Using Hand Tools

In this golden age of electric-powered machinery, knowing the basics of handsaws, planes, chisels, and measuring and marking tools is an essential skill set that can add quality and personality to your work. However, using hand tools takes practice and
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  • Determining Grain DirectionDetermining Grain Direction

    by Chris Gochnour

    Furniture maker and author Chris Gochnour offers tips for reading the direction of the grain in a variety of wood species in this basic overview on the anatomy of ...

  • Half-Blind DovetailsHalf-Blind Dovetails

    by Carl Swensson

    The handsome half-blind dovetail is easy to find — it is often used to join drawer fronts to drawer sides. When made with contrasting woods, the result can be especially ...

  • Shaping Tapered LegsVideo: Shaping Tapered Legs

    with Mario Rodriguez

    Shape elegant tapered legs by hand

  • All About Hand Tool SkillsAll About Hand Tool Skills

    by Matt Berger

  • Chop a Hinge MortiseVideo: Chop a Hinge Mortise

    with Garrett Hack

    Rough out the mortise, then chop and pare to the lines

  • Cutting with a Dovetail SawVideo: Cutting with a Dovetail Saw

    with Philip C. Lowe

    Watch a demonstration of cutting techniques that lead to tight-fitting joints

  • Easy-To-Carve Diamond BeadingVideo: Easy-To-Carve Diamond Beading

    with Charles Shackleton

    Personalize your furniture with just a few simple tools

  • Listening To ToolsVideo: Listening To Tools

    with Aimé Ontario Fraser

    The sounds your tools make can tell you a lot about how they're working

  • Planing Frame-and-Panel DoorsVideo: Planing Frame-and-Panel Doors

    with Jeff Miller

    Use a plane rather than sandpaper to prepare the final surface

  • Using a Card ScraperVideo: Using a Card Scraper

    with Brian Boggs

    Forget sanding -- a properly used scraper will create a mirror surface

  • Hone Your Hand-Tool SkillsHone Your Hand-Tool Skills

    by Michael Pekovich

    You can use power tools all day long, but as Fine Woodworking art director Michael Pekovich has learned, you'll never know the true joy of the craft until you learn ...

  • Bench-Chisel TechniquesBench-Chisel Techniques

    by Garrett Hack

    The only differences between sets of bench chisels are the quality of the steel and the shapes of the blades, says Garrett Hack, and he offers a primer here on ...

  • Planing Corner JointsPlaning Corner Joints

    by Jeff Miller

    When flushing up surfaces that meet at a right angle, Jeff Miller prefers to start with a handplane, which allows him to remove just the right amount of stock without ...

  • ChamfersChamfers

    by Garrett Hack

    How gracefully a piece of furniture ages has to do with many aspects of the design, not least of which is how you deal with edges. Chamfered edges are more apt ...

  • A Woodworker's Journey of DiscoveryA Woodworker's Journey of Discovery

    by John Lively

    From power-tool addict to a hand-tool aficionado, John Lively traces his journey through both extremes to find a balance and love for both types of tools, for what ...

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