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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 1

I’ve been gagging a lot lately on some of the woodworking “gift guides” out there. About 90 percent of the stuff in them is just silly, cheap stuff that you really don’t need. I can say this because I’m a “gift guide” victim. One year my wife took the kids to a woodworking store...

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Details on the Dutch Tool Chest Plans

You can now get both Dutch tool chest plans – both the big one and the little one – in the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, which recently shipped to subscribers. If you don’t have this issue, check it out in the store here. I’ve been traveling with these chests all year...

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How to Stock up on Traditional Fasteners

If you build traditional casework with traditional joints and fasteners then you already know the local hardware store is of little use when you need some 4d rosehead nails. Lucky for us, there’s the Internet, which can be a pretty good hardware store. Several readers have asked about what fasteners they should keep in...

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Handmade Nails for Your Finest Work

I bought a box of 1,600 pneumatic nails about two presidential administrations ago that cost about a half penny each (yes, I know I overpaid). So why in the world would I buy a box of 40 nails for – cough – $1.50 each? Easy. Hardware is as important to me as every other...

Bottoms, Skirts and Pizza You Cannot See

At some point during a woodworking class, students, teachers and bystanders become a sort of ersatz family. It is not by design. It is despite my best efforts. Today at The Woodwright’s School, students dressed the shells of their tool chests and added the tongue-and-groove bottom boards (yay for cut nails). After that brief...

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Nails: As Important as Computers

Whenever I teach at a woodworking school, I’m always fascinated by what happens when I open my tackle box full of cut nails. Usually, the students react as if I’d opened a case of ticked-off scorpions. At The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, one of the students asked: “Are those allowed here?” That was on...

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Stock Your Shop With the Right Nails

I use cut nails in my furniture projects. They hold better and look better than common wire nails. They do have a couple downsides, however. They are more expensive than wire nails and more difficult to find. You cannot walk down to the local hardware store and buy a bag. Well, let me qualify...

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New Traditional Hammers from Tools for Working Wood

The difference between a good hammer and a great hammer is significant. Most hammers at the hardware store are but one step above a rock tied to a stick. As a result, I’ve always bought vintage hammers with wooden handles, which are cheaper, better made and have the right details for a furniture maker....

The Traditional Tool Section of Lowe’s

When I teach classes, I tell my students to buy their winding sticks in the “18th-century Tool Section” of their local home center. They look puzzled until I pull out my winding sticks: two lengths of aluminum angle, one of which is painted black. Aluminum angle is cheap and makes a nice set of...