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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

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Matt's Basement Workshop

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A guy, a woodworking shop and a whole lot to share. Straight grains and sharp blades!
Updated: 2 hours 50 min ago

Spring t-shirt sale at Matt’s Basement Workshop

Sun, 03/29/2015 - 7:56am

The weather is getting warmer and jackets are being shed. That makes it the perfect time to show off your support for Matt’s Basement Workshop by wearing one of our t-shirts!

From now until Midnight Eastern Time March 31, 2015 Matt’s Basement Workshop t-shirts are 10% off the list price!* And there’s free shipping for domestic orders in the USA.

Hurry, some sizes are limited!

MBW Classic Logo Shirt (unisex)sam alone

“MBW Classic Logo”
Medium $15.99 USDLarge $15.99 USDX-Large $15.99 USD2X-Large $17.99 USD3X-Large $18.99 USD

MBW Long-sleeved Classic Logomatt closeupmatt alone

“MBW Classic Logo”
Large $19.99 USDX-Large $19.99 USD2X-Large $21.99 USD

“Your Brain on MBW”Matt in Your Brain on Matt's Basement Workshop t-shirt

“Your Brain on MBW”
Medium $9.00 USDLarge $9.00 USDX-Large $9.00 USD2X-Large $11.00 USD3X-Large $13.00 USD

*discount added at checkout

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Categories: Hand Tools

Plywood versus solid wood for drawer boxes

Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:00am

I’m very near completing Madison’s tall dresser, at this point the only thing complicated I have left to complete is the construction of the eight drawer boxes.

Originally I intended to build them entirely from solid wood (and the plans for the project reflect this choice) but at the last minute I’ve decided instead to use a high quality Baltic Birch plywood.

High quality plywood equal better components

High quality plywood equal better components

Why plywood instead of solid wood? Two reasons:

  • Plywood only requires that I cut the components to their final dimensions versus potentially resawing the thinner thickness from a thicker board, followed by jointing and planning it to size.
  • For the amount of time they’re going to be viewed I’m not worried if anyone notices they’re not solid wood.

I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that while solid wood drawer components give me a sense of continuity, in that all the parts in the construction are solid wood and not “engineered” materials, sometimes the amount of time and effort I have to invest in creating them can be better spent elsewhere in the project.

Of course there are some limitations to what I can do with plywood when it comes to joinery, actually that’s not true, you can do almost exactly the same things it’s just that you may have to approach them differently.

For example, I probably wouldn’t handcut dovetails for a drawer made with plywood sides, but it’s possible to machine cut them if you took steps to minimize any tearout on the face veneer.

But this isn’t a concern for me considering I usually don’t handcut dovetails for drawer boxes. I’m no longer a huge fan of them, which is a whole other post on its own (here’s a hint, I think they’re overrated…beautiful, but overrated.)

I will admit that probably the number one advantage of solid wood over plywood might be the fact I don’t have to worry about crappy/thin veneer faces, or the part becoming delaminated over time due to bad manufacturing but other than that I can’t think of anything more that would convince me it’s overtly superior.

Of course if you’ve had a bad experience with plywood for these reasons then it’s probable you might not have worked with a good quality plywood yet.

I’m the first to admit there’s some sticker shock when you see the price for a full sheet of a high quality plywood. But once you’ve experienced the results you get when you cut it to dimension and install it into place, you’ll immediately realize why it’s well worth paying a lot more for something that works as well as it does!

What’s your worst plywood experience? Was it the face veneers just falling off? Delamination? Large patches or voids? Share them in the comments below.

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Shop Woodworking - Chairmaking Ultimate Collection

Categories: Hand Tools

Beaded shiplapped back coming soon

Tue, 03/24/2015 - 9:13am

If you’ve been following along with the 8 drawer tall dresser build you already know I’ve made a few minor changes to the existing plan (available in our Digital Downloads Store,) nothing major, just a little tweak here and there.

shiplapped back

I decided recently to make one more change by swapping out the plywood panel I originally intended to install for the back for something a little more decorative. It’s not that I thought there was anything wrong with the plywood, instead it’s just an opportunity for me to flex my woodworking muscle and have a little fun in the shop.

Considering the fact that 9 out of 10 times the tall dresser will be pushed against a wall no one will ever see the back, but what about that 10th occurrence? What happens then?

So after thinking about it (and probably overthinking it) I decided instead to install a shiplapped back to give it a more “finished” look.

The process was extremely easy, shiplapped is really nothing more than cutting a rabbet on one edge of a board, followed by cutting another rabbet on the opposite edge AND opposite face of the same board and then installing them in a sequence that allows the adjoining board’s rabbet to overlap the previous (essentially creating a series of half-laps.) In the end, the result is to give an appearance of a wide panel made up of several narrow boards.

Small plane and bead

Once I completed cutting the initial joinery for the shiplap and did a dry run to insure they’ll fit in place, I decided to take it one step further and add another detail to the boards by breaking out an old beading plane to add some beautiful shadow lines to the plain and ordinary looking boards.

Now if you were a Woobie-level Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop at Patreon.com you’ll be seeing this process as your upcoming March Bonus Episode video to be released later this week. If you’re not already familiar with shiplapping, this video should help to get you started on using it in your own projects once you see how easy it can be.

Signing up to become a Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop is easy and gives you an opportunity to see full-length sneak previews of every episode days before everyone else, bonus footage from each episode and exclusive content made just for Patrons at this level. Just visit patreon.com/mattsbasementworkshop to get signed up for one of our four levels of Patronage today.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here. And if you were a Woobie-level Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop you could get a free copy of the original plan as part of your Patronage.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworking Madness Sale at Shop Woodworking

Sun, 03/22/2015 - 9:12am

I don’t know what you’re brackets look like, but mine are empty, probably because I don’t follow College Basketball!

If you’re like me, you’d rather spend your time in the workshop building versus watching sports.


The folks at Shop Woodworking know how we feel, and they have a great offer to make it even easier for us to get in the shop and enjoy it even more.

Save an Additional 32% on Top Products at Shop Woodworking with Offer Code WWMADNESS

Save on books, DVDs, digital downloads and plans. Hurry, the offer ends on Monday March 23!

Categories: Hand Tools

543 Madison’s Dresser Pt 7 “Standing on her own”

Fri, 03/20/2015 - 3:30am
dresser on tapered feet

She’s light on her feet

When I first came up with the basic design for Madison’s dresser I knew I wanted to incorporate turned feet into it. I’m still as novice a woodturner as anyone can be, but as I’ve learned over the years the quickest way to becoming better is to be at the tool rest as frequent as possible. So for today’s episode it’s all about my time in front of the lathe turning and shaping the four tapered feet that support the entirety of the dresser.

Originally I tried to convince myself that a much simpler form would suffice, but once we had the plans together there was no doubt in my mind a tapered turned foot was a must. I’m sure this style of design has a given name (they all do,) but whatever it is, it just appealed to me as I thought about what my daughter would like for her own piece of furniture.

The turning and tapering process is really simple, as you’ll see when you watch, but it wasn’t until I started the fourth foot that I finally found I had been way overcomplicating the process. I obviously spent way to much time overthinking, and being overcautious (don’t confuse this with being flippant and cavalier about my safety, because I always try to stay vigilant) in how I was approaching it.

The difference in time to accomplish the same task from the very first foot to that last one dropped dramatically. Too bad I didn’t film that last one though. Still, the technique I demonstrate achieved the same result and was only about 1-2 minutes longer in overall time.

My take away lesson in all of this? “Don’t be shy with hogging away the material.” Get right in there and get to work removing the waste quickly (and safely) so you can start finessing the final shape quicker.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Shop Woodworking - 20,000 Pages of Woodworking Ultimate Collection

Categories: Hand Tools

Two day “Lucky 7″ sale at Shop Woodworking

Mon, 03/16/2015 - 7:09am

Are you feeling lucky? Well you should, especially if you’re looking for an opportunity to save some money on some great woodworking resources like those over at Shop Woodworking.

For two days, March 16 & 17 woodworkers can save their hard-earned money and shop for the 7 Best sellers for just $7 at Shop Woodworking

Titles on sale include:
Classic American Furniture 20 Elegant Shaker and Arts & Crafts Projects By Christopher Schwarz

Paperback or eBook

Traditional Country Furniture 21 Projects in the Shaker, Appalachian and Farmhouse Styles By Editors of Popular Woodworking

Paperback or eBook

Popular Woodworking Magazine 1995-1999


Wood Finishing 101, by Bob Flexner – eBook


Build an English Joint Stool By Chuck Bender – DVD or digital download

Build a Sturdy Workbench in Two Days with Christopher Schwarz By Christopher Schwarz – DVD or digital download

Blacksmithing for Woodworkers: Forging a Custom Hinge By Peter Ross – DVD or digital download

Remember, your purchases help to support the show, while getting you something you can actually use in the shop.
Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

542 Madison’s Dresser Pt 6 “The Glue Up”

Fri, 03/13/2015 - 3:30am

With all the drawer frames built, and assembled it’s time to glue them into position in their corresponding dados between the two sides.


Glue ups aren’t all that bad on a small scale, but when you have this many pieces to put together in a short amount of time it can be downright scary if you let it.

But if you take the time to do a few practice runs to anticipate where things might get sticky (pardon the pun) it’s not that difficult to formulate a plan for when you finally breakout the glue bottle and actually get started.

In today’s episode we only have three things to discuss. First is a slight alteration to the existing plan, second is cutting and installing the drawer guides and third is the massive glue up itself.

The first two are only a small portion of the episode, but the third is almost all the footage I shot to give you an idea of just how long it took me and all the little steps that went into it.

On the bright-side, it came together better than I anticipated, but next time, I think I might ask for some help from the family to speed it up.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

SawStop Brake Cartridge Swap

Wed, 03/11/2015 - 8:00am

When it comes to the topic of my SawStop there are three very frequent questions I get. One is regarding whether I still like it. My answer is a resounding “YES, I absolutely love it!”

Dado brake cartridge waiting to be removed

Dado brake cartridge waiting to be removed

The next one is “can you use the same brake cartridge for both standard blades and dado blades?” This answer is also easy, but probably not what the writer was hoping to hear, “no, you need both a standard blade brake cartridge and a dado brake cartridge which is sold separately.”

The third most frequent question I get asked about my SawStop is “so just how long does it take to swap out a brake cartridge?”

This question isn’t all that hard to answer. Assuming you’re just switching from a standard blade to a dado blade or vice versa, the process is quick and easy. So easy and so quick, I decided to make a video demonstrating it.

Do you have more questions about a SawStop? Don’t hesitate to drop me a line and ask. I’m happy to share my thoughts and experiences.

Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Woodworking’s “Chairmaking Ultimate Collection”

Mon, 03/09/2015 - 8:00am

I’m deathly afraid of making chairs! It’s a completely irrational fear, but it’s one of the few I’m holding onto for a little bit longer before attempting to tackle it.


But if completing a chair project is something that’s on your to do list then this month’s Value Pack at Shop Woodworking is probably right up your alley. I imagine this pack of dvds, books, and digital downloads will sellout fast, so don’t wait too long to pick one up.

“Chairs can be one of the most difficult woodworking projects – but not anymore! With this incredible collection- you will learn the step-by-step process to making chairs of all types, from some of the best woodworkers around. You’ll add four books, two DVDs, and eight digital videos to your collection – all while saving 65%! You’ll love making chairs of any kind, with this exclusive collection! Order yours now – quantity is limited!”

The pack includes the following titles:

DVD – “Stuffover Upholstery”“In a superbly detailed step-by-step demonstration, upholstery expert David James restores a Victorian nursing chair to its former glory and presents traditional restoration methods.”

Paperback – “Make a Windsor Chair with Mike Dunbar”“In this woodworking book, chairmaking expert Mike Dunbar will show you exactly how to make a Windsor chair. Dunbar, who has personally taught more than 3,000 students over the last 30 years, details every step in building sackback and continuous-arm Windsor chair designs.”

Paperback – “Chairmaking & Design”“Miller, a professional furniture maker, includes instructions and plans for seven chairs. The straightforward plans and instructions make it possible for any woodworker to complete these projects. The 2nd edition has been revised to correct a number of omissions and errors found in the first edition. There are also new chairs included in the color gallery.”

Paperback – “Furniture Fundamentals, Chairs and Benches”“Inside, you’ll find step-by-step photos and instruction, plus measured drawings, for 17 seating projects in a wide range of styles and skill levels. Projects range from simple, square stools to more challenging chairs and benches with compound joints. You’ll learn how to use the best tools for the job to cut all types of must-know chair joinery, simple turning techniques, upholstery and more.”

Digital Download – “Chairmaking Simplified”“Chairs are one of the most difficult woodworking projects to create. But it doesn’t have to be if you’ve got this easy-to-understand, how-to book in your shop. Kerry Pierce has been building chairs professionally for many years and has developed specialized jigs and fixtures to help. Beyond the wood parts of the chairs, you’ll learn how to weave Shaker-tape and splint & rush seats. Also shown are ways to bend and shape wooden seats, and much more.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 1, Episode 6, Rocking Chair”“Roy Underhill builds a classic armless rocking chair using traditional tools.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 9, Episode 5 – Make Gypsy Willow Chairs”“This classic rustic chair is easily made by bending green twigs. Roy shows the steps to make your own.

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 12, Episode 13 – Moravian Chair”“Roy makes a Moravian chair that’s reinforced with dovetailed battens, which make this small piece extraordinarily strong.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 4, Episode 4 – The Wainscoat Chair”Roy works with his daughter, Rachel, to create a child-size, 17th-century chair found in a book by Wallace Nutting.

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 4, Episode 13 – High Chair”“To celebrate his new nephew, Roy builds an 18th century baby’s high chair with rush seating.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 7, Episode 3 – Country Comfort”“Roy shows us the steps to create the perfect outdoor chair — the Adirondack.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 6, Episode 9 – The Botetourt Chair”“Roy takes a look at 18th Century woodworking details found in furniture from the Colonial Williamsburg cabinet shop.”

Digital Download – “The Woodwright’s Shop, Season 12, Episode 3 – An African Chair from the Ivory Coast”“Roy and his friend Robert Watson make a “man’s chair” using tools from the Ivory Coast of Africa.”

DVD – “Build a Campaign Chair with Christopher Schwarz”“Build a portable chair that will be passed down as a family heirloom! Designed in the 19th century, this chair collapses to a small bundle (like the inexpensive soccer chair in your trunk), but is both durable and beautiful enough to fit in with your living room furniture.”

So much great content for the aspiring chair builder!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

541 Madison’s dresser pt 5 “More drawer frame stuffs”

Fri, 03/06/2015 - 3:30am

Just when you thought you were finished, they pull you right back in again!

Actually I was never really finished, once I had the drawer frames glued up I still had a little more work to do on them before we’re ready to assemble the entire body of the dresser.

So in today’s episode we’re going to finish the construction of the drawer frames.

Chopping stopped dados

Chopping stopped dados

This involves cleaning up the dried glue and tweaking the joinery to insure the drawers will slide in and out smoothly every time. And it also involves cutting a dado down the center rails to accept a drawer guide we’ll install later to help keep the drawers perfectly centered.

Unlike the dados we cut for the sides of the dresser body, these dados are a stopped version. So this requires a little more planning to make sure they don’t show on the front face and a little chopping with chisels, followed by some tweaking with a router plane.

All of it can sound a little complicated, but it’s not as bad as you think it will be.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

The Highland Woodworker Episode 17

Wed, 03/04/2015 - 9:00am

If you haven’t seen it yet the latest episode of The Highland Woodworker is ready and waiting for you. As always, Charles Brock and the crew bring us some great woodworking related content that’s worth taking the time to sit down, learn and enjoy.

In episode 17 we’re treated to the following:

Moment with a Master: Furniture maker, Michael Gilmartin, invites us inside his Atlanta workshop and spills a few secrets on his masterful design techniques.

Feature: We take a step back in time to learn how folks on the frontier did their woodworking without modern machinery. If you like 18th century tools — you will really want to see this!

Popular Woodworking Tips, Tricks & Techniques: Period furniture maker, Alf Sharp, has an old take on making a rabbet appear. This tip should have you hopping to your workshop to give it a try!

Tool Box: We’ll show you how Bowclamp Clamping Cauls might be the right call for your next project.

To checkout previous episodes, including The Highland Woodworker’s entire back catalog of full-episodes and video snippets visit their website at www.thehighlandwoodworker.com.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Wood Talk Giveaways

Tue, 03/03/2015 - 9:00am

You know you love winning stuff, especially things related to woodworking. What you might not know is that we love giving away stuff…simply because we know you love it!

 Modern Chest of Drawers & Nightstand

1 lucky winner will receive a Wood Talk T-shirt and 1 winner will receive the Wood Whisperer Guild project: Modern Chest of Drawers & Nightstand

To get things kicked off for our very first Wood Talk Giveaway we have a big one.

1 lucky winner will receive a Wood Talk T-shirt and another winner will receive the Wood Whisperer Guild project: Modern Chest of Drawers & Nightstand.

Entering the contest is easy, in fact there’s 7 easy ways to enter. You can find all the the details about those 7 easy ways by visiting the Wood Talk Giveaway page at woodtalkshow.com/giveaway.

Every month we’ll have prizes and giveaways that will make all of your woodworking buddies jealousy and envious of your good fortune (if they’re easily made jealous and envious of such things…otherwise they’ll probably just think it’s neat that you won.)

Don’t miss out, enter today!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Simultaneous glue-up concerns

Mon, 03/02/2015 - 6:00am

gang glueup

It’s not unusual in the basement workshop to find myself doing simultaneous glue-ups on identical components, in fact I do it quite frequently. Typically the reason is because of a lack of clamps, and a strong desire to make progress on the project as quickly as possible.

If I stepped back and paid close attention to the amount of time I spend creating a strategy for just how it is I’ll accomplish the task I’d probably discover I spend way too much time overthinking it.

The reason I’m writing about this topic is because a viewer on my YouTube Channel had a question about it, and a couple of others regarding the glue-up process and results.

I thought they were important questions to ask and answer, so rather than just replying in the comments over there, I decided to share them here.

“When you gang the interior frames for the glue up aren’t you worried about glue setup, squaring and even clamping pressure?”

Yes, I am worried about the possibility of the glue-up and clamping process causing the components to become unsquare.

To help minimize this as much as possible I spent a fair amount of time doing test fits and dry-runs prior to the actual glue-up. Inevitably it won’t guarantee there won’t be issues once the glue is applied, but it’s a great way to get a feel for what you’ll have to do to get a successful glue-up.

Not to mention, it’s also an opportunity to discover if any joinery needs to be tweaked.

Did I discover any issues? Yes I did actually, they weren’t severe enough to warrant filming and discussing (at least in my opinion they weren’t) but all it took to resolve them was to breakout my shoulder plane and adjust the shoulders on a short rail or two.

It turned out while I was routing the tongue on each end, one or two weren’t as square as I had thought they were originally. To fix it was a matter of using my square to identify the high side and then removing a little bit of material from that end and repeating the test fit until it all lined up square.

applying web clamp

My choice to use the web clamps made the glue-up even easier as once I had the joinery squared I was able to put everything into place, then wrap the clamps in position. And really they did all the work of aligning the parts together for me. On top of it, the web clamp’s corners were wide enough to support the entire thickness of the two frames completely.

“Invariably, there will be slight dimensional differences between the frames that may make the clamping pressure uneven between them. Also, since the bottom piece is obstructed by the wax paper, isn’t it difficult to ensure the bottom piece is square as well as the top piece?”

Since the clamp corners were only on the ends, I was slightly concerned about the middle rail. I had a straight clamp ready to be added in case it was necessary, but in this case it wasn’t.

If in the end I had discovered there were issues with square I would have grabbed a long pipe clamp or two and applied them diagonally from corner to corner to pull it square, but as we all saw, the web clamps did their job (thanks to the square joinery.)

square frame

In the video, when I checked for square I had actually pushed one frame proud of the clamp’s face, afterwards I carefully pushed it back down into position.

Because they both lined up so evenly with each other, I took a gamble that they would both be square as a result. Turns out it was a gamble that paid off in the end.

“Finally, by the time you’ve assembled the second piece hasn’t the glue started to set on the first?”

I can’t tell you how much I’ve worried about this scenario over the years. I’m simply going to assume it’s due to my woodshop’s environment, but I typically have a good 10-15 minutes of open time with most PVA glues I’ve used (I used Gorilla Glue’s white PVA glue in this build.) Even though it’s super dry this time of year in my shop, there was still plenty of open time that allowed me to apply the glue, assemble and then adjust components into position.

This is also where previously doing a dry run and test fitting the components ahead of time helps too. It’s not only about double checking the fit and joinery, it’s also about creating a strategy for how it should come together and discovering where you might trip up and how to get around it.

Does it guarantee a flawless glue-up everytime? No, but it sure helps to minimize the amount of anxiety and the unknowns in your glue-up process for complex pieces.

Do you have other questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask by leaving them in the shownotes or using the form on my contact page here at the website.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Spring Fever Sale at Shop Woodworking

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 7:35am
Two days of savings Feb. 27 & 28

Two days of savings Feb. 27 & 28

As I’m sitting here staring out the window in my office all I can think about is “how soon will Spring get here?” Don’t get me wrong, I’m one of those weirdos that loves Winter, but Spring is nice too!

The folks over at Shop Woodworking must be thinking the same thing. For two days, starting today February 27 and running through Saturday February 28 you can save 40% on videos, eBooks and digital downloads in their massive collection.

What this really means is that rather than trudging through the snow to go to your local bookstore, or woodworking retailer, you can instead purchase the downloadable item of your choice and get right into the shop (or warm comfy chair) and start learning something new for your next project.

I just picked up an eBook copy of “Simply Built Cabinets” by Danny Proulx.

This is a small hint for an upcoming project in the spring, but given the drop in temperature forcasted for my neck of the woods, I’ll be comfy and warm while I learn a thing or two AND have saved a dollar or two at the same time.

Hurry, this sale ends February 28, 2015!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

540 Madison’s Dresser Pt 4 “Drawer Frames”

Fri, 02/27/2015 - 3:30am

We’re making progress with the 8 drawer tall dresser I’m building for my daughter Madison. In today’s episode we’re moving on to building the drawer frames for the dresser.

drawer frames

Drawer frames are a crucial component in the overall body of the dresser, and while most probably won’t notice them in their entirety (other than the edge of the front facing rail) it’s still important to make sure they’re well constructed.

There are a number of joinery options to choose from, including non-traditional joinery such as pocket-holes (which is actually what I was originally planning to use.) But the joinery I decided to use in this build was a traditional tongue and groove joint.

To insure the mating pieces match up as perfect as possible, I opted to use a tongue and groove router bit set I featured several years ago in an episode of “Router Bit of the Month.”

Also featured in this episode is the glue-up process for assembling the drawer frames and a quick discussion of cleaning up the dados from the last episode (something I didn’t plan to do, but it turns out they needed a little assistance.)

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Woodworking’s “Arts & Crafts Ultimate Collection”

Sun, 02/22/2015 - 5:59pm

It’s nearly the end of the month and I just realized I forgot to mention that this month’s Shop Woodworking Value Pack is the “Arts & Crafts Ultimate Collection”

Arts and crafts value pack

According to the description on Shop Woodworking’s website:

“Get 110+ Arts & Crafts furniture projects in this ultimate collection!

Start off with basic, easy-to-build pieces in Arts & Crafts Furniture Anyone Can Make, then move up with tons of projects in Arts & Crafts Inspirations and the brand-new book Popular Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture 2nd Edition. Then, you can learn from one of the leading Arts & Crafts designers, Charles Limbert in the first book to detail 33 of his designs. And last (but not least) watch-and-learn with a fun mantel clock project with Robert Lang!

Discover this must-have bundle including 800 pages and 130+ minutes of instruction, tips, techniques and PROJECTS! If you have a liking for Arts & Crafts furniture, you will love this bundle of unique, inspiring projects.”

The collection consists of the following titles:

  • Popular Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture 2nd Edition “42 outstanding designs for every room in your home! This expertly selected collection represents some of the most visually appealing pieces of furniture ever created. The 2nd edition of Arts & Crafts Furniture contains 304 pages of woodworking advice, how-tos and design inspiration….”
  • Building Classic Arts & Crafts Furniture “Charles Limbert was one of the leading figures in the Arts & Crafts furniture movement, and also one of the most unique. His beautiful pieces combined curves, splayed sides and negative space with the more common straight lines of Arts & Crafts furniture, producing designs that were highly prized. Both the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park and the Mission Inn in Riverside, California, feature his work…”
  • Arts & Crafts Furniture Anyone Can Make “Furniture doesn’t have to be complicated to be good looking. By reducing classic Arts & Crafts furniture designs to their basics, then adding simple, screw-together joinery, anyone can build great-looking furniture. Using basic tools (jigsaw, miter saw or circular saw and a cordless drill) even as a first-time woodworker you can successfully create a piece of furniture in a weekend that you’ll proudly display for years.
  • Arts & Crafts Inspirations “You don’t need to be a purist or an expert woodworker to build the projects in Arts & Crafts Inspirations. Each project is adapted from an original furniture design to blend more with a contemporary household. In addition, much of the construction details have been simplified where appropriate to make the projects more approachable and successful. The projects range from a simple desktop book shelf to a glass-door bookcase and a traditional rocker.”
  • Build an Arts & Crafts Mantel Clock with Robert W. Lang “Expand your skills while making a clock you’ll be proud to display. Though it was designed in 1895 by British architect and designer C. F. A. Voysey, this attractive mantel clock will look at home in just about any setting…”

Hurry, the last time I checked the inventory for this collection was getting low and the month of February is almost over! Don’t miss out on this collection. Click on the image above or on this link to visit and purchase your value pack before they’re gone.

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Categories: Hand Tools

539 Madison’s Dresser Pt 3 “Sides, sides, everywhere are sides”

Thu, 02/19/2015 - 1:45am

It’s time to get started with the actual building of Madison’s tall dresser, and the first steps in the process is making the sides for the body.

sides with dados

Parallel dados for the win

These consist of two wide, solid-wood panels just over 49 inches in length and 19 inches in width.

In order for us to attach the drawer frames (which not only support the drawers but are an important part of the overall structural framework of the dresser,) we need to plow out a few dados across the width of the sides and cut rabbets at the top/bottom and also on the back edge to eventually receive the back panel.

For the side panels I got really lucky and chose two extra-wide boards (approximately 12+ inches in width each) to make up the majority of the width, and then eventually glued them together with some not so extra-wide 8 inch boards to give me a rough dimension I could start working with.

To mill the extra-wide boards I decided against ripping them to widths that would fit on my 8 inch jointer, and instead built a very simple thickness planer sled that would allow me to flatten one face as if I had ran it over the cutter head of a monster-sized jointer.

Then after the glue-up was completed it was over to the table saw to crosscut and rip the panels to size, followed by installing my dado blade and getting to work on those dados and rabbets.

I’d love to tell you there weren’t any complications along the way…but that would be a lie! So we’ll discuss what happened and how I fixed those mistakes in today’s episode.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here.

Episode available for download in the following formats:
|SD Video||720HD Video||Audio only|

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Categories: Hand Tools

Get Woodworking Week 2015

Wed, 02/18/2015 - 9:03am


We’re now right in the middle of “Get Woodworking Week” 2015 and it’s off to a great start! A huge thanks to Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench for taking the time every year to plan it and put it together.

If you’re not familiar with Get Woodworking Week head over to Tom’s website at www.tomsworkbench.com to see all the great posts and links him and other woodworkers from around the internet are putting together to help inspire and educate non-woodworkers (or brand new woodworkers) in to taking the plunge and discovering the hobby of woodworking.

Checkout Tom’s website everyday this week to see what’s new (or old) and invite a non-woodworker to check it out too. You might just be surprised at what you’ll discover, or be inspired by yourself!

Don't let him fool you...he's actually knows how to use the tools! image courtesy Tom's Workbench

Don’t let him fool you…he’s actually knows how to use the tools! image courtesy Tom’s Workbench

Thanks again Tom and everyone who’s participating this year!

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Categories: Hand Tools

Christophe Pourny’s “The Furniture Bible”

Tue, 02/17/2015 - 9:00am

I’m so far behind on getting something posted about Christophe Pourny’s new reference book “The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture” that I’m surprised the publisher hasn’t shown up in my shop to beat me with it!

And with good reason too, because after finally sitting down and doing a little more than looking at the beautiful pictures and skimming the pages I actually learned a thing or two about both finishing techniques and identifying what’s unique about each period of furniture design(more about these two topics in a second.)

Then again, the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced my delay in cracking open “The Furniture Bible” is a good thing, especially given the recent emergence of two new furniture design shows on television.

Given the potential for people to be scurrying to the internet and bookstores for titles on the topic of furniture design and construction I think my timing is due to kismet, pure and simple (if you believe in that kind of thing.)

Author Christophe Pourny image courtesy artisanbooks.com

Author Christophe Pourny image courtesy artisanbooks.com

I’ll tell you right from the beginning, just like with the new television shows, Christophe’s book is not a “how-to” book in furniture construction. In the beginning there is some great general information about how furniture is constructed, but it’s my impression that the author’s intention isn’t to teach the reader how to make pieces, but instead to give them a cursory understanding of the topic.

As to the end result of that goal, I found myself learning a few things about the evolution of furniture from “roughly the 5th century” all the way to the “20th century” as Christophe uses chairs as the center of his examples in how design changes and adapts to the tools of the time, the style and fashion of those periods, and to the needs of the people who lived in those eras.

And along the way he also injects some interesting historical snippets to help make his point.

As for the rest of this first part of the book, Christophe discusses topics such as “common wood species” used in furniture construction, in which he charts them to show the reader what their typical color is, characteristics, what period they were most commonly seen in, and then what kind of projects they were used for and even which finishes work best with them.

The author then moves on to topics covering the cuts of wood, and even types of traditional joinery used.

Perhaps the one part of the book I enjoyed reading the most (because I struggle with it all the time) was the portion titled “Finishing School.” Here Christophe covered topics in finishing ranging from an overview of Wax finishes, Hand Lacquer, Shellac, oils to gilding and paint.

While it’s not a finishing book like others already on the market I found “The Furniture Bible” to also have some great information about this topic. Especially in the form of helpful identification tips, the history of the technique and especially the pros and cons of using it.

I know I mentioned this title wasn’t a “how-to” book when it comes to furniture construction, but in the third part of the book titled “Prep School” Christophe gets right into the mix of things and breaks out all the information one would need for re-finishing an old family heirloom or an amazing antique store find (and it’s not to much of a stretch of the imagination to translate it into techniques for finishing a new piece from your own shop.)

At this point in the book topics such as dismantling an existing piece, stripping it to bare wood, dewaxing, filling holes and cracks, sanding, staining, sealing, and more is covered in great detail.

And then to help the reader take it the next step, the author included another section discussing and demonstrating twelve different finishing techniques along with a discussion on wood & veneer repairs.

What I found extremely useful about this part of the book was that each of these twelve finishing techniques weren’t just discussed, they were presented with easy to follow instructions and details (including troubleshooting tips) to help the reader to have a successful result when they try it themselves.

And what would a book with a title such as “The Furniture Bible” be without a discussion of the tools to complete the tips and techniques discussed within it, and also a section on the care of furniture pieces to maintain them for the longterm?

Overall, if anyone was looking for a good book on furniture identification, restoration or a “how-to” on getting great results and improvements on a wide variety of finishing techniques, Christophe Pourny’s new reference book “The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture” is one that should be on their list of suggested reference guides.

To purchase your own copy of Christophe Pourny’s “The Furniture Bible: Everything You Need to Know to Identify, Restore & Care for Furniture” from Amazon.com click here.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Cutting dados and rabbets in the basement workshop

Mon, 02/16/2015 - 9:00am

Later this week I’m releasing the first of the construction videos for our current project build “The 8 drawer tall dresser.” Among the topics you’ll see in the video I’m sharing my current technique for plowing out dados and rabbets in my projects.

plenty of dados

As you’ll see, the technique is pretty simple. Whenever possible I like to do them on my tablesaw with a stacked dado cutter. Why?

Because without a doubt I feel like I have a lot more control over the process, and as we all should know by now, when you feel more confident about something you’re more apt to get better results (or at the least feel safer, which should never be discounted as a reason to not choose one technique over another.)

cutting dados

I will admit there could be some potential drawbacks to using a stacked dado head cutter to do all my cutting, but with a little planning ahead of time you should be able to limit them.

Specifically the number one drawback I can think of is trying to cut dados on a large panel. Whenever possible I like to bring my tools over to large components, such as the sides of this dresser, to get a task completed. But because I can’t do that with a stacked dado cutter, I’ll just have to take a few minutes to strategize my cuts.

Another rather obvious issue with using a dado cutterhead on my tablesaw is that stopped dados and grooves can add another layer of complexity to the process, but it’s easy enough to either stop just shy of the end of the cut or to carefully setup for a different approach (one I’m not going to describe here, because that could take a while.)

It might be me being overcautious (because I know my tablesaw could easily handle it) but something else I do when using my stacked dado cutterhead is to not add all the cutters needed to cut the full width of the dimension I’m trying to cut.

This seems counter-productive, but as I explain in the upcoming video my reasoning is pretty simple, I like being able to sneak up on the final fit. If anything were even slightly off in my milling of the mating pieces I could be looking at some extra time spent milling new stock to fit, or seriously considering shimming them in some way.

sides with dados

Parallel dados for the win

Of course this all begs to ask the question “why not use a tool like a router?” or maybe you see it as the basis for an argument for why hand tools are more superior for these kind of tasks.

And my response is that you’re probably right…for YOU to do YOUR preferred method. But each of these have their own drawbacks that need to be dealt with and I’m already familiar with my own technique’s issues.

So rather than saying one way is superior over the other, I prefer to say each has their merits, and whatever works best for the woodworker employing them is probably the best one for the job at hand.

And while I prefer this method for the vast majority of my dado and rabbeting tasks, I will every so often turn to my router or a hand tool to tackle the job when necessary

Which is your preferred method? Do you use just one or do you use a wide variety of methods?

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Categories: Hand Tools


by Dr. Radut