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.

Big Horn Bench Dogs

by James McConnell pg. 16 Any decent workbench with a face vise will allow you to easily work the ends and edges of stock, but finding an efficient and effective way to flatten and dress the faces of boards can sometimes be a puzzle. The solution is a good set of bench dogs, and...

Kreg Custom Pocket-Hole Plug Cutter

by Megan Fitzpatrick pg. 16 The Kreg pocket-hole jig is the workhorse joinery method in our beginner woodworking “I Can Do That” series of articles, videos and books. When we design those pieces, we’re careful to hide the pocket holes, because we don’t want them to show. Sure, one can buy ready-made plugs, but...

Karl Holtey’s Final Plane: The 984

If you ever hear a criticism of the pioneering work of Karl Holtey it’s that his planes are “too perfect” or “lack a soul.” I’ve always been a little befuddled by these comments because I have used a good number of planes that have no soul by the likes of Harbor Freight, late-model Stanleys...

Working Without a Cambered Iron

The cutters in my bench planes all have cambered irons. The jack has the most – a 10” radius curve – followed by the much slighter curves of my jointer and smoothing planes. The curves do two things: They prevent the corners of the iron from digging into the work and creating “plane tracks,”...

The Almost-flush-cutting Saw

Flush-cutting saws are great, except when you have heavy work to do, or the saws dive into the work below the teeth, or they bend because you got too aggressive. I usually use these specialty saws for light-duty work – trimming small dowels – or when I can’t otherwise do the work – trimming...

Karl Holtey, Plane Pioneer

This legendary planemaker’s career has been dedicated to innovation. by Kieran Binnie pages 51-55 There is no straight path between a childhood spent in a camp for displaced persons in Germany’s Black Forest at the end of the Second World War, and a workshop in the Scottish Highlands making some of the most desirable...

The Lever Cap Isn’t a Screwdriver (Or is it?)

When I bought my first Stanley No. 5 in the mid-1990s, I regularly used the lever cap as a screwdriver to adjust the tension screw in the center of the frog and to tighten and loosen the cap iron screw. Then one of my fellow employees dressed me down. You should never do that,...

An Imperfect Surface

For those of you who think that sanding and abrasive technology is a fairly new thing, I have news. Sanding is older than handplaning. As Geoffrey Killen points out in “Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture” (Shire, 1994), Egyptians did not use handplanes. Those tools were invented by the Romans or Greeks. Instead, Egyptian woodworkers used...