Techniques

Below you’ll find smart woodworking techniques including quick tips, advice for beginners and more advanced methods to improve your skills and allow you to get the most out of your workshop and tools. Whether you’re looking for traditional woodworking techniques using hand tools or power tools, finishing or sharpening advice, or just want to hone your woodworking basics, the advice below is from seasoned and trusted woodworkers and furniture makers working at the top of their field.

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The Fear-Love Spectrum of Finishing

Every time I purchase lacquer at a professional paint store, I have the following conversation. Me: “Could you put that gallon in the paint-mixing machine for a couple minutes? That will save me some time.” Employee: “I’ll do it, but you won’t like it. You’ll create bubbles in the finish.” Me: “I’ll risk it.”...

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The last two items on my list are for woodworkers who have been very good this year. They are a bit more expensive than the other items on my list, but they are excellent tools. Of those last two items, the first is the Saddle-Tail from Sterling Tool Works, a one-man toolmaking company in...

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3 Ways to Make Raised Panels

Traditional raised panels appear in almost every furniture style since Roman times, though the way to make them varies wildly. All the methods, however, fall into two different camps: One method is to use a tool that is specially designed to do the job, such as a panel-raising plane or a panel-raising router cutter....

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Defective Dovetail Diagnosis

When I teach woodworking, most of my job is diagnosing defective dovetails. Tail walls that are not 90°. Floors of pin and tail boards that have lumps aplenty. My diagnosis tools are my sensitive fingers, a small square and my eyes. But in some situations, all of those tools fail. When cutting dovetails with...

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Dovetails of 472 Flavors

If you think there are hard-and-fast rules about designing dovetails, don’t read any further. You’ll get an ulcer. North Carolina woodworker Mark Firley has collected a set of 472 photos of dovetails on antiques that he has collected in his travels all over the United States. Sift through this set, and you can find...

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Fitting Drawers One Piece at a Time

Nice fitting drawers are one of my favorite parts of making stuff out of wood. There is nothing like the appearance of even and minimal gaps and nothing like the feel of an easy sliding drawer that won’t get stuck when the seasons change. Meeting both goals at the same time is a challenge,...

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WoodOwl Bits Eat Oak for Lunch

When building a workbench, boring the dog and holdfast holes is a drag, even with an electric drill. Last month, however, that all changed. While building a French oak Roubo workbench at an event put on by Benchcrafted (details here and the movie is here), Jameel Abraham introduced me to Japanese-made WoodOwl Nail Chipper...

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Drawboring Resurrected

Have modern glues and clamps rendered this ancient joinery technique obsolete? Absolutely not. By Christopher Schwarz Woodworking Magazine, September 2005, pages 12-15 Drawboring is one of the simple reasons that so much antique furniture survives today, some of it as sound as the day it was made. What is drawboring? It’s a technique that...

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Drawboring Demystified

This ancient mortise-and-tenon joinery technique needs no glue, no clamps. by Jennie Alexander & Peter Follansbee Excerpted from “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree,” by Jennie Alexander & Peter Follansbee Simply put, drawboring is an intentional misalignment of the holes bored in the mortises and tenons. These holes are bored through each component...