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J. Mikkelson "Walnut Vale Woodworks" RSS Feed (Albany, OR USA)
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Dremel 300-1/24 300 Series Variable-Speed Rotary Tool Kit
Dremel 300-1/24 300 Series Variable-Speed Rotary Tool Kit
Offered by Winkie's Toys & Hobby
Price: $101.32
7 used & new from $45.00

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, mediocre execution..., October 8, 2010
So, it seemed like everyone and their brother had one of these, and I didn't. So I got this kit, and immediately began finding things I couldn't believe I had ever gotten done without a Dremel. Great fun, and useful. While I was still able to use the tool, my biggest gripe was that the speed control would not stay fixed once I selected a speed. I am a professional furniture and cabinetry maker, and I was using this for some relief carvings for a custom mantel. It worked well in that regard, except that I had to constantly tweak the speed setting or it would just continue to climb to maximum when I put it under any load. OK, it's not a high end tool, and I don't use it THAT much, so I accepted that aspect. Now, I can't use it at all, because the collet nut has become frozen on the spindle. Not rusted, not poorly threaded, it just won't come off, and no matter how much I hold down the little plastic collet locking button to lock the spindle so I can try to remove the nut, it just slips past whatever stop is inside the body trying to hold the spindle, and makes another half rotation to the next (futile) stop. I am not averse to some tool disassembly to fix these kinds of things -- I have had my Bosch router down to the power switch internals to fix a dust contamination problem -- but I can see no easy way to correct this. Like a few other reviewers, I fear I now own, well, not quite a piece of junk, because the cutter wheel shaft is what is stuck on there, so I can still do anything that needs this attachment. But my carving days (with this tool) are over until either I come up with some unforeseen fix, or get another (different!) Dremel.


Arts & Crafts Cabin, The
Arts & Crafts Cabin, The
by Robbin Obomsawin
Edition: Hardcover
66 used & new from $1.76

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars More like a very beautiful marketing brochure..., June 23, 2009
Got this book as a resource on current Arts & Crafts design implementation, but I was disappointed on a couple of fronts. One, the book -- as at least one other reviewer has mentioned, is chock full of beautiful homes, but not one I could call a "cabin." More like craftsman-flavored lodges. If you are a fan of the "Not So Big House" mentality, and I am, you will cringe at the opulent waste of space and materials, and the repetitive photos of imposing post-and-beam constructs. (I wasn't looking for a book on *log* cabins or floorplans, so the dearth of such designs was not an issue for me, as for some other reviewers.) I was, however, hoping for some examples of small-yet-finely-crafted homes, and they're not in here. Second, if you look at who wrote the book, it doesn't take long to realize this is a book aimed at inspiring the reader to look up a "design professional" -- a phrase that must be repeated a hundred times -- to create a truly beautiful, "connected with nature" A&C home. Now, I design and build custom furniture and cabinetry, and I am in favor of professional design as a rule. But this book just seems like it presents itself as a book *about* the cabin and ends up being a "you could have this kind of truss, or this kind of truss..." and "look us up if you see something you like" kind of read. Finally, it's a little inaccurate in its self-serving use of the popularity of the A&C philosophy as a design/marketing approach. Connect with nature, nature, blah blah nature... (not sure how harvesting so many huge trees for the post & beam constructions connects one with "nature!") but the Arts & Crafts movement, going back to one of its founders, William Morris, was really all about the *person* and the fulfillment and satisfaction of hand crafting, and enjoying things hand-crafted, as opposed to the mass-produced Victorian fluff being used to decorate everything in sight. Nature was an inspiration for many A&C designs, but the movement was about the dignity of the process and the craftsman, and the authenticity of the product. (Morris is never mentioned in the book that I recall, though Frank Lloyd Wright and the Greene brothers are, and their styles, though derived from A&C, are more accurately categorized as Prairie / Mission, and Craftsman.) The design details we have come to associate with A&C / Craftsman certainly lend themselves to beautiful, impressive lodges, and this book demonstrates that. Perhaps an acutely critical look at what is certainly a beautifully photographed book, but I can only give a generous C+ on the Arts & Crafts half of the title, and a solid D on "cabin."


Jet 60-9180 180 Grit Ready-To-Cut Sanding Roll
Jet 60-9180 180 Grit Ready-To-Cut Sanding Roll
Price: $139.34
4 used & new from $130.99

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Effective, but burns on some woods, February 5, 2008
I couldn't believe that there were still no reviews on this item, which I have been using in my one-man shop for several years now on a Performax 16-32. Overall, it's a great option. Cutting is straightforward, using the color-coded lines for your particular drum, though I think there is a dark green line that can be easy to mistake for the black one, which is "my" line. The main problem I have with this is its tendency to develop "hot spots" -- especially on woods such as cherry, with its pitch pockets -- and then proceed to leave a burn line the length of the board as the burn problem snowballs. Once the paper burns, that's it for that spot. You can scrape/chip the burned resin off the drum, but I still mark the spot in pencil on my sander so I don't send something across that spot again. Since I do a lot of rail/stile kind of widths, I can get away with that, but if you were going to use it for lots of wide panels, it could be a different problem entirely. The only remedy I have found, and it's not 100%, is to take *extremely* light passes at a fairly high feed rate.

In practice, the paper produces a near-finish quality on woods like mahogany and oak, which can hide finish imperfections fairly well. On maple, walnut, and cherry, particularly dense areas around knots, etc., it leaves very visible straight line scratches that take a good bit of RO sanding at 150-180-220, or a good cabinet scraper, to remove. (If you use a scraper after using this, I would hit the surface with RO at 180 or 220 briefly, and blow or vacuum off the dust, or the residual abrasives from this paper will dull the burr on your scraper in a hurry!) I still think this is a better solution than going to the RO sander straight from the planer, but it can be a board-to-board thing.

A side benefit of this kind of abrasive is that, once I need to pull the old one off my sander, it is easy to tear the less worn sections into hand-held size pieces (I usually go about 5" long, and the roll is about 3.5" wide) and use for hand sanding, especially profiles, where the stiffness of the resin/fabric backing is a plus. You can generate some serious heat in a hurry this way, though, so go easy, or wrap your thumb / fingers -- it really is that hot.

Overall, a good bet, and it will last you a long time. I'm just finishing my first roll after several years and many, many hundreds of BF through it.


Roku SoundBridge M1000/M1001 Network Music System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
Roku SoundBridge M1000/M1001 Network Music System (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great product - why aren't there more of these?!?, November 6, 2007
I have had a Soundbridge (M1000) for over a year now. Wanted music in our living room, but as it's a 100-year old farmhouse, a stereo stack was not an attractive option. Wanted unobtrusive presence, but good sound. We're pretty picky on sound. Here's the solution...

Had an older Onkyo receiver that had been made obsolete by 7.1 DTS, etc. But still a very good receiver. Moved it to the basement. Got a Soundbridge, a small powered subwoofer, and a couple good satellites (Mirage Omnis) and drilled holes through the floor near the walls just large enough to feed (a) speaker wire, and (b) the audio plug for the Soundbridge. Now the soundbridge feeds its signal to the receiver, which provides a very high quality output to the sub/sat setup. Almost invisible, except for the sound. Wires strewn across (old) basement ceiling, not living room floor. Love it. Immediately found my music, playlists, etc. on my music server (i.e., my laptop) upstairs using wi-fi.

Now for the problems...

- Remote is funky, dated-looking, and necessary. Get used to it, or get a multi-function remote. (We have a Logitech Harmony for the home theater setup, and it's great.)
- On occasion, the Soundbridge looks like it is playing what you want, but no sound comes out. Have to restart (a 1-minute process, +/-) and everything is fine. Not a big deal, but seems to happen when trying to just get some background music for dinner, while everyone is waiting... (No occurrences since most recent firmware upgrade.)
- Entering the 128-bit WEP key for out network with the interface provided is awkward; an alphanumeric setup on the remote would be much easier (think T9 for texting on a phone keypad) Would also make it easier to actually browse for artist, etc. rather than scroll...

All in all, once I got the volume set to the range I wanted, sub output just right, etc., it's a very good solution to what had been a pretty big dilemma. Even made use of "old" technology instead of landfill / recycling, or trying to get $20 on craigslist for an old receiver.

Now, if only there was more on the market in this arena. Want to do the same kind of solution in another room, but would like a larger screen, maybe an LCD remote that show track / playlist info, etc. Don't want to have to buy a media PC and pull down the movie screen / turn on the projector just to see the on-screen display that shows my music choices!


Bosch 1617EVS 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed Router
Bosch 1617EVS 2-1/4 HP Variable-Speed Router
Price: $162.99
20 used & new from $145.85

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great router, but keep it clean..., November 8, 2005
I've had this router for over 2 years now, and overall I love it. I also own several P-C, Hitachi, and a semi-retired Ryobi, so this one has gone head-to-head in my shop with several other "industry standards."

The Good: Wonderful look and feel -- love the wood handles, balance, etc. Power is smooth and strong, and speed adjustment is easy and precise. I recently routed a nice 3/4" cove in a solid cherry bookcase top without a single burn, thanks to the right bit speed. I like the height adjustment process, and the way it slides to the multiple macro ranges.

The Bad: I have had several sawdust-related problems with this router. I bought it as an upgrade to mount in my table as I progressed from hobbyist to semi-pro woodworker. It performed very well in that capacity, but I quickly found that the nice height adjustment feature becomes exponentially more difficult as the mount accumulates sawdust, which without industrial-quality collection from above and below the table, will fall directly where you don't want it. I had to regularly remove the router and slide it multiple times throughout its range of motion while gently knocking the dust out to return to any semblance of smooth adjustment. The magnesium body, which keeps the weight down, does not help this situation, as it builds a sort of "chalky" oxidized finish, unlike, say, the smoother brushed aluminum on the P-C. SO, after several of these cleaning episodes, I had to find a better table router. (Which I did -- Hitachi 3-1/4HP plunge - awesome bargain!)

THEN... it quit working -- problem with the switch, I suspected, and as I was in the middle of a commissioned work and it was out of warranty, I sent it out for repair at a local shop rather than investigate myself. Came back working fine after $40 fix, and I was happy again. Last month -- same problem. This time I investigated, taking the body apart down to the electronics, and found the nicely rubber-sealed rocker switch is not as sealed as one might expect. It was packed with oily sawdust, which turns out to be a great insulator, interfering with the switch contacts. Cleaned it out, re-assembled, and it's back to sweet routing. This is not something I like to have to do (take my time to make up for others' shortcomings/mistakes) and some of it may be chalked up to insufficient periodic maintenance, but I wasn't anywhere near full-time (which I am now) production, so it seems a lot like a Ferrari - love it when it works, but you gotta keep it up or you'll spend more time under the hood than you might have planned...

Bottom line -- I'm in the market for another router or two, and despite its problems, I'm still seriously considering this router again. Now that I know how to keep it happy!


Fine Woodworking
Fine Woodworking
Price: $29.95

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for "experts"..., June 4, 2003
This review is from: Fine Woodworking (Magazine)
I've subscribed to this magazine for several years now, though somehow (sadly) I let my subscription expire. Trust me, I'm fixing that!
I've gone from hobbyist to almost-full time professional woodworker over the past few years, making everything from small desk clocks to custom cabinetry and furniture. I'd have to roger up with the other reviewers who've said that, if they could only have one woodworking magazine, this would be it.
Strengths -- I don't care where you are in your woodworking skill/experience level; you WILL find something worth a careful read in each issue. I've subscribed to several other woodworking magazines of which that could not be said. Yes, much of what is featured/discussed in these magazines is "high-level" stuff. That's how you grow as a woodworker. There needs to be at least one journal for any profession that takes on the finer points on a consistent basis. THIS IS IT for the profession of woodworking. What's new in water-based finishes (a lot!), veneering, dovetails on a curved drawer front (haven't tried THAT one yet!) -- just a few of the kinds of stuff you can expect to find in FWW. Four or five years ago I may have disregarded this magazine as "too much" for me; then again, I cringe at the quality and worksmanship of some of my "handiwork" from that same time!
The contributors to this magazine (I've met a few) are some of the most accomplished, yet down-to-sawdust people you'd ever meet in this business. Most of them are making a living working wood, and are happy to share lessons of both success and failure to help the reader.
Weaknesses? Well, as has been mentioned, you won't find many diagrams or drawings to help you step-by-step. Personally, I don't consider that a drawback, and it's not part of the magazine's mission to provide them. If you're out to basically cut out and assemble a kit every so often, you'll want to look elsewhere.
If, on the other hand, you want to develop your knowledge of one of the oldest crafts in history, to get to the point that you can conceive, design, draft, and build (oh, yeah -- and finish!) one -- or a hundred -- quality works in wood, then this is well worth the annual subscription.


KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, Black
KRUPS F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder with Stainless Steel Blades, 3-Ounce, Black
Price: $19.99
130 used & new from $16.55

433 of 476 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What else do you want for $.01 per pot 'o joe?, December 6, 2002
I (OK, we -- my wife loves coffee even more than I) have been using this grinder for more than 7 years now. At least a pot a day, year in and year out. No problems with blowing up, or any of the other problems mentioned. If you're unfortunate enough to get one that doesn't do what the vast majority of reviewers have said it will - grind beans for years and years - I hope you'll assume you got a (rare, it seems) bad copy, and try another one before giving up.
As for the coffee, this little [U.S. currency with Andrew Jackson's portrait] gadget grinds from coarse to espresso, and all you have to do is a "one-mississippi, two-mississippi" until you get it down which mississippi gives you the coffee you want. Yes, blades will heat up the beans, but keeping the beans in the freezer mitigates that, and that's where you really oughta keep 'em anyway, for freshness' sake. As for coffee dust on the sides, I only get that anymore when I come home with a brand new can of Sumatra Lintong from Trader Joe's, and just won't wait for the beans to cool down! Otherwise, cold beans = no caked-on dust. As for getting grounds all over the counter, here's a little trick: when you're done grinding, turn it over (lid still on, please!) and give the whole thing a tap or two on the countertop. Bingo - lid now full of grounds, ready to carry to your coffee maker. (Speaking of... based in no small part on reviews here, we're getting a Braun KF187, and I can't wait to see if it really makes coffee as well as everyone raves. But I digress...)
We also bought a second one of these for spices, and recently even used it to bail us out of a no-confectioner's-sugar bind. Threw in some raw turbinado sugar, crossed fingers, gave it a whirl, and pressed on, MacGyver style...
To sum up, it's been a great little tool that has cost us less than a penny a day if you amortize the cost over 7+ years. I'll take it, and if it "blows up" tomorrow, I'll go buy another one in a heartbeat.
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