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Posts posted by TheFatBaron

  1. So.... it's been a long time since I've posted (years, probably). A cross country move, job changes, and the like will do that. Anyway... I don't know how many people ever read Chris Hall's blog ( For many years it was his outlet for sharing his work in Japanese-style carpentry. His output had dropped recently, as he shared, due to a cancer diagnosis that has gone from bad to worse. I don't know why this one hit me, but he's been eloquently sharing his experiences while also finishing up what has turned out to be his final piece.

    I recommend giving his blog a read. Say a word of thanks while he's still around. And, if you find something of value, maybe buy one of his books or throw a couple dollars into a GoFundMe that was set up to provide a bit for his wife and child.

  2. Pkinneb, JohnG - you're right about the leg inset.  That's a good thing to double check before I finalize everything. Even an inch or two inwards is good, even if I have to change the angle of the legs.

    JohnG, Wtnhighlander - Thanks for the reference material. Good stuff to read through. 18" is probably too much for an overhang (leaves only 3' between the legs in the middle, which definitely seems tippy). Perhaps it's better to just set expectations that end seating will be "in a pinch for short people".

  3. Is there a any rule/guideline anyone is aware of for overhangs on a table? I'm trying to finish designing an outdoor dining table (see a rough render below) I'm not concerned about strength - the top will be 5/4 white oak - more about general "tip risk" with the kids. The top is about 72x36", and currently overhangs the stretchers at the top by 6" on the short ends and 8" on the long sides, but due to the angle of the base, it's almost directly over the bottom of the legs. Thoughts? My goal is to leave foot/legroom on the ends for someone to sit, while not making the table so unstable it tips if someone puts their weight on it as the stand up or sit down.



  4. The existing surface is very solid. If it flexes or gives, I can't tell. Your idea for leveling compound is great, and I'll look into it.

    Yeah, the planer sled works great. If I did it again, I wouldn't use melamine shelving for the main body. Even with sandpaper on the bottom of the risers and wedges, it's still a little slippery. But the basic construction is stiff over its' length, and easy to grab and move.

  5. Hi everyone - 

    After relocating to the PNW last summer, I'm finally getting around to a fun to-do item: resurfacing the workbench in the shop area of the house we bought. It's simple plywood and 2x4 cabinetry - incredibly stable, and the right size along the length of the way - but the surface itself is nowhere close to flat. The seams between the old plywood are up to 1/8" out of flat. The easiest thing for me to do would be to drop a 3/4" sheet of ply over top, screw it down and call it a day, but then I worry about the ply flexing under load as I do hand planing or something. Otherwise, I could shim the worst of it before screwing it down, or go thicker with an actual wood top. Thoughts? Alternatives? Am I missing an obvious way to level the current surface before putting down the new surface?


  6. Does anyone have any suggestions on where I could pick up handrails outside of the usual Big Box stores? I moved out here a bit ago, and am in the process of buying a house - which has no handrails on the entry stairs. I'm not looking for anything exotic or custom - or even a lot - it's probably about a dozen steps total. I'd just love to have some options.

  7. 4 hours ago, TheFatBaron said:

    Well, the fact that they're sold out has made my decision accidentally easy.

    Since everyone questioned this: It says in stock, but when you add it to your cart, you get an error:


    And you can't actually check out with it in your cart. I didn't realize this was being offered through other retailers, though.


    9 hours ago, Don Z. said:

    That's a good thing, but I'm confused.  Are you planning on making the dowels while your hand heals?  I was thinking you were going to supervise his work, but at 4 1/2, perhaps not.  

    If it's the hand tool approach you're after, I still believe that 8 siding then 16 siding then sanding is the way to go.  All you really need is a block plane, though a spar marking gauge would be a help.  Perhaps he can help with the sanding.

    This is kind of what I mean, though I don't think your rocket will be 13 feet long.  You get the idea though...

    Yep, that's what I figured you meant. No, I won't be letting him do much beyond glue & paint. I was hoping to find a good enough deal, but making an octagon with a jack/jointer plane and rounding from there is pretty simple - once everything heals up. Not really worth the money, and I'm not in a particular rush.

  9. 10 hours ago, Brendon_t said:

    I'll admit, I have caught myself having a tenancy to poopoo some stuff before thinking it through.  With that said,  ain't no way in hell I'm using a drill to push laterally on the side of carbide teeth of a blade spinning near mach Jesus..

    I'm with you on this one. Taking the hand tool approach on this one. If it becomes a bigger thing, I'll probably just take a lathe class at a local shop, and do this the 'right' way.


    Don - 4 1/2 years old. Currently obsessed with all things flying and space related. Zeppelins/blimps, aircraft of all types, the Apollo missions, the Shuttle, Space X, Mars Rovers... he's going to be a giant dork, and I couldn't be happier.

  10. Other than making them myself (as I don't have a mill or lathe), does anyone know of a source for larger-diameter dowels? Woodcraft has 2" diameter in maple, which is ok (I can always stain or paint it) but it would be nice to be able to use other species.

    By the way, the project is some rockets that my son can build and recombine using rare earth magnets to put the parts together. Something to do while I wait on some ligaments in my right hand to heal up.

  11. Hello everyone - I had a chance today to visit the Nakashima property and get a guided tour (along with about a dozen other people). If you find your way near southeastern Pennsylvania and have a few hours to spend, I highly recommend it. You get to go through several of the buildings as staff members explain details about Nakashima's philosophy, the history of the property, processes, and other details. It's not a particularly long tour, and unfortunately, you don't get to go into the workshop itself, but it's wonderful to see the in-progress pieces, examine the completed pieces and prototypes sitting around the property.

    And if you ever feel bad about your lumber stash... you should see theirs. They describe it as their "Raiders of the Lost Ark" barn, and it doesn't feel like they're exaggerating.

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  12. I do know people who have tried marine varnish, and I've tried some of the other blends myself. Generally, it gets worn off impact surfaces pretty quickly and even when you're not trying to build a film, it still gives that bad 'tacky' feel.

    If you're looking for something to deeply penetrate, some places (such as Kingfisher) DO make 'resin enhanced' bokken, where they use a vacuum chamber to pull the resin (I guess a thin epoxy?) deep into the wood - much deeper than you'll get from soaking/rubbing. This is different than just applying and sanding a finish, though. It also turns your bokken into a bokken-breaker. Some dojos actively ban these because unsuspecting partners tend to get a nasty surprise.

  13. You don't want a film finish on your weapons. Save yourself the trouble and just do 3-5 applications of tung oil or BLO. The film finish won't hold up under any impact, and the amount of water your hands actually put onto a weapon will do no damage to the wood itself. On the other hand, the film finish will give you a ton of blisters and a miserable feel.

  14. Hey folks - cleaning out some tools I don't need anymore. 

    I have a Paslode cordless framing nailer with case, 2 batteries (working), charger (working), 2 near-full boxes of nails (2 3/8" and 3") and the instructions. I don't have the fuel cells, but you can buy them at the big box stores pretty cheaply. $125 + shipping. I used this to do a bunch of framing work when I didn't have access to a compressor or was working where I couldn't work around the compressor. Works as far as I know, but I can't verify without fuel cells (and they go bad fast once opened). The nailgun has been claimed.

    I also have a Dewalt DW225 corded drywall screwgun. It works, but I don't have any need for it anymore. $35 + shipping. Figured I'd give you guys first shot before I list on eBay. I've listed this on eBay here:



  15. The floor-standing Ridgid drill press isn't bad, in my opinion. I bought the previous model used off Craigslist a couple years ago, and it's been fine other than the handles slowly loosening (but that's easy to fix).