Amd From The Editor

Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Jim Morgan's Wood Profits

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winging rr re got a letter recently from a frustrated reader who criticized us for publishing furniture projects that called for tools and machinery he didn't own and m couldn't afford to buy. "I don't have a machine shop full of specialty tools," was the way he put it. I know how he feels.

1 remember a time when mv workshop consisted of a box full of hand tools and a door thrown across a couple of oil drums in the roach-infested basement of a New York City brownstone. Urban woodworkers develop a keen eye for scrounging, and I was always on the lookout for choice bits of wood that someone had put out with the trash. One day, I hit the jackpot—a broken chest of drawers with curly maple drawer fronts. I loaded up all the pieces I could cany.

A friend was about to be married that week, and at the eleventh hour, I decided to make her a dovetailed candlebox with a sliding lid. The maple drawer fronts beckoned. The problem was that the Vj-in. thick candle-box sides were somewhere in the middle of those V*-in. thick drawer fronts, and all I had were hand tools. I had to get that box built fast, so I grabbed a marking gauge and a plane and went to work. I got a few blisters and it took me a while, but I shaved that stock down to the thickness 1 wanted. As I grunted and pushed, I kept thinking, "Back before power tools everybody worked this way." Good for the soul.

Then there was the time I was visiting my brother, who lives outside London. Innocently, I volunteered to repair his rickety antique kitchen table that wiggled and wobbled whenever vou looked at it. I found out too late that my brother is one of those guys whose tool collection consists of a hammer, a drill and some rusty old screwdrivers. I saw no sense in spending money on tools he'd never use again (and 1 didn't want to carry on the plane), so 1 decided to wing it.

I borrowed an old smooth plane, sharpened it on a piece of sandpaper and managed to disassemble the table, clean up the joints and put it together, ready for glue. Big problem. No bar clamps to glue up the top. I made a loop out of rope, stuck in a stick and twisted it tight like a tourniquet, then I climbed on that table and pulled the joints tight with my hands while the glue set. I must have looked silly. It wasn't the strongest glue joint I ever made, but the table was fixed.

The point I'm trying to make is this. Nobody—repeat, nobudx — has every tool and machine we talk about in AMERICAN WOODWORKER. If you don't have a tool that's mentioned in an article, you can nearly always find an alternative if you only stop and think about it. Whether you call it "winging it" or good ol' Yankee ingenuity, it's a trait that we woodworkers need to cultivate. It's good mental exercise and it sure beats giving up.

David Sloan. Editor

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Not A Weekend Warrior

I've been reading AW for about two years, and I compliment you on a fine publication. I would also add my voice to those who have encouraged you to feature articles on quality woodworking. There are already too many publications treating the "weekend" or "one evening" project.

m. keith umbreit Fallston. MD

As an enthusiastic novice who purchases every magazine or project book advertising the "Easy to Build ... One Weekend Only ..." projects. I would like to congratulate Roger Holmes on his "Mortise & Tenon" and "Trestle Table" articles (AW #18). I found Roger's articles concise, explicit and readable, even for a novice like me. This is rare!

I hope you will feature more authors and articles of this caliber in the future. I enjoyed the January issue of your magazine and look forward to many more in 1991.

don ald green Wanaquc. NJ

...Is Another Man's Poison

I find that most of vour articles are w pleasant narratives —but without the meat to the story. I for one, am not a graduate of some exotic design school, have not apprenticed with the grand guru of cabinetry, and don't have a full machine shop backed by hundreds of specialty tools and planes. Perhaps you are aiming to a different audience and if so, fine. But I am frustrated by being tempted by your projects only to find an incomplete or inaccurate description using tools I don't have.

For example, the "Mortise & Tenon" article in AW #18. Two photos illustrating the techniques show the operation of power tools without the use of safety glasses or eye protection—a very bad message for you to be sending. In the illustration of the trestle table (on page 25) there is a sloppy drawing depicting an off-center tenon when in fact, if you dig out the dimensions and do the arithmetic. it is centered.

Robert J. Kitella Mt. Prospect, IL

Safety glasses are like seat belts—some people wvar them, some people won 7. We editors always wvar glasses when \\v operate machinery, and uu urge all wxwdworkers to follow suit. But you 're right. Those photos set a bad example, and ue shotdd have caught it.

The drawing of the trestle table on page 25 shows the tenon on the trestle-table leg slightly off center. This is incorrect. The dimensions, however, are correct and show that both the tenon and the corresponding mortise in the foot of the table are centered.

Xylophone Correction

If you tried to add up the bar dimensions in the Xylophone article (AW #17), you probably had a big surprise. The dimensions are correct (but for one typo—the Y dimension on the E bar should read 5V i* not 5'°fit.). They just aren7 meant to be added together. Hi' broke a draft-

-Y-r ing convention when we put two X dimensions on the xylophone bar. life shotdd have used only one X. Ideally, you would cut the bars to their listed lengths, then, measuring from one end, mark out the first hole to the giwn X measurement. Next, measuring from that first hole mark, you would mark (Hit the second hole using the Y measurement. The end measurement then "floats." Its dimension is not critical.

Well, Doggone!

In the December 1990 issue (AW #17) you published plans for "Fritz, the Wonder Dog." A neat puzzle. But more than just a puzzle, it provides the vehicle for the presentation of a special present. I had some walnut scraps left over from a chair. I looked at "Fritz" and I looked at the scraps. Wow! The belly of "Fritz" could be hollowed out and used as a semi-secure repository for some small valuable item. Further, it could be used to present a small, unique present such as jewelry. I scaled up the drawing about 2'/j times to take advantage of the wood I had available. The hole in "Fritz's" belly was lined with velvet and the present that I will give to a friend of mine at Christmas will be something extra special due to the presentation. I thank Allan Boardman for his article. Keep them coming.

Robert L. Carson White Rock, NM

I was really attracted by the dog puzzle in AW #17 so I made six of them —four of them for my four grandsons, one for my sister and one for mvself. No monev in the world

could have bought the great feeling I had watching the boys on Christmas day. Believe me. their eyes were shining like bulbs in a Christmas tree.

Please congratulate Allan Board-man for so fine a toy. Keep up the good work.

andre desrosiers St. Pierre Lcs Bccquets. Quebec

Kudos from a College Shop

I've been receiving and enjoying AW now for a couple of years. I am an assistant professor at a two-year college teaching carpentry and cabinet-making. We use your magazine for information and ideas for the students as they design, plan and build a personal project in a semester's time. We have had a number of students copy some of your pieces with excellent results.

Peter Krufpenbacher S.U.N.Y. College of Technology

Delhi. NY

On Wooden Lights

I've designed and built at least a dozen wooden light fixtures over the last 20 years, but I still learned a lot from Charles Linn's great article on wooden lights (AW #17). I also enjoyed seeing the designs of other woodworkers. I got a lot of ideas.

One technical point that doesn't make sense to me is Linn's suggestion that, for safety reasons, all wiring must run through metal tubing or wireway. Metal conducts electric-


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