Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wood question of the week!

Which tool is used by a carpenter to shape and smooth wood?

a. Plane
b. Rasp
c. File
d. Spokeshave

Answer: All 4 of these tools may act to shape and smooth wood.

Plane: There are many different types of hand planes available to produce different types of cuts, but all planes contain a sharp blade that shaves off pieces of the wood into the cutter's desired shape.

Rasp: Rasps are used for shaping wood wherever a chisel might be too large or might create tear-out in a project. Rasps are found in flat, half-round, and round shapes and in a range of coarsenesses.

File: Files are basically rasps but offer a finer cut.

Spokeshave: Spokeshaves, which must be pushed or pulled with both hands, are used for shaping and smoothing rounded objects, such as spindles.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Celebrate Earth Day!

In honor of Earth day, we'd like to share with you again the steps that Wightman Specialty Woods takes each and every day to ensure the safety and well being of our planet. By completing all wood manufacturing processes at our facility we keep our carbon footprint on planet Earth as small as possible, while also ensuring our customers the highest quality materials at reasonable costs.

Take a virtual tour of our facility and read our commitment to environmental responsibility at:, and

To learn more about Earth Day, events in your local area, and what you can do to make an impact, visit

Monday, April 19, 2010

Wood question of the week!

1. What is the definition of paneling?

2. What was the original purpose of paneling?

a. Structural
b. Decoration
c. Insulation


1. Paneling is "a wall covering constructed from rigid or semi-rigid components". Traditional paneling materials are interlocking wood pieces, but paneling today exists in a wide variety of other materials. Recently, paneling has also become popular as a ceiling covering.

2. C, insulation. Paneling was originally developed to act as insulation to make the rooms of cold stone buildings more comfortable.

April Profile: Barney Small, Woodworker, Cabinet maker

With no formal training in woodworking, other than his high school shop class, Barney Small is truly a self taught woodworker. Developing his skills mainly through trial and error over the years, Barney has always maintained woodworking as a hobby. He worked for Suit-Kote in Cortland, New York for a number of years as an asphalt grinding machine operator, helping with the rejuvenation of asphalt materials to be re-purposed for new roadways. After this, Barney owned and operated a trucking business for almost a decade, before retiring. Today Barney has returned to his love of woodworking and has unexpectedly created a new career for himself.

The very first wood piece that Barney made was a cherry hutch for his wife. This turned out so well that he began crafting other household furniture including desks and stand alone cabinetry. Barney would search through various catalogs for ideas, taking different elements and combining them together to create a unique style of his own; he refers to these as his "shake and bake" designs. Initially Barney enjoyed the challenge of creating his pieces without the use of prints, however, when he began building and designing kitchen cabinets, the complexity of the projects demanded that plans be drawn in advance.

In a way, Barney "stumbled" onto his cabinetry business. In the process of assisting his daughter in her home renovation, when the time came to revitalize the kitchen his daughter asked "well Dad, are you going to build the kitchen cabinets or should I buy them?" Barney pondered the question. He had never built kitchen cabinets before, and even admits that being a 'typical male', he had never really taken much notice of kitchen cabinets in the past. Intrigued by the idea, he examined his own cabinetry and concluded that compared with the other wood pieces he had created in the past, the cabinets didn't seem too difficult. He agreed to take on the challenge, drew up a set of prints, and created custom Red Oak cabinets for his daughters kitchen.

As the saying goes, the rest is history. Word began to spead that Barney was building kitchen cabinets and he started receiving inquiries. He now completes about 2 kitchen projects each year; enough to keep him busy with this new path and also allow him the freedom to enjoy his retirement. He currently works with a local designer who creates prints for his projects, which he then uses to calculate his material requirements and labor. Barney produces everything in his wood shop, which has graduated from his basement to a 700 square foot addition onto his garage.

Barney Small has proven that it's never too late to begin something new and we often find that life leads us down an unanticipated path when we least expect it!

If you are interested in speaking with Barney about a potential project, he may be reached at 607.334.9889