August 2015 #219

Popular Woodworking Magazine August 2015 Cover Our August issue kicks off with Christopher Schwarz building a tool chest sized just like Goldilocks wants: just right. Christopher combines historic proportions and details in a chest that’s big enough for almost all the tools you need, but small enough to haul around. You’ll learn how to build a useful, long-lasting chest, and Christopher details the philosophy behind his design and construction choices. And you’ll get a view of the stunning marquetry lid created by Jameel Abraham specifically for this chest. (And you’ll be able to learn how Jameel built it in the next issue.)

If you sharpen your own saws, you need a saw vise. In “Shop-made Saw Vise,” Jason Thigpen shows you how to make a vise better than just about anything on the market today. An Acme-threaded screw tightens the vise with impressive force, and leather-lined jaws protect your saw. Off-the-shelf components, some straight-grained hardwood and a weekend are all you need to build this useful fixture.

Alfred Sharp is one of the best makers of period furniture in the country, and a winner of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers’ prestigious Cartouche Award. In “Build a ‘Birdcage,’” Alf teaches you how to build a birdcage, a clever mechanism that allows tabletops to tilt and rotate – and it is all period-correct.

Think you need specialized planes or a router to stick custom moulding? Scratch that thought – use a scratch stock instead. In “18th-century Reflections,” Joshua Klein teaches you how to make and use a scratch stock to build a classic mahogany looking glass.

Refinishing a piece is only part of the restoration process – finishing guru Bob Flexner backs up a few steps in “Furniture Restoration“ and shows you how to repair the most common problems found in old casework. Learn how to repair typical damage to veneer, drawers and yes, the finish.

Don’t get bent out of shape when bending wood for a project – Michael Dunbar reveals a simply design for a steam box in “Steam Powered.” Mike, the font of Windsor-chair wisdom, shows you how he made his PVC pipe steam box and offers his hard-earned know-how of bending wood.

Megan Fitzpatrick builds a “Contemporary Side Table” in an “I Can Do That” project; Peter Follansbee writes about the one woodworking joint he couldn’t live without; we test the Kreg Precision Router table and George Walker tells you how to move beyond the “Soup-can Curve.”

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Traveling Tool Chest

Historic proportions and details are still the best. by Christopher Schwarz page 22 Since I started woodworking in about 1993, I’ve stored my tools in almost every way imaginable – from plastic buckets to wall cabinets, racks and a variety of tool chests. After exploring each of these methods, I kept coming back to...

Shop-made Saw Vise

Combine wood, leather and steel for a new take on an old tool. by Jason Thigpen page 29 If you sharpen your own saws, a proper saw vise is an essential tool. The jaws on a saw vise clamp down tightly on the saw plate, holding it securely as you file each tooth. A...

Build a ‘Birdcage’

This clever & traditional wooden mechanism allows tabletops to tilt and rotate. by Alfred Sharp page 34 During the first third of the 18th century, tea drinking first became a popular pastime in fashionable homes in England and its colonies, hence the appearance of a new furniture form – the tea table. Besides the...

18th-century Reflections

Make a classic mahogany looking glass by hand. by Joshua Klein page 40 Even before the days of Facebook and selfies, Americans were undeniably conscious of self-image. In both Europe and America, the 18th-century genteel elite kept specialized accessories for maintaining appearance. Among the most important of these was a reflective mirror. Because these...

Furniture Restoration

Learn how to repair typical damage. by Bob Flexner page 46 Thirty-five years ago, I traded $125 worth of work for the mid-19th-century Empire chest-of-drawers pictured here. You could argue that I paid too much, because the amount of work involved in restoring it was considerable, but it was an impulse trade and I...

Steam Powered

Successful wood bending with heat and water is more art than science by Michael Dunbar page 50 Long ago, some caveman made a curious discovery: Wood becomes pliable when it is both hot and wet, allowing it to be bent to a desired shape that it retains when dry. Ever since, woodworkers have been...

Kreg Precision Router Table

Simple micro-adjust feature and a solid base make this one a contender. by Christopher Schwarz page 14 Some router tables have gotten so complex and expensive that they actually rival a decent shaper. I’ve always preferred simple router tables, so I was curious to assemble and use the new Kreg Precision Router Table. Like...

Texas Heritage Woodworks Auger Bit Roll

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 I’ve been looking for a long time for the perfect storage and transport solution for my auger bits. For a while, they were wrapped in kitchen towels – less than ideal. I have two of my grandfather’s old canvas tool rolls, but they both have holes in them where...

Trend Diamond Whetstone Honing & Polishing Kit

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 To be frank, I’m not a fan of sharpening hand tools using diamond systems because I don’t find the final edge as ideal as one produced on oilstones or waterstones. That said, the new Trend Diamond Honing & Polishing kit (DWS/KIT/B) gets so many things bang-on correct that it...