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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 6: Drawing Bows

Drawing furniture-scale curves – up to 48” or so – is a challenge to do by yourself. And many times when you use a springy stick and nails, you are so focused on holding things in place that you fail to see if the curve is fair or not. Years ago I bought the Lee Valley symmetrical drawing bow and designing with curves became a heck of a lot easier. […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 5: Rosin

I’m a bit ashamed of how long it took me to buy an inexpensive block of rosin and put it in my tool chest. Rosin, also called calophony, is derived from pine sap and increases friction on anything you rub it upon. That means that your slippery bench dogs or planing stop will suddenly stand at attention and stay that way. Rosin makes things stick. It comes in a variety […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 4: Rivierre Nails

The wire nails at the home center stink for making furniture. Don’t even think of them as nails. They are more like greased straws than they are fasteners. Once you try Rivierre forged nails, I think you’ll develop a deep respect for the nail that has Roman DNA. Nails built this country. At one point in the 19th century, the sale of nails was a significant amount of the country’s […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 3: No-Kill ‘Mutton’ Tallow

Hand-tool woodworkers love mutton tallow as a lubricant for saws, auger bits and the soles of our handplanes. A smidge of the stuff will make your tool slide easier – and your shop will smell like lambchops. But because of animal-rights concerns, mutton tallow is shunned by some woodworkers. (They already shun paraffin because it is made by Big Oil.) In 2016, a start-up corporation tried to make mutton tallow […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 2: Tape Dispenser

You might think I’m kidding. I am absolutely not. This year, a tape dispenser for my blue tape is the nicest thing I’ve added to my shop. Like many woodworkers, I use blue painter’s tape for many tasks, from taping down small repairs to marking out joinery to shimming things square. For years I simply pulled it off the roll. You know the drill: Find the end of the tape, […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 1: Kershaw Knife

Every year, I write up a gift guide that discusses the small items that have made a big difference in my shop.  These are items that are ideal for gifts – it’s difficult to ask your toddlers for an Altendorf table saw for Christmas. I hope that these items are useful to you. If you have any complaints about this gift guide, please submit it here. The first item is […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 1: Kershaw Knife

Every year, I write up a gift guide that discusses the small items that have made a big difference in my shop.  These are items that are ideal for gifts – it’s difficult to ask your toddlers for an Altendorf table saw for Christmas. I hope that these items are useful to you. If you have any complaints about this gift guide, please submit it here. The first item is […]

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A Return to Cold-bend Hardwood

For several years I used CompWood for furniture parts that needed to be bent precisely. It’s a wood that has been compressed in its length under heat and with moisture. When the wood cools, it can be bent cold. No steambox. And I have yet to encounter wood failure with the stuff. The only downside? It’s expensive compared to cutting down a tree, riving out the stock and bending it […]

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Words for Woodworking that Make me Barf

I love to look at websites of woodworkers – amateurs and professionals – and see photos of their work. But when they describe their work using the following words, I think: This person is a pompous wee-wee head with a fake underbite and who walks like they are carrying a corncob without using their hands. You might disagree – that’s what the comments are for. But here is my list […]

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Pricing Your Work – You Can’t Win

I typically keep a few pieces of my work in the window at my workshop in Covington, Ky. Right now I have a couple chairs on display, plus an aumbry. The pieces do attract attention – and also some uncomfortable conversations about the prices on my work. Recently Patrick Edwards visited my workshop, looked at the aumbry and said: “It’s too cheap. You should be charging three times as much. […]

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