Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Easy Wood Tools Review - A Potential Money Maker - Post #1 Of The Series

This is the first post of a series reviewing Easy Wood Tools for lathe working.   Along with the review will be some ideas on how you can possibly put these tools to use and make some extra spending money.

Easy Wood Tools was founded by a man named Craig Jackson.  He and I met at a local woodworking show and I found him to be a friendly and terrific guy.  He loves working with kids, teaching woodturning safety, and he thinks that women and family are an important element in the whole woodworking scheme of things.  When I told him that I wrote a blog dedicated to helping women with their projects, he immediately wanted to help too.  I wish all tool companies were a little more like EWT and Craig Jackson.  He is a joy to be around. 

Craig's background is that of a machinist and metal fabricator.  Some years ago he started turning wood like alot of us and he quickly realized that the standard tools of the lathe working industry were not all that they could be.  So, he set out to design and make lathe tools that were of a very high quality, were easy to use, had a low learning curve, and were easy to maintain. 

Here is a short video showing some of his tools in action....

I have really been wanting to give EWT a whirl, so I have decided to start by trying out three of their tools.  They are the ....

Ci2m Mini Rougher,

 Ci3m Mini Finisher, and the

 Ci4m Mini Detailer.

Unlike other tool reviews I don't want to find out if these tools are just wonderful for the experienced woodworker.  What I do want to find out is if a total beginner can quickly get the hang of using them, easily, safely, and with great results.  If the answer to these questions is yes, then they could be some real potential money-makers for a large number of crafters and artists out there, that would not of otherwise considered wood turning.

So, over the next couple weeks I am going to try doing a few projects using these tools and really give them a genuine workout.  With each post in the series I will attempt to do something different with the tools.  I am thinking in the lines of possibly a pen, a candlestick, and a bowl or goblet.  The reason I am choosing these projects is that they are all items that are small, lightweight, and can be shipped easily.  Items like these make super canidates to be a part of online store inventory.

So check back with me next week when I post my first project.  It should be great fun, and I can't wait to try this product out.

Wish me luck!

Do you have a product you need reviewed?  Just email me for details.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Link Party! and.....A Money Making Post Announcement.

Hello everyone!  Hopefully you all had a nice Thanksgiving and you weren't stampeded in the Black Friday soiree that I know some of you lined up for.

Before I give the party rules, I wanted to make a short announcement.....

 In the next day or two I will be doing a series of articles about how many of you ( even if you have no woodworking experience), can make some extra dollars with a lathe and a few simple tools.  If you are out there struggling and need some fresh ideas, you won't want to miss this series of articles, which will include some fun, profitable ideas, and some reviews of tools that are easy to get the hang of.  Stay tuned.  The first post of this series will be this week.

Now for the party rules........

1.)  Please become a follower if you are not one already.

2.)  Link back to the party somehow.  Any way you do it is fine.  Grab a button, start a thread in a forum, or write your own Christmas carol about the party and go around the neighborhood singing about it.  It's all good.

3.)  As usual there is no limit on the number of thumbnails you can post.  Pretty much anything goes.  Post your best eggnog recipe, your latest woodworking project, a picture of your husband asleep on the couch, or a blog button.  This is the party where you can link like crazy, so jump on in there!

4.)  Try and visit a few of the other links people have posted.

5.)  Have fun.  It's a rule.

Can you write a post per week?  Would you like to be part of the "Tools Team" ?  Email me for details.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Little Introduction-Brooke Miles

I have been asked by our gracious host, Rory, to do a small piece introducing myself and I agreed. It seemed only fitting. For the past six months I have been fortunate enough to call Rory a friend.  TAFWT is truly an important resource for showcasing designs in the link parties, connecting with friends, and finding information on crafting and tools. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity I was given with my TAFWT giveaway.  It helped me build my blog by reaching many new readers and making new friends.

My name is Brooke Miles and Sunset & Vine Jewelry is my creation. I also have my blog Tidbits & Glitz, that chronicles the building of my business and all the little quips on my mind. Art has been a passion of mine since childhood and I have always loved jewelry and anything with a little sparkle but only in the last two years did I really focus that energy into creating jewelry. I joined Etsy in January of 2009, and it was a slow start with a total evolution of my store, and my designs. I really appreciate the time I have had to grow because I have cultivated my style and learned so much in the process.

My goal is to design jewelry that is stylish, classic and with a little edge and  I use a range of materials with prices that reflect that. I understand that our economy is shaky and I believe that women deserve a little luxury without emptying their bank accounts.

There is nothing I love more than creating beautiful jewelry with quality metals and gemstones, but I also love to use Czech glass, freshwater pearls, and Swarovoski crystal. I feel blessed that I actually get to send my pieces off to be loved by someone other than myself. It feels like a dream come true. When I am not designing I am thinking about designing or jumping out of bed in the middle of the night to sketch an idea that popped in my head.

I have lived in Ohio my entire life and graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in psychology. Besides designing jewelry and crafting, my other passion is helping people. Before becoming a SAHM I worked with children as a case manager at a mental health facility.  Someday I would like to focus on volunteering in that area.

I live outside Columbus, Ohio with my husband and three wonderful daughters. We are very active in our local church andwe volunteer in community outreach projects. Recently we adopted a stranded puppy and our girls are having a blast with their new brother. In the future I plan on taking metal classes and opening my own store. My dream is to have an entire day alone in my jewelry room.

Tools Are for Women Too is grateful to have Brooke be a part of the team.  If you would like to be a part of it too, just email Rory for the details.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Link Party Time And Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope all of your are having a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend.  I am publishing the party a little early in an effort to spend less time on the computer and  more time stuffing myself with turkey, watching the parade, and sharing some time with family.  I also fully intend on falling asleep on the couch while watching a football game.  So, if your comments don't get published right away please forgive me.  I am probably snoring away and dreaming of pumpkin pie, with a fire in the fireplace. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you.

Here are this week's party rules.........

1.)  There a lot of bloggers out there who really do some wonderful things for others.  If you know of a blogger like that, let them know how much you appreciate them, thank them, and wish them a Happy Thanksgiving.  Let them know how special they are.

2.)  That's it this week.  No other rules apply.

If you are traveling this weekend, please be careful.  I want everyone to return home safe and sound.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Flexcut Detail Knife And Strop Review - Christmas Gift Idea?

Christmas is on the way and some of you out there are going to be doing a lot of shopping this week.  So, I thought I might do a review on a potential gift for someone.  If you or a loved one has a desire to take up wood carving, this review is for you.

This review is about the Flexcut Detail Carving Knife.  I personally own one and I positively love it.  It comes razor sharp right out of the package.  And when I say razor sharp, I mean it.  The blade is finely polished to a micro edge.

I found the handle comfortable and easy to grip.  It seems the older I get the more stiff my hands get when using tools like this, but I found the handle on this knife to work well for me.

One of the first projects I did with this knife was a Welsh Love Spoon.  Here are a couple pictures of it.

Shown above is the spoon in it's beginning stages along with the 3 main tools I used to make it.  The center tool is the Flexcut Detail Knife.  I used walnut for this project.  Walnut is not easy to carve and a razor sharp knife like this one makes life a lot easier and safer.  It has always been my opinion that more cuts happen from a knife slip, due to a dull blade than any other cause.  When you are using a dull knife you tend to try and force the knife instead of letting it smoothly and easily do it's job.

Below is the finished spoon.

I gave this one away as a birthday gift.

All in all, this knife is a pleasure to use.  Like any carving tool it will need to be sharpened often.  I use a Flexcut Slip Strop Sharpening System like this one.

It's easy to use and was designed specifically for use with Flexcut Knives.  It also won't cost you a fortune. 

If you are out looking at wood carving tools for Christmas, let me give you my best advice about buying them.  What you will find out there is a lot of cheap discount carving that look like great deals.  Sometimes you can get these bargain sets that will include 5 or 6 knives for $20 or less.  It might sound like a great deal, but with tools you generally get what you pay for.  What I tell people is that I would much rather see them buy 1 good knife like a Flexcut, than 6 cheap ones for the same money.

I like this tool.  It did everything it was supposed to do and after doing several projects, it is still in great shape.  I highly recommend it and give it 5 pink hardhats out of 5.

Have fun shopping this week and be safe.

Do you have a company that needs a tool or product reviewed?  You can email me for details at

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Link Link Link Party Time!

Welcome to another "pretty much anything goes" link party!  I hope all of you are well and have some fun plans for Thanksgiving week. 

Just so everyone knows, Tools Are For Women Too will have a link party on Thanksgiving day, although I will be taking the day off to be with family.  I will just prepare the link party ahead of time and schedule it to run as usual.  So I won't be available to publish comments, but otherwise it will all run the same. 

Here are the rules or this week's party.....

1.)  Please become a follower if you are not one already.

2.)  Post as may links as you want.  No limits.  Acceptable submissions can include things like woodworking projects, tutorials, blog buttons, recipes, Etsy items, or a picture of you in your best Christmas sweater  ( You know, the one that lights up and plays Christmas tunes).

3.)  Please try and visit a few of the other links. 

4.)  The really cool participants will link back to the party somehow.  Any way you do it is fine.  Grab a button, write a post, start a thread in a forum, or print it on your holiday napkins for Thanksgiving.  However you do it is okay with the TAFWT team.

5.)  Have fun.  It's a rule.

The TAFWT Team is growing.  If you would like to be a part of it, just email Rory for details.


When you are a West Texas cotton farmer's wife, you tend to be a little frugal every now and then, which is usually everyday for me over at  
While getting some laundry detergent at the local dollar store, I came across a clock cross that I thought was absolutely atrocious. I am sure that some people would like it, but it just was not my taste and I knew that I could snazzy it up and make it something great. Anything is possible, if you use your imagination. Then I remembered that my good friend Kayla had asked me a while back to make her a cross in honor of her dog "Prissy" who died. However, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on the project, so this is what I ended up doing.

I bought the hideous clock cross for $6,  knowing good and well that I was going to go home and grab my hammer and beat the heck out of it, until the clock pieces came off.  And that is exactly what I did, however the numbers were part of the cross itself, so I had to function with the imprint of the numbers.

After that, I took spray paint and sprayed the cross a pretty pink color, since Kayla had told me she wanted the cross to be pink and black. You can still see the imprint of the numbers, but not for long.

After I painted the cross, I used my Heritage Makers program to make the name PRISSY and little saying for the cross.  Yes, it is a little cheesy saying, but it is something that will be special for my friend Kayla. 

After I printed the name and the saying, I got some zebra fabric and applied it to the cross to cover the imprint of the numbers, with Elmer's Spray Adhesive (which I was carded for at the dollar store, when I bought it).  I then applied the name and the saying to the cross, wherever they looked good, along with little bling to the cross, just to make it girly and shiny. You do not want to add too much, but you want to add just enough. Make sure before you add too much, you step back and take a look at what you have. It really does help to not over do it.

Once you have the cross glued on how you want everything, it is time to put the top coat on. For the top coat, I use Triple Thick. I like Triple Thick, because it is a clear, non-yellowing finish and it is more like acrylic than Modge Podge. You apply the first layer and then you have to let it dry. If you do not let the first layer dry, adding more layers will not do any good. I usually add enough layers to make it completely smooth. However, in this case you will want it to have a 3D effect, with the bling.

Once the Triple Thick is dry, you can then add ribbon to your cross, to hang it on the wall or a little bow. It is truly up to you. Like I said you can make it into whatever your imagination desires. This is just an example of what you can do, without spending a lot of money on supplies and without going overboard. Now the only thing I need to do is add the ribbon.

 Now that I added the ribbon to hang the cross on the wall, I step back and look at it. It is just what Kayla wanted. Remember, you could decorate the cross any way you want, just have fun with it and don't forget you can do this with anything that you want to change the appearance on.

Layne is a contributing author for Tools Are For Women Too.  
If you would like to join the team, just email Rory for the details.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In Support Of Our Troops - The Woodcraft Pen Project

I wanted to write a post today about a charitable event I participated in last weekend.  This one was a lot of fun and it was for a great cause, Our American soldiers overseas.  It was sponsored by Woodcraft, a company with  over 80 retail stores nationwide.

This event was all about making some handmade wooden pens as Christmas gifts for our troops.  Woodcraft supplied all the materials.  All the volunteers had to do was show up and donate a few hours.  Anyone that wanted to be a part of this was welcomed with open arms, regardless of their skill level.  There was plenty to do.  Not only did the wood have to be cut, it also had to be turned on the lathe, finished, assembled by hand, and then packaged.  The picture at the top right shows 2 wooden blanks being turned on a lathe.

  Several lathes were operating at the same time.  Below is a shot of some of the activity, with a local student doing some pen assembly in the foreground.

Here is a close-up of her using a "pen-press" to put one of the pens together.

Along with each pen someone made a hand-written note to say thank you to the soldier that was to receive it.

The store I volunteered at was Woodcraft Store #560, in Greenville, South Carolina.  All together our group made a total of 352 pens.  I do not know the count of pens made nationwide at all the stores but up to this year, Woodcraft has helped out to tune of over 62,000 of them.

Here is one I made.  I inlaid this particular one with tiny bits of turquoise gem stones.  I used turquoise because it is sometimes thought to be a symbol of protection from negative energy. 

I don't know how many of you have ever been in a Woodcraft store, but I would invite you to take a look.  This is not a "big box" store.  They are wood specialists who are friendly and willing to go out of their way to help you.  They are also incredibly knowledgeable.  Please stop by and thank them for the hard work they put into this pen project if you have time.  We need more businesses like them.

Do you have a blog or store that needs a little jump-start?  Just email me for ad rates and details.

Friday, November 19, 2010

How To Build A Snowman Out Of Rocks - By Stacy

Hi! It is Stacy from Not JUST A Housewife again :) I love snowmen! They are so charming. They can be silly or traditional. I decided to make some out of rocks this year. I had everything on hand so it didn't cost me a thing. But even if you had to pick up these supplies, it isn't very costly.

I found some rocks in my back yard that were round(ish) and washed them up really well. Then I used some heavy duty epoxy to glue them together. I usually like to use Devcon High strength 5 minute epoxy but this Loctite worked well too. The Devcon brand was a little less stinky and set up quicker but the end result is the same.

Next I used a polymer clay (I LOVE Sculpey) to make the hat and carrot nose. Once you bake it is is very hard. I have been using this stuff since I was about 6 years old and I love it. It comes in all sorts of colors too if you don't want to have to paint it. I just always have the basic clay on hand so that is what I used.

I painted the rocks all white before gluing the hat and carrot on. Paint a face, add some button and scarf and you are done! I decided to glue mine to a board even though he was pretty steady. I have 4 boys who "look with their hands" so I thought it would be better.

I love that snowmen can stay out even past Christmas. They are a winter decoration so they last longer :)


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Link Party Time!

Here are the rules for this weeks party.......

1.)  Have as much fun as possible.

2.)  Visit a couple of the other participants sites.

3.)  Become a follower if you are not one already.  

4.)  Post as many links as you want.  Blog buttons, Etsy Store Items, Tutorial Links, and that picture of your son or daughter on Santa's lap are perfectly acceptable.  I am still waiting to see the first picture this year of a pet with reindeer ears on, so let's get with it!  Link, link, link!

The Tools Team is growing.  If you would like to be a part of the fun around here, just email me.

Review JudiKins Diamond Glaze

I hope you are all having a great week and a great humpday! This is Brooke from Sunset & Vine Jewelry and I will be doing my first product review for Tools are for Women Too! JudiKins Diamond Glaze is a product that I have used for jewelry designs as well as various crafting projects.

This product is fun and easy to use and I enjoy the results that are achieved when the glaze is used properly. I have used this glaze to make magnets, pendants and charms for jewelry. For best results I would suggest applying the glaze in thin layers and allowing one layer to dry at a time. This product also has a tendency to get air bubbles and you will need to make sure that they are removed before the glaze dries. The best way to remove the bubbles is to take a small paint brush or tooth pick and tap out the bubbles. Another tip is to ensure you are applying the product in an even coat over the surface and that it doesn't spill over the edges of the pendant or whatever tray you are filling. When following these simple directions you should achieve the desired results and I am sure you will be pleased with the glaze.

JudiKins Diamond Glaze is a water based dimensional adhesive that when dry creates a raised glass-like finish. This product can be used to make personalized items of your choosing by taking your own image and covering it with the glaze. The glaze can be mixed with small amounts of dye ink to create custom colors and it is also a great adhesive for gluing beads and glitter to paper. You can find pendant, charm, and magnet frames for glazes at many of your local bead stores as well as Etsy and internet beading suppliers.

Overall this product delivers on its promise. It gives you a great raised glass finish and is easy to use. First time users will be very happy with the results. It is also safe and easy to clean up so you can have the kids join in on the fun. This product gives you a wide variety of options to create something personal and unique. If you are looking for crystal clear image quality you will probably be slightly disappointed and I would suggest you try the more time consuming resins.

I am giving JudiKins Diamond Glaze 5 out of 5 Hardhats. Have fun on your next project and I hope this review helped!

Do you have a tool or product that needs to be reviewed or featured? Just email Rory for details.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Review SawStop Table Saw 1.75hp

I know that there are alot of new DIYers out there who are just coming into their own with the whole woodworking thing.  If you are one of these people, this review is especiallyfor you.

At the heart of any serious shop is usually a good table saw.  If you are new to using one, there are some deserved fears you are probably experiencing every time you reach for the on switch.  The idea of a razor sharp blade spinning at incredible speed within inches of your fingers is enough to make a person wince just thinking about it.

But, here is a saw that is designed to make you wince a little less.  It is made by SawStop.  This gem of a saw has a built-in feature that automatically detects when a persons skin comes in contact with the blade.  It is designed in such a way that when you touch the blade while the saw is running, the blade stops in about 5/1,000th of a second.  At the same time the blade drops below the table, unable to cause further injury.

I have seen this saw in action, (using a hot dog instead of my finger).  It performs flawlessly.  The hotdog we used suffered a mere scratch that was not even immediately detectable.  Amazing to say the least.  As far as I know SawStop is the only table saw maker around that has this kind of feature available.

There is a drawback though.  Once the mechanism is triggered, you will need to replace the activation cartridge and possibly the blade.  The cartridge cost is around $75.  Hmmm...$75 verses a finger?  Seemed like a fair deal to me.

Here is a short video of a hotdog risking itself for the sake of your fingers.  Take a look. It's impressive.

If you aren't convinced to buy this saw after seeing the video, consider this.  It's a pleasure to use and it cuts like a dream.  The model being reviewed operates on 110 volts so there is no need to run special wiring and the "T" style fence is smooth and accurate.  It has plenty of power for most jobs and features a cast iron table top.  It is a heavy-duty, quality machine, that may be the last table saw you ever need to buy. 

My friends at Woodcraft in Greenville, South Carolina ,were kind enough to let me use a version of this saw and ruin a hotdog or two.   If you would like more information, prices, and where you can pick one of these saws up,  click here.  There are various features available including a larger 3hp bruiser that runs on 220.  Check it out.

As far as giving this one a rating, I cannot find a reason to give it anything other that 5 pink hardhats out of 5. 

Have fun and be safe.

Does your company need a product featured or reviewed?  I can be emailed at