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A Most Unusual Tool Chest

I’ve always liked artwork and woodworking pieces that were executed by someone with a good deal of talent but a lack of formal training. Some people call this “outsider” work, so I guess that makes a lot of us outsiders. Recently, tool seller Patrick Leach sent me some photos of an interesting tool chest...

Fun Reading: 'The Carpenter's Tool Chest'

“A craftsman is one who understands his tools and uses them with skill and honesty. It does not matter whether his tool is a chisel or a planing machine, it is the work that he does with it that counts and you today can be as good a workman in the carpenter’s craft as...

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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...

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The Redneck Polissoir

Whenever I teach a class that involves turning, I like to show them how well the French “polissoir” can finish off your work on the lathe. A polissoir (say it poly-swaar) is a bundle of broom corn that is used to burnish a wooden surface to produce a tactile, low-lustre finish. While the polissoir...

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Work in Tight Spaces without Special Tools

When you have to work inside a carcase, there are a wide variety of specialty tools on the market – such as right-angle drills and drawer-lock chisels – to make your life easier. I try to keep a small tool kit. Not because I’m a tightwad. I’m not. But I travel a lot and...

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Kansas City Woodworkers Guild. Wow.

I have visited a lot of woodworking clubs in North America since 1996, and I thought I had seen it all until I stepped into the Kansas City Woodworkers Guild’s enormous facility today. Perched on top of a cave (Kansas City is full of caves), the club has more than 10,000 square feet of...

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My Screwdriver’s Little Brother

At Christmas, my preference would be to receive nothing. But that’s not an option with my wife and kids. The kids got me some stickers for my tool chest (Johnny Cash, Foo Fighters and Nirvana). My wife bought me 12 beers I’d never tried before, she replaced some worn out socks and bought me...