Raw Materials

Make the Arkansas Insty-Kiln

I was surprised by how much my CompWood arm bow dried out overnight. It went from 20 percent moisture content to 12 percent moisture content. But I’m not ready to take it out of the clamps yet, and Megan wouldn’t do it, either (she smelled a trap/workers’ comp claim). So I decided to do...

Two Men & Their Wiggly Wood

I’ve been working with some slabs of CompWood I purchased late last year to make some arm bows for some Welsh stick chairs (and an article in the April 2011 issue). Don’t know about CompWood? It’s a freaky cool way of bending wood. Read all about it here. I was attracted to this material...

Quartersawn Animation

Quartersawn white oak is one of my favorite woods, and we’re fortunate in Cincinnati that the largest source for this wood in North America is just a couple hours away. Frank Miller Lumber in Union City, Indiana has been producing this wood for more than one hundred years, and it’s worth a visit, as...

That is Some Texas-sized Ebony

During the Woodworking in America conference, several readers brought along some boards of nasty wood for me to try to tame during my lecture on scraper planes. I was able to plane or scrape all the woods, except for one. Texas ebony. Also known as the dreaded Ebenopsis ebano. Just seeing that taxonomic nomenclature...

The Science of Rented Mules (aka Chisels)

Sometimes when I write, I come to a question that paralyzes me – and I cannot continue until I get it answered. As a newspaper journalist, I was trained to “write my way around the problem,” which probably is one reason I don’t work for newspapers anymore (the other reason: there aren’t any newspapers)....

The Traditional Tool Section of Lowe’s

When I teach classes, I tell my students to buy their winding sticks in the “18th-century Tool Section” of their local home center. They look puzzled until I pull out my winding sticks: two lengths of aluminum angle, one of which is painted black. Aluminum angle is cheap and makes a nice set of...

The Long Squiggly Yellow Line

People often divide our country into North and South using a variety of metrics. There’s the Mason-Dixon line, of course. The Barbecue Line (the word means “grilled meat” in the North and “porky heaven” in the South). And so on. I use the “Yellow Pine Line.” This fantastic material is difficult to find in...

Get Bent! OK, I Will

Steam-bending wood is awesome, but I’ve never been a big fan of having a potential bomb in my house (or in the office). So I’ve worked at mastering cold-lamination bending, but I’ve found there’s a lot of prep work (resawing, drum sanding, etc.), and the plastic resin glue is nasty stuff. It’s the only...

Video: Visit to the David R. Webb Veneer Mill

This week I’m working with Marc Adams on a series of articles for Popular Woodworking Magazine on veneer. Marc did all the work , I’m just editing and helping with the photos. I hope these articles will convince many woodworkers to start working with veneer. Marc’s series will explain all the simple tools and...