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Making a Vise Chop for a Benchcrafted Classic

I started making the wooden vise chop for a new leg vise for my Holtzapffel workbench (featured in “The Workbench Design Book”) using some crazy new hardware from Benchcrafted: the Classic vise screw and the Crisscross. The only downside to the Crisscross part of the assembly is that you need a vise chop that...

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Shannon Rogers’ Big French Saw. Dang.

Shannon Rogers of the Hand Tool School brought along his 48”-long Roubo frame saw to the Saturday meeting of the Chesapeake chapter of the Society of American Furniture Makers, explained its details and (most importantly) let us try it out during lunch. It was so effortless to use (as long as you used your...

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Fast Prototypes of Bamboo-leg Stools

While waiting for a flight to Alaska today I decided to spend my morning knocking out prototypes of a folding camp stool using bamboo turnings. The first piece of custom furniture I ever owned was a bookcase that my grandfather made for me. The bookcase was huge – almost 7’ tall – because all...

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Questions About the ‘Moxon Vise’

Almost every day I get some sort of question about the ‘Moxon vise,” a double-screw vise that I wrote about for the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. It’s an ingenious portable vise that has been around for almost 400 years, yet it still generates controversy and questions whenever it is in the...

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The Most Domesticated Dog

One of the unanswerable questions in woodworking is: What type of bench dog is best? (Other unanswerables: What does Peter Follansbee hide in his beard? How many puns are possible with the word “rabbet?” Would you like to see my feathered crotch?) At least on the bench dog question, I have answered it for...

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Building Roubo’s Campaign Bed at Fort Ticonderoga

Anyone who has read this blog for more than a week knows I have a thing for campaign-style furniture and the work of André Roubo, the 18th-century French woodworker and writer. Like many other 18th-century furniture writers, Roubo wrote a bit about campaign-style furniture, including beds, tables and chairs. I hope to build one...

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The Mistakes of First-time Bench-builders

If you’re about to embark on building your first workbench, you might want to read this blog entry. I expect you to discard every piece of advice in it (most bench-builders do) and build the crazy contraption you’ve planned out in your head. Here, in my opinion, are the most common missteps woodworkers make...

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Reverse Hide Glue’s Bond

Whenever I talk about glue to clubs and classes, I hand around a bottle of liquid hide glue and ask them to tell me what its disadvantages are. “It’s weak.” Actually no, it produces a bond stronger than the wood itself. “It stinks.” Hide glue smells only as bad as a wet rawhide chew...

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Next up: The Douro Chair

You would think that after 30 months of researching and building campaign furniture, I’d be ready to build something else. Such as something that didn’t collapse, fold or have copious amounts of brass hardware. But no. I am nuts for the Douro chair. It’s a reclining chair with leather cushions, yet it pre-dates the...