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Mario Rodriguez pays homage to one of the great Art Deco designers, Emile-Jaques Ruhlmann, with a jewel of a tabouret (side table) for our cover story for the April 2015 issue.
Frank Strazza, a woodworking teacher and furniture maker working out of Texas, shows you how to use hand tools to make sliding dovetails. On Page 42, school is in session — flex your joint-making muscles with a stool by Neil Cronk that includes eight different types of joints, along with bent lamination and several hand-shaped parts. Not many people can say they changed the world — but a curious attorney revolutionized the woodworking world with an iconic chair and years of research. Create sultry sophistication with Art Deco details by Mario Rodriguez page 23 Emile-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933) is considered by craftspeople, collectors and designers to be the premier Art Deco furniture maker; he was called “Art Deco’s greatest artist” by The New York Times in 2009. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years.
The many articles on sharpening chisels and plane irons always include some discussion of the desirable bevel angle of the blade. Years of trial and error finally prompted my development of a simple jig to quickly set the grinder’s tool rest to a specific bevel angle in an accurate and repeatable manner. But I understand Japanese shop practices as much as I understand all the acronyms my 12-year-old daughter uses when texting.
So I’m always eager to learn about Japanese woodworking from people who have studied and practiced it in Japan. Stanley completed the furniture program at the premier North Bennett Street School as a very young man and then went off to Japan to study the traditional lacquering and woodworking trades. This weekend at the Northeastern Woodworkers Association’s annual show, Stanley was demonstrating his new Sharp Skate honing guide, teaching people to sharpen edge tools and helping people learn to wield a handplane on his Japanese bench. The bench consists of two trestle-style sawhorses that are topped with one massive slab of a top. This particular bench was built by James Blauvelt, a Connecticut cabinetmaker, joiner and carpenter who runs the company Bluefield Joiners. Harrelson Stanley demonstrates how the notch in the top is used to true a plane’s sole. Another interesting feature of the benchtop is a triangular notch cut into the slab up near the planing stop. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press.
So I guess I’ll still dream about the day when my skills are up to making a Roubo, and keep arguing with myself about how much to chop off the legs. One logical departure is that Japanese shops are small and often use specific fixtures for whatever is being made. Adding CNC to your shop doesn’t have to cost a small fortune; you can build a sturdy and accurate three-axis CNC router for about $1000, and that price tag will get you most of the features you’ll find in commercial models selling for $3000-$4000.
You’ll need some kind of sheet material to make the machine’s body, and that can be MDF, plywood, UHMW or HDPE plastic, aluminum or steel.
The bearings can be made of ?” thick UHMW plastic, which is a low-friction material that’s easy to machine with standard woodworking tools.
You can buy a kit with the motors and all the required electronic components for as little as $100, but at this price, you won’t get an enclosure for these parts to protect them from damage or exposure to dust, water or other harmful materials. Three-axis routers are simple machines, and once you understand how they work, you can easily build one with a few basic tools.
Prized by carpenters for its amazing versatility, a sliding compound miter saw is also great to have in a woodworking shop.
Top-ranked cuts were perfectly flat, showed no tear-out around the edges and had minimal tooth marks on the faces. Because of their slide mechanisms, these saws occupy a lot of space, on average about 40 in. Each saw head tilts left and right to make bevel cuts, but the process of operating the bevel controls while supporting the heavy saw head ranges from simple to complicated (Photo 4). Hold-downs help with accuracy and general safety, particularly when you’re cutting large pieces (Photo 6). Every saw has likeable features, but the Makita LS1214F and LS1214L models come closest to getting the whole package right.
The other saws are capable, but every one would benefit from a higher-quality blade, which would add at least $70 to the bottom line.
You should also know that locking in precise setups for bevel cuts can be challenging on all these miter saws. Photo 1: We prefer saws that minimize side-to-side play when the head is fully extended, because they make the straightest cuts. Photo 6: A hold-down that securely locks the workpiece to the saw table is a must for safe operation.
This saw appears similar to the Bosch 5412L, especially regarding several user-friendly features. American Woodworker magazine was acquired by F+W Media (parent company of Popular Woodworking) in 2014. The cover story for the April 2016 issue (#224) is Caleb James’s article on making matched sets of Roubo-style moulding planes (the three sizes for which he reaches the most: Nos. The issue mails to subscribers in mid-February, and will be on newsstands at the beginning of March.
Once critical temperature is reached, quench the steel in oil by plunging the blade straight down vertically, not leaning to one side or the other. Caleb covers that in the main article, along with the plane build; the issue uploads to the printer next week. I really hate to What benefits is this treatment of O1 steel supposed to endow on the material? Heat treated hardening of O1 steel requires heating temperatures of 1450 – 1600 F to induce a phase change and become austenite (the steel will remain magnetic until the phase change and not at any point before that). Following the heating cycle the austenite is quenched in water or brine which cools the steel and creates another state change. The information above simplifies the process, but heat treating outside those temperature ranges or post heat processes simply isn’t a thing.
Instead of wasting your MAPP and probably your steel (quench at 400 F will not harden even the outermost layer of the steel but is almost guaranteed to destroy the temper) there are other ways to actually harden O2.

Before everyone gets upset, the information above is taken directly from Machinery’s Handbook 29th Edition. I have had great success with the methods mentioned both in the article and from readers blogs. Back when I was making knives, I quenched O1 in olive oil, the cheapest gallon size I could buy.
I agree with gilgaron to start out with 1095 simply because it uses water to quench and the 2 steels have nearly identical properties once finished. When it’s hit critical temp, remove it from the heat and quickly dunk it into a sufficient quantity of room temperature oil. Ron prefers peanut oil for the quench and warns to safe from starting a fire, wear gloves, use tongs to hold the metal, etc. Yes, plunge and quench until it is cool enough to hold with a shop rag (it will likely be still too hot to hold with bare hands.
Please help me understand the advantages of heat treating O1 steel vs buying the harder A2 steel. At its simplest the material in the air hardening process is left in the oven and cooled by controlled lowering of the temperature over a period of time. From its torpedo-shaped holly and mahogany legs to the 80 holly dots that orbit the veneered top, Mario has designed a piece that pulls from Ruhlmann’s design dictionary of crisp rectangles, sinuous curves and lush materials – and shows you a few tricks of his own. Frank demonstrates how this versatile traditional joint can be made by hand quicker than you think. Raney Nelson builds a Japanese-inspired lamp that showcases intricate kumiko, or latticework, along with a finish created by fire. Read about Jennie Alexander’s near-perfect chair and amazing journey that popularized green woodworking, in this profile by Christopher Schwarz. Thanks to the tools’ long-lasting carbide inserts, I can focus on the shapes I want to produce instead of heading to the grinder or tweaking the lathe’s tool rest.
With the motor mounted inside the cabinet and the saw powered from a 110-volt circuit, the Ridgid R4611 saw is considered a hybrid saw. There’s an integrated guard assembly including a spreader, anti-kickback pawls and blade guard. For chisels, it ranges from 20° for paring chisels to 25° for bench chisels to 30° or even 35° for mortise chisels. He came back to this country with a Japanese wife and a deep desire to spread the traditional Japanese practices among Western woodworkers. Except for the teak planing stop, all the bench’s parts are made using Port Orford Cedar, Stanley says, a durable and strong member of the cypress family that grows in the Pacific Northwest. This notch holds Japanese planes with their soles facing up so the craftsman can dress the tool’s wooden sole with another plane. After taking a couple warm-up passes, she pulled off a beautiful shaving that was almost entirely full width and full length. I can’t see how this rig would be used to hold wood in the three different orientations, or how it would hold up to serious chisel-chopping. I recommend using something that’s at least ?” thick so that you end up with a rigid frame. There are plenty of choices for these components, but aluminum rod is an easy option and won’t cost as much as most of the others. To make a bearing out of plastic, just drill a hole the same diameter as the corresponding shaft. You can be super-thrifty and use threaded rod, but this won’t give you the kind of accuracy CNCs are know for, so I suggest ACME screws. A few manufacturers make what are called “drive box kits” that include an enclosure, and are usually simpler to connect than the cheap kits you have to wire up yourself. Register for Nick’s new Popular Woodworking course, Build a CNC Router, which starts April 29.
He's been a professional cabinetmaker since 2003, and has worked in architectural millwork, cabinets and countertops. For example, accurately mitering the end of a long, wide board on your tablesaw is virtually impossible, because the miter gauge is too small and the saw table isn’t big enough to support the angled board during the cut. To see if the cut ends were straight and flat, we stood the test samples on a dead-flat steel plate. Middle-ranked cuts noticeably rocked or showed daylight between the cut and the steel plate.
We prefer the top-mounted lasers (Photo 7) because their guide lines stayed on the mark through each cut. When attached to a shop vacuum, only the Hitachi and Metabo saws collected dust adequately (Photo 8).
The detents for commonly used angles are solid but easy to override if you need to shave a quarter-degree.
Blade guards that fit inside the housing were more likely to hang up on the leading edge during compound miter trim cuts. Fine woodworking demands perfect results, so a saw’s ability to cut cleanly and accurately carried the most weight in our ranking. The Makita saw’s blade consistently made amazingly clean cuts and saves you spending $90 for an upgrade.
Although the miter scales are good on every saw, a readable bevel scale, like this one on the Bosch saw, is rare. They independently switch on and off, so you can position the board without starting the saw. In short, bring it to critical temperature, quench it in vegetable oil, then temper it in an toaster oven or regular kitchen oven for one hour at 400?. It will change when critical temperature is reached because the carbon begins to flow within the steel and some decarburization takes place at the surface, thus changing how it looks.
I ask because the information in the article will not imbue the material with any functional benefit.
Heat at those temps is maintained until the phase change has penetrated to the depth you require. Find someone into ceramics or stained glass and ask them to heat your steel and quench it there.

The process minimizes heat induced distortion in the material and typically results in a harder steel. More than 130 small pieces make up the latticework and Raney shows how a few clever jigs simplify the process.
When I was young, I was the guy with the punk rock blaring and the messed-up clothes; the dog often ate my homework.
I like to split the shaft hole with a saw kerf, which allows the bearing to slide a little more easily.
These screws have trapezoidal threads and can work with special anti-backlash nuts that reduce slop. With a sliding miter saw, just position the board, swivel the blade, line up the laser guide and go.
The Makita saws, which are outfitted with a $90 blade, made the cleanest, smoothest cuts (Photo 2).
However, to make Metabo’s innovative system work, you have to buy a dust-extraction accessory ($35) or use two jury-rigged hoses. All the saws will cut at least several degrees past a 45-degree miter on both sides, and most go to 60 degrees on at least one side.
Either the scale is too small to accurately read, the top-heavy saw head is hard to control or both. Front-mounted controls mean you don’t have to support the saw head with one hand while reaching to the back with the other to release the bevel lock.
On most saws, the bevel scales are so small or awkwardly located that it’s tough to dial in fractional degree settings.
Although this saw isn’t engineered as precisely or built as heavily as the expensive saws, it still makes most of the cuts they make, just not as easily or as accurately. Just like a flashlight appears brighter at night than in daylight, so too color alone in changing light conditions can be deceptive.
Typically, the Japanese woodworker would place a thin board across the two trestles and place the tools he or she needed on that board. Drill and tap some mounting holes in the edge of each bearing and attach the bearings to the machine with bolts. You’ll also need the controller software, and there’s an excellent program called Mach 3 that will get you up and running for $175. Switching from crosscutting big timbers to cutting compound miters in delicate trim takes only seconds.
Comparing the results from subsequent tests with top-quality blades installed on every saw revealed which imperfections were due to the blade (roughly cut faces and surface tear-out) and which were due to the mechanism (gaps and uneven cuts). The amount depends on a number of factors, including the spacing and location of the slide mechanism’s support rails and the number and location of support bearings (Photo 1). Switching blades among the saws confirmed our findings: The Makita blade improved the cut quality of every other saw.
When the saw isn’t in use, you can limit its intrusion by rotating the miter table to the left or right. On most saws, the location of the bevel controls isn’t as important as the number of steps needed to make adjustments.
Several saws use arbor-mounted laser guides that aren’t adjustable and only come on when the saw is running. The simplest way to check that you have reached critical temperature is to use a magnet, because O1 tool steel loses its magnetism at approximately this temperature. I am not sure how the quench is done with air hardening alloys, maybe another reader of this blog has done it?
As someone else stated, air hardening it is not a good place to start learning how to harden steel. It’s not possible to remove the blade cover or antikickback pawls without removing the splitter, so any non-through cuts require a complete assembly removal. You’ll have to cut notches in the bearings, or buy bearings that are made for this type of mounted shaft. Making 60-degree cuts for an equilateral triangle is simple and cutting exotic compound miters for complex assemblies is no sweat.
These extreme cuts tested the merit of the saw’s sliding mechanism as well as its blade. Switching out the DeWalt’s rough-cutting blade transformed that saw into a top performer. The saws from Bosch and Craftsman feature user-friendly bevel controls and adjustable handles.
The stick of maple shown above has a rare-earth magnet glued to the end; it’s a simple tool for safely checking the steel as it reaches critical temperature. In other words, rather than seeing a particular color change you would simply see the color become more radiant. Either you just pull the work out of the heat and let it cool at room temperature, or maybe you need to give it a good blast of compressed air through an air gun? Cutting problems are most likely on wide boards, because the amount of play decreases as the saw head moves toward the fence. Generally, we prefer metal cursors, although some are so wide they make precise settings difficult.
Both saws achieved this, in part, by dropping the blade deep into the bed of the saw so it cuts closer to its full diameter. By the way, for knife-sized and chisel-sized pieces of steel, I’ve had perfectly fine luck quenching O1 in water.
The downside of this design is that during a sliding cut, the teeth on the blade’s back edge rotate directly up into the board. If the board isn’t firmly clamped in place, especially during wide compound miter and bevel cuts, the blade can violently kick it up. You can eliminate kick-up on the Ridgid saw by adjusting its depth stop to raise the blade and change the exit angle of the teeth.

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  • 04.07.2015, admin

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