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Fine -tune a Handplane’s Back Iron

For me, the goal with my smoothing plane is to set it up so I can ignore the grain direction of a board or a glued-up panel. There are many valid ways to do this. For most woodworkers I know, there are two ways to accomplish this goal that we all agree upon: Sharpen...

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An Experiment: Changing Smoothing Planes for a Year

I’m the weirdo who counts the number of steps and hand motions it takes me to brew a cup of coffee. And I’m always looking for ways to shave away a few minutes here and there from my routine activities (for example, brushing my teeth while simultaneously fetching my clothes for the day). So...

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A Tour of the Blue Spruce Factory

Some of my favorite tools come from Blue Spruce Toolworks outside Portland, Ore. I own three of the different mallets Dave Jeske makes, plus several of his fantastic chisels and, of course, one of his marking knives. I was one of Jeske’s early customers when he started making marking knives about 13 years ago...

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In Defense of Splines, Grooves, Biscuits & Dominos

Woodworking opinion swings with the generations when it comes to picking tools, woods and techniques. Lately I’ve seen a lot of writing about gluing up panels that goes something like this: Because the glue bond in an edge joint is stronger than the wood itself, it’s unnecessary to use splines, biscuits or a tongue-and-groove...

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Galbert Drawsharp in Use

Before you read beyond the first few sentences of this blog entry, there a couple things you should know: I have no problems sharpening a drawknife. Never have (except that time in the 1990s where I ended in the ER for seven stitches). One of the first tools I inherited from my grandfather was...

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The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 6

I have owned several plant sprayers since Harrelson Stanley of Shapton USA introduced them to me in 2003 as a great way to keep your waterstones wet. Of all the sprayers I’ve used, this sub-$10 one from Home Depot or Lowe’s is by far the best. It’s sold under the “Project Source” label and...

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How to Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 3

For experienced woodworkers, it’s easy to ignore tool reviews and say: “I just buy the brands that have served me well.” But what if you know little about the different brands? When I was growing up, Skil made fantastic circular saws. Black & Decker made good drills. Craftsman put its name on some good...

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Threadboxes: One More Song the Radio Won’t Like

Whenever I write about threadboxes, my personal blog gets swamped with spam from the Pacific Rim. So batten down the firewalls, mateys. I started writing about the Moxon double-screw vise in 2010 (original post here) and have made many of them using a threadbox and tap that you can buy from many reputable woodworking...

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The Monogamy has Ended

When I teach people to sharpen edge tools, I am very much an “I’m OK, you’re OK” guy about the kinds of systems out there and whether you should use jigs or not. But there is one thing I’m all fire and waterstones about: Stick with one system until you know it – at...