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& Write Tool Reviews, Part 3">How to Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 3

For experienced woodworkers, it’s easy to ignore tool reviews and say: “I just buy the brands that have served me well.” But what if you know little about the different brands? When I was growing up, Skil made fantastic circular saws. Black & Decker made good drills. Craftsman put its name on some good machinery. Delta was unassailable on the quality of its table saws and band saws. Are those […]

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How I Read Tool Reviews (And Write Them), Part 2

Most tool reviews aren’t really reviews. They’re press releases dressed up with a lab coat and a clipboard to look respectable. For experienced woodworkers, these faux-reviews are easy to spot and ignore. What are the signs? They’re missing key information about the tool’s place in the market compared to its competitors. Even more telling, the writer wields statistics to discuss the tool (14.4-volt batteries with an intelligent trickle-charger) but omits […]

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How to Read a Tool Review (And How I Write Them), Part 1

If I never write another tool review, I’ll be happy. But due to changes at Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve agreed to write a few for upcoming issues. Because I like nothing better than to pull down my pants and walk around in public, here is a guide to reading (and writing) tool reviews. Before I start, let’s dispel some myths about tool reviews. Only Consumer Reports does it the right […]

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Highly Recommended: Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallet

Highly Recommended: Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallet

Since leaving Popular Woodworking in June 2011, I have avoided writing tool reviews. In fact, I have been thrilled to focus my attention on other things. But I am coming out of retirement momentarily to discuss a tool that I have been waiting years – yes, years – for: the Blue Spruce Toolworks Joiner’s Mallet. … Read more »

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First Look: Lie-Nielsen 610 Low-angle Rabbeting Jack Plane

First Look: Lie-Nielsen 610 Low-angle Rabbeting Jack Plane

If you have attended any of the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Events in the last year and you have a sharp eye, then you probably noticed an odd-looking low-angle jack plane on one of the benches. It’s much like the No. 62 that Lie-Nielsen has been making for many years, but its sidewalls are open so Continue reading»