Contributors’ Blog

We invite readers of and contributors to Popular Woodworking Magazine to submit entries for this blog about any aspect of woodworking – design, hand tools, power tools, inspiration, project builds (perhaps even an instructional how-to series on a build!), upcoming shows – anything woodworking that crosses their minds. Note that submissions are subject to approval by our staff, and approved submissions will be edited to conform with PWM style. No submissions that veer into politics, religion, etc. or could otherwise be read as inflammatory (as determined by the staff), or that are purely promotional posts, will be accepted. If you’d like to contribute to this blog, please send a note to Megan Fitzpatrick for more information and/or to get started.

woodshop safety

5S Principles and Woodshop Safety

Should safety have its own “S” in 5S? Should it really be “6S?” The question always comes up as woodworkers learn to apply the principles of 5S to their shops. A growing community of woodworkers has been adapting the principles of 5S and Lean manufacturing to their shops. They are learning how to easily...

Dust collection systems

Millionth-of-a-Micron Filters for Dust Collection Systems

Any devoted home barista will tell you that if you are considering a $2,000 espresso machine, instead spend a grand on the espresso machine and a grand on a good grinder and you will get better brews. Coffee beans ground too fine, too coarse, or inconsistent in size will never yield a good espresso...

Kinkauji temple

From Temple Roofs to Tansu: In Search of a Bamboo Nail

Kyoto’s Kinkakuji sits on the edge of an ornamental pond, its gold leaf catching the light and turning it to an aureate glow, the whole gleaming apparition reflected in the pond. And yet when I visited Kinkakuji, I was almost as taken with a roofing display as I was with the newly gold-leafed temple,...

Rohlf and Stickley floriform tables

Rohlfs & Stickley: A Case of Flowery Inspiration

Darrell Peart raised an interesting questions during my recent web seminar on “Unkown Arts & Crafts” for Popular Woodworking University. He noted the similarities between one of Rohlfs’ tables and the poppy table by Gustav Stickley and asked if one maker influenced the other. Both tables share a similar form — trunk-like slab legs...

The turned legs of this coffee table designed by Finn Juhl present a challenge for the latheless.

Design by Substitution

I’ve enjoyed Chuck’s and Bob’s posts on design and recently had cause to think about them while working on a coffee table for an upcoming book on Mid-Century Modern furniture. At the risk of over-simplifying, these posts suggest an axis for approaching furniture design: on the one end, evaluate a class of furniture and...

Hand drafting brush and eraser shield

Hand Drafting Skill-builder FAQ

Q: Is there ever a time in the hand drafting process when you use paper with lines on it, such as graph paper? A: If I am out in the field and do not have a portable drafting setup, then graph paper is desirable paper to have on hand. The most common graph paper...

I select the stile I want to copy and distribute.

Create a Linear Array in SketchUp

I’m currently working on a variation on L & J. G. Stickley’s No. 220 prairie settle. The settle’s three sides consist of frame and panels. Because I’m building a shorter version, I need to shorten the rails and resize the panels. Before SketchUp, I would have subtracted the combined width of the stiles from...

candle1web

A great box to have dinner with…

What discussion of shop-made boxes would be complete without something dovetailed? A common project for many woodworkers is a dovetailed box. It’s a great warmup for making drawers and larger scale projects. When I was learning to cut a traditional dovetail by hand, one of the first ‘real’ projects after practice joints and the...