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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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...

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Make Square Rabbets – Theory and Practice

I’ve been using rabbet planes for years and I have made my peace with them. However, there are thousands of woodworkers out there who are driven to distraction by these simple and essential planes. I hope to help you eliminate the two most common errors that lead to rabbets with sloping shoulders and angled...

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Planes are Stupid; Saws are Smart

I am married to a very smart woman. This has its advantages – life is never boring. It also has its disadvantages – she does not suffer fools (such as myself) lightly. What the heck does this have to do with woodworking? Plenty. In the world of woodworking tools there are two overarching varieties:...

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‘Handplane Essentials’ – Now Available in Byte Size

After hours and hours and hours of work (please, some kind soul, send Vodka), I was finally able to get “Handplane Essentials,” by Christopher Schwarz, into a PDF format that plays nice with all PDF-equipped eReaders. The Boring Stuff This is more information that you no doubt want, but the problem seems to be...

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The Lie-Nielsen No. 51 in Use

A dedicated shooting plane is a luxury item, much like a European table saw with a beautiful sliding table or a full keg of beer by your bedside. For many years, I’ve used my jointer plane to shoot edges and ends, and I’ve never wanted a fancy tool for the task. But after some...

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Things I Cannot Teach About Woodworking

The best things about the craft of woodworking – the things that bring pleasure in the work – are beyond my skills as a writer, teacher or friend to explain. Example: Powered jointers are – in my opinion – the most sensitive machine ever invented. They are like Phil Donohue with an induction motor....

Don’t Forget About Sindelar’s Event This Weekend

Quick reminder: I’ll be in southwest Michigan this Saturday (June 4) giving demonstrations and generally mopping up the drool in my vicinity at the open house of tool collector John Sindelar. Sindelar is going to open crates of tools that haven’t seen the light of day in decades. And his tool museum is outrageous....

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A Chip-resistant Drill Press Fence

File this one under: Tricks that everyone knows but me. Whenever I work against a fence on my drill press, I constantly huff and sweep the table clear of shavings. Why? If even one errant shaving gets between the fence and your work, you can spoil your hole. I’ve had enough spoiled holes in...