June 2012 #197

Popular Woodworking June 2012 issueOur cover story for the June 2012 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is an “Irish Chair” from bodger Don Weber, built from plans dated 1832 (and he teaches you how to steam-bend thick boards). Christopher Schwarz, contributing editor, shares his knowledge of traditional “Rabbets and Plows” – they’re essential tools, and easier to use than you may think. Build “The ‘Wright’ Shaker Counter” with Glen D. Huey, adapted from the work of Grove Wright, a 19th-century Shaker furniture maker. Contributor Ken Burton shows you how to build a beautiful “Oak and Mica Lamp,” a blend of Arts & Crafts and Asian designs. Plus, we have “Drawboring Demystified” excerpted from Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee’s new and important book, “Build a Joint Stool from a Tree.”

In this month’s Tool Test, we review “Lee Valley Knife Hinges,” “Infinity Tools Thick-kerf, Flat-top Saw Blades,” and “Lie-Nielsen Closed-throat Router Planes.”

In Arts & Mysteries, Adam Cherubini advises you to “Sweat the Details,” explaining that small touches make a big difference in boarded furniture. With George R. Walker’s Design Matters, “Design by Proportion,” you’ll discover how to get pleasing and functional results from simple ratio adjustments. Flexner on Finishing demonstrates “Finishing in One Day (Or Less).” In this month’s End Grain, Alan Foljambe discusses modern technology in “Nothing is Absolute.” And of course, you’ll find Letters and Tricks of the Trade.”

Below, you’ll find capsule descriptions of every article, with links to the many free Online Extras.

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Tool Test: Lee Valley Knife Hinges

by Matthew Teague Page 16 The first time I installed knife hinges I did so with an inexpensive pair, thinking it would be a good way to learn the process without wasting a lot of money on what is a notoriously finicky piece of hardware. Instead, I learned why quality knife hinges are worth...


Tool Test: Lie-Nielsen Closed-throat Routers

This joinery-tweaking plane belongs in every woodworker’s tool kit. by Christopher Schwarz Page 14 Even when I am in full-blown power, power, power mode in the workshop, there are two handplanes I turn to all the time: a block plane and a router plane. Most woodworkers own a block plane, but only a fraction...


Tool Test: Infinity Tools Thick-kerf, Flat-top Table Saw Blades

by Steve Shanesy Page 16 When we think table saw blades, our experience limits our thinking to rip, crosscut or combination, and 1⁄8″ kerf or thin kerf. Then there’s the number of teeth and type of grind: flat top, alternate-tooth bevel (ATB) or triple-chip. Each of these has its purpose and, if sharp, performs...


Irish Chair

Building a throne for the common man. by Don Weber Pages 22-29 I’m sitting here listening to Fiona Richie’s “Thistle & Shamrock” radio show, thinking of an old friend, John Brown, from Ireland, and the ties between the Welsh and Irish cultures. I’ve been building Welsh stick chairs for ages, influenced by the ancient chairs in St....


Oak & Mica Lamp

A blend of Arts & Crafts and Asian design influences. by Ken Burton Pages 30-33 My design sense and influences are pretty eclectic. I draw on a wide variety of sources and enjoy mixing things up a bit. In keeping with popular culture, I think this is referred to as a “mash up.” Today’s young people are...


Rabbets & Plows

Don’t be intimidated by these essential joinery planes – a few tricks make them easy to use. by Christopher Schwarz Pages 34-39 Many woodworkers think planes that cut joinery are difficult to use, slow-cutting and complex to set up. Quite the opposite is true. If you can sharpen a block plane, you already have mastered the skill...


The ‘Wright’ Shaker Counter

You don’t need symmetry to build a period piece that pleases the eye. by Glen D. Huey Pages 40-47 If you joined the Shaker Hancock Bishopric in the early part of the 19th century, you may have had the opportunity to work with an outstanding craftsman named Grove Wright (1789-1861). Wright, along with his long-time apprentice, Thomas...


Perfection by Hand

These jigs help you hand cut flawless mortise-and-tenon joints. By Jeff Miller Pages 48-52 Mortise-and-tenon joints tend to frustrate woodworkers far more than dovetails do. That’s no mystery; they are genuinely harder to cut than dovetails. The large flat tenon cheeks and mortise walls need to be flat, smooth and parallel, the shoulders have to line up...


Drawboring Demystified

This ancient mortise-and-tenon joinery technique needs no glue, no clamps. by Jennie Alexander & Peter Follansbee Pages 53-57 The excerpt that follows is adapted from “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree,” a new book by Jennie Alexander and Peter Follansbee (Lost Art Press). While the book teaches you start to finish how to make a joint...