December 2012 #201

Popular Woodworking Magazine December 2012 Cover In “Tommy Mac’s Toolbox,” the cover story for the December 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, Tommy Mac builds a toolbox much like his very first project at woodworking school. One his all-time favorite projects, the box taught him to harmonize power tools and hand tools. “The Case for Hollows & Rounds,” by Matt Bickford, explains how just a few specialized moulding planes can be used to create a seemingly limitless number of complex moulding patterns. Christopher Schwarz builds a delightful “Moravian Stool.” This piece only costs about $10 in wood and two days of shop time, but includes tapered octagons, sliding dovetails, compound leg splays and wedged through-tenons. When completed, you’ll be halfway home to being able to build a Windsor chair. Add a little extra decorative touch to projects with “Profiled Inlays.” Rutager West, a largely self-taught woodworker, shows you step-by-step how to create these delicate moulding pieces with precision. Woodworking is a physical act, whether working with hand tools or power tools. Jeff Miller, teacher and author of the book “The Foundations of Better Woodworking,” offers 12 tips on coaching your body to produce quality results in the shop in “Body Mechanics.” Finally, in “Parquetry Tabletop,” Heather Trosdahl uses grain pattern in a unique take on a pinwheel design. Plus, learn how to work with shop-sawn veneers.

In this month’s tool test, we take a look at the “Knew Concepts Titanium Fretsaw,” the “Makita PJ7000 Biscuit Joiner” and the new “Bosch 23-gauge Pin Nailer.”

In this month’s I Can Do That, Tom Nunlist builds his first project, a “Bookshelf & Wine Rack,” with help from the rest of the staff. In Design Matters, George R. Walker takes a “Look Beneath the Surface” to find design lessons contained in the “bones” of period furniture. And finally in End Grain, Robert W. Lang makes a connection with his woodworking forebears through mistakes left behind in their work in “Past Imperfect.” And of course you’ll find Letters and Tricks of the Trade.

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Tommy Mac’s Toolbox

Combine power and hand tools to improve your joinery skills. By Thomas J. Macdonald Pages 24-29 Building a toolbox much like this one was a real turning point in my woodworking career. It was 1999 and I had begun classes at Boston’s North Bennet Street School’s Cabinet and Furniture Making program. At the time, I was a...


The Case for Hollows & Rounds

A few simple planes open the doors to a multitude of mouldings. By Matt Bickford Pages 30-35 I am not a woodworker who uses only hand tools. I use machinery when it is efficient and when it won’t dictate the look of my final product. I use planes to flatten boards wider than my 6" jointer. I...


Moravian Stool

This traditional, lightweight stool is an excellent first step toward chairmaking. By Christopher Schwarz Pages 36-40 One highlight of a visit to historic Old Salem in North Carolina is the beautiful Moravian furniture and woodwork in the village’s buildings. My favorite piece in the town is a small stool that shows up in many of the buildings....


Profiled Inlays

Decorative banding within moulding adds a distinctive detail. By Rutager West Pages 41-43 For my very first veneer project, I decided to make a curved-top jewelry box. I knew I would need to use solid wood on the edges to protect the fragile veneer and I also wanted to embellish the box with some geometric inlay bands....

Jeff Miller

Body Mechanics

Get better woodworking results with these 12 tips. By Jeff Miller Pages 44-47 I’ve been teaching now for more than 15 years. And in that time I’ve thought a lot about why students are or are not able to do certain things. Problems arise only rarely as a result of a student not having good information about...


I Can Do That: Bookshelf & Wine Rack

This simple modular shelf offers plenty of options for reconfiguration. By Tom Nunlist Pages 58-59 One symptom of my pervasive early 20s restlessness is that I regularly overhaul my apartment, completely rearranging the furniture and décor once a month or so. It’s not so much that I can’t settle on a suitable arrangement, but...


Bosch 23-gauge Pin Nailer Tool Test

By Robert W. Lang Page 18 Whenever I use a 23-gauge pneumatic pin nailer, I feel like I’m cheating. It is a fast, easy and reliable way to attach moulding or other parts without much need to disguise the evidence. The slim fasteners leave tiny holes behind that are nearly invisible. This new gun...


Makita PJ7000 Biscuit Joiner Tool Test

By Steve Shanesy Page 18 The biscuit or plate joiner category of the hand-held power tool world has been pretty sleepy over the past few years. But Makita has introduced a new model that, while not revolutionary, adds some nice, user-friendly features. The PJ7000 packs plenty of power in its 5.6-amp motor, yet the...


Knew Concepts Titanium Fretsaw Tool Test

The truss system of the spine looks curious, but it works gangbusters. By Megan Fitzpatrick Page 16 The crazy design of this titanium 5″ woodworker’s fretsaw from Knew Concepts is, I think it’s fair to say, the first thing you notice. But use it and you’ll quickly come to appreciate that the structure helps...