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 motor … Read more
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 to … Read more
Grain pattern inspires a new take on a pinwheel design.
By Heather Trosdahl
I originally made this table during my first year at the College of the Redwoods Fine Woodworking Program. For our second project we are encouraged to incorporate shop-sawn veneers in some way. My plan was simple: I wanted to make a table out of a small but beautiful piece of red narra (an exotic from Southeast Asia). I knew it had to be a veneered top to get the most out of this unusual board, and I wanted it to be simple in design to allow the wood to speak for itself. I decided to resaw the board and find a pleasing layout by slipmatching my veneers.
Once I cut the veneers I realized I didn’t like how this particular board looked when slipmatched. Bookmatching, or even flipping parts end to end, presented unwelcome chatoyance. No matter how I arranged the veneers and depending on the direction of the light they shifted from lighter to darker in color, highlighting the fact that I was joining separate pieces of wood to make the top.
Blog: For more information on resawing your own veneer, see the author’s “Shop-sawn Veneer: A Primer” on the Editors’ Blog.
Web Site: Epifanes finishes can be found at Jamestown Distributors.
Web Site: For the file/burnisher the author uses, visit Glen-Drake Toolworks.
In Our Store: For more design inspiration, read Oscar P. Fitzgerald’s “Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery.” Read more
By Bill Wells
I often need to cut an arc or circle for a template or gasket. In the past, my results using a compass and scissors were far from the smooth shape I hoped for. Recently, I needed to cut a precise, smooth circular arc in a sheet of veneer, and I realized my old methods were inadequate. In addition to the arc looking ragged and uneven, the thin veneer would break when I attempted to cut it. I needed a better method.
I came up with a circle-cutting tool that uses a rotary blade similar to the blade used in some office paper trimmers.
Tricks Online: We post tricks from the past and film videos of some Tricks of the Trade in use in our shop. They’re available online, free. Visit popularwoodworking.com/tricks to read and watch. Read more
Find valuable design lessons (and templates) in furniture ‘bones.’
By George R. Walker
The average Jill might look at the little chest of drawers shown on this page and say, “What a nice furniture piece; it’s perfect for a nightstand. What kind of wood is that?”
The average Joe might reply, “It’s tiger maple, and has some interesting post-and-rail joinery.”
The somewhat more historically versed Fred might say, “It’s a dowry chest circa 1830, crafted in the style known as Empire. Note the large drawer on top and decorative split turnings on each side post.”
Blog: Read more from George R. Walker on his Design Matters blog.
In Our Store: George R. Walker’s DVDs, “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design,” and “Unlocking the Secrets of Traditional Design: Moldings.” Read more
Understand the difference between these often misused terms.
By Bob Flexner
It would be difficult to find wood finishing subjects that have been made more confusing than sealing and washcoating. This is unfortunate because these procedures are very simple and easy to understand.
A sealer is the first coat of finish you apply to the wood. It enters the pores, dries and stops them up so liquids don’t penetrate easily. It “seals” the wood. The sealer can be the finish itself (any finish), or it can be a special product designed to solve a problem.
A washcoat is any finish thinned to 10 percent-or-less solids content and used to partially stop up the pores in the wood (so a stain will still add some color), or provide a thinner barrier between color coats (stain, glaze, filler or toner) to limit the total finish build. The commercial varnish product labeled “wood conditioner” is a washcoat.
Article: Read Bob Flexner’s article on finishing cherry, free on our web site.
In Our Store: “Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated with beautiful full-color images and updated, and “Wood Finishing 101.” Read more
If anyone ever sees that, they’re looking too closely.
By Robert W. Lang
I spend a lot of time looking at antique furniture, often from below. My interest is pieces made about 100 years ago, from the Arts & Crafts period of the early 20th century. I share a passion with those who collect these pieces, but I look at them with a different eye. The lines and proportions draw me in, and I appreciate the rarity and value. But my mind isn’t on the dollar value of any particular piece; I’m out to connect with the guy who made it way back when.
On tours of old houses I hold up the group by crawling under things for a closer look. At museums I set off alarms by getting too close or reaching out to touch when the guard is distracted. My fascination is with how these things go together, and I wonder what constraints of time, money and resources the original maker had to contend with. It’s a reality check against the overload of information in print and online. It’s one thing to read about how things should be done and quite another to look at the tangible legacy of someone’s work.