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Irwin Tools sent me a sample set of their new FK Series of folding utility knives. I take you through the features of the three models available and give you my impressions.
 
Ralph Bagnall is a woodworking consultant and author with more than 30 years of professional experience. He now works and writes out of his home in Murfreesboro, TN. His website is www.consultingwoodworker.com.

Whaddya know, it’s sturdy! Here’s my pensive face.
 

 
And my woodworking faces. As Jack says, if you’re not making faces, you’re not woodworking!
 

 
C.C. Boyce grew up in Wisconsin and was always making stuff into othe rstuff. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career and is still in LA working as a voice over talent for commercials. In 2012, C.C. rekindled her love of building stuff and started the process of getting her Fine Woodworking and Cabinet Maker A.S. She just launched a project that combines her 2 great loves into one project: a webseries called, “Would You Woodwork?” Now if she could just incorporate the Green Bay Packers and cats into this somehow, she could fulfill all her life’s dreams. Check out more from C.C. at her blog.

 
Stumpy and Mustache Mike are producing a series of weekly mini-videos featuring useful tips and tricks for the small shop. Subscribe on Youtube and visit Stumpynubs.com for more!
 
Stumpy Nubs is the host of the “Blue Collar Woodworking” and “The Old-Timey Workshop”, two of the most popular woodworking shows on the internet. His unique style of woodworking “infotainment” and creative solutions to some of the workshop’s more challenging problems is just part of what he brings to the table. He can also build that table as well as anyone, make an award winning show out of it, write a witty article and design a new tool or jig, all before many woodworkers can finish a “cold one”. He’s learned the craft as many have, one splinter at a time, and he’s eager to share what he knows at Stumpynubs.com!

There are cheaper ways to buy quality stock that with bar codes on it, but you'll have to tool up to make the most of those savings.

There are cheaper ways to buy quality stock than with bar codes on it, but you'll have to tool up to make the most of those savings.

 
When I started woodworking, and my tool budget was really lean, I bought my boards from the home center. It seemed logical to shop there. They were already surfaced, and that was necessary because I didn’t have a jointer and planer. Plus, I could see the knots, pitch pockets and splits easily, which gave me some confidence that I was finding the best of what was available.
 
I’d dig through the stack looking for the straight stuff. Usually I could find a few good pieces. If I couldn’t, I’d settle for less and live with some twisting and cupping. I didn’t like it, but what could I do? Even then I knew I was spending too much money on that wood. And, I was.
 
If this how you’re buying wood, I can totally understand your predicament. But let me share some numbers I jotted down recently while shopping for lumber to help argue a point: it pays to explore your options for buying material. Even if that means you need to break down and get a jointer and planer sooner than you’d like to.
 

Here's extra material you can really sink your teeth into. An extra quarter inch or so of material ensures that you can surface your stock flat true every time.

Here's extra material you can really sink your teeth into. A quarter inch or so of surplus thickness ensures that you can surface your stock flat and true every time.

 
Right now, 1×6 red oak is selling for $2.86 per lineal foot at my local Big Orange Retail Giant. That translates to $5.72 per board boot, according to my math. It’s exactly 3/4 in. thick, surfaced on all sides. If it distorts, there’s nothing extra to plane away to flatten it. You get what you get.
 
On the other hand, a local sawmill is selling kiln-dried 4/4 red oak for $2.20 per board foot. It’s roughsawn and still 15/16 in. thick after drying, which gives me almost a quarter inch of extra thickness for surfacing. And, it’s less than half the price of what the home center is charging. It’s also locally grown and harvested, so a fairly “green” product these days. I can feel good about that.
 
Another woodworking retailer in my area is selling 5/4 red oak for $3.37 per board foot. That stock is surfaced on both faces and ripped straight on one edge. It’s about 1 1/8 in. thick and still 40% cheaper per board foot than the home center’s 1x.
 

Whatever size machines you buy, here's the Dynamic Duo that puts in the driver's seat for surfacing. With a jointer and planer, your lumber-buying options are wide open.

Whatever size machines you buy, here's the Dynamic Duo that puts you in the driver's seat for surfacing. With a jointer and planer, your lumber-buying options are wide open.

 
A tough recession is the least opportune time to dump your savings into machinery, I know. But you will save money in the long run, especially if you buy quality tools. And, you’ll finally take control over flat, straight and square. That sure pays dividends to your projects.
 
Catch you in the shop,
 
Chris Marshall, Field Editor
 
See more from Chris and the rest of the Woodworker’s Journal Staff at Woodworker’s Journal website.


The Sacrificial Fence is easy to build and just as easy to modify for special needs!
 
This Sacrificial Fence was originally designed to make using a stacked dado set for cutting rabbets on the table saw easier and safer. By creating a cavity in which to “bury” some of the stacked dado set width you could cut very accurate rabbets without damaging your fence or dado set. This also lets you focus on sliding the wood along a single smooth surface which can be much safer as well.
 
The Sacrificial Fence can often be built from sufficiently long scraps of wood. The Video Tutor shows how to fit this project to your saw using the fence clamps that are available from just about any woodworking supply outlet in one style or another. They all work essentially the same and make building this Sacrificial Fence easy.
 

 
Some like to build more than one Sacrificial Fence so they can use different height faces for specialty jobs. I have built Sacrificial Fences with a 12”-tall face so I could clamp featherboards to it. People also build special faces for cutting raised panels on the table saw. The basic construction shown in the Video Tutor is used for nearly all of the known variations. As always when you alter a project you have to be sure that it is capable of doing what you want safely.
 
Tom Hintz is the sole owner and operator of NewWoodworker.com. There you can find more of his tips, tricks and projects, as well as blogs about his other interests.

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