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 every … Read more
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 own … Read more
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 a … Read more
Building a throne for the common man.
by Don Weber
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. Faggon’s Castle and those built by John, who recently passed away. I’ve always loved the old chairs of Scotland and Ireland; they’re as rough as you get, but thrones nonetheless.
The Sligo chair, joined and pegged together, has its origins in the early 16th century. A sketch of this type of chair, dated 1832 from Drumecliffe, near Sligo, shows a three-legged, T-shaped seat with a crest piece attached to the top. Claudia Kinmonth, in her book “Irish Country Furniture” (Yale), describes the “Tuam chair” and mentions several reproductions made for Thoor Ballylee, the poet W.B. Yeats’ Tower House in Dublin. Kinmonth tells us that the chair was made with no nails, screws or glue. What follows is my interpretation of this ancient chair.
Video: Watch Don Weber split wood from a log.
Article: Read Don Weber’s “Barnsley Hay Rake Table” article.
Web site: Visit Don Weber’s web site to sign up for a class in woodworking or blacksmithing. Read more
A blend of Arts & Crafts and Asian design influences.
by Ken Burton
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 quite good at it, and sometimes like to think they invented the process. But as I think about it, people who design and make things have been doing this for years – taking details and ideas from one source and combining them with details and ideas from another.
Consider this lamp, for example. In some ways it is a fairly traditional design. It certainly recalls the Arts & Crafts style that was popular in this country about 100 years ago. In particular, I drew influence from the Greene brothers, architects who worked in and around Pasadena, Calif., designing and building some splendid examples of Arts & Crafts-style houses and furniture. But when you start looking into their training and design influences, you find that they, in turn, drew on other cultures for inspiration – notably traditional Japanese architecture. So in effect, they were “mashing up” things when they built such masterpieces as the Gamble House.
In Our Store: Purchase “Crafting Wood Lamps.”
Article: “Shoji Lamp,’ by Christopher Schwarz.
Web site: Visit the author’s web site at wrwoodworks.com
PDF: Download Plane for a cradle jig:
CradleJig Read more
Don’t be intimidated by these essential joinery planes – a few tricks make them easy to use.
by Christopher Schwarz
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 essential to using rabbet planes and plow planes – the two most important joinery planes.
In fact, when I teach students to use these planes, I usually have to ask them to stop making shavings at some point so we can all get back to work – the tools are quite addicting to use.
So why do most woodworkers opt for their router or table saw when cutting rabbets or grooves? I think it’s because there is little information out there on how to set up these hand tools and – more important – how to hold them properly. This article will tell you everything you need to get started with rabbets and plows.
Video: See the author cut grooves and rabbets both with and across the grain.(Coming soon.)
Web: Learn about combination planes at the Cornish Workshop web site.
Blog: Read Christopher Schwarz’s blog on handplanes – five years’ worth of free material.
In Our Store: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” by Christopher Schwarz.
In Our Store: Read “Handplane Essentials,” by Christopher Schwarz, available in both print and iPad-optimized PDF format for eReader viewing. Read more
You don’t need symmetry to build a period piece that pleases the eye.
by Glen D. Huey
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 Damon, built the counter from which this piece was adapted.
In designing the counter, Wright chose an asymmetrical layout that differed greatly from the symmetry found outside the confines of the Shaker villages. Of particular note is the drawer arrangement. The counter front is divided into thirds. Four small drawers occupy one-third, while three wider and taller drawers fill the remaining two thirds. To my eye, this arrangement visually balances the two banks of drawers. The narrow section, busy with the four drawers, is equally weighted to that of the wider right-hand side with its three taller drawers. Also, this design, with no two drawer blades (also known as drawer dividers) meeting at the same location, allows each blade tenon to be long enough in length for added strength.