The Times, They are a-Changin’

Even in wood finishing. One of my favorite songs back in the 1960s was Bob Dylan’s, The Times, They are A-Changin’. This theme applies today to what’s happening in wood finishing. It’s natural [...]

Plans vs Proportions

Adapt a furniture plan with your eye. I think of plans as sort of a roadmap. They were a big part of my early work as a machinist and later as a woodworker. We had an unwritten rule in the …

Bit By Bit

If it were up to me, I’d be able to divide myself into two parts. Editor’s note: this article appeared in the April 2020 issue of Popular Woodworking One would focus on my family, health, [...]

Drawing Strategies for Design

It will take more than one drawing to get it right – and that’s OK. My best days in the woodshop are with my 4-year-old grandson, Seth. He’s just tall enough to see over the benchtop and quick to [...]

The 7 Myths of Polyurethane

All levels of finishing are burdened with myths, but the types of finishes used by amateurs and sold in home centers and woodworking stores suffer the most. Myths about polyurethane are a good [...]

Federal Furniture

Years ago I discovered Federal furniture and knew that with beautiful veneer, superb inlay and simple carving, this would be my furniture period of choice. Federal furniture has much to offer [...]

Planting Trees

This piece originally appeared in the November 2020 issue of Popular Woodworking As I write this, I’m sitting in my basement (“home office”) in Minneapolis, a few days after my 35th birthday. [...]

Backside Out

Backside Out After dabbling with woodworking for a couple of years, I finally got up the courage to build some kitchen cabinets, starting with an 8′ long upper unit. I composed a detailed [...]

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 [...]

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