Woodshop Widget

The Woodshop Widget, an iPhone and now iPad app has had an upgrade.

It is still one of very few woodworking based apps available, and joins an even more select group being able to work natively on the iPad.

There is a board volume/ price calculator

A timber comparison, comparing gravity, hardness, tangential and radial shrinkage. The last two is particularly useful when making items combining different types of timber, so assist avoiding splits caused by seasonal movement.

A fraction converter

A movement calculator, showing the amount of expected movement based on starting and finishing temperatures and humidity.

A shellac mixing calculator

And a square calculator

It incorporates a decent (and increasing) library of timbers, including Australian Blackwood, Purpleheart, Jarrah and many others.

Available from the Apple app store. Costs around a whole $4 or so.
Woodshop Widget Website

Wood Whisperer on the iPhone!

Yeah-as much as I would have loved to have an iPhone app out there (still would!), Marc and Kenneth have realised the dream!

The Woodshop Widget is now out!  A combined effort of The Wood Whisperer and Grand Unified LLC, it features a number of useful tools, as well as a feed directly from the Wood Whisperer blog.

I’ve been using the pre-release version for a while and it is cool, and now the full version is out, and is only $1.99 – if you have an iPhone this is worth a look.

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The Woodshop Widget is a handy collection of wood-related utilities, ranging from board foot calculation to shellac mixing aids, squareness testing and many other goodies. It contains a wide range of useful functionality that handles many tedious tasks simply and clearly. Mixed in with the technical stuff are regularly updated tips and tricks from The Wood Whisperer, Marc Spagnuolo, and access to The Wood Whisperer site in a mobile interface.

The Widget understands Imperial and Metric, and the local measurement system is used by default. You can change this at any time with the app settings. It also uses a custom keyboard for quick access, making editing both efficient and immediate.

Board Feet
Easily enter the 3 dimensions required for calculating board feet and get an immediate amount. You can also enter a price and quantity of boards for a total price. The local currency is automatically used when entering prices.

Decimal to Fraction
Enter fractions and see the decimal results, or enter decimal values and see fractions calculated, all in one place. Remainders and reduced fractions are automatically shown.

Shows an estimate of how much a board might grow and shrink under different conditions, based on verified information for over 230 distinct species. You can enter measured or humidity-based water content, board width, and how the board was cut from the tree (anywhere from flat to quartersawn). The amount of change is shown as you edit. Works in Imperial and Metric.

The Wood Whisperer
A “live” collection of tips and tricks, created and updated by Marc Spagnuolo, The Wood Whisperer. Tips cover such topics as finishing and shop management. This section also includes an easy way to access The Wood Whisperer site so you can keep up on the latest from Marc. You can even watch the latest episodes of the podcast right on your phone.

Mix or dilute shellac in any amounts. Enter a “pound cut” and the measurements are balanced for you. Mix as much or as little as you need, using not only gallons and pounds, but also cups and ounces or liters and milliliters. Dilute from any pound cut that you have on hand to any other concentration, instantly! Works in Imperial and Metric.

Test your framing squares, combination squares, carcasses or anything else that needs a perfect right angle for accuracy by measuring lengths. The Widget will show you how far from “right” the angle is.

Wood Identification on the iPhone

The developers of the I.D. Wood App for the iPhone & iPod Touch contacted me a couple of months ago about their new application for identifying timbers using the iPhone.

I.D. Wood App

I.D. Wood App

I had some immediate thoughts about how this sort of application could be very useful, which I shared with them.  Some of the possibilities included:

Being able to photograph with your iPhone camera a sample of timber which appeared on one side of the screen, and all the timbers in the database would be available on the other side (one image at a time), and you could flick through until one matched.

Being able to add your own timbers to the application.

Being able to use the application to catalogue your current timber collection.

Unfortunately this application is unable to have this sort of functionality added, as once it was installed it became apparent that this is not an App in the traditional sense (a program), but instead is an eBook, so is denied a significant amount of the functionality that would be otherwise possible.

Lots of US Timbers

Lots of US Timbers

One comment made by another early installer of this book was that it primarily focuses on US timbers.

My feeling is it is going to take some time and development for this app to actually become a useful woodworking tool, and perhaps breaking away from the whole eBook concept will be the only way for it to really progress.

I will certainly monitor further updates to see if more timbers etc are added – there has only been 10 added since the App’s release, so has around 60 or so timbers in the database (one Australian).  It will need it in my opinion, to be worth the $4 asking price (most apps are around $1.19)

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