Store all the tools you need in easy reach.
by Robert W. Lang
If I were to make three lists – the tools I want, the tools I own and the tools I need – the last would be the shortest. When I decided to build a wall cabinet for my hand tools, I put my most-used tools close at hand and at eye level, along with plenty of drawer storage for tools I don’t need so often.
I spent time sorting through my tools and experimenting. I cut some pieces of 1⁄4″-thick foam core (plywood or cardboard would work as well) to pin down the size and shape of the cabinet and the layout of the tools. My goal was to store as much as possible in a compact and organized space.
Web Site: Learn how to win this tool chest.
Blog: Learn the tips and techniques that Bob Lang uses as he fits the drawers in his chest.
Blog: Learn how to transform a simple drafting square into a highly prized shop tool.
Video: Get a look inside one of the country’s most notable makers of machinists’ tool chests.
Plan: Download the SketchUp model and read a blog post about using it to plan this project.
In Our Store: Jeff Miller’s book “The Foundations of Better Woodworking.” Read more
Discover how and why this age-old hide glue technique works – and works best.
by Don Williams
One of the great hurdles for many woodworkers new to traditional craftsmanship is applying veneers to a wooden substrate. This becomes even more problematic when the task involves something more than laying down a single piece of veneer, or at least something beyond several parallel pieces of veneer, onto a perfectly flat substrate.
Blog: Read more about Don Williams’ conservation work.
Blog: With proper technique and a few quick tips, use your band saw to cut quality veneers.
Web site: Get the back story on Don’s new workshop in the mountains of rural Virginia.
In our store: Learn Bob Flexner’s take on how and when to use hide glue.
To buy: Discover practical techniques to cut, join and press veneers in a small home woodshop. Read more
Stanley No. 45 and No. 55 combination planes are put to the test.
by Roy Underhill
It took 2,000 years of fine-tuning for woodworking planes to reach their peak of subtle perfection – each plane elegantly adapted to its niche in the grain. Then, in a coal-fired flash, they were gone, struck down in top-hat times by the cast iron asteroid of the new machines. Toothed with high-speed rotary cutters, the machines could spit out stock mouldings fast and cheap – and they were good enough. The old wooden warriors that survived took shelter in dank chests as new creatures arose to fill the short-run, on-the-job-site niches where the rotary machines could not (yet) roam.
Web site: Take a class from Roy Underhill at The Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro, N.C.
Video: Watch current seasons of “The Woodwright’s Shop” free online.
Blog: Read more about Stanley Tools and download the manual for the No. 55.
To buy: Read Underhill’s fascinating creative non-fiction article on André Roubo, and learn how to make Roubo’s one-board bookstand.
In our store: Find vintage episodes of “The Woodwright’s Shop” on DVD in our store, as well as many of Underhill’s books. Read more
Add pizazz to your kitchen with contemporary curves.
by Megan Fitzpatrick
For years, I’ve been trying to cajole Kelly Mehler to write an article for us on one of his many areas of woodworking expertise: building custom pieces that emphasize the beauty of carefully selected hardwoods.
And I haven’t given up on that quest – but one of his forms is just so appealing that I didn’t want to wait for Kelly to be convinced in order for everyone to see it. So I built it (with Kelly’s permission, of course).
Web site: See more of Nancy Hiller’s kitchen design and furniture work at the NR Hiller Design site.
Article: Read about Kelly Mehler’s woodworking school in Berea, Ky.
Video: Build a simple plywood jig to rout shelf dados.
SketchUp model: Download the SketchUp Model for the plate rack.
In Our Store: “The Complete Kitchen Cabinetmaker,” by Robert W. Lang.
Chris Vesper strives for precision and perfection in toolmaking (and dancing).
by Christopher Schwarz
When it comes to settling the issue of who is the most dedicated toolmaker on the planet, Chris Vesper has the plumbing – or rather, the lack of it – as proof of his single-minded love of the craft.
Blog: Read about an inadvertent drop test to discover how durable Vesper Tools are.
Blog: Read about a plane-tuning workshop at Chris Vesper’s shop.
Web site: Visit the Vesper Tools web site and read the maker’s tool blog.
To buy: Vesper Tools are available at the Roswell, Ga., Woodcraft.
In our store: “Build a Custom Backsaw with Matt Cianci” on DVD. Read more
Shop scraps and a few simple techniques will get you spinning along.
by Steve Shanesy
Large turning projects can be daunting. A large bowl, for example, requires gluing up a blank or sourcing part of a tree trunk. When first mounted on the lathe, such stock can be off balance and result in so much vibration that the lathe may start to walk across the shop floor.
Blog: Learn some tips for turning large-diameter tabletops from Steve Shanesy.
Blog: Discover why lighting your lathe is essential, and a fixture that does the job.
Blog: Read how a lack of need for shoes morphed into a successful turning tool company.
In our store: Master turning basics and add a new skill to your repertoire.
To buy: Watch detailed demonstrations to build a turning foundation. Read more
Whenever I work on a project, I end up with my handsaws scattered about the shop. I thought about storing them under my bench, but my bad back keeps me from being able to easily bend down, so it was sometimes difficult to tell which saw I was grabbing. Putting the saw back into my tool chest after each use was time-consuming because my chest is not near my bench.
Read the rest of Jan’s trick and five more from our readers in the December 2013 issue. Read more