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I’ve seen this mentioned in a few different blogs, so it must be important. Fine Homebuilding and Festool are running a sweepstakes and giving away over $10,000 of tools and accessories. First prize is worth more than $6,000 and includes the Kapex KS120 Compound Sliding Miter Saw. The more than $3,000 second prize includes an MFT/3 Multifunction Table, and the over $1,500 third prize starts with a CT 22 HEPA Dust Extractor. More details, and the entry form, can be found at the link below. You have until May 31 to enter. Good luck!

FESTOOL Ultimate System Sweepstakes [Fine Homebuilding]

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Though I normally don’t construct my furniture exactly the same way they do, I’m a big fan of the Fine Woodworking projects you find in the magazine. It’s what first drove me to start reading them, as a matter of fact. For $10 you can now have 33 of your favorites from the crew at Taunton, aptly named 33 Furniture Projects.

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Fine Woodworking has a new site specifically for “video quick tips and timesavers that will make life at the bench easier and more enjoyable.” Each month they plan to offer a short video covering different aspects of woodworking, from jigs to shop “secrets.” The first video, about 1:45 long — brought to you by Delta® and starting with their logo — describes a quick-and-dirty miter saw stand, which is a simple set of t-shaped wood assemblies that you clamp to a workbench. Future subjects include a stop block, sliding dovetail keys, and crosscuts on small stock.

I’m going to reserve final judgment until I see more episodes, but, so far, I’m not overly impressed. What’s your opinion?

Fast Fix Videos [Fine Woodworking]

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This month’s shop tour on the Fine Woodworking site features FWW contributor Chris Gochnour’s shop. This is definitely a case of gear you can’t afford laid out in space you don’t have with cash you can’t get your hands on –- but it is a nice shop.

Chris worked in his two-car garage with 7-1/2’ ceilings for ten years until he decided to “upgrade” his place to a 20’x30′ dream shop.  I don’t begrudge him his new place, since he did build it himself and shops are cool anyway.  But now that he’s got more floor space than I ever will, and it’s stuffed to the gills with cool gear, I won’t cry too many tears of sorrow over his previous arrangement either.

It’s a nice video that basically classifies as tool pr0n.

Chris Gochnour’s Shop Tour [Fine Woodworking]


Finding the right stock for your woodworking project can be a little intimidating when you’re just starting out. Fine WoodWorking’s website features a few videos that’ll arm you with the lingo and information you need for wood selection — they also tell you where to find it.

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If you’re a woodcrafter and you haven’t already discovered the great publication Fine Woodworking, you should check it out. It features tips, plans, and charts that tell you how much load shelves can carry or what type of wood is period-correct for a certain type of construction — in short, it’s handy to have around.  But faced with a stack of 30 or more back issues, it can be hard to find the article you wanted, which is why Taunton created this index CD.

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Fine Woodworking‘s interesting article on riving knives has got us a little excited about new table saws.  If you don’t know, last year Underwriter Laboratories made Euro-style riving knives mandatory on all new table saws. Fine Woodworking’s coverage of IWF shows how manufacturers are answering the new standard –- the short answer is “stylishly.”

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If you’ve never seen a high-end pro furniture shop, take a look at the Fine Woodworking “Pro Portfolio” of the Irion Company Furniture Makers in Christiana, Pa.  This small shop boasts a long history of first-class furniture.

Check out the audio slideshow for some info on the shop and the craftsmen who work there. We’re amazed by the amount of work that’s done by hand, not because they can’t do it another way, but because it’s still the best way to achieve period-correct, old-school furniture.  The work that comes out of this shop looks dead-on correct — you’d have to know what to look for to prove it was made in the 21st century, not the 19th.

Pro Portfolio: Irion Company Furniture Makers [Fine Woodworking]


Have you ever watched a how-to video and wanted to jump right into a new project as soon as it was over? That’s how I feel after watching part of Taunton’s three-DVD set on house building.

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The electric company pays you — that’s the urban legend that surrounds the idea of powering your home with solar-energy panels. The problem is, first you have to put twenty to thirty thousand dollars into a solar-powered system for your roof, and then it’s a slow burn back to where you started in the cash department. Still, you might come out ahead in the long run.

A recent article from Fine Homebuilding gives the rundown on sun-powered homes, and the news is good and bad. Yes, it does cost a ton — but the technology has improved drastically since the ‘70s, and it’s better for the planet. Just don’t expect a return on your investment in less than 12 years.

The New Age of Photovoltaics [Fine Homebuilding]