Materials

Find out what the Popular Woodworking Magazine editors and contributing editors have to say about woodworking supplies including, wood selection, nails, screws (do you clock yours?!), hinges, locks and more – both on the blogs and in the magazine. You’ll find out what woodworking materials we recommend and why, some budget-conscious choices, comparisons of various hardware options, installation technique instruction, information on period hardware selection and more.

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How Quartersawn White Oak is Sawn

Most woodworkers have an idea of what quartersawn wood is. The accepted definition is that the growth rings are between 60° and 90° to the wide face of the board. In some species, notably white oak, this exposes the medullary rays and changes the figure from “that’s nice” to WOW!” Where things fall apart...

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Working With Small Hinges

In the back panel of the project I made for the upcoming August 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is a small door. Hanging doors on butt hinges is no big deal if you’ve done it a few times, but this door proved interesting. The picture above makes it look typical, but the piece...

Type of Lumber Cut and Shrinkage

How to Calculate Wood Shrinkage and Expansion

Wood movement can ruin a seemingly well-constructed project. Luckily getting ahead of the material and calculating wood shrinkage and expansion is fairly easy – all you need to do is multiply three numbers together. Here’s how to find them. Step 1: Measure the board’s width. ● Know that wider boards expand and contract more...

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Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

One of my first orders from the Lee Valley Tools catalog was for a big supply of these traditional ring pulls. I love this fastener for so many reasons. It is inexpensive. It looks great. It is made in Italy. It works with a wide variety of furniture styles, from Japanese tansu to contemporary....

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How I Buy Wood & Why I’m Weird

Compared to many of my woodworking friends, I buy wood and treat it a little differently than most. Many of my friends have a significant stock of lumber on hand, from a garage-full to a few barn-fulls. When they find good lumber, they buy it. In many ways, this is an excellent strategy because...

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Highly Recommended: Grace USA Screwdrivers

It’s sad to say, but all of the so-called “lifetime” screwdrivers I’ve tried over the years are sorely lacking in one way or another. On many of them, the tips are soft or poorly shaped. Soft tips are, of course, worthless and soon become useless (unless you need a shank in prison). The shape...

The Ansaldi & Sons die-cast pull in front. A traditional cast one at rear.

Campaign Chests on a Budget

When I had a bunch of woodworkers over to my house recently, they spent some time looking over the Campaign chest I finished recently for an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Their first question: “How much did all this hardware cost?” The answer: About $700. They gasped, but after examining the hardware on...

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How to Drive Brass Screws with Care

There is some good advice out there on how to drive brass screws when installing furniture hardware. To recap: 1. Use the right-size pilot holes. The bit should be the diameter of the un-threaded portion of the screw. 2. Use good screws. If your brass screws are soft, you should first cut the threads...