The Lever Cap Isn’t a Screwdriver (Or is it?)

lever-cap_screwdriver_IMG_5786

When I bought my first Stanley No. 5 in the mid-1990s, I regularly used the lever cap as a screwdriver to adjust the tension screw in the center of the frog and to tighten and loosen the cap iron screw. Then one of my fellow employees dressed me down. You should never do that, they told me, because that illicit activity could chip the lever cap. This is advice repeated […]

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Christopher Schwarz on Roman Workbenches

The lower left corner shows a Roman workbench; this form was used for thousands of years.

I recently stopped by the Lost Art Press shop to chat with Christopher Schwarz for a few minutes about Roman workbenches. He’s in the midst of building two of these in preparation for his talk on that subject at Popular Woodworking in America 2016 (Sept. 16-18 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center). I was curious as to why, after so many years of championing the “Roubo Bench,” he’s become interested […]

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An Imperfect Surface

opener_imperfect_surface_IMG_2928

For those of you who think that sanding and abrasive technology is a fairly new thing, I have news. Sanding is older than handplaning. As Geoffrey Killen points out in “Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture” (Shire, 1994), Egyptians did not use handplanes. Those tools were invented by the Romans or Greeks. Instead, Egyptian woodworkers used an adze to dimension pieces and then finished off the wood with sandstone. His book shows […]

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Bleaching the Color Out of Wood

Bleached Walnut

Sometimes you want to make wood lighter than it is in its raw state. This is common when trying to match the wood to something that already exists. The way to do it is to first bleach out the color of the wood, then apply a stain, if necessary, to achieve the match. You can bleach the color out of most woods with a widely available bleach that comes in […]

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Dutch Tool Chest Dovetails

Dovetail-Marked

I’m pressing pause on my saw restoration for bit because I realized that once it’s refurbished, I will have no place to put it. I have a few hand tools that I’ve accumulated over the years, but they’ve mostly been subjected to the lonely life of storage boxes…until now. I decided to build the Dutch tool chest from the October 2013 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine for my fledgling hand tool collection. […]

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Overflow Saw Storage

anarchist's tool chest

Christopher Schwarz has taught me many things over the 16 years I’ve worked closely with him, but two lessons just won’t stick. I will never learn to love late 19th/early 20th-century Russian literature, and I will likely continue to own more tools than I truly need. In no category is this more apparent than saws. I own four dovetail saws, three carcase saws, two tenon saws; only two panel saws […]

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