A Knife That Never Needs Sharpening? We’ll See!

When I first opened the package, I assumed that the tool inside was a prototype that had a plastic blade. That happens occasionally here at the magazine when a manufacturer wants our opinion on a tool’s ergonomics before they crank up production. But no, the white chunk of stuff at the end of the...

Resharpening a Scraper Plane

Question: I’ve noted that you’ve recently mentioned that you’ve been looking into scrapers, so I thought that maybe you could answer a question that I have about scraper-plane blades.  Recently I acquired a Stanley #12 scraper plane and the three Lie-Nielsen scraper planes (modern versions of the Stanley #112, #85, and #212).  I am...

arno_burnisher_img_6748

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 5: Arno Burnisher

I have burned through a lot of burnishers, from the ones I’ve made myself out of carbide rod to very expensive variants. My favorite is the French-made Arno burnisher. Everything about the tool is right. The handle is lightweight aluminum, perfectly shaped and has a guard so my fingers won’t slip off the handle...

hygrometer_img_6768

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 3: Humidity Monitor

A lot of woodworking problems can be avoided simply by monitoring the relative humidity in your shop with a simple and inexpensive hygrometer. In most areas of the United States, the target relative humidity for inside buildings is 35 to 45 percent, though that will vary if you live in a desert or a...

loffelholz_hivise_

Another 511-year-old Woodworking Vise

Screw-driven vises are not modern inventions. The earliest screw-driven vise that I know of is this Italian vise that is circa 1300. I am always looking for earlier vises because the screw mechanism has been around since Archimedes, though his screw was originally used for irrigation. This year I have been delving deep into...

opener_straight_IMG_2881

Working Without a Cambered Iron

The cutters in my bench planes all have cambered irons. The jack has the most – a 10” radius curve – followed by the much slighter curves of my jointer and smoothing planes. The curves do two things: They prevent the corners of the iron from digging into the work and creating “plane tracks,”...

lever-cap_screwdriver_IMG_5786

The Lever Cap Isn’t a Screwdriver (Or is it?)

When I bought my first Stanley No. 5 in the mid-1990s, I regularly used the lever cap as a screwdriver to adjust the tension screw in the center of the frog and to tighten and loosen the cap iron screw. Then one of my fellow employees dressed me down. You should never do that,...