Author Archives: Dan Farnbach

Dan Farnbach

About Dan Farnbach

Dan apprenticed and worked in two professional shops during the years after college. But sweeping shop floors only goes so far toward learning woodworking. These days Dan is online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. He divides his time between Boston and Maine.

Inspiration is the first step in learning how to design furniture. Plate 11 should help.

How to Design Furniture – Just Press Play

I’ve spent quite a few hours around furniture designers, starting with the studio furniture maker I worked with years ago in Miami, and of course today in both the online and offline woodworking communities. I like to believe that I’ve learned a few things by osmosis, although I must admit I’m by no means...

Wood staining to the point of blackness is called ebonizing. a practice that dates back several centuries.

Wood Staining Extras – Extra Dark

Free is good. Free and reputable is even better. Each month, one of the fun parts of my job is choosing the material for our free woodworking downloads. I dig through the Popular Woodworking archives and uncover the best stuff on particular topics – such as wood staining, the latest. I then work with...


Roy Underhill, YouTube Videos and Dovetail Waste

I am grateful that Roy Underhill did not begin his career during the YouTube era, where shorter is considered better and thousands of disgruntled viewers sling misspelled insults like an angry version of the infinite monkeys theory. Roy makes long-form shows that dig deeply into historical methods and forms, creating a body of video...


Declaration of Ignorance

I’m just a couple weeks shy of my one-year anniversary here at Popular Woodworking. I’m considering it a marker of sorts. At one year, I think I can declare myself officially aware of how much I really don’t know about our craft. I understand that as a representative of one of America’s largest (and...

Adze and tapered reamer, two chairmaking tools you have to own for traditional Windsors.

Chairmaking Tools that Feel and Work Right

I caught up yesterday with Tim Manney, a designer and producer of chairmaking tools in Portland, Maine. Here’s our conversation, the first installment in a new series of Q&A posts with experts and professionals in the woodworking community. And there’s a twist to this series – each interviewee will tell me who I should...

Small woodworking projects abound in A.J. Hamler's latest release. I had this Hamler birdhouse in mind in the shop this weekend.

Small Woodworking Projects – Great and All

Okay, I like animals, and the title of this post is a play on the James Herriot novel. I saw a robin outside the other day. I’m taking it to be either the first sign of spring or the first sign of the dog I’m caring for being momentarily absent from the yard near...

I've been planing wood with a tool like this, a generous gift from community member Rhett Fulkerson. Click the image to visit Bluegrass Woodworkers Association.

Planing Wood with Wood

Between rounds of staring at two computer screens, I’m surfacing batches of rough-sawn cedar for their eventual destiny as two Adirondack chairs. You can guess which task is more fun. I’m finding that it’s particularly fun to use a wood-bodied jack plane for initial straightening of the boards. Planing wood with wood is slightly...

Behr wood stain is marketed primarily for decks, but I'm testing it on a piece of cedar for outdoor furniture.

Behr Wood Stain Smells Like [Blank] – 5 Test Finishes

Maybe it’s the fumes going to my head, but I can’t place the smell of Behr wood stain. It reminds me of something from the past – model airplane paint or the dentist’s office or something. Do you know what I’m talking about? Please tell us in the comments section. I’m testing 5 types...


How to Measure Wood – First Steps with Rough Lumber

I’m in the first steps of my Adirondack chair project, and it’s a lot of fun working with the rough-sawn cedar I bought from a regional sawmill. I jumped right into measuring and sawing the lumber to rough project lengths. That’s the first real step of any woodworking project, but I needed to brush...