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The Homemade Workshop: Build Your Own Woodworking Machines and Jigs Kindle Edition
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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Overall, the book is OK. The photographs and drawings, which are useful, make the book much better. A LOT of how to books skimp on photos and drawings, but this Stumpy Nubs Woodworking book includes many photographs and drawings. The descriptions of how to proceed with each project are detailed and stress the need for extreme accuracy which is a must when building “machines”. In addition, the author has put interesting tidbits throughout the book for the reader’s enlightenment.
The difficultly starts with the photographs. They are much too busy; that is, there are far too many objects in the photographs and they are all in sharp focus. The author should have isolated the project or part by placing it on a plain cloth and then taking the picture. This is of critical importance in photographing projects. Using a larger F-stop will also blur the objects behind the part thus isolating the part. Pictures are a great idea, but the photos must be well executed and these are not. The simple step of taking a grey table cloth and placing the parts or project on it could have greatly improved the book.
Figure 1 at location 731 is an amusing sidelight. The author is building a micro-adjustable router table fence and he is using an Incra micro adjustable router table fence. One of the best fences you can get, and it isn’t cheap. Kind of funny.
There are several exploded drawings which need a bit of shading to distinguish them. The projects have a large number of parts, thus, they are squished together on the page making them a little difficult to decipher. A drawing of the completed project should have been included near the exploded drawing. How the overall project looks is important in understanding where the parts go. The drawings seem to be accurate and match up with the text well.
The projects are very complex. Extreme accuracy is important because the tools being built are going to be used to build parts that demand accuracy. This is stressed numerous times throughout the book.
This book almost requires that you like building things for the sake of building them. While it may be true the materials are cheaper than buying a commercial product that shouldn’t be the end of the equation, even if these projects add a lot of features you will not find on commercial products. How much is you time worth? If you value your time at zero then the projects will cost less than buying the router table or whatever.; however, if time has value, the “savings” are reduced. After all, if it takes 40 hours to build something and you think your time is worth only $10 dollars per hour you should still calculate that as worth $400 dollars. Its $800 dollars if you value yourself at $20 per hour. The price of materials isn’t deeply discussed. Quality plywood is outrageously priced, and material costs have gotten so great that many woodworkers can’t afford the wood. And there is the wastage factor, seldom examined, that will add 10 percent or more to the cost of any wood project.
The author often tells you to do something, like, bend the metal, but fails to say how to do it. Of course, this is a book for advanced woodworkers so the author has the legitimate option of assuming one knows how to bend metal in a shop. One will also note the author cuts very good notches in his wood. He says he used a band saw, how it is done isn’t well discussed (was a fence installed etc.?). It is obvious the author put a lot of work into this book and he wants the user to be happy with the results. If you want to try a challenging woodworking project this book will provide you with several.
The area that could use lots of improvement is the project parts/cut list. It's easy to read and you will get all the measurements for all the parts you need. What is missing? How about a shopping list. Yes I need x amount of parts cut to this size but tell me how many sheets of plywood I need to build that sander and table saw sled. It leaves you guessing of how much material to purchase at the store.
Also what would be nice is a general cost estimate for parts and a list of the exact parts used to make the device. Some manufactures parts may not be the same as the other guys and things might not work. So if you are going to sell a book of plans, give us a shopping list and a hint of where you got your stuff.
Good first book, I am looking forward to the next with some improvements.
I have long been a subscriber of James Hamilton's videos.
I purchased this book after seeing his article in popular woodworking and I am disappointed with the quality.
I made the table saw crosscut sled following the directions in the book and the experience was excruciating. The instructions leave out key details like how to orient the support blocks for the fence. Do they go long side up or short side up? This type of detail is missing throughout the instructions for the crosscut sled, and after the experience I have been reluctant to try any of the other tool plans in the book.
In addition to being vague and incomplete, one of the key dimensions is just WRONG. The dimension for the crosscut sled fence should be 31/8 inch wide (working from memory) but the part is listed at 3 inches (part G if you have the book). Why is this 1/8 critical? The blocks that support the fence and top rail are already cut at 3 1/8 and fastend by the time you mount the fence face and realize it is to narrow.
Lastly, there is no good information in the instructions on how to true up the fence to the sled and ultimately the blade on your table saw. After following the plans closely good luck getting the sled square to your table saw blade and forget about adjusting it. The design does not allow for adjustment..
I was hoping for better when I bought the book.
(edit to my first post)
though I am still luke warm about the book. I can tell you the author is seems to be a pretty good guy. I sent this same basic post to James Hamilton and he responded promptly with where I could get more information, corrections to the plans, and a video walk through of making the sled. Pretty good service if you ask me.