Category Archives: Weblogs

Blog now on WordPress

Hello all,

This blog is now being hosted at rather than Typepad.   Hopefully I have managed to import all of the old posts, comments, images, etc.   Please email me if you find anything that does not appear to be working.



Galootaclaus 2006 Arrives!

Below are photos of my “Galootaclaus 2006” gift from Derek Cohen from down-under (Perth, Australia to be exact). If you don’t know what/who Galootaclaus is, I recommend that you join the OldTools email list and find out.

I received the most unbelievable handmade marking knife and awl set (in handmade hand-dovetailed box) from Derek!!!

Holy cow! I “tried” to wait until Christmas…but you know…anyway its a “good thing” to open international packages immediately (wink).  So, I opened it a couple of days before Christmas and emailed Derek.

All I can say is “wow” what beautiful work!  Thanks to Derek very much for my Galootaclaus gift…it is excellent.  I have already used the marking knife.  I am truly honored to have a piece of his work.

This is my first time in participating in Galootaclaus and I am truly amazed at the people on the OldTools list and the way that Galootaclaus works based purely on the good-will of the participants.  Renews my belief in mankind!

Seems as if Australia is also the center of many good woodworking things.  I would really like to make a trip sometime soon.

Hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

OldTools List – On Becoming a Galoot

I’ve slowly been using more and more hand tools in my woodworking, and discovering that using a properly tuned and sharpened hand tool is actually easier (and more accurate)  than using its power counterpart for some operations.  Additionally, it tends to be quieter and somewhat safer. Plus, it appeals to my interest in history and old things in general.

As I head down the slippery slope to old-tool user, I found the OldTools email list.  This is a great, friendly and informative group of people.  I highly recommend joining the group if you enjoy intelligent, moderated discourse about “old tools”…it has rapidly become my favorite on-line woodworking resource.   Just be warned, you will need to learn the lingo for the email list.  If you are a hand tool user, you will be called a “galoot” (a good thing)….your power tools are “tailed demons” and your hand tools are “untailed”…among other list-isms.

Don’t worry, I’m not giving up my power tools, just adding to the arsenal.

100 post milestone!

I just noticed that my last post marked 100 posts in this blog since I began this experiment in blogging on February 4, 2005.  It took me just over a year to write my first 100 posts, we’ll see how long the next 100 take.

100 posts ago I didn’t know if I’d like this medium and if I’d keep up on blogging.  Turns out that I do like it, and intend to continue even if I am the only person reading it.  Blogging seems to be a good way for me to clear my head and "learn" from my mistakes and my Adventures in the Workshop, just as I had hoped when I named the blog over a year ago.

Surprisingly to me, other folks do seem to be finding and reading this blog (although that was never the purpose of doing this).  In a typical month I am using about 20-30% of my 2 GB bandwidth allotment from Typepad, and that seems to translate to about 20 or so unique visitors a day.  Who these people are, is a mystery to me, but most seem to be getting here from Google searches…frequently the searches are about home-built CNC or garden trains…far more of these types of folks seem to be finding my blog than are woodworkers.  Maybe CNCers and garden train folks just spend more time on-line than woodworkers, or maybe my woodworking projects are less interesting than my gadget and train projects .  I think that this the real reason, I don’t have enough unique (or advanced) search terms for woodworkers to find me. My visitors seem to be a real United Nations of different people…most of the searches are not from the US Google site, but are from every other iteration of Google from around the world (mainly western Europe).  The Internet really has made the world a smaller place.

I am very happy with the Typepad blog service, ever since I moved the blog to here from the Blogger service during last summer.  Typepad has had its share or glitches and outages, but is still far for stable and user-friendly than Blogger ever was for me.

See you in another 100 posts!

“Woodshop” becomes “Workshop”

For those (few) of you that have been reading this blog for a while, you may notice that I’ve changed the title of the blog to say "Workshop" rather than "Woodshop." I think that this better represents the variety of projects, gizmos and contraptions that I seem to get involved with.  Not all of them involve wood.  Hence the change.

“Memories of a Sheffield Tool Maker” by Ashley Iles

I just read "Memories of a Sheffield Tool Maker" by Ashley Iles on the recommendation of Chris Schwatz on his "Woodworking Magazine" blog.  Great book.

It is only available from the Tools for Working Wood website as it is now out of print.

I love history, woodworking and tools and this book weaves all three together into a fascinating portrait of life in Sheffield England in the first half of the twentieth-century.  Ashley Iles started his tool business in what was the cradle of the tool world at that time, and the names of his associates and competitors have become legendary tool-makers and companies that you will still recognize today.  As a Pittsburgher I have seen this city in the U.S. lose its steel-working industry much as Sheffield lost the majority of its tool making industry as the century moved on. 

The environment in Pittsburgh may be cleaner, but we have also lost a lot of skill and knowledge as a society that these people knew better than could ever be preserved in print.

We need more books like this one to keep this history of the skilled trades alive.


Woodworking Magazine and Blog

I have really enjoyed the four issues of the new Woodworking Magazine produced so far.  It is not sold by subscription and is not on a regular publishing schedule…yet.  It accepts no ads, similar to "Cook’s Illustrated" magazine which is my wife’s favorite magazine (and I like it too).  It blends power-tool woodworking with traditional hand tool methods just like I like to do.

Even better, I enjoy Chris Schwarz’s new blog that is hosted on the magazine’s website.

Click here for  Woodworking Magazine‘s site for the blog.

This blog is now on Typepad instead of Blogger

I’ve decided to move my blog from to  Blogger just had too many errors and was too limiting in features.

Content seems to have imported into Typepad seemlessly, so everything from before should now appear here.   I particularly like the ability to "categorize" posts and set up Photo Albums.

The old blogger site will remain, but all new posts will be to here.

Blogger Problems…

Looks like Blogger is working again after a long outage (at least for me).   Blogger’s instablity and clunky interface is damaging my otherwise high opinion of Google.