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Popular Woodworking April 2017

The April issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (#231) just mailed to print subscribers and emailed to digital subscribers. It’s live in our online store too. There’s a lot to dig into in this issue, including a chisel primer from Christopher Schwarz – he addresses what chisels you really need, how to set one up right and correct chisel usage techniques. And if you’re interested in period woodworking, you should really check out Kerry Pierce’s William & Mary-inspired side table, complete with turned drops and legs, dovetailed aprons, Gothic arches and serpentine stretchers.

Known as the “perfect surface,” urushi (a/k/a, Japanese lacquer) yields a truly stunning finish – but, made from poison sumac, it can also yield a nasty rash. For this reason, and to avoid the months of application urushi requires, Don Williams developed a “faux urushi” technique that employs epoxy for a quick, skin-safe fake-out. And we’ve got a breadboard end cutting board – modern looks meet a very old technique for this stunning kitchen accessory.

This issue also features Jameel Abraham’s article, “Make Your Own Plywood.” Now, I know plywood – on my family’s farm, 4×8 plywood is second only to salvaged (i.e., free) lumber in favor. I’ve built a few chicken coops out of plywood, not to mention huts and windbreaks for the various drifts of pigs rooting around the acreage. When one of the sows develops cabin fever and tears a hole in the wall of the farrowing barn, I’m glad to have a piece of plywood and some nails within easy reach. Wired-together plywood makes a perfect temporary chute for loading pigs into a trailer (which itself sports a plywood-reinforced floor), and I learned the hard way that, for hog wrangling around electrified fencing, plywood is a superior sorting-panel material to highly conductive cattle panels (zap!).

I don’t want to make plywood. I buy that stuff.

But of course that’s not the kind of plywood Jameel builds – his plywood is a one-off, solid-core board meant for building lasting furniture. Its edge can hold hinges, and laminated veneer sticks to it better than solid wood. Correctly made, DIY plywood is dead flat and stable, and its unique properties allow you to create shapes and forms you just can’t with solid wood. Shop-made plywood, unlike the big-box stuff, is high-quality, versatile material. I wouldn’t be tempted to make a nesting box for my hens out of it.

Read about DIY plywood and much more in the April 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine!

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