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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Strong as the Union: Franklin Liquid Hide Glue

I use hide glue for almost everything in my shop (except as a party dip on a cracker), and have tried all modes of this versatile adhesive. But my usual go-to, work-a-day version of this wood glue doesn’t get much love out there on the Internet, and I am bewildered by this fact. Most...

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Look Close at my Screws. No, That’s Too Close

One of the first times I was a guest on Roy Underhill’s “The Woodwright’s Shop,” I was explaining the construction of a schoolbox from the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” and I had made a terrible mistake. Before we shot the show, Roy explained each shot to the crew that was filming it....

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How I Buy Wood & Why I’m Weird

Compared to many of my woodworking friends, I buy wood and treat it a little differently than most. Many of my friends have a significant stock of lumber on hand, from a garage-full to a few barn-fulls. When they find good lumber, they buy it. In many ways, this is an excellent strategy because...

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Get Ready to Make a Roorkhee Chair

My mailbox has been deluged with questions about the Roorkhee chairs that will be featured in a fall issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The No. 1 question: What does a woodworker need to do to get ready? Answer: First, make sure your subscription is up to date so you don’t miss the issue. New...

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Furniture Hardware from the Automotive Department

When you build furniture that hasn’t been popular for a century, the hardware can be difficult to find. The Roorkhee chairs I’m building for a fall issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine feature an unusual stud that gave me fits. It’s a simple metal nipple at the top of each leg. The chair’s arm straps...

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Aging Hardware with Jax Chemicals

I’ve used a lot of different methods to add age to my hardware – everything from a propane torch to ammonia to gun blue to (yes) human urine. Whenever I discuss these methods, I get complaints. So in an effort to garner more complaints, here’s another one: Jax Chemicals. These are the formulas that...

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Where to Buy Big Wood for Big Workbenches

During the last few years, I’ve been using giant 6×6 softwood timbers to build workbenches for classes and customers. These big hunks look old school and make the construction process quick and painless – the top has only three glue lines. Of course, the problem for most people is finding this wood. You can...