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ShopNotes Podcast 070 — Woodworking Fads

By: Phil Huber
Phil, John, and Logan evaluate woodworking tools, techniques, and furniture styles that have come and gone.

On this episode of the ShopNotes Podcast, Phil, John, and Logan discuss woodworking fads: Tools, techniques, and even furniture styles that have come and gone. Plus, a bonus topic... shop clean-up and organization philosophies.

Phil shares his "grandma hypothesis" to the appeal of bygone furniture stlyes. And makes a case (again -- eyeroll) for edge gluing plywood.

Logan isn't a fan of the river table phenomenon.

And John remembers the golden oak of the 90s ... Logan was too young.

Other fads mentioned: Shapers, large horsepower routers, biscuits, live edge furniture, Shaker furniture.

This episode is brought to you by Shaper Tools, makers of Shaper Origin, the handheld CNC router that brings digital precision to the craft of woodworking. Tackle joinery, cabinetry, hardware installation and more with speed and precision. Try it risk-free in your shop for 30 days. Visit Shapertools.com to learn more.

Listener Comments:

Jim: I had to laugh listening to the show this morning. I have two power saws in my shop, a radial arm and a bandsaw. My mitre saw is a Nobex handsaw unit. I use the radial arm for dadoes, mitres, bevels and beveled mitres. Most of the ripping is done on the bandsaw and most cross cutting is done with a Disston handsaw. Your description of the sound of the radial arm firing up was pretty accurate though.

Graeme: Congratulations to Logan! Power saw opinions ... Background: high school wood shop in the mid-1960s. Radial arm saws, shaper tables, jointer (one shop teacher sacrificed a thumb to that) and only a single table saw that student could use under very close supervision. Refresher course in the mid-1970s via continuing education. Occasional refreshers since. Over the years I have subscribed to every woodworking & home improvement magazine, now pared down to Woodsmith. Many books & articles on file, both paper and digital, dating back to the 1960s. Bought a Sears radial arm saw in the mid-1970s. It has been and still is my primary stationary saw. Replaced the motor once, zero injuries. I WILL NOT own a table saw, simply because I have always regarded it as the most unsafe power tool ever made - and because of the number of injuries I have witnessed or know of. As for the chop saw (yes I still use that early name for the miter saw) it is a crude replacement for doing only one of the very many things that can be done using a Radial Arm Saw. If I was 30 years younger I would be leaping at a chance to work for the magazine. Many decades ago I spent a year working in Cedar Rapids, and much of my wife's extended family is in Iowa, Nebraska & Missouri. But in my early 70s, I still have the energy & desire to get to my workshop, but not much else. We're planning a big road trip that direction for next year (originally last year!) so I might like to drop in.

Don: A lot of discussion about miter saws, table saws, and even radial arm saws, but what about track saws?

Rick: Nice to hear more from John this week! And to see Logan after his announcement last week.

Carl: For me, the pleasure in making jigs is coming up with an elegant design - one that solves the problem at hand, does it well, and is simple and easy to use. Too many people conflate complexity and flexibility with quality or elegance. I prefer the one tool that does the job well - the traditional Unix approach if you are into computers. BTW, I made a router table based on Woodsmith plans back in the late '80s. Still use it.

Published: May, 14 2021
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