James Finley

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About James Finley

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  1. James Finley

    Prodigality Cabinet

    Looks great! One question: have you thought about putting a matching rail on the bottom of the back panel to mirror the cleat rail you have at the top? My eye wants to see that symmetry top-to-bottom. Of course, the interior layout may end up covering that part, so perhaps I'm just creating problems ;-)
  2. James Finley

    Wait for inspiration or go find it?

    For me it's a matter of exposure. There isn't any one thing that guarantees inspiration, but I find the more things I am exposed to (and especially not just in a woodworking context) the more likely I will find something unexpected that sparks something. Conversely, the harder I try to find inspiration, the more elusive it becomes.
  3. James Finley

    Jointer Advice

    TripleH, Thanks for the thoughtful respnse, especially some of the notes on dealing with straight knives. I think I am leaning towards the 12" and this helps seal that deal. --James
  4. James Finley

    Jointer Advice

    OK, it is time for me to scale up and get a decent jointer. I have been saving in prep for this buy, so I have a little bit of budget, but I do have some questions about what features/designs people think are worth it. Let's say my budget would allow for either: 1) An 8-inch jointer with a helical/spiral cutter, or... 2) A 12-inch jointer with straight knives Perhaps worth knowing, I have 220v in the shop, and I have a DeWalt 735 planer with the Byrd Shelix head. I work mostly with domestic hardwoods, including a fair amount of figured cherry, maple and birch, but relatively few tropical exotics. Do people find they need more capacity than an 8-inch jointer? Maybe I should get a straight knife 8-inch and save some of the budget towards a drum sander? Help? --James
  5. James Finley

    A Shocking Problem

    Static electricity can build up on the ducting of dust collectors, especially plastic and PVC ducts. Many people advocate running ground wires in the ducting when it is plastic to try and prevent buildup of this static charge, though many others claim for most hobby-sized shops it is unneccesary. My guess is you got shocked by providing a ground to some of that built up static charge on your ducting.
  6. James Finley

    Need a decent dovetail saw

    Well, a few questions: 1. Western saws or Japanese saws? If Japanese I would recommend any saw from Hida tool of Japan Woodworker that is labeled dovetail or Rip. You'll want to make sure it has a back as well. 2. If you prefer Western saws, what is your budget? A good value for money saw is the Veritas molded spine model (I haven't used their DT saw, but I own the two similar carcass saws and they are very nice). If you want to spend a little more money (and time) my recommendation is a Bad Axe Tool Works dovetail saw. I absolutely love mine, and Mark Harrel (owner of Bad Axe) will work with you to figure out exactly how the saw should be filed for the work you want to do. People also really like the Lie-nielsen saw (I've wanted to try their progressive pitch model) and the Gramercy Tool Dovetail saw. Hope that helps!
  7. James Finley

    Tablesaw horsepower, how much is enough?

    A couple of thoughts: For a non-pro, you can get away with 'under-powered' saws by altering your feed rate. 4/4 domestic hardwood should be no trouble at all for a 1-2HP saw, especially if you take your time. Additional power allows you to feed faster, which may or may not matter much to you. similarly for the dado size. If you are doing a lot of work on a scale where you need the depth of cut that an 8" stack gives you, then a heavy-duty saw is more useful. It depends on the work you do and the behavior you want to see.
  8. James Finley

    Good Saw Sharpener in Northern VA, MD area?

    I can recommend Bob Rozaieski of Logan Cabinet Shoppe http://logancabinetshoppe.com/saw-sharpening.php. He's not VA/MD, but rather in NJ, so it would be via mail, but his work is great. Matt Cianci of the Saw Wright is also terrific, though he's in Rhode Island, I think http://www.thesawwright.com/.
  9. James Finley

    Rabbets by hand

    It will work, but depending on the behavior of the grain you may need to keep scoring it every few passes. Better might be to define the wall of the rabbet with a saw and then use the router plane.
  10. James Finley

    Garage Dust Collection

    It depends some on the particular machines you have. You should be able to find out what the SCFM needs to be at each of the machines for best performance, this is something most manufacturers provide. You'll then want to make sure the collection at the machine gets to that SCFM rate, including the losses that occur in the ducting. Whichever machine needs the most collection power should be closest to the DC, and you should try and set up the piping so that you can close down sections that run to machines you aren't using, so that all of the DC's power goes to collecting at the machine you are using (assuming you'll only run machine at a time, being a hobbyist shop). I get by OK with a flew hose and DC on rollers, but YMMV.
  11. James Finley

    Helix head for DW735

    I have the Byrd spiral head for the 735. Install was plenty easy, if you take your time and follow the directions you'll be fine. As for worth the money, that's harder to answer. If you work a lot with very hard and very figured wood, or if you run your planer a lot and will see a return not needing new blades or to have them re-sharpened, it might be worth it in a business/practical sense. I'm no pro, but for me the convenience and ability to work really any wood with ease was worth it, but you'll have to look at the work you do to make that decision.
  12. James Finley

    planes for the neanderthal's garage

    Start with a jack, then a jointer then a smoother. Depending on budget and the size of the work you are doing, you can often get everything you need from a few planes if you are willing to take some time to set them up. Get a Stanley #5 of eBay, refurbish it and flatten and hone the blade, and practice flattening stock. As you get better at it and as your projects grow in scope you will grow your collection, but better yet you will know better what you need as you grow. --James
  13. James Finley

    Bad Axe bench hook or make my own?

    Tony, I have both shop made versions and a set of the Bad Axe hooks. If you have the budget and would rather spend your time building other stuff, you can't go wrong with the BA hooks. Even if you do buy them I think you'll decide eventually to make more, to accomodate a wider variety of work sizes, tools ( I made a set for my pull saws) etc.
  14. It depends on the condition that the rough lumber is in. If it is already pretty flat and without twist you can probably mill it at full length. If it is cupped, bowed, or twisted (or a combination thereof) you usually get more final thickness by cutting the long sticks into rough lengths. Take some time to layout your parts on the boards and figure out which ones need to be the same thickness, since not all parts will need to be exactly the same. Boards in the same panel you probably want to mill to the same thickness, but a shelf doesn't have to be the exact same as the top. Just so long as things don't look weird to the eye, the consistency of thickness among parts isn't terribly important.
  15. James Finley

    veritas bevel up jointer plane (with fence)

    I have and can definitely recommend the LV Bevel-up jointer. I don't have the fence, but that hasn't ever been an issue for me. Check your work often and don't take too heavy of a cut and I bet you can get along fine without it as well.