While simple to build, the details present a worthy challenge.
by Glen D. Huey
While teaching a class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, I was asked to sneak down to the Connecticut Historical Society to take a look around. At the museum, I was shown into a back room full of off-exhibit furniture. Halfway down the first row of shelving, a mixed-wood lowboy caught my eye. “What a great piece,” was all I could say. Mass photography began.
Video: Watch the author lay out and cut a cabriole leg using a table saw and band saw.
Blog: Discover the vast differences (and advances) in hardware found on early period furniture.
Blog: Read how tapered drawers are also found in the work of a Shaker craftsman.
To Buy: Get instruction, detailed step photos and a pattern to make your first cabriole leg.
In Our Store: Build a more upscale Queen Anne period dressing table, or lowboy. Read more
An 18th-century chairmaker’s saw makes 21st-century work easier.
by Jeff Miller
The graveyard of obscure and forgotten tools is large, densely packed and many layers deep. Many of these tools richly deserve their pauper’s burial. But once in a while you come across a tool that does things that are quite remarkable, and you wonder why it ever disappeared in the first place.
I didn’t go rooting around for an old tool to dig up and bring back to life. I was simply trying to find a better way to cut tenon shoulders for some of my more complicated chairs. Cutting accurate, well-aligned shoulders, even on a straight tenon, is fairly difficult; cutting them on these chairs, where I had curved parts and angled shoulders, is especially so.
Blog: Get a free chapter from the author’s “Foundations of Better Woodworking.”
Blog: Read Jeff Miller’s blog posts about a simpler version of a tenoning frame (hint: no dovetails) and using the frame to hold angled and curved pieces. (To come.)
Article: Imagine what’s it’s like to relax in Jeff Miller’s 988 Chair – is it akin to a bed of nails?
Article: Read Christopher Schwarz’s profile of Jeff Miller and his work. (To come.)
In Our Store: “Foundations of Better Woodworking,” by Jeff Miller. Read more
It’s a crate. It’s a cabinet. It’s useful shop furniture.
by Christopher Scwharz
One of the enduring features of Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop” PBS television show is the familiar and rambling backdrop of former projects, parts, tools and wood that frames most episodes. My favorite item in his shop is his nail cabinet – a pine wall-hung cabinet tucked in the far back corner.
On the inside of the door of the cabinet, Roy has hung a print of a lovely lady holding a bock beer alongside an admiring goat. And while that’s some nice lens candy for the television cameras, I’m more attracted to the 21 drawers on the right side of the cabinet. These drawers are more useful to the married woodworker.
Blog: Read about the fasteners the author recommends for a traditional shop.
Plan: Download a SketchUp model for the Roy Underhill’s nail cabinet. (To come.)
In Our Store: Classic episodes of the “The Woodwright’s Shop” on DVD.
To Buy: “Mastering Hand Tools 2-Disc DVD,” by Christopher Schwarz.
Blog: Learn a few indispensable tips to make age-old fasteners invaluable for simple, strong joinery. Read more
A hole is just a hole, no matter how you dig it.
by Robert W. Lang
The mortise-and-tenon joint is fundamental in woodworking. Along with the dovetail, this joint has been used for thousands of years. If you judge by the number of devices and methods developed to avoid making mortises, you might think it difficult and demanding. In truth, a mortise is just a square hole.
As with most holes, it doesn’t really matter how you dig it. The fundamental elements are the same whether you chop by hand or mill with a machine; confusion arises because it isn’t always obvious what is important to make a sound joint in a reasonable amount of time.
Article: The best mortises are useless without a properly fitted tenon; read about three different techniques that use a variety of tools.
Video: Watch a mortise being chopped under glass in this video filmed at our first Woodworking in America Conference.
Blog: Read about sizing tenons to the mortise without measuring.
In Our Store: “Classic Arts & Crafts Furniture,” projects built for Popular Woodworking Magazine by Robert W. Lang.
To Buy: “Mortise & Tenon: Tools and Techniques from a Master Woodworker.” Read more
A visionary’s concrete castle contains a generous slice of pre-industrial life.
by Chuck Bender
Walking through the entrance of the Mercer Museum isn’t quite what one would expect from one of the United States’ most complete collections of 18th- and 19th-century tools. “Contemporary Spartan” seems a more fitting description, due to all the glass, polished stone and open space. Once you move through the entry and into the castle that is the museum, that all changes.
Henry Chapman Mercer was born in 1856. It was an extraordinary time and Mercer was an extraordinary man. The Victorian era was in full swing when Mercer was born, and as he grew up he saw the massive changes the Industrial Revolution brought to every aspect of life.
Article: Discover another unique Pennsylvania collection at the Wharton Esherick Museum.
Web Site: Learn more about the Mercer Museum by visiting its web site.
To Buy: Be like Henry Mercer and preserve the tools from our past; pick up “Buying and Restoring Hand Tools with Ron Herman.”
Web site: Find out how Laura Swain came to reside at Fonthill, Henry Mercer’s castle-like home. Read more
This powerful precision tool belongs in every woodworker’s arsenal.
by Megan Fitzpatrick
If you’re a woodworker who prefers to plug things in, you know there are still at least a few hand tools you need. And when it comes to planes, you likely have a block plane in your toolbox. I, however, think a router plane is of at least equal importance. It can do things that no other tool – hand or power – can. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the contents of a patternmaker’s tool kit. These precise woodworking professionals had router planes in numbers second only to chisels.
While the router plane shares the first part of its name with a power tool, the two work quite differently. A router plane roots – like a pig hunting for truffles – by getting under the wood to be removed and lifting it out. An electric router works like a small spindle moulder (shaper), spinning a bit that shears the wood away.
Web Site: Patrick Leach’s “Blood and Gore” is an excellent reference site for Stanley Planes.
To Buy: “The $5 Router Plane,” by John Wilson, in issue #149. This clever shop-made tool uses an Allen wrench as a blade.
In our store: “Handplane Essentials,” by Christopher Schwarz – now in paperback.
Video: Watch a free video that shows one technique to sharpen a router plane’s L-shaped blade. Read more
pages 12 -13
While trying to attach a carved 1⁄8″-thick mahogany veneer to the edge of a curved shelf, an idea came to me as a last moment glue-up solution.
Initially I thought I could make it easier to bend by wrapping the sawn veneer in a towel then saturating it with boiling water; this didn’t have the effect for which I had hoped. As I started to bend the veneer around the shelf, it was apparent that it would not lie flat around the curve.
Grabbing a small offcut of the shelf to use as a caul, I clamped it to the apex of the curved edge, but this still left the balance of the veneer away from the shelf.
Read the rest of Tim’s trick and four more from our readers in the February 2014 issue, #209. Read more