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The 9 Principles of Hand Tool Storage, Part 2

Before we launch into part 2 of this series, allow me to ask a question. Do you enjoy looking for a tool that you cannot find, but you saw just a couple days ago and you have looked for everywhere? If you answered “yes,” then you don’t need to read this article and can...

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The 9 Principles of Hand Tool Storage, Part 1

If you ever write a book on workbenches or tool chests, be prepared for this question: “Off the record and just between you and me, what’s your favorite chest or bench?” The easy way out would be to give them a direct answer: a Dutch Roubo Nicholson with Japanese planing stops and Krenov-style tills....

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Coping Saw Blades from Pegas

I pretty much eat coping saw blades for breakfast. Just about every piece of casework I do involves dovetails (sometimes more than 100 in a single piece such as a tool chest), so a coping saw is almost always on the bench to remove waste. For years I have used the Olson coping saw...

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Why I Lay Out Dovetails with Dividers

Rob Cosman showed me how to lay out dovetails using dividers about 12 or 13 years ago, and I have never looked back. I’ve caught a lot of crap for using the divider method from fellow hand-tool woodworkers who say that laying them out by eye is much faster. I don’t disagree. However, there...

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Lie-Nielsen Open House (and a Crazy Dutch Chest)

Last weekend I attended the Lie-Nielsen Open House at the company’s factory in Warren, Maine, and got to hang out with a lot of contributors to Popular Woodworking Magazine and work together on an unusual Dutch Tool Chest. What’s a Dutch Tool Chest? Check out the October 2013 issue to find out. Every year,...

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Another Engine

I have lost track of the number of wooden try squares I’ve built in the last five years. At this time last year I had the parts for about 20 mahogany squares in my shop. Now I’m down to one (the rattiest one I couldn’t sell) and some special parts for squares that I...

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Settling Debts: An Update on Clifton Handplanes

Though I’ve been a non-editor at both Popular Woodworking and The Fine Tool Journal for almost three years now, I still have debts to pay. And I take those debts seriously. One of my first reviews for The Fine Tool Journal, which was reprinted in the book “Handplane Essentials,” is a review of Clifton...

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Quick Like a Dutchman

During the last year, I have been trying to figure out how to build the Dutch Tool Chest in two days during a class without sacrificing any of the joinery or important handwork lessons. I think I have it pretty much nailed. If you are interested in building one of these chests (featured in...

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An Observation on Vintage Handplanes

Note: I started writing this blog entry more than a year ago. I shelved it and have revisited it several times since. Each time, I thought: I don’t need this kind of grief. For whatever reason (four beers, perhaps?), I offer this as an observation based on teaching students, both amateur and professional. For...