Monday, October 01, 2007

Woodworking Sites I like

In lieu of anything interesting to photograph at work, I thought I'd post links to some of the woodworking sites I frequent. If you know of cool sites I'm missing in this not-at-all-exhaustive list, please leave a comment.

When I want to drool over amazing mid-20th century machines (like the Tannewitz band saw I very nearly won at auction last week), I head to the Old Woodworking Machines site. There you can find all kinds of useful information, including years of manufacture, parts lists, photographs, and so on. I've found it very helpful recently while restoring the old Craftsman lathe I inherited from my grandfather. By the way, it's a good thing I lost that auction for the Tannewitz--after I'd placed my high bid, further research uncovered the fact that the thing weighs 3000 lbs. I think that's more than my car.

Many people think that Garrett Wade is the best catalog for tools, and while it is very nice, I prefer Lee Valley. They produce three catalogs, one each for woodworking, woodworking hardware, and gardening. Each one is good for many hours of couch-based perusal. I recently bought a set of their hardened steel scrapers and have been wowed by their performance. Ditto for the rare earth magnets they sell.

If you're curious about state-of-the-art "wood technology" equipment, head over to the Stiles Machinery site. If you work in a shop like the ones I've worked in, then the products on offer at Stiles may look like science fiction. But they're real! I swear! I've seen them.

WoodWeb is a useful site for all kinds of things, but I mostly look at it to find old machines for sale and for woodworking jobs. It's not that I'm looking for a job, mind you--I just like to know what's out there. You know how it is. If you go to WoodWeb looking for machines, be sure to try the Woodworking Machinery Finder a ways down the left-most column on the home page; it's different than the online classifieds.

Industrial Recovery Services seems like kind of a sad business to me, but I'm sure glad they're out there. They liquidate old mills and shops that go under, and there are incredible deals to be had at their auctions. I just got a 72" machinist's straight edge for well-under what a new 36" one would cost. I love precision measuring instruments. A lot. This is where my wife would fake pushing a pair of glasses up the bridge of her nose while cough-speaking: "NERD." Takes one to know one!

Lastly, I mention Fine Woodworking because the online subscription, which is about $5.00 per month is an incredible resource. I use it over and over again and I can't overstate its utility. I wish I could say the good people at Taunton Press were paying me to say this, but they're not. If you want to avoid reinventing the wheel before attempting some new process in the shop, do two quick keyword searches at the Fine Woodworking site--one that searches the magazine's archives and a second in the "Knots" forum, where other subscribers share their techniques and insights.

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