It’s always something

As Rosanne Rosannadanna used to say, “if it is not one thing, it’s another, and it just goes to show that it’s always something!” That’s very true about life and very true about life in the workshop.

Case in point: My hand tool skills are getting better and better the more I use them. But now, my bandsaw has a problem and my power planer is making a funny noise. It’s like my power tools are going on strike. Could they possibly be jealous of my beloved LN #4 smoothing plane? I know it sounds stupid, but each night before I leave the shop, I stop at the door and say, “Good work today shop, see you tomorrow!” They say plants grow better if you talk to them, I sure wish it would work for my shop. Hopefully that last positive vibe I throw out there will combat the toxic cloud of negative mutterings. Just between you and me, I think that is what causing my roof to leak.

I really need get my muse on the phone and get to work on something special. My current commission work is getting boring, (no pun intended), but I just have not had any good ideas lately. Having a cold has not helped me feel very motivated either. I need my muse to give me good swift kick in the backside.

Odds and Ends

The Odds: The couple of days ago, I saw the latest episode of “The Woodwright’s Shop” which featured Christopher Schwarz. He did a really good job explaining the different classes of hand saw cuts. I’ll spare you the boring details. I thought it was really interesting, but it bothered me that Roy Underhill acted like such a buffoon. Did anyone see that?

BTW, I just got finished watching the second episode with Christopher Schwarz on “The Woodwright’s Shop”, and that episode was really interesting too. If you saw that episode and remember the name of the book they were talking about, let me know.

The Ends: The other night I attended the Wood Whisperer Guild meeting, and a question came up, “What finish do you like to use on your bowls? And a couple of people mentioned that they use shellac for salad bowls. Even if the shellac was cured, I would think that shellac would wear off quickly. And personally, I don’t like the idea of lac bug spit-up residue in my salad. Any of you turners out there use shellac for bowls you eat out of?

Back to the grind. Literally!


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in In Yaakov's Workshop and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to It’s always something

  1. bob says:

    I use shellac to bring out the color on black walnut, but don’t use it on my bowls, i use lacquer for them, some times poly.

  2. Scott Turner says:

    The book is the Joiner and the Cabinetmaker:

    I know what you mean about Roy playing the fool. Every once in a while he makes some comment which reveals that he probably knows more about the subject than the expert. It’s a little silly.

    • yaakov says:


      Thanks so much for the link. I ordered an authographed copy from the Lost Art Press.

      I’m happy to hear someone watches that show. I rarely hear anyone say anything about it.

      Did you read the article about A. J. Roubo that Roy wrote? He is obviously a well educated man.


  3. cobweb says:

    Shellac for utility bowls! No, never! Food safe oil, or mineral oil as I believe you call it in the US. Or failing that a non-rancid food oil such as olive or walnut. But never, not ever, shallac.

    As you say, Yaakov, the finish will wear off, and as shallac finishes have particulate shallac in them, the solids will “wear” into your food. Not good.

    But imagine how shiny your stomach wall would be!

  4. Many people are unaware of the fact that shellac is used extensively in the food and drug industry to provide a shine to hard tablets and candies. So, we’ve all been wolfing down lac-bug spit for years. However, it’s hardly a practical finish for food items. As you say, it will tend to wear, and generally look unacceptable in a short time. Better to use a low-gloss penetrating finish that will seal from the inside.

    Marc Spagnoulo (The Wood Whisperer) uses a thinned polyurethane to seal his cutting boards. Of course, you have to allow this to cure completely before use. I’ve used similar finishes, and my rule is to cover the item for a day or two, then lift the lid and sniff. If I can still smell solvent, it cures some more.

    As for Roy, anyone that can translate classical French is certainly no country bumpkin – he just plays one on TV!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s