Woodworking Hand Tools

Here you’ll discover the best hand tool woodworking advice directly from the experts. We cover everything you need to know to improve your hand tool woodworking techniques and make more informed decisions about choosing and using hand tools. From simple sawing techniques to smart strategies for tackling tricky grain with a handplane or card scraper, Popular Woodworking’s best are to share their many years of experience and make you a better woodworker.

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Adjusting Wooden-bodied Planes

Handplanes that secure the cutter with a wedge need to be adjusted with a series of taps from a mallet or a hammer. The principles below apply broadly to all wedged planes, whether it’s a wooden jack plane, a delicate 1/16”-wide hollow plane or a wedged infill plane with a metal shell. However, you...

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David Barron Magnetic Dovetail Guide

by Megan Fitzpatrick pg. 18 If you’re struggling for cut perfection on your dovetails (or you’re just learning to cut this important joint), a magnetic dovetail guide from U.K.-based furniture maker and teacher David Barron is just the ticket. These guides are made of sturdy anodized aluminum and feature recessed rare-earth magnets – covered...

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Bad Axe ‘Bayonet’ Precision Carcase Saw

by James McConnell page 18 If there is any remaining question in the hand-tool world regarding the all-around capabilities of carcase saws, Mark Harrell has offered a definitive answer with the introduction of the new 14″ Bayonet Precision Carcase Saw from Bad Axe Tool Works. The Bayonet is both fast and deadly accurate. With...

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An Improvised (and Excellent) Sticking Board

Sticking boards are an excellent benchtop appliance when cutting mouldings by hand. A proper sticking board is an L-shaped device that holds the wood you want to “stick” (the old fashioned term for “cut mouldings.”) The fence on the sticking board prevents the wood from bowing along its length. The adjustable stops at the...

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Start Handplanes on the Skew

One of the little challenges for beginning handplane users to get a clean surface at the start of the cut, particularly with a smoothing plane. They push the tool forward and it leaves little bumpy chatter marks for about 3/8” of an inch until the plane starts to settle down and cut cleanly. The...

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About My Love of 35°

I sharpen all of my plane irons and chisels at 35°. Here’s why: I do this to keep my sharpening regimen as simple as possible. I don’t want to pick up a tool and wonder: What angle is this sharpened to? I also don’t want to sharpen a tool, discover that I used the...

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Revising ‘Handplane Essentials’

During the last few months I’ve been revising “Handplane Essentials,” an out-of print book that we published while I was the editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine. The revisions, additions and subtractions will be significant. We’re removing a lot of the reviews and features on planemakers who are no longer in business. And I hope...

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Yes, You Need a Jointer and a Jack

I suspect this will ruffle a few feathers, but so be it. I’ve been asked a lot lately if one really needs a jack and a jointer plane. Several well-respected woodworkers and writers now teach that you can prepare all your stock for finishing with only one bench plane, a smoothing plane, if you...

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Naniwa Sink Bridge for Sharpening Stones

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 16 The stainless steel sink bridge from Naniwa is not a new product – but it’s a welcome new addition to my shop at home. I don’t (yet) have a dedicated sharpening area set up, so until I get around to that, I’m resorting to the laundry sink. The problem...