art director

Michael Pekovich is Fine Woodworking’s art director. A long-time woodworker, Mike caught the hand tool bug when he came to the magazine 13 years ago. On weekends he’s apt to be rummaging for old tools to fill out his collection at flea markets and tag sales, and he wrote an article on tips for using hand tools in issue #178. His taste in furniture is typical of the magazine’s readers. Growing up in California, he was inspired by the writings and work of James Krenov and a visit to the Gamble house in Pasadena cemented his love for Arts and Crafts furniture. Upon relocating to Connecticut, Mike developed a passion for the simplicity and subtle proportions of Shaker furniture and for working with hardwoods native to New England.

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Simple tip for fast, accurate chair joints

Make a wedge and use it to cut all of the angled joinery in a dining chair.

Single Board Side Table

Michael Pekovich demonstrates advanced grain matching and milling techniques while building a beautiful side table from a single cherry board in this Video Workshop series.

A road trip pays off with nice lumber

A recent commission was a great excuse to hit the road to search out some awesome lumber.

Drawer pulls in tight spaces

Recently I had to figure out a way to make low-clearance pulls for drawers installed behind a sliding door.

Dovetails Just Got a Little Easier

Setup block simplifies clamping parts for layout.

Simple Jig for Hinges

Wow, my life just got a lot easier. I spent a few minutes this morning knocking together a simple hinge mortise jig. I gave it a test drive and the result is a perfect fitting hinge.

Pint-sized arts and crafts cabinet

Here's a great little project that packs in a big Arts and Crafts punch. It's a scaled-down version of an Arts and crafts display case that I had originally built for Fine Woodworking. It incorporates the same features as the original, but requires less lumber and effort to build.

What hand tools can't you live without?

While building a travel tool chest I had to make a hard desicion about which hand tools would make the cut. I'll tell you what I settled on, but I want to know which tools would end up in your tool chest.

Design journal: A tea box gets a face lift

Revisiting an old design is a great opportunity to push the envelope, even if you were happy with the first try.

The hobbit cupboard completed

Custom-forged hinges are the final touch on a middle earth-inspired cabinet.

The birth of a hobbit cupboard

Taking a design-as-you-build approach to making a small wall cabinet is stressful, but fun.

Build a Hanging Tool Cabinet

Michael Pekovich shows you how to build a traditional hanging tool cabinet with beautiful dovetail joinery, step-by-step, in this Video Workshop series.

Great design from simple geometry

The simple straightedge and compass are the architects of some of the best furniture design throughout the ages.

Build a hayrake table this Fall

Join me in Connecticut this fall for a fun challenge and a refreshing change of pace from typical furniture making.

New tool cabinet packs in a lot of storage

A full-size mock up ensured that all my tools would fit in my new tool cabinet.

Good design takes courage

Sometimes the first step to improving your design skills is admitting when your work falls short.

SketchUp: Down and Dirty

You don't have to be a SketchUp wiz to put the program to work in your furniture design.

Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

If you have any questions about the recent Shaker chimney cupboard video workshop, post them here and I'll be happy to answer them.

A Better Way to Fit Mitered Trim

Faced with installing lots of mitered molding on doors for a built-in project, I came up with a technique for fast, perfect results.

Simple tip for precise glue-ups

Heres' a great way to dial in perfect glue-ups when accuracy is a necessity.

The Perfect Marking Knife, at Last!

Collaboration with a blacksmith yields a beautiful, functional marking knife

Making the best of a small shop

Infeed and outfeed clearance at every machine and plenty of room for hand work.

AWFS Tool News: Oneida Hot-Rods the Common Shop Vac

Oneida unveils a new high-end shop vac system. But is it worth the price?

AWFS Tool News: New finish combines the best of oil and water-based products

Our oil-centric art director might just be ready to give water-based finishes a try.

Workbench clamp for perfect dovetails

A simple shop-made clamp makes it easy to hold work in place for chopping dovetails.

Rope handle spices up a tea box

Just a simple dovetailed box with a rope to keep it closed.

Fitting drawers to a crooked table

I borrowed a trick from curved table construction to fit drawer runners to a table with a bowed apron.

Design journal: Let the function drive the design

A small sewing table posed some unique challenges that ultimately led to a fun design.

How to Make a Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Joint

Okay, maybe I'm not ready to get rid of my clamps just yet, but with drawbore pegs, I'll be doing a lot less clamping in the future.

Total garage shop makeover

For the past 13 winters I've frozen my fingers off trying to woodwork in my Connecticut garage shop. I worked up a sweat this summer by replacing the doors, adding a raised floor, finishing the ceiling and insulating the walls. So bring on the snow, I plan on keeping warm and toasty this year.

Put Your Furniture Photos to Work

Not only is it easier than ever to take great pictures of your work, there's so much more you can do with them.

Photograph your mock-ups for a better view

Digital cameras make it easy to get a better view of mock ups. With PhotoShop, you can make a small or partial mock-up life sized and put it in your house.

Mock up leads to a happy ending

Time spent mocking up a project before building it helped me to dial in the design and get some important family feedback.

Tea with James Krenov

Recalling an afternoon spent with the master.

How Not to Drive Your Wife Crazy: Mockup Before Milling

Sometimes surprises are a bad thing. When making a project for your house, get your wife's input before you cut lumber.

Shipping furniture- a happy ending

How to ship furniture across the country

Tile-top entry table

My brother found some Rookwood tiles on ebay and asked me to make a table for them. He likes arts and crafts furniture, but wanted something original. It was fun trying to be creative but still stay...

wall cabinet

White oak cabinet with spalted tanoak drawer fronts.

Contemporary sleigh bed

This bed was for a friend whose only request was that is was comfortable to read in. The panels are coopered quartersawn cherry.

Cabinet with bookshelves

Fereral-style cherry cabinet with broken pediment and walnut detail. A companion piece to a writing desk.

Federal desk

Shaker meets federal desk in cherry with walnut trim

Dresser with jewelry box and mirror

This 7-drawer dresser with jewelry box is part of a Shaker bedroom set that included a pencil post bed night stands and a tall dresser.

Cherry writing desk with silver trout inlay

Cherry desk with secret compartments and inlayed silver fish for my son, Eli. The idea was a bomb-proof desk that could one day survive dorm life and serve as a small dining table in a first...

Dressing table

Bird's eye and tiger maple dressing table with walnut trim for my wife. I later added a desktop jewelry box.

Art and crafts side table

Easy-to-build side table inspired by a Roycoft design.

child's rocker

A last-minute holiday gift for my then two-year old daughter Anna.

Recent comments

Re: STL 78: Makin' Sparks on Yer Tablesaw

Hey John, I just posted a quick recap of the wedge here:


Re: STL 69: Mike's Goldrush Doppelganger

The screw extractors are called Unscrew-ums. They cost $8 and they are made by T&L Tools. Check out their website for sizing and how-to info:


Re: A Lazy Suzan for Zeus Himself

Awesome, what a glorious beast of a table!
Great job. Mike

Re: STL 58: Is Woodworking an Art

Hi Ralph, The fact that your chisels haven't chipped could be due to a number of factors, from the wood you work with, the bevel angle of the chisels, the quality of the tempering, to the way you work with your chisels. You can pare and chop with Japanese chisels all day long, but you really don't want to pry with them. If you teach, then I'm guessing you know how to handle a chisel! The brands you mention are really good examples of high-quality, moderately priced tools, and it sounds like you've had good luck with them so far.

Re: STL 57: Tablesaw Accident Update

Hey Jim, Thanks for writing. We may not take ourselves very seriously at times, but we all realize that safety is a very important issue. We had some fun at Billy's expense, but our thoughts go out to him along with wishes for a speedy recovery.

As far as the sawstop tablesaw goes, I think that the staff is in agreement that its a huge advancement in tablesaw safety. We have one in the shop and more and more of our authors are replacing their old saws with sawstop saws. Every school I teach at has them and it certainly reduces my stress!

I think some of the confusion stems from not only wanting to minimize the injury due to hand to blade contact, but also minimizing the risk of contact in the first place. That's where a riving knife is an important safety feature. It's my understanding that most hand to blade contact is due to stock contacting teeth at the rear of the blade. When that happens the stock is spun forward at lightning speed, often bringing the feeding hand, which is now past the blade, back across the blade. It's one of those instances where everything is going right until it goes horribly wrong. And you're absolutely correct that those of us who haven't experienced kickback yet probably take the threat too lightly.

The riving knife does do a really good job of preventing the type of kickback that often leads to serious injury, so it's often praised independent of the blade break technology.

I just added a splitter to the the insert in my old tablesaw this morning, but in a perfect world, I'd be using a saw with both a riving knife and blade brake technology.

Thanks for setting us straight! Mike

Re: Time for a Little Turning

Great work David!


Re: Drawer pulls in tight spaces

MDcustom- Awesome tip about using a stepped dowel to align the template. I tried aligning it by eye using center lines penciled on the parts, but it was a clunky solution. I'm teaching a class on building the case in April at Connecticut Valley school of woodworking, and I'm definitely going to use your method to align the template.

Thanks, Mike

Re: Dovetails Just Got a Little Easier

Yes, I rabbeted the block at the table saw, but gluing a fence to a square block would work just as well.

Re: Danish-Inspired Teak Chair

Beautiful chair, I especially like the shape of the arm rests.
Great job, Mike

Re: Shop Talk Live 31: Ditch That Miter Saw for a Tablesaw

Hey user-2334610- Great point about getting in the neighborhood with a miter saw and taking it home with hand tools. That's a good way to get up and running without a big investment in power tools. I did basically the same thing when I only had a bandsaw to work with. It took a little longer, but with just a bandsaw and hand tools, I could make a whole lot of furniture.
Thanks, Mike

Re: White oak vessel

The crocuses are finally up and I think we've seen the last of the snow. Spring has been late in coming this year.

Re: White oak vessel

Fantastic! What a great little piece.


Re: Green and Greene Men's Valet

Very nice interpretation of the style. I especially like the stretchers.
Great job, Mike

Re: What hand tools can't you live without?

Uh oh, I think I'm going to need a bigger chest... Seriously, though, thanks for all of the thoughtful comments. I've already added a few tools to my list, and a few more to my wish list. I'm working out the dividers now and I've found some heavy-duty handles that I think will work.
The chest is weighing in right now at 61 pounds. I'm actually relieved at that number. As long as the handles hold up, I think my back will too.
Thanks again, Mike

Re: What hand tools can't you live without?

Robert, Great questions, those are exactly the issues I've been struggling with. Yes, I was really hoping to figure out a way to secure the drawers without individual locks. I like the sliding front panel used on North Bennett Street-style chests, but in the end everything I came up with either limited the storage space or made the case bigger. Oh well, I had fun installing the half-mortise locks! Hopefully the keys won't be too much of a pain.
I am definitley trying to group the tools for use, and I'm hoping the top drawer can serve a removable tray for chisels as you suggest. If it proves too cumbersome, it should be easy enough to convert the interior dividers into separate removable trays... it's really becoming a fun project and challenge to solve.
Layout dividers, check.

Thanks, Mike

Re: What hand tools can't you live without?

robbo41- Yes, Chris's chest is impressive and the book is a good read. He does offer a pretty thorough list of hand tools as well. You can see a tour of his chest on a great Roy Underhill episode ( Chris's chest is designed to hold an entire hand tool set and is literally big enough to climb into. I built a hanging tool cabinet in my shop to serve the same purpose, though my tool collection is a bit more modest.
In making this travel chest, I was trying to balance size with storage capacity. I'll have to use it a while to see if I got it right.
Thanks, Mike

Re: What hand tools can't you live without?

Damien- Funny, I don't own either the plow or router planes, but I've had my eye on both for a while. I just haven't come across the task to warrant the purchase, but I'm sure it's one of those situations where once you have the tool, you find the use for it. Veritas makes a very nice plow plane... I think I'm going to have leave room for that. Also, a shallow-sweep gouge is great to have around for odds and ends. Cool. Thanks, Mike

Re: The hobbit cupboard completed

Congratulations Jim! I've added a sketch of the basic dimensions. Good luck, MIke

Re: The hobbit cupboard completed

JIm, Good luck on your impending arrival. Sam's email address is I'll take some measurements tonight and get back to you. Mike

Re: The hobbit cupboard completed

Yes, the project actually started with the door panel. It was really just a practice board because I had been wanting to try my hand at a medival-style carving. There are some more pictures of the panel in a previous post:


Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

I use a wall mounted 25000 BTU direct-vent propane heater to heat the shop. I keep the shop heated to a minimum of 55 degrees throughout the winter (I kick it up when I'm finishing). I have a 100 gallon tank and I go through about 1-1/2 tanks a year.


Re: The birth of a hobbit cupboard

Mel- Thanks for the info and the chisel tip. I'm familiar with Fred's work from the magazine, but I wasn't aware of his website. I'll definitely check it out.

Prov163- the app I used is Paper. Very simple, but pretty cool. The only bummer is that the app is free but you have to pay to get the good drawing tools. I hate that kind of thing.


Re: The birth of a hobbit cupboard

NikonD80- Thanks, but I know just enough about carving to get me in trouble. However, that gives me a good idea- maybe I can get a real carver to "demonstrate" on my next project and we'll all get something out of it! Mike

Re: The birth of a hobbit cupboard

Sorry for the spam, we're working to clean it up. The wood is white oak, which I was a little intimidated to carve, but it wasn't that bad. Mike

Re: Small Mission Style Buffet and Hutch

Cool! I've never seen a craftsman-style step back cupboard, but you've pulled it off really well. Great design, Mike

Re: Twin Tenon Dining Table

Wow, really nice design and craftsmanship. It's hard to put a creative twist on the style and still have it look authentic, but you've succeeded very well. Nice job, Mike

Re: Great design from simple geometry

Ninja, I know what you mean about carving. It's something I typically shy away from except on the odd period piece I make. I do a lot of work in the arts and crafts style which isn't known for carved details, but I think this style of carving could fit really well within style and add a unique flair.


Re: Build a hayrake table this Fall

boardbanger- I'm sure that would work out fine. It's a versatile design. I've built it as a writing desk and I've seen hayrake entry tables as well.
Good luck, Mike

Re: Shop Talk Live 11: That Sinking Feeling

I've been using the Shapton glass stones recently. I've tried flattening them with the Shapton diamond plate which is expensive at $379. It cut slowly, but the one I'm using is used and it may be worn. I've also tried the Dia-Flat plate from DMT (less expensive at $199). It cuts faster than the Shapton plate, but leaves a coarser scratch pattern on the stones, though that doesn't seem to effect the performance. I've used it on my Norton stones for the past year with no ill effect.
I've just recently tried 400 grit wet/dry sand paper on glass which cut quickly and left a smoother surface. It's certainly a cheaper alternative to a diamond plate, but I haven't used it enough to give it a recommendation over diamond plates which I've used successfully in some form for a number of years (mainly the DMT DuoSharp coarse/extra course plate). The DuoSharp plate is only $119, but wears more quickly when used to flatten water stones than the Dia-Flat does. Still, it may represent a better value depending on how much flattening you do.
The Shapton glass stones are designed to handle A-2 steel better than the professional stones, but I've gotten good results with the pro stones as well. The thing I like best about the pro stones, and the Norton stones for that matter, is that they are 2-sided and I can get twice as much sharpening done before I need to flatten them. The trick with any stone, though, is to flatten them often so you never have a lot of work to do to get them flat.
Also, I have a 16,000 grit Shapton on loan that I'm goofing around with. I'm still trying to determine if there's any benefit to going beyond 8,000. So far, it's too close to call.

Re: Shop Talk Live 11: That Sinking Feeling

Great tips on getting scary sharp to work for you. Both of them address the drawbacks that Asa referred to and would yield improved results. There are so many ways to skin a cat in woodworking that no matter which technique I'm teaching or demonstrating I always tell folks that, ultimately, tthe best method is always the method that works best for you.

Also, all of your construction changes on the chimney cupboard are sound. I just taught that as a class and we left out the dovetails at the top as well. Instead, we just ran another dadoed rabbet. That way all of the case joinery was done with a single set up on the table saw. Sliding dovetails are a great way to go, but because I could get glue blocks under the middle and bottom shelves, cupping wouldn't be an issue. Biscuits are a great way to attach the face frame and I would probably use them if I were to build the piece again. There's also nothing to apologize for about using plywood for the back, it's actually the best material for case backs. I'll often use plywood and where it's visible on the inside of a case, I'll usually dress it up with a simple stub-tenon frame. Actually you could build the entire case from plywood and biscuits if you wanted, and it would still look great and be plenty strong.

Re: Walnut Version of the Arts and Crafts Hayrake table

Fantastic job! The table looks great in walnut.


Re: New tool cabinet packs in a lot of storage

I'll track down an exact date, but I believe the video series is scheduled to start in mid-July. -Mike

Re: New tool cabinet packs in a lot of storage

mt4511- Good luck, it's a lot of fun. I'm still fine-tuning the tool placement and finding new things to store inside. -Mike

Re: Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

Hi Chris, I know what you mean about sappy cherry. I actually found this at my local lumber yard, which was a bit of a surprise. When I need really nice cherry for a project, I often order from Irion Lumber in Pennsylvania and have it shipped to me. I've never been disappointed by anything they've sent and the prices are comparable to my local sources.

I typically use Titebond II unless I need a longer open time or need a more waterproof bond. I always use Titebond III when making cutting boards.

Also, Titebond III dries with a brown glue line which is great for darker woods, but not so great for light woods like pine or maple. Cherry can really go either way.


Re: Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

Hi Gary- I have a dedicated workbench, but you're right, I've outfitted my outfeed table as a workbench as well. For years though, my only workbench doubled as an outfeed table for my tablesaw and it served me very well in a tight space. The obvious downside is the need to clear the clutter for ripping on occasion. I have that same problem in my current set up because I seem to use my outfeed table as much as my workbench, but it's not really a bother.
The other consideration is that the outfeed table needs to be at the same height as the tablesaw which is about 2 inches lower than I'd ideally like a workbench to be. In reality, I can't say I notice the diffence when switching between benches.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Good design takes courage

Wood Jack- The boxes weren't a great example of the design process in that I didn't need to create a mock up or full-sized plan to make them. However on large projects I've always drawn full-sized plans and, more recently, have been making full-sized mock ups as well. I find that mock ups and plans work well in tandem. The mock up gives an idea of the scale and proportions of the piece and the plan helps dial in the relationships between the components in the piece.

You're right, the discrepancy between these and the finished piece often lays in the details, the wood and grain selection, the offsets and resulting shadow lines between individual parts which help define the form. You can get close, but you never know exactly what you have until you make it!

Good luck, Mike

Re: Shop Talk Live: Episode 2

Hi Chris, An article on the lamp is probably a long shot because of the amount of glasswork involved. It is a fun little project, though.

Thanks, Mike

Re: Shop Talk Live 1: The Big Debut

Hi Chris, you're absolutely right. I was assuming a lower bevel angle. Tackling white oak at 60 degees could work well. Have you tried it?
My 4 1/2 with the 55 degree frog still caused a lot of tear out, but I didn't consider putting a back bevel on the blade for an even steeper angle. If 60 works for you, I'll give it a shot. Thanks, Mike

Re: Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

It shouldn't pose a problem to make the cabinet out of cedar. Another option would be to make just the frame and panel back out of cedar. Which ever way you go, the important thing is to not apply finish to the inside face of the cedar.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

I bought my dovetail blade from Forrest Mfg ( They list 11.5, 9.5, and 7 degrees as options, they'll also grind a blade to your specifications. Be sure to let them know which way your saw tilts. The Forrest blade is $125, but a cheaper alternative would be to buy any blade with a flat-top grind and send it to them to be sharpened at the angle you want. In the FW shop we use an 8-in. Freud blade ground to 9.5 degrees.

Re: Shaker chimney cupboard questions?

There's no article in the works just yet. We've run some great articles on Shaker furniture by Christian Becksvoort fairly recently. So if the editor did choose to run an article on the chimney cupboard, it wouldn't be for a while.


Re: How to Make Arts & Crafts-style Drawer Pulls

rupps- That's a good point. I actually didn't have tear out problems with the forstner bit I was using, but drilling first would eliminate any possibility of it. The trick would be aligning the the cove with the pre-drilled holes. I'd probably dial in the cove set up on the router table first, then rout a scrap piece and use it to set the drill-press fence. Next time...

Re: wall cabinet

UK Meager-

Sorry for the delayed response. I just measured the piece this morning and it is 11.5 inches wide by 23 inches high by 4.5 inches deep.

Good luck, Mike

Re: "A Man's Dressing Cabinet"

Great job. I've had that book for years and it's one of my favorites. I've always liked that piece in particular, but I've never gotten around to making it. It's nice to finally see it in person!


Re: Hayrake table, extended version.

Great job! There's a lot of fun joinery in the project and it looks like you nailed it all. I like the combination of maple and oak. Well done. -Mike

Re: The Perfect Marking Knife, at Last!

Sam charges $80 for his marking knives. You can contact him at


Re: How to Build and Use a Plane Stop for Narrow Parts

Thanks Rob, I had never thought of trying the fence on the near side. I can't remember having a problem with the work piece coming away from the fence, but you're right, I do tend to skew the plane in that direction.
I used to do a lot of planing on my old tablesaw outfeed table. It didn't have a vise, so I just screwed stops right to the tabletop. It worked pretty well.

Re: Workbench clamp for perfect dovetails

tooltips- Good question. You assume correctly that I only chop half way through the joint before flipping it over and chopping from the other side. -Mike

Re: Rough Cut Director Gets Emmy Nomination

Congrats Tommy, it's well deserved. Good luck with season 2. -Mike

Re: Fitting drawers to a crooked table

carpentarius- Good eye. Yes, it's a hayrake desk similar to the dining table from the video project. I just finished attaching the table top this morning. I'll definitely post a couple pictures as soon as I take them.


Re: How to Make a Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Joint

Ponycar- It should have been included in the plans. The distance from the center is roughly 14 13/16. I'll have the illustrator add the dimension to the plans. Drop me a note at and I'll send you a revised pdf once it's fixed.

Sorry about that. -Mike

Re: Workbench clamp for perfect dovetails

rsetina- Yep, understood. I had been thinking of this for a long time before I got the nerve to drill into my bench top. GIves you a queasy feeling.

Re: Rope handle spices up a tea box

4545- Thanks, that's an interesting way to look at it. I think my wife would agree that "crude utilitarianism and fine aesthetic sensibility" describes me pretty well.

Re: Workbench clamp for perfect dovetails

I used a forstner bit to drill the holes because that's what I had around the shop, but it was difficult to keep the holes straight. A better way would be to use a large brad-point bit in conjunction with a guide block clamped to the workbench.

Re: Design journal: Let the function drive the design

c6y- I made the chair a while back with John Alexander, author of Make a Chair from a Tree (a fantastic book). It's John's design and I agree it's a pretty chair and incredibly strong for it's light weight and proportions. The reason is that it was made from green wood (hickory) that we split from a log so that the grain was perfectly straight in every piece. This gives incredible strength to even narrow parts. I rarely work with green wood now, but the class was an incredible education in understanding wood, and what I learned I use everyday in the shop.

Re: Building and Using a Simple Plane Stop

Riffler- The square wooden dogs are a tip I picked up form Phil Lowe. I mount a square blank in the lathe and turn sections to fit the dog holes. Then I cut the blank apart into separate dogs. The square head keeps the dogs from falling through the bench and offers wide support for stock. I keep a few around with caps of different thicknesses to match the stock I'm working with, but the 3/8 inch height cap works for most tasks.


Re: How to Make a Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Joint

Fenman- Thanks for the great information. It makes a lot of sense to start with riven stock for the pegs. I'll give it a shot next time.
Thanks, Mike

Re: How to Make a Drawbored Mortise and Tenon Joint

Hi Hyrum, I've had my dowel plate for many years. Lie-Nielsen makes a dowel plate that is available from their website as well as other woodworking sites.

Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

I didn't seal the door edges with epoxy, though that's probably not a bad idea. When gluing, I made sure I had squeeze-out all along the edges and I sealed the door with primer before painting. They survived their first winter without any problems. -Mike

Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

Olnook- I got lucky and found the light fixture at Home Depot. It was the only motion-sensing light that was even close to the look of the garage. I know I don't have the paper work anymore, but I'll see if I can at least get a brand name for you.


Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

The width of the internal door frame is 4 1/2 inches. The width of the trim boards on the outside face of the door vary. The outside vertical pieces and top piece are 4 1/2 inches wide. The center vertical pieces are 3 inches wide and the bottom is 6 inches wide.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

I bought my hinges from
They're about $32 a piece, so the Rockler hinges might not be a bad way to go. Butt hinges would be a cheaper option if you want to go through the work of mortising them.


Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

thewife- I'm an art director by day, so I don't consider it a girly question. The doors are painted with Behr Ultra Exterior Satin Enamel. My daughter picked out the color- Red Pepper UL120-22.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

RandallS- Thanks for the nice comments. We do have some shop storage ideas in the works- stay tuned!

The vapor barrier goes on top of the 2x4s and insulation because I glued and nailed the 2x4s to the concrete. I used pressure treated studs in case there was any moisture build up below the vapor barrier in the future.

fransel- You're right to be concerned about dust collection. It's one area of my shop I still want to improve on. I have a small collector that I hook up to my planer and bandsaw. The chips from the jointer fall into a box. I'm not in a hurry to hook it up to dust collection because I don't think it creates a lot of hazardous dust. I could be wrong. My old table saw needs some serious modifications before I can hook it up to dust collection. I use hand planes when ever possible and wear a dust mask when I have to sand. I'm leaning towards a ceiling-mounted filter to clear up the dust I can't capture at the source. Gone are the days when I'd boast that my only dust collection was a broom and dust pan. The risks of wood dust are just too well documented to ignore them.

Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

Hi riant- I went with the spray insulation on the advice of my insulation contractor. There's some internet debate about the process, but it seems to be an accepted industry practice. Here's a good explanation:

Moshup Trail- There may be a slight slope to the pad, but it's not noticeable. I honestly didn't think to check before I laid the floor down.


Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

Hi jerrin- For the doors, I started with 8/4 poplar and milled it to 1 1/2 thick. I wanted to make sure the stock for the door frame was really square and flat so the finished doors would be flat as well.


Re: Video Tour: Garage Shop Makeover

Hi Anji12305, With the insulation applied to the underside of the roof, there's no need to vent the attic space. This is referred to as a "hot roof" system. As far as the cars go, they've always lived in the driveway. The snow is easy to sweep off, but the ice can be a problem...


Re: Total garage shop makeover

jrf- The carriage doors were easy to make. I made a poplar frame and skinned each side with plywood which created a big torsion box similar a hollow core door. This design should resist racking pretty well. The frame is 1 1/2 inches thick and joined with 1-inch long stub tenons. Instead of cutting individual mortises, I used a dado blade to run a groove along the inside edges of the frame parts. I filled the frame cavities with rigid insulation and faced the outside with 1/2-inch cdx plywood and the inside with 1/4 inch plywood. I also framed in a long opening that I later divided into 3 windows using glass salvaged from the original doors (as much for sentimental as economic reasons). I added pine trim to the outside face to hide the plywood look.

I chose strap hinges because they look cool and are a lot easier to mount than mortised butt hinges.
I lag screwed a 4x4 to each side of the opening to give me a place to mount the hinges. I installed the doors by first lag screwing the hinges to the doors then setting the doors in place. I used shims to center the doors and hold them in place while I lag screwed the hinges to the 4x4s. That's it!

There's an exploded drawing of the doors and a detail of the threshold in the Tools & Shops issue due out next month that will hopefully give you all the information you need.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Total garage shop makeover

Bruski- Good point, I've come across the same opinion on the web about unvented roofs. On the other hand, I've also read that venting a roof lowers the shingle temperature by 5 degrees or less and several manufactures will guarantee their shingles installed on properly constructed unvented roofs. Sometimes there's such a thing as too much information. I'm not an expert on the subject and I based my decision on the advice of my insulation contractor, an architect friend, and the town inspector. The climate in Connecticut differs from other parts of the country, so it definitely pays to get the advice of local experts.

Thanks, Mike

Re: Total garage shop makeover

Hi Alan, The 2x4s are laid flat and spaced 24 inches apart. The rigid insulation between the studs is the same thickness and has good compressive strength so there's very little bounce to the floor. I have no problems with heavy equipment. As a precaution, I added blocking below the workbench area to insure a solid footing for my bench. I used 3/4-inch tongue and groove plywood from my local home center.

I wasn't planning on finishing the floor, but I found it difficult to sweep which is what bugged me most about the original concrete floor. I applied a coat of de-waxed shellac followed by 2 coats of fast drying oil-based poly. I'm happy with the finish so far. There's enough of a build to sweep well, but it's not too slippery when there's a layer of sawdust on the floor.


Re: Total garage shop makeover

tobiasshadow- I have a direct-vent 25,000 btu propane heater in the shop. It was too expensive to run in my uninsulated shop, but hopefully it will do the job now.
I can't really give you an exact cost on the renovation. The biggest single cost was the spray insulation under the roof which ran about $1100. You could save a lot by going with fiberglass bats instead. The lights were the other big expense at $500. Aside from the entry door, the rest of the materials consisted of plywood, construction lumber and drywall. I bought supplies as I needed them so the expenses were spaced out over 6 months.

jdelmon- Thanks for the comment. I understand your frustrations, my shop has been 13 years in the making and I'm definitely that guy juggling 2 kids (Anna and Eli), a full-time job and a tight budget. My garage was the perfect storm of unpleasantness; dark, dank, cramped and drafty. Hopefully not every shop will need that much rehab. My goal was by no means an over-the-top shop, and I hope that the article will offer some real world tips on improving a shop with limited time and space and money in mind.

joe- Great story! It is a slippery slope we tread. I'd love to see shots of your shop. Good luck.


Re: Total garage shop makeover

Hi Jodee- I took a cue from a lighting article that ran in FW 209 and went with Lithonia SB 432 4-bulb fixtures. So far, so good. They're nice and bright without any buzzing or flickering. I'm interested in how they'll do in the colder weather. The only knock on them that I've read about is their tendency to get damaged during shipping. I tried to avoid that by buying them from my local home center, but even then, one unit out of the nine was damaged and had to be exchanged.

Good luck -Mike

Re: Total garage shop makeover

johnbgood247- You're absolutely right about getting professional advice before cutting into your roof structure. In my case I talked to the engineer at the building department in my town. My roof peak was 6 1/2 feet above the ceiling joists so I was able to raise the joists a maximum of 2 feet (1/3 the height). In order to do so, I also had to sister the rafters with an additional 2x6 along each rafter because they were spaced 24 inches. I ended up raising the joists only 18 inches, but that gave me the 9 foot ceiling I was hoping for. I don't think there's anything you can do about engineered trusses used in newer construction.

Re: Put Your Furniture Photos to Work

Hi Joe,

Our basic travel kit is pretty simple. The editors have to lug the equipment through airports and set up in often cramped and cluttered shops so even if they wanted a lot of lights, they wouldn't have room to use them. They travel with a two-light kit powered by a 1000 watt battery pack (similar to this kit:

The philosophy is exactly the same as in the article, the main difference is that the kit provides enough light that a tripod generally isn't necessary though we still use them quite a bit. I always have the camera on a tripod when shooting furniture so I can maintain the same view while getting the lighting right.

We shoot with Canon 20D cameras outfitted with a Canon 28-135 lens. Not exactly cutting edge technology, but they work for us because we shoot in a pretty controlled environment. A sports or wedding photographer is going to have a completely different set of demands. The guys over at Fine Homebuilding have lot tougher time of it than we do because they're often shooting outside in challenging lighting conditions with a lot of action that isn't going to hold still for the camera. Not to mention they're often up on a roof to get the shot.

By the way, we always shoot in manual mode, adjusting our own shutter speed and f-stop because we work with the external flash kit. Basically the camera doesn't know what the flash kit is up to so we have to make the adjustments. It's a really good habit to get into and I typically shoot in manual mode even without a flash kit.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Put Your Furniture Photos to Work

Hi Jeff, You're right, a blog is a great way to go. Are there any sites you'd recommend? The important thing is to have a place on the web to point people to. For better or worse, I think it helps to legitimize you as a woodworker if someone can type in a web address and have your work pop up. Oh well. -Mike

Re: How to Make Leaded Glass Doors

DallasRay- I'm curious about the glass band saw. I've done some intricate Tiffany-style copper foil work in the past and I ended up spending a lot of time at the diamond grinder cleaning up tight curves. Can the band saw handle tight curves without a lot of clean up? How quickly do they cut?

Thanks, Mike

Re: How to Make Leaded Glass Doors

I was able to find all the supplies I needed at

EW- I've never tried a tile saw on glass, but for straight cuts, I guarantee a glass cutter is the fastest way to go. By the way, they actually sell mini band saws for cutting glass. I haven't tried one, but my guess is that they would be good for cutting intricate curves which can be a challenge with a glass cutter.

Ed has a good point that tapping the underside of the score line can help guide the break, especially on curved cuts.


Re: Photograph your mock-ups for a better view


The room mock up is a very cool idea. I've built multiple pieces for a room in the past and that would have come in handy. It allows a little more flexibility than the photoshop method when it comes to moving pieces around or changing out elements.


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

It's true you should never use the rip fence as a stop when crosscutting where the off-cut can get trapped between the blade and fence.

In this case there's no hazard because there is no off-cut to get trapped. The dado blade is only removing the stock from the underside of the work piece. No part of the work piece is actually trapped between the blade and fence. As an added precaution, I start cutting the tenon at the end and move the work piece toward the fence with successive cuts so there's never any stock to the right of the blade.

I hope this helps.


Re: How Not to Drive Your Wife Crazy: Mockup Before Milling

Hi Ernie-

For the case I used luan plywood held together in the corners with wood blocks and hot melt glue. The doors and drawers are butcher paper taped in place. I used a marker to draw in the details. To adjust the height, I borrowed some wooden blocks from my daughter's toy box.

For more information on scale and full-size mock ups, check out Gary Rogowski's great article FIne Tune Designs Before You Build, in issue 189.

Good luck, Mike

Re: Sofia Table

This is a great piece. There's a full shot of it on the back cover of FW #193 as well as some information on how Kevin made the drawer fronts. The clean lines, subtle detail and impeccable craftsmanship make this one of my all-time favorites. Good job. -Mike

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