CD) to:

Fine Woodworking Readers Gallery
The Taunton Press
63 South Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470-5506

Or, you can email your photos and information to fwgallery@taunton.com. Digital photos should be in high-resolution format and unaltered. If you would like your materials returned, please include a self-addressed envelope with proper postage.

Photo: Corey Martin crafted this tambour secretary desk as a first-year student at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts. Photo by Matt Berger.

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Chip Carving: From the screen to the bench


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For some time I’ve been interested in doing a chip carving project. I selected a Treasure Casket shown in a book by Paul Hasluck, “Manual of Traditional Wood Carving” and scanned the one-page illustration for import to SketchUp. Since there were three different scales used in the illustration, I had to scale-up three different images in SketchUp, each to full size.

On top of those three imported images I traced over various shapes of components and of carvings. You can see those trace overs in the following image from SketchUp. A following video shows the process I used to make the trace overs and components. There’s a second video on the workbench doing the actual chip carving on this casket.

Scan

This is a view of the front face trace over. There is much replication and symmetry in the carvings, so this minimized line and arc work, by copying “groups”, flipping, and rotating.

Trace Over Shapes

Using these trace overs, I built the components into the final SketchUp model as shown below.

Assembly Shaded

Here is the inside view, with the Top hidden. Note details for the key lock and hinges.

Inside View

My usual modeling effort in SketchUp is restrained to only that level of detail necessary to efficiently build in the shop. But in this case, I could not hold back interest in doing SketchUp work of no benefit to shop efficiency. This extra work was to remove material to replicate the chip carving shapes. So using the Move Tool, I was able to bend and fold the faces down 1/16-in. from the surface. The following video also shows this procedure.

Here is a close-up view of the 1/4-in. thick ledger plate used in the trinket casket with carved-out shapes.

Fold

From SketchUp, I printed full-size templates and stuck them on the face of the mahogany pieces. Here you see the front face of the trinket casket with the templates and carving in process.

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Here if the completed mahogany piece finished with beeswax tinted with lampblack.

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Tim  @KillenWOOD

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Published at Thu, 02 Mar 2017 18:38:09 +0000

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