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An Introduction to Gothic Tracery (With a Router)

This week I’m finishing up work on an aumbry for a future issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. More than anything, this project has been about exploring Gothic geometry. But as with any project, I always have a lot of detours and dead ends. The pierced carvings on the front of the aumbry are fairly simple, yet I was afraid they would be off-putting for some beginning woodworkers. So I started […]

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On the Merits of Blue Furniture

I’m sure you get asked the following question a lot: “What’s your favorite style of furniture?” My answer to that question has always been rambling and indecisive – I love styles from the 15th century up to mid-century modern. But I now have a simple and direct response: I like blue furniture. If you subscribe to color theory, people react physically to different colors. Reds, yellows and oranges increase our […]

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Pégas Coping Saw Blades – the Best

While teaching in England this summer I had a sudden and miraculous encounter with Pégas coping saw blades – and I am a convert. I rarely say this sort of thing, but here we go: Buy them. Buy as many as you can afford. Encourage the company to make more blades like this. If you want to skip the backstory and just order the darn blades, go to Tools for […]

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Dovetail Joints: How Tight is Too Tight?

  Last weekend I built a dovetailed campaign-style officer’s trunk for the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association and several of the members were shocked when I drove the carcase dovetails together. What was shocking to them was how tight my fit was between the tails and pins; it required a few hard whacks with a dead-blow mallet to seat the tails into the pins. The members asked me a lot […]

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Pressed Brass Campaign Hardware from Lee Valley

With campaign-style hardware, there are many choices out there for different budgets and aesthetics. You can go for full-on rustic, sand-cast hardware – this looks great but can be tricky to install because every piece of hardware is slightly different. Or you can opt for modern die-cast hardware – easy to install but a little too-consistent looking to look historically accurate. I have installed both kinds of hardware, and I […]

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To Get Perfect Seams, Remember: Don’t Stop

One of the best pieces of woodworking advice is, “Go slow, it’s faster.” But that doesn’t apply to gluing up narrow boards into panels. When I have to glue up panels, I start in the morning by jointing and planing the stock to its finished thickness (assuming I’m using machinery), and then I immediately joint the boards’ edges and glue up the panels that same day. By compressing all that […]

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A Good Look at Some Marcou Handplanes

At Woodworking in America 2010, the award for having traveled the farthest went to Philip Marcou, a toolmaker in New Zealand. I was joking on Twitter a few days ago that we were looking at New Zealand as a potential site for a future conference (in which case we’d have to call it Woodworking Ex America, I suppose)…because I desperately want to go there. We’re not, of course; while I’m […]

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2 Workbench Vises I’d Like to Try

  The more I study workbenches, the more I’m convinced there is no end to the clever vises out there. This week I have two vises that are worth a close look. One is a ratcheting leg vise made by Will Myers, a woodworker who teaches at The Woodwright’s School and is one of the assistants at the French Oak Roubo Project. Will writes a lot for WKFineTools.com – check […]

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