Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 5: Arno Burnisher

I have burned through a lot of burnishers, from the ones I’ve made myself out of carbide rod to very expensive variants. My favorite is the French-made Arno burnisher. Everything about the tool is right. The handle is lightweight aluminum, perfectly shaped and has a guard so my fingers won’t slip off the handle...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 3: Humidity Monitor

A lot of woodworking problems can be avoided simply by monitoring the relative humidity in your shop with a simple and inexpensive hygrometer. In most areas of the United States, the target relative humidity for inside buildings is 35 to 45 percent, though that will vary if you live in a desert or a...

Anarchist’s 2016 Gift Guide, Day 1: Clauss Scissors

Well-made high-carbon scissors are a joy to use and are indispensable in my shop for cutting paper patterns to shape, trimming veneer and 100 other tasks. For years I used junky office scissors but finally got my hands on a pair of traditional hot-forged dress makers shears from Clauss. Despite their reasonable cost (less...

Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 10: Abranet

I do almost no power sanding. But I do use abrasives in my work. And the only abrasive I use is Abranet. I hesitate to call it “sandpaper” because it is absolutely nothing like sandpaper. There’s no paper – it’s a woven mesh. And the abrasive is nothing like sand. But it lasts forever,...

Anarchist’s 2015 Gift Guide, Day 8: Better Beeswax

During the last few years as I have turned my back on finishes with lots of volatile organic compounds, I’ve begun looking for traditional high-quality finishes that won’t shorten my lifespan. I’ve bought a lot of beeswax from a lot of different sources, from national manufacturers to the individual beekeeper. They all work, but...