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Updated: 2 hours 42 min ago

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 8

Sat, 12/13/2014 - 1:42pm

Like last year, I am ending this gift guide with a tool that is a little expensive but will change your work to the core. (Last year is was an EasyWood Full-Size Rougher turning tool.) This year it is the best mortising gauge ever made: the Veritas Dual Marking Gauge. Anyone who has worked with me knows that I am crazy in love with the Tite-Mark marking gauge, which is […]

The post The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 8 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 7

Fri, 12/12/2014 - 5:02pm

You do not need a complete set of 11 chisels from the 1/8” up to the monster 2”-wide chisel. Sure, the part of you that also collects Hummel figurines really wants a complete set, but most of the chisel sizes will go unused – even if you are an active woodworker. Your work and your hands will eventually tell you which chisel sizes you really need at hand. That’s the […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 6

Wed, 12/10/2014 - 7:54am

I have owned several plant sprayers since Harrelson Stanley of Shapton USA introduced them to me in 2003 as a great way to keep your waterstones wet. Of all the sprayers I’ve used, this sub-$10 one from Home Depot or Lowe’s is by far the best. It’s sold under the “Project Source” label and is found in the gardening section. (Definitely skip the nicer-looking Flo-Master – that thing leaks like […]

The post The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 6 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

When Your Tool Chest Needs to Be a Tank (or a Boat)

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 12:05pm

When tool chests suffer damage, it’s usually in three places: the top rim of the lid, the lower skirt around the carcase and the bottom boards, which are rotted. The rim of the lid gets dented by falling objects, such as clamps, heavy boards and other things in the truck when you move the chest. The lower skirt gets rammed by other shop stuff, including rolling machinery, work boots, rough […]

The post When Your Tool Chest Needs to Be a Tank (or a Boat) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 5

Tue, 12/09/2014 - 4:38am

It is not always the screw’s fault. Yes, home-center wood screws are too soft. Some off-shore screw manufacturers use substandard materials and manufacturing processes. But sometimes it’s your screwdriver that’s at fault (or the, cough, screwer). Many modern screwdrivers are too soft or poorly ground. It’s enough to make you reach for a nail gun or hammer. Here is the solution to both problems: Gunsmith screwdrivers. Grace USA makes excellent, […]

The post The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 5 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

How Low Can You Go?

Mon, 12/08/2014 - 6:42am

  With the Christmas season soon upon us there are currently two lists running on the Popular Woodworking web site to tantalize your woodworking taste buds. The “sensible” Schwarz list and the “I can dream” Fitzpatrick list. My one and only contribution to the festivities will be this £8 ($12.50) set of four chisels currently available from the European supermarket chain Lidl. I became aware of this set via UK […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 4

Fri, 12/05/2014 - 4:10am

Woe is the poor glue scraper. There are no toolmakers crafting these tools with rosewood handles and German silver accents. No annoying forum threads that debate the merits of the different handle angles and blade widths. The glue scraper is the squirrel exhibit at the zoo. Once you get a Benchcrafted Skraper, however, the heavens will open up, you will hear birds singing and true craftsmanship will be revealed through […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 3

Wed, 12/03/2014 - 9:05am

If you read this blog regularly, you should be sick of this suggestion: Buy Pégas coping saw blades. Hoard them. I do – and I’m not generally a hoarder. I have about 150 stashed away in case Pegas doubles the price or stops making them this well. I don’t have evidence that either event will happen, but I use a coping saw every day that I’m in the shop. So […]

The post The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 3 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 2

Tue, 12/02/2014 - 12:11pm

It’s easy to be skeptical about the polissoir. Could a bundle of broom corn radically change the way you finish some pieces of work? All of us who worked on the translation of A.-J. Roubo’s “l’Art du Menuisier” were wary when we translated the section on the polissoir – literally “polisher.” So we were shocked to see how well it worked and now I have a beat-up one in my […]

The post The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 2 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Anarchist’s Gift Guide: Day 1

Mon, 12/01/2014 - 7:18pm

Full disclosure: The following gift ideas are 100-percent unsponsored. I bought all these tools myself and would buy them all again – that’s why they are on this list. First on my list for 2014 is a tool you don’t see much in woodshops, but you should. It’s called a “lead holder” by artists and architects and it basically what a normal mechanical pencil would look like if you were […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

A Faster Way to Assemble a Roorkee

Wed, 11/26/2014 - 9:51am

Roorkee chairs are great fun to show customers – until they ask me to take it apart and put it back together for them. For the first year or so, I was pretty slow at putting them together because there are eight buckles to tighten up all while keeping the loose parts from falling down like a Jenga game. After thinking about it and working with the chairs for three […]

The post A Faster Way to Assemble a Roorkee appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

2 Ways to Warm up For Dovetails (Without Cutting One)

Thu, 11/20/2014 - 12:26pm

My dovetails are always at their best if I warm up before sawing. But I’ll be honest – when I am pressed for time I have no patience to cut an entire joint, much less prep the wood for a practice set. So here are two things I do to get my sawing on track that don’t require extra material or significant time. Crosscut Your Rough Stock by Hand Even […]

The post 2 Ways to Warm up For Dovetails (Without Cutting One) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

How to Impress the General Public with Your Woodworking

Tue, 11/18/2014 - 4:58am

The following blog entry might seem snarky. I assure you it is not. I’m interested in what impresses people when they view a piece of furniture. In fact, when a fellow woodworker shows off a piece of furniture, I observe the other people in the room as much as I observe the piece itself. So here is a short list of things that seem to really impress. Big Furniture To […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

How I Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 4

Fri, 11/14/2014 - 1:01pm

If you haven’t figured it out, I’m wary of tool reviews in magazines or online. With rare exception they are uninformed or (worse) misguided. And believe me: I am the first to admit that I was uninformed and misguided when I started writing and editing these reviews in the 1990s. In my experience, Milquetoast reviews are not the result of malice. They are the result of several things. Readers want […]

The post How I Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 4 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Basque Planing Support

Sun, 11/09/2014 - 3:50pm

There are lots of ways to get around not having a sliding deadman – sometimes called a “board jack” – on your workbench. For the last 15 months I have been working on a bench without a deadman or a tail vise, so I am always looking out for novel solutions. This weekend a woodworker named Adrian from Toronto sent me some photos of a clever bench accessory he spotted […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

How to Read & Write Tool Reviews, Part 3

Fri, 11/07/2014 - 4:11am

For experienced woodworkers, it’s easy to ignore tool reviews and say: “I just buy the brands that have served me well.” But what if you know little about the different brands? When I was growing up, Skil made fantastic circular saws. Black & Decker made good drills. Craftsman put its name on some good machinery. Delta was unassailable on the quality of its table saws and band saws. Are those […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

How I Read Tool Reviews (And Write Them), Part 2

Tue, 11/04/2014 - 12:04pm

Most tool reviews aren’t really reviews. They’re press releases dressed up with a lab coat and a clipboard to look respectable. For experienced woodworkers, these faux-reviews are easy to spot and ignore. What are the signs? They’re missing key information about the tool’s place in the market compared to its competitors. Even more telling, the writer wields statistics to discuss the tool (14.4-volt batteries with an intelligent trickle-charger) but omits […]

The post How I Read Tool Reviews (And Write Them), Part 2 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

How to Read a Tool Review (And How I Write Them), Part 1

Mon, 11/03/2014 - 2:14pm

If I never write another tool review, I’ll be happy. But due to changes at Popular Woodworking Magazine, I’ve agreed to write a few for upcoming issues. Because I like nothing better than to pull down my pants and walk around in public, here is a guide to reading (and writing) tool reviews. Before I start, let’s dispel some myths about tool reviews. Only Consumer Reports does it the right […]

The post How to Read a Tool Review (And How I Write Them), Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Why You Should Work with a Blacksmith

Sat, 11/01/2014 - 1:14pm

Up until 1999, I didn’t think it was even possible to get blacksmith-made hardware for my furniture pieces. Today I rarely build a piece that doesn’t have some part that was made by a blacksmith or whitesmith. In 1999 my then-boss Steve Shanesy took me to a blacksmith in Cold Spring, Ky., named Marsha Nelson. I spent an afternoon photographing her work and was amazed at how quickly she could […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

A Return of the Home Invasion

Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:31am

This morning the crew from Popular Woodworking Magazine showed up to shoot photos of my recently built aumbry for an upcoming issue. While I’m always happy to shoot my own photographs, if they offer to send photographer Al Parrish, I roll over immediately. He is one of the finest photographers I’ve ever worked with. I also immediately purchase pastries – Al travels on his stomach. They started by shooting the […]

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Categories: Hand Tools

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