roorkee_front2_IMG_7819

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...

chest_handle_done_IMG_9820

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...

XM10002092-Carpenter's-apprentice,-France-Les-enfans-peints-par-eux-meme-1841

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 –...

switzer_bail_pull_IMG_0179

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...

aumbry_open_IMG_0005

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...

aumbry_tracery_IMG_9264

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...

wagon1_dsc_00051

2 Workbench Vises I’d Like to Try

  The more I study workbenches, the more I’m convinced there is no end to the clever vises out there. This week I have two vises that are worth a close look. One is a ratcheting leg vise made by Will Myers, a woodworker who teaches at The Woodwright’s School and is one of...

coffin_bottom_IMG_8948

A Coffin-building Party

When I die, I want to leave this world in the same way I lived in it. As a woodworker who has spent his entire life building furniture for myself and others, I couldn’t imagine being placed into a box that someone else made. In 2005, I read this article in TheNew York Times...

VX20_020

New Vise Mechanism from Hovarter

Len Hovarter of Hovarter Custom Vise has developed a simple and inexpensive quick-release leg vise mechanism that looks quite ingenious. Like all of Hoverter’s vises, they work on the age-old principle of unicorn magic. They slide in and out smoothly without a threaded rod. Then they engage the work with a short turn of...