November 2015 #221

Can an inexpensive portable workbench ever be stable enough for serious woodworking? If it’s Christopher Schwarz’s “Knockdown English Workbench,” the answer is an emphatic “yes.” For $175 or so – $100 for lumber, $75 for hardware – and a weekend’s effort, you can build an amazingly sturdy stowaway bench.

Christopher shows you how to lay out and place holes for benchdogs and holdfasts, build and install a crochet and a planing stop.

At 6’ long, this knockdown workbench is perfect for an apartment or small shop. And it sets up or breaks down in about 10 minutes. (Plus, he includes information on making an 8′ version.)

And vises? You don’t need no stinkin’ vices! Mike Siemsen (of Mike Siemsen’s School of Woodworking) teaches you how you can do such common workbench tasks as planing, cutting tenons or dovetails, shooting end grain and more – without a vise in sight.

Find inspiration as you admire the winners of the third annual 2015 PWM Excellence Awards. Find out who won the grand prize this year (and $1,000) as well as the top picks of both editors and readers in each of the five categories.

You know you’re a woodworker when … even your shop/utility builds start looking like fine furniture. William Ng shows you how to build a stunning sharpening pond from maple and sapele. With a built-in pump and bamboo spout, your tools may end up terrifyingly (not just scary) sharp simply because you won’t want to stop sharpening.

Consider your kitchen an annex to your shop – in “Roast Your Own” Mitch Roberson demonstrates how a few hours in the oven can do amazing things to wood. Find out his recipe for giving maple a rich chestnut color.

In “Sunburst Wall Clock,” Andy Brownell adds a bit of 21st-century flair to a mid-century modern classic. You’ll learn how to use precision geometry to lay out triangle rays and build a useful jig to do two jobs in one.

Chad Stanton, host of the “I Can Do That” video series, shows you how to build a simple folding stool that can easily be scaled up to be a folding table. Two pieces of pine, a few nuts, bolts and washers are all you need to build this practical stool in a few hours with basic tools.

In Arts & Mysteries, Peter Follansbee looks at “21st-century Craft Education;” George Walker explores “The Star Chamfer” in Design Matters; and Bob Flexner passes along “9 Useful Finishing Tips” in Flexner on Finishing.

And finally, in End Grain, woodworker Derek Olson reveals that his best tools are made from paper.

To buy the November 2015 issue, click here.

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Tool Test: Lie-Nielsen Toolworks Honing Guide

by Christopher Schwarz page 16 Since the mid-1990s I’ve been married to my inexpensive side-clamp honing guide, sometimes called an “Eclipse” guide after the firm that developed it. So when Lie-Nielsen Toolworks began showing its side-clamp honing guide around, I resisted even picking it up – I don’t like to mess...

9 Useful Finishing Tips

by Bob Flexner page 54 Here are some finishing tips I hope you find of value. They are arranged in roughly the order of the typical finishing steps. Sand Oil Finishes Wet It’s not at all necessary to sand wood to very fine grits with oil finishes to get very smooth...

End Grain: My Best Tools are Made of Paper

by Derek Olson p. 56 Woodworking is, all at once, frustrating, elating, challenging and straightforward stupid simple. It combines the elements of design, vision, accuracy, artistic intent and manual ability like no other pursuit I’ve found. Just in the moment you believe you’ve mastered a part of its scope, you look...