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Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro

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inside the woodshop 2017-03-15T02:15:55Z
Updated: 39 min 20 sec ago

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

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 4

Mon, 01/02/2017 - 3:39pm
2mm leads in marking gauge
Sometimes, directly gauging a pencil line gives all the accuracy you need. Here are some options of various degrees of ease and precision. Plain old #2 In the wooden stem of most gauges, you can drill a hole, saw a kerf, and locate a tightening screw to bind the walls of the hole around an […] 3
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 3

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:43pm
panel gauge
These conical and half-conical markers are strictly for use along the grain. There they make a wider groove than a knife point that is easier to see on its own, and easier to fill with a pencil to improve its visibility. I keep the half-conical marker installed in my panel gauge because it is a […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 2

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 5:51pm
Titemark gauge
Is there a gauge that works well both across and along the grain? Yes, but there are compromises and it depends on the wood. What we are looking for here is an all-around gauge. For this, I suggest the Titemark gauge or one of the gauges made by Jeff Hamilton of Hamilton Woodworks. The Titemark […] 2
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 1

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 11:51pm
marking and cutting gauges
In this series, we will take a close look at gauges, sorting out their useful features and subtle refinements. Though basically simple tools, they deserve our attention because it is awfully difficult to do fine work without clean and accurate marking out. Notice the common feature among these gauges: the point or cutter is at […] 10
Categories: Hand Tools

Great inlay banding

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 4:57pm
inlay banding
Here is another product that I think you will appreciate knowing about, which I alluded to in the previous post. It is inlay banding made in North Carolina by Matt Furjanic, sold on his website Inlay Banding. This is beautiful material made with precision from highly select, solid hardwoods. Only some of the narrow outer […] 1
Categories: Hand Tools

Christmas presents from a woodworker

Sun, 12/18/2016 - 9:55am
business card holders
You’re a woodworker. Alas, you have less money than you would if you were not a woodworker and thus expended your effort on more remunerative activity. And Christmas is around the corner. The dilemma is apparent. The solution, of course, is the woodworker’s solution to everything: you can make things, so make something. To happily […] 4
Categories: Hand Tools