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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A Trickier Ruler Trick for Router Planes

Sharpening router plane blades can be no fun. For years now, I’ve made things easier for myself by honing the flat back of the iron through the grits and then removing the “burr” from the bevel with a polishing stone. This is way faster than trying to hone and polish the bevel while it...

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Clamp a Square so it’s Square

During the last several years I’ve built about 50 wooden try squares for customers, friends and during classes. The most challenging part of the project is clamping the blade and the stock together so they are square. I have tried three or four clamping strategies – some of them too involved to discuss here....

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Straightedge Theory: Full of Holes?

When it comes to making wooden shop tools, I think that most of the modifications we make to them are to stop us from throwing the tools away by accident. Many winding sticks are a right triangle in profile. Why? Mostly (I think) to prevent you from pitching them out with the garbage. Yes,...

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Plunge Router Depth Adjustment Trick

A plunge router is a versatile tool, but setting an exact depth can be perplexing. There are a bunch of knobs and levers that control how far down the bit will go, but if you’re trying to make a precise adjustment you rapidly run out of hands and patience as you fight the springs...

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The Simple ‘Dirty Mahogany’ Finish

Here is one of my favorite finishes for any wood that is ring-porous or diffuse-porous. I call it “dirty mahogany” or “creepy janitor.” First a warning: I think this finish looks like crap on woods that have a closed pore structure, such as maple or cherry, and on softwoods. It looks great on anything...

I Want to Give You ‘Go Fever’

In some high technology circles there is an expression they use when engineers move too quickly to launch a project. They have “go fever” and are willing to overlook horrible mistakes in order to launch a product. When teaching woodworking – especially casework – I find that most students need to take down their protective...

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Working With Small Hinges

In the back panel of the project I made for the upcoming August 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is a small door. Hanging doors on butt hinges is no big deal if you’ve done it a few times, but this door proved interesting. The picture above makes it look typical, but the piece...

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Test Drive: Carbide Marking Knife from Czeck Edge

If you don’t like (or cannot) sharpening a marking knife, the new Czeck Edge “Super Kadet II” knife is likely the right choice for your tool chest. Based on the well-balanced and well-made “Kerf Kadet” knife, this version is like its older brothers with the addition of a tungsten carbide blade. Why a carbide...

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How To Glue Miter Joints-Wait a Minute

Miter joints can be a real source of frustration. The pieces need to be the exact length and the cut surfaces need to be as close to perfect as you can get them. If they don’t look great right off the saw, use a shooting board and a plane, or rub the surfaces on...