Author Archives: Robert W. Lang

About Robert W. Lang

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


Improve Hand Plane Performance

There was a time when nearly even adult male in the United States owned a Stanley #4 smooth plane. The one I have was passed down to me by my dad (a chemical engineer) who got it from his dad (a tool and die maker). When I was a kid, dad dragged the thing...


Quartersawn White Oak Grain Matching

I once worked with a guy who maintained that white oak wasn’t suited for furniture and that whiskey barrels are a far better use for this wood. Looking at the pile of wood in the photo you might be inclined to agree with that, and there are days when I find myself leaning in...


21st-Century Workbench Leg Joints

It’s hard to separate woodworking from history. Most of the skills we need and tools we use come from earlier times when everyday items that are now mostly plastic or cardboard were made of wood. It’s easy to look back and assume that a tool or process developed for a specialty in the 18th...


Use SketchUp to Preview Proportions

Of all the variables of design, context is the easiest to miss. That is one of the powerful things about using SketchUp, you can easily compare one piece to another, add a human figure to the model or place the piece in a room setting. Seeing is believing and knowing is better than guessing....

ellis cabinet

Proportion Problems Solved With SketchUp

I’m in the early planning stages for an upcoming project build for Popular Woodworking Magazine. The project will be a reproduction of a wardrobe cabinet from the early 1900s. I was trying to decide between three likely candidates. I thought that I had a decision made, but as I worked on the SketchUp model,...


Tool Cabinet Grand Prize in Popular Woodworking Sweepstakes

I spent a good part of the summer designing and building this simple looking cabinet, the cover project for the December 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The issue should be on its way to subscribers in a week or two, and available on newsstands shortly after that. The cabinet hangs on the wall,...


Fearless Furniture in Indiana, See Dale Barnard’s Clock

Greene & Greene never designed a tall case clock, but Dale Barnard, one of our authors, designed and built a clock in the style. The Indiana State Museum has included Dale’s clock in the current exhibit “Fearless Furniture” that runs until May 27, 2014 in Indianapolis. Dale was one of the eminent woodworkers featured...


Milwaukee ‘10IN1’ Ratchet Multi-bit Driver

By Robert W. Lang Page 18 Screwdrivers are more of a necessary evil in the shop than a tool about which to get excited. In today’s world you need to be prepared for a multitude of head styles. Standard, Phillips, square-drive (known as “Robertson” north of Lake Erie), Torx and Allen heads all might...


Compass Layout Tricks from October 2013 Issue

In the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, you’ll find my Woodworking Essentials article, “The Mighty Compass.” In the article I show a bunch of things you can do with a compass to create polygons and divide lines and angles. The following video shows some of the layout techniques from the article, in...