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.

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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...

What is a Router Collet

Your Guide to Router Collets

How a Collet Works • A collet is the steel sleeve that holds a router bit in a router. The collet works with the router shaft (connected directly to the motor) and the collet nut.   • Collets are machined to perfectly mate with the tapered recess in the end of the shaft and...

Put the blade in the jig.

Woodworking 101: Basic Sharpening

Sharpen a Plane Blade There are many ways to sharpen plane blades, and woodworkers have strong opinions on the best technique. Here is a simple, reliable method to achieve a sharp edge. It takes just three waterstones, an inexpensive jig and a few minutes. 1. Get a flat back. While some blades come with...

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Look Ma, No Clamps

A friend of mine used to claim that his favorite tool was his own spit. I’d never claim such a thing publicly, but I do admit to using some rather unorthodox tools at times: I’ve sharpened paint-can keys to scrape off glue squeeze-out, and ground threaded rod into various shapes for stamping wood. In...

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I Can Do That: Tool Tote

Wedged through-tenons keep this handle secure. By Megan Fitzpatrick Pages: 58-60 From the November 2011 issue #193 Buy this issue now Whether you’re using it for woodworking tools or garden tools, a tote is a simple and quick project. It’s so simple, in fact, that I decided to add a wee degree of difficulty with a curved handle...

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Easy Curvaceous Edge Joints

Last winter, I was puzzling out a way to make edge joints that are just the opposite of what we normally want – perfectly straight. I wanted free-flowing curves and I wanted to join contrasting colors of wood species. So the question was how to match the two joint lines on the different pieces...

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New: ‘The Quick-start Guide to Woodworking’

In “The Quick-start Guide to Woodworking,” we’ve pulled together articles from 11 years of Popular Woodworking Magazine and Woodworking Magazine with everything the beginning woodworker needs to get started in woodworking the right way – and fill in some critical information that might be missing for the self-taught woodworker. In chapters on Setting Up...

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I Can Do That: Pirate Chest

Masonry nails and two XXL leather belts impart the ‘arghh!’ in this build. By Megan Fitzpatrick Page: 24-25 From the February 2011 issue #188 Buy this issue now Don’t let the curved top of this “pirate chest” scare you. It’s a lot less tricky than it may appear – and it’s excellent practice with your block plane. In Our...