January 2018
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Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Festival

More than thirty exhibitors will show their wood carving and wildlife art at an annual event in March that is organized by the Lancaster County Woodcarvers in Pennsylvania. Titled the 45th Annual Woodcarving & Wildlife Art Festival, it takes place on March 17 and 18. There will be door prizes plus books, tools and carving supplies for sale, and free demonstrations. The featured carver, Al Jordan, is a resident of Rochester, New York and a celebrated championship bird carver: he created the owl at right. The event takes place at Millersville University Fitness Center. Hours on Saturday are 10 to 5, and on Sunday from 10 to 4. Parking is free, and food is available. Admission is a $5 donation, and kids under 15 are free with an adult.

 


 

Extremely Bright Jobsite Light and Charger

Milwaukee Tool recently introduced the RADIUS™ Site Light/Charger, a new addition to the company's family of M18™ tools. It's capable of running on either one or two battery packs, and delivers 9,000 lumens in a 360° coverage pattern (that's about 600W in incandescent bulbs, or 150W in LEDs). Adjustable output levels let a woodworker light up a jobsite for up to 14 hours on a single full charge. Called the model 2150-20, it has a two-battery charger on board. Plus, plug-in and daisy-chaining means one can connect up to six lights on a single circuit. Milwaukee's ONE-KEY™ technology also provides users with the ability to digitally create custom light settings, track the tool on or off site, and manage tool inventories. A unique, stackable design makes the Radius Site Light easy to transport and store. It's built to thrive in tough conditions with a high impact polycarbonate lens and IP54 ingress protection against dust and water. It's also backed by a five year tool warranty and limited lifetime LED warranty. Milwaukee now offers more than 125 tools that are fully compatible with the M18 family.


Additive Technology For Small Shops

Dremel continues to surprise woodworkers and other makers with its range of state-of-the-art technology. The latest offering is the 3D45 printer ($1,799), which uses additive technology to make parts. Woodworking traditionally uses subtractive technology, where we remove material to reveal a part. Additive 3D printing basically builds in plastic. It can be used to build prototypes for long production runs, or just to duplicate a single missing part such as, say, a drawer slide mount. The new 3D printer, which has a strong appeal for pattern makers, does prototyping at less cost, and far faster. With a heated bed and a high-temperature extruder that allows multiple types of filament (such as Nylon and Eco-ABS), the 3D45 is reliable and uncomplicated, with intuitive instructions and real-time analysis. It is also the only printer to automatically recognize filament and adjust printer settings, eliminating the need to re-slice files for each type of filament. Makers can monitor and control multiple printers from anywhere with remote printing capability and an integrated camera, so several parts can be made at the same time using several printers. Dremel also just launched a new website that is designed to complement the 3D printer.

 


 

Next Generation Laminate Tops

Loti Corporation in Aurora, Oregon, helps woodshops bring the look of solid surface or even quartz or granite to plastic laminate countertops, at a much smaller price. It does so by eliminating the black lines or unsightly seams that are the norm in laminate edges.

Loti's program, called Gem-Loc, is outlined in the company's new online catalog, which can be used as a sales tool by woodworkers.


New Books on Joinery, Finishing

Two new woodworking titles have just been released by California based Linden Publishing (WoodworkersLibrary.com). The Art of Coloring Wood is a guide to understanding dyes and chemicals. Written by Brian Miller and Marci Crestani, it's 144 pages and has 140 color images ($24.95, ISBN 978-1-61035-305-2). And Strother Purdy's Doormaking walks a woodworker through the materials and techniques involved in adding this skill to a shop's repetoire ($26.95, ISBN 978-1-61035-291-8). Both are wideley available online, in bookstores, or directly from the publisher.

 


 

Lightening The Load

For woodworkers who run a one-man shop, or work alone with sheet goods much of the time, the Crazy Horse Dolly might be of special interest. This is a unique, low-tech cart that was invented by cabinetmaker Larry Lee, who has been using it in his own shop for over 17 years. This January, he has begun marketing it to woodshops through a website where one can watch a couple of videos on all the roles it can play. Woodworkers can order a dolly on the site for $295.00 plus shipping. Larry says that he wanted to build a simple, economical dolly that let one person easily and safely move heavy sheet goods and other awkward materials around the shop. He succeeded: his invention helps a woodworker handle materials that are hard for one person to carry.

 


Wooden Footballs For The Super Bowl

Twenty minutes northwest of Boise, Idaho, there's a woodworker who has an unusual connection to Super Bowl LII. The game will be played in U.S. Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis on February 4th, 2018. Our thanks to KTVB Channel 7 in Boise, which reports that retired engineer Ben Tyson, a luthier and fine woodworker, has just completed two wooden footballs for the game. Well, they won't be used on the field: they're props for the NFL Network's studio set. He milled the eighteen ribs for each ball on a desktop CNC, and then hand bent each using a wet mold and heat. JCM Set Design told KTVB that the footballs will be displayed on one of the sets inside the Super Bowl Experience at the convention center in Minneapolis. To see the report, click here. Images courtesy of KTVB.

 


 

Jobsite Vac From Makita

Makita USA introduced a new brushless dry dust extractor this month. The XCV08Z operates on two 18V batteries and includes the company's AWS (automatic-start wireless system) that uses Bluetooth™ to communicate between a tool being used, and the dust extractor. This is the latest addition to Makita’s range of cordless dust extractor/vacuums, and it has an efficient three-stage HEPA filtration system, automatic filter cleaning, and extended run time. (The image at left shows two units, one with the battery compartment lid open.)

 

Second Chess Set Piece Now Available

In celebration of its 10th anniversary, Next Wave Automation is offering free instructions and VCarve files for making a commemorative chess set. WoodEzine reported last month that the Piranha Pawn was available. Now, complete instructions and design files for the Seahorse Knight (at right) are available at no charge on the company’s website. Subsequent instructions and files for each chess piece will be provided each month. Plans for the chessboard are also available. Next Wave Automation "designs and builds small format automation application systems (including several very affordable entry level CNCs) for businesses that need high quality technology that will grow as they grow".

 


 

Small Project Clamping

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has expanded its line of award-winning Sure-Foot® clamping tools with an accessory for gluing up small projects. Steve Krohmer, Rockler's vice president of product development, says that the new Mini Sure-Foot Conversion Kit allows woodworkers to create the perfect clamping tool for projects like boxes or small panels. It includes wide attachment feet that snap securely onto both ends of a Clamp-It® Bar Clamp (sold separately), and two sliding spacer attachments that fit onto the clamp's bar. The feet keep the clamp from tipping over, and they have holes to screw them to a workbench or fixture. They also elevate the clamp, making it easier to turn the handle. The sliding spacers lift the workpiece off the clamp bar, preventing discoloration across glue lines, and they also for more evenly distributed pressure. The kit (item 55952, $7.99) includes attachments for one clamp and it works with 5", 8" and 12" Clamp-It bar clamps.


Working with wood: The women of Jepara

CIFOR, the Center for International Forestry Research, is a non-profit, scientific institution that conducts research on the most pressing challenges of forest and landscape management around the world. It has been working with woodshops in Jepara, Indonesia, for almost a decade. One of its goals is to improve the lot of women who carve and build cultivated teak furniture there. The women seem to love what they do in this city of two million, but they are paid very poorly, and make about half what men make. For example, a grandmother named Zaekah makes about $2.60 (US) per day sanding furniture. Even at those wages, the industry is in danger: "garment factories are moving into the area," a story in Forests News says, "and offer alluring job opportunities to young women, with better pay and working conditions free of sawdust and splinters". One can read the piece by Deanna Ramsay here, and watch a short video.

 


 

Turning Pens on a Small CNC

North Carolina based ShopBot is showcasing its Handibot® portable CNC tool as the new way to make pens. The company says that turners can automate many aspects of traditional pen-turning, and the controlled rotary indexing capabilities of the tool mean that one can intricately carve any shape, pattern or detail with high precision, and repeatability for production runs. It allows creative expression in terms of shape, graphics, labeling and customization and is a whole new way to express skills and artistry. Handibots are easily operated from virtually any device, including a smart phone. CNC pen making is a great introduction to technology-based manufacturing: here's a short video. There’s a lot of 3D art already available for easy download, and Handibot’s Pen Station package provides three projects to get started. As pen-carving with CNC becomes popular, one expects to see growing libraries of pen projects.


SMA Workshop Tour and Balustrade Class Preview

Parks & Sons in Knoxville, Tennessee has been crafting the highest quality stairs for over thirty years. The company uses a tangent handrail method, rather than limiting itself to stock parts. This gives each staircase a distinctive and personalized design. Using digital measuring and CNC technology, the company can create whatever its customers can envision, and on January 18 and 19 it will demonstrate that at the Knoxville shop. As part of developing valued training programs for its members, the Stairbuilders & Manufacturers Association (SMA) will be at the event to preview its curriculum for a balustrade installation class. SMA will be seeking direct input from attendees as to how the program might best meet the training needs of the stairways industry. These workshops focus on stairbuilding issues, and breakfast and lunch are included. Interested woodworkers can find more info here.

 


 

Better Jobsite Hand Protection

Milwaukee Tool’s newest dipped gloves are designed to provide ultimate durability, all-day comfort and best in class dexterity for handling small objects. Their Smartswipe™ index fingertips provide full access to touchscreen devices without removing the gloves, and the textured nitrile palm provides best in class grip performance. The gloves are made of a nylon and lycra blend to provide all day comfort and wick away moisture and also feature high dexterity fingertips to maximize control when handling small objects. Level 1 gloves are for material handling and general purpose remodeling applications. Level 3 gloves feature ANSI and EN cut level III protection, as well as best in class puncture resistance to help prevent injuries from sharp objects on the jobsite, and are suited to demolition, wire-stripping, and pipe threading applications. And Level 5 gloves are ideal for sheet metal, ducting, and glass handling applications.


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