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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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...

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Successful Screwing

Everything you always wanted to know about screws, but were afraid to ask. By Robert W. Lang Pages: 82-85 Many of the tools and fasteners we use in woodworking have been around for thousands of years. The concept of the screw goes back to the ancient Greeks. Archimedes took a wedge, a simple but...

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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,...