Friday, October 20, 2017

Clean & Maintain Your Respirator

I’m a big proponent of wearing a respirator in the shop. Dust collection systems are never perfect so it’s important to protect our lungs whenever it’s feasible. There are lots of respirators on the market but I have always used 3M. There are two common models I usually see: the 7500 Series and the 6500QL Series. The only difference I can discern between the two (other than the fact that they have different valves) is the fact that the 6500QL Series has a quick release latch that allows you to drop the mask for a quick conversation or a sip of coffee without completely removing the device. As a result, the 6500QL Series is my preferred model. Both models accept the same filters and cartridges. Incidentally, if you’re having trouble deciding what size to buy, I can give you one data point by letting you know I wear a Large.

There are three things you need to do to keep your respirator in tip-top shape.

Replace the Filters

How often you replace your filters really depends on usage. Mine are replaced roughly every six months or when I begin smelling things I’m not supposed to smell, such as finish fumes or dust odor. I’m not sure how much it helps, but I often keep my organic vapor cartridges in a ziplock bag between uses. I guess I’m hoping that keeps the activated charcoal fresh for a longer period of time.

Below are some helpful links to replacement filters. Keep in mind, when you buy the mask you can usually but it in a kit that comes with the organic filters and the particulate pre-filter that goes in front of it.

Clean the Mask

The inside of your mask can get pretty gross. The mask takes on oil from your skin and is constantly exposed to hot moist breath. When you’re not using the mask, it collects airborne dust as well. I recommend washing your mask and valves at least once a month using warm soapy water. I like to use a soft bottle brush (leftover from my baby bottle-washing days) to get into all of the nooks and crannies.

Replace the Valves

Many folks can go many years before having to replace valves. I was actually surprised to see how bad mine were. I’m not so worried about the discoloration as I am about the wavy shape. Because that mask spent most of its life in the hot dry Arizona desert, I’m guessing that’s the reason it deformed so badly. Dry air, heat, and rubber usually don’t get along. Now that I’ve replaced the valves, it should be interesting to see if they last any longer in Denver. If you need 3M replacement valves check out the links below. But make sure you shop around. They can be tricky to find individually and most times they’re sold in bulk.

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Filing/Honing Guide for #80 Scraper

Watch the video first to see how effectively it works. Go here:   After a class, most times, I notice that  two or three (some times more) of my cabinet scrapers have been filed and honed incorrectly and end up out of square, often with the bevels are far from 45-degrees, often to a bull-nosed […]

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Book Giveaway: Wooden Toys

Wooden Toys

Last night my kids unearthed a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer book for a bedtime story. I desperately tried to steer them back toward our wide selection of Halloween books that I’ve arranged prominently on their bookshelf. But alas, while they’re excited for Halloween, the inevitable holiday season looms large on the horizon like the Death Star in Rogue One. Apparently I need to get my holiday planning underway. And so, […]

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Smart Cars Need Smart Paint

I’m sure you’re aware of the research being done to produce smart cars and trucks that drive themselves. But it may be more complicated than simply designing the sensors for the vehicles. What if there’s snow on the road? Or if the road markings have been worn off, or if it’s raining so hard or so foggy that the sensors can’t see the road? It turns out that 3M has […]

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Video: Circle Jig for the Band Saw

Band saws are great for cutting curves but when you need a perfect circle, you need a jig. I’ve used many circle-cutting helpers over the years and the design presented by Tom Caspar in the video below combines the best features from all of them. The jig is held in place on the band saw table using a bar in the miter slot and it features an adjustable pivot point […]

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Changes

Changing Our Looks and More I know many of you that have been with us through the years have noticed changes to my backdrop and also heard hints of changes yet to come too. We’ve not wanted to be secretive so much as make certain we carried you along the journey with us. Many of […]

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Pop Wood Group Project: Magnetic Picture Rails

Last week, Marissa Bowers (our wonderful designer, who’s been helping us out while we seek a new permanent art director) mentioned she had been looking for a set of picture rails – and wondered aloud if it was something we could build in the shop. Ever eager for an excuse to bring everyone out to the shop, we decided that everyone in the office could use their own, and I (Brendan […]

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

2×4 Lumber Lawsuit Dismissed

In my November 2017 editor’s note, I wrote about two $5,000,000 lawsuits filed against Menard’s and Home Depot for “false and misleading advertising” for selling 2×4 lumber that isn’t actually 2″ x 4″. You can read that here, if you like. Last night, Nicholas Vanaria (a friend from Instagram) let me know that the suit against Menard’s was dismissed. U.S. District Judge Edmond Change threw out the case on October 6. […]

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Nick Offerman Woodworking Non-profit Matching Grant

Woodworker, author, actor, humorist and all-around nice guy (with a most excellent giggle) Nick Offerman and Offerman Woodshop are teaming with Would Works through October 30 for a $20,000 fundraising campaign. Would Works is a Los Angeles non-profit that teaches people who are homeless or who live in the city’s Skid Row neighborhood create and sell handcrafted wood items as they work toward a specific financial goal – simple goals many […]

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Diagonal Wedges: The How & Why

When wedging through-tenons, I prefer to orient the wedge diagonally across the tenon. This is a somewhat atypical way to work, so an explanation is in order. A diagonal wedge has the advantage of closing up any gaps on all four edges of a rectangular mortise. That’s because it pushes the tenon against all four walls of the mortise. The more typical wedge, on the other hand, will push against […]

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Live-Edge Keyboard Tray

I just finished a desk commissioned by some clients who wanted the piece to be made from a walnut log they’d had lying around a few years – in other words, longer than ideal. They had it sawn and kiln-dried this summer and brought the boards out to my shop in September. My clients wanted to keep the live edges on the desktop, which posed a challenge: Their log had […]

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Rising Coffee Table Built in a 500 sq ft NYC Apartment

I came across David Thomas Brown’s coffee table build on Reddit last week and thought it was a great build. If you spot a build that has great photography and solid technique, send me an email! – David Lyell I remember the glory days of unlimited garage/driveway space and access to my dad’s tools that I had as a kid in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Scrap wood in the backyard became […]

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Friday, October 13, 2017

Gloss Under Matte – Friday Live!

Today we’ll discuss why we put gloss under matte, my sanding routine, scaling down projects, and many more topics in the Q&A.

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Book Giveaway: Woodworking Projects for the Kitchen

It’s getting to be that time of year. Halloween is in just a couple weeks and before you know it the shelves will be stocked with holiday stuff – heck, some stores already are. The weather’s turning cool and its the perfect time to get in the shop and make gifts for your friends and family. With the holidays in mind, I thought it would be nice to focus the […]

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Tim’s Greene & Greene Dresser

This dresser is part of the Greene & Greene bedroom suite I made which consists of this dresser, a queen size bed, two night stands, and a side table. Over the last five or so years, I’ve become interested in the G&G style. As a woodworker I like the technical challenges presented during design and construction of these pieces. Darrell Peart’s and Robert Lang’s books have added to my appreciation of the style and have given practical advice on “how to” details. I also find that the details of G&G furniture add pleasure during construction of the piece and enjoyment afterwards.

As with all my projects, published plans never seem to completely meet the size and design requirements of the piece I want to build. The dresser was no exception. Plans from magazines and Robert Lang’s books were used to get overall dimensions and construction methods. Plans were made using Google Sketch-up and a traditional 2D CAD program I’ve used for years. I find that project design and plans are almost as fun as building the project. Darrell Peart’s books were used to get G&G detail information (inserts, pull designs, leg details …).

The wood is Walnut purchased at an estate sale which was harvested, cut, and air dried in S. central Kansas and was placed in a pole barn for ~20 years. It is really beautiful. Boards like this are hard to come by.

The ebony insert idea on the top drawers is from the Anderson Server I did earlier. The pulls on the large drawers were taken from one of the books by Darrell Peart. I still don’t have a good technique to cut the slots on the top but I’m getting better at it.

Dresser Case Sides—A single board ripped to width was used for the top and bottom rails on each side of the dresser. The panels are ½” solid walnut, planed to width. Mortise and tenons were used to join the rails with the legs. A stub tenon was used to fix the middle style divider to the rails. The cloud lift design on the bottom rails is a typical G&G element. Ebony plugs on the legs and at the middle style add visual interest. I use a combination of techniques from Darrell Peart and William Ng to make the Ebony plugs. The plugs are polished to a very high gloss using a buffer wheel on a grinder.

Dresser Legs—The case legs are nicely proportioned to fit the piece. Each side of the legs have the Blacker leg indent detail described in the Peart books. An accurately made jig and careful routing are needed to obtain an even transition from the indent to the leg surface. I found out that uneven pressure on the router resulted in an uneven indent depth in the leg and an angled transition at the surface. Accurate jigs and routing are essential for a clean indent. It’s much easier in the long term to take extra care and skip extra cleanup work to make the indent look good after it’s cut.

Dresser Front—Each row of drawer fronts are laid out in order from single boards. I blended two designs for the drawer fronts and pulls together. I believe the different styles work together well on this piece. The top row of drawers uses a G&G Ebony bar and pull design which matches the night stands and the Anderson Server I made. The arched drawer pulls on the lower drawers are also based on descriptions in the Peart books. The drawer sides and backs were made from resawn Monterrey Pine. Careful fitting of the top drawers resulted in silky smooth travel without any side-to-side sloppiness and firm closure without the drawers getting stuck in the case. The six large drawers are on drawer slides.

Dresser Top—Top boards were matched for grain pattern and attractiveness. As with the other details, the bread board ends, ebony inserts, and plug design were taken from the Peart books. Additional techniques were learned from YouTube videos by William Ng and others. The bottom of the breadboard ends are flush with the underneath side of the top since the legs straddle both the top and the breadboard ends. The breadboard ends are ripped from a single piece of wood.

Finish—Stain is Watco Danish oil medium walnut stain. A wash coat of 50% orange and blond shellac was applied next. The first full coat of shellac was also a 50% mixture of orange and blond shellac. Blond shellac was used for the final two coats. Final rub out was done using steel wool with a small amount of furniture wax. This results in a very warm tone for the walnut and allows the grain to show through more than a traditional darker Walnut finish would.

I enjoy making this stuff—hope you like it also.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Fit Irregular (Impossible!) Shapes with ‘Ticking Sticks’

The trick to fitting wooden pieces into impossible recesses is to learn about “ticking sticks.” These simple sticks – plus a sheet of paper – can make monstrous tasks into a easy job. Here’s how they work. “Ticking sticks” go by many names in the historical record, but they are the best technology for cutting a piece of wood to fit an odd opening. All you need to perform this […]

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Mill a Log into Lumber with Ron Herman

Every woodworker who sees a downed tree quickly says a short prayer to the gods of nature and immediately thinks of turning that log into lumber. It’s just natural to want to see a natural resource being utilized and not wasted. And, of course, procuring some inexpensive lumber doesn’t suck either! But what does it take to rescue a downed tree? Well, a mill and some friends (with trucks!) would […]

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Reconsider, Reconstruct and Renew Your Thinking

If you don’t believe you can you won’t I am always interested in hearing people discuss issues surrounding furniture making and selling what you make. If you put your cell phones and computers away and stop listening to those who say it can’t be done you will likely do it just fine by just putting […]

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Grizzly 6″ Spiral Cutter Head Jointer – Impressions from Yoav Liberman

First a disclaimer: This is a recollection of impressions following the installation and test running of our new 6” Grizzly spiral Cutterhead jointer, that we bought at full price this fall.  As many of you know, I teach woodworking at the Rudolf Steiner School in Manhattan. Our program is mainly geared towards hand tool work. To help us prepare stock for projects, shop furniture and to create projects for our […]

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Martial Arts Candle Holder

File this simple project under quick things to do with a couple of offcuts. A martial artist friend of mine asked for a candle holder for the sword class she teaches at Cincinnati Taekwondo Center. Students are challenged to put out the candle flames with their sword without striking the candles. The holder needed to accommodate 7 candles and include a way to adjust each candle’s height (the tops need […]

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Crooked Garden Gate

We have a gate on the side of my house that allows access to the backyard. While not a conspicuous gate, I wanted to replace it with something more interesting to look at. The opening for the gate just happens to be out of square, thanks to a rock-faced wall that leans in. In order to make the new gate look right, I’ll have to intentionally build a crooked gate. And if I do my job correctly, no one will ever know it isn’t square.

My local lumber yard didn’t have a great selection of outdoor-friendly species so I decided on white oak. White oak is rot-resistant and dense and should work well enough for this application. There are no plans available for this build because it’s completely customized for my unique space.

I’d like to thank my buddies Matt Cremona and Andy Klein for helping me out with this project. If you want to see Matt’s stool build, click here (coming soon).

Outdoor Finish

To finish the gate, I decided to use one of the most durable outdoor finishes regimens I know: CPES followed by Epifanes. I’m new to the Colorado climate so I’m anxious to see how this finish holds up.

Products Used

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Wood Stain is Not Wood Finish

I often come across people who are confused about the difference between a stain and a finish. They’ll use a phrase such as “I want to stain the wood,” or “would you stain the wood for me?” when what they really want is some color added to the wood and a finish applied to deepen the color and protect the wood from moisture. They’re including the finish within the word […]

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Wood Stain is Not Wood Finish

I often come across people who are confused about the difference between a stain and a finish. They’ll use a phrase such as “I want to stain the wood,” or “would you stain the wood for me?” when what they really want is some color added to the wood and a finish applied to deepen the color and protect the wood from moisture. They’re including the finish within the word […]

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Influences That Affect Your Point of View

Influence, the word, the resulting action, literally means to ‘flow in’, I suppose suggesting more a gentle ebbing that nudges the shoreline or a steady but easy current influencing another entity, source or supply of one kind or another. Sometimes an influence goes one way and other times it can be more symbiotic but not […]

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Monday, October 9, 2017

Mortise and Tenon Magazine: Issue 3

It will come as no surprise that we like hand tools – we do, after all, show you how to use them in just about every issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. But we promulgate “hybrid woodworking” – using both hand tools and power tools – depending on your preferences, and we show you how to make the most of both. “Mortise & Tenon Magazine” is dedicated to pure hand tool […]

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Blackened Wood: Designing with Fire

Black and grays are the stars of today’s architecture and furniture design. Most of the black in today’s wood furniture and cabinetry is painted or produced by means of stains and dyes, but another way to turn a piece black is by charring. Charring involves no solvents and requires no drying time. When topped with a low-luster finish such as Osmo Polyx oil, it produces a velvety appearance that highlights […]

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Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Lumberyard Map: Find a Lumber Yard Near You!

More than a year ago, before I joined the staff, Megan Fitzpatrick and I talked about an article that I wanted to write about lumberyards and the perennial discussion about domestic versus exotic lumber. At the time, I was also working on an interactive map of New York City’s neighborhoods, and I floated the idea of creating a map of local lumberyards that would accompany the article. The article is […]

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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Must-Have Layout Tools – Friday Live PM!

Tonight we have a bunch of great questions, including someone who wants to know what I consider to be must-have layout tools.

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How to Make a Baseball Bat Out of Recycled Skateboards: Interview with Andrew Szeto

I came across Andrew’s work on Instagram and Reddit and thought it was a creative build. Andrew uses skateboards that were broken or headed to the garbage to create colorful projects. In the video above he turned a baseball bat – on his Instagram feed you’ll see canoe paddles, drumsticks and coffee stampers. He’s creative and learning fast. I enjoyed his story, I captured part of it for blog post found […]

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Friday, October 6, 2017

Why Ply Wood?

Whereas plywood has a long history, and we can trace its roots to past millennia, it’s a material that’s still quite young when you see how long it’s been available as a fully commercial product. It’s also true that beyond the run of the mill manufacturers there are the specialist makers who have established themselves […]

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Book Giveaway: Hybrid Woodworking

Hybrid Woodworking

When you hang around woodworkers there is always talk of hand tools versus power tools. You’ll meet people who love the idea of doing everything they can by hand and really connecting with their material. And you’ll meet folks who like to take advantage of the speed and convenience that modern machines afford. And then there are those who believe in employing the best of both worlds: using power tools […]

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Witness Lines: A New Name for an Old Problem

A woodworker asked me recently, “What the heck is a witness line?” Well, this opens up an interesting discussion. One of my pet peeves since I began teaching finishing, has been people creating new terminology when quite adequate terminology already exists. There’s no better example than “witness lines,” which is a new term for “ghosting” or “layering” that appears when you sand or rub through one layer of finish into […]

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CAD is the Secret Sauce

The very idea of digital woodworking is something new and strange to a lot of woodworkers, so it’s only natural there are a lot of questions. For many, the big question is “where do I start?” The answer is easy. Learn to draw using Computer Aided Drawing (CAD) drawing tools. You don’t have to own an expensive CNC router to get the biggest benefit of going digital. You can remain a […]

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Thursday, October 5, 2017

How to Setup a Handplane: It’s Easier to Learn How to Use a Western Handplane

handplane

A frequently heard argument about Japanese planes is that they are harder to setup than Western planes. Recently, we filmed “How to Use Japanese Woodworking Tools” with Wilbur Pan, in Frank Klausz’s shop. So naturally, we had many conversations during the shoot, and one that came up was on just this topic. One of Frank’s favorite planes is a wood-bodied plane with a similar setup to a Japanese plane (tapping the iron, […]

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Install a Grippy Liner on Your Bench Vise

I’m a huge fan of installing a grippy liner on your bench vise. Wood faces grip your work OK. Add the right liner and the grip will become fantastic. Here are some details on choosing and installing a liner. What’s a Good Liner? Most people prefer leather, cork, felt or a rubber such as Crubber. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Peel-and-stick cork is fast to install but isn’t very durable. […]

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The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort

Some of you will file this under “Bleeding Obvious,” but few people ever discuss their “junk drawers” in their shops. I call mine: The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort. It has saved my butt a thousand times. Actually, it’s not one drawer. It’s five. The one shown in the photo above is the “random fasteners” drawer. Every time I install some hinges and have extra screws left over that don’t […]

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Popular Woodworking Magazine Nov. 2017 – Now Available

nov 17 popular woodworking

The November issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine entered the mail stream yesterday to both print and digital subscribers – and it’s now available for single-issue purchase in both print and digital formats. Though I urge you to subscribe – it saves you money…and a healthy subscription base means less anxiety for me (said in my best Sally Struthers voice). Or share the love – consider a gift subscription for that neighbor who keeps […]

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Live at Lunch: The Art of Spoon Carving

This afternoon I will broadcast “The Art of Spoon Carving” live on our Facebook page. I’ll start the show at noon EST. The show will play for one hour and I will offer a coupon code to purchase the video download or DVD at a reduced price in the comment section. If you haven’t seen the last two episodes of Live at Lunch on our Facebook page, this is a chance […]

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Resin Cast Memory Frames – WFC2017

For this year’s Woodworker’s Fighting Cancer project, we’re building memory frames. Inside the frame, we’ll use epoxy to create a casting. This space can be used for memorabilia, fun stuff for the kids, or whatever kind of decoration you want. If you need some inspiration, try our new Picture Frames project in the new Free Tier of the Wood Whisperer Guild.

If you build and submit a frame before October 21st 2017, we’ll donate money to the Jimmy Fund on your behalf (one frame per person).

Giddy is a new social sharing app that allows you to show off your work and participate in challenges with the rest of the community. Download the app and get started! 

If you don’t want to build the project, you can always donate directly, participate in our auctions, or buy some sweet WFC gear, all of which benefit the charity.

Products Used:

Special thanks to Peter Brown for his advice on epoxy castings.

To learn more about the history of this charity event, check out the Woodworkers Fighting Cancer page. And special thanks to our sponsors:

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Two Brands of Brass Mallets

If you follow my blog, you know that I have an affinity for striking tools. Check my entries on hammers, turned mallets and carved mallets (from branches) if you haven’t had a chance to read them before. A few years ago I purchased a set of brass head mallets from Lee Valley that I use occasionally. I liked them, so last year I ordered two more brass mallets for our […]

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Tips on Working with Construction Lumber

In my last article, I discussed big box store construction lumber (SYP – Southern yellow pine) and its use in furniture. I’ve found that it’s cheap, high in moisture and needs consideration in selection and prep. Working with construction lumber is a unique experience and a great learning material. Southern yellow pine typically has wide growth rings (which means it grows fast) and has some of the hardest and the […]

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Monday, October 2, 2017

A Chair Worth Crossing the Atlantic – English Arts and Crafts Furniture

  A recent post about my visit to The Wilson (formerly known as the Cheltenham Museum) last winter sparked special interest in a chair designed by architect Charles Frances Annesley Voysey in 1898 – the chair that was the primary reason for my trip to England. It seems a few people are champing at the bit for a deeper peek into the contents of Popular Woodworking’s forthcoming book on English Arts […]

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Period-accurate Joinery: Three Ways to Cut Rabbet Joints

Mannerist dresser

While rabbet joints are used commonly to attach case fronts and backs in period work, they show up in other places too. In pieces from the 17th century and earlier, such as the Mannerist dresser shown above, drawer fronts often are rabbeted and the drawer sides simply nailed into that rabbet. Later, in the early 18th century, drawer sides were rabbeted to hold the drawer bottoms. The bottoms are typically […]

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Nominal Lumber Knowledge

2x4 nominal lumber

I don’t know exactly when I learned that a 2×4 isn’t 2″ x 4″, but I’m quite sure it was well before I joined the staff of Popular Woodworking. I studied English literature and journalism in college, and took one shop class in grade school that covered little more than basic turning – no construction. When I was a kid, I was busy playing soccer and bugging my mom to let […]

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Saturday, September 30, 2017

Nostalgia or No?

My working with hand tools has nothing to do with a reluctance toward living in a post modern world; just so you know. I’m just thankful I do, and that I feel to a balanced degree I’ve been able to embrace it. I always like seeing old workshops with wood leaning against rustic walls and […]

Read the full post Nostalgia or No? on Paul Sellers' Blog.



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Simple and Fast Rabbeted Drawers: Hi, I’m David and I Break Things

I wouldn’t call it reckless, but I tend to push, pull and slam things a little harder than I should. I’d like to blame my father who operated on an “I can fix anything” mentality that gave him the leeway to be overly rough while working on cars and around the house, but really, I just enjoy making loud noises and the efficiency of tossing things across the room. With […]

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Friday, September 29, 2017

Tool Troubles? Get Thee to the Grinder

I’m always surprised by how many woodworkers – even experienced ones – try to avoid the grinder. They will purchase expensive diamond plates or (worse perhaps) a ream of belt sander paper and an expensive granite plates all to avoid stepping up to an electric or hand-cranked grinder. This is not just a fear among hand-tool users who avoid electricity. I’ve met guys who will use an unguarded shaper with […]

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National Coffee Day – Friday Live!

Today we drink coffee and lots of it. We’ll also discuss some woodworking!

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Book Giveaway: Mackintosh Furniture

Mackintosh Furniture

This week I received advance copies of Michael Crow’s new “Mackintosh Furniture” book. Its a book of techniques and shop drawings to help you recreate 30 of Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s furniture designs. Often remembered for his architecture and graphics, Mackintosh designed hundreds of pieces of furniture throughout his career. This is the first book of its kind dedicated solely to his furniture. Finally fans of Mackintosh’s work will have access […]

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The Lumber Rule

lumber rule photo

A must-have tool for the lumberyard by Greg Paolini In addition to my truck and a pile of cash, there’s always one other thing I take to the lumberyard or mill – a lumber rule. Also known as a grading stick, a lumber rule is a simple tool that instantly shows how many board feet are in a piece of rough lumber. This helps me keep track of how much wood I’m […]

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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Folding Campaign Bookshelves in 1 Minute

For the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I built a pair of folding campaign bookshelves based on a 19th-century pattern. Long-time readers of this blog know that I love mechanical furniture that folds up into tiny spaces and is durable. So 19th-century British campaign furniture is right up my alley. These examples have a Gothic look to them, but you could alter the profiles of the folding end […]

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