December 2014 #215

Popular Woodworking Magazine December 14 Cover A Federal Bow-front table from Frank Vucolo is our cover story for the December 2014 issue; his article not only shows you how to build this form that appears in many furniture styles, but how to add the veneer, banding and stringing that are hallmarks of the Federal period. You’ll learn how to sharpen your own handsaws and backsaws from Matt “the Saw Wright” Cianci as he takes you step by step through the four steps of setting, jointing, filing and stoning.



From Glen D. Huey, you get plans, measured drawings and instruction on making a “Not-so Ordinary Router Cabinet” (that would also look at home in the house, with a few tweaks). Mary May shares her carving expertise in “Woodcarving Basics,” with everything you know to get started with V-tools and gouges, as she teaches you techniques for shallow-relief and applied carving. And from Christopher Schwarz, learn a clever and simple way to align your dovetails for easy transfer from pins to tails (or tails to pins); all you need is a cheap wooden ruler and a couple tacks.



In this month’s Tool Test, we review the Earlex 6003 spray system, a 3-stage turbine that is plenty powerful for most finishing needs; the Shenandoah Tool Works Birdcage Awl; and the Jet JWBS-14SF-3 band saw. George Walker gives us his thoughts on handsome toppers (that is, how to let function and proportion guide you to a good-looking top); Peter Follansbee shares his thoughts on “green” woodworking in the Arts & Mysteries column; and in End Grain, Lee Dye shows how us how a tree became a whale.

Plus Tricks of the Trade, reader letters and more.

Buy this issue now.

Federal Bow-front Table

Inlay and embellishment add pizazz to a well-known form.  by Frank Vucolo page 28 I designed this table using the materials, ideas and embellishments of the Federal period. It begins with an objective aesthetic: a small table with tapered legs. This form was a staple of the style, but it’s found in...

Saw Sharpening 101

A well-tuned tool pays great dividends when the blade hits the board. by Matt Cianci page 36 We’ve all been there: You reach for your saw in the middle of a project, and before you start the cut, you drag your finger along the teeth and say to yourself, “Meh…they’re sharp...

Not so Ordinary Router Cabinet

Great shop storage isn’t always built using plywood. by Glen D. Huey page 40 As I look around my shop, or most woodworking shops, I see cabinets built with plywood and screws. But there are other options. I decided to change things up and make a shop cabinet using hardwoods, and...

Woodcarving Basics

Learn techniques for ‘shallow relief’ and ‘applied’ carvings. by Mary May page 46 Have you ever been involved in something where you get completely absorbed in it? Where hours go by without realizing it? Those are the moments when you discover something you truly love. Within a month of taking classes...

Dovetail Ruler Trick

A throwaway wooden ruler prevents fatal errors when dovetailing. by Christopher Schwarz page 51 The No. 1 mistake made by first-time dovetailers has nothing to do with sawing or chopping – the obvious choices. Instead, I’ve found that most fatal mistakes happen at the point where the shape of the first...

Earlex SprayPort 6003

This turbine-driven gun produces a good finish at a good price. by Robert W. Lang page16 I first became aware of High-Volume Low-Pressure (HVLP) systems about 20 years ago. At the time, it seemed like a great idea – reduce overspray and eliminate the need for a massive air compressor chugging away....

Jet JWBS-14SF-3 Band Saw

by Chuck Bender page 18 The new 14″ steel-frame band saw from Jet is nothing less than heavy-duty. With its 3-horsepower, 220-volt motor, this saw is built to handle just about anything you can throw at it. The one-piece frame makes this band saw extremely rigid for tough cuts such as...

Shenandoah Tool Works Birdcage Awl

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 18 If you’re in the market for a birdcage awl, this Shenandoah Tool Works version offers a stylish twist – that is, the hand-forged 01 steel shaft is actually twisted during manufacturing. While this aesthetic touch has no effect on performance, it looks nice – and one...

Make Your Mark

Traditional woodworking marks are simple – and they prevent errors. by Christopher Schwarz p. 62 If you don’t use a clear system of marking your project parts, it’s easy to get confused and cut a joint on the wrong face of a board or assemble table legs in the wrong orientation....