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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Tune Up a Cheap Honing Guide

My favorite honing guide is the one you can find at almost any woodworking store. The guides are inexpensive and poorly made, but you can easily tune them up to make them work. One of the major faults of these guides is that when you tighten a tool between the jaws, the jaws tilt...

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Video: Pegging for Destruction

When I build a reproduction, I try to remain as faithful as I can to the construction of the original – even if my modern brain says it’s not ideal. The original builder of this early 18th-century table used several techniques that wouldn’t fly in a modern shop. For one: The bottom of the drawer...

Make the cut with the circular saw motor hanging over the guide – this arrangement provides the most support for the saw and keeps it from tipping.

Sawing Particleboard and Plywood

Precision cutting with a hand-held circular saw. I’d like to know who it was that decided that plywood was best sold in 4-foot by 8-foot sheets. I’ve always thought that it was a practical joke in questionable taste to take such a wonderfully useful woodworking material and manufacture it in sheets that are bigger...

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Mouldings in Real Time

There is a lot of nutty, stupid boasting in our craft. Examples: I can build that highboy in a weekend. I can rip faster than a table saw. I can eat more pies than you. But one of the boasts that gets the most eye-rolling is this: I can cut mouldings faster than you...

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A Look at H.O. Studley’s Blades

When I inspect an antique tool – especially one that hasn’t been messed with much – I always take a look at the cutting edge. How was it sharpened? What is the shape of the edge? Did they do any work on the unbeveled face of the blade. Usually, the edges of most vintage...

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The ‘Impossitails’ Zone

Amaze your friends with quadrilateral and rising dovetails. By Roy Underhill Pages: 38-39 From the November 2011 issue #193 Buy this issue now An ordinary day in the shop, but suddenly, you’re dovetailing through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. You’re on a journey into a woodworking land whose boundaries are...

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Konrad Sauer Reinvents the Panel Plane

Whether you love them or hate them, the English form of the infill plane has remained almost unchanged since it was invented in the 19th century. An infill plane is a metal shell that is stuffed – or infilled – with beautiful wood that supports the iron and helps you grip the tool. Perhaps...

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How to ‘Time’ or ‘Clock’ Your Screw Heads

First a warning: Don’t read this blog entry if you already obsess too much over the details of your furniture. This entry could only make things worse. Years ago, a high-end finish carpenter infected me with a disease for which there is no cure: clocking your screw heads. What is “clocking” – sometimes called...

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Jeff Miller: Modern With an Old-tool Streak

In my book, Jeff Miller might just be one of the keys to the future of woodworking. The furniture he’s built during the last three decades is decidedly contemporary. It has clean lines, simple curves and impeccable joinery and wood selection. Yet Miller manages to fold a surprising number of traditional tools into his...