& Field">An Excellent Locking Shop Knife from Farm & Field


I’ve had a knife in my pocket since I was 11 and couldn’t imagine working in the shop without one. My problem is that the beautiful French knife my wife gave me in 1998 doesn’t have a locking blade. After a couple close calls with the French knife, I decided to get a folding lockback for the shop. Of course, I wanted to buy a domestic knife, but I didn’t […]

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Prevent a Cut Nail Explosion Disaster


The only downside to using cut nails is they can split the work, especially when used near the ends of boards. While a properly sized pilot hole will usually prevent splits, there are times when the gnarly grain of the wood wants to split anyway. Cut nails also will split your work if you use a nail size that is just too big for the boards at hand. And that […]

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Traveling Tool Chest with a Marquetry Lid


My favorite project from 2014 is one I haven’t been able to talk much about, until now. Jameel Abraham of Benchcrafted and I collaborated on building a tool chest for a two-article series in Popular Woodworking Magazine. My article on building the chest will be in the August 2015 issue; Jameel’s article on the lid will be in the October 2015 issue. The idea for this special chest spawned from […]

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‘Workshop Companion’ Series Available Again


In the early 1990s, Nick Engler and a team of woodworkers and designers took on an incredibly ambitious task: Create a series of how-to books that encompass all of woodworking, from the router to the router plane, table saw to scroll saw. Called the “Workshop Companion” series and first published by Rodale Press, the 21 volumes were a huge hit with woodworkers. The books were, clear, concise, easy to read […]

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& Dominos">In Defense of Splines, Grooves, Biscuits & Dominos


Woodworking opinion swings with the generations when it comes to picking tools, woods and techniques. Lately I’ve seen a lot of writing about gluing up panels that goes something like this: Because the glue bond in an edge joint is stronger than the wood itself, it’s unnecessary to use splines, biscuits or a tongue-and-groove in the joint. In fact, you could actually weaken the joint with these methods. So just […]

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Furniture from Another Planet

A drunken brawl in "Tacuinum Sanitatis."

A drunken brawl in “Tacuinum Sanitatis.” In our minds, we all have a good idea of what a typical chair, table, stool, desk or workbench looks like and how these pieces are built. But today I’d like to take you on a brief trip to the Middle Ages when furniture was built using different principles. Oh sure, tables and chairs still have legs, but the number of legs and how […]

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Why I Love Spade Bits

Spade bits get little respect among woodworkers. They are regarded as coarse tools that tear up the work surface – good for plumbers and rough carpentry at best. Once you understand how to use them, however, you might change your mind about them because they are inexpensive and can do tricks that few other bits can do. Before you rush out and buy a set from the home center, do […]

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Some Quality Shop Clothing

I wear clothing until it falls off my body or until my wife refuses to leave the house with me – whichever comes first. My favorite sweatshirt is one I bought my first day of college in 1986. It’s a U.S.-made Champion sweatshirt and has always served as a reminder that buying cheap clothes is false economy. Recently I’ve had to replace some of my work clothes because my Army surplus […]

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A Hand Made Kitchen

My eldest son now does carpentry & construction with a good outfit but he learned his woodworking skills as a cabinetmaker in our shop. They got a job redoing a kitchen six months back & he used our shop to make the cabinetry.

Here is his layout being rendered… (the only part I did)….

drawing #1

drawing #2

He knows how to both build well and achieve great detail. Here are three pics of the island being assembled…



stepout 45 degree corner

They wanted the counter in a dark color & he suggested using walnut rather than trying to stain maple very dark. This addition was pricey but looked ‘killer’ when installed.
These pics show the 2” solid walnut planks & how he treated the outside edge…

aligning walnut boards

large nose & cove

counter top assembled

These finished shots are a tad soft in focus but you can see how handsome it turned out.

master behind island

master best angle

russell hudson / hudson cabinetmaking, inc.


Designing a Mission Style Fireplace Mantle

They had a mantle made by the carpenters who trimmed out their place a number of years back. It was essentially three boards with molding applied to the face & a shelf. Like many facades, it lacked substance and girth.

They wanted a mantle that was substantial but had clean, bold lines, no fine detail or filigree. I rendered a corner of the proposed piece that I felt had those qualities. It ended up as ‘Mission Style’, in  appearance.


Here is a shot of one of the columns being assembled…


We wanted to appreciate that it was made from wood but to stain it very dark… so I was able to use poplar & maple ply.

arts n crafts mantle

As I write this post, we have just finished doing two rooms in wainscot & a wine storage wall unit for them, all in the same style. Seems they liked the way it turned out.

Russell Hudson / Hudson Cabinetmaking, Inc.


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