December 2016 #229


The December issue features a classic little table from Hancock Shaker Village in Pittsfield, MA. You may think you’ve seen it before, maybe even taken a stab at it yourself, but Will Myers shows you how to build it right (and that’s a first). Based on measurements Myers took during an in-person examination, the seemingly-simple candle stand is now fully reproducible in your own workshop.


Does the thought of computers in the shop make you grip your tenon saw with both hands? Tim Celeski knows some folks think the specter of automation steals hand tools in the dead of night, but he’s convinced you can own a computer-operated router and still hand cut the best dovetails on the block. In “Digital Woodworking,” Celeski introduces you to CNCs with some facts about the tool you may not know you want.


Meet JoJo Wood, the young, British-born maker who’s got the green woodworking world buzzing over her exquisitely hand-carved spoons – and her chip-carved clogs haven’t gone unnoticed, either. Our “Arts & Mysteries” columnist Peter Follansbee introduces you to the 20-something putting a new face on age-old techniques.


Oh no – nails! Christopher Schwarz thinks these fasteners have gotten a bad rap. Learn why you hate the nails you’ve used, as well as what nails are waiting to capture your heart. From blacksmith-forged Roman nails to cut nails, there’s a whole world beyond the hardware-aisle cardboard boxes. So go ahead – give nails a chance.


Get gentle holding pressure with shop-made binding clamps – all you need is scrap Plexiglas and some inexpensive graphite rods. And study up on the hows and whys of moulding planes, the router-free way to cut beading and complex profiles.


This issue’s “Tool Test” takes the hi-tech NOVA Voyager DVR drill press for a spin, tries out some bargain-priced bench dogs and makes custom pocket-hole plugs from project stock with Kreg’s new plug cutter jig and bit. Learn to master design skills through deliberate repetition in “Design Matters,” build a cool wedged sliding mortise gauge in “Arts & Mysteries” and learn about changing VOC laws (and their effect on your future projects) in “Flexner on Finishing.” Plus consider the creative challenges bespoke makers face with RH Lee, shop manager at Offerman Woodshop, in “Custom Design, Creative Process,” this issue’s End Grain contribution.

Tool Test: Kreg Custom Pocket-Hole Plug Cutter

by Megan Fitzpatrick pg. 16 The Kreg pocket-hole jig is the workhorse joinery method in our beginner woodworking “I Can Do That” series of articles, videos and books. When we design those pieces, we’re careful to hide the pocket holes, because we don’t want them to show. Sure, one can buy...

Mastery Through Repetition

Practice is the best of all instructors. by George R. Walker pgs. 18-20 Maynard lived next door. When he wasn’t spinning wrenches at the local Ford garage, he was out in his driveway, hunched over a neighbor’s car. As a kid I spent hours leaning over a fender, watching him perform...

Wedged Sliding Mortise Gauge

Make your own copy of this precision vintage tool. by Peter Follansbee pgs. 58-60 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 carpenter….” It’s a line I heard a lot. I used...

Changing VOC Laws

Air quality initiatives affect coatings availability in different areas. by Bob Flexner pgs. 62-63 Four years ago in this column I explained how VOC regulations are putting restrictions on large users of finishing products and causing changes to formulations affecting all users. I concluded that only the large users are directly...

End Grain: “Custom Design, Creative Process”

Bringing the challenges of commissioned design to the college classroom. by RH Lee pg. 64 Since 2008 I have managed the collective Offerman Woodshop in Los Angeles as well as my own furniture business, LeeBuild. Both focus on bespoke, one-off custom furniture. Though I have been told by many designers and...