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Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro

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inside the woodshop 2017-04-21T05:02:15Z
Updated: 28 min 15 sec ago

Beyond perfection

Thu, 04/20/2017 - 10:02pm
Perfection. We might think we want it in our woodworking, yet it does not exist. But for the craftsperson, concern with perfection, far from being a benign wish, has a dark side – it can distract you from understanding excellence. Consider the example of a simple straight line, such as the straight edge on a […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Innovative design software for woodworkers

Sat, 04/01/2017 - 7:54am
Innovative design software for woodworkers
I was asked not long ago by a major software development company, whose product line includes architectural and design software, to consult on an exciting project that is now in the latter stages of development. Of course, I cannot name the company, which I will call “G, Inc.” (No, not them). However, I do not […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Maintaining your saws

Fri, 03/31/2017 - 8:58pm
Bad Axe tenon saw
Years ago, Japanese saws were the staples of my armamentarium, along with a Tage Frid-style Danish bow saw and smaller saws such as a coping saw. They offered very good quality and value. However, another big reason for using them was to save myself the trouble of maintenance. The replaceable blades, especially those by Gyokucho […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

How precisely do you have to crosscut to length?

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 7:15pm
crosscut technique
A reader recently emailed me to ask the best kind of question – a simple one with broad implications. Using only a hand tools, he asked, how do you “cut several pieces of wood exactly to length.” He stated further that he wanted to make several pieces “exactly the same length.” There are really two […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Ulmia auxiliary vise

Mon, 03/13/2017 - 8:55pm
Ulmia auxiliary vise #1812
Ulmia used to produce this auxiliary vise, model #1812. I first saw it many years ago on page 145 of my copy of the 1977 hardcover Van Nostrand Reinhold edition of The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking, where the author, James Krenov, commented that it is “well made and very useful.” I wish I bought one […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Who’s learning?

Tue, 02/28/2017 - 3:50pm
Who is learning? Who is a student of woodworking? All of us, I contend, are, or at least should be, and almost always. Now, the healthy innocence of a student, not to be confused with a lack of confidence, is apparent when you start learning a new fundamental skill, such as paring with a long […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

It’s not your fault

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 7:45pm
cheap tool, great tool
The most crucial impediment to learning woodworking skills that I have observed when advising woodworkers is the use of cheap, inappropriate, or poorly prepared tools. It is amazing how often student woodworkers – and this really includes all of us to varying degrees – are baffled by poor results from bad tools. Worse yet, the […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Shoulder plane modification

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 12:29am
Clifton shoulder plane modified
Since I cannot have my dream shoulder plane with all of the nifty features discussed in the previous post, an easy, helpful modification to my shoulder planes was in order: set screws in the style of the Veritas shoulder plane. First, I marked the blade position on the sides of the body, and within that, […] 1
Categories: Hand Tools

Shoulder plane issues

Thu, 01/26/2017 - 9:17pm
Lie-Nielsen shoulder plane modified
In considering features of all-metal shoulder planes, I will say at the outset that I am not entirely happy with any that I have owned or tried out. Later, I will explain a partial remedy. Let’s look at some of the key features of planes from the two major players, Veritas and Lie-Nielsen. Spoiler alert: […] 2
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 5

Fri, 01/06/2017 - 10:34pm
mortise gauge
Unlike the almost all of the cutting and marking gauges discussed in the previous four installments of this series of posts, mortise gauges generally do not have either scribing point at the end of the stem. To gain better visibility of the marking action, I prefer to push a mortise gauge. In use, tilt the […] 6
Categories: Hand Tools