In Shop Blog, Tools

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“The Joinery Challenge,” a new DVD from Ron Herman, is now available for pre-order at (and on sale for $5 off the regular price through the end of June). This exercise is one Ron had to pass when he was in his apprenticeship on his way to becoming a journeyman housewright (he’s now a master housewright, and runs Antiquity Builders of Ohio, a century-old family business in Columbus).

This two-hour DVD walks you through making nine essential joints; one is the modern pocket-hole joint, the rest are made using hand tools. Ron talks about the joints, shows you the layout of each, then teaches you to cut each of the nine joints in order. If you cut them squarely and accurately,  you end up with a strong frame that’s divided into four quadrants – and with no glue, it’s should be sturdy enough to use in a game of toss.

In addition to the pocket-hole joint, you’ll learn how to accurately make a mitered butt joint, a pinned and mitered butt joint, a corner slip joint, a corner half-lap joint, a half-lap dovetail joint, a mortise-and-tenon joint, a bridle joint and a center half-lap joint. So order your copy today, and test your joinery skills against a master – or use the education Ron imparts to become one yourself!

And here’s some fun for those of you who will be at Woodworking in America (Sept. 30-Oct 2 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center): Ron is teaching the Joinery Challenge using hand tools (as demonstrated in this DVD), while Senior Editor Glen D. Huey will be teaching the same layout and joints, but using power tools. I think we should take bets on who will complete the challenge more quickly and accurately – but of course, that would be illegal….

I’ve seen both these guys work, and I honestly don’t know where the smart money would go. At this point, I’m leaning toward Glen…because he’s on the other side of my cubicle wall, and Ron is a 90-minute drive away.

– Megan Fitzpatrick

p.s. “The Joinery Challenge” is already available at Shop Class on Demand – our video streaming site – along with 19 other full-length videos (and we’re adding more all the time).

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Here are some supplies and tools we find essential in our everyday work around the shop. We may receive a commission from sales referred by our links; however, we have carefully selected these products for their usefulness and quality.

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