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.

4.1.1

The Painted Panther

American folk art meets the world’s most collectible hand saw. by Ralph Brendler from the June 2004 issue It’s easy to understand why folk artists love to paint on saws – a saw blade is a large and flat area that is easy to paint, yet the overall shape is instantly recognizable as something...

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Avoid Splintering with a Handsaw

There are two woodworking tools that we have forgotten the most about in the last 50 years: the steel framing square and the handsaw. The steel framing square is essentially a jobsite calculator, and you can get up to speed on what it can do with one of several books. But handsaws are trickier...

Before: This is how I was cutting sliding dovetails and rabbets by hand.

A Tip for Handsawing Rabbets & Sliding Dovetails

I’ve been cutting a lot of large-scale sliding dovetails and rabbets lately. And when these housed joints get to a certain size (think of a dovetail socket that is 4” wide and 30” long) it’s much more efficient to saw out the walls by hand. When I need the rabbets or sliding dovetails to...

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A (Still) Better Way to Plane Chair Seats

For many years I’ve used the following trick to plane irregular-shaped objects: Screw a square block to the underside of the piece and then clamp that block in my face vise. It’s a trick that I showed in my 2007 book “Workbenches: From Design & Theory to Construction & Use.” (Psst, the second edition...

The strap wrench at work on a fence collet.

The Nutsaver: This Stuff Writes Itself

A couple years ago I revealed my secret shame: I use pliers to tighten the round collets on the fences and depth stops of my Veritas planes. Read that post here. I was admonished by the “lovers of round brass things” but then eventually was released on my own recognizance. Recently, a professional woodworker...

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Another Great Maker of Wooden Handplanes

When I first started using and writing about wooden moulding planes, there was only one modern maker with a full line of planes: the pioneers Clark & Williams (now Old Street Tool). If you ordered from them, it could take two years to receive your tools. The two-person operation got so backed up that...

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A New Trick With Alcohol (Without Jail Time)

One of the Tricks of the Trade in the June 2015 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine discusses how you can use denatured alcohol to stop crumbling end grain while chopping out dovetails. The trick states it’s best for softwoods, which is where you see the most crumbling. As my students are always worried about...

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New No. 2 Tote; New Finish

This weekend I drew up the plans to make a new tote for my No. 2 plane, and I realized I need to order a $10 drill bit to do the job. So instead I decided to modify the existing tote to see how far I could take it. After studying the tote for...

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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...