Archive

Rosin – Your Sticky Friend in the Workshop

Woodworkers use waxes (and other things) to decrease friction, but what about when we want to increase friction? Lately I’ve been trying inexpensive rosin – intended for the bows of stringed instruments – with excellent results. Rosin is a byproduct of heating tree sap to make turpentine or a variety of other products and has a variety of uses in industry and the arts – everything from ballet dancers to […]

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Like Your Woodworking Teacher? Maybe You Shouldn’t

Last month I taught two short classes in Germany – a rare exception to my vow to avoid teaching and instead focus on new furniture designs. The reason I taught those two classes is quite personal, so I won’t discuss it here. But during the classes I was struck by an odd question I’ve struggled with for 30 years: Is it a good idea for students to personally like their […]

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A Different Way to Use a Doe’s Foot

During the last few years, the doe’s foot has become one of my most important workbench appliances. Paired with a holdfast, the doe’s foot can eliminate the need for a tail vise on a workbench. I have about four of these doe’s feet at my bench, and I’ve found some surprising ways to use them. I’ve just finished an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine on the topic for a future […]

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Born to Fail at Woodworking

No matter how long I work in this craft, there are days when I feel incapable of doing anything correctly. Such as today. Readers love to be reminded that even people who do this every day suffer regular failures. If you like to wallow in other people’s misery, this post is for you. (Also, it shows you how I deal with woodworking despair.) For the last month I’ve been working […]

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Half-moon Winding Sticks – to Make or Buy

Two years ago I wrote about some unusual homemade winding sticks I encountered in North Carolina (read the article here). Instead of using inlay to help broadcast a board’s twisted state to your eyes, these used a pair of half-moon cutouts. They worked brilliantly, perhaps better than any other set I’ve used before. This summer I made myself a quick pair while in Germany. These were made with a Forstner […]

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In Praise of the Cork Sanding Block

When I wrote about the 50 or so essential hand tools you need to make furniture in “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” I neglected to include my cork sanding block in that list. I think the reason I forgot was that the block is as essential as my marking knife. I know the tendency today is to eschew abrasives and finish projects straight from the tools, but that’s a pretty new […]

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