• Tuesday, February 26th, 2013


The word count tool tells me that I have now written more than 100,000 words on this blog, enough to fill two average non-fiction books, in addition to posting more than 500 original photographs since starting in September 2008. At this milestone, I again say thank you, dear readers, for including Heartwood in your woodworking reading among the ever-growing multitude of choices online and in print. I hope this blog helps expand your technical understanding as well as your enjoyment of woodworking.

I still believe that blogging can share information in a fresh and nimble way unmatched by textbooks and magazines, often exploring areas that other media neglect. Topics can be covered briefly or, using the series format, at considerable length and depth. Moreover, it’s fun.

I will continue to offer content based on my hands-on woodworking experience – real-deal stuff “arising from the sawdust and shavings of my shop.” If there is a topic you would like to see covered, drop me an email and I’ll try to write on it, but only if I know what I’m talking about.

If you are at all inclined to add a comment on a post, please do! I wish there were more comments because they share knowledge and help me connect with readers. I must hold comments for moderation and close commenting 30 days after posting because though Akismet blocks 98-99% of the many thousands of spam comments, a substantial number get through and they are often ugly.

Also, please feel free to email me with your woodworking questions. I love this craft and want others to enjoy it too, so I especially like helping novice woodworkers get oriented and move on to building things.

As a personal update, I am recovering from recent shoulder surgery so I cannot do any woodworking for a while. I should eventually be fine, but in the meantime, oh, how I miss building stuff! This has also forced me to cancel the talk-demonstrations on drawer fitting and options for smoothing plane setups that I was scheduled to present in March at the Northeastern Woodworker’s Association annual Showcase event in New York.

The next series in the blog will be on my sharpening bench and setup which has undergone many revisions and refinements over the years.

As always, thanks for reading, and happy woodworking to you.

Category: Ideas
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18 Responses

  1. 1
    Brian Eve 

    Congratulations, Rob! Quite an accomplishment. I agree with your sentiments regarding the quality of information that is available. I find that I really learn a lot from reading blog posts from all kinds of different perspectives.

    I also would say that blogging helps me gather my thoughts into something coherent that I then can take to the shop with me. That and the thought that a lot of people could potentially see my work has made me a better woodworker.

  2. Thanks to YOU! Rob, (Can I call you Rob?) I think you might want to know that you have readers from the other side of the planet. I am an amateur woodworker from Taiwan and have been following your blog for almost a year. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this blog and how happy I was when I found it. You have built quite a knowledge base and all of us benefit from it. Please, keep up the good work!

  3. 3
    Ralph Boumenot 

    I hope you heal well and quickly. I look forward to reading about the sharpening bench and your setup.

  4. 4
    Tico Vogt 

    I first became aware of the woodworking blogosphere by happening upon a post from Heartwood. I was amazed by all the great writing. 100,000 words and growing… quite an accomplishment. No fluff in there, either.

    C’mon readers, let’s give it up for Rob!

  5. 5
    Paul Mc Cann 

    Just a note to say thank you and to show appreciation of your blog. Long may it continue.

  6. 6
    Peter Oster 

    May your recovery be quick. I am very disappointed about NWA. You were the “headliner”.

  7. 7
    M Dunne 

    Thanks so much Rob–consistently high quality here and I’m always glad to see when you have a new post. Best of luck in your recovery. I’m planning on building a sharpening station soon, so I’m looking forward to your next series.

  8. 8


    Hope your recovery goes well and that you can get back in the shop soon.

    Let me know if you figure out how to get people to comment more on your blog. I’d love to know.

    Is there some percentage of Total Reader/Number Of Comments we should shoot for? And should we take Chris Schwarz out of the sampling because he skews the data too much?

    Oh, don’t know if you remember, but a long, long, long time ago I commented on a small project of yours (the oiling applicator). I think it might have been the first comment I added to your blog.

    I finally got around to getting one done, but it was a bit of a cheat. I’ll post something about it on my blog in the near future (and give credit where credit is due at that time, per it wasn’t my idea).

    Thanks for writing what you write. I’ll keep reading it and commenting when I can.



  9. 9

    Hope you bounce back quickly from your surgery. Looking forward to the next series of posts.

  10. 10
    Matt Cremona 

    Thank you for all of the great content. Yours is one of my favorite blogs to follow. Keep up the great work!

  11. 11
    Wilbur Pan 

    Hope you heal quickly. I’m sorry that you won’t be at the NWA Showcase. Your talk was one of the main reasons that I was looking forward to the show.

  12. 12

    i’ll add my thanks and appreciation too. I appreciate your approach and thoughtfulness in presentation too. Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

  13. 13
    Will Ferullo 

    Many thanks to you Rob, I really enjoy every one of your posts. You are clearly a real craftsman. Hope you heal fast and well. Thanks

  14. 14

    I have benefited greatly from your blog Rob, thank you and hope you recover fully & quickly. I would love to hear your thoughts on flattening a board by hand. (I use a thicknesser after the face edge have been flattened). There is much written on the subject, but getting rid of the wind is especially difficult for me. Also sharpening plow plane blades. The eclipse jig doesn’t work well, the Kell jig is too wide for my waterstones. Any suggestions? Thanks again.

  15. 15

    Big “thank you” to you, Rob. You are a true craftsman and gentleman. I’ve always learned something from what you say, and appreciated the way you said it (you are as talented with words as you are with woodworking tools).

    And I can relate to the shoulder injury… I broke my arm at the shoulder a year ago by a fall in my shop.

  16. 16

    We should be thanking you for taking the time to write such a great blog, not the other way around.

  17. 17
    Steve H. 

    Please have a speedy and complete recovery.

  18. 18

    Aw shucks, you guys.

    Seriously, thank you all for the kind words.


    The comment thing is a mystery to me. Much fewer than one in a thousand visits generates a comment, and I am clueless in guessing which posts will produce them. So, I don’t worry about it, but it is nice to hear from people sometimes.

    Regarding the oiler, it is still in constant use. If I were to make it again, the diameter of the hole in the base holder ought to be just a bit larger, with a concomitant increase in the wall thickness of the oiler part. This will better accommodate the inevitable flaring of the end of the wadding material. I now like rolled up felt (from a fabric/hobby store) instead of cotton for wadding.

    By the way, camellia oil is resistant to oxidation, but not entirely, and thus it can get slightly gummy around the rim of the oiler. I now add some vitamin E oil to the camellia oil storage bottle and have found it nicely prevents that.


    Yea, we all hate twist. I’d like to add that issue to the question depot for a future post, but in the meantime shoot me an email if you’d like.

    I don’t own a plow plane, (mine is Bosch router!) but I do like the Kell jig (the original small size) for honing a few narrow chisels. (For just about everything else, I hone freehand.) The total width of the rollers when the jig is fully closed is only about 1 1/4″, so adding the blade width to that, it should work with any plow plane blade on just about any man-made waterstone. PSA abrasive paper on glass or MDF is another option.