February 2016 #223

On the cover of the February issue is Jim Tolpin’s Standing Desk – 18th-cenutry style that appeals to 21st-century doctors’ directives to not sit around all day. And if you build it using only hand tools as the author does, you’ll burn a few more calories on the front end, too.

In “Why Portable Planers are Better,” Christopher Schwarz argues that bigger – as in a 20″ helix-head monster planer – is not always better. The flexibility and size of a “lunchbox planer” is likely perfect for your shop (unless you build a lot of really large tables, or have a lot of extra floor space).

Mario Rodriguez (with a technique assist from Freddy Roman and a jig assist from Frank Vucolo) teaches you how to make three classic Federal-style bandings in your shop, with techniques you can adapt to many designs so you’ll never again be limited by what’s available commercially.

You have to look closely to see the work of toolmaker Marco Terenzi – that’s because it’s really small. Prepare for amazement as you take a look at this young maker’s fully-functional scale-model tools.

In “Bow Shelves,” you’ll discover from Bruce Winterbon how mathematical equations can be translated into graceful curves that hand delicately on the wall. But if math isn’t your forte, turn to Raney Nelson’s “Nice Curves, No Math” for three ways to lay out similar curves for the same shelves.

In “Tool Test,” you’ll read about a shockingly affordable (and good) 10″ miter saw from Craftsman, EZ Pinch Sticks and a barrel-grip battery-powered jigsaw from Bosch.

In “Arts & Mysteries,” Peter Follansbee argues that no matter how fancy your furniture, it’s meant to be used; Bob Flexner teaches you how to make the perfect sanding block in “Flexner on Finishing;” George Walker discusses the underlying language of craft in “Design Matters;” in “End Grain,” Brad Rubin writes about respect for tools as taught by Toshio Odate; and more.

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18th century desk

Perfect Proportions

Build a standing desk tailored to your body. by Jim Tolpin pages 24-31 I designed this compact stand-up desk to meet a prescription from my doctor to be less sedentary. “Sitting is the new smoking,” I was admonished. It was also to give me a challenge: to create a project start to finish almost...

lunchbox planer

Why Portable Planers are Better

While we lust for a 20″ monster, most woodworkers would be just as well off (or better) with a ‘suitcase planer.’ by Christopher Schwarz pages 32-36 When I started woodworking in about 1993, I wanted two things: a table saw with a decent rip fence and the biggest thickness planer on the planet. In...

federal banding

Shop-made Bandings

Learn to make your own and you’ll never have to compromise your design. by Mario Rodriguez pages 37-42 Bandings and stringing are a dramatic and exciting way to dress up your period furniture. I see them as a way to highlight some aspect of a piece by directing the viewer’s eye to a particular...

Marco Terenzi

Micro Marco

Marco Terenzi is a toolmaker and furniture maker with a talent for incredibly tiny work. by Christopher Schwarz pages 43-47 Toolmaker Marco Terenzi has a dream shop that sounds a little bit like a nightmare from “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s a typical shop with a workbench, tools and machines. But there’s a little door...

Bow Shelves

Delicate ‘hyperparabolas ’ hang on a curve – then  hang ‘magically’ on the wall. by Bruce Winterbon pages 48-52 When I saw a photo of a set of three rectangular shelves supported by a bow near each end, my reaction was that the bows deserved better shelves. These shelves are the result. The shelves...

Nice Curves, No Math

Mechanical solutions for the formula-challenged woodworker. by Raney Nelson pgs 58-59 There was a time when I was fairly good at math – but that was back when “personal” and “computer” were two words you’d never expect to see together. A few decades later, I often find it difficult to multi-task long enough to...

Craftsman 10" Miter Saw

Tool Test: Craftsman 10″ Sliding Miter Saw

This inexpensive compact saw performs surprisingly well. by Christopher Schwarz page 14 When sliding miter saws first hit the market, they could cost as much as a decent table saw. So I was shocked when I saw the price tags on the new line of miter saws by Craftsman (starting at less than $200)....

Tool Test: EZ Pinch Stick for Checking Square on Glue-ups

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 “Pinch rods” or “pinch sticks” are, at their most basic, two thin pieces of pointy material that are held together loosely enough at the center to move, but can be locked down. Put a point corner to corner in a carcase, lock the sticks, then check that setting against...

Bosch Barrel-grip Battery-powered Jigsaw

Because of its lower profile, I prefer a barrel-grip jigsaw to a top-handle. I feel as if having my hand closer to the work gives me better control, not only because the tool feels less tippy, but because I find it slightly easier to guide. And I quite like this new 12-volt, lithium-ion powered...