Just in time for a holiday gift (possibly for yourself), we have available all seven issues of Popular Woodworking Magazine from 2014 on one CD. (I’m told a download version of the whole shebang will be added at the same link shortly.)
You can read the back-cover copy on the store site – that text speaks to the wide variety of projects, techniques and instruction presented in 2014.
But no sense in simply reprinting that here (other than that it would save me some time) … so here are my five favorite articles from 2014 (with the perhaps obvious caveat that they represent my specific interests in one way or another).
“Roy Underhill’s Nail Cabinet,” by Christopher Schwarz (February)
I’ve been looking at the inspiration for this piece on television since 1981 or so, when I used to watch “The Woodwright’s Shop” on Saturday mornings sometimes while I was visiting my grandparents (my grandfather trained as a cabinetmaker in high school).
What amazed me when I saw the actual cabinet in Roy’s shop was that it had been made from an old crate. And even though some of the construction methods were curious, it’s held together for a long, long time (Roy didn’t make the cabinet; it’s a yard-sale find). In this article, Chris reproduces the original – right down to the curious construction. (FWIW: What amuses me most about the article is that Chris used a table saw during the build…ah, the irony.)
“Inlaid Jewelry Box,” by Autumn Doucet (April)
I think I liked this one in large part because of the new challenges it presents (to me). I’ve never worked with shell, and most of what I build is quite large. I find small things are far more difficult to make well, so the intricacy of this lovely small piece makes it a particularly impressive thing.
Also, it was fun to trade ideas on proper punctuation and sentence structure with Autumn (the winner of our 2013 PWM Excellence Awards); she also teaches English…and we disagree on some things. (Yes, I find it entertaining to discuss syntax and the like. I’m a hoot at parties, I can tell you.)
“Spoon Carving,” by Peter Follansbee (June)
When I was a teenager, I had this vague notion that it might be fun to follow the Grateful Dead; I went to a few shows and changed my mind. (It seems I like hot showers and hot food a little too much for that life.) But in England’s Peak District, there is a delightful-sounding event called SpoonFest, and it sounds rather like a short GD stint – camping, beer and interesting folks included. For that, I’d skip the hot shower for a few days. Also, Peter wears a lot of tie-dye; maybe that’s why I equate the two.
Anyway, spoon carving is a lot of fun. It uses found wood and few tools – and with a little practice, it’s fairly simple to turn out a respectable spoon with but a small investment in time.
“Bench Plane Restoration,” by Willard (Bill) Anderson (August)
I typically use metal bench planes, but I do have a few old wooden planes that I’d like to get back into working order. So this article on refurbishing is just the ticket.
Also, Bill recommends researching any tool before performing surgery on it, so it’s a good excuse to buy a couple of books I’ve been wanting (W.L. Goodman’s “British Planemakers from 1700” and the Pollacks’ “A Guide to the Makers of American Wooden Planes).
“Federal Bow-front Table,” by Frank Vucolo (December)
As I say admit in an upcoming issue (spoiler alert), I don’t really like the look of Federal furniture. (That said, the veneer and inlay techniques it takes to make this style are skills worth having.) So what makes this article stand out for me is not the subject, but the incredibly good-natured author.
This was Frank’s first time working with us (his November article on bookend inlay was in conjunction with this article), and I gave him a very hard time indeed. Frank was my poster boy at Woodworking in America; I used his manuscript to take attendees through the editing, layout and proofing process, so everyone got to see the “blood” I’d dripped onto his story. As far as a I know, Frank’s genial smiles and hearty laughs were real…but if I ever find myself in his New Jersey hometown, I’d best keep up my guard.
So there you go: my top-five of 2014 (though we had far more than five good articles in 2014, if I do say so myself.)
Order your copy of the 2014 Popular Woodworking Magazine CD today – it’s searchable, printable and takes up almost no room on a shelf.