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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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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An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Note: I started writing this blog entry more than a year ago. I shelved it and have revisited it several times since. Each time, I thought: I don’t need this kind of grief. For whatever reason (four beers, perhaps?), I offer this as an observation based on teaching students, both amateur and professional. For...

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Grobet Cabinetmaker’s Rasps

by Robert Lang page 18 A good quality machine-cut rasp or two should be in every serious woodworker’s tool box. Rasps come into play when a small amount of material needs to be removed, either on a flat or curved surface. It wasn’t that long ago that you could walk into your local hardware...

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Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallets

by Christopher Schwarz page 18 For some woodworkers, building your own mallet is a rite of passage. After using dozens of student-made mallets, however, I wonder if many of us would be better off with a well-balanced, professionally made mallet. If you are a person who wants to buy a thing once and be...

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Improve Hand Plane Performance

There was a time when nearly even adult male in the United States owned a Stanley #4 smooth plane. The one I have was passed down to me by my dad (a chemical engineer) who got it from his dad (a tool and die maker). When I was a kid, dad dragged the thing...

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5 Must-build FREE Project Plans!

When I started work at Popular Woodworking in 1996, the goal was to cram as many projects into each issue as possible. No techniques. No tool reviews. Just 17 to 20 projects. Oh, and we couldn’t use outside authors to help. As a result, we were building all day, everyday. And we were always...

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Get a Groat in Your Throat

When it comes to pushing our handplanes, I think we are candy-bottomed wussies compared to the joiners of the 17th century. We are obsessed with how thin a shaving we can make. Early joiners, however, wanted to take the thickest, gnarliest shaving possible for the tool, the bench and his or her arms. For...

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Czeck Edge Goes Carbide

In preparing to review the new Czeck Edge birdcage awl for the February issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (find out how to get the electronic version free by clicking here), I asked Bob Zajicek (founder of Czeck Edge Tools) to also send his new Super Kadet II carbide marking knife. Because it is a (relatively)...

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Highly Recommended: Blue Spruce Joiner’s Mallet

Since leaving Popular Woodworking in June 2011, I have avoided writing tool reviews. In fact, I have been thrilled to focus my attention on other things. But I am coming out of retirement momentarily to discuss a tool that I have been waiting years – yes, years – for: the Blue Spruce Toolworks Joiner’s...