Feature Members

Wading into the World of CNC Routers

Just before the virus responses kicked into full gear I added a tool to the wood shop. A gantry style CNC router. After a fair amount of research I purchased a Shapeoko XL from Carbide 3D. All of these systems involve the hardware, software to create the patterns and another piece of software to send the appropriate instructions to the machine.

Contributed by Bill Tumbleson

Hardware comes down to a frame to support the carriage /router, a drive mechanism to move the carriage /router in three axis (left/right – forward/backward – up/down) and a motor to spin the bits.

Charles Whittaker - Woodwork Shop Teacher


Colin Knecht writes ... I had the good fortune to have a truly dedicated high school shop teacher. A person who not only had the foresight to be innovative in his lessons, but also the dedication to teaching teenage students not only the craft of woodworking but also the safety. His lessons and techniques have stuck with me my entire life and I am eternally grateful for his teachings and patience.

My first year with Mr. Whittaker was grade 10 and while most others in the class had the benefit of the previous year of wood working, this was my first year in actual school learning. When Mr. Whittaker found out I was new to woodworking he told me, and a couple of others, we would be given a “quiz” to see what we knew. I immediately thought “great, my first day of school and already I have a test to take”. The class carried on for a week or so, and still no test, so I asked Mr. Whittaker when the test would be, his reply was “Oh I gave you that the first day, remember our conversation? that was the quiz, you passed” and he just turned and walked away.

That first year was pretty amazing ......

Innovative Furniture Designer Judson Beaumont Dies at 59

Colin Knecht writes - I was in shock when I first heard the news that my friend Judson had passed. I hadn't talked to him in a couple of years and just last week I put him on my "call" list to get an update from him and maybe get together to make another video with him at his workshop. Judson Beaumont was easily in the top 5 list of my most admired woodworkers and designers of all time. His innovative designs and his termination in building them were unparalleled. The last time I spent time with him at his shop, we spent a portion of the time in his tiny business office / drawing / creating room. As he talked to me about his new ideas and plans, his energy and enthusiasm were infectious. The more he talked, the more energized he became. He told me that he came to work early each morning, before any of the staff, when it was quite and still, so he could spend time drawing, making models of new designs and thinking about what creations would be next on the build list. Today, I dug out my copy of February 2011 Fine Woodworking - Page 76  to re-read the article they did then, and look at the pictures Judson and his work, some of which I have seen in person.  I am so glad now that I kept this copy.

One of my most treasured pictures now is the one that was taken of the 2 of us at one of the wood shows. It was taken about 12 years ago on a not-so-great phone, but now it's a personal item that means everything to me. 
I could go on and on, but instead will submit my deepest sympathies to his family and friends, we have all lost a wonderful person who just happened to an amazing woodworker, designer and artist. 
   ***  For those of you who are not familiar with his work, you can check out the article on this website HERE

86 Year Old, 3/4 Blind Woodworker Still Making and Building ...

drewRecently I received and email from this UK gentleman describing how he had watched one of my box making videos and was inspired to make his own boxes by modifying my design. He went on to say that he was 86 years old and was three quarters blind, but still managed to build the a box. He also went on to say how he had more recently taken up wood turning and it was at that point I wanted him to tell everyone his story ... he agreed, and the following is what he sent me. I hope you will enjoy it as much as I have ...
Hello all,
 Colin has asked me to write a short piece for this site.  Site or sight, so there's a play on words,  so I'd better introduce myself as the Almost Blind Wood Maker. I am about 75% blind through a series of events that need not be detailed here. It is true that there are several totally blind wood makers and it was through a chap called Chris Fisher  (You can find him on YouTube under the name of The Blind Woodturner)  who gave me the push to redo wood making. I had been making all sorts of things over the years and had a decent workshop. At the time I was somewhat depressed as you can imagine ...