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.

Design Matters: Not Just Any Hat Will Do

Let function and proportion be your guide when designing a top. by George Walker page 20 Growing up, I was never one for wearing hats – that was until fresh out of high school when I headed west to work on a cattle ranch high in the mountains of Montana. My...

Arts & Mysteries: Green Woodworking

While the term is easily understood, it’s not easily defined. by Peter Follansbee page 24 Back in the 1970s, there was an undercurrent in American woodworking that connected to an ancient past. After decades of home-workshop projects, many craftsmen were trying to understand some of the “old” ways of woodworking. One...

Flexner on Finishing: Catalyzed Finishes

Apply a professional, quick-drying and durable finish at home. by Bob Flexner page 58 You may have heard of catalyzed finishes: pre-catalyzed lacquer, post-catalyzed lacquer and catalyzed or “conversion” varnish. These finishes are commonly used in industry and in cabinet and professional refinishing shops. But there’s no reason you can’t use...

How a Tree Became a Whale

A rescue and careful work reveal the spirit of land and sea. by Lee Dye page 64 I have lusted for years after the wide, irregular planks used by the legendary George Nakashima to capture what he called “the soul of a tree.” I would give them new life as a...