Work Begun

Forget the stockpile of wood; what about the stock of partial projects? When building furniture, some woodworkers keep a stockpile of lumber on hand and draw from their stacks as they begin a new [...]

Boring in the 18th Century

Today’s array of bits has nothing on historical practice. In my attempts to recreate period work, I’ve many times come across the need to make holes that no modern tool can practically create. My [...]

Wood Too Good to Burn

Look to your firewood pile for plenty of project inspiration. I’ve been cutting up my leftover bits of green wood for firewood to use in my new workshop. It’s not going well. I have a feeling [...]

Tool & Furniture Records

Nicholas Disbrowe, Samuel Sewall and chairs as corpse transportation. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking. As I study [...]

An Overview of Chinese Furniture

When it comes to the history of woodworking, period furniture styles, and woodworking techniques, most woodworkers think about William and Mary, Queen Anne, Federal, Chippendale, and so on. It is [...]

Joyners vs. Carpenters, 1631

Period woodworking trades in London were strictly regulated. I’ve temporarily put down my 5⁄16” joiner’s mortising chisel in favor of a 2″ chisel for chopping carpenter’s mortises. [...]

Carpenters’ Work

Early modern records show guild regulations in London. Early 17th-century London tradesmen were protective about their work, carefully keeping an eye on any interlopers to their craft. A dispute [...]

Resawing by Hand

Strength, patience and a sharp saw turn scraps into treasure. The hardwoods I use are almost always riven or split from a log. When I need thinner pieces than usual, I split them again. But there [...]

Lighting Matters

Raking light through windows is the clear winner in a hand-tool shop. In 2007, I was a speaker at Colonial Williamsburg’s Furniture Forum, and there I met Adam Cherubini. He was in costume in the [...]

Thomas Day, Master Cabinetmaker

This antebellum free black man was the most successful cabinetmaker in North Carolina. My introduction to Thomas Day came in 1998 on a shopping trip to High Point, N.C., for a bed. I stumbled [...]

André Roubo’s Try Square

One of the first tools I bought was a 9″ steel try square with a brass and rosewood stock. Like a supermodel, it’s nice to look at, but not so fun to deal with day-to-day. Its blade is too [...]

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