Archive

The Truth About Flush-cutting Saws

Flush-cutting saws offer an amazing promise: They can cut a dowel or tenon flush to its surrounding surface without causing any damage. The truth is, however, no matter how awesome your flush-cutting saw or how skilled you are, things can go wrong. The most common problem is the saw can drift slightly. And with a flush-cutting saw, any drifting can be disastrous. The teeth can dive into the work after […]

The post The Truth About Flush-cutting Saws appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

My Lucky Scars

When I was about 11, my parents took a trip to Cancun and left us with Hazel, a Nurse Ratched type with a beehive hairdo, a messed-up back and a matching disposition. It was Halloween, and so we were carving pumpkins in the garage. I was using my Cub Scout knife – improperly. The knife slipped and slashed the web between the thumb and index finger on my left hand. […]

The post My Lucky Scars appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

& Wax Finish">Make Your Own Linseed Oil & Wax Finish

A finish made from linseed oil and beeswax is an easy-to-apply, tactile finish that I like for turnings, vernacular chairs and other objects that don’t require the protection of a film finish, such as varnish or shellac. The finish, which I call linwax, is available from suppliers such as Swede Paint, or you can easily make your own in a couple hours. The nice thing about making your own is […]

The post Make Your Own Linseed Oil & Wax Finish appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

Clamping a Chair is Like Hugging an Eel

One of the challenges when building a chair is clamping the dang thing down so you can work on it. I’ve seen lots of solutions that use band clamps. But I dislike band clamps (perhaps I had a bad experience at band camp). So here’s what I do. Most workholding problems can be solved with handscrew clamps and holdfasts, including this one. First you squeeze the legs with the handscrew […]

The post Clamping a Chair is Like Hugging an Eel appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

Ingenious Chinese Planing Stop

There isn’t enough written in English on the woodworking of the Chinese, who have a long and amazing woodworking and technological history. But today I’ve been gobbling up “China at Work” by Rudolf P. Hommel (MIT Press, 1937), which focuses on tools used for making other tools (blacksmithing), food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Unlike other contemporary writers, Hommel lived in China for several years, had enormous respect for the culture […]

The post Ingenious Chinese Planing Stop appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

When to Send a Tool Back

If you get to know some toolmakers as friends, you’re likely to hear all kinds of wild stories about people who return tools for odd or non-existent defects. Think sidewalls of a handplane that are different in thickness by a few thousandths of an inch. Or cutting bevels of a tool that are ground 1° out of square. But sometimes tools do need to go back to the manufacturer. Students […]

The post When to Send a Tool Back appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

The Half-pencil: Your Layout Friend

Carpenter’s pencils have limited uses in a furniture shop, but when I encountered the “half-pencil” years ago I started hoarding carpenter’s pencils to transform them into half-pencils for my friends. The half-pencil, as its name implies, is a carpenter’s pencil that has been planed down to half its thickness. (Using a carpenter’s pencil makes it easier to plane it down and it gives you more bearing surface in use than […]

The post The Half-pencil: Your Layout Friend appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

High-style, Low-style or No-style

At some point in my early 20s I stopped improving as a guitar player. No matter how much I practiced or played out in bands, I couldn’t crawl to the next level of skill. I needed lessons, guidance, a push or something else. Or perhaps, I thought at the time, that was simply the best I was physically capable of: good, but certainly not great. I never found out which […]

The post High-style, Low-style or No-style appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

Lay Out a D-shaped Seat

One of the classic shapes for the seats of chairs or stools is the D shape. If you make or appreciate Welsh chairs (like I do), it’s a shape you see a lot. Yet many beginning chairmakers fret over making a D-shaped seat of their own dimensions. I admit that when I started making chairs, I was similarly befuddled and preferred to trace the shapes of old seats or work […]

The post Lay Out a D-shaped Seat appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

& Expanded ‘Handplane Essentials’">Coming Soon: Revised & Expanded ‘Handplane Essentials’

Anyone who knows me personally has probably noticed that the last 12 months have been a struggle. I have been months behind on everything: delivering furniture commissions, restoring my workshop, writing magazine articles and even posting to this blog. The reason: the revised and expanded edition of “Handplane Essentials.” When I agreed to revise the 2009 book I expected it would take a couple weeks of intense work. I was […]

The post Coming Soon: Revised & Expanded ‘Handplane Essentials’ appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

 

« Older Entries