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. [...]

Is Water-based Finish Lacquer?

The two products – both useful – are quite different. Dating back at least 100 years, the term “lacquer” has referred to a non-crosslinking finish that thins with lacquer thinner. The most common [...]

Mastery Through Repetition

Practice is the best of all instructors. Maynard lived next door. When he wasn’t spinning wrenches at the local Ford garage, he was out in his driveway, hunched over a neighbor’s car. As a kid I [...]

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 [...]

Ideas that Jump Off the Page

Isometric views help keep your designs grounded. The kite leapt into the wind and I frantically uncoiled string that burned and chafed my hands and fingers. The thin wooden crossbeams bent almost [...]

My ‘Half-right Rule’

Knowing which half to believe is why finishing seems so difficult. Many years ago I coined what I call my “half-right rule.” That is, half of what you read or hear about finishing is right; you [...]

Fixing White Water Rings

Understanding causes and remedies of this typically shallow damage. A friend sent me a web link to a video and short text recommending the use of mayonnaise to remove white water rings on [...]

Screwdriver Mania

I’ve made over 600 screwdrivers. Does that get me into the Tool Nut club? It all started with a handle I turned for a file. I enjoyed this work so much that I started making handles for other [...]

Lessons from a Lifetime Maker

Thoughts on Adam Savage’s Every Tool’s a Hammer Buy the book here You may recognize the man on the cover of this book, Adam Savage, as one half of the duo from TV’s “Mythbusters.” The show ran [...]

Kitchen Kalamity

Kitchen Kalamity The cherry salad tongs I’d made needed repairs. They were steam-bent, so they would “spring” when you squeezed them together. But the top portion where the two arms attached was [...]

Common Staining Problems and Their Fixes

The basics of staining are easy – it's when things don't go as planned that staining becomes a difficult, frustrating task. Here are ten of the most common staining problems and how you can avoid [...]

Slicker Saw

I often lubricate the soles of my planes with paraffin wax to make them slide easier. While ripping a board that was insistent on pinching just enough to make sawing difficult, it occurred to me [...]

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