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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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...

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Tuning Bench Planes at Vesper World Headquarters

Honestly, I’ve tuned so many dang metal planes in my lifetime that I’ll never worry about having enough iron in my diet. They might mine my carcass for the mineral when I’m dead. For me, it has always been an analog process: Do it by hand with inexpensive supplies. Today I spent the day...

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Inside Colen Clenton’s Adjustable Try Squares

I first heard about Colen Clenton’s tools from Joel Moskowitz of Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn, N.Y. On Joel’s recommendation, I purchased one of Colen’s squares and was deeply impressed by its craftsmanship and accuracy. I asked Joel how I could e-mail Colen and ask him a few questions about his tools for...

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Taming the Circle Cutter – the Tool I Love to Hate

Perhaps the headline should read “the tool I hate to love.” Every now and then I need something round, or an odd-sized hole, and I turn to the “adjustable circle cutter.” I know it as a “fly cutter” and it is never my first choice. It’s a simple device, but it looks scary, and...