Author Archives: Robert W. Lang

About Robert W. Lang

Robert W. Lang is a former executive editor of Popular Woodworking Magazine.

band saws

There is Hope for High School Woodworking Programs

These days when you read about high school wood shops, it’s almost always in the context of a program shutting down, the equipment auctioned off and resources diverted to sending every kid that graduates high school to college. That makes sense if you think we don’t need to make anything domestically and that blue...


Learn to Design Furniture – Build Reproductions

Early on in my woodworking career, I fancied myself a designer. I wanted to create new and exciting stuff and managed to have my work accepted in some pretty good arts & crafts shows. My qualifications? I had read “A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook”, had the tools, access to wood and I was willing to experiment....


3 Tips for Better Finger Joints

Best Wood Types for Finger Joints The type of wood used will make a difference in how forgiving the joint is to put together. Softer woods, such as pine or poplar, will compress when assembled. White oak and maple aren’t as cooperative, and may require more force to assemble, and more finesse to make...


What Hand Planes are Good For

The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first and then the lessons. This is especially true of woodworking; you never know how far you should take one step of a project until you are knee-deep in the next step. That’s when you realize you didn’t fuss...


Grobet Cabinetmaker’s Rasps

by Robert Lang page 18 A good quality machine-cut rasp or two should be in every serious woodworker’s tool box. Rasps come into play when a small amount of material needs to be removed, either on a flat or curved surface. It wasn’t that long ago that you could walk into your local hardware...


The Most Important Lessons in Woodworking

Learning woodworking isn’t just about “how to” do something. A good example of this comes from my days as an apprentice in a commercial cabinet shop. I entered the experience with a misguided, romantic notion of working beside an experienced craftsman and being tutored in the fine points of cabinetmaking. I figured I would...


Dovetails in SketchUp – Easier Than You Think

When I teach woodworkers about SketchUp we always reach a point where I say, “the level of detail to include in your model is up to you”. Then I explain the level that I usually work to and conclude with “but if you know what you’re doing it doesn’t take that long.” Dovetails are...


Hollow-chisel Mortiser in Action

Hollow-chisel mortisers are one of my favorite tools. When mortising machines were first invented, a drill bit and a chisel were mounted side by side. Ralph and Robert Greenlee changed all that, and production woodworking forever with the invention of the hollow chisel. It’s quite an accomplishment to drill a square hole, and while...