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I’m planning on doing some inlay work on the leg vise, endcap, and deadman of my new bench and wanted to find some really nice wood to use.  Something with lots of figure and interesting grain pattern to play with.  I also didn’t want to buy a whole 10 foot board just to get a small piece of veneer.

So, last weekend, I headed over to my friendly neighborhood lumber dealer and started digging through their shorts and offcuts bins.  After sorting through the stock I came up with this beauty.  It’s a 14″ x 21″ x roughly 1/2″ board of figured walnut.  Sure it’s a bit warped but for $7.00 it will make some pretty wicked veneer.  Were it not destined for inlay, I could see making some striking book matched panels for a cabinet out of it.

Next time you’re at your lumber dealer, have a look through their offcuts.  You might find a diamond in the rough and you’ll be well on your way to being a wood addict.

I was working on my bench last weekend and looked down and saw a few red spots.  I first thought, “did the lumber yard get red paint on this wood?”  Then I thought, “wait, I just milled that lumber.”  Finally it dawned on me, “Damnit, I’m bleeding.”

What had happened was, I was paring some wicked Douglas-Fir end grain and was using my left hand to steady the chisel I’d just lapped and sharpened.  The lapping left the sides of the chisel sharp enough to nick my palms.  I’d forgotten to detune those edges after sharpening.  At least I’m not the alone in this blunder.

The process is stupid simple.  Take your lowest grit stone, hold the chisel side against it, and draw the chisel towards you while tilting it up.  A few passes is all that’s needed to slightly round over the sides so they won’t cut you.


Ever since I watched Marc’s Scraper Sharpening w/ William Ng video I’ve been meaning to build some of the sanding blocks that made a brief appearance at around the two minute mark.  The design is incredibly simple, easy to make, and fit a 1/2 sheet of sandpaper.

To build one take a piece of 3/4″ birch plywood and cut it into 3 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ blocks.   Next cut some  5 1/2″ x 1″ strips of 1/4″ ply.  Finally cut a 3/4″ deep grove in one of the long sides of the blocks that’s a bit oversized for the 1/4″ ply.

To get the grove perfectly centered I started by aligning the fence of my table saw to cut a grove roughly in the center of the block.  I then cut the grove with one side against the fence then ran the oposite side trough to perfectly center the grove.  Next I snuck up on the fit by moving the fence away from the blade slightly, cutting again, and repeating until I got the perfect fit.

Now fold a piece of sandpaper around the block, tuck the ends in the grove, and wedge the strip in to keep everything secure.  The friction of the sandpaper will keep the strip from slipping out.  It’s also a good idea to write the grit of the sandpaper in pencil on the strip so you don’t have to keep taking the block apart to remember which sandpaper is in it (something you see William do in the video.)

These are so easy to make it’s worth banging out a whole batch and keeping one for each grit of paper you use.  If you want something with a bit more give, try gluing some cork, felt, or rubber to one or both sides and adjusting the block size to fit.


I’ve been playing around a bit with creating WordPress themes.  I like the direction this is heading visually but there’s still more work to be done organizationally.

Wear your dust mask!