Marking and Measuring

Proper layout is fundamental to crisp work, whether you use primarily hand tools or power tools. We show you proper measurement techniques from how to read a tape measure to how to use a marking gauge. And, we cover the entire range of measuring and marking tools, from winding sticks to micrometers, carpenter’s pencils to marking knives. Plus, you’ll find videos and slideshows about historic tools (including those from H.O. Studley’s iconic chest) and plans for shop-made squares, gauges and sectors.

Erasers: The Unsung Heroes of Accuracy

I make lots of pencil marks on the wood as I work. Removing them is either easy or excruciating. Whenever I can, I use a handplane to dress my stock, so the pencil marks usually come off without any visible residue of the charcoal or polymer lead or indentation from the penciling process. But...

The Need to See Red

I can be a bit obsessive-compulsive at times. And woodworking sure doesn’t help my malady. My family would be much better off if I’d just lick a few light switches or check 63 times to make sure the stove was off. Instead, I’ll build an entertainment center. Then I’ll strip the finish. Strip it...

New Video: Fit Doors With Ticking Sticks

I’ve used the “ticking stick” method to fit countertops into odd spaces in a home, but I’ve never used it in the workshop. But then Indiana carpenter Carl Bilderback showed me how to use the method to fit a door to a face frame. As soon as he mentioned it, I slapped my forehead...

Get Squared Away for December

Right before “Woodworking in America” turned into “Dead Tired in Covington,” I finished this square for the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The square is based closely on an original that tool pusher Patrick Leach brought back from England. I showed him my curly maple version of the square at Woodworking in...

Wooden Layout Square: Patrick Leach Strikes Again

With Woodworking in America breathing down our necks (we’re beginning to count it down in hours instead of days), we’re trying to get a workbench built, machines assembled, wood processed, questions answered and problems solved. Of course, we also have to finish the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine , the day job....

So Lonely

I’ve been purging my shop and tool chests of excess tools this week. But now I’m afraid some of my tools are “taking the hint” and leaving on their own. This morning I set out to dovetail a walnut carcase and found that one of my beloved dividers , an old Brown & Sharpe...

See David Brookshaw's Incredible Work this Fall

David Brookshaw has been making amazing tools since 1988 — many of them miniatures that have appeared in some of the gorgeous tool books from Sandor Nagyszalanczy, including the cover of “Tools: Rare and Ingenious.” This November, Brookshaw is coming to Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Miniaturia show Nov. 6-7, where he’ll be showing his...

41 Things from 1839

I’m packing up all the tools I’ll need in North Carolina for the coming week, and I was a bit shocked this morning as I went through my checklist. One of the “Woodwright’s Shop” television programs Roy Underhill and I are shooting this weekend will deal with the typical toolkit of a joiner circa...

10 Tool Features that Frustrate Me

Some days I forget that not all woodworking tools are designed by woodworkers (see: many of the honing guides on the market). And I forget that some tools are just designed to trick your family members into buying them for you at Christmas (see also: the battery-operated tape measure and C-clamp). This weekend as...