Author Archives: Nancy Hiller

About Nancy Hiller

Designer-builder of custom furniture and cabinetry, specializing in work for period interiors from the late-19th through mid-20th century.

Butterfly and Piano Hinges – April 2018 Issue of PWM

The April issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine will have a reference article on eight types of commonly used hinges. Describing the uses and installation of so many varieties takes a lot of space, leaving little room for illustrations of hinges in use. The editors and I agreed that a series of...

Make New Brass Look Old

One of my current jobs involves adding a few cabinets to a 1912 kitchen. The kitchen’s lone original built-in has frame and panel doors hung on traditionally mortised brass butt hinges. The original hinges are unswaged, or what the English shops where I worked early in my career called solid-drawn brass...

Build an Affordable Kitchen Island

Kitchen islands are the contemporary version of the old-fashioned kitchen worktable: a centrally located station at which to chop, slice, mix, roll, and knead. Today’s islands typically provide enclosed storage, as well as work space; some even house sinks, dishwashers, and other appliances. And of course lots of people also use...

A Stroke of Luck While Refinishing a Wooden Counter

One of my current jobs involves adding some cabinets to a kitchen in a 1912 house. Luckily, the kitchen still has its original built-in, which guided the design of the new pieces. “Hang on,” you may be wondering. “What do you mean, ‘its original built-in,’ singular? Surely there would have been...

Perfectly Imperfect Furniture

I’ve long been fascinated by handmade utility furniture: the kind of stuff made to be used, not admired for the craftsmanship invested in its production. In the early 1980s, I bought an old chest of drawers from an antique shop in Reading, a large industrial town southwest of London, where I...

How We Installed a SawStop Sliding Crosscut Fence

I’ve wanted a SawStop sliding crosscut table ever since I tried one out at Woodworking in America 2016. Sliding crosscut tables were a basic fixture in the English shops where I worked; I took them for granted as a safe, precise means of breaking down sheet goods and cutting multiple parts...

How to Cut Dovetails with a Keller Jig

There are numerous jigs for cutting dovetails with a router. My go-to is the Keller pro series model 1601. It’s simple to use, though unlike jigs that cut pins and tails in one fell swoop, it takes two operations (and two different cutters) — one for tails, another for pins. The resulting...

Using Salvaged Wood: Part Two

The beloved backyard tree No store-bought lumber’s story can compete with that of boards from your own backyard. It can be wrenching to fell a beloved tree, but transforming it into a piece of furniture helps dull the pain by giving an old friend new life. Working with lumber from backyard...

Salvaged Lumber: Part One

People use the term salvaged to describe a variety of lumber. Salvaged lumber can be cut out of beams, joists, or other parts of buildings, whether remodeled or demolished. It can come from cabinets, furniture, packing crates, or other objects no longer in use. It can come from a tree felled...