April 2017 #231

The April 2017 issue takes a deep look at chisels: We’ve all got them, and many of us have more than we need. And while it’s the simplest tool in your chest, a chisel is also the most sensitive – correctly set up, it’s the most versatile too. Christopher Schwarz shows which chisels you actually need, how to set yours up right and techniques for getting successful results from your chisel’s edge.
 
Add a new genre to your period-furniture vocabulary with a William & Mary-style side table. Featuring turned drops and legs, dovetailed aprons, Gothic arches and serpentine stretchers, this 17th-century-inspired piece will put decorative designs in your skill set…and an ornate little table in your home!
 
Learn how to make your own plywood. Wait, plywood? Yeah, but not those 4×8 sheets at the home center – solid-core, shop-made plywood meant for building high-quality furniture that lasts. If this plywood is what your project needs, you likely can’t buy anything better.
 
Urushi, or Japanese lacquer, is known as the “perfect surface,” and its stunning appearance supports the claim. But true urushi is derived from poison sumac and takes months to apply, making it an itchy, time-consuming technique that many are justifiably loathe to undertake. Don Williams’s “faux urushi” process employs epoxy for an exquisite fake-out that saves you time and spares your skin – get the look, not a rash!
  
The kitchen is a home’s heart, so give it some love with a contemporary cutting board featuring breadboard ends, a centuries-old feature with modern style. A quick project that’s perfect for amateurs, this build employs common power tools to create an attractive kitchen accessory.
 
This issue’s “Tool Test” tries out a pair of hollow and round planes from J. Wilding, Rockler’s Beadlock Pro joinery kit and Veritas mortise chisels from Lee Valley. George Walker examines mouldings in “Design Matters,” and Peter Follansbee researches an unhappy woodworking forefather in “Arts & Mysteries.” Bob Flexner explains how some brands of dyes differ in “Flexner on Finishing,” and hand surgeon David Shapiro makes a convincing case for workshop safety in “End Grain.”

Good Chisel Sense

The simplest tool in your chest is also the most sensitive and versatile; here’s how to set up a chisel to a high level and wield it like a maestro. by Christopher Schwarz pgs. 20-27 It’s almost impossible to build furniture without a chisel, yet most woodworkers I’ve met (even professionals)...

William & Mary Side Table

Turned drops and legs, arches and serpentine stretchers typify this ornate 17th-century style. by Kerry Pierce pgs. 28-36 When someone uses the term “period furniture,” we think most often of the Queen Anne, Chippendale and Federal genres. Certainly these have been the most influential styles in Western furniture-making history. But there...

Make Your Own Plywood

Shop-made ply can achieve shapes and forms solid wood just can’t handle. by Jameel Abraham pgs. 37-41 The title of this article may sound silly, or perhaps us woodworkers have just run out of things to write about? Now that is silly. But why on earth would anyone want to make...

Faux Urushi

Poison sumac for a perfect finish? A quick epoxy fake-out spares the itch. by Donald C. Williams pgs. 42-49 Within the ongoing renaissance of fine furniture making, I find myself an enthusiastic evangelist and ardent agitator for the full appreciation of decorative surfaces in most iterations, especially finishing. To many skilled...

Breadboard End Cutting Board

Practice a centuries-old technique on this small contemporary piece. by David Picciuto pgs. 50-54 Found on everything from refined 18th-century highboys to muscled Arts & Crafts tables, breadboard ends are a handsome and time-tested way to prevent wooden panels from warping over time. Correctly made, breadboard ends not only keep panels...

Show Off Your Work – It Could Win You $1k

Dig out the best pictures of your work – or get started now on a new piece – and enter the fifth annual PWM Excellence Awards for a chance at the $1,000 grand prize. Submissions will be accepted in five categories from April 1-June 16 at popularwoodworking.com/2017readerexcellence. There’s no fee to...

Tool Test: J. Wilding Hollow & Round Planes

Simple and functional, these moulding planes perform as they should. by Megan Fitzpatrick pg. 12 Jeremiah Wilding is relatively new to the wooden planemaker brethren, but his planes perform as if he’s been making them for decades – and he’s offering them at a price that won’t break the bank. I...

Tool Test: Beadlock Pro Joinery Kit

by David Thiel pg. 14 I looked to the Beadlock Pro recently when I found myself needing four loose-tenon joints for a project – I wanted an economic but quick solution, and didn’t want to make a router jig. The Beadlock system, which cuts mortises up to 31⁄2″ wide, uses a...

Tool Test: Veritas Mortise Chisels from Lee Valley Tools

by James McConnell pg.14 The Veritas (Lee Valley) mortise chisels are awesome in every sense of the word. They’re big, heavy and can plow through a mortise in just a few good passes. The size, shape and substantial thickness of the blades bring English “dagger”-style mortise chisels to mind, while the...