Basics

Here’s your one-stop site for woodworking basics. Popular Woodworking Magazine offers dozens of free articles for getting started in woodworking, including free plans for projects that are easy to build, advice on the best tools to buy for the kind of work you want to do, the technique instruction you need for both hand tools and power tools, tips you can put to use right away in your shop (plus advice on setting up shop!) and more. If you want to learn woodworking the right way, you’ve come to the right place.

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...

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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...

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Q & A: Clean Up Squeeze Out

Q: I saw one of those woodworking wizards on television the other day. As I watched the guy build a three-day project in 30 minutes, I noticed he washed off glue squeeze out with a wet cloth immediately after clamping. Won’t the water weaken the glue joint? A: We went right to the folks...

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Hand Drafting Skill-builder FAQ

Q: Is there ever a time in the hand drafting process when you use paper with lines on it, such as graph paper? A: If I am out in the field and do not have a portable drafting setup, then graph paper is desirable paper to have on hand. The most common graph paper...

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How to Straighten Warped Wood and Eat Humble Pie

Exclusive for Popular Woodworking newsletter subscribers! Enter your email address in the box below for a free digital guide to the lumberyard. It will help you select the straightest, highest-quality boards. You’ll also receive e-newsletters from Popular Woodworking and select partners, crammed with great information. Someone once said, “The toughest advice to follow is your...

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Successful Screwing

Everything you always wanted to know about screws, but were afraid to ask. By Robert W. Lang Pages: 82-85 Many of the tools and fasteners we use in woodworking have been around for thousands of years. The concept of the screw goes back to the ancient Greeks. Archimedes took a wedge, a simple but...

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Understanding Wood: Four Structure Types

All hardwoods have vessels (little pipelines) that are used in sap production. The size and distribution of these vessels vary among species; some are visible to the naked eye. When the vessels are cut across the end grain, they’re often referred to as pores, thus hardwoods are known as “porous woods” (see below for...

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Your Guide to Tear-out

Why Should Understand How Wood Fails Tear-out is ugly, but how does it happen? Ground-breaking research that began in the 1950s by Norman C. Franz showed how wood fails when you cut it with hand tools or power tools. Using a movie camera and a milling machine, Franz made amazing photos that pointed out...

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Your Basic Guide to Chisels

Common Types and Sizes Bevel-edge Chisel (at left): Long edges are ground to an angle to allow the tool to get into tight spaces, such as between dovetails. It is not designed for heavy chopping. A common variant is the paring chisel, which has a longer, thinner blade. Mortising Chisel (at right): A thick...