Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review of Domiplate Accessory for Festool Domino

Ron Wenner made an interesting accessory for the Festool Domino called the Domiplate. It acts like a fence attached to the bottom of the Domino giving you two offsets: one for 1/2" nominal sheet goods and another for 3/4" nominal sheet goods.

While you could use the flip-down fence in these situations, the Domiplate is rigid and won't drift plus they are pre-calibrated.

If you are making a lot of boxes of sheet goods (cabinet lowers or uppers) or are a production cabinet shop, you'll find great utility in a Domiplate that eliminates errors that can occur with the flip-down fence with multiple people setting it.

In this video, I'll introduce the plate, show what you need to use it (a couple bolts you need and likely already have) plus some demos.

To contact Ron with more questions or to place an order, write him directly at
Edit: Since the time of this review, Ron opened an online store for it and the new version of the plate is nicely anodized and laser etched.  If you're interested in it, give it a look at the Seneca Woodworking site.

Shell Inlay: A presentation by Marco Cecala

Marco Cecala, a local woodworking friend, recently did a presentation for the Arizona Association of Fine Woodworking on shell inlay.  I got the presentation on video knowing it will be interesting to a lot of you!

Marco's a great presenter, which is why this video won't seem like it's 45 minutes long!  So get a big bucket of popcorn and a sheet for some notes.  You're going to love it.  Personally, it was difficult to edit because I would get wrapped up in the presentation and forget I was supposed to be scrutinizing the video cuts!  Oh, and speaking of video, I'm getting a better tripod... sorry for some jerky motion... and also, next time I'll get there early enough to secure a third-row spot for better recording!

As for taking notes, I'll save you the trouble of making a list of tools you'd need to try this out.  Look below the video for a list along with some suggested places to get them.

Tools and Supplies
Here's a list of the tools and supplies mentioned in the presentation:

Marco uses a gravers' handle on the barrette file; it's basically a bulb handle with a flat that is aligned with the flat blade of the file.  I sent some handle-less files to Jim Coons who I met at WIA'11 and who makes the awls at lathemade.  He's assembling the file on a gravers' handle for me turned out of some nice red palm.  If his handles on a barrette file interest you, just contact him since he'll know what you're talking about.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Calibrating the Festool Domino Cursor

The cursor hairs on the Festool Domino are a user-calibrated part of the Domino fence. While the bottom of the Domino has a factory calibrated center line, you need to transcribe that line to the cursor hairs for accuracy when doing "pencil line" mortises.

This video shows you a quick way to do it on a new fence I received for my Domino.

So get your Domino, a T-10, some blue tape, and two chunks of scrap wood (maybe popcorn, too!) and let's calibrate that beast.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Garrett Hack Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona December 3-7, 2011

A fellow Arizona woodworker is hosting Garrett Hack for some excellent demonstration and hands-on classes here in Phoenix.  The following is a write-up as it appeared in the Arizona Association of Fine Woodworking newsletter.

I think I signed up within the first 3 minutes of hearing about it.  Very exciting class.  If you are in the Phoenix area or near-by, I'd love to see you there.

For reservation information, send me email: and I will get you the information for reserving.  I am not the chair for this event; just the messenger :) Sorry for the image of my email address; trying to avoid spam!

The AZ Association of Fine Woodworking is hosting Garrett Hack for a 2-day seminar December 3 and 4 in Phoenix as well as a 3-day hands-on at the Woodcraft Store in Chandler, December 5 to 7.
For the 2 Day Demonstration Class:
Garrett’s talk over two days will cover a range of useful topics that will improve your work habits, help you work more enjoyably and safely — by using more hand tools — and lead to better designed results. 
The first day covers WORKING SMART, ways of working that reduce dumb errors while increasing your efficiently. Something as simple as using a good marking system avoids errors and saves time, as does a story stick (doubling as a pattern perhaps) for transferring exact dimensions.  Naturally hand tools figure in, for their efficiency and accuracy at certain tasks such as smoothing surfaces and edge jointing boards for gluing together. Through demos Garrett will illustrate the usefulness of hand tools and how they fit into the balance between working by hand and machine, and many tips for working smart.  
DESIGN is by far the most challenging part of building furniture as there are few rules and often many unknowns. By looking at images of some beautiful furniture we’ll start to answer questions such as how was it made, what woods were used and why, how did the maker solve some of the basic problems of design and construction, and how are such design elements as proportion or detail used? We might also look at developing drawings, choosing materials, devising a building sequence, and even de-construct a table or case design to understand the joinery and variations possible. Come with your design questions. 
For the 3 Day Hands on:
Working with Curves

As your furniture design and technical skills develop, so does your interest in using curves. We'll cover the basic ways to create those curves, from cutting them out of the solid such as along the edge of a table, to laminating and steam bending more complex shapes for chairs. What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method — speed of making, stability, consistency, economy — and how do you decide the best approach?  We'll go through as many processes as we can, from designing curves to producing quick patterns, bending forms, thin laminates, coopered shapes, veneered curves, and most importantly dealing with the joinery of curved parts. You'll see, because you'll be doing all the steps, too.
Decorative Details
Over three millennia ago Egyptian craftsmen were decorating their work with inlays of small intricate patterns of ebony, ivory, and other exotic materials. We'll learn similar techniques for making delicate string or line inlays, larger surface inlays such as panels, making and inlaying patterned bandings, beads, and using non-wood materials such as silver and shell. For much of this work we will be making and using scratch stocks, simple yet amazingly versatile tools useful for lots more besides inlay. 
The 2 day is December 3 and 4 at the Grace Inn in Phoenix. The 3 day is December 5-7 at Woodcraft in Chandler. Cost for the 2 day is 75.00 and the 3 day is 300.00. To reserve: $75 for the 2-day and $100 deposit for the 3-day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My First iOS Application for iPad FREE TODAY

My day job is being an iOS developer for Trimble Outdoors.  We make mapping and sporting applications for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch), Android, and numerous other mobile phones.

They hired me last February as an iOS developer.  I said, "but I've never written an iOS application and I don't know the language even". "That's okay, you'll learn as you go!"  True, and it was interesting at that!

My first app is a mapping application for viewing and editing your trips that get stored on Backpacker magazine's servers.

Today is the last day to get it free; so if you wanna try it, at least download it today so it's free for you!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Applying Drawer Fronts

Applying these drawer fronts took a bit more planning then usual since each was in three non-square parts. There are a few tips in this video for clamping up the drawer front right on the cabinet, but still being able to pop the drawer out.

There's also a bit more sculpting of the sides so everything matches together.  As I write this, I have a couple coats of finish on everything and I'm very happy with the result (unless you ask me about a couple dovetail shoulders, so don't ask me about a couple dovetail shoulders!)

One thing I didn't like in this video was my wording about the common concern of using hide glue in a bathroom.  I said "humidity" was the problem, but meant to say "moisture" (you know, lots of humidity).  If some water runs off the vanity top right on a drawer front that was applied with hide glue, it really isn't going anywhere... it takes a lot of moisture and heat to release it, but it does release far easier than a PVA or, worse, plastic-resin glue.  I've made three other cabinets that ended up in bathrooms made with hide glue (the cabinets, not the bathrooms :) and there have been no issues.

Next episode will likely be the last of the series: wet-sanded finish.  There's still the installation, although I won't really go through that... maybe just a brief tour of it afterward.  Might have it at the end of the next episode.

I'm planning the next projects; simple but unique gifts since, probably like you, I need some!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Charles Neil in Tucson this Weekend

Woodcraft in Tucson is hosting a woodworking show this Saturday October 15th, 2011.  Charles Neil will be in town at the show then doing a series of classes this weekend.  Classes include "Best of Finishing", "Making the Flame Finial", "Scooping a Chair Seat with Ease", and "Compound Mortise and Tenon Joints Made Easy".

I'll be attending and helping out for all the classes (you know, the gopher!) and would love to see you there.  Living in Chandler, Tucson is just 90ish minutes away and a pretty easy drive... so if you are in Phoenix, make a day trip out of it.  If you want to car pool any of the days, write me at HalfInchShy at gmail dot com (you have to know the spam scanner can figure that out, but just in case...)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Recoveries - Heat Gun and Glue

Back when I was making the dovetailed drawers for my vanity, I did something dumb and one drawer got glued in place crocked. I thought I was going to have to bandsaw the drawer off and go through a lot of scraping (all the while creating new enhanced vocabulary), but a simple heat gun trick took it apart despite the fact that the whole thing was glued up for 2 days.

Here's a short video showing it in action; hopefully you'll file it away in your head and never have to use it.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Sculpted Mahogany Vanity - Reinforcing the Drawer Handles

Back from a great weekend at WIA '11... so glad this video was ready to go!

We shaped the integral drawer handles last episode, but it seems like a good idea to reinforce those rabbet handles to keep the fibers from eventually pulling away... especially on that bottom drawer where I plan on hiding my stash of bowling balls and anvils.

I've used variations on this technique on a number of projects, none of which look like any of the others.  That said, I think you'll find it useful when you need to reinforce something clandestinely.

In the next episode, the drawer fronts get applied and finish applied.  Then all that's left is hanging it up, which is great because I'm tired of having the granite top in the hallway!!  Actually, if you watched the Domino SCG-10 review video, it was to the point of applying the finish in the background.