Hand Tools Techniques

Not even the best woodworking hand tools will do you a bit of good if you don’t understand the proper techniques for using them. The fact is, learning woodworking with hand tools can be fairly difficult – but it’s easier than you may think. The editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine have used their decades of collective experience building this library of hand tool techniques that all woodworkers can use in the shop, and also offer their expert advice when buying hand tools.

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Cut Rabbets by Hand

Even if I have an entire shop filled with power equipment, I like to cut my rabbets by hand. Why? It’s fast and fun. Once you master a rabbet plane or a moving fillister plane, your router table and table saw will get a lot less use. To push you along this path, I...


Correct the Skew on a Plane Blade or Chisel

Some woodworkers would rather stick their hand into a running disposal while naked than turn on a dry grinder. So when they need to correct the skew angle on a skewed plane iron or skewed chisel they are at a loss. I even met a guy who would just buy a new blade rather...


Tune up a Hand Drill in 30 Minutes

Vintage hand drills – sometimes called “eggbeater drills” – are common, useful and easy to fix up using stuff you already own. You can buy hand drills all day long on eBay and never deplete the world’s supply because they were in every homeowner’s toolbox. When I buy a hand drill, I don’t pay...


Get Lubed Up in 19th-century Style

Ever since Roy Underhill wrote about the joys of mutton tallow as a tool lubricant in Popular Woodworking Magazine in the August 2010 issue, readers have been asking where to purchase the stuff. Or, even more alarming, how to render it themselves. The good news is that Lee Valley Tools has started to carry...


How to Drive Brass Screws with Care

There is some good advice out there on how to drive brass screws when installing furniture hardware. To recap: 1. Use the right-size pilot holes. The bit should be the diameter of the un-threaded portion of the screw. 2. Use good screws. If your brass screws are soft, you should first cut the threads...


Confession & Redemption

I have a palm-grip random-orbit sander that I’ve used for many years on household projects that could not be planed because they were too big, such as 16’-long runs of base moulding nailed to a wall,  or weren’t designed for handplaning, such as plywood that is covered in paper-thin veneer. A couple years ago,...