Visiting John Heisz

I had the opportunity to visit fellow YouTuber John Heisz in December 2016. John also builds some of his own machines and jigs, and I brought along some of my creations that John had his own design for as well.

We are both a bit competitive about these things, so it was fun to compare. All eight videos on this page were filmed in the span of about 3 hours. It was a very productive morning! (of course, editing the videos took much much longer).

John has his take on it, and his edit of the same footage on his website here

Walking around John Heisz's shop

A quick walk around John Heisz's shop. I always find it difficult to get a sense of how everything ties together, so I shot a continuous take of walking around his shop to give you a better sense of how it's laid out.

Comparing beam compasses

Comparing my beam compass to John Heisz's

My beam compass   John's beam compass John's compact compass

Comparing strip sanders

John and I both have our own designs of 1" wide belt sanders, which we both sell plans for. So here we are comparing John's sander to mine.

My strip sander   John's strip sander

How not to uncoil a bandsaw blade

Me demonstrating to john how to coil up a bandsaw blade. Uncoiling a wide blade is a bit tricky though, and my technique is far from perfect! But only a little bit of bleeding from this.

Biscuit shelf pins

John recently made a video about building a large closet/shelf for his workshop, where he used biscuits instead of shelf pins to make the shelves adjustable. A lot of people commented that these biscuits won't hold. So we set out to make a video showing how the biscuits are strong enough.

The biscuits held up John's weight just fine, but then he tried jumping on the shelves. We weren't quite satisfied with the first two takes, and on the third try it failed. Though, examining the footage in slow motion, the first thing that failed is one corner of the particle board shelf breaking off. The resulting impact ended up breaking the rest of the biscuits. Had the shelf been held up with shelf pins, I'm sure the small shelf pins would have broken through the particle board much earlier.

John using biscuits for shelf pins

Box joint jig rivalry

John and I both have box joint jigs that we sell plans for. What the jigs have in common is that they both use a method for absolute indexing of the fingers as opposed to indexing each cut off the previous one. This avoids the cumulative error problem of conventional box joint jigs.

John's jig wins on simplicity and compactness, but my jig isn't bound by 1/16'th inch increments in terms of finger spacings (by using different gears). It's also faster to move from one increment to the next. My jig also makes it easy to make multiple cuts for each finger (no need for a dado blade). John's jig can take wider stock, but my jig can take a whole stack of boards at once, My jig can also be used to cut tenons by clamping the stock to the right side of the stock box. Or double tenons, or triple tenons...

My box joint jig   John Heisz's box joint jig

Long reach C-clamp rivalry

John used one of his long reach C-clamps while fixing the shelf he broke in the earlier tests. I brought along one of my long reach C-clamps, so we decided to test the two clamps against each other. I cranked up my clamp to about 400 pounds. John's didn't hold quite as much, but then again, mine uses thicker wood. Both have the same amount of reach.

My long reach clamps   John's Deep "C" clamps
More about the red barclamp that John also busted.

John's bandsaw

Checking out John's homemade bandsaw.

In April-July of 2018, John Heisz and I made a website of email-style conversations about woodworking and YouTube. John has since taken down the website (was:, There was also a YouTube channel, which I have since renamed to "Matthias on Youtube".

See also:

John Heisz's website:
YouTube channel

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