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.

LV_reamer_IMG_2058

Chair Joinery: Tapered Tenons & Tapered Mortises

Because chairs take abuse like a rented mule, the simple mortise-and-tenon joint is sometimes not enough. In traditional Windsor chair construction, the legs and spindles are attached to the plank seat using tenons that are cone-shaped along their lengths. So the mortises have to be the same shape. These tapered joints are clever. The...

A_check_1577

Accuracy in Woodworking

One of the sure signs of getting old is finding out that the kid who works in the next cubicle never heard of the TV show “WKRP in Cincinnati.” Another sign is remembering something that is taken for granted today was at one time brand spanking new. Our web guy wasn’t even born in...

skew-block_IMG_1993

Exploit the Weakness of the Tree

In hand-tool woodworking, brains almost always trump brawn. For example, when I need to remove a lot of material from a localized area, I need to think like a tree assassin and exploit its weaknesses. Think about it for a minute: Trees are much stronger in the vertical axis than they are in the...

rabbet_IMG_0426-1 copy

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...

skewjig1_IMG_1885

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...

hand_drill_IMG_1883

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...

tallow_IMG_1677

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...

secretary_brackets_IMG_1505

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...