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Wait, Leather Already?

With this class in building Roorkhee chairs, I bit off way less than I could chew. After the second day, we just have to finish up a couple details on the leather and metal work before we start finishing the mahogany. Tomorrow, I hope we will finish all the chairs with shellac and black...

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5 Bowsaws Later

I leave for Germany in a couple weeks to teach classes on making Roorkhee chairs (piece of pie!) and bowsaws. Yup. Making bowsaws. You’ve probably seen my international treatise on bowsaws: “Bowsaws: An Anthropological View of Three Sticks and Some Cat Innards.” No? Well that’s because I haven’t written it. I’ve used and owned...

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The Modern Milkman’s Workbench

Last month I posted an entry on a portable workbench top that had poked its head up in Australia and Europe. The version from Denmark inspired me to build it. But I haven’t gotten around to that project yet (thanks to a crop of Roorkhee chairs I’m finishing this week). But reader Andrew Volk...

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Furniture Hardware from the Automotive Department

When you build furniture that hasn’t been popular for a century, the hardware can be difficult to find. The Roorkhee chairs I’m building for a fall issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine feature an unusual stud that gave me fits. It’s a simple metal nipple at the top of each leg. The chair’s arm straps...

Hmmm. I don't remember getting up on the table and dancing at last year's WIA.

My Part at Woodworking in America

Now that I’m no longer on the staff of Woodworking in America, I get to do three things: 1) Actually attend some of the really great seminars from people like chairmaker Curtis Buchanan, carver Mary May, Yeung Chan and David Marks. 2) Present my own seminars on topics that are a bit on the...

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Aging Hardware with Jax Chemicals

I’ve used a lot of different methods to add age to my hardware – everything from a propane torch to ammonia to gun blue to (yes) human urine. Whenever I discuss these methods, I get complaints. So in an effort to garner more complaints, here’s another one: Jax Chemicals. These are the formulas that...

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Chair Joinery: Tapered Tenons & Tapered Mortises

Because chairs take abuse like a rented mule, the simple mortise-and-tenon joint is sometimes not enough. In traditional Windsor chair construction, the legs and spindles are attached to the plank seat using tenons that are cone-shaped along their lengths. So the mortises have to be the same shape. These tapered joints are clever. The...