Techniques

Below you’ll find smart woodworking techniques including quick tips, advice for beginners and more advanced methods to improve your skills and allow you to get the most out of your workshop and tools. Whether you’re looking for traditional woodworking techniques using hand tools or power tools, finishing or sharpening advice, or just want to hone your woodworking basics, the advice below is from seasoned and trusted woodworkers and furniture makers working at the top of their field.

AW85 Feb01 Q & A

Q & A: Are Broken Screws Removable?

Q: Argh! I broke off a brass screw while installing a small hinge. Can I get it out? A: Join the club! Every woodworker has faced this problem. The best answer is to drill around the screw with a hollow bit, an unusual device with reverse teeth. Here’s what you do: Buy a hollow...

PWE150118_QA

Q & A: The Right Mortise / Tenon Fit

Q: What’s the right fit between a mortise and a tenon? I’m going crazy trying to measure them with a dial caliper! A: You’re not alone. This question has bugged just about every woodworker, but the answer doesn’t lie with precision instruments. A crusty woodworker of the old school once said, “If you need...

PWE150111_cut-aluminum

Q & A: Sawing Aluminum

Q: Can I cut aluminum with my chop saw? A: Yes. Most carbide blades work fine for occasionally cutting aluminum, but we recommend using a special, non-ferrous metal-cutting blade if you cut a lot of aluminum or brass. It’s safer to use than a standard blade because the geometry of the teeth makes it...

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Tools to Make a Roorkee Chair

Gathering the tools and materials necessary to make a Roorkee chair might seem intimidating because of some of the unusual operations (riveting?). I think the list of necessary tools is pretty manageable and reasonably priced – nothing too exotic. When students ask me for recommendations on what they should buy, here is my list....

PWE150104_QA_lead

Q & A: Rust and Mold on Waterstones

Q: My set of Norton waterstones has recently developed two problems. First, a brownish stain appears when I sharpen my chisels and plane irons. Could this be rust? My second problem is mold, probably the result of storing my stones in damp conditions. Can you recommend a way to get rid of the rust...

AW81Aug00 Q&A

Q & A: Installing Threaded Inserts

Q: I made a jig that needed threaded inserts but I had one heck of a time installing them by hand. They went in cockeyed and I trashed their slots.What am I doing wrong? A: The most common kind of threaded insert is the straight brass barrel with thin outside threads and a single...

easy-drawer-dividers

Q & A: Easy Drawer Dividers

Q: Help! The junk drawer in our kitchen is out of control! I have trouble finding anything in there. Is there a simple way to add dividers to my kitchen drawers without taking them apart? A: You bet! Here’s a way to control the clutter in less time than it takes to find the...

AW73Jun99 Q&A

Q & A: Matching Old Stains

Q: I have to match an old stain. I’ve come pretty close with a new stain I bought at the hardware store, but it’s not good enough. Is there a way I can tint the stain? A: There are several fairly simple ways to alter the color of commercial stain. Probably the easiest is...

Unwanted scratches pop out under a low-angle light.

Q & A: Sanding Scratches Revealed

Q: What can I do to see sanding scratches before I apply stain? I always miss some of them until it’s too late. A: Doesn’t that drive you crazy? Just when you should be home free, wham! Now you’re stuck with a lousy finish and there’s no way out.One simple measure can prevent this...