About Me

I like to make stuff.  I like the process, I like the tools and I enjoy having stuff around that I’ve made.  I expect that a lot of people are like this.



25 thoughts on “About Me

  1. I just found your blog. I added it to the blog aggregator on my site at UnpluggedShop.com.

    When you make a new post, within about two hours, the headline will automatically appear on my site so woodworkers everywhere can click over to your site and read it.

    If you ever have any questions or concerns, please let me know.

    I usually try to get blogs that are at least 50% woodworking hand tools or of unique interest to hand tool users.

    A link to my homepage or blog is always appreciated, but not required.

    Luke Townsley

  2. Your write up in “about me” is exactly how I feel. I really don’t care what it is I’m making as long as it’s something. I haven’t tried anything in metal as of yet but who knows what the future holds.

  3. CJ

    Do you ever teach classes? It would be a good thing to maybe pass on some of your skills to others.

    • If I can ever help someone with a project or learning a skill I’m all for it, but I don’t think I have the background to teach classes. Seriously, any woodworker or metal hobbyists in the bay area that want to meet up and help each other (or just commiserate) I’m down with it (as my son would say).

      • Jerry

        any advice for carving a stool seat with gouges and mallet?

      • I’m no expert, but my experience was that you only need one or two gouges and the hardest parts were keeping it even and then getting it smooth. Some layout lines for the periphery of the indentation help with the keeping it even. A template to check the depth might be a good idea. Going from the gouged surface to a smoothed surface took me a long time and a lot of sanding but I’ve since learned that there are speciality planes for smoothing carved chair seats. A scraper is often recommended for this finishing too, although I’m still put off on sharpening a curved scraper.

  4. Neal Rose

    Where in bay area are you located?

  5. R M C

    Why the fire? Give the old bench to someone starting out.

  6. Hi Joe,
    you don’t have a contact page – I’m trying to find someone to make a Paul Sellers dovetail gauge in metal. I keep getting buy a saddle gauge which I don’t want. No one seems to be able to comprehend that I want this design, I want it in solid metal, and do you know someone who can do it? I had posted this on sawmill creek and not one person answered my question.
    Do you know of anyone that could do it?

  7. Hi Ralph,

    I could probably make you one. I don’t have my CNC milling machine anymore, which would have been a slick way to do it, but I can think of several other approaches that would work just as well.

    Off the top of my head, a piece of flat stock, maybe 1/4″ thick by about 2″ wide by 4″ long for the main piece. A second piece of the same thickness, 2″ long with the width tapered to match the complementary angle to the dovetail slope would them be welded/silver soldered/screwed to the first piece. If I made this in steel I’d probably just weld it, Brass would be the material of choice because of it’s appearance, although it’s heavy. Silver solder would work nicely for that.

  8. Hi Joe,
    thanks for the offer – I don’t want Paul Sellers gauge but my version of it. I prefer it to be made of brass or steel and milled from one piece of metal. I can send you a wooden one as that is what I want made. Please correct if I’m wrong here. Maybe 30-45 minutes to make this and I’m thinking that it should cost me about 150-200 dollars to do? Am I out in left field on this or should I pony up more $?
    You said that you don’t have a milling machine – do you know someone who does? I’ve come up dry around here – the shops I’ve been too don’t/won’t even talk to me.

  9. Hi Joe,
    I want to thank you for the generous offer to make a gauge for me. I tried another machine shop (my last) and the guy asked when I wanted it. He’s going to buy the minimum stock (12″ long) and make 3-4 of them for me. Who knew?

  10. Mike

    Joe, Enjoy your stuff, both material and philosophical. Ever tried to build a boat? Ever wanted to? Lots of thinking, lots of patience, lots of learning, lots of joy. Seems right up your alley.


    P.S. few weeks ago I bought Ron’s DVD on making a buck. Enjoyed it greatly. Saw your reference to it and smiled.

    • Thanks Mike. I’ve never made a boat, I could see that being fun though. There was a gorgeous wood canoe on display at Sam Maloof’s house that I was intrigued by (not made by Sam).

      Ron’s the best, he puts a lot of effort into his videos to make sure they are clear. He shot a video of me chopping and sectioning my Studebaker Pickup, I learned a lot in the process about metalwork and how hard it is to make a good video.

  11. jniece1

    Joe, Awesome site! Your projects are an inspiration to aspiring woodworkers. My goal is to get to your level of excellence and detail. I was wondering if you had any recommendations for a planer and a jointer. Keeping in mind a some what limited budget. Looking forward to your next post!

    • John, thanks for the nice words. I’m a total amateur, making this up as I go.

      Here is my two cents, although I’m probably overcharging: If you’re new to woodworking I’d start with hand tools. I did that when I started a couple of years ago and it was a great way to get started. I like Paul Sellers’ videos and book. The DVDs he sells are a little over-produced, but still very good. His online series is great. What I got out of starting with hand tools is a lot of confidence and a realization that with five or six hundred dollars of used tools I could make a lot of stuff.

      I also learned that I don’t want to spend my weekends squaring up stock, but actually making furniture. So after 18 months of making stuff by hand (including my Roubo workbench) I bought the biggest jointer and planer I could afford. I thought seriously about getting old, used, heavy-duty American made industrial tools. That’s what I did when I was buying metalworking gear. Then I remembered all the time I spent reconditioning it, adjusting it, tracking down missing parts and accessories…

      I had Delta equipment when I was younger, but these days I’m afraid everything is made overseas anyway. I bought a 20″ General planer (new, at an auction) and a 12″ Grizzly jointer. The jointer has the segmented cutter head with Carbide cutters. If I had it to do over, I’d get a Grizzly planer too, with the segmented head. I don’t want to spend my weekends sharpening and replacing knives any more than I want to dimension stock by hand. I’ve gone through two sets of blades in the planer and I’m still on the first set of cutting edges in the jointer. I’ve been really happy with the quality and service I’ve gotten from Grizzly, the General stuff not so much. General has lousy technical support and poor quality, I won’t ever buy from them again.

  12. Eric Commarato

    Hi Joe,

    Just found your blog from a comment you left about rasps on http://www.toolsforworkingwood.com website. This is a wonderful blog you have created here and I your work is exquisite. Looking forward to visiting back on a regular basis.

    Thank you,


  13. Hei Joe! Thank you for your wonderful blog and excellent update schedule.

    I found you through your Greene & Greene inspired works and wanted to bounce an excellent find we made in some of our own work on the same lines. Our bedroom Blacker House style wall sconces were fitted with single sheets of glass rather than a cut and soldered pattern. After spending three hours going through all manner of glass from different manufacturers, we settled on a beautiful glass made by Youghiogheny, code 5002SP. The reason we gravitated towards theirs is that the glass is far more diffusive because of the way it is made and is the closest we could find to a Mica look here in Finland. It hides the light source whilst on/off (modern LEDs/CFLs can look ugly) whilst breaking up the light softly without blocking it like semi-opaque swirled glasses.

    Keep up the good work Joe. It’s your fault I picked up Solidworks too!

  14. Christopher burkit

    I actually specialize in Greene and Greene. You are pretty close with your lamp. There are a few rules to remember with them.
    1. Everything is offset. 9 out of 10 times it is 1/8″
    2. All edges are rounded. Small timber (lights, chairs, etc…) 1/8″ rad. Large timber (beams, posts) 1/4″
    3. No visible fasteners. The ebony pegs conceal them.

    As for the lamp. The 4 corners are 1/2″ by 1/2″ with a 1/4″ setback to the glass. The top and bottom rails are 3/8″ thick with a 1/8″ setback for the glass. (This is based off of the original. Not a repro)

    I have built a lot or things in their style and have studied quite a bit on their work. Most people who attempt do not get the small details right. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions


  16. Sylvain

    I also hope you are doing OK since may 2015.
    Best wishes for 2016

  17. I just dropping you a line. I miss your blog I hope you are well.

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