Modern Wooden Planes … Why?

Let me be honest up front. I do know how to use a hand plane, and I have used a jointer plane once or twice. But it was a metal-bodied plane – only remotely similar to a wooden-bodied plane as used during the 18th Century. I liked the feel of the plane, and it’s long body made sense for one of its purposes of shooting edges to join boards. That […]

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Make Monster Dovetails

I have, inexplicably, received several questions over the weekend about cutting really big dovetails for workbenches, such as on a tail vise. That’s weird, given that most bench questions I get are about what kind of wood to use (whatcha got? use it), and how the LVL top is holding up (quite splendidly, but I’d not use LVL for a base again). Not to mention, we’ve not published a bench […]

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The Slant-lid Tool Chest

In some Victorian books on woodworking, the author suggests that if you don’t have a shop you could use a chest of drawers as a woodworking bench, tool chest and shaving collector. I’ve not seen an occurrence of this in the wild, but it is an interesting idea. Recently, Will of Texas sent me photos of his tool chest, which is based off a slant-lid desk with banks of drawers […]

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Sniffle Island

I’d planned to go to the office/shop today (Saturday) to work on the personal project that’s been a millstone ’round my neck for months – a kitchen island/microwave stand. But I’ve got a bad case of the chest and sinus crud; the very thought of sawdust makes me cough (even more than I already am). And that’s OK (well, the staying home part – I’d rather not be ill), because […]

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In Search of the Perfect Wax Finish

My four-decade-long desire to identify, understand, replicate and develop new analogs to historic furniture-making materials has led me on some interesting quests and situations. Included in these would be learning a lot about tropical insects whose “sweat” is the foundation for the most amazing finish ever (shellac); studies of sausage casings, artificial skin and corneas as I tried to (successfully) create a convincing alternative to tortoiseshell for my own Boulle-work […]

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