Marking and Measuring

Proper layout is fundamental to crisp work, whether you use primarily hand tools or power tools. We show you proper measurement techniques from how to read a tape measure to how to use a marking gauge. And, we cover the entire range of measuring and marking tools, from winding sticks to micrometers, carpenter’s pencils to marking knives. Plus, you’ll find videos and slideshows about historic tools (including those from H.O. Studley’s iconic chest) and plans for shop-made squares, gauges and sectors.

Video: Mitered Shoulder Dovetail

When building the Monticello Bookcases for the June 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, I used through-dovetails with a mitered shoulder to join the cases. This joint gives a nice finished look to the front edge of the boxes, yet it is easier to do than some other similar joints, including...

Squaring the English Layout Square

Several readers have asked how to go about squaring up the two legs of the English Layout Square from the December 2010 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Do you square it up before assembly? After? What tools do you use to make it square? How do I determine if the square...

Trust Yourself. Trust No One

Between meetings, classes and regular living, I’ve cut 132 dovetails during the last couple weeks to build my next project, which will be featured on the cover of the June 2011 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. Many of these dovetails have been mitered at their front corners, which I cut freehand...

Free Plan: English Layout Square

I’m fond of wooden layout tools – squares, straightedges, winding sticks and the like. They are lightweight, don’t damage your work like metal tools can and are made from scraps. Plus, you can make them to suit your taste, whether that’s plain, fancy or something between. Last fall I built a...

Details: Installing Hinges in Mortises

Installing traditional mortise hinges makes some woodworkers want to turn their electric drill on themselves to just end it all. While practice is the best teacher, there are little tricks that can help when installing hardware. I have a bunch of “dodges” that people have taught me through the years. This...

Erasers: The Unsung Heroes of Accuracy

I make lots of pencil marks on the wood as I work. Removing them is either easy or excruciating. Whenever I can, I use a handplane to dress my stock, so the pencil marks usually come off without any visible residue of the charcoal or polymer lead or indentation from the...

The Need to See Red

I can be a bit obsessive-compulsive at times. And woodworking sure doesn’t help my malady. My family would be much better off if I’d just lick a few light switches or check 63 times to make sure the stove was off. Instead, I’ll build an entertainment center. Then I’ll strip the...