Raw Materials

Few magazines and web sites cover the raw materials that we build our projects from. We like to learn about the trees we use and the processes that make them into lumber. In fact, a deep understanding of the materials used in woodworking is absolutely essential to mastery of the craft. Here you’ll find tips on what kinds of materials to use for different kinds of projects, as well as get the skinny on woodworking supplies of all kinds.

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Improve the Clinching Power of Your Cut Nails

Here’s a tip from Tim Henricksen, a fellow woodworker who has been building some six-board chests with me as I research this important early form of furniture. One of the trickiest things to do when building a chest with nails is to clinch the nails’ tips so they bend back into the work and...

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A Tip that’s So Stupid…

While I was on staff at Popular Woodworking Magazine, all of the editors had to read through all of the reader submissions to “Tricks of the Trade.” This was generally drudgery that was punctuated by little nuggets of brilliance. Here’s what the drudgery looked like: “A coffee mug makes an ideal place to store...

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Handmade Nails for Your Finest Work

I bought a box of 1,600 pneumatic nails about two presidential administrations ago that cost about a half penny each (yes, I know I overpaid). So why in the world would I buy a box of 40 nails for – cough – $1.50 each? Easy. Hardware is as important to me as every other...

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How to Save Your Tool Chest and Your Tools from Water

While I think a tool chest is the best place to store your tools, the chest can also become a rusty tomb if you aren’t careful. Woodworking shops can be nasty places. I’ve worked in unheated garages, damp basements, former warehouses and sheds with dirt floors. And when I inspect old tool chests, it’s...

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On Wide Wood and Where to Get it

Sometimes I wonder what I would do if I lived in a place where I didn’t have easy access to clear, wide wood. Then I realize the answer: I would move. Today I picked up about 300 board feet of 5/4 and 6/4 sugar pine – most of it 18” wide – for some projects...

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Install a Ring Pull – Against my Better Judgment

One of my first orders from the Lee Valley Tools catalog was for a big supply of these traditional ring pulls. I love this fastener for so many reasons. It is inexpensive. It looks great. It is made in Italy. It works with a wide variety of furniture styles, from Japanese tansu to contemporary....