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Outside Your League

At this stage in my life, I cannot take woodworking classes. I have the will and the money, but I also have kids, a wife with a crazy job and my own endeavors – a publishing company, a custom furniture business and (oddly enough) a teaching schedule. So until I can make our home...

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Improve Your Tool Chest Hinges

Old tool chests typically have two weak spots: the bottom and the hinges. The bottom gets rotted out because tool chests end up in unfriendly, poorly drained areas. That’s why many tool chest bottoms are merely nailed on – so they can easily be replaced. The hinges usually fail because the screws come loose....

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Tools to Make a Roorkee Chair

Gathering the tools and materials necessary to make a Roorkee chair might seem intimidating because of some of the unusual operations (riveting?). I think the list of necessary tools is pretty manageable and reasonably priced – nothing too exotic. When students ask me for recommendations on what they should buy, here is my list....

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Now Available: Build a Campaign Chair Video

One of the most influential chairs of the 20th century was built and designed by an anonymous craftsman in Roorkee, India. Whoever built the first “Roorkee” chair in the late 1890s was trying to supply the military forces of the British Empire with a lightweight camp chair that could be taken to pieces in...

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Make ‘Dog Bone’ Chest Lifts

This week I am finishing up the carcase for a special tool chest for an upcoming pair of articles in Popular Woodworking Magazine and I turned my attention to the lifts – the handles you use to grab the chest when you have to move it. There are three common ways to create chest...

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Help the Blog; Help Yourself

I try to be transparent about my financial dealings in the woodworking world – that’s why I don’t take free tools, wood, classes or … anything. So how is this blog funded? Simple: I am paid monthly by F+W, the parent company of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Lee Valley Tools pays for advertising space –...

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Why You Should Work with a Blacksmith

Up until 1999, I didn’t think it was even possible to get blacksmith-made hardware for my furniture pieces. Today I rarely build a piece that doesn’t have some part that was made by a blacksmith or whitesmith. In 1999 my then-boss Steve Shanesy took me to a blacksmith in Cold Spring, Ky., named Marsha...

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American Gothic: An Aumbry from Kentucky

Last night I put the first coat of linseed oil on this oak aumbry I’m building for an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine and think it came out like I wanted. The oak is nothing special – just rift and quartered red and white oak off the rack at the lumberyard. I chose...

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On the Merits of Blue Furniture

I’m sure you get asked the following question a lot: “What’s your favorite style of furniture?” My answer to that question has always been rambling and indecisive – I love styles from the 15th century up to mid-century modern. But I now have a simple and direct response: I like blue furniture. If you...