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.

Breadboard ends help defeat cupping.

Breadboard Ends – Why and How

Cross-grain construction tends to freak out most beginning woodworkers, but it’s a viable construction method in many cases. Wide tables and chest lids often employ breadboard ends to keep things flat, as well as cover end grain. If it’s done right, expansion and contraction problems can be nearly eliminated. There are many methods to...

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Making Greene & Greene Ebony Plugs

Ebony plugs are essential to the Greene & Greene style. In fact, it would be almost inconceivable to design a Greene & Greene piece without them. They are simple to make, but woodworkers often struggle with the process. Over many years of building and teaching in the Greene & Greene style, I have developed...

Top closed. With the hinged top folded closed,
the piece serves as a chest of drawers. Notice
my veneer repair in the lower left-hand corner
of the top.

The Thick & Thin of Veneer Repair

Veneer is just thin wood – so don’t be afraid of it. by Bob Flexner from the November 2009 issue, #179 I love repairing old furniture – the older the better. I find repairing more challenging and satisfying than making new because someone else, or time and age, has set the parameters within which...

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Almost-forgotten Handsaw Tricks

by Carl Bilderback pages 64-65 from the October 2006 issue This article also appears in the book “Handsaw Essentials.“ About 35 years ago I was using a handsaw in what I considered the usual method: Cut, blow the sawdust off my pencil line and then cut some more. The foreman on the job was...

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Pros and Cons of Routers for Joinery

Although routers were originally designed to create moulded shapes, they can be excellent joinery tools. In fact, they’re better in some ways than table saws, professional quality mortisers or dado cutters when it comes to cutting joints. There are several reasons routers have an advantage: • Simplicity: Setting up hand-held or table-mounted routers is...

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Wierix Square, Part 3

With the glue dry, it’s time to see if your square is square – or if it’s a doorstop. Squaring a wooden square is a simple operation if you plan to use it for woodworking – not for building equipment for a nuclear reactor. It’s easy to go overboard with squareness. Here’s how I...

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Build a Wierix Square, Step 2

Making the blade of the Wierix square is the most creative part of the construction process, when you can get in touch with your inner fledermaus (aka bat). While you can argue about whether or not the curves on the blade have any purpose, I am pretty certain of the reason the overall blade...

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Build a Wierix Square, Step 1

A customer asked me to make a Wierix try square for him this week, and because it’s silly to make just one wooden square, I’m making a batch of five this week and am documenting the process here on the blog. If you don’t know what a Wierix square is, it’s an old style...

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Free Plans: Ancient Squares for Ancient Scraps

I don’t turn pens much, and the word “fireplace” is a dirty word in our house (thanks to an incident involving a flaming log and full nudity). So my scrap pile is always overflowing. I give away scraps for kindling to my neighbors or I burn them in our outside firepit, but that is...