Tools in Your Shop

‘Tis a poor craftsman who blames his tools … which is why we like to celebrate them! Popular Woodworking has been at the forefront of woodworking tools and tool usage for many years. Our focus is not just reviewing new tools, but considering the best overall approach to tooling – especially how hand and power tools can go together in your shop. It’s all about completing great projects and doing it efficiently, without breaking the bank. Have fun learning from these community posts and applying the knowledge to your next project!

Matt's workshop dimension

Woodshop Layout – Tour and Tips from Matt’s Basement Workshop

I can’t deny that I’ve always wanted a large woodshop. Patterned after a professional shop, my large woodshop would include: Space for hundreds of board feet of lumber Dedicated power- and hand-tool workspaces A finishing room My own design area to play with mockups and such Large would be nice. Still,...

If Cleanliness is Next to Godliness…

If cleanliness is truly next to godliness, then we are lords of the underworld. I took this picture (and shot the video below) whilst standing atop my bench…my bench to which one must take a wholly circuitous route past large builds, old projects, my pile of plywood, machinery…my fault for choosing...

The Theory of Chisel Monogamy

When I teach woodworking, I talk a lot about monogamy. Not to your spouse (that’s your problem) but to your tools. I think it’s easier to learn to saw, sharpen and plane boards if you don’t jump around and use different handsaws, sharpening systems and bench planes. And when it comes...

Tilt-top Router Table

Four Great Router Table Plans

The day after tomorrow is Independence Day, and there’s nothing more independent than building out your own workshop. Workshop projects are a double bonus because you save money by building fixtures yourself, and then you save money and gain independence while using them. I started digging into our magazine archives and...

Plunge Router Depth Adjustment Trick

A plunge router is a versatile tool, but setting an exact depth can be perplexing. There are a bunch of knobs and levers that control how far down the bit will go, but if you’re trying to make a precise adjustment you rapidly run out of hands and patience as you...

Your Basic Guide to Chisels

Common Types and Sizes Bevel-edge Chisel (at left): Long edges are ground to an angle to allow the tool to get into tight spaces, such as between dovetails. It is not designed for heavy chopping. A common variant is the paring chisel, which has a longer, thinner blade. Mortising Chisel (at...

Permission to Sand – Granted!

I’m always bemused by woodworkers who boast that they never use sandpaper. I usually say something to them such as: “Then I guess you don’t like old-school technology.” When they look confused, I add: “Egyptians used sandstone to abrade wood flat. Sanding is older technology than planing, which is a Greek...