How To Make A Square Bowl by Matthew (Dean) Wilson

Matthew D. Wilson is MDWoodart.  He has a moderate 2-car shop garage and creates furniture, boxes, chess boards, wooden jewelry, turning items, and vintage radio restoration, some with upcycles to MP3 Players. You can check out his woodworking world at


In this blog, Matthew shows us how to create a square wood bowl.  Pick your favorite wood in any choice of size, about 1″ thick or more, depending upon what you want your finished thickness to be.
square_bowl-011-300x200 square_bowl-003 (1)
Begin smoothing one face of the board with a hand-plane or joiner, then smooth an edge as well.  Rip the board to choice width.
square_bowl-013 square_bowl-014
Cross-Cut the board to make a perfect square, then mark the corner to corner punch the center.

square_bowl-017 square_bowl-020 square_bowl-023Place your faceplate on the square and align the marks with the holes. then simply punch a divot for the drill bit to fit into.

square_bowl-025 square_bowl-026 square_bowl-027
Mount the faceplate and blank to the lathe.  Create a recess and mount the chuck to the recess.

square_bowl-029 square_bowl-031
Remove the faceplate, attach the chuck with blank to the lathe, and begin the turning process.  Matthew uses the Easy Wood Full Size Finisher to create the inside shape of the bowl.

square_bowl-032 square_bowl-038
After completion of cutting the inside shape of the bowl, cut the underside shape and sand the entire bowl. Apply your finish of choice.  Woodcraft carries General Finishes Polyacrylic water-based top coats in flat, satin, semi-gloss and gloss applications.  another fine choice would be the Waterlox Finish products, also at Woodcraft.

Two finished square bowls that can be used as coasters, a jewelry tray, paper clip holders for your desk, or for whatever your imagination and design requirements may be.

Contact Matthew at MDWoodart and have him create something for you today!

Don’t have a blog site?  Want to be a guest blogger on Woodshop Demos?  Contact Woodcraft at  It’s FREE!

Powermatic & Jet Add New Power Tools for 2013

What does Jet/Powermatic have in common with Rough Cut-Woodworking with Tommy Mac? Along with Woodcraft, they help sponsor the PBS woodworking show!
powermatic-oval-white_cmyk_2007a                     RoughCut_FINAL_4-c[1]                               jet-header-logo

DSCN8190aAt Woodcraft’s vendor trade show, Rough Cut’s Tommy Mac unveiled Walter Meier’s new product lines for Powermatic and Jet Power Tools, available for September of 2013 (See video below).  Introducing two new Powermatic PM1000 Table Saws.  The 1-3/4HP, 1PH, with 30″ Accu-Fence System, Item #857876 retailing for $1,999.99 and the PM1000 with a 52″ Accu-Fence System, Item #857875, retailing for $2099.99, also available at Woodcraft.

Powermatic PM1000 Table Saw_857876_75


  • Dust collection is maximized with the blade surround and collection hose as they provide an unobstructed path
  • Hands free power switch is conveniently located
  • Safety is maximized with the tool-less guard assembly and its easy-to-use, independent side leaves
  • The sturdy miter gauge pivots 60 degrees to either side, allowing easy adjustment for a full range of cuts
  • Cast iron work surface features a beveled edge
  • Exclusive Accu-Fence provides rigidity and precision
  • The poly-V belt drive system reduces vibration and maximizes efficiency
  • Ergonomically designed 7” hand wheels provide momentum – making blade height and bevel adjustments easy
  • Arbor lock allows for one handed blade changes with minimal tools
  • Bevel scale is conveniently located with large, easy to read numbers
  • Quick access to the interior of the cabinet with the hinged motor cover

Product Information:

  • Motor Power: 1-3/4HP
  • Motor Current (Amps) : 20/10
  • Motor Phase : 1
  • Motor Voltage (V.) : 115/230
  • Prewired Voltage (V.) : 115
  • Recommended Circuit Size (Amps.) : 30A (for 115V), 20A (for 230V)
  • Table Height from Floor (In.) : 34-1/4
  • Table Size (In.) : 20 x 27
  • Table Type : Cast Iron
  • Total Work Surface (In.) : 57 x 27 (30″ Tablesaw);  75-3/8 x 27 (52″ Tablesaw)
  • A blade surround and collection hose provide an unobstructed path, maximizing dust collection
  • Conveniently located hands free power switch
  • Tool-less guard assembly with independent side leaves is easy to use, maximizing safety
  • The sturdy miter gauge pivots 60 degrees to either side, allowing easy adjustment for a full range of cuts
  • Exclusive AccuFence provides rigidity and precision
  • The poly-V belt drive system reduces vibration and maximizes efficiency
  • Ergonomically designed 7” handwheels provide momentum, making blade height and bevel adjustments easy
  • Arbor lock allows for one handed blade changes with minimal tools
  • Cast iron work surface features a beveled edge
  • Bevel scale is conveniently located with large, easy to read numbers
  • Hinged motor cover provides quick access to the interior of the cabinet
  • Arbor Diameter (In.) : 5/8
  • Arbor Speed (RPM) : 4200
  • Blade Diameter (In.) : 10
  • Cast Iron Work Surface (In.) : 40 x 27
  • Dust Collection Minimum CFM Required (CFM) : 350
  • Dust Port Outside Diameter (In.) : 4
  • Maximum Depth of Cut (In.) : 3-1/8
  • Maximum Depth of Cut at 45 Degrees (In.) : 2-1/8
  • Maximum Diameter of Dado (In.) : 8
  • Maximum Rip Left of Blade (In.) : 12
  • Maximum Rip Right of Blade (In.) : 30 (item #857876);  52 (item #857875)
  • Maximum Width of Dado (In.) : 13/16
  • Weight (Lbs.) : 347 (30″);  393.8 (52″)


Also on the circuit at the show was the new Jet 14″ Bandsaw with Steel Frame, Model JWBS-14SF, Item #858830, at $1,899.99
Product Information:

  • Jet 14 Bandsaw with Steel Frame_Model JWBS-14SFMotor Power (HP) : 1-3/4
  • Motor Current (Amps.) : 15/7.5
  • Motor Phase : 1
  • Motor Voltage (V.) : 115/230
  • Prewired Voltage (V.) : 115
  • 13-1/2″ of resaw capacity
  • Redesigned fence with laser etched scale and micro-adjust feature
  • Two position faceplate provides appropriate support for every cut
  • Tool-less guide adjustments
  • Conveniently located dual dust collection ports
  • Sturdy wheels feature a shallow crown and polyurethane tires
  • Heavy duty tensioning with quick release
  • Four sided blade guard
  • Blades can be removed out the front of the table, no bending or angling required
  • Round table insert features leveling screws for precise adjustment
  • Band Saw Size/Wheel Diameter (In.) : 14
  • Blade Length (In.) : 125
  • Blade Speed (SFPM) : 3000
  • Blade Width (In.) : 1/2
  • Cutting Capacity Height (In.) : 13-1/2
  • Cutting Capacity Width (In.) : 13-1/2
  • Dust Collection Minimum CFM Required (CFM) : 400
  • Dust Port Outside Diameter (In.) : 4
  • Maximum Saw Blade Width (In.) : 3/4
  • Minimum Saw Blade Width (In.) : 1/8
  • Table Height from Floor (In.) : 39
  • Table Size (L x W) (In.) : 21-1/2 x 16
  • Table Tilt (Deg.) : 45 Right/10 Left
  • Weight (lbs.): 356
  • No assembly required

new lathes 2013Two new 15″ lathes will be added, September of 2013.  JET’s new 15” Woodworking Lathe, available in a standard version (Model JWL-1015) and variable speed version (Model JWL-1015VS), provides optimum control, as well as positive-locking indexing.  Built for easy speed changes these new lathes are owered by a 1/2 hp, single-phase, TEFC motor. The 4-amp, model JWL-1015VS delivers variable spindle speeds ranging from 200 to 3600 rpm.  Three speed ranges are designed to perform different types of woodturning tasks. The slow speed range (200 to 1050 rpm) is best for detailed turnings, mid- range (300-1750 rpm) is great for sanding and finishing, and the high speed (600 to 3600) is intended for general woodturning.

Speed changes on the 5-amp model JWL-1015 are made by transferring the drive belt on stepped pulleys inside the headstock.  The drive belt is de-tensioned by pulling up a lever located beneath the headstock.  The hinged headstock cover and redesigned access door provide increased working space over most mini-lathes.  The belt is switched manually to the pulley corresponding to one of six spindle speeds: 500, 840, 1240, 1800, 2630 or 3975 rpm.  Then the cover is replaced and lever pressed back down to restore belt tension.

The lathe headstock features 24 integrated indexing positions, making it easy to cut evenly spaced features for fluting and veining applications.
A self-ejecting tailstock is provided for safe and easy removal of tooling.  The hollow tailstock and removable tip on live center allows for boring through stock.  Optional accessories include a lathe stand with height adjustments and wide feet for stability, 21” bed extension and extension stand.

The JET JWL-1015 Woodworking Lathe, Model 719100, Woodcraft Item #858827 is priced at $479.99.  The JET JWL-1015VS Woodworking Lathe, Model 719110, Woodcraft Item #858828 will be $579.99.  Both are warranted under the JET RED AssuranceTM program.

8 inch bench grinderThe final new item for Jet to release in September will be the new Slow Speed (1725 rpm) 8″WW Bench Grinder, Model 726100, Woodcraft Item #858829 for $329.99.  The benchtop grinder includes two high-quality Norton® wheels: an 80 grit 3X Blue Ceramic Alumina K Grade wheel for coarse grinding and a 100 grit White Aluminum Oxide wheel for finish grinding.  Protecting your eyes from those high quality wheel producing sparks and dust particles are oversized adjustable shields.  The single-speed benchtop grinder is driven by a ½ hp, 115V single-phase induction motor.  The two 8” wheels have a 1” width and a 5/8” arbor.  The unique feature to these bench grinders are the large etched tool rests for easy marking for chisel sharpening angle location reference, which also have 45° of travel and a scale that has a 1° resolution.  A bench grinder stand is optionally available at additional cost of $ as well.

Doug from Jet/Powermatic and Tommy discuss all of these tools in this video:

More to come with Tommy Mac and Woodcraft showing you the latest in woodworking tools!
auf Wiedersehen!…Frank

The New Festool TS 55 REQ Track Saw Now at Woodcraft

What is a plunge cut track saw and guide rail system? This Festool TS 55 REQ high-quality plunge cut track saw and guide rail combine for a system that generates precision cuts anywhere on a panel quickly and safe, cuts that should never be attempted with a traditional circular saw.


The smooth pivoting action, and minimal blade exposure during the cut is ideal for starting a cut in the middle of a panel.  This design allows the blade to pivot into the material smoothly and accurately. Precision cuts starting from any point are easily accomplished. The track saw can be used for many common tasks: Ripping sheet goods, creating straight edges on rough stock, jointing boards, cutting to scribe lines on doors and cabinets, cross-cutting, and creating openings in panels, sections of flooring, and cabinets.

Now available at your local Woodcraft store or on-line,  the TS REQ is accurate and versatile.  It is not your typical circular saw when compared to the most advanced table saws, miter saws or panel saws available.  Add in its incredible portability and ease of use, you have a precision-cutting solution like no other, at home in the highest-end cabinet shop as well as an onsite remodel.  With the addition of micro-adjustable depth controls and a flat housing for flush-cutting against walls or adjacent surfaces, the TS 55 REQ is Festool’s most advanced plunge cut saw ever.  Take the tool to the work and replace large stationary equipment with an incredibly precise, handheld unit.  You’ll save your back, while getting more out of your expensive materials.

Electronic variable-speed control automatically maintains a constant blade speed under load, and the soft start and automatic idle cut down on operator fatigue and noise. Surprisingly, the Festool TS 55 REQ uses a 6-1/4″-diameter blade, but still provides a 1-15/16″ cut at 90° and a 1-7/16″ cut at 45°. Festool TS 55 REQ includes a T-LOC Systainer SYS 4 storage box, 48-tooth carbide tipped blade, 55″ guide rail, limit stop, and chip deflector.

Features & Benefits:

TS-55-Guide-Rail TS-55-Cut-Line TS-55-Plunge-Cutting

  • When used with Festool guide rails, you can achieve perfectly straight and splinter-free cuts that reduce waste.
  • Spring-loaded riving knife (splitter) retracts automatically, keeping the cut kerf open so that the material does not pinch the blade, reducing the chance of kickback.
  • The slip clutch helps to minimize the risk of a kickback and minimizes wear on the blade, gear case, and motor.

TS-55-Riving-Knife TS-55-MMC-Electronics TS-55-Dust-Port

  • Blade changes are easier and safer using the FastFix system which locks the switch and arbor simultaneously for easy arbor bolt removal.
  • Rotating dust port keeps hose out of the way
  • 3-bearing motor for smoother operation

TS-75-FastFix TS-55-Triple-Bearing TS-55-Splinter-Guard

Here’s a demonstration of the all-new Festool TS 55 REQ including the quick and easy blade change,

To purchase the TS 55 for $585, and find out more information including an additional video, click on this link, Festool TS 55 at Woodcraft.

Now go make some serious sawdust,
auf Wiedersehen…Frank

Woodcraft Celebrates Spring with 3-Day Sales Event

This sale is so big, we decided to spring into action a little early!  Get a head start into WOODCRAFT for the 3-DAY SALES EVENT starting today, February 28th, for all your woodworking needs.  JET & POWERMATIC Machines are 15% off (starting March 1 & 2) + Free Shipping – some exclusions apply*.

  • 10% Off Power Tools, Exclusions Apply*
  • 15% Off JET & POWERMATIC Machinery (starting March 1 & 2) & Everything Else (starting Feb 28th), Exclusions Apply*
  • The 15% off also includes Woodcraft Magazine, Plans, Magazine Downloads, and all educational materials, Exclusions Apply*.



  • Gift Cards; All Dovetail/FMT Jigs; All Dowelmax, Festool, SawStop, Select JET & Powermatic Machines, Tormek Products & Select Kreg Tools.
  • Offer Good On All Other Regularly Priced Merchandise.
  • Not Valid With Any Other Discount Or Coupon Offer.
  • Discounts Not Applicable To Quantity Pricing.
  • Excludes Special Orders.
  • Excludes Laser Engraving & Sharpening Services.
  • Excludes Jet 1221VS Lathe, Woodcraft Item #856325, (free shipping available).
  • Excludes Powermatic 18″ Drill Press, Model PM2800B, Woodcraft Item #855941, (free shipping available).
  • Excludes Powermatic 15″ Bandsaw, Model PM1500, Woodcraft Item #855742, (free shipping available).
  • Excludes Powermatic Lathe with Lamp Kit, Model 4224B, Woodcraft Item #854112, (free shipping available).
  • Excludes Woodcraft Magazine Subscriptions.
  • ONLY Jet & Powermatic Machines Ship Free.
  • Excludes ALL Other Free Shipping on Machines.

*Free Shipping Exclusions:

  • JET Dust Collector, 1.5 HP 1PH 115/230V, 5 Micron Bag, Model DC1100MK, Woodcraft Item #847433.
  • Jet Air Filtration System, Model AFS-1000B, Woodcraft Item #815488.
  • Jet Mini Lathe with Indexing Head, Model 708375, Woodcraft Item #147822.

*Additional Sale Information:

  • Sale At Participating Retail Stores, Catalog & Internet.
  • Jet & Powermatic Machinery Sale Extends to March 11th.
  • Jet & Powermatic Accessories On Sale March 1st & 2nd Only.

Now that you’ve read this, don’t wait, head to your local Woodcraft store or shop online to SAVE BIG today!



General International’s New Power Tools for 2012

Scroll Saws are what General International started the business all off with 30 years ago. In celebration of that mark in time, General International is offering this Anniversary Special Excalibur 21″ Scroll Saw. What is different about this saw compared to it’s predecessor is that a dust collection feature has been added. To aid in the dust collection besides the collection port are several holes around the cut area on the table’s surface around the blade opening. Additional guarding has been added for increased safety, and a blade tube storage system is built-in, in close proximity for easy use and quick blade change out.

The new black & gold unit will be available at Woodcraft late Fall 2012, and the previous 16″ and 21″ variable speed models are still available at your local Woodcraft stores or online.

Another addition to all the fine products at General International is a new 3HP Cabinet Saw. This industrial level consumer saw features a cast iron miter gauge, a quick change from blade guard to riving knife, a 50″ fence, a dual read 12″ left of blade and 50″ right of blade cutting capability, a cast iron base for solid floor stability, and a redesigned dust control system that allows for sawdust intake around the blade and in the cabinet, both through the 2-1/2″ diameter hose to the 4″ diameter single dust port.

Two new Air Systems have also been added to the General International lineup. One entry level machine and one industrial explosion proof system.









Check out all of the details with the guys from General International in this video at IWF 2012.

Still more from IWF 2012, stay linked!…Frank

D.I.Y. Wooden Kitchen/Bar Countertops

The Before Shot

If my kitchen were to be radiocarbon dated, it would fall somewhere between the fall of Rome and the discovery of electricity. My house, built in 1920, originally didn’t have much in the way of kitchen cabinets. One tall cabinet, secured opposite where the original stove would have been, was all the home’s Roaring 20′s inhabitants required. Sometime between the birth of rock-n-roll and the summer of free love, the home’s occupants decided they were going to need some place to store their Correlle and Tupperware. A decision was made to renovate the kitchen.

I’m not entirely sure just when this renovation started or ended. Left behind scribbled notes on plaster seem to indicate that a “major” renovation (that word is in quotes for irony purposes) began sometime in the early 60′s. What came out of the renovations stood nearly unchanged until my wife and I decided that, if the kitchen were ever to be avenged, it would fall to us.

So what does a 60′s kitchen look like? Well, the original stove, which would have sported a stovepipe, was tossed in favor of a gas-fueled model. The original kitchen chimney still proudly butts out into the kitchen adding character and frustration to anyone who has ever tried to design a cabinet layout. A compromise must have been made with the chimney at some point, because a small dishware cabinet now hangs just below it. We decided to leave this cabinet, as it appears any new cabinets in that area might break the treaty that the kitchen has with the old chimney. In addition to the tiny “compromise cabinet”, a large L-shaped slab of cabinets were firmly anchored to the kitchen; along with a more modern sink.

“Why not just REPLACE all of the cabinets in your kitchen?” you might ask. “Put in some nice solid-surface counters.” It’s a valid argument, and one that we contemplated . . . right up until the estimate came back. Anyone got a spare $10,000?

The countertops born from this renovation are true 60′s kitsch. Made from some sort of man-made board, laminated with what looks like floor tile from a junior high school lunch room, and trimmed with a stainless steel band. Hard, durable and horrible. I can only imagine that the same people who developed this countertop were the same men who spearheaded the Apollo moon landings.

Sometime in the 70′s it appears that there wasn’t enough room for the home’s growing collection of fondue pots, so another cabinet was added. This cabinet, which upon installation of my D.I.Y. Countertops, was discovered to be held together with nothing but Elmers Glue and prayers. It also appeared to be entirely constructed of single-ply toilet paper. I ended up having to repair this cabinet during installation. It can be seen at the end of this blog in its new life as a coffee bar.

“Why not just REPLACE all of the cabinets in your kitchen?” you might ask. “Put in some nice solid-surface counters.” It’s a valid argument, and one that we contemplated . . . right up until the estimate came back. Anyone got a spare $10,000? Well, we didn’t. So the decision was made to sand all of the cabinets, swap out the ugly black hardware and only spend the “big money” on new countertops. We estimated the countertops would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 -$2,000 for a solid-surface material. Had we chosen a more expensive solid-surface or granite material the counters could have run as much a $4,000. Nuh uh. Not gonna happen.

Then came the idea: Laminated Maple Bench Tops.  At Woodcraft, we sell these terrific maple bench tops. They’re inexpensive, and on sale many times throughout the year. They also have a beautifully finished top. At 1-3/4″ thick they’re heavy, durable, and we thought perfect for our ancient kitchen. The best part? It all cost less than $700 (now your kitchen might be smaller or larger than ours, so you’ll have to do the math for your kitchen or bar).


My first thought upon having this idea was, “Will they even work as kitchen countertops?” So I sought out the help of George Snyder. George is Woodcraft’s Product Development Guru for all things wood. It turns out that George has already tackled this exact same project. So, great minds and the like, he offered to help out! What follows is a summary of the process it takes to go from the “off-the-shelf” Laminated Maple Bench tops we sell at Woodcraft, to beautiful “butcher block look” countertops. Let me also preface this by saying – when you install wood countertops of any kind, do not use them as a cutting board. It’s a really bad idea, really bad, stomach-wrenching bad. Luckily I had a bit of bench top left over, and I promptly sanded it, finished it with butcher block oil, and used it to create a matching cutting board.

1. In the Before Time
Getting the Kitchen Ready to Be Awesome

I’ll spare you most of the details here as much of the prep had little to do with the actual countertop project.

The original kitchen had some wear. Walls and trim needed touch-ups and the old hardware was ugly – so it had to go. This meant that the cabinets had to be sanded and repainted. In the photo above, the end result of sanding, filling, painting, and new hardware can already be seen. The kitchen already looks better. Now we’re ready for some countertops right? Well, no. First we’ve got to measure.

2. Measure & Choose Your Bench Tops

The most important thing I can stress at this point is measure, measure again, and then just when you think you’ve got it, measure again. You don’t want to make a mistake here because it will cost you money. Oh, and these bench tops are heavy – you don’t want to have to move them around anymore than is absolutely necessary. So get your measurements down pat, and the create a little drawing of exactly what you need. Being able to visualize where your cuts are going to be made can help you determine how many bench tops you need and whether or not you want to tackle this project with this product.

For my purposes I needed only two pieces to make this project work. I don’t have a lot of counter space so two of the 7′ x 24″ bench tops would serve my purposes. As it turns out I ended up getting one 7′ x 24″ and two of the 5′ x 30″ bencthops instead. Truth is, I lucked into a return at our local Woodcraft store in Parkersburg, WV.

3. Examine Your Material & Rip the Bench Tops

With your drawing and measurements in hand, survey your recently purchased Laminated Maple Bench Tops and start to build a list of how you plan to make your cuts. Inspect the bench tops. With this particular product, the manufacturer has worked hard to create a bench top that has a beautifully finished top and sides – the bottoms and interior pieces however may have voids. Make sure you examine and plan your cuts to showcase the best parts of the wood. This might seem straightforward at first, but really think about what you’re doing. The final look of your bar or kitchen countertop is on the line.

For my project, because my existing cabinets were made by early stone-age Americans, I needed to rip each of the bench tops down to 23″ wide. Standard countertops aren’t 23″, so make sure you double-check your cabinets. If possible, a 1″ overhang is preferred on the front of the cabinet. Using the 84″ bench top might not be an option for some cabinet bases because it is only available at 24″ wide. Many cabinet bases require a 25-1/2″ countertop.

Making a long rip cut on stock that weighs as much as these maple bench tops can be difficult – the length doesn’t help either. Make sure you have help. The 84″ x 24″ bench top weighs in excess of 90 pounds; it’s not easy to maneuver. Fortunately I had George to help make these cuts. We used a SawStop 10″ Professional Cabinet Saw loaded with a 40T Forrest Woodworker II blade to make the cuts. This gave us a fine cut with very little dust and almost zero burning – something that can happen easily when cutting large laminated materials. The added safety of the SawStop was comforting too because I had to keep my hand pretty close to the blade to help guide the oversized bench top as we made the cut.

Once we completed ripping the bench tops down to size we needed to cut them to length. Doing so on the cabinet saw wasn’t a practical option.

4. Cutting to Size

Since we are talking about countertops that are in some cases 7′ in length, doing the crosscuts on the SawStop didn’t make sense. So in comes the Festool Plunge Cut Saw to save the day.

After once again verifying that we were making the cut on the proper end of the bench top we measured out the length. Here’s a tip: Apply blue painter’s tape in the general area of your cut. Measure your cut and make your pencil markings on the blue tape. This actually does a few things for you. It means you don’t have to sand or erase your pencil marks – handy on these pre-finished bench tops, it also adds a little bit of slip protection for a cutting guide, and it can also help prevent tear out.

Once we clamped our cutting guide in place and had our work piece sufficiently secured, we made the crosscut. This was repeated for each piece. The Festool Plunge Cut Saw was terrific for these cuts. I have to say I was very impressed with the quality of the cut. No sanding was ever required.

5. Routing the Edges

These bench tops come with already rounded-over edges on their long sides. These edges are pre-finished and will work for many applications. For the purposes of my countertops, however, not so much. To give just the profile I want, a simple roundover, we turned to our trusty Porter-Cable Router and a Freud 1/2″ roundover bit. The pieces were secured to the workbench with a non-slip mat and we made our first cuts, not all of the cuts though. . .

Before we could make all of the cuts, a problem needed to be solved. Like just about every countertop in every kitchen, my countertops formed an L-shape. This meant that we couldn’t just rout around the countertops at will. There was going to be a butt-joint between two of the counters. That meant that we needed to figure out just how far we should put our profile on the joining pieces. The two countertops were going to have to be mocked-up so we could plan our cut. That meant putting the two heavy and long pieces together. Who has a workbench that large? No one. Not Woodcraft, not even Norm. Then the voice of reason hit. Why not use the floor?

Here’s another good tip: Keep your shop free of dust and debris. It’s not only safer and more efficient to have a clean shop, but you never know when you might need to use the floor as a work surface!

After manhandling the pieces to the floor with the help of Woodcraft blogger Frank Byers, we were able to determine where our routing needed to stop and hand sanding needed to take over. We routed the two front edges of the countertops almost to the point where they met. Here I turned to a small file, a Soft Sander sanding block and a little oldschool patience. After a few minutes or sanding and tweaking and second-guessing, the joint was finished.

Here’s our day in the Woodcraft Shop cutting the Maple Bench Tops to size,

6. Installing the Countertops

The actual installation of countertops is going to vary here. If you’ve got newer cabinets installing countertops is pretty easy. The corners of each cabinet typically have a brace where you can quickly drive a screw into the underside of your countertops. The toughest part is getting the counters in place and choosing a fastener that won’t go all the way through your counter.

My cabinets, though, were built by the founding fathers and thus had no such brace. But what my cabinets did have was an existing countertop that had been developed by the Space Administration – out of plywood. This meant, with properly pre-drilled pilot holes (not too deep – use a stop collar or at least a piece of tape on your drill bit), I could quickly attach my countertops right over top of the existing ones. Why do this? Well, the existing counter actually seemed kind of low. I guess people were shorter during the paleolithic period. By putting my new maple countertops on the old ones, I had raised my counters to the height of  “modern” people.

Like most houses built in the 20′s, not everything in my house is totally square and level. So leveling the countertops was accomplished with regular old wooden shims. The real trick was getting both counters as close to level as possible, but still keeping the butt-joint as tight and consistent as possible. It took a little elbow grease and fretting, but this was actually pretty easy to accomplish.

I added a little bit of Titebond Waterproof Wood Glue to the joint for good measure, but once the counters were secured to the cabinets, no glue or joinery was required at the butt-joint. If you are making a longer counter and need to join multiple bench tops, using dowels is a good way to go.

7. Sinking the Bismark

Okay, so far it’s been pretty easy. Heavy, but easy. The cuts are all perfect, the butt- joint looks stellar and I’m starting to get pretty excited about these countertops. Now it’s time to install the sink. This shouldn’t be too difficult, right? Well, if it’s a project that I’m involved in, one can pretty much assume that something won’t go according to plan.

This is probably a good time to point out that these countertops probably aren’t well-suited for under-the-counter mounted sinks. I chose a drop in. I imagine that a curtain sink would probably work well and look really nice as well.

When installing a sink, which is generally pretty easy, you start by inverting the sink on your countertop. Trace the outline of your sink. Remove your sink and then, depending on the manufacturer, you’ll need to make another line 1/4″ or so in from your original traced line. For my sink from Kohler, it was 1/4″. Once your lines are in place, start by cutting pilot holes around the perimeter of your line. Don’t be stingy here. These things are heavy and having more pilot holes makes the process easier. I also secured a couple of large screws to the middle of my cutout area to make grabbing and removing the piece a little easier. You then use a quality jigsaw with a good strong woodcutting blade and follow your cutout line. That was the plan anyway. . .

In reality, because I left the existing countertop in, and my new sink cutout didn’t exactly match the old sink cutout already in the existing counter, I had to do a lot of pilot hole drilling and went through probably 8 jig saw blades before successfully cutting out my new sink hole. If I had to do it over, I would have removed more of the existing counter around the sink. Oh well, live and learn. The final result, however, was a hole perfect for my new sink. No harm, no foul.

8. Trimming & Backsplash

Because I had to level and install on top of my existing countertops, I needed to trim out under the front of my new countertops to hide any gaps and the edge of the old counters. I chose some maple trim and applied a water-based gloss poly. Once they were dry I simply use a Porter-Cable Finish Nailer to attach the trim. The result is a smart, custom look. To complete the back of the countertops I used some more trim, finished with the same poly and installed some very cool stainless steel tiles.

Remember that roundover profile we put on the counters? Using the same water-based poly and a small sponge brush, I applied a thin coat to all unfinished cut our routed edges.

The Finished Product

Below are some photos of the finished project. The combination of the stainless and the maple has created a much warmer and timeless look than the old and stark-white outdated countertops. We added some under cabinet lighting that also adds some warmth and usable light. The final verdict was a happy wife and a happy bank account. Two things that make for a happy guy.

Very soon I’ll have a follow-up blog about how I used “scraps” from this project to create the drink rail and cutting board seen in the photos above and below. 


How to Make Your Own Ice Cream Scoop

Woodcraft’s new stainless steel ice cream scoop is sure to be a great addition to your kitchen utencils. Adding your design shape and material type to complement your kitchen is up to you! Woodcraft has a huge selection of exotic and domestic wood to choose from for this fun and easy project. We’ll walk you through how you can make your very own ice cream scoop handle with just a few hours of your time. Woodcraft has all of the components you will need to build this ice cream scoop. Let’s begin by purchasing the NEW Stainless Steel Ice Cream Scoop Kit, Woodcraft Item #153928. (Click on all photos for enlargement or additional information)


Next, I chose this NEW Curly Cherry Wood (2x2x6 block, Woodcraft Item #154466), which will arrive at your local Woodcraft stores and online in various sizes including pen blanks sometime in October 2012. I chose this wood because of the marbled grain and color details. Our Product Development Manager and wood guru, George Snyder brought this upcoming product to my attention, so I thought it would make a great choice coupled with the new scoop.

Finding the Centers
I marked my centers at each end of the wood block with the ZERO ZERO Center Finder from Woodcraft, Item #02J14 (which happens to be ON SALE July 1st through July 26th, 2012). I like this item because of the see-through visibility to easily find the center accurately by creating lines made from each of the wood block’s 4 corners. I proceeded to punch the center by using an automatic center punch. Woodcraft has a different rendition of the one shown in the photo with the General Tools Heavy Duty Professional Automatic Center Punch, Model 78, Woodcraft Item #416181.

Now it’s time to start creating some sawdust starting with the drill press. Using a machine tool centering bit, I drilled into the pre-punched center mark for the threaded rod hole to be drilled next.

After center drilling, it’s over to the Powermatic Lathe for drilling out a 23/64″ diameter hole for the scoop’s 3/8″-16 diameter threaded rod. You’ll need the undersized diameter drill bit so that the scoop threads engage into the wood when gluing with a 2-part epoxy for later assembly.  Another assembly choice is to use a threaded insert.

Lathe Setup
Pre-measure how much drill length you will need and give yourself another 1/4″-1/2″ depth so you do not bottom out during assembly later, by marking the drill bit (shown left above) with painters tape.

Insert the WoodRiver keyless chuck, Woodcraft Item #152678 (photo below left) loaded with the 23/64″ drill bit into the head stock.

Hold the block of wood (right) firmly against the WoodRiver 60 Degrees Ball Bearing Live Tailstock Center with #2 Morse Taper. Woodcraft Item #149168 (photo above right), located in the tailstock. Using approximately 250-300 RPM spindle speed, drill into the pre-drilled center hole of the wood block by controlling your wood block, fed into the drill bit with the tailstock spindle as your driving force into the drill bit at a slow pace.


After drilling to the pre-measured depth, replace the keyless chuck with a Sorby 7/8″ Diameter, #2 MT Drive Center, Woodcraft Item #145520



Center the wood block non-drilled hole end to the drive center in the lathe head stock. Hold it firmly as you move the tailstock live cone center into the drilled hole end of the block until the wood is firmly held between the two centers. You are now ready for turning.

Rough Turning the Handle
I placed the tool rest at the correct height for using a spindle roughing gouge. Choose the one that you prefer as size is not critical. I started shaping the square form into the desired diameter.

Tenon Cutting & Ferrule Fit
Once I had the round completed, I began cutting the tenon for the ice cream scoop ferrule. Turning down to a press fit diameter is a slow and critical process with many stops and checks to be sure you get the right fit. Remember, once you take material off, you cannot add it back on! My turning tool of choice was the Mini Easy Wood Rougher, Woodcraft Item #845506.

As I got down to the correct diameter, I made sure to include extra material height to go beyond the live cone center, which will need to be cut off later.

A quick tip here. As you are getting down to the required diameter measured off of the inside diameter of the ferrule, create a slight taper on the tenon to use as a press fit as you slide the ferrule onto the tenon.

I temporarily removed the turned stock from the lathe and cut off the extra height with the Shinwa 301/S03.00 Bakuma American Slim Cut Hand Saw 300mm, Woodcraft Item #126312. At this point, press fit the ferrule onto the tenon without any adhesive, just in case a mistake is made going forward in completing the handle shape.

Finish Turning the Handle Design
The design shape is purely left to your ideas and imagination. I wanted something that would be a sculpted fit in my hand when using the scoop with a thumb press fit while scooping the ice cream. Once your conception is realized, you can draw it on paper and transfer it onto the wood or just wing it, as I did! I marked an approximate line as to a radius center for the thumb fit,as shown below.

Once again, I turned to the Mini Easy Wood Finisher, Woodcraft Item #845746.

I proceeded with sanding using the Mirka Abranet 2-3/4″ x 8″ Sanding Sheets, 8 piece, Woodcraft Item #150317. Working my way from 80 grit to 400 grit paper, these sheets allow for non-clogging smooth sanding, leaving you with a fine finish.

After sanding was complete, I used General Finishes Wood Turners Finish, about 8 to 10 coats, leaving a great finish. This stuff dries quickly and allows for repeated coats to be applied. Shine, are you kidding me! Seeing is believing and this stuff really works well!

Bottom Design – Drilling & Turning
We’re not quite done yet! The handle end (left side) has left a center hole and surrounding marks in the wood where the drive center is positioned. I’ll need to face it off or come up with a finish design for that end.

Rosewood Button Plug
Use your imagination for the bottom end design like a coin, marble insert, or perhaps a contrasting wood piece to accent or offset the darker lines in the cherry will give this handle just the right look. I decided on a contrasting piece by creating a Rosewood accent button plug. But first I needed to make the plug hole in the bottom of the handle. Using a 3/4″ diameter Forstner Bit, Woodcraft Item #147069.

I squared off the end with a Crown 3/8″ Spindle Gouge, followed by using a Crown Beading & Parting Tool to shape the button and separate it from the stock. Sand the button plug with the 8 different grit sheets of Mirka Abranet.

Gluing & Assembly
Glue the button plug to the handle bottom and the ferrule to the tenon using Titebond II Wood Glue, Woodcraft #Item #08L43 and press fit both ends with a vice, protecting both sides of the handle.

Three final steps; first applying the System Three 5 Minute Epoxy, 1/2 Pint, Woodcraft Item #124270, to the threads and ferrule area top and hole…

Second…adhere the scoop by threading into the finished handle until the scoop is tight to the ferrule.

I had previously commented about a sculpted fit for my hand. Here is the conception formed into reality.

The last step to perform, time for some ice cream!

Now that you know how to make this project, get to your local Woodcraft store or go online for your ice cream scoop and supplies. Have fun and be sure to share your ice cream scoop designs (and your favorite ice cream!) right here on the Woodcraft Adventures Blog & Gallery.

auf Wiedersehen..Frank!

How To Make Your Own Sign

Let’s begin with the MILESCRAFT TurnLock SignCrafter Sign Making Jig, Woodcraft Item #146219. You can create professional horizontal signs in no time at all. The ready to use kit includes templates, clamps, template guide bushing and carbide-tipped router bit. “Easy-To-Use” self-spacing templates ensure consistent signs every time with no measuring.


  • TurnLock™ technology 7″ universal router base plate.
  • Low profile C-clamps provide secure clamping without obstructing router operation.
  • 3″ to 36″ long signs up to 18 horizontal characters can be used at once.
  • 2-1/2″ horizontal character templates include letters and numbers.
  • 3/8″ core box router bits and 5/8″ metal-nose guide bushing.
In addition to this kit, Woodcraft’s Product Development Manager, George Snyder chose the King ColorCore Sign Stock Green/White/Green 24″ x 24″, Woodcraft Item #153625 for this particular project to make his sign. This is an excellent choice for any outdoor sign.  It has contrasting colors and does not need a finish.  A plus is that it can be cut and routed with tools you already have in your shop.  If you have ever seen a polymer sign at the golf course or at your local park, it was probably made with King ColorCore. It also is available in a Tan/Green/Tan 24″ x 24″ stock, Woodcraft Item #153624, and a Black/White/Black 24″ x 24″ stock, Woodcraft Item #153626. Of course you may also choose from our wide variety of exotic and domestic woods to create signs with to use in conjunction with the Milescraft Jigs.

Product Information:

ColorCore® is a colorfast, environmentally stabilized polymer sheet that can stand up to thousands of uses, beautifully. This is the perfect product for routed and carved letter signs. ColorCore’s unique PolyFusion™ process is a proprietary technology that fuses contrasting layers of colors into a single homogeneous sheet.


  • Works with all common woodworking tools.
  • No need to ever paint or stain.
  • Will not delaminate or decay.
  • Color cap is .05″ for ease in routing or faster CNC production.
  • Easily forms for smooth contours and bends.
  • Sheet size is 1/2″ x 24″ x 24″.
  • Available in 3 color variety choices.
Sign Making:

George demonstrates in these photos, the step by step procedure in routinga sign using the Porter-Cable 1-3/4 HP Router, Model 690LR, Woodcraft Item #143163WH with this kit. (This router is currently on sale through July 26th, 2012.)

Start by placing the letters in the guide rail for your particular sign. Add a guide bushing to the router. A guide bushing comes with the SignCrafter Kit, but in this case George used a bushing from the 10 Piece Router Bushing Set with Case, Woodcraft Item #144625. The guide bushing will ride along the letter track for cutting each letter required.

Next, place the sign material on the workbench and clamp the SignCrafter Kit down. The guide rail can be clamped in a couple of different ways. Double stick tape, screws for actual clamps as George used in this situation. He was in the process of making several different size signs, so this was the fastest method. They all work equally well.

You may notice the blue painters’ tape which is used for protecting the material in clamping and layout marks. George also used the tape to cover the filler/spacing letters as a reminder for himself not to cut into that area. Before George begins his routing, he double checks his clamps, just to be safe.

This first photo shows the depth stop.  The depth of cut is determined by the amount of contrast you want and the profile of the router bit.  Test several cuts on scrap before moving on. When routing the letters, it is important to move slowly and keep the guide bushing touching the sides of the letter guide.  A successful cut is when the bottom of the letter is clean as this picture shows.  Depending on the depth of the router bit and the profile of the cutter you may need to make several passes through the center of the letter guides to have crisp letters.

The final step is to proportionally size and cut the sign material on the tablesaw,

followed by routing the corners of the material with your choice of Roundover Router Bit selections from Woodcraft.

This King ColorCore material and SignCrafter Kit is a great combination for signs that will last a lifetime in an inside or outside environment.

The MILESCRAFT Kit also comes in a SignPro Deluxe Sign Making Jig, Woodcraft Item #147862, which will accommodate vertical and horizontal sign creation.

All of these items are available at your local Woodcraft store or online.