Router and hand tools combine for line and berry inlay on this 18th-century piece.
By Glen D. Huey
In 1746, at the age of four, Hannah Pyle stored her prized possessions in a small three-drawer chest with line and berry inlay. Lines of holly stringing on the front of that chest included her date of birth and initials – a common practice in southeastern Pennsylvania in the mid-1700s. The pale white numbers and letters stood out against the dark walnut background, as did the inlay on each of the three arched-top drawers.
Video: Watch an excerpt from the author’s “Line & Berry” inlay DVD.
Plan: Download a full-size drawing of the chest’s foot plan: Hannah’s Chest Foot
In Our Store: Glen D. Huey’s “Line & Berry String Inlay by Router” DVD.
To Buy: “American Classics,” a downloadable book by Glen D. Huey.
Web Site: Explore the collection of period furniture online at the Winterthur Museum. Read more
Discover the ‘Dean of American Craftsmen.’
By Charles Bender
After a long, slow, winding drive up Valley Forge Mountain in Pennsylvania, the treeline parts. Through the underbrush several buildings seem to emerge from the hillside. These are not the tightly tended gardens of Winterthur or Longwood, where most of my period reproduction work would feel at home. Nature is the architect and builder here.
My journey to this place began 30 years ago when, as a teenager, I first traveled to Wharton Esherick’s property, where buildings of log, board, stone and stucco make up the studio, visitor’s center and a residence of what is now the Wharton Esherick Museum. Much of the architecture seems to have grown naturally from the earth. Ever the artist, Esherick (1887-1970) added splashes of color to the stucco additions, doors and windows.
Web: Visit the web site for the Wharton Esherick Museum.
Blog: Read the author’s blog.
To Buy: “Cabriole Legs Simplified,” a DVD by Charles Bender. Read more
This full-featured benchtop allows you to do serious woodworking – and it clamps to any solid surface.
By Christopher Schwarz
One of the best things about working with hand tools is you don’t need much shop space – often a corner of a bedroom provides enough space. And a complete tool kit fits in a box the size of blanket chest.
As a result, many apartment-dwellers work with hand tools because they are compact, relatively quiet and fairly easy to clean up after. But there is one huge thing missing from the above – a good workbench.
Video: See “The Milkman’s Workbench” in action when clamped to the author’s dining room table.
Blog: Read about how the author made the dogs for his portable bench.
Video: See the Beall threading system in action in our free video.
To Buy: Make your own bench screws using the Beall Tool Company 1-1⁄4″ – 5 Big Threader Kit recommended by the author.
Blog: Read about portable benches from servicemen.
In Our Store: “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use” and “The Workbench Design Book,” both by Christopher Schwarz.
This classic furniture piece offers lots of storage in a small footprint – and it’s a simple hand-tool build.
By Bob Rozaieski
I need some additional storage space in my 7′ x 13′ shop, however, space in my shop is at a premium. At the moment, every inch of floor and wall space is occupied, except for a 14″-deep area behind the door. Options for this spot are limited, but a traditional chimney cupboard should be the perfect fit.
It’s not clear if chimney cupboards are so called because of their tall, narrow, chimney-like appearance, or because they were frequently placed in the narrow space next to a fireplace. In fact, it’s highly likely that the term is a modern description for something that was simply called a cupboard.
Blog: Visit the author’s blog for more on period work and working by hand.
Blog: Read what the author has to say on mortising techniques and dado planes.
Web Site: Are your saws dull? Bob Rozaieski offers an excellent sharpening service.
In Our Store: “Traditional Country Furniture,” by the editors of Popular Woodworking. Read more
A neat trick magically suspends this dining room project.
By Steve Shanesy
As empty nesters, my wife and I recently said goodbye to the family homestead and downsized to a smaller house. Our generously sized dining room was traded for “dining space” at the new place. Our dining room furniture wasn’t going to fit.
My challenge quickly became apparent – design and build a new table and sideboard. But how to optimize the smaller space took a lot more time to figure out. In fact, my early conclusion was there wasn’t space for a sideboard.
Blog: Get the story on how and why the server and table came to be, including the fate of the author’s Thos. Moser table.
Blog: Read how the author flattens wide stock using a C-arm drum sander.
In Our Store: Get Thos. Moser’s classic book, “How to Build Shaker Furniture.”
Video: Watch Steve Shanesy turn a 24″-diameter walnut tabletop: Part 1 and Part 2. Read more
Machined mortises are quick to cut and accurate.
By Gary Rogowski
My old friend from college is a physicist who launches rockets into the sky for a living; let me just say that he is a very bright fellow. But he has also told me that the router is the quickest way for him to ruin a piece of wood. Well that can be true for anyone who doesn’t pay attention to some simple facts about the tool. Proceed with accuracy and clarity, and the router makes flawless cuts every time.
Here are three methods for router-cut mortises that guarantee success.
Video: See how glue dries in a mortise that’s made with a window in a short online video, “Where Does the Glue Go.”
In Our Store: Learn how to accurately cut with handsaws on the DVD “Sawing Fundamentals” featuring Christopher Schwarz.
Web Site: Visit Gary Rogowski’s Northwest Woodworking Studio site for information on classes and to view a gallery of his work. Read more
Your decision is simplified by the process of elimination.
By Bob Flexner
At some point as you progress in woodworking, you begin to realize that there are many finishes to choose among; you probably ask yourself if you are using the best finish for your project.
Choosing is not as hard as it seems because there are only seven basic types of finish used by woodworkers: wax, oil, varnish (including polyurethane varnish), shellac, lacquer, water-based finish and catalyzed or two-part finish.
Articles: You’ll find many free finishing articles on our web site.
In Our Store: “Flexner on Finishing” – 12 years of columns illustrated and updated with beautiful full-color images, and “Wood Finishing 101.” Read more