Arts & Mysteries Blog

Adam Cherubini, the well-loved (and long-time) Arts & Mysteries columnist for Popular Woodworking Magazine, shares his thoughts on 18th-century woodworking techniques, tools and projects on this blog. He’s often controversial – but never boring. Adam’s approach to the craft is entirely hand-tool oriented – and he also reproduces period hand tools for use in his shop. You’ll read about his research into period shops and practices, and find out more about his tools and thoughts on “modern” woodworking and more, here.

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Period Clamping Techniques

Did traditional workholding involve fewer gadgets?by Bob Rozaieski pages 20-22In my fledgling years as a woodworker, I had a large collection of clamps. I literally bought in to the belief that you could never have too many clamps. I had pipe clamps all the way up to giant 5 footers. I had multiple F- style...

Art History v. Experimental Archeology

I have often found it beneficial to sketch furniture while examining it.  Unlike a photograph, a pencil insists a form be understood to be reproduced. But my sketches don’t always look like my subjects.  My failing can be attributed to both my lack of skill and lack of understanding of the subject. I’m not...

splitting with Chris

Beginning Woodworking: Splitting Logs

If I could teach a class on period woodworking and really control the syllabus, I would start in the woods and teach beginning woodworking. And while I doubt I could fill woodworking classes like this with guys like us, this is exactly what I’m doing with my kids. They don’t have their own benches...

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Shop Cleanup

We all have junk in our shops that we don’t use or no longer need.  My junk is sometimes a bit unique, but it’s junk none-the-less.  I’m cleaning out my shop, making room for more junk and I’ll probably drop some on ebay.  I won’t post links to my auctions because I think that’s...

toolchest drawers

A Machinist’s Chest for Woodworkers?

I hope you are enjoying my latest series on my new tool chest. The project was born this time last year during the FWW presentations at Colonial Williamsburg’s “Working Wood in the 18th Century” conference. The FWW presenters, in my opinion, were wrestling with the differences between executing 18th-century work using 18th-century approaches, (I...

my frame saw

The Emperor’s New Saw?

  I built my Roubo clone frame saw many years ago after seeing a similar one in Colonial Williamsburg’s Hay shop.  With my version, which is a closer approximation of the Roubo saw in both style and blade geometry, I attempted to improve on some of the slow cutting attributes of the Hay shop’s...

working to a line

Working to a Line

The basic principle of woodworking is painfully easy: Mark your project carefully, then remove the wood that isn’t part of your project.  Over Christmas break, I built my wife a coffee table.  Here it is: The table has “clamped” or breadboard ends.  Three tenons, integral with the top, fit into attending mortises cut into...