‘Mid-century Modern Furniture’ by Michael Crow

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For many woodworkers, mid-century modern furniture seems a mass-manufactured mystery. We remember the excesses of the style – the kidney-shaped everything, the peg legs and the crappy dowels. But like most furniture styles, mid-century modern is far more complex, interesting and tied to the great tradition of well-built beautiful things. Michael Crow has a new book out on the style that is an excellent introduction to mid-century modern that focuses […]

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A Visit with Toshio Odate

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Most of last week, I was in Connecticut to film a video with teacher, sculptor, author, artist and woodworker Toshio Odate, along with our video editor, David Thiel, and studio manger Ric Deliantoni. I’d prepared (of course) a long list of questions and subjects to discuss with Toshio…but when we turned the cameras on, Toshio started talking, and I could barely get a word in. And that’s great – because […]

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Nelson Platform Bench

Nelson Platform Bench

Editor’s note: During his time design director for Herman Miller, George Nelson recruited a series of talented designers including Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Propst and Alexander Gerard. During Nelson’s tenure, Herman Miller produced numerous iconic designs including, the Eams Lounge Chair, Marshmallow Sofa and Noguchi coffee table. And, as the literal foundation for the modern cabinetry system featured in Herman Miller’s 1948 catalog, George Nelson’s own platform bench is […]

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Fixing Splits with Pocket Screws

Inspector Wally wants this split closed before lunchtime!

When I have a visible split in a large slab tabletop, I’ll stabilize it with a wooden key, like I described here last week. But when it comes to the underside of a slab, I prefer to use a little pocket-hole jig to make a fast repair that is adjustable and easily removed if need be. Keep in mind that I’m not trying to close the split – just keep […]

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Cheap Saws – Part 2

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In Part 1, I discussed my reasons for owning disposable saws. Here are some other considerations, including cost. First, please don’t assume this is a knock at quality saw makers. There are many who are  producing top-notch products, and vintage saws can be restored as perfect users. But if you’re an occasional sawyer… The photo above an extreme case, but does illustrate a point. I could purchase 10 saws for […]

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Hand Tools vs Power Tools for Beginners

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Do you start a kid (or kid at heart) down the woodworking rabbit hole via hand tools, power tools or both? The more time I spend teaching woodworking, observing students learning and contemplating the woodworking teaching process, the more I’m leaning toward the idea that power-tools should be eliminated, or drastically reduced – particularly for young woodworkers. I am not against power tools at all. In fact, I’ll only give […]

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