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Period Sharpening

An experiment uncovers cutting edges of the past. “How did they sharpen their tools back then?” I’ve asked this question myself and I have been asked the question, and I’ve never felt comfortable [...]

Logs to Lumber

With sweat equity and a few simple tools, you can split strong, stable stock. Though sawn lumber was available to 17th- and 18th-century European woodworkers in Colonial America, many American [...]

Hickory Can’t Wait

This hardwood is best harvested for its bark and wood soon after cutting. Green woodworking has a different set of criteria when it comes to stockpiling material. Unlike those who work with [...]

Wallington, The Unhappy Turner

Trade dangers revealed in 17th-century journals. I thought of Nehemiah Wallington (1598-1658) when I set up my lathe in my nearly finished workshop. A few times a year he pops up in my mind. He [...]

One Stick, All the Info

Measured drawings for some, story sticks for me (and others). I once had a job making a couple of wainscot chairs and chests for the National Park Service. After barely surviving the paperwork it [...]

On Wood Selection

Both fast- and slow-growing wood present good opportunities. Wood selection is an important part of any woodworking project. I sometimes feel like I take it to an extreme, like I’m some kind of [...]

Wedged Sliding Mortise Gauge

Make your own copy of this precision vintage tool. Even after two years of working alone, I can still hear the visitors to my museum shop where I worked for 20 years: “My grandpa was a [...]

Work Begun

Forget the stockpile of wood; what about the stock of partial projects? When building furniture, some woodworkers keep a stockpile of lumber on hand and draw from their stacks as they begin a new [...]

Wood Too Good to Burn

Look to your firewood pile for plenty of project inspiration. I’ve been cutting up my leftover bits of green wood for firewood to use in my new workshop. It’s not going well. I have a feeling [...]

Tool & Furniture Records

Nicholas Disbrowe, Samuel Sewall and chairs as corpse transportation. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking. As I study [...]

Joyners vs. Carpenters, 1631

Period woodworking trades in London were strictly regulated. I’ve temporarily put down my 5⁄16” joiner’s mortising chisel in favor of a 2″ chisel for chopping carpenter’s mortises. [...]

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