February 2016 #223

On the cover of the February issue is Jim Tolpin’s Standing Desk – 18th-cenutry style that appeals to 21st-century doctors’ directives to not sit around all day. And if you build it using only hand tools as the author does, you’ll burn a few more calories on the front end, too.

In “Why Portable Planers are Better,” Christopher Schwarz argues that bigger – as in a 20″ helix-head monster planer – is not always better. The flexibility and size of a “lunchbox planer” is likely perfect for your shop (unless you build a lot of really large tables, or have a lot of extra floor space).

Mario Rodriguez (with a technique assist from Freddy Roman and a jig assist from Frank Vucolo) teaches you how to make three classic Federal-style bandings in your shop, with techniques you can adapt to many designs so you’ll never again be limited by what’s available commercially.

You have to look closely to see the work of toolmaker Marco Terenzi – that’s because it’s really small. Prepare for amazement as you take a look at this young maker’s fully-functional scale-model tools.

In “Bow Shelves,” you’ll discover from Bruce Winterbon how mathematical equations can be translated into graceful curves that hand delicately on the wall. But if math isn’t your forte, turn to Raney Nelson’s “Nice Curves, No Math” for three ways to lay out similar curves for the same shelves.

In “Tool Test,” you’ll read about a shockingly affordable (and good) 10″ miter saw from Craftsman, EZ Pinch Sticks and a barrel-grip battery-powered jigsaw from Bosch.

In “Arts & Mysteries,” Peter Follansbee argues that no matter how fancy your furniture, it’s meant to be used; Bob Flexner teaches you how to make the perfect sanding block in “Flexner on Finishing;” George Walker discusses the underlying language of craft in “Design Matters;” in “End Grain,” Brad Rubin writes about respect for tools as taught by Toshio Odate; and more.

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Jim Sannerud Bowl

Design Matters: Look Beneath the Surface

Learn the hidden order that speaks a common craft language. by George R. Walker pages 18-20 Jim Sannerud is a gifted artisan who turns wooden bowls that are inspired by the rich tradition of Scandinavian woodcraft. Recently, I was admiring his work when the conversation shifted to clay potters who turn...

Arts & Mysteries: Furniture – It’s Meant to be Used

In some contemporary households, 17th-century style storage prevails. by Peter Follansbee pages 58-59 I once sold a chair to a woman who later told me how much she loved it. “I never let anyone sit in it!” she exclaimed, apparently to show me how special it was to her. I told...

Flexner on Finishing: My Sanding Block

Efficient, cheap and simple to make. by Bob Flexner pages 60-62 This magazine puts a lot of emphasis on hand tools – that is, tools without motors. Common subjects include handplanes, chisels, scrapers etc. But when it comes to sanding, it seems that most people use random-orbit sanders. These have motors!...


Respect for tools was the real lesson I learned from a woodworking icon. by Brad Rubin page 64 My introduction to Japanese woodworking started with Toshio Odate’s underwear. “My tools are like my underwear. You wouldn’t touch my underwear, so don’t touch my tools,” Odate told me and my classmates. So...