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About My Love of 35°

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I sharpen all of my plane irons and chisels at 35°. Here’s why: I do this to keep my sharpening regimen as simple as possible. I don’t want to pick up a tool and wonder: What angle is this sharpened to? I also don’t want to sharpen a tool, discover that I used the wrong angle and have to resharpen it immediately. And I don’t want to have multiple jigs […]

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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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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 7

You do not need a complete set of 11 chisels from the 1/8” up to the monster 2”-wide chisel. Sure, the part of you that also collects Hummel figurines really wants a complete set, but most of the chisel sizes will go unused – even if you are an active woodworker. Your work and your hands will eventually tell you which chisel sizes you really need at hand. That’s the […]

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How Low Can You Go?

  With the Christmas season soon upon us there are currently two lists running on the Popular Woodworking web site to tantalize your woodworking taste buds. The “sensible” Schwarz list and the “I can dream” Fitzpatrick list. My one and only contribution to the festivities will be this £8 ($12.50) set of four chisels currently available from the European supermarket chain Lidl. I became aware of this set via UK […]

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The Theory of Chisel Monogamy

The Theory of Chisel Monogamy

When I teach woodworking, I talk a lot about monogamy. Not to your spouse (that’s your problem) but to your tools. I think it’s easier to learn to saw, sharpen and plane boards if you don’t jump around and use different handsaws, sharpening systems and bench planes. And when it comes to chisels, I’m super-monogamous … Read more »

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On the Precision of Chisels

On the Precision of Chisels

When it comes to doing precision work that has to be performed over and over again, it’s easy to fall into the siren whine of the router. The router is probably my least-favorite woodworking tool. I don’t like how it is noisy. It never produces a ready-to-finish surface for mouldings. And it can destroy a … Read more »

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Sharpening Angles for Dullards

The most embarrassing jig I’ve ever owned has been photographed, measured and pondered more than any single piece of fine furniture I’ve built. It’s a stupid little block of wood with stops on it for many common sharpening angles I use with my side-clamp honing guide – sometimes called the “Eclipse” guide because that was … Read more »

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The Joy of Chests

The Joy of Chests

I can build a six-board chest entirely by hand in about 10 hours of shop time. That time starts with one 8’-long and one 12’-long board and ends with a paint job. In fact, I just did. The above statement is not a boast. Instead, it is a way to encourage you to build one Continue reading»
 

Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Veritas’s New PM-V11 Steel Coming Soon

Unlike many hand-tool woodworkers (and turners), I’m not much of a steel nerd. I’m not on a quest for the steel that promises the ultimate in edge life. The reason I’ve not experimented with lots of exotic steels is that every time I used CMP-10V, CMP-3V, D2 or whatever I found that these steels achieved Continue reading»
 

Sharpening with Diamond Lapping Film

Sharpening with Diamond Lapping Film

Almost every system for sharpening tools works just fine, so the differences between the systems come down to speed, expense, portability and mess. In December, Lee Valley Tools started carrying diamond lapping film for sharpening edge tools. I kind of ignored it as I was busting my hump building a Campaign Secretary under a tight Continue reading»
 

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