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When I started work at Popular Woodworking in 1996, the goal was to cram as many projects into each issue as possible. No techniques. No tool reviews. Just 17 to 20 projects.

Oh, and we couldn’t use outside authors to help. As a result, we were building all day, everyday. And we were always trying to goose the numbers so we could increase the total count of projects in the issue. Conversations went something like this:

“Let’s see…. The potting bench gets us up to 14 projects. If we add some pegs to the side, that’s a tool rack for spades. Can we count that rack as a project?”

Thankfully, for our sanity and yours, those days are long gone.

During some research on coping saws for an upcoming article, I stumbled on some great plans in an original copy of “Coping Saw Work” by Edward F. Worst (Bruce Publishing, 1927) that I have in my library.

One of the pages features five “paper knives,” what we call letter openers. They have an Arts & Crafts or Art Deco-ish look to them. I scanned them so I could make a few of them (a good use for scraps). And I thought: Dang. I wish I’d found these back in the 1990s. I could have added five projects to an issue of the magazine in one page.

In any case, download the image above to your computer to print it out. The file has everything scanned at full size.

— Christopher Schwarz

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Showing 6 comments
  • TPODnSky

    Plate 11? Really? Coincidence or subliminal? You decide.

  • GTBurbank

    That’s why I never used to read it. Any magazine with “pullout plans” was dismissed as a hobby rag. When you changed that, I eventually became a regular. With the death of ” Woodwork” and the destruction of “American Woodworker”, you stepped in and filled a void that was dominated by FWW. Basically, PopWood switched roles with AmWood, and I suspect you may have surpassed FWW in quality of information. Keep up the good work. And skip the pullout plans…

  • locvetter

    Wow, they do have an almost mystical look to them! Must be magic, how the central piece on the left stays put? Or how does that work?

  • Joel Jacobson

    Gosh! Letter openers as email becomes more widespread ….

  • mlingenfelter

    Can you include a Cut List and SketchUp drawing! 🙂


  • Bill Lattanzio

    If it weren’t for Popular Woodworking, I wouldn’t have a coffee cup full of pencils and pens at my workbench AND on my desk at work.

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