By Matthew Teague Page 16 Festool recently released the Domino XL DF 700, big brother to its revolutionary Domino DF 500, one of the most innovative tools of the last few decades. Aside from the size, the loose-tenon joints created by the XL are the same as with the earlier version. From a machine that … Read more
Canadian company creates a steel combining the best of the old and new. By Christoper Schwarz Page 14 I’ve long been suspicious of the so-called “super steels” that promise long edge life between sharpenings. That has always meant that you have to spend a long time sharpening the tool on your stones or – even … Read more
This contemporary design is an easy, affordable introduction to curved work and veneer.
By Matthew Teague
Learning to work with veneers and curves enables you to design and build almost anything. This bow-front entry table serves as a good introduction to both – without costing a small fortune or requiring you to attempt an overly intimidating project. Veneer introduces to you to a world of beautiful grain patterns and species that are prohibitively expensive to buy in solid hardwoods. Having the confidence to add curved and veneered surfaces to your work also allows you to tackle a wide range of period, contemporary and original designs that were previously off limits.
This petite design teeters somewhere between a traditional bow-front table and a sleeker modern piece. The veneered bird’s-eye maple top panel and aprons are framed and highlighted by the darker, contrasting solid cherry used for the legs and top frame. A subtle but graceful detail is that the front faces of the front legs are angled to visually extend the curve of the front apron. Like this little detail, which you may not notice at first, I think all furniture should have a few secrets to be discovered only on closer inspection. The hidden drawer on this table qualifies as well; its non-traditional placement on the side of the table is completely disguised by a drawer front that is piston-fit between the legs. Unless someone points it out, you’d never know it was there.
Learn how to carve this classic detail – follow a few rules, and it’s simple.
By Mary May
The beauty and elegance of the acanthus leaf has inspired artists, architects and craftsmen for centuries. Among furniture makers, carving this classic detail is a rite of passage, much like making your first hand-cut dovetails. If you are interested in carving, the acanthus leaf should certainly be in your repertoire.
The acanthus plant, also known by the common name of “Bear’s Breeches,” is native to the Mediterranean. It has thick, spiny leaves with serrated edges and produces large 2′- to 3′-long spikes of white or purple flowers. The word acanthus comes from the Greek word ake, meaning a point or thorn, and anthos, meaning flower. The acanthus plant most resembles the dandelion, thistle and artichoke plants.
The acanthus first appears in the decorative and architectural arts of Greece around the 5th century B.C. The most familiar historical use for the acanthus on a curved or turned surface is on the capitals of Corinthian columns.
At first, the designs based on the acanthus leaf were accurately portrayed and extremely lifelike. As this motif grew popular, it became more stylized and has now evolved into an imaginary leaf of many uses. The acanthus design can be seen in everything from embroidery to architectural designs and furniture details.
Web site: Visit Mary May’s web site to see more of her work, and find out when and where she’s teaching.
Video: Watch as Mary May shows you how to sharpen one of the essential tools for woodcarving – the V-chisel.
In Our Store: “How to Carve an Acanthus Leaf on a Cabriole Leg and on a Turned Post,” DVD from Mary May.
Online Learning: Mary May has just launched an online video school to teach carving; find out more. Read more
Notched and nailed joints add visual interest to this simple project. By Megan Fitzpatrick Pages 50-52 This form is typically called a Shaker silverware tray – but it comes in handy for ferrying all sorts of things hither and yon. I got lucky at the big box store in finding some perfectly straight, flat and … Read more
By Steve Shanesy Page 16 M-Power Tools offers an aftermarket router base that offers a number of features at the very reasonable price of about $90. It can be mounted to any router that has 5/16″-diameter edge-guide holes spaced between 35/64″and 51/8″. One key feature is an indexed micro-adjusting wheel that lets you dial in … Read more
A perfect union between an improved router fixture and a Moxon-style vise.
By Kenneth Speed
This fixture, which I’ve christened “Gizmozilla,” grew out of my general dissatisfaction with the methods available to small shops to cut mortises. At one time I used a small hollow-chisel mortiser but I never found the results satisfactory. I tried an open-sided box jig for router mortising, but by the time I had everything in position and clamped I was completely out of patience with the whole procedure. Finally, I resorted to drilling out mortises on my drill press and doing the final chopping out by hand. While I was generally happy with the resulting mortises, the process was far too slow.
Then I happened on an article in an old woodworking magazine that described a basic router mortising fixture. It was a wooden beam with an attached channel for the router edge guide; it used Jorgensen hold-down clamps to secure the workpiece. The author nailed stops to the beam to limit router travel. While the basic idea was sound, it seemed less than fully developed. Nailing stops to something I’d just worked hard to make smooth and square seemed a little crazy, so I added T-track and moveable stops.
I also added wooden clamping cauls of various lengths outfitted with steel bars and rare earth magnets to hold them to the clamps while allowing for some adjustment. The cauls and Gizmozilla’s 4′ length adds to its flexibility.
Video: Find out where the glue goes inside a mortise-and-tenon joint.
To Buy: “Getting Started with Routers” DVD.
Plan: Download a SketchUp model of Gizmozilla.
In Our Store: “55 Best Shop-Made Jigs” CD. Read more