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Reviews Written by
Michael J. Edelman RSS Feed (Huntington Woods, MI USA)

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Woodwork joints; how they are set out, how made and where used; with four hundred and thirty illustrations and a complete index of eleven hundred references
Woodwork joints; how they are set out, how made and where used; with four hundred and thirty illustrations and a complete index of eleven hundred references
Price: $0.99

3.0 out of 5 stars There's a better Kindle edition, April 16, 2014
While this is a classic book and a must in the library of any hand tool worker, skip the 99 cent Kindle edition, which has bad reproductions of the original line drawings, and get the $2.99 edition. For an extra two bucks you get larger, clearer drawings that make all the difference.

Pit Bull CHIAU0600 9-Inch Auger Drill Bit Set, 6-Piece
Pit Bull CHIAU0600 9-Inch Auger Drill Bit Set, 6-Piece
Offered by Don's Trading Post 1
Price: $14.75
12 used & new from $10.48

2.0 out of 5 stars Roughly machined and improperly designed, April 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I wasn't expecting much for fifteen bucks, and I got even less. The lead screw on these bits stops short of the cutting flutes and the spurs. That means all but the very smallest can't actually work in a brace. You'd need a heavy electric drill or drill press to get the flutes to actually engage. All the cutting surfaces are very rough, too, and leave a very rough hole (see photos).

Fjallraven Greenland Wax, Large
Fjallraven Greenland Wax, Large
Price: $10.27
2 used & new from $10.27

4.0 out of 5 stars Good alternative to Barbour or Filson wax, April 11, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Compared to the waxes I usually use, this is a pretty good value. I used mine to restore the coating on a Barbour jacket and a large Carradice bicycle bag, and I still have more than half a bar left. Compared to the waxes in tins, it's also easier to control how much of a coating you apply.

Easiest way I found to apply it is to stretch out the garment, and with a heat gun in my left hand and a cake of wax in my right, apply heat from around 8-10" away to the surface while rubbing it with the wax. That way the wax flows on easily and you can monitor which areas still need coating.

The Life of Flavius Josephus
The Life of Flavius Josephus
Price: $0.00

5.0 out of 5 stars The most interesting chronicler of his age, April 8, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Josephus is probably the most interesting historian of the Roman emperor, not least because his first-person account of the life of Jesus is the single most reliable contemporary account that has survived to the present. He lived for 63 years, and during much of that chronicled the events of the Eastern Roman empire, first as a loyal Roman, and later as a more independent voice.

Born Joseph ben Matityahu, Josephus was part of the failed first Jewish revolt against Rome and thanks to his literary skills, ended up as a prisoner and servant to Vespatian instead of being killed or sold into slavery. He proved a loyal hagiographer, telling the story of the struggle from Rome's point of view in "The Jewish Wars," and was freed on the death of the Emperor.

But later in life , as a free man, Josephus regained his Jewish identity, and made it his mission to educate Rome as to the ancient history and the philosophy of the Jews, and to this end produced his "Antiquities of the Jews." He followed this with "Against Apion," which argued against the belief of some Romans (notably Apion) that Judaism was a recent cult without a strong philosophical and moral tradition.

Whiston's translation is a bit on the archaic side and tries to capture the peripatetic style familiar to reader of the King James Bible, in which the sentences go on and on, with clause after clause, and so on and so on and..... But Whiston's choice of words is more modern than archaic, and the result is that this is not a difficult read. I've been told that the Brill translation is the best, but to my eyes, at least, there's not a tremendous difference between his and Whiston's; both keep the archaic style. At any rate, given the price of the Kindle edition I'm not complaining.

Minwax 60910 Wipe-On Poly Polyurethane Finish Clear Satin, Quart
Minwax 60910 Wipe-On Poly Polyurethane Finish Clear Satin, Quart
Price: $20.58
10 used & new from $14.22

5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to apply, tough finish, April 7, 2014
Fifteen years ago I did some major remodeling in my house and finished all the wood with Waterlox. It looked great, but didn't hold up as well as I would have liked. I had to a lot of sanding and touch-up work over the years. A few months ago I removed the doors from my kitchen cabinets, sanded them down, and applied a few coats of Miniwax Wipe-On Poly. Result? It's easier to apply than the Waterlox, and it's tough as nails. I'm moving on redo a lot of the wood trim throughout the house.

This finish goes on easier than any finish I've ever tried. As the name suggests, you just wipe a thin on a prepared surface and let it set. When it cures, give it a light scuffing and wipe on another coat. Three coats seems sufficient for a deep, attractive, tough finish that repels water and, unlike older poly finishes, is easy to touch-up.

Rabbeting Block Plane with Nickers
Rabbeting Block Plane with Nickers
Offered by Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
Price: $175.00

5.0 out of 5 stars Like a Swiss Watch, April 7, 2014
If you're familiar with Lie-Neilsen tools you're probably not reading these reviews. If you're not familiar with them, head over to YouTube and do a search, and watch all the glowing reviews of the marvelous tools from this company. Lie-Neilsen is the only company in the US, and one of only two in North America producing high-quality modern versions of the classic Stanley bench planes. This one can be used as a bench plane, but it really shines at trimming rabbets and tenons. Yes, it's expensive, but it'll last you forever, and if you ever get tired of it you can sell it for not much less than you paid for it.

Stanley 12-247 Block Plane
Stanley 12-247 Block Plane
Price: $14.07
32 used & new from $8.58

2.0 out of 5 stars Needs work, April 7, 2014
This is Stanley's simplest and cheapest plane, and if you don't mind doing a LOT of work, you can turn it into a function tool. First, you have to flatten the bottom. This can be done with several sheets of sandpaper of various grits ranging from 120 to 320, and anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour's work. Next, file the mouth so it's square, and flatten the frog as you did the sole. Last, flatten the iron and put a good edge on it, using your preferred sharpening system,. In the end you'll have a decent plane that's hard to adjust and has an iron that dulls quickly. Me, I'd spend another $40 and get one of the good Stanleys, or spend another hundred and get a Veritas or a Lie-Neilsen that's a pleasure to use and will last a lifetime.

Furniture Making: Plain and Simple
Furniture Making: Plain and Simple
by Alden A. And Theodora A. Poulos Watson
Edition: Hardcover

5.0 out of 5 stars The best first book on making furniture with hand tools, April 7, 2014
This book, along with Graham Blackburn's "Furniture Making," were the two volumes that got me started on woodworking with hand tools. Both spend a good amount of time on the basics of tool use that get glossed over in most books, or ignored entirely in books focused on power tool use. The Watsons shows you how to saw a straight line, how to make a dado with a saw and chisel, and how to cut dovetails. There's a lot of information on selecting wood, and how to cut and plane to size, how to join wood, and so forth.

The projects range from relatively easy- things a beginner could tackle as a first pro just- to more advanced (but still approachable) projects requiring cutting dovetails or turning wood. Some of the largest, like the armoire, could be tackled by a careful beginner could tackle with only a couple of handsaws, a jack plane, a coping saw, and a 1/2" chisel. Add a plow plane, a rabbet plane, and a router plane and you could tackle anything other than those requiring lathe-turned legs. In fact, the dedicated beginner could completely outfit his or her house with furniture using the designs in this book. Beds, desks, cabinets, bookshelves, chests- it's all here. The designs are all done in pine- mostly 1x8s or 1x12s and a few squares for legs. The style is American country: Simple, function, and elegant.

Unfortunately this great book is out of print, but there are still a lot of good used copies around. If you're just getting started in woodworking, and you're looking for basic instruction in hand tools along with some classic timeless designs to build- I can't think of a better book.

The Small Workshop (Fine Woodworking On)
The Small Workshop (Fine Woodworking On)
by Fine Woodworking
Edition: Paperback
67 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Useful, April 7, 2014
This collection of articles from the early days of Fine Woodworking magazine contains a number of very useful tips, projects, and ideas for the woodworker without a lot of space. Some are directed more towards hand work, and some towards machine work, but there's a fair bit of useful information for all woodworkers, be they cabinet makers, carpenters, or sculptors. There's a lot on shop organization, with examples of small, very small, and downright tiny workshops. There's even a mobile workshop, a complete power tool based shop built into a truck. Impressive. I found the articles on work holding- making benches, clamps, and saw horses- the most useful for my own hobby woodworking.

Proof: The Science of Booze
Proof: The Science of Booze
by Adam Rogers
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.15

4.0 out of 5 stars The fascinating science behind the art, April 7, 2014
Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Making wine, beer and whiskey is more art than science-, that's what winemakers, brewers, and distillers will tell you. Their crafts have evolved over hundreds, even thousands of years, and depend as much on lore passed down from generation to generation as they do scientific knowledge. At least, that was the case until 1848, when Louis Pasteur was famously asked to look into the problem of why certain certain batches of fermenting beet juice were turning into vinegar instead of alcohol. Since that time science and technology have played an ever-increasing role in the making of alcoholic beverages.

Adam Rogers is a real booze enthusiast with a curiosity about the way things work. He's also a very good reporter with an eye for detail and a good understanding of the sciences of fermentation and distillation- good enough, at least, to explain them in terms the layman can quickly pick up on. He take stye reader through vineyards, breweries, and distilleries, explaining along the way how the process of malting ("cooking the mash", if you're a bootlegger) converts starches into sugars that can be fermented into alcohol, how different fungi can influence the formation of different flavors, and why the distiller has to carefully select exactly which of the many fractions of distillation he bottles and which should go down the drain.

Rogers travels to vineyards, distilleries, chemistry labs, behavioral research labs, and historical texts to discover the origins of booze, and to understand and explain the physical processes that determine whether we produce fine vintages or vinegar. He and the reader learn about how alcohols and organic acids combine to make esters, the complex molecules that carry flavor and aromas, the hows and why of blending whiskey, and of getting and avoiding hangovers. (Have you ever had nopales, the cooked leaves of the prickly pear cactus use din Mexican cuisine? The skin of the nopales contains an anti-infllatory agent that's reportedly very effective.)

I'm not much of a drinker, myself; I cook with wine and I have the occasional glass of wine or beer and the even more occasional cocktail- maybe one a month. But I found this to be an absolutely fascinating read, and if you're of a scientifically curious bent, you probably will, too.

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