In a continuation of selecting my favorite articles from the issues of 2013 (read part 1 here), below covers the August (issue #205) through December (issue #208) for the year.
My hands-down winner from the August 2014 issue is the article written by Mario Rodriguez, “Take a U-turn to Scoop a Chair Seat.” Jigs are a weakness of mine, and to see a guy rig-up his table saw to plow a seat bottom totally floored me. Mario used a plywood base, a couple of plywood strips, riser blocks and a pivot device to spin a blank over the saw blade. The results are stellar. The author says this technique is great for chair seats, which it is, but there is so much more that can be done. And it’s not just for mid-century furniture. This same setup could, with a few small adjustments, hog out waste for Windsor chairs, too. You just need to think outside the box.
My choice for the best article from issue # 206 (October 2013) has to match what most woodworkers would choose. Toshio Odate’s article, “Kōshi-do,” is an account of a 65-year-long path taken by one of the world’s most endearing woodworkers. Toshio writes about his early days as an apprentice as he works through a set of sliding doors. Of course the written text tells the story, but in this feature you get a second article described in the photos. You get a look inside a Master’s workshop, what tools he uses as he works and his methods of work. You also get a close-up view at fascinating joinery; joints made by a Master.
Brian Miller is a finishing genius, especially finishes in the area of Greene & Greene-built residences. In the November 2104 issue (#207), we take you inside a couple of the best Greene & Greene homes – the Blacker house and Charles Greene’s personal residence – and you get a look into the mind of a detective. That’s the best analogy for Brian; he uncovers original finishes found in the homes then uses his knowledge and skills to replicate the colors and finishes. Most woodworkers shy away from finishing, but we need to get a little “Brian” in us and tackle that area head on.
To wrap up the year, we have an article written by Roy Underhill. Sorry Bob; your tool cabinet is killer, but an article titled “Mechanical Marvels or Steampunk Sporks?” is easily the best of the December 2013 issue (#208). How could you not pick up this issue and immediately turn to that article? Just as Sir Roy is an entertaining speaker, he also entertains when he writes. In five pages – it feels like two pages as you’re grabbed and whisked through the text – Roy explains all there is to know about Stanley combination planes. I wanted more, and I’m not after a combination plane. And I’m not alone. Many magazine readers let us know they also wanted more.
As you can see 2013 was a great year to be a subscriber to Popular Woodworking Magazine. (Subscribe or renew here.) And you should hold onto your hat because the line-up for 2014 looks that much better.