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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...

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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...

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Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet, a Free Plan

After setting up shop with your workbench and tool chest (or cabinet), the next project to build for your shop is a nail cabinet – a traditional way to hold fasteners and all the little bits of hardware woodworkers accumulate. Nail cabinets were a common feature of early shops, whether you built furniture or...

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 3

We woodworkers work hard to put stuff together. But we suck eggs when it comes to taking things apart. Every woodworker – no matter how skilled – needs an “iron crow.” It’s a thin-bladed pry bar that can actually get inside of cabinets and lever parts apart. I used to have one made from...

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The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 1

I’ve been gagging a lot lately on some of the woodworking “gift guides” out there. About 90 percent of the stuff in them is just silly, cheap stuff that you really don’t need. I can say this because I’m a “gift guide” victim. One year my wife took the kids to a woodworking store...