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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Working with Plywood – 18th-century Style

I used plywood for my “Machinist’s Tool Test” project (in the October 2012 issue, and continued in February 2013 issue). In the past, I regarded plywood as being unworkable by hand. But I found a couple tricks to working it by hand: • Plywood can be sawn using fine-toothed handsaws. I think crosscut saws...

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WIA 2012 After Action Report

Just got home from the Woodworking in America Midwest, the second of two conferences held this fall. Just want to say thanks to all of you who attended and supported these conferences. I really enjoyed meeting folks and appreciated the opportunity I was given to do so. Thanks also to F&W pubs and Popular...

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Prepping for Pasadena

I’m working REALLY hard getting ready for Woodworking in America Pasadena.  I think PW has given me a great opportunity to share 18th century woodworking with woodworkers on the West coast, whom I feel typically don’t get good access to anything 18th century. Years ago, I suggested a “Colonial Williamsburg Road Show”.  Essentially, taking...

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Planing Plastic?

Did you know that you can plane plastic? Me neither. I used my old Stanley #4. Its sweetheart era blade was razor sharp, though I’m not sure it needed to be. The “shavings” are UHMW (Ultra High Molecular Weight) polyethylene. I also mic’ed these (never measured shaving with a micrometer before either). They were...

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Quick Update

A hole in my editorial schedule has afforded me the time to catch up on my honey-do list. Like you, being handy with woodworking tools exposes me to a host of home renovation/repair/remodelling tasks. Also like you, my standards for interior woodwork (really any woodwork) are impractically high. I straighten studs with hand planes...

Rust Prevention for Woodworkers

Just got this month’s PW and in it was a letter to the editor about preventing rust. Megan answered saying use was an excellent means of rust prevention, regular oiling, and for long term storage, petroleum jelly is a good idea. All good answers, but in my opinion, missing a few details: Climate control:...

Woodworking Fundamentals

I’m focusing on basic skills in PW. Know that this isn’t news from the mountain top, but rather my very real commitment to fundamentals in my own shop. “Fundamentals” could mean different things to different people. Here’s what the word means to me: My goal is to: 1) Be able to measure and mark...

Still learning

The day I stop learning how to work wood is the day I hang up my saws for the last time. After more years than I care to admit, I’m still making mistakes and learning new things about wood, my tools and myself. This past weekend, I was preparing 1/2″ stock for the sides...

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Old-school Rule

Starrett 414 Ruler Review I recently bought myself this Starrett 414 ruler on a whim. Maybe I was smitten by its name: “English Pattern Utility Rule.” Just sounds 18th century, doesn’t it? I also liked the hardware store wooden yardstick-style hash marks. Rulers divided into 64ths or 50ths may be impressive in their accuracy,...