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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, a Free Plan

Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, a Free Plan

After setting up shop with your workbench and tool chest (or cabinet), the next project to build for your shop is a nail cabinet – a traditional way to hold fasteners and all the little bits of hardware woodworkers accumulate. Nail cabinets were a common feature of early shops, whether you built furniture or shod horses. And this year I got to reproduce the cabinet from Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s […]

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4 Tricks For Flattening French Benchtops

4 Tricks For Flattening French Benchtops

One of the gripes I hear about French workbenches is that the benchtops are difficult to flatten because of the end grain protruding through the top. I don’t buy it. Here are a few simple tricks that deflate that argument. 1. Start with ‘Stop Shavings’ When I flatten a French benchtop, the first thing I do (after sharpening the iron of my jointer plane) is to plane down the end-grain […]

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A Cousin to the ‘Milkman’s Workbench’

A Cousin to the ‘Milkman’s Workbench’

An eagle-eyed reader spotted this small benchtop that looks like the bigger Danish brother to the portable Milkman’s Workbench I wrote about in the June 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. This benchtop was made by LEVARD, a company in Denmark that still manufactures workbenches. I’ve seen LEVARD workbenches in Europe and even the United States. They are distinguished by their unusual tool trays, which are not usually part of […]

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Dyed by My Own Hand

Dyed by My Own Hand

When I finish my pieces, I use restraint when adding stains or dyes. Most woods look best (to my eye) with some shellac, lacquer and maybe a little colored wax in the pores. But when I do color wood, I’m a fan of the W.D. Lockwood dyes, which are usually found packaged as J.E. Moser dyes from Woodworker’s Supply. I have to thank Glen D. Huey for introducing me to […]

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A Tribute to the Patron of the Hand Tool World

A Tribute to the Patron of the Hand Tool World

One of the unseen forces in the modern renaissance of hand tool manufacturing is Fred West, a woodworker from West Chester, Pa. Well, to be more precise, you might not know who Fred is, but anyone who makes or sells hand tools in North America knows him on sight. Fred is clearly fascinated by tools and their makers and spends a lot of time, energy and his own money to […]

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The Fear-Love Spectrum of Finishing

The Fear-Love Spectrum of Finishing

Every time I purchase lacquer at a professional paint store, I have the following conversation. Me: “Could you put that gallon in the paint-mixing machine for a couple minutes? That will save me some time.” Employee: “I’ll do it, but you won’t like it. You’ll create bubbles in the finish.” Me: “I’ll risk it.” I’ve been taking this risk for more than 15 years, and I have yet to have […]

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Blue Tape Improves Your Screwing

Blue Tape Improves Your Screwing

I’m installing 12 hinges today on a collapsible bookcase and about half of them are in tight quarters where no drill can go, and screwdrivers are no picnic, either. To make the job easier, I like to cut the screw threads in the pilot holes before assembling things. And because I have 72 screws to install before lunch, I’ll speed up the process with a drill/driver. The screws are brass […]

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 8

The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 8

As a furniture-maker, turning was always an uphill battle for me. Every turning tool requires a different touch and a different sharpening approach. The problem was that I never practiced enough to keep my skills up. So every time I picked up a skew, I was a baby turner again. A few years ago I purchased a set of EasyWood turning tools, and they totally and completely transformed my attitude […]

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The last two items on my list are for woodworkers who have been very good this year. They are a bit more expensive than the other items on my list, but they are excellent tools. Of those last two items, the first is the Saddle-Tail from Sterling Tool Works, a one-man toolmaking company in Maryland. … Read more »

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The last two items on my list are for woodworkers who have been very good this year. They are a bit more expensive than the other items on my list, but they are excellent tools. Of those last two items, the first is the Saddle-Tail from Sterling Tool Works, a one-man toolmaking company in Maryland. … Read more »

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