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The Woodsmith Store, located on Hickman Road in Clive (a suburb of Des Moines), serves as a one-stop shopping center for woodworkers providing power tools, hand tools, hardwood lumber, and a myriad of supplies. In addition, the store offers homeowners and professional painters a full line of Benjamin Moore paints, stains and finishes. The Woodsmith Store celebrates the arrival of Spring each year with the opening of the Garden Center. Each week the store hosts in-store seminars led by local experts on a wide range of woodworking, painting, and gardening topics. The headquarters for August Home is a handsome brick Colonial-style building at 2200 Grand Avenue that looks more like a home than an office, which reflects the company’s personality.
Between the carriage house and the office is a large perennial garden with fountains in what was once a parking lot and loading dock. Phil Huber, a senior editor for ShopNotes magazine details in this seminar all the steps necessary for building a sturdy set of drawers on a router table.
First, he’ll demonstrate how to build drawers using a specialized drawer joint bit in just two simple steps. Filed under Custom Furniture, Podcast, Router Tables, ShopNotes Magazine, The Woodsmith Store, Wood, Woodsmith Store.
We have been taping the seminars at the Woodsmith Store though and as soon as we get caught up, the podcasts will begin again. That was when the old Payless Cashways building in Clive was remodeled and Des Moines became home to one of the largest independently-owned woodworking stores in the country.
This coming weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (September 21st, 22nd and 23rd), the Woodsmith Store will celebrate its 20th Anniversary with a Fall Fair event. A few editors from Woodsmith magazine had the good fortune to attend an all-day seminar presented by Phil Lowe. The event was sponsored by the Des Moines Woodworkers Association and held at the Woodsmith Store.
Chris Snider bought his first home in the spring of 2006 after living for several years in an apartment. As it turns out, most of his ideas were featured on the cover (and inside) of the October 2006 Workbench magazine. A few weeks ago, I put out an appeal to the readers of WoodworkingONLINE to send me project images that I could post to our gallery. Bill also sent me some shots of the new dust collection system that he just finished installing. The kit comes with pre-cut front and back wood pieces, two predrilled brass side pieces, a Hock iron and cap iron, and the cap screw and washer used to assemble the iron into the finished plane.
I set the plane to take a very thin shaving and took a few swipes on the edge of some oak I had lying around the shop.
Filed under Hand Planes, Hand Tools, The Woodsmith Store, Woodsmith, Woodsmith Store, Woodworking.

I spent some time on Saturday putting together a couple of hand plane kits from the Woodsmith Store.  The first one was the chisel plane. The wooden floors, open rafters, and the generous use of wood in the fixtures recall the feel of old-time hardware stores and lumber yards. This building is part of a campus setting on the west edge of downtown Des Moines that includes another office building next door and a building across Grand Avenue which is home to our woodworking shop, photo studio, fitness center, and auditorium.
The Woodsmith Shop just started its second season, which means our video production crew has been extremely busy taping and editing the shows that you’re now watching. Thanks for your interest in the podcasts and I apologize for not keeping everyone up-to-date on our progress. For a little over fifteen years, it was a small, out-of-the-way haven for woodworkers tucked into the Beaverdale neighborhood of Des Moines.
There will be a lot going on, not only in the woodworking departments, but in the painting and gardening departments as well.
When he did the shaping of the (rough cut) legs with just a rasp, file, and card scraper, it was inspiring. It made me realize that even a seemingly intricate and complex piece of furniture is not so difficult if you just break it down into a series of smaller steps.
Chris writes a blog for first-time homeowners on the Des Moines Register’s Juice website. The last time Jim gave this seminar, he offered some great ideas for a space-saving home shop (see the photo above). The cool thing about his design for the shop is that it includes set up space for 5 major tool stations — in just 50 square feet! We’ve combined the schedule for both the Winter and Spring 2007 seminars in a single brochure.
This cupola is based on one Norm Abram did for the PBS television series, New Yankee Workshop. The holes need countersunk for the small brass screws. I used a countersink in my drill press, being careful not to drill too deep.
The other was the small hand plane (more on that in another post). I love making my own tools and restoring old ones, so I was excited to get these home and get to work. Also on the grounds is a beautifully restored 1880s brick carriage house, a reminder of the original mansion that once stood at 2200 Grand Avenue.
Also in our neighborhood, just two doors down to the west, is the Governor’s Mansion. The store, now over 20,000 square feet in size, is filled with woodworking supplies, tools, machinery and hardwoods. He impressed me as a no-nonsense New England Yankee, who approaches every task at hand in a practical and methodical way.

He wanted to show off one of his projects — a screen door that he built for their summer home in Estes Park, Colorado. You want the head of the screws to be just a little proud of the surface so you can file them flush later. You can read and watch and listen all you want, but you have to actually get some hands-on practice if you want to master a skill. As usual, each paid $8 admission receives a $5 Sawbuck that can be used toward any purchase in the Woodsmith Store. Then following the detailed instructions included in the kit, I marked and predrilled pilot holes for the screws in the wood pieces. On my plane, the sole on the back piece was thicker than that on the front piece, so it took quite a bit of sanding to get the entire sole flat.
Then all you need to do is form the radius on the back end to make the plane more comfortable to use. I put the two pieces together with the iron and clamped the assembly in my tail vise on my workbench.
The bevel of the blade matches the bed angle of the sole, meaning that the flat of the bevel was parallel to the sole of the plane! If you’re planning on attending all the seminars, the Gold pass is the best deal because it saves you up to $27. As comfortable and nice as this plane is to use, it’ll get a lot of use in my shop, but that means a lot of wear on the sole.
I tried to shim the under the upper end of the iron with an old business card, but it didn’t seem to help angle the iron so its cutting edge would contact the workpiece. He said that if you carve one rosette, you will prove to yourself how it is done, and that it can be done.
The nice thing is, if the mouth ends up being too tight, you can file a little to open it up. I used a rasp and sandpaper to do this while the plane was clamped in the tail vise of my workbench. Now, because it is wood, that means that I can flatten the sole anytime I need to with a few swipes across some sandpaper.
But if you carve 10 rosettes, you will start to get good at it and learn how to do it better and faster.
It was a little better, but I ended up shimming the upper end anyway to get the plane to cut. It’ll be great for getting into those corners to remove glue squeeze-out and general cleanup of a joint.

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