Gottshall Block

Better Than a Knife

When you work with power tools, machine set up is everything. The quality of your joinery, and your entire project is based on your level of accuracy at that stage. With hand tools, layout is everything. You can’t depend on your table saw’s fence to make certain that every cut is the same, so...

Better Than a Pencil

One of the things that can overwhelm a beginning woodworker is the sheer number of choices to make about the simplest things. It doesn’t help that there is always someone waiting to tell you that there is a better, faster, easier, or morally superior way to do it. That improved method usually involves a...

Exercise in Layout and Marking

If you’ve taken the bait and are willing to make a Gottshall block, I suggest you ask yourself two questions before you start. What kind of woodworker do you want to be, and how will you know when you get there? There aren’t any right or wrong answers; this is something we do for...

One Old Exercise for Growing Skills

Yesterday’s post on developing basic skills generated a lot of response. In addition to the comments, I received several e-mails. One that got my attention came from saw-maker extraordinaire Mike Wenzloff. Mike included an image from Franklin Gottshall’s Making Antique Furniture Reproductions. I’d seen this exercise before, but never tried it. “Mike has used...

What Makes the Good Woodworkers Good

As complicated as we sometimes try to make it, woodworking isn’t that difficult. Or is it? Great woodworkers don’t possess magic powers or some great gift; they have mastered some basic skills, and practiced them. It’s a lot like sports, the champions are the ones with the best command of the basics, and the...