Yearly Archives: 2012


A Long-overdue Workbench Modification

I’m in the midst of making my mom’s Christmas present*, and though I did the machine work at the “office” today, I decided to bring the surfaced and mortised pieces home (the hollow-chisel mortiser is my favorite power tool) and cut the tenons by hand. Yes, I could have cut them on the table...


How to Save Your Tool Chest and Your Tools from Water

While I think a tool chest is the best place to store your tools, the chest can also become a rusty tomb if you aren’t careful. Woodworking shops can be nasty places. I’ve worked in unheated garages, damp basements, former warehouses and sheds with dirt floors. And when I inspect old tool chests, it’s...


‘Period Furniture’ or ‘Furniture of a Period?’

This evening, I whiled away an hour leafing through “The Wise Practical Home Furniture Builder: Simple Plans for the Amateur Craftsman,” a book from 1952 that is similar to the I Can Do That series of beginner projects (a small set of tools, and pieces that are simple to build). I don’t particularly want...


Super-Tune a Handplane, with Christopher Schwarz

Whether your plane is old or new, discover tips that will make it perform with surgical precision. With just a little effort and a couple hours, you can turn any handplane into a super-tuned, high-performance tool. Order “Super-Tune a Handplane” now!

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Understanding Wood: Four Structure Types

All hardwoods have vessels (little pipelines) that are used in sap production. The size and distribution of these vessels vary among species; some are visible to the naked eye. When the vessels are cut across the end grain, they’re often referred to as pores, thus hardwoods are known as “porous woods” (see below for...

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Your Guide to Tear-out

Why Should Understand How Wood Fails Tear-out is ugly, but how does it happen? Ground-breaking research that began in the 1950s by Norman C. Franz showed how wood fails when you cut it with hand tools or power tools. Using a movie camera and a milling machine, Franz made amazing photos that pointed out...

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Your Basic Guide to Chisels

Common Types and Sizes Bevel-edge Chisel (at left): Long edges are ground to an angle to allow the tool to get into tight spaces, such as between dovetails. It is not designed for heavy chopping. A common variant is the paring chisel, which has a longer, thinner blade. Mortising Chisel (at right): A thick...


12-12-12 Sale!

Folks, this is it. The world won’t see another day like today, numerologically speaking, for almost 90 years. And savings-wise, we’re offering up deals at that you just may never see again in your lifetime – that is, unless you plan on living to Jan. 1, 2101 (yes, we plan sales up to...


Working with Plywood – 18th-century Style

I used plywood for my “Machinist’s Tool Test” project (in the October 2012 issue, and continued in February 2013 issue). In the past, I regarded plywood as being unworkable by hand. But I found a couple tricks to working it by hand: • Plywood can be sawn using fine-toothed handsaws. I think crosscut saws...