Tricks of the Trade

If there’s one thing a woodworker loves as much as a new tool, it’s a new trick! There’s nothing like discovering a slick new maneuver or a cool jig that makes life sweeter in the shop. Fortunately, Popular Woodworking Magazine readers are a clever bunch, and happy to share their bright ideas.

In every “Tricks of the Trade” column, you’ll find a cornucopia of great workshop ideas submitted by your fellow readers. They cover everything from hand tool tips, machine jigs and clever shop accessories to great advice for better finishing, joinery, layout, and sharpening, among other time-saving, skill-building tricks. To read some of our recent “Tricks of the Trade” and to watch our “Tricks-in-Action” videos, scroll down below.

To learn how to submit an idea to Tricks of the Trade, click here.

Tricks of the Trade: Gas-powered Plane-till Lid

I have a meager collection of handplanes made up of mostly dog-meat users. I like using planes that have history because it’s fun to think about what each might have made during the last 100 years. None of my planes are particularly nice, but I do want to keep them from...

Tricks of the Trade: Scraper Holder from Scraps

Instead of storing your freshly sharpened scrapers loose in a drawer (or tight in a wallet), this easy-to-make storage unit, shared with me by my friend Bob Lee, holds them at the ready over the bench. A thin piece of stock front and back captures a C-shaped piece with a wedge...

Designing kitchen cabinets with filler

Using Fillers When Designing Kitchen Cabinets

If you’ve got the right tools, frameless kitchen cabinets are easy to build. They’re just boxes, and if you don’t want to use any fancy joinery, you can glue and screw them together. The tricky thing about cabinets is figuring out how to make them fit into the room and work...

Gas-powered Plane-till Lid

pages 14-15 I have a meager collection of handplanes made up of mostly dog-meat users. I like using planes that have history because it’s fun to think about what each might have made during the last 100 years. None of my planes are particularly nice, but I do want to keep...

An Easy Way to Draw Any Ellipse

On my most recent project I needed an elliptical arc. Although my arc conforms to the Golden Ratio (1:1.62), the method I use works for an ellipse of any proportion. Determine the overall size of the ellipse you need and cut a piece of pattern material large enough to encompass it....

Split Bench Hook

pages 14-15 A bench hook is an indispensable workholding device for crosscutting. The traditional bench hook is made of a base, a stop or rest and a cleat. It is usually used against the apron or front edge of a workbench, or clamped in the vise. To crosscut a long piece,...

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...

No-number Geometric Layouts

Many layout problems that seem to call for math can be quickly solved with a compass and a straightedge. Numbers can confuse and complicate the situation. What you need to know is how to make things fit – not necessarily what numbers describe the lines and angles. Here are a few...