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28 February 2016

Finger Joints and other Gateway Techniques

It's such a lovely day today. The sun is shining and all is good with the world; A perfect time to hide myself away in my garage for a little while in the pursuit of joinery excellence.

Yep... I have more experimentation to share with you today, and once more my trusty table-saw is right at the heart of it. Step this way...


I plucked up the courage to delve inside my table-saw this morning and I removed the the riving knife. The riving knife is that attachment at the back of the blade (to the right in the picture) that moves up and down with the blade as you adjust the blade height. It's primary function is to prevent kick-back which is where the spinning saw blade will send loose bits of wood flying up and back at the operator. The top of the rivening knife is slightly thicker than the cut made by the blade which prevents cut wood passing over it. The second important purpose of the rivening knife is to act as a splitter and guide, keeping the cut straight and preventing the hole from closing in on itself.

I've wanted to remove the rivening knife for a long time but I've held off knowing full well that it is there to stop me killing myself. Today, I wanted to try a technique that just wouldn't be possible with the knife fitted. It turned out to be a really easy thing to do. I was able to unscrew a panel that runs next to the blade and there you can see it in the picture: the rivening knife is held in place by a single bolt.

14 February 2016

Spool Clamp Inferno!

Last weekend I talked about some investigations I was doing into making spool clamps to aid me in my lutherie. This weekend it was time to put my ideas into practice and start the production line. I learnt a few more things along the way. All is captured below...


Do you remember me frying my drill last weekend? Yep, well I did get it working again and changed the brushes on it. I don't think it has much longer for this world. Here's a picture of my cheapo spare drill and my new drill-press. I've learnt that this new set-up is actually far more accurate than my old 80s set-up. Who'd have thought?

I learnt quite a lot fixing my old drill, but I'm not going to mention any of that right now. Instead I want you to pay attention to that odd jig I've knocked together to get a centre hole in my spools.

7 February 2016

Experiments in making Luthier Spool Clamps

Yesterday I was desperate to do something... anything. It seemed like a good day to start my spool clamp project.


In case you're wondering what a spool clamp is... Take a look at this picture of Bill Loveless's spool clamps from Jake Jacobson's wonderful book: Hearts & Hands. A spool clamp is basically a couple of wooden spools on either end of a carriage bolt.

6 February 2016

How to make Sushi

I've been threatening to have a go at making sushi at home for a while now. Eventually, after many false starts, I can finally say that I've done it and it was a roaring success! I think this might be my first ever post on food. Ha ha! Let me reveal the secrets to my sushi success...


Somehow, in my sticky-fingered state, I managed to switch my camera to taking square pictures. How Arty! Here is some of the sushi my daughter made to her own special recipe.