Personal Favorites

When we like something – a tool, a book or a web site – we tag it as one of our “Personal Favorites.” That’s what you’ll find here. Whether it’s from our Editor’s Blog or a woodworking article from the magazine, you’ll find it here. We may rant about a sandpaper that really is worth twice the price of any other, a piece of furniture that strikes us piece of furniture that in just the right way, or a great price on one of our favorite books500 Year Old Shaving Horses , you’ll find it here.

The Proud & Unplugged, WIA 2013: Far Back, L-R/: Isaac Blackburn-Blackburn Tools; Raney Nelson-Daed Toolworks; Dave Jeski-Blue Spruce Toolworks; Joe Steiner-Sauer & Steiner Toolworks. Next Row, L-R: Deneb Puchalski-Lie-Nielsen Toolworks; Thomas Lie-Nielsen-Lie-Nielsen Toolworks; Christopher Schwarz-Lost Art Press; Scott Meek-Scott Meek Woodworks; Ron Hock-Hock Tools; Robin Lee-Lee Valley/Veritas; Next Row, L/R: Rhett Fulkerson-Nice Ash Planes; Matt Evans-Evans Wooden Screw Co.; Geoffrey Noden-Adjust-A-Bench; after Geoffrey and in front of Scott and Ron: Fred West; then, (tall in green long sleeves) Tony Strupulis-Raven’s Edge Toolworks; Front Row, L-R: Kylie-Gramercy Tools; Ben Selzer-Tools for Working Wood & Gramercy Tools; Katie Fulkerson-Nice Ash Planes; Mark Harrell and his beautiful daughter-Bad Axe Tool Works; Nick Dombrowski-Lake Erie Toolworks; Mark Hicks-Plate 11 Bench Co.; Seated: Joel Moskowitz–Tools for Working Wood & Gramercy Tools.
Photo courtesy of Linda Rosengarten, Hock Tools

A Tribute to the Patron of the Hand Tool World

One of the unseen forces in the modern renaissance of hand tool manufacturing is Fred West, a woodworker from West Chester, Pa. Well, to be more precise, you might not know who Fred is, but anyone who makes or sells hand tools in North America knows him on sight. Fred is clearly fascinated by...


The Fear-Love Spectrum of Finishing

Every time I purchase lacquer at a professional paint store, I have the following conversation. Me: “Could you put that gallon in the paint-mixing machine for a couple minutes? That will save me some time.” Employee: “I’ll do it, but you won’t like it. You’ll create bubbles in the finish.” Me: “I’ll risk it.”...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 8

As a furniture-maker, turning was always an uphill battle for me. Every turning tool requires a different touch and a different sharpening approach. The problem was that I never practiced enough to keep my skills up. So every time I picked up a skew, I was a baby turner again. A few years ago...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 7

The last two items on my list are for woodworkers who have been very good this year. They are a bit more expensive than the other items on my list, but they are excellent tools. Of those last two items, the first is the Saddle-Tail from Sterling Tool Works, a one-man toolmaking company in...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 6

I cannot give you the gift of better eyesight in the shop because, oh, wait, I actually can. Speaking as someone who has had pitiful eyesight since first grade, I have always looked for ways to improve my marking tools. Without a doubt, the one tool that has improved my game more than any...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 5

OK, I’m going to sound like I have a “man crush” on Joel Moskowitz with this blog entry. But when I think about the simplest inventions in my lifetime that have changed my work, the Gramercy holdfast is pretty much at the top of my list. For just $35 you can get a pair...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 4

My first experience using shellac in the mid-1990s was a disaster. The stuff wouldn’t dry. And when it did finally, kinda dry it was a gummy mess. So I stuck to pre-cat lacquer and other film finishes. However, since then, I’ve gotten my hands on some very good, fresh and pure shellac from Tools...


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...


The Anarchist’s Gift Guide, Day 2

If you buy your screwdriver tips at the home center, then you have probably figured out they are made from recycled chewing gum. They are, for the most part, worthless. The steel is too soft, the tips are malformed and they fall out of the driver constantly. (Other than that, they’re great!) And if...