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.

Saving Woodworking, One Project at a Time

Thanks to Popular Woodworking Magazine, I was invited to panel discussion on saving woodworking at this years’ Woodworking In America  conference in Northern Ky. As I suspected, my perspective on this issue was a bit different from the others’ on the panel and I suspect from my friends in the room (it was held...

oilstone

What is an Oilstone?

In the October and November issues, Adam wrote a two-part article on Sharpening. To go with them, he provided a short piece to tell you just what an oilstone really is. To download the PDF, click on the link below. — Megan Fitzpatrick WhatIsAnOilstone  

What’s Wrong With the “Standard” Set of Chisels?

Shannon Rogers interviewed me a few weeks ago and in the interview I mentioned my disdain for certain chisel sizes. Specifically, I said that students who come to woodworking classes armed with the standard set of 1/4″, 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ have four chisels all of which are the wrong size. OK, that’s a...

Southern Furniture: American Attitudes

I believe that art contains specific and important information about the nature of the human condition and how we view ourselves and the world.  Furniture is art and I think 18th-century furniture has much to tell us about ourselves. Art objects representing turning points often take on enhanced value and I think 18th-century furniture (which...

Boarded Furniture from the Builder’s Point of View

The choice of building boarded or joined furniture wasn’t typically left to individual English craftsmen. The Trade Guilds to which English woodworkers belonged mandated what they were permitted to build (and sell). While we no longer have those restrictions, it can helpful to consider these very different furniture forms with the individual builders in...

Woodworking In America: Nailed Furniture

After you register for Woodworking in America, you will be asked for your preferences for classes. No one will be turned away from any classes. We’re just trying to establish if we need additional sessions or chairs. When you are asked, be sure to request a spot in my Nailed furniture talk. I’m up...

NicCover

Is Nicholson the new Roubo?

With the exciting new publication of Nicholson’s 1850 text, I fully expect we will be hearing a great deal more about Nicholson, and very likely a great deal less about Roubo.  This is as it should be.  For those who feel these texts and our fascination with them are mere fads I offer my...

Nicholson On Sale!

Chris reported 2 days ago that a reprint of Peter Nicholson’s book (known by many titles including) "The Mechanic’s Companion" has gone on sale here.   This hit me like a ton of bricks.  In a strange coincidence,  I uncovered a scathing contemporary review (excerpt below) of Nicholson’s text in a period newspaper I purchased last Friday evening. ...

Through Dovetail Centrism

Beware “through dovetail centrism”! I’ve tried to steer away from 2 contentious subjects, sharpening and dovetails, because I have felt too much has been said about both. Everybody and his brother seems to have a YouTube video on 2 minute dovetails. There’s much that disturbs me about these videos.  First is my puzzlement over...