Matthew Kenney, Watertown, CT, US
senior editor

I'm a passionate woodworker and senior editor at Fine Woodworking.

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Mind bending grain wrap for your next box

It's not unusual to use a four corner grain match when making a box. Check out how I created a 12 corner grain match when I made a pair of boxes that sit together on a small tray.

Sometimes hand tools cut the joint faster and easier

Power tools and machines are fast and accurate, but they don't always beat hand tools. A set of dadoes needed for a small shelf is a good example of when to pull out the hand tools for joinery.

Tenon jig for the miter gauge

This tenoning jig, which clamps to my miter gauge fence, was dead simple and fast to make. It works great.

How to cut stopped dadoes with a router table

Here's how to rout stopped dadoes in small cabinet parts with a router table. This technique produces dadoes that are square to the front and back edges of the cabinet, and align perfectly with one another.

New Tool News from the International Woodworking Fair

Get the scoop on the latest tool and machinery releases from General International, SawStop, Triton, Lee Valley, and more!

5 things that helped me cut better dovetails

Here are the 5 things that have helped me improve my dovetails the most.

Watch a short film about box maker Doug Stowe

Doug Stowe is an Arkansas Living Treasure, and the foundation that awards that distinction recently produced a short film about him. Watch it. It's good.

Shaker barn inspires a turned box

A visit to Hancock Shaker Village inspired me to rethink a box design that I had been making for many years.

Make a sled that handles both square and miter cuts

Make a zero-clearance sled that makes both square and miter cuts.

Another peek at my traveling tool cabinet

Progress on the traveling tool cabinet is great. Here's my solution to securing the planes in place on the till ramp.

Wedge is the secret to perfect angled mortise-and-tenon joints

A simple wedge is the solution to cutting angled mortises and tenons to fit them.

A planing stop for long and thin boards

Planing thin boards can be difficult. Clamp them between a pair of dogs and their likely to bow up. A stop attached to a plywood base is the perfect way to hold thin boards for planing.

My brand new 100 year old jointer

I recently bought a nearly 100 year old Oliver jointer. Check out what I've done to restore it.

Making time in the shop

Ukrainian carpenter Valerii Danevych makes wrist and pocket watches from wood. The entire watch, except the spring, is wood.

3 questions with Phil Lowe

Master furniture maker Phil Lowe discusses block planes, pencils, and sail boats.

Shop sawn veneer without a drum sander

Learn one way to make shopsawn veneer without the use of drum sander, something most folks don't have in the shop.

Use an offcut to make a perfectly fitted rabbet joint

This past weekend I was called into action to help my daughter make a prototype of her invention for her schools "Invention Convention." She had designed a box with compartments to hold craft...

Looking for a new adventure in the shop? Give upcycling a try.

I recently used an old metal filing cabinet from a factory to make a cool cabinet. Take a look at the completed piece and learn about how I did it.

9 reasons why I don't sharpen my plane blades as well as I thought

So, you think you can really sharpen your plane iron? I used to think that too, until I watched a Japanese planing contest.

My first (and next) workbench

Check out the first real workbench I made. And get a peek at the next one I'll make.

Make a rabbet with a handplane

I picked up this technique from Mack Headley, master cabinet maker at Colonial Williamsburg's Hay Shop.

Chopping mortises in absurdly narrow stock

Kaare Loftheim, a journeyman cabinet maker at Colonial Williamsburg, offers some good tips on how to mortise thin stock without blowing out the sides of the mortise or the end grain.

Colonial Williamsburg, Day 1

It was a busy day at the Working Wood in the 18th Century conference: a lot of joinery was cut with several different techniques.

It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

If anyone ever tells you that some woodworking technique (probably one for joints) is cheating, ignore that person. It's ridiculous. There is no cheating in woodworking.

How to make a "solid wood" top from plywood

Learn how I used shopsawn veneers to make a table top that won't expand, contract, or warp.

Inside the Shaker Workshop

When it came to woodworking technology, the Shakers were right at the forefront

Help me choose what to build for a video workshop

In my next video workshop, I'm going to make a bow front wall cabinet. I've come up with two designs. Tell what you think about them.

From Raw Steel to Righteous Tool

Watch tool maker John Neeman at work forging a timbler slick with a traditional socket handle.

Watch someone turn a lamp shade (it's better than that sounds, really)

This video is pure eye candy. Watch for enjoyment as a turner takes a big chunk of pine and creates a thin lampshade.

Easy jig for routing through dovetail pins

One of the things I like about being an editor at Fine Woodworking is that every article I edit is like a one-on-one woodworking class. When it comes to articles that demonstrate a technique, I...

Veritas Introduces New Tool Steel for Plane Blades and Chisels

Veritas has introduced a new tool steel for plane blades and chisels. Is it the next big thing in hand tools?

Should Woodworkers Say Goodbye to Ebony?

I stumbled across this video while reading the woodworking subreddit on reddit. Bob Taylor, a co-founder of Taylor Guitars, provides a unique perspective on the availability of ebony and explains what role he has in providing it to instrument makers. It's not clear if this is where our ebony comes from, too.

Using end grain to make drawer front veneers

Inspired by a sideboard that appeared on Fine Woodworking's back cover, I used end grain veneers on some small drawers for a cabinet I made recently.

Turning bowls for hungry souls

Houston furniture maker Clark Kellogg is in the midst of a 100 day project. He's turning 1 bowl a day. The 100 bowls will be sold and the money goes to Houston Food Bank.

How to make a sacrificial rip fence that never wears out

On a recent trip to Michael Fortune's shop, I picked up a cool way to make a sacrificial fence that partially buries your dado set.The best part about it is that the blade never cuts into the fence.

Wear your love for woodworking on your sleeve

I recently bought a T-shirt from I wore it to work today and it was a big hit with the other editors here. Take a look to see why.

Get your internet hands on an old woodworking magazine

You can now go read "The Deltagram," a woodworking publication put out by Delta from 1932 to 1972. They're mini-magazines containing plans, tips and techniques. They available for download (in PDF) from the website

Stephen Colbert Takes the Sizzle Out of SawStop

The Sawstop controversy has made it to late night television. Noted conservative pundit Stephen Colbert takes on the saw and it's finger hugging inventor, Steve Gass. (Of course, it's all satire, so Colbert is implicitly endorsing the Sawstop.)

I built a lumber rack one morning - Now I have a lumber problem

It wasn't until I started to load up the lumber rack I recently built that I realized that I had a lot of lumber, most of it bought simply because it was a great piece of wood. That has forced me to accept that I have a small problem.

Why do you work wood?

Lately, I've been thinking about why I make furniture. It's because I enjoy making and creating--and wood is the medium I enjoy most. Why do you like woodworking?

Chris Gochnour's technique for inlaying stringing

Learn how Chris Gochnour inlaid stringing into the top of his curved front desk featured in Fine Woodworking #225.

Yep, it's wood!

R. Bruce Hoadley, legendary author of "Identifying Wood" and "Understanding Wood" and a former Fine Woodworking contributing editor, is now an internet meme.

Designing around the lumber you have

I recently made a small wall shelf with drawers from some air-dried lumber I picked up from friends. Having a limited quantity forced me to design the materials at hand rather than designing the piece and looking for lumber afterward.

The life and times of a Fine Woodworking photo prop

I first made this cherry cabinet as a prop for an article about mortising for hinges. Since then, it's been in the magazine several times. And then I decided to put a finish on it and hang it in my house.

Simple fixture flattens curved drawer fronts for joinery

A simple curved cradle lets me cut accurate rabbets in curved drawer fronts.

Routing grooves in curved drawers, part 2

I've shown how I rout the grooves in the back of drawer fronts that have a radius curve. But the fence I make to do that won't work with some curves, like asymmetric ones that have numerous radii, some much smaller than others. Check out how I handle those.

Blade brake inventor aims to compete with SawStop

A woodworker and inventor in New England has developed a blade guard that doubles as a sensor for a table saw safety device. When it senses flesh, the blade stops in about 1/8 of a second.

Little layout tools are the perfect size for furniture making

Good joinery starts with good layout. That's why it's important to have great layout tools. I've found that the one's that work best for me are all small and the perfect scale for furniture.

Build a Tablesaw Sled for Precision Miters

Case miters, the kinds used on mitered boxes, can be a pain to cut accurately, but this simple tablesaw sled cure. It's easy and fast to make and dead accurate.

Build a Super-Precise Tablesaw Crosscut Sled

Learn how to build a simple crosscut sled that guarantees perfectly square crosscuts every time.

Butterfly tables by Michael Fortune

Not only is a butterfly leaf a cool way to make an expanding table, it's also versatile. Check out some of the tables author Michael Fortune has made.

Finally, I have a motorized plane

Check out the my latest plane acquisition. It has a motor! This could be the coolest tool I'll ever own. What is it? The Hitachi Super Surfacer.

Curved drawer fronts: how to cut them to length and rout drawer bottom grooves

Curved drawer fronts can be a pain to work with, especially cutting them to length and routing a groove in their backs for the drawer bottom. See how a simple fence design lets me do both without any fuss.

Router Injury Sparks Reflection on Safety

About two weeks ago, I was rounding over some edges with my trim router and I somehow put a finger directly into the spinning bit. The injury wasn't too bad, but I got a big reminder of woodworking's inherent danger.

Inside the shop at Old Street Tools

A recent trip to Eureka Springs, Ark. gave me the chance to visit the shop at Old Street Tools. Here is what I saw.

Use wedges to edge glue thin boards

Edge gluing thin boards, like these 3/16 in. thick re-sawn veneers, is basically impossible with bar clamps. So, instead of breaking out the parallel jaw clamps, I rigged up a simple clamping jig that uses wedges to apply pressure to the joints. Read the step-by-step account to learn how I did it.

Death at Yale University a Sad Reminder for Shop Safety Vigilance

A Yale undergraduate died this past week when her hair became tangled in a lathe.

Box design, with a little help from my friends

I came upon a small design challenge when making a box recently. Fortunately, I have some great designers and makers here in the office, so I just asked for help. See how things turned out.

Patient takes the Design Doctor's advice

Brian Havens was one of three lucky readers to have Hank Gilpin critique a piece of furniture that he made. Havens to the advice to heart and made a second cabinet. Check out the improvements.

10,000 tiny pieces of wood make one impressive bit of woodworking

I stumbled across this amazing bit of woodworking in our Readers Gallery. There are more than 10,000 pieces of wood in it. Never mind the skill it took, what about the patience?!

We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

Enter our latest caption contest for a change to bring home a matched set of handmade grooving planes.

Surprise landing: Stanley's new Sweetheart chisels have arrived

It's been a while since Stanley first notified the woodworking public that they were going to reintroduce the beloved 750 chisel line. A set of eight chisels, with leather roll, arrived in our office unannounced this week. Here is a sneak peek at them.

Clark & Williams are now Old Street Tool, Inc.

Clark & Williams has changed its name to Old Street Tool, Inc. after one of the partners, Bill Clark, left the company.

Maine Wood 2012: Woodworking exhibition for Maine woodworkers

The Messler Gallery at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship is hosting a juried furniture exhibition. One of the criteria is that the piece needed to have been made in Maine and primarily from wood.

Tour an 18th-Century Cabinet Shop

On my last day at the 2011 Working Wood in the 18th Century conference. I took a walk over to the Anthony Hay cabinetshop and took some photos. Take a look.

Cutlists are a waste of space

Cutlists are great when you're buying lumber and rough out parts, but after that they're more trouble than their worth. And they're definitely not a good way to spend precious space in a woodworking magazine.

The sad (and bloody) story of what happened when I made a saw

See what happened when I was a bit careless when pulling apart a dovetail joint that was part of a frame saw I once made.

Anthony Hay Blog: Well, of course an 18th century cabinet shop has a blog

The Anthony Hay Cabinet shop at Colonial Williamsburg has a blog now. Check it out. It is pretty cool. It's focused on what it's like to work in the shop (as a 21st century person).

Seen at Colonial Williamsburg: Japanese tools force a new stance on woodworking

Here is what really struck me on the first day of session 2 at Colonial Williamsburg: Andrew Hunter, an expert with Japanese tools, doesn't work wood like I do. Why? Because his tools require him to work differently.

Fine Woodworking author interviewed on NPR

Houston furniture maker and Fine Woodworking author Clark Kellogg was recently interviewed by his local NPR station. Why? Because a sitting bench he made received an Award of Merit (one of three given) at the Craft Texas 2010 show.

Video: Clever Sled for Curved Bevels on the Tablesaw

Learn Geoffrey Carson's method for cutting curved wide bevels using a modified panel-raising fence on the tablesaw. Watch the short video...

Small box in cherry and spruce

This is a variation on another box I made. It's 2 in. tall by 5 in. wide by 8 in. long. The sides are cherry, the top is reclaimed spruce, and the lifts are cocobolo. The inside is fitted out with a...

Another small box that was fun to make

Check out this nice little box I recently made and discover what I learned about box making exclusively with power tools.

Share your finishing disasters for a chance to win a finishing DVD

We've all had some finishes go terribly wrong. Share your worst story and you might win a finishing DVD by Hendrik Varju.

The best plane for a shooting board? One that's sharp, heavy, bevel-up and comfortable to use.

One of the questions that I'm asked most often is which plane to use with a shooting board. Here's how I answer that question.

Are WoodRiver's new block planes good enough to knuckle down in the shop?

WoodRiver has released two full-size block planes based on Stanley's venerable #18 block plane with a knuckle-joint lever cap. I've had a quick look and now they're out for a tough test.

Help solve a hand tool mystery

A reader wants help with an old Stanley bench jig, but before I can help I need to know its name. I'm sure one of you will know, so take a look and pass along your knowledge.

Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?

I recently built a Hock shoulder plane kit. It was easy to make and offers great value.

Small box was fun (and quick) to make

I was bored on a recent Friday night, so I went into the shop. A few hours later I had nice little box done.

Blue Spruce paring chisels: too pretty to use?

We recently received seven paring chisels from Blue Spruce Toolworks. My first reaction: My lord these are beautiful. My second reaction: I can't wait to use them.

Interview with plane maker Steve Knight

Steve Knight used to make completed wooden planes for sale. Now he only makes kits. Read on to learn about his history as a plane maker and why he no longer makes completed planes.

This is what happens when Roy Underhill meets a SawStop

Evidently the folks at Highland Woodworking in Atlanta thought it a good idea to let Roy Underhill test the flesh sensing technology of a SawStop. Watch the video to see what happens.

Shop cabinet done right

Take a look at the wall cabinet I made to store my routers and router bits. It's made from scrap plywood I had. I was tired of bare wood in my shop (a bench, a router table, etc.), so I decided to paint it. And maybe I put too much effort into the paint job.

Everything you ever wanted to know about shooting boards

Fine Woodworking editor Matt Kenney is teaching a class on shooting boards at the Norwalk, CT Woodcraft on November 11. Join him and learn how to make one and ask as many questions as you can. It's a great chance to hands on experience with a versatile shop aid.

Show us your shop-made hand tools

I've made a few hand tools and want to see the ones you've made. Post photos and give a quick story about them in our new gallery.

Shop-made grooving planes

I made this pair of planes to cut grooves to hold the drawers in small drawers and trays.

Have a design question? Ask it here.

Designing attractive furniture isn't easy. If you have a question about how to get it done, let us know for a chance to have your question answered by one of Fine Woodworking experts in the Q&A section of the magazine.

Have you seen Tommy Mac's new woodworking show? Let us know what you think.

The first episode of Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac has aired in at least some PBS markets around the country. Have you seen it? Did you like it? Could it use some improvement? Let us know what you think.

Jonesing for a hand tool fix? We've got you covered.

Fine Woodworking has introduced a new section of the magazine and a new blog devoted to hand-tool use. The emphasis is on practicality, so that it will be relevant to the modern woodworker.

Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board

I get one question over and over again: Why doesn't a plane continue to cut into a shooting board when you're using it? That's a good question. The plane itself prevents it.

Glory, thy name is Unifence

I recently upgraded the rip fence on my Unisaw, installing a Delta Unifence with 50 in. of rip capacity. The fence has made such a huge improvement, it's like I bought a new saw.

CNC is Knocking on Your Shop Door. Will You Answer?

Four tool makers have introduced CNC machines sized for the small shop. They're cool, but do they make sense in a hobby or small professional shop?

IWF Alert: Ready-to-assemble furniture contest awards student creativity

Woodlinks USA hosted a student contest at the 2010 IWF in Atlanta that challenged student woodworkers to design and make a piece of RTA furniture.

IWF Alert: Fine Woodworking interviews Tommy MacDonald

Fine Woodworking editor Asa Christiana interviews Tommy MacDonald at the 2010 IWF. They discuss how Tommy got into woodworking, his new show, Rough Cuts, and Norm Abram.

IWF Alert: Video: New Rikon jointer/planer is a quick change

Rikon's 12 in. jointer/planer combination machine has big capacity and faster turn over. Watch contributing editor Rollie Johnson review its highlights.

IWF Alert: WoodRiver planes, take three

When they first came out, WoodRiver planes had a few problems. But Woodcraft, the company behind them, has made an effort to improve the manufacturing process. We'll have a review of them soon.

IWF Alert: Tiny router bits do delicate work for boxmakers

Amana has a new set of very small bearing-guided router bits (the bearing is just 3/16 in. diameter) that cut profiles proportioned for boxes and other small pieces.

Steam bending simplified

Recently, I was making new counters for my kitchen and ran into a problem. The cherry edging wouldn't bend around two tight curves at one end, so off I went into the shop to give steam bending a try (for the first time). Watch the video to see how things went.

Watch the preview of Tommy Mac's new woodworking show

WGBH has posted a preview of Tommy MacDonald's new woodworking series, Rough Cuts. Watch the video here at

Practice your dovetails while making dinner

Former Center for Furniture Craftsmanship student Georgia Dent practices her dovetails in the kitchen using apples and sweet potatoes, and her mortise-and-tenons with watermelon. This is a great video.

Mildly humorous parody of The New Yankee Workshop

I stumbled across a parody of The New Yankee Workshop on YouTube. It's called The Old Crankee Workshop, and I found it mildly humorous. I hope it brings a smile to your face.

Do woodworkers hold the key to a quick clean-up of the gulf oil spill?

Frequent contributor Doug Stowe has found that sawdust absorbs water-borne oil, making it easy to scoop out of the water. Is this the solution BP needs to clean up the mess they've made in the Gulf of Mexico?

Who needs a saw? Just blow up the next tree you need to fell

In this video, which I first saw on Charles Neil's blog, is a riot. Two guys use explosives (denoted with a rifle) to take down two trees in the Texas wilds.

Woodcraft signs on to sponsor Tommy MacDonald's WGBH woodworking show

Woodcraft has agreed to be the sole sponsor of the show for three years. Filming has already begun and should debut (nationwide) in the Fall.

Furniture made by readers

There are over 3700 pieces in our online Readers Gallery. It''s a good place to go for inspiration. Here are some of my favorites.

Homemade Horizontal Router Table

We get some pretty interesting items in the mail, but this homemade horizontal router table really takes the cake!

Furniture show in NYC this weekend (May 15-18)

The International Contemporary Furniture Fair is this weekend at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City. The Furniture Society will be there. So too will upcoming Fine Woodworking author Judson Beaumont.

My son's first woodworking project

I helped my son (4 yrs. old) make his first woodworking project over the weekend. What was it? A workbench for his favorite baby.

BOOK GIVEAWAY: 500 Tables (Updated with winner)

Whoever writes the best caption for a photo of FWW author Gregory Paolini (as decided by me) wins a copy of "500 Tables: Interpretations of Function and Style."

Updated: Build-Your-Own Power Tool Plans

Take a stroll down memory lane with vintage FWW articles outlining how to build your own power tools.

Help name Tommy MacDonald's new woodworking show

My recent blog about the possibility of a new woodworking show provoked a lot of comment. Here's your chance to have a say about what the show should be named.

Shopmade bandsaw gets the job done

Mattias Wandel strikes again. You've seen his amazing jigs, now see the 18in. bandsaw he made.

Need a bandsaw? Make it!

Through the years, Fine Woodworking has published many articles detailing how to make some common woodworking machines, from bandsaws to drum sanders to tablesaws to jointers. Here's a chance to learn how to make a bandsaw.

Gallery to showcase furniture by up and coming makers

The Messler Gallery in Rockport, Maine will display work by students of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship from April 16 until May 27. The opening reception is April 16 between 5:00 and 7:00 pm and it's open to the public.

In awe of ancient trees

Wired magazine has a photo gallery of the 12 oldest trees on earth. As a woodworker, I find the trees impressive and humbling.

Tommy MacDonald and WGBH pursue a new woodworking show

Tommy MacDonald, host of the T. Chisel web videos, has struck a deal with WGBH in Boston to host a new woodworking show.

New Englanders: Here's a chance to learn about period furniture making

The New England chapter of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) will meet at the Connecticut Valley of Woodworking in Manchester, Conn.

3 exotic woods: English elm, Claro walnut, and English brown oak

I'm about to make some boxes from some fantastic wood I found while hunting at two local lumber yards. Watch a short video that shows the beauty of these pieces of English elm, Claro walnut, and English brown oak.

Two blogs focus on design

I recently discovered two blogs, both by Jamon Schlimgen (a furniture maker). In one, he is post a new design every day for a year. The other is a community blog, where all are welcome to post their designs and get feedback.

One editor's day on the road - in 28 seconds

Since the beginning, the editors of Fine Woodworking have done all of the photography for the articles that appear in magazine. Get a glimpse of what a photo shoot is like in this time-lapse video.

Bamboo bikes? You bet.

We've all seen bamboo cutting boards and bamboo flooring. The wonder grass is also strong enough to be used for bicycle tubing.

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks and Woodcraft part ways

Lie-Nielsen tools will no longer be sold by Woodcraft, but the Maine toolmaker has begun to set up authorized dealers where customers will be able to use the tools before buying.

How to groove the back of a curved drawer front

I needed to groove the back of some curved drawer fronts. Check out the solution I came up with.

How do you hang a handsaw?

I built my tool cabinet with the intention of hanging saws in the doors. Now, many years after finishing the cabinet, I've finally hung my saws. Take a look at how I've done it.

Dovetailed drawers are overrated

Most woodworkers consider dovetailed drawers the pinnacle of design and joinery. I like them too, but other joints are just as "fine" and you shouldn't be afraid to use them.

Cool homemade carving machine

We were sent a link to this video of a homemade carving machine made by a fellow in Germany. It is set up to carve copies of an original, using a router as the carving tool.

New addition to my tool collection

I just bought my first jointer, a 6-in. Delta made in 1959. It's a real cast iron beauty.

How to make a bandsaw in a pinch

I needed to rough out some curves recently, but I don't have a bandsaw. See how I turned a jigsaw into a bandsaw using a few screws and piece of plywood.

Shop made grooving planes

I don't like grooving small drawer and tray parts at the router table or tablesaw. So I made a pair of small grooving planes to do it instead.

Call for Submissions: Get design help from Fine Woodworking and Hank Gilpin

Four readers will have their designs critiqued by furniture designer and maker Hank Gilpin. Do you want to be one of them? If so, send us pictures of your work.

Working with reclaimed lumber, part 4

The box I've been working on is finally done. Take a look at how it turned out.

A glue bottle turns out to be quite useful

I recently bought a needle nosed glue squeeze bottle and it's turned out to be more useful than I anticipated.

Working with reclaimed lumber, part 3

Construction the box and trays is done. See how I made all of the small parts for the trays, and get a preview of my latest shooting board.

Working with reclaimed lumber, part 2

I've made the box and the first tray. Watch the tray float down into the box.

Working with reclaimed lumber

Follow along as I make a box using lumber reclaimed from a stud in my 100 year old house.

My day with Roy Underhill

I recently spent a day with Roy Underhill, taking photographs for an upcoming article. And I got to use a treadle tablesaw.

Broken power tool: Junk it or fix it?

Let's say the brushes on your router's motor are shot. What do you do: replace the brushes or buy a new router?

Why Yes, I am a Dandy Woodworker

A reader sent us a letter complaining about the cover of Fine Woodworking #205. He thinks that the bloke pictured, me, is a dandy and not an accurate representation of woodworkers.

Fred: A Joint by Hank Gilpin

Take a look at this innovative trestle table joint that does the work of a wedged through tenon but is much easier to make

Behind the scenes at a video workshop

Take a look at what happens behind the camera when we film a video workshop. In this case, it's for a garden bench of my own design.

A rest stop for woodworkers

The Vermont welcome center in Guilford (I-91) is the best one I've ever been to. It's clean, gorgeous, and has custom furniture on display.

Now This is a Big Slab of Wood

Check out this massive piece of Kauri. Not only is it 4 in. thick, 5 ft. wide, and 40 ft. long, it also is around 50,000 years old!

Old school woodworking: American style

Check out this movie that explains various fields in "woodworking." Seems to have been shown in shop classes well back in the day.

The Faces of Woodworking

Some of my favorite pictures never made it into the pages of Fine Woodworking. Take a look at a few of them.

Fine Woodworking Author Quoted in New York Times

A recent NY Times article discusses the importance of working with your hands, and Doug Stowe is quoted by the author.

First project, last project

Take a look at my first woodworking project, and then my latest.

My Cuban mahogany adventure

While working on an article, I found a few guys selling Cuban mahognay. I bought two pieces and they arrived this week. This is a truly spectacular wood.

Fine Woodworking comes to Twitter

Editor Matt Kenney has opened a Twitter account to give an inside view of what it's like to work at Fine Woodworking, to get ideas for articles, and to discuss woodworking generally

Swirling wood sculptures have me mesmerized

I like my woodworking functional. No seats that can't be sat in for me, thank you. But these walls sculptures have opened a whole new arena of function for me: enjoyment.

Young woodworkers make beautiful furniture

Although still young, these two furniture makers produce stunning pieces. One does period and period inspired work, the other contemporary.

Under a Road with Hank Gilpin

Hank Gilpin does more than design and make beautiful furniture. Take a look at this tunnel under a road he designed. That's right, a tunnel under a road.

Truly old school woodworking

Check out this silent film of Swedish woodworkers making wooden shoes, a spoon, and a chair.

A man and his jointer

Tony O'Malley's 1940s Oliver jointer is proof that woodworking machines can be works of art.

New video workshop: My massive bench

Take a peek at my new workbench. You can get a better look at how I built it in an upcoming Video Workshop on Fine Woodworking Online.

Tablesaw upgrades

Take a look at how I spent my weekend: rewiring my tablesaw, which is more a job than you might think.

Tablesaw techniques I wouldn't recommend

Take a look at how this guy starts his tablesaw, and then crosscuts some plywood. It's scary.

Inexpensive furniture woods

Tell the editors at Fine Woodworking about your favorite low-price furniture woods.

Big shock from new router

I bought a new router, and it's not as powerful as the box claims.

Woodworking with Ugly Men

I've built things from wood most of my life, but it wasn't until I met Joe Mazurek, a self-proclaimed ugly man, that I really learned how to make furniture.

Woodworking, Doughnuts, and Bacon

Sometimes, woodworking makes you so hungry you'll eat anything, perhaps even a doughnut with bacon on it.

My first turning

Take a look at this little vase I turned recently.

Fun reading for the lover of wood

Spike Carlsen's new book is a collection of interesting stories about wood.

Old tools for a young man

Find out about some nice old tools I picked up on a recent trip to Maine.

Expanding Dining Table

I made this table from my own design, but it's clearly Shaker influenced. In these photos, both leaves are in. I made the slides too (they're like big sliding dovetails). The base was my first...

My daughter's crib

I built this on the 2 ft. by 10 ft. balcony off the back of the apartment we used to live in. I used a plunge router and benchtop tablesaw. I designed it myself. I bought the maple surfaced on both...

Tool Cabinet

After my daughter's crib, this was the first piece of furniture I ever built. It has my first dovetails and first verneer work. It's walnut, ash, and maple burl veneer. The secondary wood is poplar...

Recent comments

Re: Mind bending grain wrap for your next box


To make more boxes, start with a longer, not thicker, board. However, a quick run through my head comes up four boxes as the max for this technique. But I could be missing something.


Re: Sometimes hand tools cut the joint faster and easier

The last two comments are by far the two most reasonable. Thank you for posting them.


Re: Sometimes hand tools cut the joint faster and easier

I disagree that the router table technique I use is as far from the hand tools techniques. First, there are no jigs involved--just the router table and its fence. The technique you suggest involves jigs. Techniques involving jigs (for either hand tools or power tools) are inherently more complicated than those that do not involve jigs. I can rout stopped dadoes for a small wall cabinet on the router table much, much quicker than I could, as you suggest, give some forethought to a very specialized jig, construct it, and the rout the dadoes,and then store it in hopes that it would be suitable for another project down the road. That, I believe, puts your suggested technique further from the hand tools route than my router table technique. In other words, based on my experience in the shop. The router table technique I use is fast, accurate, and better than than the T-square technique. So, I must still disagree. I have not offered up a straw man argument.

(Stated more abstractly and pedantically: I'm contesting the truth of one of your premises. And, as I'm sure you know, if you have a false premise, then your argument is not cogent.)

But I suppose this brings up a larger point. The proximity of various woodworking techniques to one another depends upon the perspective from which you view them, and the criteria used to judge them. You and I, I think, don't agree on the criteria, and aren't looking from the same vantage point. C'est la vie.


Re: Sometimes hand tools cut the joint faster and easier

Yes, the old t-square and handheld router. Those work OK on larger parts, like the parts in full-size furniture. But in my experience making small cabinets like these--and I've made a lot of them--the t-square and router are not a good option. Because everything is so small, it's not easy to get the workpiece and jig clamped down tightly, and with no clamps in the way of the router. So you end up with dadoes that aren't perfectly square or aren't aligned to one another. The router table method I describe in the linked blog is a much better technique for small parts in my experience. So, I don't agree that the router table technique is a straw man.


Re: How to cut stopped dadoes with a router table

I only have 7 fingers, but that's all I was born with.

Re: STL 64: Lie-Nielsen's Epic Open House


We will continue to have author interviews on the podcast, but they are a bit more difficult to get than you might think. Authors actually don't come to our office very often. Roland Johnson is here about once a year. Richard Raffan was a very unique situation. All of the other author interviews have been done at their shops. We get them when we travel for photo shoots. That means that author interviews are dependent upon who is traveling, when, and whether or not an interview can be squeezed into the time allotted for the photo shoot. (And, of course, whether or not the author agrees to be interviewed.)


Re: Bowfront Jewelry Cabinet

Hmmm. Looks vaguely familiar. Nice work.

Re: Shaker barn inspires a turned box

DanM: I've been making the boxes in three sizes. 3 in. dia. by 1 3/4 in. tall, 4 in. dia. by 2 in. tall, and 5 in. dia. by 2 1/4 in. tall. That walls sides are 1/4 in. thick, and the rabbet for the top is 1/16 in. wide by 1/4 in. deep.

mainerustic: You're correct, I turned them on my lathe, using a very simple hollowing tool for the inside


Re: STL 59: No Such Thing as Too Many Tools

We did miss that the PM 87 runs at speeds fast enough for wood. However, even knowing that, I still wouldn't recommend it as a first bandsaw for someone just getting into the craft, or someone, like the person who asked the question, who hasn't even begun to pursue woodworking in earnest. The vast majority of the folks who do woodworking today--folks who have shops in the garages, do it as a hobby, etc.--simply do not need a 20 in. bandsaw, regardless of how heavy it is, how well made it is, and lovely an example of old iron it is. I know some excellent furniture makers who do astounding work with 14 in. bandsaws.

In the end the gentleman who asked the question and anyone else in his position should do exactly what we advised. Start building things before you begin to buy big pieces of machinery. Knowledge, skill, and experience are far more valuable tools than any piece of machinery.

Re: Matt Kenney's Ultimate Jig

That's how I danced at my wedding. I just didn't have a gut then.

Re: Make a sled that handles both square and miter cuts


The original sled is still square after 2+ years. It's not going out of square as long as you always push in line with the miter bar (which you should be doing anyway).


Re: Shop Talk Live 7: Mike Gets Crickets


send me an email and I can send you some pictures of the one we have in the shop. mkenney at taunton dot com.

Re: What Really Happens on a Fine Woodworking Photo Shoot

whoee, boys, that was some mighty fine a picking and a singing.

Re: Shop Talk Live 7: Mike Gets Crickets


Sadly, that miter gauge is no longer available. I mentioned that I felt bad for even talking about it because it isn't sold anymore, but it's such a great design. I wish someone would make a similar miter gauge again.

Thanks for listening (and watching in this case).


Re: STL 49: Power Tool Power


The stones that Lee Valley sells are the Sigma Power Select II stones. I bought the Sigma Power stones. They names are confusing, but they are two different sets of stone. Chris Gochnour also reviewed the Select II stones when he reviewed the Power stones.


Re: Wedge is the secret to perfect angled mortise-and-tenon joints


I'm sure this technique could be applied to the chair style you describe. I'd need to know more about the legs, stretchers, etc. to determine exactly how it should be done.


Re: Wedge is the secret to perfect angled mortise-and-tenon joints

I'll absolutely post photos of the interior when I'm done--in January. We'll probably do a video tour of it.

Re: Wedge is the secret to perfect angled mortise-and-tenon joints


That's right. Because the cut in step 5 isn't a through cut you can use the miter gauge and rip fence together. Also, I'm using a dado set, which is turning the waste into dust. There is no offcut to get trapped.


Re: Shop Talk Live 41: Ask a Rocket Scientist

I also vote to ban Matt from the show.

Re: My brand new 100 year old jointer

The stone wall is the original foundation for my house. My shop is in the garage, which was added to the house decades after it was built. It's a great wall. The rest of the shop isn't as cool. I wish it were!


Re: My brand new 100 year old jointer

The stone wall is the original foundation for my house. My shop is in the garage, which was added to the house decades after it was built. It's a great wall. The rest of the shop isn't as cool. I wish it were!


Re: 3 questions with Phil Lowe

I'm responsible for "vice" instead of "vise," not Phil. He certainly knows his way around a vise. Me? Just vices.

Also, I don't see anywhere in Phil's answers where he says that carpenters are not as good as craftsman as furniture makers. And I don't think he is implying that. It's Saturday morning. Relax. Enjoy life.

Re: Shop sawn veneer without a drum sander


As long as there is adequate support under the top, then it doesn't matter which one you use. However, I would probably opt for a high quality baltic birch plywood. Plywood holds screws much better than MDF and I assume you're going to screw the top to the base in some fashion. Also, high quality plywood won't have any voids in it.


Re: Shop sawn veneer without a drum sander


Good question, and I should have been more clear about this. I am actually veneering both sides of the plywood. Definitely do both, or it will warp. Sorry for not saying that in the blog.

Re: Use wedges to edge glue thin boards


Just make sure you glue the walnut veneers down to a piece of walnut. If all of the grain runs in the same direction, then you won't have any problems.


Re: Shop sawn veneer without a drum sander


I use a vacuum press for all of my veneering. I have the Vac Pro Plus kit vacuum press from It works great. If you have a big enough compressor, you can use a bag up to 4 ft. by 9 ft.


Re: Shop Talk Live 29: Secrets for Sharp Blades and Perfect Plane Irons


I should have dropped a mention of eating donuts at Tim Horton's while reading the flyer. And told a few stories about poutine!

Re: Reclaimed Rocker - Part 3

That's fantastic news John. Congratulations!

Re: A Nutty Alternative to SawStop Technology

yes, I've been called a geek. But that's OK. There's nothing wrong with a strong devotion to the truth.

Re: A Nutty Alternative to SawStop Technology

I'd like to send that guy a bandsaw. Now, for more important issues, NASA never spent any money developing a pen that would write in space. It's an urban legend. The pen you are speaking of is the Fisher space pen (a great pen, by the way), which was developed by Paul Fisher. He developed the pen independently, without any government funding. After he had developed it, he approached NASA about it and they began to use it. Prior to that, they had used pencils. The Soviet space agency also began to use the pen.

Why not stick with pencils? Here's why: "the substantial dangers that broken-off pencil tips and graphite dust pose in zero gravity to electronics and the flammable nature of the wood present in pencils."

Re: Plane Irons and Chisels Need a Flat, Polished Back

I edited the print article that this blog is based on. I'm sorry that some of the artwork (that shows the grits used) did not make it into the blog. Here they are: 150, 320, 600, 1000, 1500, 2000. However, I would point out that if you look at the photographs on this page, all of the grits are identified on the granite that Chris uses. Of course, we still should have included them somewhere more explicit. I'll ask the web producers to make a note in the blog itself.

As for not covering the rest of the sharpening process, we didn't do that because article, which ran in the section of the magazine called Handwork, is solely about flattening the back. It's a very detailed look at the technique that Chris Gochnour uses. We have run many, many articles about grinding and honing the bevel through the years, so we decided to focus only on the back this time.

Matt K.

Re: Shop Talk Live 25: Time for a New Monster Workbench?


I actually never attached the top. It doesn't move around on me. However, if I were to attach it, I'd just send a lag screw up through the top cross member on the trestle legs and into the benchtop. You could do one right in the middle, or you could do two. One on the front apron side and one on the back side. For the one on the back side, make the hole in the cross member elongated so that the top can expand and contract.


Re: Chopping mortises in absurdly narrow stock


Although I wouldn't have done the mortises as Kaare did, neither of us has the same constraints on his technique as Kaare does. Recall that he is working as cabinetmakers did in the 18th century. What Kaare is doing is generally faster than drilling out the waste with a brace and bit and then squaring up the mortise. It's probably easier to get an accurate (i.e., square) mortise his way, too. Of course, if the cabinetmaker had a drill press available to him in the 18th century (or, even better, a hollow chisel mortiser), things would be different.

Re: Make a rabbet with a handplane


That's a good question. The rabbet plane that Mack was using did not have a fence. And if memory serves me right, most wooden rabbet planes do not have fences. Fillister planes do, and you could use one of those to make a rabbet.


I suppose one could make that technical distinction between a marking and cutting gauge. Blogs are fairly casual, so I didn't. As for this not being the correct type of gauge for marking along the grain, I disagree. I always use a cutting gauge for marking and never have a problem with it following the grain. In fact, my experience with pin gauges has been that they do follow the grain. That's why I started making my own gauges and always use a cutter.


Nice eye catching that one mistake with your/you're in the caption. When I was a professor, though, I always tried to be as charitable as I could to my students. I'm confident that both the writer and editor of this blog (the same guy, me) know the difference between "your" and "you're" (after all, I got it right in every other instance). Sadly, such knowledge doesn't always prevent a typo from slipping through. But that's one of the many hazards of being human.


Re: How to make a "solid wood" top from plywood

Jasonhass: I make my own glue size by mixing yellow glue 50/50 with water. I got that ratio from the folks at Titebond (we ran a Q&A about this a year or so ago). I put it on the joints and let it dry overnight. The glue size is pulled into the fibers and drys there. That prevents the fibers from absorbing the glue when I apply it the next day.

Nathan_C: I could be wrong about this but racking is a force that is applied to a piece of furniture by an outside agent, like your uncle leaning back in his chair after thanksgiving dinner, or everyone using the dinner table as a rest/push off when they get up. I don't think this table, meant for a hall or behind a couch, would experience that type of racking. Would the joints hold up to someone really pushing on one end of the table? Not if they really wanted to tear the table apart, but I don't think that's the table's fault.

Re: Shop Talk Live 8: Just a Splash of Water


I don't think the show needs to be live. We're not doing it live anymore, as a matter of fact (but we do treat is as live, so there are no second takes). However, a taped video production is a ton of work and involves more people (and a lot more time--editing alone would slow everything way down) than the current show does.

Live also has the advantage of being more "lively." keep in mind that we're not professional "talent." So, we do a better job of being natural, of being ourselves when it's live (and there's no second chance).

But to focus more on your question. I think that video (live or taped) is exponentially more complicated than just audio. That's the sticky widget for us right now. At some point down the road we might be able to justify the time, effort, and expense of a full-on video show (I'd love that), but not right now.


Re: Shop Talk Live 8: Just a Splash of Water


Thanks for the input on the video. I don't know if it's gone forever (I'd have to talk to the others about that) and I'm sure we'll discuss the reaction so far. For the time being, though, it's audio only.

Personally, I think the problem with the video was that we were making a show that was more audio than video. So, the video portion was pretty boring and static. The whiteboard was nice. So, too, was the ability to show you a piece of furniture and discuss it's design. However, the rest of the time is was just some goofy looking guys sitting at a bench. I'd love to make a true video show (a TV show, really) and be able to move about the shop to different machines, demonstrating techniques, etc. But that level of mobility with a camera, especially live, is a huge step up from what we had going on. At any rate, we hear what you're saying.

Re: Fine Woodworking On the Road: Come out and see us

I see that many of you live in areas where none of us are teaching or making appearances. In a way, I'm glad that you're upset. It means you want us to come out your way! But I'm bummed, too. I wish I could come out West, or Southwest, or Midwest to teach. I'm sure the other folks listed here do too. But it's not entirely up to us. Basically, we show up where we're invited. If you'd like one of our authors to come to your area, the best thing you can do is call your local school or club and tell them you'd like Garrett, Michael, Peter, Teri, or Jeff to teach there or come out for a visit.

Re: Build a Tablesaw Sled for Precision Miters

Perhaps I'm just quicker because I've made a lot of sleds this way. But, really, it took me 5 minutes to make it. I wouldn't misrepresent that for sake of making it more sensational, which really amounts to lying. However, I the sense you're joking, so no worries.

Re: Using end grain to make drawer front veneers


I used Waterlox on the cherry. The drawer fronts and pulls only have Renaissance wax on them. I tested out other finishes, but they all darkened the end grain fronts too much and neutralized the color variation between the growth rings. It ended up looking a lot like the cherry. The wax did not alter the color at all and is fine here, because they won't be handled much and aren't in a high water area (like a bathroom).


Re: How to make a sacrificial rip fence that never wears out


I guess that second photo is a bit misleading. I would never have my hand there while cutting. That photo is meant to show the correct setup for the blade and fence. I'll add a note to the caption that goes along with it.


Re: Using end grain to make drawer front veneers

I'll gladly post back in a year or so, after the first winter. If I don't remember, feel free to email me (mkenney at taunton dot com). Our house is not air conditioned and we rely on a woodstove to help heat the downstairs (where the cabinet is) during the winter. Contraction might be an issue then.

Re: How to make a sacrificial rip fence that never wears out


Thanks for the comments. To answer a few questions:

1. Sorry about misspelling Norm's last name. And yes, it should be "above the teeth," not "about the teeth."

2. In response to MDCustom: Although there is always a space beneath this type of fence, it is not the same as the space cut by the blade. First of all, the fence is located vertically so that the workpiece is always in contact with it. If you raise the blade into a sacrificial fence and then lower it, there is a circular cutout in the fence that's bigger than the exposed blade and and among the dangers that creates is the possibility that the leading corner of the workpiece could create the lip of that circular space after it has passed through the blade, which would twist the workpiece and perhaps cause a kickback.

3. In response to Sapwood: I have never had a problem with this technique for cutting tenons. I simply mill my rails and stiles all at the same time. They all end up the same thickness. So, it's no problem to flip them to get a centered tenon and still have the parts line up. In just the past few months I've made 20+ kitchen cabinet doors and 2 large screen doors this way and they all came out flat, properly aligned and square.

4. In response to Sapwood: A fence may not be required here, but it sure does make everything easier.

Re: How to make a sacrificial rip fence that never wears out


The backer board does get cut, but becomes a zero-clearance fence for that particular set up, so there's not tearout on the workpiece.


Technically, I suppose you are right. But I thought that the term would clearly express what I was talking about as opposed to coming up with some other term.

Re: Shop Talk Live 1: The Big Debut

There are grits of sandpaper that can polish equally to an 8000 grit stones. I used them when I first started woodworking.

Re: Get your internet hands on an old woodworking magazine


If you're a member of the website, you already have access to a digital version of the magazine. Just click on the "member page" link in the upper right hand corner of the screen.

Re: Chris Gochnour's technique for inlaying stringing

I checked the table of contents from FWW #225 (the issue that has this article in it). The blurb that mentions this online extra (p.6) does not mention a video, nor does the online extra box in the article itself (p.52). In both cases, the text reads "Learn how ..."

I don't recall the eletter, but I'll look into it.

Re: Chris Gochnour's technique for inlaying stringing


I'm sorry there is no video and I apologize if we somehow gave the impression there would be one. If you let me know where you saw mention of a video, I'll look into it. There was never supposed to be one. These photos are taken from the photo shoot I did with Chris for the article. We ran 10 pages on the table in the magazine and it still wasn't enough space!

As for the wood, the primary wood is African mahogany and the stringing is some type of Rosewood or Cocobolo. Both would give the same look.

Re: I built a lumber rack one morning - Now I have a lumber problem


Stickering lumber (those spacers are called stickers) is important when the lumber is drying and/or acclimating to your shop. After that, I'm not so sure. I haven't hand any problems with my wood warping, cupping, bowing, or twisting. The key is to give a level, flat surface to rest on. My joists are spaced so that those brackets are more like 36 in. apart. That's more than I'd like (24 in.), but it was the best I could do without adding another 4 vertical supports. If I need to, I'll add some stringers between the brackets to help support the boards.

Re: I built a lumber rack one morning - Now I have a lumber problem

Sure you can store it there. Just be aware of the service "charge" I impose!

Re: Successful first try at breadboard ends

Looks great Tom. I really like how the room turned out, too.

Re: The life and times of a Fine Woodworking photo prop

Thanks for the nice comments. It is fairly large. (Kelly isn't as tall as I am, but he's certainly not tiny!) All of the case joint are dowel joints. I did it that way for a couple of reasons. First, I'd never done it before and I wanted to see how it worked. It turned out to be very easy and plenty strong enough. (If it's good enough for Krenov, it's good enough for me.) Normally, I attach an overhanging top/bottom with a sliding dovetail. Second, I was in a hurry, and it's a fast joint.

And pitbull, I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the DT spacing.

Re: Video Workshops: This is how we do it


Now that I've seen this video, I think the price on that used router just went up significantly! Kidding of course, I'd should lower it seeing as you haven't posted any of the ridiculous stuff I did on film during that week.


Re: Six Board Blanket Chest


Matt here. The mill did kiln dry the boards. And there were a lot of boards in the 20 in. wide range, both 4/4 and 8/4. It was really a once in a lifetime deal for us.

Re: Quick and Easy Lumber Rack - Part 1

This is just part 1. John has part 2 in the works, I'm sure.

Re: Simple fixture flattens curved drawer fronts for joinery


Thanks for the ideas. A shoulder plane actually won't work on 1/2 of the rabbets, because the angle of the rabbet's corner is less than 90 degrees. As for a coach plane, I don't have one and I've never seen one out in the wilds. And by the time I track one down or make one, I would have blown past the grooves many weeks before using my method. I'm all for using handtools--and I rely on them heavily in my shop--but I don't use them just to use them. I use them when they are practical. And a coach plane is not a practical solution in this case (at least not for the overwhelming majority of woodworkers).


Re: Why Yes, I am a Dandy Woodworker

Regarding the cleanliness of the shops in the magazine, we often hear the same objection, that real shops don't look that nice, clean, organized, etc. Are there dirty shops out there? Of course. However, I've come to realize that professional woodworkers (and many of our authors are) tend to keep clean, organized shops all the time, because a dirty one would make them less efficient and would make it harder to get the job done. The hobbyist shops I've been into are by and large clean, too. And we don't send any rules or instructions to our authors.


Re: Routing grooves in curved drawers, part 2

Sorry guys. Just a boring spelling mistake. Sometimes I type too fast for my own good.

Re: Build a Tablesaw Sled for Precision Miters


Thanks for posting your experience. I'm glad the sled has proved useful.


Re: Build a Tablesaw Sled for Precision Miters


I'm a big advocate of shooting boards. I use mine all the time, and you might recall my article in FWW #214 where I show how I made it (and two other bench jigs) and how I use them. Also, I used to think that the tablesaw wasn't a precision tool. I was wrong. I set mine up properly, got a good fence and some great blades and use the appropriate jigs where they are needed. This sled is an example. It cuts dead accurate miters. I use miters straight from this sled to make boxes and they are perfectly square. However, when I need to fine tune a miter, I use my shooting board, because I take off the thinnest of shavings one at a time.


Re: Build a Tablesaw Sled for Precision Miters


Good question. This sled is for case miters, like those found at the corners of a box, and are usually several inches across. As jlanc57 pointed out, they are typically too tall to run past the blade on edge (against a fence that is 45 degrees to the blade, which would be at 90 degrees). As for setting the blade to 45 degrees. It doesn't take any test cuts. I use the head of my 12 in. combination square to set the blade's angle. As long as you have a good one, there shouldn't be any problem. A digital gauge is unnecessary. And a good 12 in. combination square is useful for so many things.

As for getting that second screw set, if you run into trouble, just pull it out and put in somewhere else. Don't try to reuse the same hole. It will just continue to pull the fence out of square. However, I recommend that you re-check the fence for square after you have it clamped down but before you drive the second screw. That's what I do and I don't have any trouble getting the fence screwed down square.


Re: Build a Super-Precise Tablesaw Crosscut Sled

Thanks for all of the comments. Yes, I am using aluminum and not steel. I made a change to the text. And I'm using a 12 in. combination square to square the fence. It looks short because I have some of the blade on both sides of the kerf. I find it easier to hold the fence square when I do that way. And there are a ton of ways to make a sled. I've made a lot this way (for square and miter cuts) and it's always proven to be simple, fast, and accurate. So, I thought I'd share.


Re: Turning Around America

Nice post Doug. I'm glad there are folks like Beth and you out there teaching the craft to the next generation.

Re: Father's Day Must-Have Woodworking Gifts

Hey Tom,

Although I appreciate kingmason looking out for my financial well-being, please don't buy me the granite surfacing plate sold at Woodcraft. It's not the same size as the one I want (too small) and won't work for the way that I grind. Of course, I could get two from Woodcraft and have the same surface area as the one from Grizzly!


Re: Curved drawer fronts: how to cut them to length and rout drawer bottom grooves

jazzflute: I've got another blog coming to explain how I cut the drawer front blanks into small drawer fronts. I did use the same fence for my miter gauge.

msdr: I am aware of the bit from Lee Valley, but I don't think it's a better solution in this case. First, I don't fancy routing the a small drawer that's held together by a band clamp (these drawers have a curved front and traditional clamps wouldn't work to hold it together). And if I were to do the drawer front by itself, with no fence, then I'd need to balance a workpiece much taller than it is wide on the narrow edge--not a good idea. And it's really not difficult to get the grooves in the sides to line up with the one in the front.

Also, the fence has the added benefits of covering the majority of the bit during operation and dust collection.

Re: Just Plane Trivia: Why Do They Call It a Frog?


I would object to how you've portrayed me in this blog if it weren't so accurate!


Re: Router Injury Sparks Reflection on Safety

I should clarify that I was using a trim router to do this. It is common to use them one handed. And I have profiled the edge of many pieces that weren't clamped down. However, even if the piece were clamped down it wouldn't have a difference. The accident didn't happen because of the workpiece. It wasn't involved at all.

Re: Use wedges to edge glue thin boards


Good question. I didn't use MDF. That's hardboard and I covered the side touching the boards (and glue) with packing tape, so it doesn't stick to the squeeze out.


Re: Box design, with a little help from my friends


The box is 2 in. tall by 5 in. wide by 8 in. long. However, when I make this box, I typically just size it to the material that I have on hand, so it could be a bit shorter, narrower, or not as long. As for the inserts (I'm guessing that you mean the fabric ones inside the box), those are just fabric glued down to foam. In this case, the foam is 1/2 in. thick. I get it at the fabric store my wife goes to, but I think you should be able to buy it any fabric store and perhaps crafts supply stores, too. I use spray glue, the kind you can buy at Home Depot, Lowes, etc.


I'll ask John again, but it might that neither one of us remembers! Thanks for the compliments.

Re: We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

What? Only 675 entries? Doesn't anybody want these things? Just kidding of course. Great job every body. Of course, I had no idea that groovy could be worked into so many different statements. And oh, thanks to everyone for pointing out all of my shortcomings (farmer's tan, baldness, ugly plaid shirt, etc.). Remind me not to invite you folks over on a regular basis!

Re: We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

Walnut shavings from plywood? That's not walnut. It's English Elm. And it's an old alchemy trick I learned in school that lets me turn birch ply into imported English elm. Of course, I can't share that trick with you.

Re: We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

Nice work so far folks. Keep them coming.

Re: We're Giving Away Grooving Planes!

None taken. I was the third of four children. I can definitely take some good natured (and not-so-good-natured) abuse.

Re: madrone sideboard

Of the two choices you offer I would pick barrel, so that the grain looks like sets of parentheses. A door always looks better when the grain encircles the frame. But if I had my choice, it would all be straight grain. Of course, that might not be an option.

Good luck.

Re: Furniture show in NYC this weekend (May 15-18)

Sorry for not responding sooner. I wish I'd get email notifications of new comments! There is no template for the Cindy dresser (at least not one available outside of Judson's shop). If you guys post some specific questions here, I'll ask Judson. In the meantime, have you read his article in FWW #217. We show him making this dresser in that article. There are no drawings or plans, but it does show the process.

As for constraints, I think he would say that there aren't any.

Good luck, Matt

Re: Shop-made grooving planes


You might be the first person to buy them! Cool. The irons aren't actually short. LN made them to the exact dimensions of the irons I made for my planes, so as long as you make the same planes you'll be fine.

Good luck with the building. Matt

Re: Tour an 18th-Century Cabinet Shop


Yes, the shop is open to the public and I suspect you can hang out as long as you want.


Re: Surprise landing: Stanley's new Sweetheart chisels have arrived


Sorry I didn't answer sooner. I'm in Canada on a photo shoot and haven't been able to check the site much. I'm not saying this in a snarky way, but the box says precisely what I quoted: "Made in England with Global components." That's all I know at this point. I'll see about finding out more. I know that it is an important question to many woodworkers here in the US.


Re: Surprise landing: Stanley's new Sweetheart chisels have arrived


Current information about prices is on the way. As soon as we get it, I'll update this blog.

Re: Guild Moves to Huge New Shop

This is great news. I visited the old shop right before I started at FWW. I was teaching at Furman University and the shop was just a few miles down the road. It was a nice setup. The new one looks better. I spoke with one of their board members (at least I recall he was) that day. These guys do a ton of volunteer work around Greenville and deserve all of the good karma that comes their way.

Re: Tour an 18th-Century Cabinet Shop


Thanks for checking in. I'm glad you like the photos. I took your meaning about the panel gauge. I'll go back and edit the caption so that folks understand that it's only the design that isn't period correct. But it's nice nonetheless.


Re: Seen at Colonial Williamsburg: Japanese tools force a new stance on woodworking


Thanks for the request. As I mentioned in the blog, we'll work with Andrew to get some of his approach into the magazine. My first intention is to cover Japanese smoothing planes.

Re: Cutlists are a waste of space

I'll pass along the many request for us to include a note on the total Bd. Ft. (or pieces of sheet goods) needed for a given project. It certainly doesn't take up much space.

Also, I'm glad this has sparked so many comments. It's always a good thing to discuss topics like this. Folks who have been around for a while have their ways of working and understand how to buy lumber, but new folks don't.

I'd like to give my two cents on that topic, though. Personally, I don't find knowing the estimated number of Bd. Ft. very helpful. I don't go to the lumber yard and just pick out boards until I have the right number of Bd. Ft. (I doubt many people--if anyone-does.) Rather, I do what my friend Kelly Dunton does (I linked to his approach). I go and pick out boards that are aesthetically pleasing, have the right kind of grain and color, and will give me the parts I need. After I do that, I quickly calculate the Bd. Ft. and know exactly how much it will cost.

As for estimating the cost before I go, I must admit that I have come to a point in my woodworking where I have resolved that the cost of the wood doesn't matter. I want to make the best possible piece I can, and I'll buy the wood that is necessary.

Re: The sad (and bloody) story of what happened when I made a saw


This is no doubt a hilarious stories. I told it and showed the drawings as part of a short presentation at this years Working Wood in the 18th Century conference at Colonial Williamsburg. It got the laughs I expected. And I have no problem laughing at my own stupidity.

Re: Castor's Folly

Interesting piece. Reminds me of a piece by Judson Beaumont, who is featured in FWW 217. It's called Beaver. Check it out:

Re: The best plane for a shooting board? One that's sharp, heavy, bevel-up and comfortable to use.

You're right. I should have said "should be." I'll edit the sentence to read: "Also, the sole of the plane should be exactly 90 degrees to the side it will ride on. Otherwise, you waste time fiddling with the lateral adjust to bring the blade square to the board, especially when you've returned it to the plane after sharpening."

Now I'll offer some advice to anyone looking to get started with shooting boards and needs a plane. If you buy a new plane and its side isn't square to its sole, send it back and get another one. If you come across an old plane that's out of square, put it down and keep looking.

Re: How to Install Butt Hinges


I have felt the pain of expensive hinges many times. And I wouldn't be surprised if stamped, non-mortise hinges from a hardware store were extremely durable. However, neither point would sway me away from buying pricey, solid brass hinges for my cabinets. Here's why. They look better. (I suppose I should add "at least in my opinion" to satisfy those who think beauty is only in the eye of the beholder. I'm not one of them, though.) After spending a big chunk of money on lumber that I took great pains to pick out, and then spending a lot of time selecting grain for every part, milling them all with the greatest care, carefully cutting joints, lovingly prepping the surface for a finish, and finally putting a finish on, I simply cannot buy unattractive hinges to save a few bucks. Money isn't the most important thing. Beauty is.

Re: Inlay tools

Great work. And horribly left handed. I love it.

Re: Show us your shop-made hand tools


Absolutely. I would love the gallery to continuously expand, so post photos whenever you make a new tool.


Re: Comfortable Seat for Two


I don't know the specifics of how she makes them, but my guess is that she bandsaws out the curve and them smooths is. They were made from solid wood.

Good luck.

Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?


I wouldn't try to modify the Hock shoulder plane. You'd have to grind the blade and modify the body. By the time you've done that, you've essentially done all of the work you would have done to make one yourself. However, you don't need to go old school to make a molding plane. The style that Clark & Williams make are very nice, but also tough to make. Instead, make one using the building technique made popular by James Krenov. David Finck recently did an article explaining how to make a smoothing plane that way (in FWW #196, "Wooden Planes Made Easy"). I've used that technique to make molding style planes. It works. You can use the iron blanks sold by Lie-Nielsen.


Re: Small box was fun (and quick) to make


I did use a finish: just a single coat of Tried & True boiled linseed oil. I hope the gauge works well for you. Matt

Re: Does MDF Belong in Fine Furniture?


I'll have to check with Michael to see if he uses MDF. I'm familiar with a lot of his work and most, if not all, of his veneering deals with curved panels. And he uses various kinds of flexible plywood for that. However, I do know that Thomas Schrunk recommends MDF over plywood for veneering. He has written for us about veneering and veneering is his primary business.

As for whether MDF can be used to make fine furniture, I'd say absolutely. Fine furniture is not a product of the material or the construction techniques. Its a product of a designer. In other words, if you give MDF to the right designer, he or she will produce fine furniture. It might not be traditional, but traditional isn't the same thing as fine. (I've seen tons of traditionally made furniture that was far from fine.)

Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?


It all comes down to the cutting angle. The two most popular bevel-up metal body shoulder planes (LN and LV) have cutting angles of 43 and 40 degrees respectively. The Hock plane is bevel-down, but is bedded at 37 1/2 degrees, so it's cutting angle is 37 1/2 degrees. That's almost 5 degrees lower than the LN! That surprised me when I first did the comparison. In theory the Hock should handle end grain better because of its lower angle. However, a bevel-up plane works (at least in theory) end grain a bit better. Based on experience--I've used all three--there isn't a bad choice among them. I'd say let ergonomics, ease of use, etc. be you deciding factor.


Re: Shellac, the last "brittle" finish?


I was shocked (and I'm still annoyed) that I can't buy solvent-based varnish here in CT. I used to make my own wiping varnish for table tops other high use areas on furniture. However, there has been one good consequence stemming from the void:I know use shellac for my furniture. And I couldn't be happier.

Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?

Check that, I meant to say I'm not defending the price.

Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?

Listen, I'm defending the price. I'm just pointing out that there is more to it than you suggested. And if you really want to be fair to Hock Tools, make sure you factor in the cost of the time you spend buying, milling, and otherwise working the wood to get to the point they do. The cost of anything involves more than just the cost of the raw material. There is the labor, too. That's part of the reason a tool made overseas can cost much less than the same tool made here in the US.

Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?


I did not chamfer the edges. I think that's just a trick of the lights.


Re: Build Your Own Shoulder Plane: Does this Kit Pass the Test?


I'm sorry I wasn't clearer in my post. I actually didn't get 3 scraps of wood and piece of metal from Hock Tools. The kit comes with a blade that has been shaped and heat treated properly, not a "piece of metal". (Shoulder plane blades have a unique shape and its not one that can be easily duplicated without metal working machinery.) There are actually 4 pieces of wood in the kit, but I wouldn't describe them as scrap. The 2 pieces of Jatoba, for example, have a unique shape that would be a pain to mill accurately in the average shop. What I'm pointing out is that $90 buys more than a piece of metal and some wood scrap.

Re: Small box was fun (and quick) to make


Yes, I did re-saw a thicker board for the sides. I always do that, even when I use a dovetail joint at the corners. It just looks nicer, and it's one of those small details that you have to pay attention to when making boxes. The smaller the box, the more important it is. The trick when re-sawing is that once you have re-sawn the board, joint the matching faces just enough to get rid of the BS marks. The less material you remove the better the match with be at the corners. To plane the board down to thickness, only take material away from the other faces of the sides. At least, that's how I do it. I explain the process in greater detail in that box making video workshop linked in the post.

Re: Furniture made by readers


That was Seth Rolland. It was in FWW #213. The piece is on the back cover, and then there is a short article that explains how he did it. Also, just as a helpful note, if you have another question like this send it to fw at taunton dot com. We read that email everyday and you'll get a quicker response.

Re: Infill from a # 4


Very cool. How long did it take to grind out the guts of the original plane? And how did you do that?

Re: How do you hang a handsaw?


Sorry about the confusion. I honestly don't remember what I did! I'll take a look at them when I get home and post back. However, I can say with complete confidence that there is only 1 slot per holder. Most likely, I cut the slot at the TS, shaped the holder to fit the handle, and then did something else that involved cutting.

Re: Shop cabinet done right

You're right that it might get dinged up, but that won't bother me. I seriously doubt that I'll ever refinish the paint. And though it took a bit more time than just hanging a bare cabinet, it was time well spent. I was able to test out some ideas on a piece of furniture that I could afford to mess up.


Re: Have a design question? Ask it here.


I checked around with some other folks and I think you're okay laminating another layer onto the store bought top. Here is some advice. First, use the same species. Second, the boards should be approximately the same size. Three, you'll need to figure out some way to get clamping pressure along the entire length of the laminates so that the glue between the layers is tight. I would make cauls to spread pressure. It will take quite a few.

Now that I think about it a bit more, if I were in your position, I might sell the top I have and use the money to make the top I wanted. Much less hassle.

Good luck. Matt

Re: Shop Made Hand Planes


Those shoulder planes are very cool. I think a small one might be in the near future for me.


Re: Have a design question? Ask it here.


Another great question. I think you'd be okay glue up to make the top thicker, but I'll ask around and get some other opinions.


Re: Have a design question? Ask it here.


Thanks for the responses. I'll look into it.


Re: Have a design question? Ask it here.


Good question. Basically, you're asking whether miter joints, reinforced by domino slip tenons, are strong enough to keep the case square, right? The case is 84 in. long and solid wood. How wide (front to back) is it?

Thanks, Matt

Re: Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board


You could use a wooden plane. In Woodwork #104 Kerry Pierce wrote an article about shooting boards and gave a plan for a wooden miter plane that he made. The bed angle was 35 degrees and the blade was bevel down. With a wooden plane, the bed needs to be fairly high (35 might be lowest) because the blade is held in by a wedge. If the bed is too low, then the wedge can get forced out by the action of planing. If you'd like, send me an email (mkenney at taunton dot com) and I can email you the plan for that plane. I have a copy of the issue in question.


Re: Have you seen Tommy Mac's new woodworking show? Let us know what you think.

I wanted to chime in again and point out a few things. An earlier person suggested that PBS is more interested in compelling on-screen personalities--and might look past a lack of skill--in their hosts. I don't know about that, but I can say from personal experience that Tommy is an excellent craftsman. I have seen his work in person, touched it, opened the drawers, looked at the dovetails, the carvings, etc. And it is all great work. Second, I know Tommy has a big personality and that some might see him as arrogant, but that's not my experience. He is a genuine guy and he really cares about woodworking and helping others learn. Finally, I didn't say this in my blog, but I'm looking forward to the rest of season one and the next two seasons. Sure I see room for improvement, but that's not a bad thing. And I'm patient enough to give Tommy and his crew a chance to learn and improve the show.

Re: Shop made grooving planes


I appreciate all the great comments and interest in the planes. Here is an update, as of Oct. 1, 2010. First, we've done all the work for an article on how to make them. And it has been scheduled for an issue. It will be out in the spring (with the caveat that nothing is for certain until it is actually in print). Also, Lie-Nielsen has made blades for these planes and will sell them. I'm not sure when. I've seen a pair and they are exactly like the ones I made for myself.

As for posting plans or an explanation on the website before it's in the magazine, I'll have to check on that.


Re: Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board

Well, there was that one day I was knocked out with ether and woke up with a sore neck. Perhaps I was out of range over the weekend. But I do wish we'd get notices of comments to the blogs like we get for threads on Knots.

Re: Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board


Thanks for helping Tompee14 out. I sometimes get so busy over the weekend that I don't check my blogs.


Re: Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board

And sorry about the text in the drawings. I made the images as big as I could. But don't worry, the text in the drawings doesn't say anything different than what is in the caption and the blog itself.

Re: Here's why your plane doesn't keep cutting into your shooting board


I see there are a few questions here. Let me put in my two cents.

1. Should you break in the shooting board before using it? Sure, but only one pass is needed. With one pass, you should get a full depth cut and that would set the lip as deep as it's going to get.

2. What type of plane should I use? I use a low-angle jack and I bought for use with a shooting board. Here's what I know, based on a whole lot of shooting: I always get square ends and true miters. And there is plenty of side wall to rest the plane on. I would not hesitate at all to use a low-angle jack for shooting. The most important feature on a plane for shooting is that the sole and the side that the plane rests on are a true 90 degrees to one another. After that, I'd say comfort when using, followed by having enough sidewall to rest on without a lot of instability, and then mass (more is better). Here's why I wouldn't use a standard bench plane (and I used one for a long time): They're not made to be held on by the side and they get very uncomfortable very quickly. The low-angle jack is very comfortable to use on its side. But that's me and my hand.

Hope that helps.

Re: IWF Alert: Video: New Rikon jointer/planer is a quick change


Thanks for bringing the Woodfast to our attention. The Rikon looks similar to it. Whether they are identical is another question. Also, Woodfast is not a brand that is available in the US (at least I've never seen it for sale anywhere in the US), so even if the Rikon is the exact same machine (plus the rollers) the Rikon would still be news for the majority of our readers (who live in the US).


Re: Handplane Primer: What's the difference between bench and block planes?


Thanks for pointing out the Veritas planes. Of course, I own one and am aware of what they call them. However, I stand by my distinction. If the bevel is up, it's a block plane. If the bevel is down, it's a bench plane. (And to cite an example contrary to Veritas, check out the "Block Plane" page at LN's website.)


Re: Glory, thy name is Unifence


Like all T-square fences, the Unifence doesn't clamp at the back. Does it flex under use? Perhaps, but if it does, it has no meaningful consequences on the fence's use. Also, the rips are still parallel, at least parallel enough for woodworking. If properly set up, I doubt you could measure any variance with a standard shop rule, which means the rips are more than accurate enough for building furniture.

Re: Glory, thy name is Unifence


Thanks for catching the spelling mistake. However, "malign" is a perfectly suitable adjective. Also, thanks for giving us your opinion about another feature of the fence.

And for all those who have asked why it has been discontinued, I will attempt to get an official answer from Delta.

Re: Glory, thy name is Unifence


My Unisaw is also right tilt. However, I almost never tilt my blade. I know that's odd, but it's just how I work. I steer clear of miters unless there for something small, like a box. In those cases, I use a chamfer bit at the router table or my shooting board and a low angle jack plane.

As for the teflon pads, I should probably track down some spares now, before they're no longer available. Thanks for the idea.

Re: Glory, thy name is Unifence


I should have put this in my last comment. I'm using this design as a basis for mine:

Good luck.

Re: Glory, thy name is Unifence


It will definitely be shop-made. I plan to make a the guard from Lexan and everything else from solid wood or plywood. I'm sure to post a blog about it when I'm done.

Re: Steam bending simplified

Tomman: The Titebond III has held just fine so far. The plies were very thin (1/8 in.) and not in the steambox for very long, so they were never all that wet. And they dried out quickly as well.

Uncledean: I could have used a smaller steam box, but I used what was available. As for the number of clamps needed, I don't think that would have changed much. What would have lessened the number of clamps needed is a few cauls shaped to fit the curves. I do wish I had done that.

BobboMax: Admittedly, I had a ton of clamps at my disposal, plus 3-4 helpers. If you don't have as many clamps, use clamping cauls. They will distribute the pressure over a wider area than just clamps and so you need less clamps.

Re: IWF Alert: Video: New Rikon jointer/planer is a quick change

Ah. That seems to have been edited out of the video. The jointer/planer sells for $1700 and is already available.

Re: IWF Alert: Tiny router bits do delicate work for boxmakers


I can't believe I forgot to mention the shank size. It's 1/4 in., so no special collet adapter is needed.

Re: IWF Alert: Freud's thin-kerf combo blade does it all

The blade is currently available and you should be able to buy it anywhere Freud blades are sold.

Re: IWF Alert: Freud's thin-kerf combo blade does it all


No need to apologize for asking a question. A typical standard-kerf blade cuts a 1/8 in. thick kerf. This Freud thin-kerf cuts about a 3/32 in. thick kerf, which is a fairly common kef size for thin-kerf blades. That might not sound like a big difference, but from my experience using both it is noticeable. And I've never used blade stiffeners. As for availability, I'll try to check back with the Freud folks and post again.

Re: IWF Alert: Lunch is on Us!

We don't have a booth. Asa, Rollie, and I are living a vagabond existence this year, roaming the halls and covering the news. However, all three of us are decked out in Fine Woodworking finery, so if you see us say hello. As for the meeting place, we're meeting up at the top of the escalators that lead down to the B Hall.

Have fun.

Re: How to Handle Small Parts Without Losing any Fingers

Thanks for the complements guys. It's nice to hear good feedback.


I made those planes and there will be an article about them sometime soon. I've written it and we have already shot the photos, but I can't say with certainty when it will be out.


Re: How Lie-Nielsen decides which tools to make


I did say it (the article about me grooving planes) was coming, but not until the end of the year (at the soonest). I still cannot say with any certainty when it will be out, but it is coming.


Re: Do woodworkers hold the key to a quick clean-up of the gulf oil spill?


I would guess that Doug believes actually trying something out to see if it works or not is better than assuming it won't. No matter how improbable a solution might be, you'll never know if it will work until you try. And Doug is actually trying to understand the problem (I gathered that much from reading all of his posts and his response to comments). Also, even if he is way off base about this, he might stumble upon something else that is tremendously valuable. I won't knock him for trying. There are many far less productive things he could be doing.

Re: Matt's Monster Workbench

Nice job seventhson. And good decision to use the wood you had available. I hope the bench continues to be a good fit for you.


Re: Homemade Horizontal Router Table

By the way folks, OTW is the screen name of the gentleman who made the horizontal router table.


Re: Homemade Horizontal Router Table


There are 2 dust collection ports, but you can't see either in the video or pictures. One is beneath the stationary table. The other actually does double duty as a guard. It slides over two vertical bars coming off the top of the router mount assembly. It works quite well, but we left it off for clarity's sake.


Re: BOOK GIVEAWAY: 500 Tables (Updated with winner)

Holy distracted woodworker Batman! I never expected this many people to take their shot at writing a caption. It's great. Make offerings to the muse and keep them coming.

Re: My son's first woodworking project

That's a nice little bench. My guy has ideas about what his bench should look like, so we'll see.

Re: BOOK GIVEAWAY: 500 Tables (Updated with winner)


Hey. No quoting Larry from The Razor's Edge! However, you do get credit for quoting good literature.


Re: Garden Seat

Hmm, that bench looks familiar. Nice job.

Re: Need a bandsaw? Make it!

Gina, thanks for correcting that spelling mistake. You know the old saying: Every editor needs an editor. And, at least in this case, a sharp-eyed reader.


Re: Need a bandsaw? Make it!


I'd never seen that back cover before. That is one astounding piece of home-built machinery. I'll scan the cover next week and add it to the post above.


Re: New video workshop: My massive bench

Brent in Iowa,

Sorry not to respond sooner. I don't get a notification when someone posts a comment to my blogs. I bought my bench bolts from Lee Valley.

Best, Matt

Re: In awe of ancient trees


That's right. The Wired piece actually features an Aspen grove that is about 80,000 years old.

Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools

dcgrafix:I never had any problems from holding Japanese pull saws. Are you having trouble with them?

dyweller: Could you give me some examples of the kind of subtle and advanced techniques you have in mind?

Re: 3 exotic woods: English elm, Claro walnut, and English brown oak


Not a bad idea. I'll keep notes on how they work and write up a blog on each one.

Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools

I see a few more questions have popped up for me.

1. I prefer to use my bench (the so-called monster bench), but it wasn't practical to bring it in for this video. The bench I was using is in our shop here at FWW and is a fine bench. However, benches are tools and you get used to working on the one you always work on. So I did miss mine. That being said, my techniques were not any different.

2. I have not attempted to reset the teeth on my saws so that I would get a smaller kerf. As for the cleanness of the cut, the crosscut saw I use leaves a clean cut on the shoulders, but even if it didn't the shoulder plane would take care of that. I'm not worried about the cleanness of the cheek cuts, as the rabbet block plane will definitely take of any messiness. It's the planes that give you smooth surfaces, not the saws.

3. The are at least two contemporary makers of shoulder planes (Lie-Nielsen and Veritas). I like a medium shoulder plane. Mike likes his large one. As far as I know, only LN makes a rabbet block plane at present. Sargent, which no longer makes planes, made one but you'd have to search eBay, flea markets, etc. to find one.

4. When trimming tenons, there is a risk of ending up with a tenon that is off center. There are two ways to avoid that. Work up to layout lines, but do not go past them. Take an equal number of passes on both sides of the tenon with the rabbet block plane.

I think that gets all of the questions. If I missed one, let me know.

Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools


LN does now sell a version of the Rabbet Block plane with a nicker. I've always used the version without a nicker. The nicker is actually meant to sever the fibers so that the blade doesn't cause any tearout on cross grain cuts. So, it doesn't help to keep the blade close to the shoulder. My first suggestion to solve your problem is to make sure that the blade is flush with the side of the plane that is against the shoulder. It sounds to me as if it is not, so the plane is not cutting tight into the corner, which leaves a tiny little lip. Well, with the next stroke the plane will be guided by that lip, which means a second lip, even further away from the shoulder, will be formed. That becomes worse with every swipe. Getting the blade flush to the side of the plane will solve that problem.

Best of luck.

Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools

I see there are a lot of questions for me. I'll do my best to work through them all. Here's a few answers.

1. The big rip saw has 11 tpi.

2. I use a jigsaw blade to make the cutters for my marking gauges. Look for issue 211 (out soon). There will an entire article about how I make them.

3. Always cut the mortises first. It is quite easy to make the tenon fit the mortise, but the opposite isn't easy at all.

4. You absolutely should take an equal amount off each side of the tenon when trimming them with a handplane. I try to keep track in my head. However, it helps that I have layout lines on the tenon, so I can simply trim to the line. After that I am more careful about how much I'm taking off each side.

Re: Call for Submissions: Get design help from Fine Woodworking and Hank Gilpin


Sorry, I just saw your question. Selection will be made very soon. I don't want to give an exact time frame so as not to disappoint if something unexpected happens.


Re: Poll: What's more important? Speed or the joy of woodworking?

Personally, I'm always trying to improve my speed. I love the process, but want to be more efficient. I don't like tedious, stuttering tasks. I like to get in a groove and work quickly. In other words, just because you enjoy the process doesn't mean you can work quickly and efficiently.


Re: VIDEO REPLAY: Tenon Shootout: Hand vs. Power Tools


The dust up hasn't occurred yet, so there's no video yet. The live feed is this afternoon. The video will be up some time after that.


Re: How to groove the back of a curved drawer front


You're right that one machine and one setup isn't necessary for accuracy, but it sure is efficient and easy to do it that way. That's why I referred to it as the best way. There are, of course, other very good ways to do it.

Re: How to groove the back of a curved drawer front


I looked for a bearing that would give me a 1/8 in. deep groove but was unable to find one. I'm sure they sell them online, but making the fence was less aggravation than hunting down, ordering, and waiting for the bearing to arrive. The bearing that came with the bit ends up cutting a very deep groove. Also, I don't fancy using the bit with the entire diameter exposed, so I still would have buried it in a fence.

Re: New Hand Tools: Happy Holidays to Me


You've been holding out on me. I didn't see all of that stuff. I applaud the tools you bought at my recommendation. And that flat back tape measure is fantastic. I will be getting one myself.

Matt K.

Re: Tablesaw upgrades


I'd be surprised if you spent $700+ rehabbing your saw, even with a new fence. Unless I am missing something in your comment, the most expensive part will be the fence. I guess you could spend in the neighborhood of $400 for a new fence, but there are great after market fences that would cost much less. The other parts shouldn't cost too much.

I should note that you won't be able to find a true riving knife for the saw. The way that the motor and trunnion work prohibits it.

I can't make a decision for you, but I can say that a 1950s era unisaw is one heck of a machine. I would be glad to have one.

Re: Working with reclaimed lumber, part 3


I hope you see this. I didn't know you has asked a question until today, the day before Thanksgiving. I can't wait until there is automatic notification for comments. To answer your question, if you look in the one picture that has a saw, the sawhook is the wooden device that the saw is cutting through and that the workpiece is resting on. Basically, it is a wood surface (plywood in this case) that has a fence to press the workpiece against, and on its underside is another piece of wood that works to hook the thing against the bench when I push on it to hold the workpiece in place. It is a guide for sawing roughly to 90 degrees (or 45).

Re: Dovetailed drawers are overrated


You're right that you'll need to practice in order to get at hand cut dovetails. But why do you need to do them at all? I know of many successful furniture makers who are great designers and technicians that never use them. Modern woodworkers, especially hobbyists, seem to have made a fetish out of dovetails. And that's not good.

One of the problems I have with the overwhelming emphasis on dovetails is that it limits design. I'm not necessarily thinking of drawers here, but of carcass construction. When I gave up dovetails as the be all and end all for carcass construction, I realized that I could start to do cool overhands on the top and bottom and that I could make much more curvaceous cabinets. That was a good.


Re: Dovetailed drawers are overrated


Thanks for the comment. I have to say that I didn't even think of how stressful it can be to cut dovetails. All the more reason to avoid them until you've mastered them. There are many options, just as beautiful and strong, that won't stress you out as much.


Re: New addition to my tool collection


You should be able to find a manual at Look under "Machine Info" and then under "Publication Reprints." I found a manual for my jointer and my tablesaw there.

- Matt

Re: Call for Submissions: Get design help from Fine Woodworking and Hank Gilpin


We're still accepting submisssions. So send them in.

Re: Shop made grooving planes

Here's a few notes on heat treating.

I used a MAPP gas torch (the kind you can buy at a home center) to harden the blade. Focus the flame about 1 inch up from the bevel and let the heat slowly travel toward it. The bevel is very easy to burn. When the business end of the blade is cherry red/bright orange quench it in some vegetable oil. I put about a quart in a small paint can. If it were to catch fire I could quickly put the lid on and cut off the oxygen. I wiped of the oil and then put the blades in the oven for 30 minutes. It was pre-heated to 460 degrees. I then took them out and let them cool down in the air. They take a great edge and cut wonderfully. I should note that I am no expert on heat treating. I have no idea how hard the blades are. I just know that they cut well and retain a good edge.

Re: Shop made grooving planes

Thanks for all the comments everyone. I've been out with the flu and forgot the check this blog for comments. For those of you hoping to see these as an article one day, I think the chances are good. If they don't end up in the magazine, I'll do something more detailed on the web. So, I'll hold off on giving dimensions and the like right now. However, if you search our website, you'll find a recent article by David Finck that gives the basics on the Krenov method of plane making.

I apologize for not giving all of the nitty-gritty details. This blog post was never meant to be a how-to. It is really just a peak at something I did. I should also note, that I sometimes forgot that most people aren't like me in that I'm more than willing to just go out in the shop and give something a try. I didn't have any instructions on how to make these. I knew the Krenov method and found the bed angle in a book on plane making that I own. Everything else was figured out by making prototypes. That's not a criticism of those looking for detailed instructions. It's just an explanation of why I didn't think to include that info in this blog.

Also, as I explained in the blog, I made these planes to satisfy my particular way of making drawers and trays. So I thought the dimensions (location and depth of groove) were a bit to particular to be of use to others.

Re: Shop made grooving planes

Re: irons that are already heat treated. Lee Valley sells replacement blades for their plow plane. I've not seen them in person, but there is a chance they would work for a plane like this. You'd have to buy one to try.

Re: Shop made grooving planes


If by working irons you mean one that are already heat treated, then I don't think I can help. I don't know of anywhere to buy heat treated irons that would work, that's why I bought the annealed iron blanks from Lie-Nielsen. Don't be discouraged by the prospect of heat treating irons. I used a MAPP gas torch to harden mine and then tempered them in the kitchen oven. It's a lot easier than you might think.

Re: Working with reclaimed lumber, part 2


A piston fit drawer shouldn't be any less durable than one that fits less well. However, you should think carefully about the appeal of a piece a furniture whose main attraction is a air pressure gauge. It might be too much of a novelty.

Re: Shop made grooving planes

An article is possible, but it would be focused on how to make and use them. What would you find interesting or useful about the history of grooving planes? In other words, what would you want to know? A history of molding planes in general, I'm afraid, would need an article (or book) all its own.

Re: Shop made grooving planes


The planes are 1 in. thick, 5 1/2 in. long, and 2 1/2 in. tall (on the side with the fence). The bed angle is 57 degrees and the front of the throat is 67 degrees.

To make the skate/bed, I started out by planing it as thick as the iron is wide. After I had the plane glued together, I used a shoulder plane to take a few thousandths off one side. I left it as is on the side facing the fence. That way the plane would tend to pull itself against the workpiece. After I put some finish on (one very thin coat of Tried & True danish oil) there was no binding at all.

Hope that helps.

Re: Shop made grooving planes


It's possible that these could end up in a future issue, but what in particular would you like to know about them?


Re: Call for Submissions: Get design help from Fine Woodworking and Hank Gilpin


I, of course, chose the word impeccable. I suppose we could argue about whether or not the denotation of the word applies here (I think it does). But I believe the connotation does. In other words, I think that how the word is used by average, but intelligent, people would cover how I've used it. Dictionaries, while helpful, are neither exhaustive nor authoritative.

As for who thinks Hank's sense of design is that good. Well, I do, so do many others here at the magazine, and so too have hundreds, if not thousands, of satisfied customers thought it excellent. But, more importantly, his design abilities have been demonstrated across a broad range of fields, from furniture making, to landscape design, to the design of tunnels and interiors. Regardless of the object, Hank does a nice job.

You might not like his work. So be it. Don't participate.

Finally, I try not to find my humor in others. I'm always worried that while I'm looking at others and laughing, I fail to notice something even more laughable about myself.

Re: Sheraton Dressing Table

I really like this piece. Great veneer work. -Matt K.

Re: Working with reclaimed lumber

I got the box glued together yesterday and made an ebony pull for the lid. I got a few minutes in the shop today and cleaned up another stud for the trays I'm making for the inside. Great news: beautiful, tight grained quarter-sawn wood underneath. I'll post a picture in my next blog.

Re: Broken power tool: Junk it or fix it?

Wow, this is a big response. I'll say that I would love to furnish my shop with older stationary machines that I rehabed. I would even replace the brushes on a hand held power tool. But I don't think I would rebuild batteries. The technology moves so quickly that by the time a battery finally dies, the new version of the tool cheaper and better. I just bought a small 12 volt Litium Ion powered drill and impact driver that run marathons around my other cordless drills (which are bigger and heavier).

Re: Fred: A Joint by Hank Gilpin


I always appreciate the truly charitable assumptions readers and posters make about my intelligence and their efforts to educate me. But I should point out that it was just a mistake, a momentary lapse, and not a error due to complete ignorance of a rule of grammar.


Re: Why Yes, I am a Dandy Woodworker


I don't really take is seriously, at least not the part about me being a dandy. But the person who wrote the letter doesn't seem to be joking. What I do take seriously is the implication that woodworkers all look (or should look) a particular way, and the claim that the cover is some kind of false image of woodworking.

Re: End of an Era


I'm not sure what you mean by "pure art," but I suspect that you have in mind that furniture must be functional and that this bookcase isn't functional. Perhaps you are even thinking that furniture should only be functional (that is, it can't make philosophic, political, or any other type of statement).

Philosophically, I think you're wrong on both points. But let me point out that this bookshelf is actually holding books, and could easily be used as a bookshelf in a house. I could certainly see myself using this bookself in my house as a bookshelf. Not only would I get to store some books, but I would also get to express a particular position on the decline of the printed (on paper) word.

Matt K.

Re: Now This is a Big Slab of Wood


Why would someone burn kauri? It costs at least $25 per bd. ft.!

Re: Woodworking with Ugly Men


I don't think we ever met. That's too bad. I'm glad you got to see this blog, though.


Re: The Faces of Woodworking


Are you still having trouble? Everything works fine for me.


Re: New video workshop: My massive bench


All that is needed is two cleats attached to underside of the top. I would put one just to the inside of each of the top members on the trestles. They should be snug up against those cross members. I’ll do that one day, but in all honesty, my top doesn’t move, and there’s nothing holding it in place.--MK

Re: My Cuban mahogany adventure

I'm making a bow front wall cabinet from Madrone. The Cuban mahogany is for a bank of drawer fronts. The deep brown of the mahogany should compliment the deep pinkish red of the Madrone (and there's a nice brown streak separating the sap and heart wood).

Re: Fine Woodworking comes to Twitter

Gina saw your post before me, but she gave you my response. With a shorter bench I would recommend securing the top (it won't be as heavy).

Best of luck. Matt

Re: Swirling wood sculptures have me mesmerized

Thanks for the link Panch. I forwarded it to the other editors. We all enjoyed it. It is truly amazing work. It's guys like Jansen that help me remember that I'm really not all that smart.

Re: New video workshop: My massive bench


If I remember correctly, there are around 90 bd. ft. in the bench. But don't go by the number of board feet if you build the bench. Rather, think about the size boards you'll need for the parts. For example, 1 8/4 board that's 8 ft. long and 6 in. wide would give you two of the boards needed to make the top. Check for knots and other defects. If they're bad, you don't want that board, unless you can cut around it for trestle parts. Look for a really good board for the apron.

Good luck.

Re: New video workshop: My massive bench

Thanks for the compliments folks. I'm glad ya'll liked it. I had a great time making the video and bench.

As for the jointer, all I know is that it is a Hammer and has a 12 in. capacity. It actually belongs to Anatole Burkin. However, I believe it is the same model Hammer jointer/planer that was reviewed in FWW #190. Rollie Johnson (make that Roland) did the review. Search the archives, using "jointer" and "planer" and the article is the 7th link down.


Re: New video workshop: My massive bench

Sorry I haven't checked this blog for any posts recently. I wish we would get a notification when there's a comment.

Let me answer your questions. I bought the bench bolts from Lee Valley, but Highland Hardware has bolts and nuts that are the same size.

As for how the bench is attached. You didn't miss anything. There is nothing about how the top is attached. In all honesty, the top is heavy enough to just sit on the legs and not move. About the only thing that would move it is pulling the apron away from the legs. However, a simple way to keep the top in place is this. Attach two battens to the underside of the top. One just to the inside of each upper member of the trestles. Use three screws on each, but make sure that you make slots in the battens, not holes, for the outer two. That will allow the top to move with the seasons. And it will expand and contract, especially if your shop is unheated or lacks central air.

Re: New video workshop: My massive bench

Sorry folks, the new series starts on 2/23 not 2/13. Clearly, I was suffering from a late afternoon mental recession when I wrote the date.

Re: Tablesaw techniques I wouldn't recommend


I appreciate your concern, but you're wrong. Fine Woodworking is about educating its readers about woodworking: the best materials, the best tools, and the best techniques. One way to educate is to show what shouldn't be done. This video does precisely that, and, let me add, it is clear that neither I nor anyone else thinks that what the guy is doing is safe or good practice. In fact, it is abundantly clearly that we all disapprove.

It is highly likely that someone has read this blog, looked at the video, and said, "Oh, I shouldn't use the fence when crosscutting. I didn't know that."

Keep in mind that in order to learn how to do something, you often need to be told or shown how not to do it.

Re: Inexpensive furniture woods

Hey folks,

Thanks for all the comments so far. You've got some great ideas on "out of the ordinary" ways to get lumber, and I'm thinking that we'll talk about that too. But I'd love to hear about specific woods that you've used to make furniture. It seems that hardwoods grown locally can be had for a steal, and that many of them (aspen, red elm, alder, sassafras, to name a few) make for beautiful furniture. So let me know about those specific woods too.

Re: Big shock from new router

Efficiency does drive me mad, but I did mention it. Check the third to last paragraph. What I need is a solar powered router.

Re: My first turning

That's for sure. I've had some leg parts from an old table my mother-in-law gave me. One made a nice little box, but I saw them sitting in my office and thought, "turn 'em." So I did. Now I'll be looking over the scraps and throwing them into two piles: wood stove and turning.

Re: Old tools for a young man


I'm not sure how serious you are, but I can assure you that although I might not be a Maine native, I am by no means fancy. I too need tools at an affordable price. And I didn't buy the plane and gauge to have them sit on a shelf somewhere. They'll be put to very good use in my shop. (And to make sure it's clear, I'll say that I write this with a smile and friendly voice.)

But I wouldn't worry too much if I were you. The NE is a great place to look for used tools. If you'd like the names of a few other places in ME and the nearby area, let me know and we can exchange emails.

Re: Old tools for a young man


Now that's an odd coincidence, because my plane gauge and No. 7 we a bit of a package deal too. As for eBay, I've bought two planes there, but now prefer. Glad my random little post offered you some useful information.


Re: Tool Cabinet

My cabinet isn't old enough to date yet.

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