November 2017 #235

The cover story for our November issue is Nancy Hiller’s Arts & Crafts Sideboard – taken from a classic Harris Lebus design from the beginning of the 20th century, this sideboard features rock solid joinery and beautiful ornament, made with both power and hand tools. Read all about the “Doe’s Foot,” a simple workholding accessory for your bench – Christopher Schwarz will show you how it’s made and used, and can replace a variety of the standard bench fixtures. Get inspired and read about the award-winning work submitted for our 2017 PWM Excellence awards, including photos and words from the winners. Follow along and build a traditional double-iron wooden smoothing plane with Steve Voigt, who breaks down the complex geometry and handwork into straightforward, step-by-step operations with simple set of tools. And, James Hamilton returns to make a variety of joinery jigs for his MegaSled (from the October 2017 issue) – with these additions, cutting miters, tenons, finger joints and splines is made easy.

Plus, we review the new Veritas Combination Plane, the Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps and the Robin Wood Axe; in Letters, our editor talks about how nails can be used to allow cross-grain construction; George Walker talks about “Artisan Geometry” and how it relates to the building blocks of design; in Arts & Mysteries, Peter Follansbee teaches us a lesson about hickory and why it needs to be harvested green quickly, before it dries; Bob Flexner shares a few tips about finishing to “Cabinet-grade” quality in Flexner on Finishing; and in End Grain, Bob Rozaieski discusses why form needs to precede adornment and showy woods.

 

Arts & Crafts Sideboard

This Harris Lebus classic is a tour-de-force of the English aesthetic. by Nancy R. Hiller pages 28-37 When we think of the origins of the Arts & Crafts movement in England toward the end of the 19th century, we tend to focus on the revival of handcraft in reaction against the soul-deadening monotony...

Devilishly Clever ‘Doe’s Foot’

These notched sticks simplify your workholding at the bench. by Christopher Schwarz pages 38-39 Workbenches didn’t always have vises. In fact, for most of human history, workbenches around the world were nothing more than a stoutly made table with a few holes. The woodworker kept the work stationary with a combination of pegs, battens,...

Woodworking Excellence

pages 40-45 The grand prize in the 2017 Popular Woodworking Excellence Awards goes to Al Spicer for his demilune (half-moon) marquetry table, featuring on its top a flowering morning glory vine in various veneers. The legs are solid sapele with holly stringing and an accent bud, and the apron and top are...

Smooth Operator

 Make a traditional double-iron coffin smoothing plane. by Steve Voigt pages 46-55 From the Middle Ages until the dawn of the 20th century, wooden planes were the dominant bench plane form in the Western world. But when I started woodworking (in the hand-tool dark ages of the late 20th century), this traditional form...

Crosscut Sled Jigs

Make your ‘MegaSled’ into a shop workhorse. by James Hamilton pages 56-60 In the previous issue, we built the MegaSled – a table saw sled designed to accommodate a series of joinery jigs. The jigs and attachments I cover in this article are just the beginning – and with them, you can cut...

Veritas Combination Plane

by Megan Fitzpatrick page 14 A plow plane is a joinery powerhouse in the hand-tool shop. Not only can you plow grooves with it – you can, if necessary, use it for rabbets and tongues, though it’s a laborious tonguing process. Enter the combination plane – a plane that excels at grooves and...

Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps

by Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney page 16 A lot of the work in any machine-oriented woodshop revolves around creating and improving jigs. While I’ve used hold-down and F-style clamps in most of my shop fixtures, the Microjig Matchfit Dovetail Clamps offer a new means of integrating adjustable clamping into a jig, securely and out of...

Robin Wood Axe for Carving (and More)

by Danielle Rose Byrd page 16 As a bowl carver, I am frequently asked about recommendations for beginner sets of tools. Though the Robin Wood Axe is always on that list, it’s not just a beginner’s axe. Weighing in at 1 pound, 9 ounces, it is a midweight carving axe, and considerably...

Artisan Geometry

The universal and timeless structure of our imaginations. by George Walker pages 18-20 Woodworking spans the globe and is a common thread linking humans across the ages. This craft shares a basic tool kit across time and space with more similarities than differences. An artisan from feudal Japan might view a Western backsaw...