Combine power and hand tools to improve your joinery skills.
By Thomas J. Macdonald
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 pretty good carpenter and could build plywood cabinets using power tools, but I was pretty inexperienced when it came to crafting fine furniture. Designing and building a toolbox was one of our first project assignments at school.
The experience was for me way more than a project; it was my introduction to hand tools and more advanced joinery. Years later, I realize just how much this project influenced my woodworking. While building it, I was learning the harmony of using both power and hand tools.
Enter the Drawings: Register your name to win daily prizes in the “31 Days of Christmas” sweepstakes.
Web Site: Visit the author’s web site for more information about “Rough Cut – Woodworking with Tommy Mac.”
Web Site: Visit the WGBH web site to watch past episodes of “Rough Cut” and see the schedule for upcoming shows.
In Our Store: “Mastering Hand Tools,” a two-DVD set by Christopher Schwarz.
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model for “Tommy Mac’s Toolbox.” Read more
A few simple planes open the doors to a multitude of mouldings.
By Matt Bickford
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 dimension lumber by hand when it will not fit through my 12″ planer. I cut my dovetails with a handsaw. When I became tired of applying the same moulded edges to my projects of various sizes I started to research my options.
Several years ago I became aware of moulding planes. You have seen these during your meanderings through flea markets and auction houses. These planes can be hundreds of years old, thus, when you use them, you will be creating profiles that are appropriate to period work and do not contradict period style. These planes do not make coves and astragals that are the interpreted design of a present-day machine shop, the corporate choice of what the masses may like or the design insanity of squeezing a 31⁄2″ crown ogee into 3⁄4″-thick material.
Blog: Read the author’s blog, “Musings From Big Pink.”
In Our Store: Buy the author’s new book “Mouldings in Practice” (Lost Art Press).
Web Site: Visit the author’s web site and learn about the moulding planes he makes.
To Buy: “Moldings in Practice” Matt Bickford’s new DVD from Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. Read more
This traditional, lightweight stool is an excellent first step toward chairmaking.
By Christopher Schwarz
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. It’s a tough little guy – the costumed interpreters sit, kneel, stand or even saw on reproductions of this stool every day.
This form is also common in rural Europe, especially in eastern Bavaria, which is close to the origin of the Moravians in the Czech Republic. In Europe, it’s also common to see this stool with a back – sometimes carved – which turns it into a chair.
Web: Visit Old Salem’s web site and plan a visit there to see the town and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts.
Video: See how the author lays out an octagon on a leg.
Blog: Learn how to level the feet of a chair or stool.
Video: See how to cut perfect wedges on the band saw.
To Buy: “Furniture in the Southern Style,” by Robert W. Lang and Glen D. Huey.
In Our Store: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” by Christopher Schwarz.
Plan: Download a free SketchUp model of the “Moravian Stool.” Read more
Decorative banding within moulding adds a distinctive detail.
By Rutager West
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. At the same time I was drawing up some inlay ideas, I was staring at a new moulding plane that was on my bench. A light bulb went off in my head and I thought, “why not make my edgebanding from my inlay blank?”
The process seemed easy enough: Cut a rabbet in the corner and fill it with a thick slice from my inlay packet then run the profile with my new plane or a router bit. Well, I did a bit more thinking and realized that many if not most profile bits and planes cut at 45˚ degrees, so just placing the banding in the rabbet at 90˚ and cutting a profile that slants at 45˚ would skew the inlay detail – it would be longer on the side.
Wood: Buy ebony and holly blanks to make your own inlay banding.
Article: Learn how to make diamond-shaped inlay banding from Rob Millard in an article from our October 2011 issue.
Article: Read a review from our April 2008 issue of the Bridge City moulding plane used by the author in this article.
In Our Store: “Woodworker’s Guide to Veneering and Inlay,” a 168-page book by Jonathan Benson.
In Our Store: “Creating Veneer, Marquetry & Inlay” DVD, a compilation of nine videos from master craftsmen. Read more
Get better woodworking results with these 12 tips.
By Jeff Miller
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 how something should be done. Most know the steps involved. Many are familiar with multiple methods of cutting dovetails or mortise-and-tenon joints. The problems are almost always more fundamental in nature.
If you’re having trouble with your dovetails, or even your band sawing, here are a dozen fundamental things to think about that may help.
Blog: Read Jeff Miller’s blog.
Review: Read Andy Brownell’s review of “The Foundations of Better Woodworking.”
Web: Download a free chapter of “The Foundations of Better Woodworking.”
In Our Store: “The Foundations of Better Woodworking.” Read more
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 that … Read more
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 from … Read more