Tools in Your Shop

‘Tis a poor craftsman who blames his tools … which is why we like to celebrate them! Popular Woodworking has been at the forefront of woodworking tools and tool usage for many years. Our focus is not just reviewing new tools, but considering the best overall approach to tooling – especially how hand and power tools can go together in your shop. It’s all about completing great projects and doing it efficiently, without breaking the bank. Have fun learning from these community posts and applying the knowledge to your next project!

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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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What Hand Planes are Good For

The difference between school and real life is that in real life the tests come first and then the lessons. This is especially true of woodworking; you never know how far you should take one step of a project until you are knee-deep in the next step. That’s when you realize you didn’t fuss...

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The Mistakes of First-time Bench-builders

If you’re about to embark on building your first workbench, you might want to read this blog entry. I expect you to discard every piece of advice in it (most bench-builders do) and build the crazy contraption you’ve planned out in your head. Here, in my opinion, are the most common missteps woodworkers make...

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Woodshop Layout – Tour and Tips from Matt’s Basement Workshop

I can’t deny that I’ve always wanted a large woodshop. Patterned after a professional shop, my large woodshop would include: Space for hundreds of board feet of lumber Dedicated power- and hand-tool workspaces A finishing room My own design area to play with mockups and such Large would be nice. Still, I’m all right...

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If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness…

If cleanliness is truly next to godliness, then we are lords of the underworld. I took this picture (and shot the video below) whilst standing atop my bench…my bench to which one must take a wholly circuitous route past large builds, old projects, my pile of plywood, machinery…my fault for choosing the windows at...

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The Theory of Chisel Monogamy

When I teach woodworking, I talk a lot about monogamy. Not to your spouse (that’s your problem) but to your tools. I think it’s easier to learn to saw, sharpen and plane boards if you don’t jump around and use different handsaws, sharpening systems and bench planes. And when it comes to chisels, I’m...

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Four Great Router Table Plans

The day after tomorrow is Independence Day, and there’s nothing more independent than building out your own workshop. Workshop projects are a double bonus because you save money by building fixtures yourself, and then you save money and gain independence while using them. I started digging into our magazine archives and found a number...