Hand Tools - Fine Woodworking How-To

Hand Tools

  • The travisher is the best tool for hollowing seatsThe travisher is the best tool for hollowing seats

    by Fabian Fischer

    Shaping the seat on Fabian Fischer’s stool is much easier if you use the travisher, a traditional chairmaking tool. Here, he offers tips on choosing the right travisher, ...

  • Make Your Own Scratch StocksMake Your Own Scratch Stocks

    by Garrett Hack

    Scratch stocks are small and simple tools but they can make a world of difference in your furniture. With just a shopmade scratch stock and a bit of ingenuity, ...

  • File Joints for a Perfect FitFile Joints for a Perfect Fit

    by Chris Gochnour

    Files are great for removing wood when a joint is almost together—but not quite. A file will delicately trim a joint until it slides home with hand pressure and ...

  • Machinist’s CalipersMachinist’s Calipers

    by Tim Rousseau

    Take away the guesswork when fitting joinery and setting up machinery with machinist's calipers. Here, Timothy Rousseau gives tips on choosing the best calipers ...

  • 4 Planes for Joinery4 Planes for Joinery

    by Vic Tesolin

    Specialty planes make it easier to build furniture by hand. By adding a shoulder plane, a router plane, a rabbet plane, and a plow plane to his collection, Vic ...

  • Every Woodworker Needs a Cutting GaugeEvery Woodworker Needs a Cutting Gauge

    by Tim Rousseau

    The cutting gauge is indispensable for furniture making. It’s perfect for marking dovetail and tenon shoulders, and can be used to sever fibers and minimize tearout ...

  • How to Turn Chisel Handles that Fit Your GripHow to Turn Chisel Handles that Fit Your Grip

    by John Tetreault

    Making handles for your chisels is a great way to bring together a mismatched set and to customize the fit to your own hand. All you need is a few scraps of hardwood ...

  • Fix for a Wandering HandsawQ & A: Fix for a Wandering Handsaw

    by Chris Gochnour

  • How to Tame Tricky Glue-UpsHow to Tame Tricky Glue-Ups

    by Michael C. Fortune

    The key to all glue-ups—especially those on curved parts—is that the clamping pressure must be at an exact right angle to the glueline, and centered on the joint. ...

  • Get Sharp the Diamond WayGet Sharp the Diamond Way

    by Brian Boggs

    Woodworkers love to argue about the best sharpening method for their tools, and Brian Boggs has listened to most of the arguments, trying and losing patience with ...

  • Do More with Your Block PlaneDo More with Your Block Plane

    by Jeff Miller

    Pound for pound, no hand tool in the shop packs in more value than the block plane. Its compact size makes it great for trimming parts flush, breaking edges, and ...

  • Prevent Staining from Clamp PadsQ & A: Prevent Staining from Clamp Pads

    by Dean Hedstrom

  • Skill Building Hand-Tool ExercisesSkill Building Hand-Tool Exercises

    by Jeff Miller

    To firmly master the use of hand tools such as the handsaw, chisel, and handplane, you need to practice. Practice builds and reinforces your muscle memory, letting ...

  • Use a Pencil to Lay Out ChamfersQ & A: Use a Pencil to Lay Out Chamfers

    by Steve Brown

  • Backer Board Prevents Tearout on RabbetsQ & A: Backer Board Prevents Tearout on Rabbets

    by Chris Gochnour

  • Charge a Strop for HoningQ & A: Charge a Strop for Honing

    by Dan Faia

  • Hand Tools—RetooledHand Tools—Retooled

    by Jonathan Binzen

    Abiel Rios Wong restores old woodworking tools and makes his own, using beautiful embellishments in brass, cocobolo, ebony, and ivory....

  • Brushes for WoodworkersBrushes for Woodworkers

    by Peter Gedrys

    Finishers feel about brushes the same way woodworkers feel about clamps: You can't have too many. The right brush for narrow, curved surfaces isn't going to work ...

  • How to Get the Most from Your Tape MeasureHow to Get the Most from Your Tape Measure

    by Asa Christiana

    Accuracy is the most important feature of a tape measure, and the most accurate, most convenient tapes on the market are not necessarily the most expensive. Find ...

  • Go for Comfort when Picking a Shooting-Board PlaneQ & A: Go for Comfort when Picking a Shooting-Board Plane

    by Matt Kenney

  • How to Master the BacksawHow to Master the Backsaw

    by Chris Gochnour

    You may be replete with power tools, but that doesn't mean you don't need a backsaw. A backsaw can cut joinery just as quickly as a tablesaw or router when you ...

  • Great Glue-Ups, GuaranteedGreat Glue-Ups, Guaranteed

    by Michael C. Fortune

    Glue up panels, edging, joinery, and casework with maximum success and a minimum of stress. Michael Fortune's formula for successful glue-ups starts with remembering ...

  • How to Gear Up for Glue-UpsHow to Gear Up for Glue-Ups

    by Michael C. Fortune

    They key to success for any glue-up is to have the right supplies on hand. If you assemble a kit of cauls and clamps like Michael Fortune suggests, your probability ...

  • Smooth Curves with Hand ToolsSmooth Curves with Hand Tools

    by Jeff Miller

    Every furniture style has its own visual language, and that language often involves curves. Whether you bandsaw curves or rout them, they all require smoothing ...

  • Choosing and Using Japanese ChiselsChoosing and Using Japanese Chisels

    by John Reed Fox

    There is a reason why Japanese hand tools have such a great reputation—solid craftsmanship. And when it comes to chisels, John Reed Fox says, Japanese varieties ...

  • How To Set Up Your New Japanese ChiselHow To Set Up Your New Japanese Chisel

    by John Reed Fox

    If you're buying a Japanese chisel for the first time, you need to know that it will require some setup before you can use it. For these tools come in what Westerners ...

  • Aligning Rabbet Plane NickersQ & A: Aligning Rabbet Plane Nickers

    by Chris Gochnour

  • Customize Your Carving ToolsCustomize Your Carving Tools

    by Allan Breed

    A rose carved with 15 cuts is better than one carved with 45. That's what Allan Breed learned from his first carving teacher. And when he bought that teacher's ...

  • Chamfer End Grain Without TearoutQ & A: Chamfer End Grain Without Tearout

    by Garrett Hack

  • Make a Pair of Grooving PlanesMake a Pair of Grooving Planes

    by Matt Kenney

    You don't need power tools when you need to create a lot of grooves of the same width and distance from the edge, such as when making boxes or drawers. All you ...

  • Try Back-Beveling Your Plane BladeTry Back-Beveling Your Plane Blade

    by Chris Gochnour

    Sometimes, even the most meticulously tuned handplane can't handle wood with challenging grain, and your are left with torn-out surfaces. That's when you should ...

  • Make a Bargain-Basement Plane Perform Like RoyaltyMake a Bargain-Basement Plane Perform Like Royalty

    by Roland Johnson

    A common misconception among many new woodworkers is that you need an expensive plane to experience the joy of handplaning—the whisper-thin shavings, the tool gliding ...

  • Bench-Vise SecretsBench-Vise Secrets

    by Steve Latta

    The bench vise is one of woodworking’s most necessary and fundamental tools, vital for holding work while you saw, chop, pare, plane, scrape, and perform any number ...

  • Mortise Gauge is Key to Tight Mortise-and-Tenon JointsQ & A: Mortise Gauge is Key to Tight Mortise-and-Tenon Joints

    by Chris Gochnour

  • Sharpening a Skew ChiselSharpening a Skew Chisel

    by Dan Faia

    Learn how to carve this most important hand tool used in carving for undercutting or cleaning out corners

  • Sharpening the V-ToolSharpening the V-Tool

    by Dan Faia

    Learn how to sharpen this complex carving tool with a grinder and stones

  • Keyway Keys Guarantee AccuracyVideo: Keyway Keys Guarantee Accuracy

    with Bob Van Dyke

    Learn an old machinist's secret to verify the accuracy of your work.

  • Handplaning 101Handplaning 101

    by Chris Gochnour

    This companion piece to Plane Like a Pro   gives the basics of handplaning a surface so that it is flat, straight, and smooth. Handplane users who have struggled ...

  • How to Crown a Plane IronVideo: How to Crown a Plane Iron

    with Chris Gochnour

    Learn how adding camber on a plane blade can prevent unsightly ripples in a workpiece

  • Cut a Mortise in MinutesCut a Mortise in Minutes

    by Christian Becksvoort

    The time-honored practice of cutting mortises with a drill and chisel can be frustrating, mainly because the process of chiseling out the waste between drilled ...

  • Quick Tip: A Jig for Marking CurvesVideo: Quick Tip: A Jig for Marking Curves

    with Thomas McKenna

    Here’s an easy way to mark a line parallel to a curved edge

  • Hand Tool SkillsHand Tool Skills

    by Fine Woodworking editors

    Free online extras for our newsstand-only publication featuring expert hand-tool advice and demonstrations

  • Why Aren’t All Planes Skewed?Q & A: Why Aren’t All Planes Skewed?

    by Garrett Hack

  • Get Serious About ClampingGet Serious About Clamping

    by Roman Rabiej

    For most woodworkers, the glue-up process is an inexact science. But for wood technologist Roman Rabiej, judging the success and potential longevity of a glue-up ...

  • The Essential HandplanesVideo: The Essential Handplanes

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the first of our 8-question series on handplanes, Philip C. Lowe, the award-winning furniture-maker and teacher, discusses the basic planes for any shop

  • Using Hand ScrewsUsing Hand Screws

    by Garrett Hack

    Hand screws may have been around since ancient times, but that doesn't make them outdated or obsolete. In fact, they have lasted precisely because they can do a ...

  • Flattening a Handplane SoleVideo: Flattening a Handplane Sole

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the fourth of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher discusses how to repair a damaged sole

  • Setting a Handplane BladeVideo: Setting a Handplane Blade

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the fifth of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher discusses setting the blade for the most effective cutting

  • Smoothing Wide Boards with a HandplaneVideo: Smoothing Wide Boards with a Handplane

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the last of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher shows how to level a wide board by hand

  • The Proper Camber on a Handplane BladeVideo: The Proper Camber on a Handplane Blade

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the third of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher discusses blade angles and sharpening

  • Tips for Planing Difficult GrainVideo: Tips for Planing Difficult Grain

    with Philip C. Lowe

    Learn how to use a handplane to smooth highly figured woods in the sixth of our 8-question series on handplanes

  • Using a Scraper PlaneVideo: Using a Scraper Plane

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the seventh of our 8-question series on handplanes, an award-winning furniture-maker and teacher explains how to prevent a scraper plane from chattering

  • Using Wooden Molding PlanesVideo: Using Wooden Molding Planes

    with Philip C. Lowe

    In the second of our series, an award-winning furniture-maker shows how to buy, sharpen, and use antique molding planes

  • Is it a Waterstone or an Oilstone?Q & A: Is it a Waterstone or an Oilstone?

    by Garrett Hack

  • Polishing Wooden-Bodied PlanesQ & A: Polishing Wooden-Bodied Planes

    by Garrett Hack

  • Reseating a Socket Chisel HandleQ & A: Reseating a Socket Chisel Handle

    by Bob Smalser

  • Get the Most from Your Bench ChiselsGet the Most from Your Bench Chisels

    by Chris Gochnour

    They've been used by generations of woodworkers and are still one of the most versatile hand tools in the shop. As Chris Gochnour explains, chisels are invaluable ...

  • Sharpening a Curved ScraperQ & A: Sharpening a Curved Scraper

    by Philip C. Lowe

  • Bench Chisel TechniquesVideo: Bench Chisel Techniques

    with Garrett Hack

    Review the basics of chopping and paring with a chisel in the last of our 10-question series on choosing and using chisels

  • How to Hone a ChiselVideo: How to Hone a Chisel

    with Garrett Hack

    Learn one method for creating a scary-sharp edge in part nine of our 10-question series on choosing and using chisels

  • Quick Tip: Sharpen a Chisel SquareVideo: Quick Tip: Sharpen a Chisel Square

    with Garrett Hack

    A square edge isn't required but you can watch one way to get one in part eight in our 10-question series on choosing and using chisels

  • Soup-Up a Flea Market ChiselVideo: Soup-Up a Flea Market Chisel

    with Garrett Hack

    Learn to make a new handle and revive the blade in part seven of our 10-question series on choosing and using chisels

  • A Shopmade Slicing GaugeQ & A: A Shopmade Slicing Gauge

    by Steve Latta

  • Using a Japanese Pull SawVideo: Using a Japanese Pull Saw

    with Gary Rogowski

    An alternative to the western dovetail saw, the lesser-known pull saw is versatile and produces a thinner kerf

  • Get a Handle on Your ChiselsGet a Handle on Your Chisels

    by Bob Smalser

    There are premium chisels out there at flea markets, estate sales, and auctions--provided you know how to make your own handles. Bob Smalser demonstrates how to ...

  • Make a Chisel HandleMake a Chisel Handle

    by Bob Smalser

    Create a custom handle for your socket chisel in ten steps and practice basic hand tool use along the way

  • Why Leave Marks on Dovetails?Q & A: Why Leave Marks on Dovetails?

    by Garrett Hack

  • The ABCs of Letter CarvingThe ABCs of Letter Carving

    by T.J. McDermott

    T.J. McDermott's straightforward letter-carving technique uses only two chisels, but it can transform a piece of furniture or other article into a personalized ...

  • Letter Carving BasicsVideo: Letter Carving Basics

    with T.J. McDermott

    A long-time sign maker shares his carving techniques in a demonstration making the letter 'R'

  • Tune Up a Shoulder PlaneVideo: Tune Up a Shoulder Plane

    with Chris Gochnour

    Sharpen the blade and clean up the tool to ensure top performance when trimming tenons and rabbets

  • Layout: Pencil vs. KnifeLayout: Pencil vs. Knife

    by Christian Becksvoort

    Like any task in woodworking, accurate layout depends on using the right tool at the right time. The lines most critical to tightly mating joinery definitely should ...

  • Sharpening a Scrub PlaneQ & A: Sharpening a Scrub Plane

    by Garrett Hack

  • Sculpt Flowing Joinery with an Angle GrinderSculpt Flowing Joinery with an Angle Grinder

    by Jere Williams

    Shaping a piece of furniture with an angle grinder can be both exhilarating and terrifying. Sculptor and woodworker Jere Williams does it all the time. He finds ...

  • Which Plane to Buy: No. 4 or No. 4-1/2?Q & A: Which Plane to Buy: No. 4 or No. 4-1/2?

    by Mario Rodriguez

  • Sharpening a Plane Iron: Honing the EdgeVideo: Sharpening a Plane Iron: Honing the Edge

    with Andy Rae

    Part Two: Use sharpening stones to flatten the back of the blade and hone the cutting edge

  • The Essential Carver's Tool KitVideo: The Essential Carver's Tool Kit

    with David Sabol

    A master wood carver shows how to use his favorite gouges and knife for three-dimensional carving

  • Perfect Panel Glue-UpsVideo: Perfect Panel Glue-Ups

    with Gary Rogowski

    Essential tips for gluing up panels from narrow boards

  • Resharpen, Restore a Dovetail SawResharpen, Restore a Dovetail Saw

    by Chris Gochnour

    Five easy steps to a smooth, straight-cutting saw

  • A Carved Rosette For an Elegant TouchVideo: A Carved Rosette For an Elegant Touch

    with Charles Shackleton

    Create the blanks on a lathe or with a drill press, then chisel in the details

  • Chop a Hinge MortiseVideo: Chop a Hinge Mortise

    with Garrett Hack

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

  • Cutting on a Chevalet de MarqueterieVideo: Cutting on a Chevalet de Marqueterie

    with W. Patrick Edwards

    A French innovation for cutting marquetry pieces by hand

  • 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

  • Fitting a Fat TenonVideo: Fitting a Fat Tenon

    with Jeff Miller

    Three tips to fine-tuning the fit of a mortise-and-tenon joint

  • 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

  • Tune Up a Card ScraperVideo: Tune Up a Card Scraper

    with Brian Boggs

    A couple of jigs take the guesswork out of sharpening this small but essential tool

  • Tune Up a New PlaneVideo: Tune Up a New Plane

    with Chris Gochnour

    Whether you choose a low-angle or standard plane, an initial tune-up makes all the difference

  • Using a Card ScraperVideo: Using a Card Scraper

    with Brian Boggs

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

  • All About SharpeningAll About Sharpening

    by Scott Gibson

  • Surviving Glue-UpsSurviving Glue-Ups

    by Gary Rogowski

    It’s the most stressful 15 minutes of woodworking. You’ve spent weeks of careful work and preparation in building a piece of furniture, and it all comes down to ...

  • Tuning a SpokeshaveQ & A: Tuning a Spokeshave

    by Chris Gochnour

  • Carving Leaves on a Turned PostCarving Leaves on a Turned Post

    by Allan Breed

    Two carving lessons by Allan Breed are the focus of this article. Working on a turned bedpost, Breed teaches readers how to carve two versions of corn leaves. Once ...

  • Traditional Hammer VeneeringTraditional Hammer Veneering

    by Dan Faia

    When it comes to applying veneer, many woodworkers lean toward higher-tech procedures such as veneer presses, vacuum bags, and clamps and cauls. Yet with a relatively ...

  • Sharpening - A Different ApproachSharpening - A Different Approach

    by William Duckworth

    If you haven't had sharpening success or want to explore a new method, try honing your blade on granite with a water and silicon-carbide slurry. The method is economical ...

  • Soup Up Your SpokeshaveSoup Up Your Spokeshave

    by Brian Boggs

    A spokeshave is a very nimble plane, with a short sole that can follow convex and concave surfaces. Any time you have a part that you can’t plane evenly because ...

  • Holding Your WorkHolding Your Work

    by Garrett Hack

    You want to control your tools, not waste your energy on work slipping around. Using a solid, flat workbench, Garrett Hack share some ideas for holding down a workpiece ...

  • Surface Prep: Why Sanding Isn't EnoughSurface Prep: Why Sanding Isn't Enough

    by Philip C. Lowe

    Jointer and planer knives go dull after just a few board feet, heating the surface of your wood and pounding it into compressed fibers. In this article, Philip ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Four Squaring with Hand ToolsFour Squaring with Hand Tools

    by Anthony Guidice

    Anthony Guidice requires his students to rip, crosscut, surface, and edge-joint boards by hand before he lets them use machines. Once your tools are sharp, you ...

  • Getting an EdgeGetting an Edge

    by Jefferson Kolle

    Sharpening techniques that work for one person might not work for another, so Jefferson Kolle trailed three New England woodworkers to get their secrets on honing ...

  • Carving Tool Tune-upCarving Tool Tune-up

    by Ian Agrell

    Carver Ian Agrell tells his students to treat sharpening as an art in itself. More important than the choice of sharpening system is knowing what shape is required ...

  • Making Music with a PlaneMaking Music with a Plane

    by James Krenov

    Don’t just be a woodworker; make something more out of it, if your heart’s in it, writes James Krenov. This short article is more philosophy than how-to, a soul-searcher ...

  • How to Sharpen a HandsawHow to Sharpen a Handsaw

    by Fred Wilder

    Former Seabee Fred Wilder explains how to sharpen a handsaw – what tools you need, how to straighten, joint, and set the saw, and how to file the teeth to sharp ...

  • Cock Beads Dress Up a DrawerCock Beads Dress Up a Drawer

    by Garrett Hack

    Cock beads and incised beads add visual interest to a range of furniture styles, from Federal to Shaker-inspired, writes Garrett Hack. He finishes building and ...

  • Soup up a Dovetail SawSoup up a Dovetail Saw

    by Mario Rodriguez

    Mario Rodriguez uses the same types of European-style dovetail saws he started with, years ago, but he modifies the shape and set of their teeth so that they cuts ...

  • Chisel Handles to OrderChisel Handles to Order

    by Mario Rodriguez

    Mario Rodriguez has an enormous variety of chisels -- all with matching handles. He makes his own handles from cutoff pieces from his scrap bin. That way, he can ...

  • Jointing by HandJointing by Hand

    by Richard Starr

    Richard Starr, who teaches woodworking to middle-school students, painstakingly joints boards by hand. Edge-glued joints can be inconspicuous and stronger than ...

  • Flattening Wide Panels by HandFlattening Wide Panels by Hand

    by William Tandy Young

    William Tandy Young flattens larger panels two ways: if he has a lot of them, he takes them to a local millwork shop. If he has just a few, he gets out the hand ...

  • Preparing a ScraperPreparing a Scraper

    by Monroe Robinson

    If you’re using a well-prepared, thin scraper, you can get a surface as fine as you’d get from 400-grit paper – smooth, satiny, lustrous. Furnituremaker and sawyer ...

  • Strategies for ClampingStrategies for Clamping

    by Jim Tolpin

    Jim Tolpin learned the hard way -- in the middle of making a spiral staircase with two laminations – that it’s important to have all the necessary materials on ...

  • Waterstone UpkeepWaterstone Upkeep

    by William Tandy Young

    William Tandy Young says waterstones cut more quickly and efficiently than oilstones, and the finish they leave on a tool’s edge is more consistent. He uses synthetic ...

  • The Basics of Classical Relief CarvingThe Basics of Classical Relief Carving

    by Nora Hall

    Master carver Nora Hall teaches beginners how to carve, and she marvels at how quickly students develop skill at manipulating light and shadow to create realistic ...

  • Carving a Ball-and-Claw FootCarving a Ball-and-Claw Foot

    by Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    Mack Headley, Jr., studied the furniture and carving of Peter Scott, a cabinetmaker who worked in Williamsburg, Virginia, from the early 1720s to the mid-1770s. ...

  • Relief-CarvingRelief-Carving

    by John E. Meyers

    John E. Meyers compares relief-carving to a magician’s tricks; here, he explains how to visualize the foreground and background as many layers. He talks about how ...

  • Shaping a Cabriole LegShaping a Cabriole Leg

    by Eugene E. Landon

    Making matching cabriole legs seems to require genius, but Eugene E. Landon thinks they’re a breeze to make. Shaping the plain legs for a Queen Anne or Chippendale ...

  • Cabriole KneesCabriole Knees

    by Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    Colonial Williamsburg cabinetmaker Mack Headley explains how to make a leaf pattern on a cabriole leg adapted from one found on a chair from the 1740s. It’s a strong, ...

  • Hollows and RoundsHollows and Rounds

    by Graham Blackburn

    In the family of molding planes, hollows and rounds are often considered the poor relations. They duplicate moldings made by specialized molding planes, but they ...

  • Sharpening HandsawsSharpening Handsaws

    by Harold H. Payson

    Harold H. Payson remembers a time before circular saws, when the handsaw that cut fast and true to the line without biding or rattling in its kerf was admired and ...

  • Turning and Carving PiecrustTurning and Carving Piecrust

    by Eugene E. Landon

    Here are 17 photo-illustrated steps demonstrating how to turn and carve a piecrust top, using traditional methods. The original of the table shown in this article ...

  • Paring Chisel BasicsParing Chisel Basics

    by Michael S. Podmaniczky

    Michael Podmaniczky says a paring chisel is the most basic and useful tool, and it’s versatile, too, doubling as a plane, a drawknife, even a cabinet scraper. He ...

  • Carving a Scallop ShellCarving a Scallop Shell

    by Mack S. Headley, Jr.

    Colonial Williamsburg’s Mack Headley, Jr., offers step-by-step instruction how to carve a shell. He explains the numbering system of carving tools and the importance ...

  • Sharpening With OilstonesSharpening With Oilstones

    by Michael S. Podmaniczky

    Michael S. Podmaniczky discusses the steps necessary to take a chisel or plane iron from dull to sharp: establishing the bevel on the bench grinder, and sharpening ...

  • Carving Incised LettersCarving Incised Letters

    by Roger Holmes

    Fine Woodworking’s Roger Holmes talked to Frank Cushwa, of Kent, Connecticut, about how he came to the art of carving lettered signs and how others can carve them. ...

  • Souping Up the Block PlaneSouping Up the Block Plane

    by Richard S. Newman

    Richard S. Newman visited luthier Robert Meadow and explains a few of his techniques. Meadow spent years investigating how edge tools work and regularly hand-planes ...

  • Marquetry on FurnitureMarquetry on Furniture

    by Silas Kopf

    Silas Kopf says veneers, sold in hundreds of colors and textures, are quite workable for making rich designs and pictures. The techniques are easily learned; the ...

  • Linenfold CarvingLinenfold Carving

    by Rick Bütz

    Linenfold carving originated around 1450, and surviving pieces show how stylized it became before being replaced in the Renaissance by floral patterns. Rick Bütz ...

  • The Taming of the SkewThe Taming of the Skew

    by Mike Darlow

    No tool in a turner’s kit has greater potential for efficiency than the skew chisel -- it planes surfaces smooth, cuts balls and beads, defines fillers and even ...

  • Using Bench PlanesUsing Bench Planes

    by Ian J. Kirby

    For those woodworkers intent on a more developed level of workmanship, the hand plane still has an assured place in the shop. It is unique in its ability to deliver ...

  • Twist TurningTwist Turning

    by Eric Schramm

    Mostly used in reproduction and repair and for Mediterranean-style furniture, spirals are not truly turnings because most of the work is really carving, writes ...

  • A Carver's TricksA Carver's Tricks

    by Eric Schramm

    Eric Schramm has developed a few time-savers over the years. He re-ground butt chisels to make a set of four round-nose chisels, which he uses in place of many ...

  • How to SharpenHow to Sharpen

    by Ian J. Kirby

    Ian J. Kirby says that once a tool has been properly ground, sharpening it takes only about a minute. His detailed article covers the goals of sharpening, what ...

  • On Precision in JoineryOn Precision in Joinery

    by Allan J. Boardman

    Allan J. Boardman, an aerospace systems engineer and amateur woodworker, evaluates the dimensional tolerances inherent in fine cabinetry joints. He talks about ...

  • The Mortise and Tenon JointThe Mortise and Tenon Joint

    by Ian J. Kirby

    Ian J. Kirby says the mortise-and-tenon joint is fundamental to woodworking. In this article, he focuses on the basics of designing mortise-and-tenon joints to ...

  • Relief CarvingRelief Carving

    by Rick Bütz

    Many woodworkers might wish to incorporate carving into a furniture design, but they shy away, fearing it would involve far too much time. Rick Bütz writes that ...

  • Hammer VeneeringHammer Veneering

    by Tage Frid

    Hammer veneering is usually the easiest way to fix old furniture with missing or broken veneer, or air bubbles under the veneer, writes Tage Frid. He shares tips ...

  • Carving LabCarving Lab

    by Robert L. Buyer

    Robert L. Buyer shares some simple exercises in basic tool handling to enable beginner carvers to save time fumbling around in how-to classes. These exercises concentrate ...

  • Routed Edge JointRouted Edge Joint

    by John Harra

    John Harra developed a system for edge-joining pieces of wood using a router, several clamps, a jig, a ruler, and a fence. The results are consistently near perfect, ...

  • Sawing by HandSawing by Hand

    by Tage Frid

    Tage Frid says a handsaw can replace a machine-powered saw for every cutting operation. It should lie loosely in your hands, and no pressure should be applied, ...

  • Bowl TurningBowl Turning

    by Peter Child

    Peter Child jumps right into sharing tips on how to turn bowls, such as completing the turning of the outside of the bowl before removing any wood from the inside, ...

  • Tackling CarvingTackling Carving

    by Robert L. Butler

    Carver Robert L. Butler offers novices an outline of which tools to get to start carving (hint, don't break the bank), what size project to tackle, and photos of ...

  • Hand DovetailsHand Dovetails

    by Alphonse Mattia

    Dovetails can be cut much faster by machine, writes Alphonse Mattia, but there are certain disadvantages to doing them this way. With hand-cut dovetails, the craftsman ...

  • Carving Design DecisionsCarving Design Decisions

    by Robert L. Buyer

    From a practical standpoint, writes Robert L. Buyer, effort spent in the design phase is made up during the execution phase by eliminating mistakes and rework. ...

  • Marquetry CuttingMarquetry Cutting

    by Peter L. Rose

    There are many cutting tools and methods to choose from when cutting marquetry. A knife is good for pictures with many straight cuts and geometric designs and for ...

  • Smooth Curves with a SpokeshaveSmooth Curves with a Spokeshave

    by Chris Gochnour

    A spokeshave is ideally suited to refining curves and shaping contoured work. It steps in after you've cut out your work on a bandsaw or router, removing sawmarks ...

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