It's time for some new shop storage

by Mark Hochstein

 have one corner in my shop that had become the junk pile. It was a corner under the stairs that go up to the attic of my shop where things had just begun to pile up. I had a plastic shelving unit that had so much stuff on it that I couldn't seem to grab something without knocking something else off. I had stacks of cans of finish on the floor along with moving blankets, painting supplies and a bunch of other junk. Something had to change.

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A Trip to the Sawdust Shop

by Mark Hochstein

Whenever I'm on a layover where I actually have enough time to roam around (rare) I try to find something historic or woodworking related. Last week I flew into San Jose. I remembered seeing something about a woodworking store nearby so I pulled up my trusty Google Maps app and started walking.

The Sawdust Shop is a very nice woodworking store with a great woodshop attached. They have some lumber, a nice selection of General Finishes finishing supplies, a decent selection of books, and general shop supplies.

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Enduro-Var vs. Arm-R-Seal - 9 months later

by Mark Hochstein

Almost 9 months ago I posted a finishing test that I'd done comparing General Finishes new Enduro-Var waterborne urethane and their oil-based Arm-R-Seal urethane. According to the formulator at General Finishes that I spoke to, these products both use the same resin, but one is suspended in oil and the other in water. As you know, the color of Cherry continues to darken and intensify as it ages. I also noticed that the Enduro-Var finish that had been left in the rim of the can had turned a deep amber-brown over time.

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Boston's Museum of Fine Arts Collection of American Period Furniture

by Mark Hochstein

Yesterday I had a chance to visit the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. Late last year they opened a new Art of the America's wing which has a large collection of period American furniture. Since they allow non-flash photography I took as many photos as possible with my phone. I apologize in advance for the quality - especially some of the description plates. I'm posting all these pictures just to give you an idea of what they have to offer and hopefully motivate you to see the collection yourself. I won't provide any comentary as most of the shots and their accompanying description plates are self-explanatory. This is not the entire display. I focused on

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The tool making phase continues: Cutting/Marking Gauge

by Mark Hochstein

One of the habits I've developed over the years is to stay focused on one project at a time. This is the only way that I don't end up with a shop full of half finished projects. With ADD like mine I can easily get distracted by new exciting project ideas. This past year I spent a lot of time making the Media Cabinet. While I was doing that I came across numerous ideas for other small projects that I really wanted to do, but I had to just make a list of them and press on with the Media Cabinet. Since finishing that project I've finally had a chance to knock out some of the smaller projects that I've wanted to tackle. This time around they seem to all be tools of some sort.

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Create Your Own Custom Heirloom Screwdrivers

by Mark Hochstein

I've been wanting to make my own set of wooden handled screwdrivers for several years but I was never able to find a source for screwdriver shafts. In 2008 while attending the Woodworking In America conference in Berea, KY I had an opportunity to chat with Rob Lee, the owner of Lee Valley, a supplier of premier quality woodworking tools. I told him that I though they should make a turning kit for screwdrivers and that I was sure many more woodworkers would be interested in creating their own screwdrivers. He wrote the idea down in a little notebook and said that he'd pass it by his product guys when he got back. I didn't think too much more about it. Then, this summer a Lee Valley catalog arrived in my mailbox and inside the front cover was a Screwdriver Turning Kit, exactly as I had requested

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General Finishes new Enduro-Var vs Arm-R-Seal

by Mark Hochstein

couple of weeks ago I read some info about General Finishes new Enduro-Var Urethane Varnish. From the GF website: Enduro-Var is a self crosslinking polyurethane that looks more like an oil varnish than a water coating. It ambers slightly, is our most durable coating, is highly water resistance, and is both sprayable and brushable. It is our top of the line coating and should be used when you need the very best. Suitable for floors, cabinets and millwork.

I had to give it a shot and compare it with their old standby Arm-R-Seal which is an oil based varnish.

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The Media Cabinet is Complete!

by Mark Hochstein

I started this project in October of 2009. It started as this:

I finally finished it last week. It is all Cherry with the exception of the drawer sides and bottoms which are Pine. I made it for my parents. They wanted something to put their flat-screen TV on that would also store their audio and video components as well as DVD's, books and other stuff. My mother wanted something elegant but not too fancy. This is the design I came up with. They didn't have media cabinets in the mid to late 1700's, but I think that if they had maybe they would have looked something like this. The remote control is RF, so no glass is required in the doors for it to reach the components.

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It's a Chicken Coop!

by Mark Hochstein

Although fine woodworking is my passion, there comes a time when SWMBO doles out the honey do's. This spring my wife decided that she HAD to have chickens at the house. When we began to price chicken coops I almost croaked! $1200 and up! So I said what most handy spouses say "No way! I can build that!" I built a small 2' square pine box to use as a brooder when the new 2-day old chicks arrived. They quickly out grew that and moved on to a cardboard wardrobe box. We saw the end in sight for that too. A real coop was needed and sooner rather than later. I spent a little time researching chicken coops online. I found one I really liked and the fit our needs well and reverse engineered it from photo's.

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A Trip to Tools For Working Wood

by Mark Hochstein

Yesterday I flew into Laguardia Airport (LGA) in New York City and was spending the night at our crew hotel right by the airport. We don't have too many flights into LGA so I don't get to stay there very often and most of the time when I do stay there we get in pretty late. However, yesterday we were scheduled to get in at 1pm. Being in NYC that early in the day I knew I had to do something with my day. I immediately thought of paying a visit to the Tools For Working Wood showroom. Joel has mentioned on his blog several times about being located in a warehouse and after doing a little map study on Google Maps I knew it was a pretty industrial neighborhood.

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My first visit to Newport

by Mark Hochstein

In this job every so often things fall into place that allow you to do cool things on the cheap. Today was one of those days. My last flight got into PVD at 1:00pm which is much earlier than usual and left plenty of time for an excursion. The weather was forecast to be nice so I lined up a rental car and hit the ground running.

When I was at WIA one of the seminars I took was "Early American Furniture: Anatomy of a Masterpiece" with Jeffrey Greene. Well, it turns out that Jeffrey Greenes retail shop The Ball and Claw is in downtown Newport, so naturally that had to be the first stop.

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