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BEN The Build-It Blog


02/15/2011 Ben's Blog on Tools for Working Wood

Introduction 5
Hello and welcome to Ben's Blog at Tools for Working Wood. This project based blog will follow my personal woodworking and tool making.

First a little bit about who I am, and why my blog is on

I got a job in production tool making at Tools for Working Wood while I was a sophomore studying art at the Cooper Union in New York City. I used the money I made by prototyping and building saws to buy my first serious set of hand tools. If you own a Gramercy Dovetail saw or Carcase saw circa 2007-2008 you helped pay for my education. If you didn't buy one don't worry. They're still available, and the money from your purchase flows directly into an account used exclusively for beer, lumber, and bicycle parts.

When I left TFWW to finish my degree I took my new tools and began to integrate them into a sculpture practice that had used almost exclusively powertools. I made this change for two reasons. The first was that the jigs I used for the tapers and compound angles in my sculpture were time consuming to make, and left surfaces that required more sanding than I care to remember. With a full course load and limited shop hours I couldn't get my work done. Secondly, using hand tools allowed me to do away with the "necessity" of large power tools. By learning to work by hand I didn't need to worry about how how to wire a table saw into my kitchen or how I would make things after graduating and leaving behind the Cooper Union Sculpture Shop.

I started working for Tools for Working Wood again last September. I work with Joel and Tim designing and producing tools for the Gramercy Tools line. At work I make things in metal. At home I tend to use wood. I've made sculpture and furniture, and worked on odd jobs ranging from picture frames to laminated plywood tombs. This Blog will follow the projects I'm working on outside of work, and my thoughts on tools, techniques, and wood working in Brooklyn.

This blog aims to give insight into how I use old school tools and traditional practices to make non-traditional things. As I transition from having a studio at school to working at home my first large project is designing and making a bench. We'll publish the plans on the blog. Other projects on queue range from coffins, and harvesting Brooklyn street wood to interviews and features on sculptors and artists working with wood.

If your enjoying what I post let me know. If it sucks... let me know how I can improve. This is my first stab at Blog style living all up on the inter-web 2k11.

Ben Seltzer
Join the conversation
02/17/2011 Patrick McNamara
Dear Ben:
Having just read Sir Walter Scott's, "Ivanhoe," to my young son, I became familiar with the word, "gramercy." I suggest you place the definition into the web site as it is likely most people are not familiar with it nor it's French origin, "grande merci," (great thanks).
Hope you have tried out the Auriou rasps- I find them indispensable for making cane handles for the walking canes I make for the disabled. They make a modeler's rasp in #10 grit for cane makers (which you do not carry but is wonderful).
Good luck with your green wood project. Make sure you read about drying the wood and vacuum kilns.
02/17/2011 Fred West
Ben, I am looking forward to reading more of your posts. You could not do better than working with Joel and Tim. Maybe we will see you at the WIA this October that is assuming that Joel lets you out of your chains at the design desk.:o)

02/18/2011 Bill McCaffrey

Sounds like you are a passionate young man with a great opportunity to have a lot of fun in the process of putting bread on the table. I remember those days. I am looking forward to seeing your work.
03/28/2011 Mike
Hey Ben - This blog is great - I never knew you knew how to do all this shit. Love Bostock
Comments are closed.
The opinions expressed in this blog are those of the blog's author and guests and in no way reflect the views of Tools for Working Wood.
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BEN Built-It Blog
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