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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 10: O’Keeffe’s Working Hands

If were being honest, woodworking would be a lot more difficult in the winter months without O’Keeffe’s Working Hands. I have a container of this at my workbench and by my computer. It is the only thing that keeps my fingers moving smoothly over my tools and the keyboard. I know there are a lot of other hand-care products out there. I’ve tried many of them. But I keep coming […]

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Turn a Bureau into a Workbench

Building furniture without a dedicated workshop or even a workbench has always been a challenge. While there are lots of ways to get around the problem, one of my favorites is what is called the “bureau-shop.” This is where you transform an old chest of drawers into a complete hand-tool shop for light work. The top of the bureau is used as the benchtop (more on that in a minute). […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 9: Clamptite Tool

I love wooden tool handles. Their only downside is they break and need to be repaired or replaced. If you prefer to repair your tool handles, the inexpensive Clamptite tool is your best friend. The Clamptite is a bit difficult to explain to people who haven’t used it. Basically, it is a device that can pull a wire tight and then cleverly knot it around an object, such as a […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: Drawer Tape

If you build traditional drawers without metal slides, then “drawer tape” is something you should probably become acquainted with. Sometimes sold under the brand Nylo-Tape, this stuff is great for fixing drawers or any other sliding assembly that has become worn from use. My tool chest, for example, has three sliding tills that get moved a dozen times a day. After five years of this activity, the sides of the […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: Sewing Machine Oilcans

There are a few things I keep at arm’s reach in the shop: an oily rag, some paraffin and a small sewing can oiler. Shown in the photo above are the four that I could gather in just a few minutes. I have at least four more around the shop. These incredibly cheap oilers keep my tools in good condition. I oil the moving parts of my handplanes. The adjustment […]

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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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