Tools

Woodworking tools are useless until you learn how to use them efficiently. Whether you prefer hand tools or power tools, the editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine have collected the very best information on choosing and using tools of all kinds. Here you’ll learn a range of essential information from how to tune up simple hand tools to safe and smart power tools practices and advanced techniques taught by the trusted experts in the field.

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Are You Suffering From Smoothing Plane Bloat?

Among the smoothing planes that Stanley Works made (which includes the Nos. 1 to 4), the company sold far more No. 4s than any other size, according to Stanley collectors. That was my rationale for buying a No. 4 many years ago. I still think it’s a good size for a handplane, with a...

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Fine -tune a Handplane’s Back Iron

For me, the goal with my smoothing plane is to set it up so I can ignore the grain direction of a board or a glued-up panel. There are many valid ways to do this. For most woodworkers I know, there are two ways to accomplish this goal that we all agree upon: Sharpen...

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An Experiment: Changing Smoothing Planes for a Year

I’m the weirdo who counts the number of steps and hand motions it takes me to brew a cup of coffee. And I’m always looking for ways to shave away a few minutes here and there from my routine activities (for example, brushing my teeth while simultaneously fetching my clothes for the day). So...

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Handplanes: The Long and Short of Flat

Basic handplane theory states that long planes are for straightening wood and short planes are for smoothing it. The planes in the middle can do either job or be set up for roughing out the work. But all planes do some straightening of the work, and most planes do some smoothing, too. So this...

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Earlex Steam Generator for Steam-bending

Steam-bending has always required a certain amount of jury-rigging to make the steam: adapting a propane burner, retrofitting a kettle or tweaking a wallpaper steamer. Now Earlex has made steam-bending a little easier by offering a steam generator that is simple to hook up to any steam box via a 1⁄2″-diameter hole. In essence,...

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Arbortech Contour Random Sander

I I’ve been building a stacked-lamination piece with plenty of concave and convex curves that require a good deal of sanding. Arbortech’s new Contour Random Sander has helped. Out of the bag, the sander includes everything you need – a metal stem containing two independently rotating shafts that produce the “random” action, a flexible...

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Grizzly Track Saw ‘Master Pack’

I’ve long been a fan of the track saw. For me, there’s no faster, safer or more reliable way to break down sheet goods into sizes I can handle. While I can wrestle a 4′ x 8′ sheet of 3⁄4″ plywood onto the cabinet saw if I must, it’s not easy and there’s every...

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Rasp? Just Sand It!

Dale Barnard has been building furniture professionally for decades. And during a recent video shoot, it was very comforting to see that I wasn’t the only one breaking the rules on sanding. Building a Greene & Greene furniture piece means changing transition levels in the wood frequently. And that leads to either rasping, filing...