Archive

‘Mid-century Modern Furniture’ by Michael Crow

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For many woodworkers, mid-century modern furniture seems a mass-manufactured mystery. We remember the excesses of the style – the kidney-shaped everything, the peg legs and the crappy dowels. But like most furniture styles, mid-century modern is far more complex, interesting and tied to the great tradition of well-built beautiful things. Michael Crow has a new book out on the style that is an excellent introduction to mid-century modern that focuses […]

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Fixing Splits with Pocket Screws

Inspector Wally wants this split closed before lunchtime!

When I have a visible split in a large slab tabletop, I’ll stabilize it with a wooden key, like I described here last week. But when it comes to the underside of a slab, I prefer to use a little pocket-hole jig to make a fast repair that is adjustable and easily removed if need be. Keep in mind that I’m not trying to close the split – just keep […]

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The Dovetail Doctor: The Sterling Dovetailing Ruler

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When cutting precision joinery by hand, sometimes a joint that’s off by a fraction of a degree is the difference between it seating or splitting apart. When diagnosing joinery problems of students, I use a vintage diemakers square (I wrote about this in 2013 here). It allows me to sneak into places no normal square can go and is more accurate than my eyeball. Diemakers squares can be expensive, so […]

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Stop Splits with a Wooden Key

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Most repairs to furniture during the construction process are a drag because I am kicking myself for making an error in the first place. Not so when adding wooden keys to a slab tabletop. Big wood tends to split. And left unchecked, the split can continue to open during the seasonal expansion and contraction cycle. The traditional fix is a wooden key that looks like two dovetails kissing. Or a […]

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A New Trick With Alcohol (Without Jail Time)

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One of the Tricks of the Trade in the June 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine discusses how you can use denatured alcohol to stop crumbling end grain while chopping out dovetails. The trick states it’s best for softwoods, which is where you see the most crumbling. As my students are always worried about this aspect of their dovetails, I decided to give it a try today in some finger […]

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New No. 2 Tote; New Finish

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This weekend I drew up the plans to make a new tote for my No. 2 plane, and I realized I need to order a $10 drill bit to do the job. So instead I decided to modify the existing tote to see how far I could take it. After studying the tote for the No. 2-sized Millers Falls tote, I drew some lines on the existing tote and fetched […]

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