Materials

Find out what the Popular Woodworking Magazine editors and contributing editors have to say about woodworking supplies including, wood selection, nails, screws (do you clock yours?!), hinges, locks and more – both on the blogs and in the magazine. You’ll find out what woodworking materials we recommend and why, some budget-conscious choices, comparisons of various hardware options, installation technique instruction, information on period hardware selection and more.

The Way Wood Works

by Nick Engler Wood is a cantankerous substance; there’s no two ways about it. Its virtues, of course, are legendary. It’s attractive, abundant and easy to work. Pound for pound, it’s stronger than steel. If properly finished and cared for it will last indefinitely. But none of that makes up for...

grain direction

Understanding Grain Direction

I often tell people that the grain direction in a board is like the fur on a cat. Stroke the cat (or board) one way and the cat will purr, and your tool will produce a nice surface. Stroke the cat (or board) the wrong way, however, and the cat will...

How Quartersawn White Oak is Sawn

Most woodworkers have an idea of what quartersawn wood is. The accepted definition is that the growth rings are between 60° and 90° to the wide face of the board. In some species, notably white oak, this exposes the medullary rays and changes the figure from “that’s nice” to WOW!” Where...

Working With Small Hinges

In the back panel of the project I made for the upcoming August 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine is a small door. Hanging doors on butt hinges is no big deal if you’ve done it a few times, but this door proved interesting. The picture above makes it look typical,...

How to Calculate Wood Shrinkage and Expansion

Wood movement can ruin a seemingly well-constructed project. Luckily getting ahead of the material and calculating wood shrinkage and expansion is fairly easy – all you need to do is multiply three numbers together. Here’s how to find them. Step 1: Measure the board’s width. ● Know that wider boards expand...

How I Buy Wood & Why I’m Weird

Compared to many of my woodworking friends, I buy wood and treat it a little differently than most. Many of my friends have a significant stock of lumber on hand, from a garage-full to a few barn-fulls. When they find good lumber, they buy it. In many ways, this is an...

Highly Recommended: Grace USA Screwdrivers

It’s sad to say, but all of the so-called “lifetime” screwdrivers I’ve tried over the years are sorely lacking in one way or another. On many of them, the tips are soft or poorly shaped. Soft tips are, of course, worthless and soon become useless (unless you need a shank in...