Remembering 9/11

Remembering those that lost their lives in the attack ten years ago and thank you to the heroes.

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Print Graph Paper From Your Own Computer

Have you ever needed graph paper for some planning or layout when it was not convenient to rush off to the store?  What if you could simply print it from your computer?

PDF Graph Paper

It’s really easy and readily available, and did I mention, completely free at Incompetech.  Specify whatever size and shape you need and download a pdf file that you can print on your own printer.

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More about Gibson Guitar

My intention is to keep this blog about woodworking, and not about politics, but it seems that sometimes it can’t be helped. The political slime that envelopes us just won’t leave us alone.

So, with that in mind, I follow up with the most recent story.

Again, we return to the recent Gibson Guitar search and seizure.

Some investigation has revealed that Gibson has been a net Republican contributor, but a major Gibson competitor, CF Martin was a major contributor to the Democrats.

I’m not foolish enough to claim there is a absolutely solid case that this is true, but circumstantial evidence strongly suggest there is a link to the stories. I also in no way suggest that Martin did anything improper.

Read more:

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The Government and the Gibson Guitar Caper

Iowahawk has busted this case wide open. All the while we were led to believe that the government had a real solid case against Gibson. But it turns out that this was a part of the operation, “Fast and Fretless”, a government guitar smuggling operation.

“I’ve been working the border for over 25 years and have never seen a weapons cachet like this,” said Patrol Supervisor Mike Foreman. “A ’53 Goldtop, a ’59 Black Beauty, Flying V’s, a whole armory of SGs. Enough for an entire guitarmy. It’s a wonder there weren’t any total shreddings.”

Suspicions that the U.S. Department of Justice was involved in the case first arose after agents noticed “Property of the U.S. Department of Justice” embossed on the back of each guitar. A trace of the serial numbers confirmed that they were confiscated only days earlier by DoJ agents from the Gibson Guitar Company in Memphis.

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How Owning Wood Became a Crime

Attention woodworkers! Did you know that owning wood might be considered a felony? Well, neither did I, that is until today when I learned that armed Federal agents raided the facilities of Gibson Guitar in Nashville and Memphis.

Was the raid because they didn’t pay their taxes? Nope. Was Gibson employing illegal aliens i.e. unregiistered Democrats? No, again. No, silly, they were looking for wood. You can’t be serious. They were looking for wood?

Since we apparently no longer need to worry about terrorist threats, or bank robbers, or such, it’s clear that the Feds should take on the next most serious crime, the posession of illegal wood.

This seems to be because Gibson was in violation of the Lacey act, which was originally passed in 1900. The act was most recently updated in 2008 when Congress over rode President Bush’s veto.

I bring this to your attention because it appears that even the mere posession of something suspected of being one of these species could bring about seaarch, seisure, prosecution and forfeiture of the “contraband”. Could your 50 year old Guitar be seized by the Government? How about your next woodworking project?

What are the significant points of the Lacey Act amendments?

With enactment of the 2008 Farm Bill (the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008), the Lacey Act was amended for the purpose of combating illegal logging and expanding the Lacey Act’s anti-trafficking protections to a broader set of plants and plant products. The following points and background are designed to provide a concise summary of the amendments as well as background on the Lacey Act.

v The Lacey Act now makes it unlawful to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, or purchase in interstate or foreign commerce any plant, with some limited exceptions, taken in violation of the laws of a U.S. State, or any foreign law that protects plants. The Lacey Act also makes it unlawful to make or submit any false record, account or label for, or any false identification of, any plant.


v Anyone who imports into the United States, or exports out of the United States, illegally harvested plants or products made from illegally harvested plants, including timber, as well as anyone who exports, transports, sells, receives, acquires or purchases such products in the United States, may be prosecuted. In any prosecution under the Lacey Act, the burden of proof of a violation rests on the government.

v The defendant need not be the one who violated the foreign law; the plants or timber, and the products made from the illegal plants or timber, become “tainted” even if someone else commits the foreign law violation. However, the defendant must know, or in the exercise of due care should know, about the underlying violation.

v Violations of Lacey Act provisions for timber and other plant products, as well as fish and wildlife, may be prosecuted through either civil or criminal enforcement actions. Regardless of any prosecution, the tainted plants may be seized and forfeited.

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Choosing the Correct Blade for Your Saw

Do you think all saw blades are the same?  Choose different blades for different purposes and functions.

This video from Beachside Hank will help you select and care for the blades for your table saw.  But, now that I think about it, the same guidelines would apply also to circular saws, compound miter saws and radial arm saws too.

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Belt Sander Deal: Revisited

When I see what I think is a good deal on some item or tool I like to pass it on to my readers.  Some might say that to call me frugal would be an understatement.  One source that I tend to like is CPO Tools and especially their factory reconditioned tools.  I found good products at good prices and never had a problem with anything I purchased from them.

in February I had posted about a Rigid belt sander for sale at $119.99.

The offer at CPO and probably at most retailers was for a limited time.  After that time the price reverts to some higher number.  I had not mentioned a time limit but my assumption was that you would know that the prices were available for a limited time only.

I was reviewing my older posts to clean up this site and check fro broken links and discovered that the link is still active.  But, surprise!  The price is NOT $119.99.  The current  Summer clearance price is $99.99 and you can get a reconditioned one for $89.99.  The offer is good until 8/22/11.

You might check out their other offers, too.,default,pd.html?start=1&q=belt%20sander&ref=em020111img1

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Basic Woodworking Tools for Beginners

In earlier posts I discussed selecting woodworking tools for us beginners.  And I just found this video from

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A Cutting Board Project, but Wait

My next project was supposed to be an end grain cutting board.  I’m a member of the Lumberjocks forum and another member, LazyLarry led a group of us building a cutting board project. You may need a translator.  He’s an Aussie, you know.

I only made two mistakes, so far.

My cutting board was to consist of maple, walnut and cherry.  I really needed lumber two feet long.  I bought the materials, but I tried to cheap it out and thought I could get by with one foot of a wider piece and just make it double.  Hardwood has become very expensive.

This results in two mistakes all by itself.  One; how do I handle the part where the ends meet?  And Two; according to Grizzly, we should never joint material shorter than 12″ long.  This is a safety issue.  And shorter pieces are more likely to end up with sipe.

The second mistake was that even though I had a jointer, I had almost never used it.  I really didn’t know how it works.  I also didn’t know all of the safety practices.

I studied the Grizzly manual in depth and then I practiced using scrap material.  I can tell you that the practice was definitely worth while.  Part of the education was to understand how to set up the machine and to make adjustments.  It would have been very frustrating to ruin good hardwood to learn the process.

My thoughts now are to make a complete project using only scrap wood.

It may be a long time before you get to see my finished cutting board.

Practice using scrap or buy twice as much hardwood.

This was a rule long before I became involved with woodworking and I almost broke it right out of the gate.   I guess that would be my lesson too.


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Tool Review: Milwaukee 18v Lithium Cordless Drill

Milwaukee compact=

A while back I purchased a Milwaukee ½ inch 18 volt lithium compact cordless drill driver.  The actual purchase was back during black Friday days following Thanksgiving.  I know, I know.  It’s been a long time and why didn’t I report on it sooner?
My excuse is that it’s been a long, cold winter here in Northern Nevada and I didn’t feel very much like working in my unheated shop.

So, what was it that I actually bought?  I bought a Milwaukee 18 volt lithium compact cordless drill, model 2601-22.  The actual model number may vary slightly because I actually bought a combination package that included an impact driver.  For this article I will keep my discussion only on the drill.  I plan to cover the impact driver at a later time.

My opinion is that most of the major manufacturers offer very similar products and that we could find great value in easily a half a dozen brands.  This drill was a factory refurbished model.  It had very clearly been used, but no obvious problems were noted.  I had previously described refurbished tools as a no cost 30 day rental program.

Features (from the Milwaukee web site)

  • 1/2 in. Ratcheting Chuck with plastic sleeve
  • Heavy-Duty 2-Speed Metal Gear Box: 0-350/0-1,400 rpm
  • Compact Length (7-3/4 in.) fits in tight areas
  • Compact Motor delivers 400 in.-lbs. of maximum torque
  • Built-in LED light illuminates work surfaces
  • Lightweight 4.0 lbs.

An 18volt lithium battery pack and battery charger was included with the drill.  In my case a carrying case and an impact driver was also included.

Now, I must admit that I have not yet given the drill a good workout.  I am still on the first battery charge.  That in itself is amazing.  I topped off the batteries when I first received the drill and the time is now approaching the six months mark and the battery still has loads of available power.  My old NiCd batteries would have long been completely discharged within that same time frame and level of neglect.

The drill is much more compact than my previous ⅜ inch NiCd model.  It is smaller, lighter and easier to carry and will fit into tighter spaces, even though it has a ½ inch chuck.

I am still in awe about how much power it has.  I drilled a test hole in wood using a ½ inch bit and it went through with ease.  I also used it to cut a 2 ¼ inch hole using a hole saw.  Milwaukee states that it can drill up to 1 inch in wood, but I think it could likely handle a larger spade bit if needed.  It could be a good idea to use two hands when operating the drill.

The drill’s clutch has 23 different settings to facilitate driving many different sized screws without over tightening them.  It also has one additional position that locks the clutch for drilling.

A construction worker may want the extra duration that comes with larger batteries.  But this drill is perfect for anyone who wants loads of torque and light weight.  It really has an abundance of power and is easy to handle.  I highly recommend this drill.

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