Monday, December 11, 2017

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 favorite 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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Perfectly Imperfect Furniture

I’ve long been fascinated by handmade utility furniture: the kind of stuff made to be used, not admired for the craftsmanship invested in its production. In the early 1980s, I bought an old chest of drawers from an antique shop in Reading, a large industrial town southwest of London, where I lived at the time. It was made of a nondescript softwood known as deal and had originally been painted. […]

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Last Year’s Different Highlights

Social media to some is a bit like Marmite, you either love it or you hate it. Thos who like Marmite usually have it on toast and turn to it every morning to start their day. It can be the same with Facebook and YouTube. I like it for one or two reasons but the […]

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Holiday Gift Projects! Table-Top Skittles

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, we’re looking through the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. This is Holiday Project Post number five – for the “Pint-sized Pickup,” click here; for a Craftsman-style Wall Shelf, click here; for “Heirloom Photo Album” […]

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

5 Inexpensive Gifts a Woodworker Will Use

This year when people ask me what they should get their woodworking family and friends for the holidays, my first answer is always a board of hardwood. But if they have a tool in mind, things get harder to suggest. Below are items I recommend because they work for most types of woodworking and if they already have one, then having another is welcome. 1) Sloyd Woodworking Knife – On […]

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Friday, December 8, 2017

Week One Winners – December to Remember 2017

The first week of December to Remember is over! I have drawn the following winners at random. Continue to enter throughout the month of December! December 1: Jim Dunn, Alabama December 2: Donald Nay, West Virginia December 3: David Hodgerson, Iowa December 4: Douglas Slater, Wisconsin December 5: R. Mark Underwood, Texas December 6: Eric Webb, Georgia December 7: Heidi Smith, Michigan

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QCTP Stud Upgrade

One of the things about my lathe that has always made me feel a little iffy was the QCTP stud. From the factory, it was a very anemic M8, that I’ve broken several times over the years. While taking some heavy cuts during a recent project, it looked almost as if the tool was tipping […]



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Thursday, December 7, 2017

New Old Stock of Italian Made Breast Drills

A while ago I blogged about a Breast Drill that I bought on eBay and restored. I also mentioned that it is hard to find a good quality drills with concealed gears on the market today. After I wrote the blog I found a supplier of drills who held (and still does) a few tools on stock. I bought one drill for myself and three for our woodworking program. The […]

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 8: 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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Wraparound Support

“I just wanted to congratulate with your staff for the great quality videos that are surrounding your work. During the videos I noticed many improvements in descriptions, camera captures and the quality of images. That’s very important for people that view the projects from home. Thanks.” “Thanks Giorgio, I’m a fortunate woodworker. Personally, I think […]

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Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Bob Spangler

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Why You Can’t French Polish with Polyurethane

I got a question from a woodworker about French polishing. He wanted to know why he was having so much trouble French polishing with Wipe-on Poly. He had made his pad as instructed, putting a wad of cheesecloth inside a cotton cloth. But the pad was taking off as much finish as it was applying, so he wasn’t getting any build. He wasn’t making any progress. The answer is that […]

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Anarchist’s 2017 Gift Guide, Day 7: 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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2 Holiday Turning Projects: Spindle & Globe Wooden Ornaments

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. This is Holiday Project Post number four – for the “Pint-sized Pickup,” […]

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Monday, December 4, 2017

A Question of Influence: Comparing the Music Stands from Four Masters

Editor’s note: In recognition of a fascinating new documentary on the work of Wharton Esherick, by Carolyn Coal, we’re sharing this article from the Winter 2011 issue of Woodwork Magazine. Find out more about the film, watch the trailer and order your copy at WhartonEsherickDocumentary.com.   by Mark Sfirri from the Winter 2011 issue of Woodwork Magazine Several years ago I was talking to Edward S. Cooke, Jr., the Charles […]

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A Long Post On My Feelings—Part II

A long post on my feelings continued: The evolution of hand tools in my personal work life fascinated me only in the development of metal being mated to wood in the making of tools. Finding my first genuine Indian arrowhead lost in the wildness of the Texas Hill Country made me aware that the arrowhead […]

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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Heirloom Photo Album

  Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. This is Holiday Project Post number three – for the “Pint-sized […]

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Saturday, December 2, 2017

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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A Look Inside Kerry Pierce’s Shop: Part 2

Kerry Pierce has written for Popular Woodworking for decades. His work covers dozens of magazine articles and books–so I guess I made some assumptions about what his shop would look like. As it turns out, Kerry Pierce has focused his energy on crafting beautiful furniture over creating the perfect shop. When Kerry opened the garage door to the machine room of his shop, I was surprised that every machine had […]

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A Long Post On My Feelings—Part I

At first I felt daunted. The thought of moving so soon after returning to England from Wales (two years ago) reminded me of former struggles of tearing and down and rebuilding up. Here we’d been welcomed and we like our newfound friends. Even so, we soon found we needed a place to call our own, […]

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Friday, December 1, 2017

Hide Yo Weed! – Friday Live!

Today we discuss the Incra 5000, HVLP Turbines, reaction wood, and many other topics.

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Workbench Videos 2 & 3 Are Up

Yes, if you want to see episode two on YouTube you should go here. To see episode three now you will need to subscribe to woodworkingmasterclasses (free subscription) to see it now or wait two weeks when it will go up on YouTube. It has been tremendous to see the response to what I consider […]

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Book Giveaway: December Mystery Box

So, I’m looking at the bookshelves in our office library and it’s time to make some room for new stuff. Plus, the holidays are upon us. So I thought it might be fun to do a Mystery Box Giveaway. Here’s the deal: Post a comment below and we’ll pick 10 lucky winners at random to receive a box full of books and goodies from the Popular Woodworking office. Winners will […]

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

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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Video: Making Rabbets With Planes

Antique Rabbet Plane

Lately I’ve been incorporating hand tools more and more into the projects I’m working on. I was recently exploring ways to make rabbets for a serving tray I’m working on as a Christmas gift. There are, of course, numerous ways to make them. I was in the mood to make mine by hand. As luck would have it – and because I’m the book editor – I happened to have […]

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Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 5: Lisa’s Cherry Table Completed

A few weeks before our class begun (for past entries about my class read part 1, 2, 3, 4) I emailed my prospective students and suggest to them to look out for free furniture on the side of the road or near the trash bags on garbage eve (the night when trash is put outside.) I said that some nifty nice stuff can be “harvested” from abandoned or broken furniture, […]

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Craftsman Wall Shelf

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through vintage issues of the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. This is Holiday Project Post number two – for […]

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Saved Saw and Perfect Teeth

So I added another R Groves tenon saw to my collection of working Groves saws. The eBay find was a no brainer for me because it was one I’m yet missing from my saw gatherings. There are still two or three to come that I know of and there may be others I don’t know […]

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Hand-tool Butt Hinge Installation

Below is a sidebar from my “Medicine Cabinet” article, from the June 2016 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – how to install butt hinges using hand tools (and there are, of course, other techniques…but this is how I do it). — Megan Fitzpatrick  

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

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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Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Curtis Erpelding

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking. In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

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Digital Artistry — David Myka

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

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Pint-Size Pickup – Holiday Project Post

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through vintage issues of the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. Not all of them will be for kids – […]

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Monday, November 27, 2017

How We Installed a SawStop Sliding Crosscut Fence

I’ve wanted a SawStop sliding crosscut table ever since I tried one out at Woodworking in America 2016. Sliding crosscut tables were a basic fixture in the English shops where I worked; I took them for granted as a safe, precise means of breaking down sheet goods and cutting multiple parts to identical length. For eons, I’ve used a radial arm saw, but I recently decided it was time to […]

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Cyber Monday: Take 10% Off Our Storewide 50% Sale!

Cyber Monday 2017

Folks, I got word from our marketing team that you can use our Cyber Monday coupon code, MONDAY10, on top of our 50% sale through Midnight Mountain Time! You’ll see all stock that is eligible for discount marked down 50% over at ShopWoodworking.com and you can add the MONDAY10 coupon code when you are checking out. Hand Tool Basics Woodworking Tools & How to Use Them By Steve Branam This […]

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

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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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Moving Out, Moving On!

It seemed a little strange this past week or two but progress is after all progress. I’ve spent last few weeks dismantling nearly two year’s of work with the woodworking school and then the garage workshop experiment too. Both have been part of our ongoing success in that for every hammer blow striking the nail […]

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French Workbench vs. IKEA TV Stand

Editor’s note: Eric first shared this post on http://ift.tt/1qPq62v and I asked him to write a follow-up article on how he chose his workbench from Workbenches Revised Edition: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use By Christopher Schwarz. (Which is 50% off at the time of this writing!) – David Lyell  My first workbench was an Ikea TV stand that we had put in our garage to save space in […]

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Workbench Wood

If you are searching out wood for parts of your workbench build here in the UK I found some very nice dry stock, flat straight and near knot free. Probably cost under £50 for a really nice bench. It was in Home Base, yes, I do mean Home Base (no kickback for me) in Oxford. […]

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Tricks of the Trade: Make an Arc Drawing Jig

Over the years, we have amassed a huge collection of handy tips from the Tricks of the Trade column in our magazine. We recently started to film some of these tricks in the Pop Wood shop to give a little personality to the pages that you are so familiar with. Our hope is to bring these great tips to our online audience in a new way. If you have a […]

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

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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Enter Woodworking Here!

You want to start out in woodworking, or you’ve taken the first few steps. Whether that’s with hand tools or machines and you think you must have all things in place before you get started seriously. You know, 20 by 20 workshop, that perfect workbench everyone raves about, shelves and cupboards stuffed and stacked with […]

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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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Great American Furniture

Great American Furniture table of contents

I don’t know about you, but Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday – it’s all about the food and mostly free of consumerism…except, of course, for the “Black Friday” sales that start at crazy hours… I will not be at any of those sales. I will be sitting around a table I built (in the one dining chair I’ve built) having a great time with friends and eating what I hope is […]

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