The Slightly Confused Woodworker

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Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Two Tables Tops

Stanley Sweetheart #4

Stanley Sweetheart #4

A slightly different angle

A slightly different angle

Tops cut to size

Tops cut to size


I had a three day weekend, which is somewhat of a rarity for me, and though I knew that I wouldn’t be able to spend all of that time woodworking, I thought that I could possibly get in one solid day of woodworking; it didn’t necessarily work out that way but in the end I accomplished most of my goals. On Thursday after work I picked up the board I had set aside to use as the table tops. I chose it because it has what I am hoping will be an interesting look once the finish is applied. The only issue with the board was that it had a slight bow. I decided that the overall good quality of the board was worth the risk of a slight bowing so I took a chance on it. On Friday morning after running some errands I cut the board into four pieces roughly 23 1/2 inches long each using my sliding compound miter saw. I then cleaned up the edges of all the boards, which were a little rough, by taking a couple of swipes using the Jack plane. When all was said and done I had a board roughly 23 1/2 inches long x 11 1/4″ wide. I then placed the boards on my workbench to lay them out for joining. I found the look I was going for and marked them with a cabinet maker’s triangle.

I joined the boards using my old #7 Stanley jointer. For those who don’t know, I joint my edges for glue up at the same time, folding the two edges together like a book. I start in the center, taking a few light passes, and work my way out and finally take one long, full-length pass. I’m usually finished in a matter of minutes. I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like using powered jointers and I think that my method works much better, and more quickly. I’m a little surprised that this method isn’t discussed more. Often books and magazines show boards that are edge-jointed by hand done individually. I believe that the way I do it is much more accurate and faster. There may a drawback to this method but I’m not aware of it. I did have one minor issue, though. The joints for both table tops were nice and tight, but one of the boards used had a bit of bow in it that left a joint that wasn’t perfectly even. Still, I glued them up and set them aside to dry overnight.

As I was saying in my last table build post, one of the table legs was a bit high. I wasn’t sure of the culprit but I suspected that the leg had warped, and I was right. The fix was fairly easy. I trimmed 1/8 of an inch from the bottom of the other legs and that fixed the problem. To make sure that both tables were the same height, I did the same to the other table although there was no warping or uneveness issues with it. With that all finished I called it a night.

Yesterday morning I took the clamps off of both table tops and inspected them. The joints were nice and tight with a nice match. The only issue was with the one board that had a little bit of bow. It had left the glue joint a hair uneven even though I had clamped down both ends. I got out the Stanley smooth plane and got to work. People have asked me what I think about the new(er) Stanley Sweetheart #4. My honest assesment is I think it is a good tool but not a premium one, though it is in the ballpark. After using both a Lie Nielsen and a Veritas I can conclude that they are better. They both adjust a bit easier than the Stanley. My only real issue with the Stanley, however, is the flimsy lever cap that comes with it. I find myself having to mess with it from time to time, which I never, ever have to do with the Lie Nielsen #5. Otherwise, the bottom line is that it works fine. Better yet, I paid less than $100 for it brand new because Amazon was running a sale and I also had a rewards card. The way I look at it, I got a pretty nice tool for a pretty nice price. Anyway, I took a few passes down the glue joint of each board with the smoothing plane and then smoothed the board traditionally, diagonally and then with the grain. I will still sand it though. This board was supposedly an S4S board but it really wasn’t. The edges were a bit rough as well as the board’s face, just not rough enough for me to worry about surface planing or hand planing it. All in all the whole operation took around thirty minutes.

The last thing I did before I called it a day was trim off the edges using the crosscut sled and my table saw. Once the edges were trimmed I trimmed the table tops to final size: 22 inches x 22 inches. Once I set them on the table frames they looked good. I only wanted one inch of overhang on each side because these are going right next to my sofa in the living room. I will probably chamfer the edges with a block plane and get to sanding. I’m still on the fence when it comes to adding an inlay. I also need to make the drawers and the runner system. I may try something different this time as far as the runners are concerned that I think will involve a lot less engineering. I should have taken a few more photos of the runner system I came up with for my hall table and it’s hidden drawer. In the end it was a complicated little affair that looked somewhat like the flying buttresses of an old cathedral. I will have to work on that during the week. Afterall, today is Easter and I have family coming over.

I also managed to get my little garage shop a lot more organized and conducive to woodworking. My wife had gotten me two 33 inch wide kitchen cabinets that were installed but never used. I mounted them one on top of the other in a back corner of my garage. With that done I was able to get many of my smaller items neatly stored. Not only that, I left a gap between the cabinets that allowed me to store things on the tops of both. With the smaller items stored I was able to get rid of a plastic shelf system that I had next to my workbench. With that out of the way I was able to move the bench to the left a bit more which freed up a lot of space on either side, allowing me to mount some small tool racks to hold chisels and mallets and other assorted tools. The shop now looks much bigger and far better organized for woodworking. It has also left me room for the new seven foot-long bench top for my workbench that I am hoping to start on after my tables are finished. It’s amazing what you can accomplish with an extra day away from work.

Casualties of War, or It’s the end of woodworking as I know it and I feel fine.

Something was brought to my attention last night that I will get to shortly. But first I want to talk about the raging hand tool vs power tool war because it was once again brought to my proverbial doorstep, though I refuse to get into it anymore than that. Anyway, for me personally the war is over. I formally announced my surrender a few weeks back on this very blog. The woodworking Nazis won. Evil triumphed over good (I’m the good one). Like many wars, when you look at them from a distance you wonder if things couldn’t have been worked out in a different way, and you wonder what was really accomplished and what did it really cost. In my opinion it cost a lot. Common sense and decency were lost. Freedom of speech was lost. Freedom of expression was lost. Freedom from persecution was lost. Even freedom to enjoy what you are doing was destroyed. Again, it seems like the woodworking Nazis got just what they wanted.

I will say it again, I am out of the war. I have no desire to argue with any of you anymore (when I say you I mean the evil woodworkers coalition of the world). Though I am out of the fight, that doesn’t mean that I still don’t wonder what it was all about, and it still doesn’t mean that there are many things that still disturb me. I’m going to ask myself a bunch of questions and answer yes to every one of them. Do I find it disturbing that a mature adult can actually be insulted to the point of anger because a person they don’t know or never met woodworks in a way differently than they do? Yes. Do I find it disturbing that mature adults can take one person’s idealogy and use it as an excuse to deride and insult people they don’t know or never met because they don’t do things the way they think they should be done? Yes (and I think the official definition of that type of group behaviour is a Hate Group). Do I find it disturbing that professional woodworkers and writers feel the need to insult amateur hobbyists? Yes. Do I find it disturbing that several professional woodworking writers accused several members of the United States Government of collusion with no proof and when they were asked about it got extremely angry and hid from their own statements by later claiming that it was all opinion? Yes. Do I find it disturbing that a relatively small group of professional and amateur woodworkers and writers took woodworking, once the profession of the skilled working class, and turned it into an elitist hobby with guidelines that they set, which are only obtainable for a select few with lots of free cash and free time to go along with it, all the while claiming to be traditionalists who at the same time have stomped on the true working class values and tradition of woodworking? That one gets a big Amen.

What brought all of this on? I have it from a reliable source that a fairly well known woodworker doesn’t like me for whatever reason. I won’t say who, firstly because I just won’t, and secondly because I am not 100% positive, but I am pretty sure. This person doesn’t have a blog, at least I think not, but it was pointed out to me somewhere else. Here is my answer to that person, if he/she actually reads this: I don’t care. Honestly. I just wish the person would have said it directly to me and not on some forum, but I guess I can understand why they didn’t. My rebuttal: You cannot dislike somebody for not agreeing with your opinion and then expect them to not feel the same way. You’re not North Korea, you can’t just hate the world and get mad because they hate you back. It doesn’t work that way unless you are five years old, or have the mentality of a child. I’ve told you all before, I give up. I’m not in this fight anymore. You won. Woodworking will steadily become a hobby for a small group of certain people who do things in a certain, narrow-minded way. You won’t hear a peep out of me on the subject, unless it gets dropped on my doorstep again. I’m out of the fight so please stop trying to drag me back into it. On a personal note, I think you people are destroying woodworking and will sooner or later turn it into a fading, archaic hobby that is looked upon the same way people look upon the horse and buggy. Congratulations! You managed to take all the fun out of a fun hobby and destroy it. I feel fine. Have a nice day!

The (not so) Mighty Workbench

My woodworking bench.

My woodworking bench.

After 3+ years of woodworking, I think I can speak with a little bit of intelligence and experience concerning woodworking benches. I can hardly call myself an expert. I can’t claim to have worked on dozens of different style benches with tons of different work holding options. I only have the experiences using my workbench and the workbenches I’ve used at the few woodworking classes I’ve taken to pass any kind of judgment. But I do like to think I know a little bit about ergonomics, which I feel is just an important topic as work holding options are when it comes to a woodworking bench. I’ve been discovering that many woodworking benches, even the so-called nearly-perfect ones from centuries past, aren’t as “ergonomically correct” as a good tool should be.

At my previous job I worked on an industrial printing press. It turned a flat sheet into a finished carton, printed, cut, folded, glued, bundled, and ready to ship. It was actually a pretty interesting process. The job had two major drawbacks: there was no climate control which left the building sweltering hot in the summer, and there was a lot of heavy lifting involved. We had many back, shoulder, and neck injuries on the job, too many. In fact, there were so many that an insurance company came in and for two weeks filmed us while we worked without our knowledge. After all was said and done we had a few meetings with consultants skilled in work efficiency and ergonomics and they presented their findings. On average, we were told that a press crew member lifted between 35,000-40,000lbs per shift. The lifting wasn’t necessarily the bad part, but the way the lifting was performed was. Reaching overhead was one problem, and over reaching forward was another, but the real issue was bending and lifting. We were told that on average we were bending over and lifting 30-70lbs nearly two hundred times per shift. And on top of that, the “bend and lift” way too many times involved material weighing more than 100lbs. Obviously doing this every day 45-50 hours a week was a good way to destroy your back and shoulders. The ergonomics experts suggested that much of the heavy lifting should be performed between your knees and shoulders, meaning don’t lift anything heavy that is above your shoulders or below your knees. We were also told that bending over in any sense is really not so good for you, especially when you are lifting. The same was true with activities such as repetitive over-reaching. Again, I’m no medical doctor, and I can’t claim to be any type of expert on the subject, but all of those points sounded like good advice, then and now, and I try to woodwork following those same guidelines.

In my experience I’ve found that workbenches really only excel at one task, and that is holding/clamping a board to be hand planed. In fairness to workbenches everywhere, from what I understand that is really their main function, and at one time were called “planing benches”. Benches can do a decent job of holding a board for using a jigsaw or router, if you use those tools. Workbenches are okay for sawing dovetails and tenons, and they do a pretty good job of holding a board for removing waste with a chisel, or pounding out a mortise. They are miserable to use for assembling anything larger than a box, and they aren’t much better when it comes to cross cutting larger/wider stock with a hand saw. The problem with a standard, traditional workbench is that its height is not adjustable. A workbench at the perfect height for planing is often too low, or too high, for many sawing tasks. Nearly all workbenches are at least a foot too tall for most assembly work. I know this has probably been said before, and a traditionalist will argue that workbenches really shouldn’t be asked to do more than hold a board to be hand planed, or the occasional joinery/chiseling task. I agree with that logic and wouldn’t argue the fact. But my issue is the “cost” of a workbench, both monetary, and the space it takes up. You can either spend a lot of money purchasing a good quality woodworking bench, or spend less money but a lot of precious shop time building one yourself. Either way you look at it the investment is quite large for what is basically an expensive clamp, and a clamp that in many ways isn’t ergonomically correct.

Another issue I have with workbenches is their recommended size according to most experts. For me, the ideal workbench would be 2 feet wide, 33 inches tall, and 8 feet long or longer….IF….the workbench was situated in the center of my work space. The problem for most of us is that our benches aren’t centered in the shop, as much as we would like them to be; most of our workbenches are placed against a wall where they usually stay put. We are told that a 2 foot wide bench, give or take, is a great width because it minimizes reaching and makes the bench easier to walk around when clamping things to both sides. Again, those points are spot on and that is good bench-making advice if your bench is at the center of the shop. If it isn’t at the shop center and instead placed against a wall, a wider bench would serve much better in my opinion. You can extend the width, possibly to 3 feet, or at the least extend it as wide as you can comfortably reach, giving yourself plenty of additional bench top space that would be a great place to keep tools out of the way, yet near enough to use, and also keep stock close at hand. The extra width could also be a stock staging area and, in theory, give the workbench more mass.

I think my main issue with woodworking benches is using them for any type of project assembly. We are told that workbenches can be used for assembly on most projects, but I’ve found that assembly on a traditional bench can be difficult to say the least. Even a “lower” bench between 28 and 33 inches is still too tall for a good deal of the projects that the average home woodworker attempts. My current two tables project is a prime example. Assembling a table on a workbench is not as fun as it sounds. For instance, using a mallet to tap some of the parts in place is very difficult when the piece is higher than eye level, which nearly any project of size will be when you have it on a typically proportioned workbench. On the other hand, many times using the floor for assembly is just as frustrating unless you feel like doing some deep knee bends. In my opinion, a dedicated assembly bench, maybe 3ft or 4ft square and 18-24 inches tall is much better option for assembling most furniture made by a home woodworker. It would keep nearly all projects you are working on between your knees and shoulders, which as I was saying, is the optimal level on which to work on an object. On that token, I’ve never seen a woodworking book recommend building an assembly bench even though there are quite a few photographs of benches similar to the one I described being shown in old shops. If emulating the old style workbench is so important and in vogue with proper workbench construction, why is this obviously important bench being ignored? Every woodworking book I’ve ever read recommends using your workbench for assembly, which I think is a terrible idea most of the time.

Sawing is another area where workbenches fall too short. For small parts and smaller joinery like tenons and dovetails a workbench will do fine. But for any ripping task, or cross cutting a wide board, you are much better using some kind of saw horse or saw bench. This is nothing new, and many woodworking writers recommend making and using a pair of them. The truth is you can make a pair of saw benches or saw horses for around $20 in just a few hours. Yet, when we are considering the costs of either buying or making a proper workbench, I just don’t think it’s worth the time, money, or combination of either, that we put into acquiring them, especially when you take into account the minimal costs laid down for making a pair of saw horses and a low assembly bench, which you can probably build for under $100 or at least in that ball park. When you are plunking down $2000-$3000 for a good, commercially sold bench, or building one yourself for around $1000, it should really function as more than a planing clamp in my opinion. Yet for the most part that is what we are getting. Would any of us spend $2000 for a table saw that cross cut boards but couldn’t rip them? Or purchase a router that only held one or two bits? Maybe some people would but I sure as hell wouldn’t.

I’m not writing this post as an enemy of the woodworking bench. I think a good bench is essential to a good workshop, in particular if you are using hand tools of any kind. But looking back I don’t think they should be the first piece of shop furniture made. A bench really functions best if used along with saw horses and an assembly bench. Otherwise they are nearly a specialty tool, a good specialty tool, but an expensive one at that. To use the tables that I am currently making as an example, I probably could have done much of the construction using a pair of saw horses, but the assembly phase would have gone much, much easier if I had some kind of dedicated assembly bench. That is a lesson that took more than three years to really learn. But that is the way it has to be I guess. My next project, a new top for my current workbench, is born from those lessons learned. I know it’s not going to be the complete solution. Yet I think that my advice here can really help a new woodworker who may be planning a bench build. After all, I was that new woodworker not so long ago.

The Two Tables continue.

The Two Tables

The Two Tables

A series of minor but unfortunate events including a trip to the mechanic, a trip to a car dealer, a trip to the credit union, another trip to the car dealer, and a trip to a loan officer conspired to keep me out of the shop for most of the past few days. I wasn’t able to pick up the board I had set aside to glue up the table tops, but I did get a few hours in the shop on Sunday morning. I managed to spend at least half of my time sanding and dressing up the table parts which, as I said, is just about at the top of the list of Things I Hate About Woodworking. But I was able to get some assembly done, leaving only the table tops and the construction of the drawers and their runner assemblies to have the build phase of this project done. Because I had already laid out the parts in the order I wanted them assembled it didn’t take a long time for me to finish. I chose wide grained boards for the table aprons this time which I think will help eliminate some of the finishing problems I had with my last table. And the truth is that I like wide grain better than straight grain, though straight grain is usually easier to work with. I will admit that I did have one small problem during the assembly phase.

These two tables I’m making are my fourth and fifth table projects. I’ll be completely honest and admit that I’ve never made a table where the legs were perfect and the table didn’t wobble. It was never really an issue. I never had anything that a little light sanding didn’t fix, as the difference was usually less than 1/16″. When I assembled the first of the two tables I checked everything for square, double checked and that was that. The table had a minor wobble, nothing I wasn’t used to before. When I got the second table assembled I did the same thing, checked and double checked and then put it together permanently. The second table was a little out of square, and when I say a little I mean very little, less than 1/16″ so I didn’t worry about it. I put both tables on the pad that my workbench sits on to check and see that both tables were the same height, no problem there. I then put them on my workbench and started cleaning up. As sweeping I just happened to look up and notice that one of the legs on the second table was way off the bench, nearly 1/4″. I quickly did some measuring again. The table was square, the legs all the same length, and the assembly was clean, I couldnt’ figure it out. I even put a piece of aluminum angle iron on my bench to make sure it was flat. The bench checked out so I double checked the table legs again. The only anomaly I noticed was that the offending leg was a little warped, not much, but that is the only culprit I can think of when it comes to the mystery of the high leg. Because it is too far off for sanding to help, I plan to trim 1/8″ off of each leg on both tables using the table saw, with the saw’s fence as a guide. I think that should even them out enough to where the little pads I use on the bottom of each leg will compensate for any other irregularities, on the tables and my living room floor. Hopefully on Thursday after work I will pick up the board needed for the table top glue-ups. Friday I have an off day from work so I will use a little of that time to get the tops glued up and hopefully start working on the drawer runners.

In other news, I’ve decided that my next project will be a new top for my workbench. Other than a few small DIY projects I have around the house, I don’t have any pressing builds coming up, and with the arrival of my free wall cabinets this week I want to get my little garage shop as organized as possible. I actually drew up some plans over the weekend for the top. Firstly, I’m going to re-use the base of my current bench. It is heavy, well-constructed, and beefy enough for any top I want to put on it. But I will clean it up with a good sanding, re-chamfering the bottoms of each leg, and a few coats of linseed oil. For the new top I will use Douglas Fir construction lumber. I am hoping to end up with a top 7 feet long, 2 feet wide, and 3 1/4″ thick. It will have a row of round dog holes. I will keep the leg vice and add a tail vice, and I plan on adding tool tray, roughly 5 inches wide. This will make the effective working width of the bench top 18 inches. With a little research, I’ve found that I generally use only the front two-thirds of the bench top on just about every project. The back half of the bench always ends up with the tools that don’t happen to be in hand at the moment. I would rather have those tools recessed into the bench than rolling around on top where they can not only get in the way, but cause damage to whatever you may be working on at the time. My only worry is that the new top will increase the height of the bench 3/4 of an inch. My current bench is 33 1/2″ high with a 2 1/2″ thick top. The new thicker top will make the bench 34 1/4 inches tall. That doesn’t sound like much of a difference, but I’ve been working on this bench for two years and I have become accustomed to the height. I’ve found that I like using a lower bench. I am 5 ft 11″ tall, maybe just over 6ft in sneakers, and I feel that the current bench height is just about perfect for someone my size. If I work in boots I can, in theory, compensate for the slightly higher bench by making myself slightly taller, or I could shorten the legs, which is an operation that could end in disaster. I am going to try the new top out for a while and see how it goes. If I find that I am not liking it so much I will resort to more drastic measures. In any event, this is a project that has been long overdue.

Lighten up, Francis.

I’m guessing that I somehow mildly offended a woodworking blog writer with my last two posts about a fictional, old-world woodworker and his views towards modern woodworking. Hopefully, everybody that read them realized that they were meant to be a humorous poke at some traditional woodworkers who, no matter how you woodwork, always seem to think it just isn’t done traditionally enough. What more do they want? I don’t know. Should I dig a pit saw in my back yard next? Will that satisfy you? Should I go to the local medicine man and have him somehow remove any vaccinations that I received during my childhood because they are a modern invention? Remove my plumbing and electricity? Should I start typing this blog on an abacus? Maybe chisel it in stone and bring it by horseback to all of the subscribers? How about forge my own tools? I can tie a rope to my 5 year old and lower her into a mine to get coal and build a furnace in my yard, would that do it for you?

Here is something that all of you traditionalists who run your mouth may not be aware of, but I will be gracious enough to tell you. I’ve seen some photos of you people, and most of you don’t look like you would survive for a week in the 18th century. I’m not talking about physical appearance, I’m not Brad Pitt and I will be the last person to insult somebody in that regard. What I am talking about is physical conditioning. Be careful what you wish for. Those joiners from the 18th and 19th century didn’t usually live very long. I’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating: You CANNOT have it both ways. You CANNOT tell somebody that they aren’t doing it “right” because they don’t do it the way you do it, and then wonder why somebody may be insulted by it. People woodworked the way they did in 1791 because they absolutely had no choice. That was the way it was done for better or worse. I know that anybody with half a brain doesn’t need me to explain this , but I am aiming at the lowest common denominator. And, for the record, I am not insulted by the traditionalists, not anymore. They are for the most part children in the bodies of adults. I don’t argue with children. If you don’t like my opinion or my blog please try not to read it. That’s all I ask. I’ve stopped reading quite a few blogs and I’m a happier woodworker for it. So I want to be clear and say that this post is not an attack on any one person, but a rebuttal in my own defense.

Somehow somebody read my last two posts and took it to be an insult against a certain woodworking Anarchist. I have no idea how that correlation was made because it had absolutely, positively nothing to do with him or anything he has ever done ever. No need to call the lawyers or notify Homeland Security. And even if it were some kind of an attack I don’t see why this guy felt the need to speak behalf of the “victim”. Like I said, it was a humorous poke at the traditionalist woodworker that always seems to find a way to make a woodworking task even more traditional. It seems that whenever an amateur woodworker tries to emulate one of these guys they have take their “traditionalism” to another level to stay one step ahead of the followers. Many of them also like to reference their old world master or traditional old world training that they received. I am not a traditional woodworker, at least not in that sense, so I can honestly say that it doesn’t bother me. What did bother me was the email I received. I’ve said it before, I don’t use this blog to attack people. I feel that everybody has a right to express their opinion as long as it doesn’t get nasty. I also feel that you have the right to disagree with any opinion, mine included. Unlike more than a few of the traditionalists, I don’t think that I’m always right.

So that’s it; those two entries were supposed to be funny. Lighten up a little and enjoy what you are doing. Or you could just stop looking. There has to be close to one hundred woodworking blogs on WordPress. Stick to those, you’ll be happier, and so will I.

An Interview with evil woodworking instructor, Yodel Vanderschnooten Part 2

This post is an excerpt taken from an interview with fictitious, evil, alleged Nazi collaborator and woodworking instructor Yodel Vanderschnooten:

Mr. Vanderschnooten, I notice that you have used cut nails on some of your projects. Do you purchase those from Tremont Nail?

Nein! Never. Tremont uses machinery! I reject all machinery! How can I tell others that machinery and technology is destroying woodworking yet use technology in every other aspect of my life!! This is madness!

How do you get your nails then?

Simple Dumkoff! I make them myself. There are forms filed in my teeth! (Smiles to show two holes on either side of his teeth) I place the raw ore in my hand and hold it over a fire. When the ore is molten I pour it into my mouth and extract it through one of the filed holes in my teeth! Just by moving my jaw I can control the size. I bite down to produce any length nail I need. You Americans think you are so smart with your time saving machinery and painless use of glue and hardware. I make every process in woodworking as difficult as possible, otherwise I am just hobbyist that is destroying the craft in woodworking!

Speaking of glue, do you use glue or do you make your own?

Narr! I never buy anything unless used and old! I make my own. One part sand, one part clay, two parts water, two parts cow manure, and some saliva. Works fine. You Americans are so lazy, buying PVA that holds forever. That is not tradition! Technology has never made anything better! When will you all learn! When has technology improved the quality of your life?? Tell me now!!

Wait a minute! If you reject all technology, how do you hammer nails in? Surely you at least own a hammer?

Nein Nein Nein! No hammer! I use my forehead to fasten nails to board!

But isn’t a hammer a fairly primitive tool?

Jawohl, it is, but not primitive enough! You capitalist dogs still don’t understand! I am traditional woodworker! I must make everything as difficult as possible, otherwise it just isn’t real woodworking!

So how can a person like me ever be a real woodworker? Do you have any advice?

I will say this once, and say slow so you can understand. You must take all fun out of shop. Nothing can be easy! That is not the way! Reject all tools! You only need chisel and saw! Soon you will be like me and use hands and teeth! You type on computer? I hate computers!! You type books and print them on a press! That is not tradition!! You should write books by hand, carefully choosing each word, making many rough draft. You Americans with your copy, cut, and paste. In my day writing was much more difficult!

But what about woodworking?

I said before and I will say again. You must quit job that feeds family; you are not being creative there I wager! You must pretend that it is 1791! You must perform time consuming and repetitive work that often killed men before the reached the age of forty! If you find a way that seems easy and fun to you, Halt! The more difficult the better! That is the only way! How dare you hobbyists build something and be proud of it! How dare you write blogs on internet! Only the opinions of a few that died centuries ago matter! If you do not behave like a woodworker from the distant past, you are worthless. End of interview!

This post was an excerpt from an interview with Yodel Vanderschnooten.

An interview with evil woodworking instructor Yodel Vanderschnooten.

This post is an excerpt taken from an interview with fictitious, evil, alleged Nazi collaborator and woodworking instructor Yodel Vanderschnooten:

Yodel, may I call you Yodel? Firstly I would like to say that I am thrilled to meet you. How long have you been a woodworker?

Firstly, NEIN! you may not call me Yodel, and secondly, I’ve been woodworking for nearly 84 years.

Mr. Vanderschnooten, what do you think is the most important lessen you can instill into a new woodworker?

That woodworking is pain! When you leave the shop you should hate everything that you had to do while you were there. Your arms should be tired, your feet should hurt, and you should have dust and shavings in every crevice of your body.

In every crevice?

JA! If you like I will show you!

I believe you. What tools do you advocate using?

I am a purist so I don’t believe in tools. Tools are made in factories by capitalist slime. When I was apprenticed in Schmerzen Leiden we were forbidden to use tools because we were told that they are destroying the craft of woodworking. So we learned to cut and shape wood with our hands and teeth. I’ve spent many years abrading my hands on coarse stone and gravel; they are now as sharp as any saw! (Demonstrates by quickly ripping down a 2” thick maple board with the edge of his right hand) We also filed our teeth and finger nails to razor sharp keenness. In the mornings we would go to the forest and gnaw down trees for use as lumber. We would drag the tree back to the shop and rip the boards to be set aside for drying. It was quite a task for a nine year old boy! Many were injured and died on the way…

It must have been difficult to see so many of your friends die at such a young age.

Nein! They were not my friends! Woodworking is pain I said!!

I notice that at your shop that your students use regular hand tools. Is your approach to woodworking instruction softening?

The Justice Department felt that my methods were “barbaric” in their words. The government and its outrageous safety regulations are ruining woodworking I say! Still, my first lesson is sharpening. My student’s plane irons must be able to take a thin layer of human skin. If they aren’t sharp enough you can imagine the blood and screams. Believe me when I say, my student’s plane irons are sharp!

What do you say to those who claim to have no time to woodwork traditionally?

I say they are soft! If you want to woodwork you should be prepared for boredom and hours of mind numbing labor! Quit your job if you must! Or starve your children! If you work at a job other than woodworking you are nothing more than a drone that is destroying society! The only people who contribute anything meaningful to the world are artisans! You are all worthless and weak scumbags! Only professional woodworkers in medieval shops can make real furniture!!

This post was an excerpt from an interview with Yodel Vanderschnooten.

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