General Woodworking Videos

A Woodworker's Tour of Historic Fort Steele

Most woodworkers love looking at the works of other woodworkers. I often think there is some sort of inspiration that happens when you have the opportunity to view someone else's work. When it's old, antique of classical furniture it's even better. Well, we had the opportunity recently to visit a historic site in Western Canada, not too far from the city of Cranbrook in British Columbia, called Fort Steele. The town was originally called Galbraith's Ferry as it was beside the Wild Horse River, and was settled around 1864 during the time of the Gold Rush that started in California and ended in Alaska in the late 1800's.

The name change happened in in 1888 when the general tone of the residents of area became tense and Superintendent Samuel (Sam) Steele of the North-West Mounted Police  was summoned, along with his troops, to come to the area and to try to resolve the unrest between the Ktunaxa and the white and Chinese settlers who were relatively new to the area.

Today Fort Steele is national historic site with buildings and furnishings either restored, or rebuilt as near as possible to their original state, and that's exactly what we came to see.  Original buildings from the 1880s and furniture from the period.

We located some fantastic finds as we toured the site, trying to keep out of the way of other tourists but still trying to capture all different furniture pieces as well as the building structures such as log buildings and antique furniture.

Click read more to see other photos of what we found ...

Making Table Saw Blade Rack

Storing larger 10" and 12" table saw and mitre saw blades can be a bit of a hassel. I have a number of table saw blades and I change blades quite frequently depending on the job I am doing so finding blades is a common task.

Almost every power saw blade these days is tipped with Carbide. The reason for using carbide is that it is very hard and it resists heat very well, and that is why carbide retains it's sharp edge for a long time. The problem with Carbide is that because it is a crystaline type of structure, it can ... and does, fracture easily if bumped against another carbide tipped blade or bumped against steel. (for example, laying a carbide tipped blade down on top of your steel-topped table saw can often chip or even knock a carbide tooth off, and once this happens, blades should NOT be used as they are now dangerous, ALWAYS lay carbide tipped blades down on softer materials like wood, cardboard or some other softer material)

This is why it is important to have a good safe place to store you power tool, table saw and mitre saw blades, and either plastic or wood are idea. If you have a number of blades, a quick glance will tell you which one you need to grab and install on your power tool, so being able to see all your blades at the same time is beneficial.

Woodworking Work Bench

" The first thing every woodworker needs is a work bench. Even before any tool is purchased you need a work bench. There are a million designs and every woodworker has a different work bench, even if they are based on the same plan or design. A number of our members have asked be for more details on my work bench and so that is what this video is to do, review one option in work bench design.

Overall construction is simply based on air dried common 2x4 and 2x6 lumber which makes the bench heavy and hard to move … one of the few times this is a good thing. The original top was also 2x6 but over time I found these to be too uneven, even when they were planed flat, and so I added an MDF material over top. Because I didn't want the MDF material to conform to the existing top when I screwed it down I had to shim parts of it up so it would remain absolutely flat.

I soon discovered that most of the things I was making were square along at least one side and I was for ever squaring things up for gluing and assembly. I thought, “wouldn't it be nice if I had a square glued to the top of my work bench … which is exactly where the corner squaring jig comes from. ... click Rad More below for more info ...

Although it is screwed to top of the bench, the squaring jig can easily be taken off and put back on again (which I sometimes do when I have large vacuum pressure jobs I need to do). Because the jig is simply screwed on, it is easily put on and taken off, as long is it is always put back on square. I can say it is easily the handiest and one of the most used jigs in the entire shop and saves me loads of time and frustration.

Most benches have a vice and mine is now different, although I would like wee bit bigger vice. I also use a metal working vice from time to time but seldom do I need to use is so strenuously that it needs to be attached to the work bench. Simply attaching it with a couple of long bolts and holding it down with the wood vice works for most applications.

I like to keep a clean, well lit bench and have always had some sort of a light above my bench. I found that I was often bumping into a hanging light, and that in many cases I would need to move the light or the work to get a better view. This is when I decided it was time for a movable light, which is what I did … take down the old fluorescent light and install a fully adjustable light with an arm on it so I can examine my finer projects more easily. This is a very hand light.

There are many, many variations of work benches … we would like to do more on these, why not send us a description of your bench so we can add your ideas to the list.

Copyright Colin Knecht