What do you think about…..

What time is it? It’s product review time. I think it is important for woodworkers to share what they know, and give feedback about the products they are using.

 First up to the plate is: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz. I like to read, and I will say that I have read a great deal of classic literature and continue to do so to this day. I also have read my share of modern authors too. Along with my “secular” reading, I enjoy good woodworking books, and among my favorite woodworking authors is Christopher Schwarz. Not only is he a great writer, he can convey his point very well, and as an added bonus, he frequently makes me laugh out loud.

In this book he discusses what he considers to be the must have tools that you need if you want to make quality furniture. I’ll admit, I pretty much totally agree with him. I have purchased my share of crap tools and gadgets that simply collect dust, so I wish I had this book twenty one years ago.  If you are a beginner woodworker, you should have this book. If you are a seasoned pro, you will enjoy this book, if you are a chainsaw artist, not so much.  

The end of the book contains the instructions on how to build a tool chest. Even though I won’t build the tool chest myself, he is such a good writer that I enjoyed that part too. I can’t recommend this book enough and pretty much anything from Lost Art Press is worth having in your library.

 Next up, “Ellsworth on Woodturning (How a Master Creates Bowls, Pots, and Vessels)” by David Ellsworth. If you are a woodturner or know someone who is, this would be a great gift now that holiday time is near. I don’t know where to begin with reviewing this book. I learned new things about tool and body position for making the different cuts, I learned a lot about design, and for the first time, I learned about how to make turning tools for hollowing. It’s one thing to buy a book and enjoy reading it, but it is an added bonus when you know that you will go back to that book time and time again. David Ellsworth is scheduled to be in Baltimore in March and I will be hosting him, so I will certainly have him autograph my copy, and I hope to show him what I have learned from this book.

Speaking of autographs, I like the way books from Lost Art Press are autographed by Christopher Schwarz, Now I am trying to figure out how I can meet him for a class. I’ll love to have the chance to hang out with him for a while.

 Third to the plate is a review of the Earlex HV5500 spray station. Boy oh boy I am so happy I purchased this machine. I recently used it for the first time to apply the finish on the bed I am working on. I have made three beds similar to that one and applying the finish is a real bore and very time consuming because of all the little creases and sides. I got the whole bed sprayed in twenty minutes! Not to be a complainer, but the only thing that is a tiny bit chore is clean up, but the overall time saved makes all the clean up well worth it.

I watched a half a dozen YouTube videos about using the system, then I read through the directions and was ready to go. The machine is a breeze to setup and cleanup. After years of watching people spray, I felt like I pretty much knew what to do and my only regret is not buying one a couple of years ago. Even though I prefer to buy American made tools, the Earlex spray station is manufactured in England, which is okay.

I was kind of riding the fence about which spray station to use, but after seeing a number of respected woodworkers and friends use this product, I got the HV550 and I highly recommend it.

Blog recommendations for this week:

Close at hand hold down pads – By Little Good Pieces

American Humans Smell Funny – Seriously!

The Cat That Got the Cake – Funny!

The Princess Royal – The quest for information


About yaakov

Husband, Abba, Furniture Maker, Turner, Bookseller, and all around working stiff.
This entry was posted in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to What do you think about…..

  1. Hiding this post from MTM, as he will somehow decide he needs that sprayer………..

  2. Hello Yaakov, thank you for the mention!
    I’m not a very hands-on person myself, but whenever I see a finished product that someone has made, I wished I was! I like the sound of that spray station myself, I must admit (but… what to spray… what to spray?)

  3. I think you’ve made an excellent purchase in the Earlex spray station and, if you can maintain regular cleaning habits, it should serve you very well indeed.

    I have one myself but, I don’t clean it as often as I should… While I have tried to used water-based and other low-odour finishes only, I always seem to end up using some kind of thinners to clean the thing, which puts me off. Not ideal in a confined space!

    It is a great piece of kit though, when it’s clean. Excluding the noise, too. I’ve always found that several thin (not ‘thinned’) coats works best.

    What finishes do you use with it?

    • yaakov says:


      Thanks for the vote of support with this product. For large projects I mainly use; shellac (that I have made from flakes so I make just the right amount and “cut” for spraying,) I also use polyurethanes.

      It seems like I get many furniture commissions for pieces that will get a lot of handling, so poly’s usually do the job.

      I have only used a water based finish once, and I don’t recall being too pleased with it so I continue to use solvent based finishes.

      I use loads of different finishes for my turning work, but I can never image a time I would spray thoses.

      What are your primary finishes?


  4. Hi Yaakov,

    I mainly try to use oil finishes, simply because I like them. I’m not aware that they can be sprayed with any success but, as simple as they are to apply by hand, they do take a very long time to dry, compared to many of the other options that can be sprayed on.

    I’d never thought of using a shellac-based finished – thanks for the tip! I’ve only really spray cellulose-based finishes and while they do leave you with a very durable finish, as I learned the hard way; it is best to apply them in thin coatings…:oops:

    I don’t often spray frames or smaller items (like turnings, as you say) but, I don’t think there’s a better way to finish a table top or large surface. At least, not without more effort.

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