Associate Art Director

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Dovetailed Salt Box

A fun little project featuring a tiny, little mitered dovetail.

Turning a Slick Handle for a Slick Chisel

Plans and dimensions to make a timber framing slick handle

Natural-edge cutting board

Here's a quick project that's great to get started in woodworking. These cutting boards make great gifts and they're fun to make.

Tip for fitting a handle to a socket chisel

How to get the tapered tenon of a socket chisel handle to fit just right.

Reclaimed Rocker - Part 3

Our associate art director wraps up his Maloof-style rocker project and gives it a new home

Reclaimed Rocker - Part 1

Step-by-step photo essay of a Sam Maloof style rocker project, made from reclaimed chestnut.

Reclaimed Rocker - Part 2

The Maloof style chestnut rocker gets shaped.

Reclaimed wood: Nail removing tips

A few tips for removing nails from reclaimed wood.

Antique Workbench Completion

The antique wood screw vises are attached and ready to go back to work!

Antique Workbench Transformation

Follow along as an old workbench gets paired up with two antique wood screw vises.

Hawaiian Steel Guitar is ready to make music

The Weissenborn style, Hawaiian guitar is ready to play.

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Project-Part 3

Specialized clamps attach the top and back, as the guitar starts to take shape.

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Project - Part 2

Carving straight grain spruce for the sound braces.

Hawaiian Steel Guitar Project-Part 1

Follow along for my first Weissenborn style guitar project.

Symmetry in Design

For a small wall cabinet, thinking ahead would have offered all kinds of mounting options.

Scrap Copper Makes a Great Door Pull

Hand-hammered copper hides a magnet on a cabinet door pull

Curvy Cabinet: Bending Dovetails in Butternut

Butternut cabinet designed around cut-offs and scraps from a recent project.

Make an Outdoor Slab Bench

A simple design that will last for years

Cordwood Couch

Wood-fired grill cordwood becomes a comfy couch

A Solid Cherry Beam Becomes a Cool Stool

How to make a quick bar stool out of a solid cherry beam.

Portable mill sawing up a local Cherry tree

A local Cherry tree is sectioned up, and utilized for furniture lumber

The Bamboo Blog - Part 2

7 more short pieces of bamboo, a few lengths of twine, and the shelf is ready to use.

Quick and Easy Lumber Rack - Part 1

Every woodworking can use more space to store lumber. Follow along for step-by-step instructions on how to build your own one-of-a-kind lumber rack.

The Bamboo Blog - Part 1

Working with bamboo is just plain fun, and fast.

Dovetails with a Reciprocating saw?

In a pinch, a forstner bit and a reciprocating saw work well to remove waste between pins.

Make a Bench from a Board

A nice clear pine board turns into a useful bench.

Make a wooden, spring-assisted, sash cord lid stay.

Here's a cool way to keep a cabinet lid open using a piece of sash cord and a scrap of thin wood.

Transform Reclaimed Cedar Siding into Beautiful Cabinet Panels

Recycled material keeps the cost down of a recent project, and adds an upgrade to the original design.

A Simple Door Pull of Copper and Wood

A copper rivet and a tiny square of wood make a cool little door pull.

Backyard Rock Makes a Fine Furniture Accent

A scrap of wood from a bathroom vanity project, a rock from the yard, and a few coper nails make a great weekend "rock and roll" project.

Build a Hidden TV Enclosure

Here's a fun way to hide a flat screen in a wall. An oil painting with a cherry panel back is attached to a shallow cherry box recessed into the wall. The panel is opened, and held open, by a wooden hinge and held closed by a rare earth magnet.

Woodworking for bulldozer work: A good trade

One of my summer/fall projects is to build a post & beam shed to store lumber and cord wood. The ideal place for the shed was next to the shop to access lumber, but not too far from the house when carrying in firewood.

Adjustable, Collapsible, Stackable, Packable Lights

A simple design utilizing standard under cabinet fluorescent lights.

"Modern Susan" Dining Table

"A playful design that is not only aesthetically pleasing but functional as well."

Furniture Lab: Tech Cabinet Grand Finale

The Tech cabinet gets a door, LED lights and final touches.

Furniture Lab: Tech Cabinet Part 2

Part 2 of the Tech Cabinet project covers making the undulating shelves with through-tenons and gluing up the case.

Furniture Lab Tech Cabinet - Part I

Designing and building an oddball cabinet using weathered barn board and old circuit boards.

Make Your Own Leather Chisel Roll

Sure, you could spend $75 on a nice leather chisel roll, but if you've got access to some castaway cowhide, why not sew up your own?

Bending Dovetails

OK, so I'm not technically "bending" these dovetails, but I've come up with a quick trick to fool the eye.

The 3 Hour Cabinet

Sometimes utility trumps ultimate beauty. Learn how to build a cupboard with a deliberate effort to not clean up machine marks and put it right to work.

Free Plan: Build a Rustic Chicken Coop

Our staffers don't spend all their time just building fine furniture. In this Quick Cuts video blog, associate art director John Tetreault touches on how to build a simple chicken coop.

A Brand New Bench Video!

Sshhh! The details on our upcoming video workshop on a Roubo-style bench are still under wraps.

Turning My First Green Bowl

How a 16 inch diameter cherry burl became a lesson in turning

Black Walnut Wall Cabinet

Black Walnut with Tiger Maple accents. Hand carved rose and vine detail on top molding. Glass shelves and mirror back.

Old Growth Pine Coffee Table

Made from reclaimed Pine floor joists and sub-flooring. Mortise and tenon construction with Chestnut wedges.

Oak "Water Wheel" Bench

Single board top with quarter-sawn grain milled at a water wheel powered sawmill. Birds eye/flamed maple breadboard ends. Dovetailed maple "runners" hold two figured maple lower shelves.

Locust Coffee Table

Two board, natural edge locust top with curly/spalted Locust breadboard ends. Spalted Locust single board lower shelf. Fir legs dovetailed into breadboard ends feature a hand-rubbed matte black...

Twelve Grain Table

Reclaimed quarter-sawn Oak from an 1800's post & beam barn used for legs. American Chestnut dovetailed skirt. Rock Maple, Locust, Southern Yellow Pine and Chestnut trestle style base with...

Tiger Maple Post & Beam Desk

Design is reminiscent of an old post & beam barn frame, complete with antique barn pegs used for drawer pulls.

Chestnut Coffee Table

Coffee table made from reclaimed American Chestnut rafters from a 1700's New England home. This piece was a study for a full size dining table of similar design.

Recent comments

Re: Tip for fitting a handle to a socket chisel

The only trick I know is to fit the socket when its dry (you can even heat the socket a bit to really dry it out) making sure to leave the spaces above and below as shown in the drawing above.That way you can still knock it down tight during those extra dry months.
If the socket is fit well, it's designed to tighten every time you give it a smack. Epoxy would probably work, but you would never be able to remove the handle, say if you wanted to replace the leather washers, or swap it for a longer paring handle. Hope that helps!

Re: Shopmade Handles Make a Matched Set

Getting the socket just right is the most challenging part. A good trick I came up with is to press a piece of clay or plumbers putty into the socket. Slightly twist it as it's removed. Then you have an exact model to take measurements from with your calipers.

I'll take a few photos and post a separate blog on Monday. Hope that helps.

Re: Shopmade Handles Make a Matched Set

I agree, custom handles can be much more comfortable. I just wiped on a few coats of poly and a final coat of beeswax for the finish.

Re: Reclaimed Rocker - Part 3

Thanks, all. My wife and I are very excited! And now I have a whole six months to finish the second rocker!

Re: Antique Workbench Completion

Thanks so much for the kind words! If you'd like to post photos of your bench restoration project you can go to the link below and add them in the gallery. You'll need to make a "profile" if you don't have one, but then you can upload images there. Also, maybe post a comment in this blog so anyone interested in restoration projects can click over to the gallery and check it out. Thanks again!


Re: Antique Workbench Completion

To Woodnt,
You're right, it would be easier to deal with the dog holes as a separate strip - small pieces glued up or a template for a router works great. The cypress (not the country of cyprus of course, :-)) was soft enough for me to just go with chopping.

To WomenTurn2 and NoDeal,
I'd love to see photos of your workbench restoration projects. It's great to hear those old benches are going to be put back to work!

Re: Antique Workbench Completion

I checked with Fedex, and they said the roubo bench was over the weight limit, so we'll have to organize a lift gate truck. :-)

Seriously though it would be hard to give up the hybrid roubo. I've found it to be exactly what I want every time I use it. The new old bench was a little side project, mostly because I like antiques and I always wanted to try a wood screw vise. The smaller size of this bench (22in. wide by 6 feet long) will make it more manageable to bring down to our local agricultural fair where I do a small woodworking demo. And for the rest of the year it will be nice to have a second bench in the shop for glue-ups or assembly, that is if I can squeeze it in my shop!

Re: Hawaiian Steel Guitar Project-Part 1

Kevin, you're right. The stew-mac plans did lack some detail, but there are a bunch of great photos of original weissenborns on the web. Also, Tony Francis builds some beauties over in Australia and this blog that was a big help.
He also sells parts like original spec tuners and bridge pins, etc. - he's a great guy to deal with.

Re: Scrap Copper Makes a Great Door Pull

Hi Mark,
I used a piece of old copper roof flashing (about 1/16th in. thick) that already had the patina on it. Some of the patina wore off where it was hammered and bent but most stayed on. I bought copper rose-head boat nails and roves form Lee Valley in the past, and if you want, you can tap them square with a hammer. I think the rose-head will look great with the arts & crafts style.

Re: Curvy Cabinet: Bending Dovetails in Butternut

Hi garyprott,
I really like the butternut too, both in how it works and the color, but go ahead and give it a try with any wood you have. Just try to choose a carving-friendly wood. A harder wood won't matter so much for the outside corners and edges, but I think it will make a difference when carving the inside corners. Thanks!

Re: A Solid Cherry Beam Becomes a Cool Stool

If the groove was running vertically down the interior (facing the breakfast bar), I could incorporate a sliding dovetail running horizontally to hold the foot rest. Both grooves together would add an interesting design element. Great tip! Thanks,

Re: Portable mill sawing up a local Cherry tree

Thanks BetsyE - great information!

Re: Portable mill sawing up a local Cherry tree

Big Lou,
Really, I would ask around town. Local firewood sellers, landscapers, the guy who owns the hardware store - someone may know someone who has a mill. You can also search online, or maybe put an add in your local paper.

Re: Portable mill sawing up a local Cherry tree

Hi bobkidd,
I figured about 225-250 board feet of lumber between the 8 foot length section, the 6 foot section and the two 3 foot long blocks. There were a few other small pieces, plus I did cut up all the branches for my wood-fired grill.

The 36" diameter oak sounds like a beauty. I think the mill that cut the cherry log had a 26 or 28 inch capacity, so I would double check with the sawyer you find to see if his mill will handle the 36 inch diameter. I would guess you would get about 900 board feet.

Re: The Bamboo Blog - Part 2

Thanks stewdes,
It was a lot of fun to work with those materials.

Re: The Bamboo Blog - Part 1

I built my hybrid roubo bench a while back with no aprons and a nice thick top, so I could clamp all around the edges. A deep-reach clamp along an edge works just like a hold down. I was thinking I would use the bench for a while and then drill a round hole in the top if I want to use a hold-down in the future.

You could also give a custom made version a shot, and make something that suits the way you like to work. Hope that helps,

Re: Build a Hidden TV Enclosure

The windows are original to the house. I just painted the sashes and refinished the trim. I really like the color of that old yellow pine.
Making your own for your shop sounds like a great idea though. Custom made is always a nice touch.

Re: Bathroom Vanity

Very nice job Josh. The color of the finished piece is beautiful.

Re: Recycled Chestnut Cabinetry Dresses up a Formal Fireplace

Beautiful piece Dan - love that old chestnut. And it looks fantastic next to the stone.

Re: Make a Bench from a Board

Thanks slowman,
I think the 3" thickness (my bench was only 2in.) with finger joints would be plenty strong. You could always add a stretcher like OuGrysie suggested if you're worried about the strength of the finger joints. The cyprus would be a great choice for an outdoor bench too, just make sure to use waterproof glue, and it should be around for a long time.

Re: Make a Bench from a Board

I'm leaving it outdoors until it turns gray, and then I'm thinking of bringing it inside to use on our front porch. I want it to have a weathered look and feel worn-in. I might carve out the seat a bit to add more comfort, but either way, I think it will be a nice place to sit in the morning with a cup of coffee. Thanks,

Re: Make a Bench from a Board

Hi OuGrysie,
I was wondering about a stretcher also, but after the dry assembly, I decided against it. I liked the clean look without the stretcher and I felt that the 2in. thick dovetails added an awful lot of long grain glue surface. It wouldn't hurt to have the added strength of the stretcher for sure, but I think it will last for years without it. Thanks,

Re: Make a Bench from a Board

Thanks Mike,
I'm letting the bench stay outside and weather a while in front of the rock wall in the photo. I thought the rounded edges would make it fit into it's "organic" setting a little more comfortably.

Re: A Simple Door Pull of Copper and Wood

Thanks for the kind words.
I'm not sure if the cabinet will be in a future FW issue - the sides are dovetailed to the top and bottom. The shelves and dividers sit in stopped dados, and the door is made with bridle joints with pegs. I'm making drawers for the dividers, one of which will be a removable salt box with a sliding lid. Thanks again,

Re: A Simple Door Pull of Copper and Wood

The rivets I have are old belt rivets. From the box, (background in photo 2) they look to be from the 40's. The dimensions are 3/16 in. dia. at the point, 11/16 in. dia. at the head, by 1 in. long. I did a quick search online and you can get any size you want to try. (www.rivetsonline.com had a whole bunch of sizes, sold in one pound increments, for a reasonable price.)

Re: Ruobo style workbench

The reclaimed beech is a great choice - it looks fantastic, and I really like the lower shelf you added. Thanks for sharing the photos!

Re: Build a Hidden TV Enclosure

Thanks JEvans,
Your restoration project is looking great. I like how you kept the built-ins original, yet they open up to reveal all the modern amenities. Nice job.

Re: Build a Hidden TV Enclosure

I liked the Blum Aventos HK or HK-S lift systems that are used for overhead cabinet doors. I might have used them but I didn't have the depth I needed to install them in the wall recess. A little expensive but they offer a nice smooth motion.
I wouldn't give up on the wooden version though. I'd say give it a try. It only uses one small board worth of lumber and if you don't like how it turns out, you can chalk it up to experience either way!

Re: Furniture Lab: Tech Cabinet Part 2

Thanks Paul,
The scrub plane was a lot of fun to use. The texture is shallow enough to allow objects to sit flat on the shelf, but deep enough to have a great wavy feel to it. I should have the final construction photos up soon!

Re: Furniture Lab: Recycling Found Objects into Fine Furniture

I appreciate your honest concern. The few hazardous items are being dealt with on the towns hazardous waste days. I'd have to say, the process of combining creativity and imagination to turn salvaged materials into good usable furniture is extremely satisfying. I would classify the site as a "Super-Fun" site! ba-dum-cchh!

Re: Shop Tours with Fine Woodworking Staffers

Hi caryhson1,
I must say the new bench is an absolute joy. You can clamp any workpiece anywhere! To answer some of your questions:
1. You're right that there's no need for the end caps because of the extra thickness of the top.
2. I slightly elongated the holes at the back of the bench where the top attaches to allow for movement. From summer to winter, the difference was less than an eighth of an inch overhanging the back legs. The front stayed perfectly in line with the front of the legs.

My shop is not climate controlled either and I have not re-flattened the top yet. Take extra time at the glue-up stage to get it as close to flat as possible and after a little hand planing you'll be in good shape. Close to quarter-sawn wood helps, but I think the mass of the top helps to keep things more stable.

One of the features I've been enjoying the most, is the front leg that is in line with where the tail vise closes. It's great for supporting legs and long workpieces when you're working on the top end of the piece.

Glad you enjoyed the video!

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

Great lessons Matt! Along with philosophy, woodworking and editing, I think you can add animation to your bag of tricks. Try a quick click on lower left, upper right, lower right.

Re: The 3 Hour Cabinet

I happen to have hemlock from a friend who cleared a few trees in his yard in MA. It's the first time I worked with it, but if I didn't know where it came from, I would have thought it was pine. It worked just the same. A pine 1" x 12" from any local store would be perfect for this project. Thanks!

Re: Shop Tours with Fine Woodworking Staffers

Hi George,
I agree that a small shop can work just fine. If it's well organized, it can be a very efficient way to work. I think woodworking in general brings out the creativity in people. That can be shown in furniture design, or just how you use the space you have to woodwork in. Woodworking is simply fun...a workbench in a hallway works too!

Re: Shop Tours with Fine Woodworking Staffers

Hi MacMarty,
Call me crazy but this is the same scenario as me having a wood stove in my living room...with floors made of wood, and furniture made of wood, and walls made of wood.

I plan on taking the same safety precautions in my shop as I do in my home. For the house, I checked with the local building inspector and installed the stove to specifications, including a stone base, 1 inch air space behind cement board with fieldstone face for the walls, and the proper setbacks from the walls and ceiling for the stove pipe. One added precaution in the shop is to keep the dust to a minimum, and I'll brush off the stove before use.

There are other ways to heat a shop for sure, but on that occasional Saturday morning when the snow's coming down, I'm comfortable firing up the wood stove. And what better way to use up those shop scraps!

Re: A Brand New Bench Video!

I went with metal vise screws, but the with the design of this bench, you can choose to install any hardware you like.

Re: Tiger Maple Post & Beam Desk

Thanks for the comment. I do tend to lean towards the "heavy" side when it comes to design. I think it may have started because I use a lot of recycled wood and usually want to see most of the patina, causing me to design around the rough dimensions I start out with. All these recent posts are pieces I built several years ago. Now that I'm at FW full time, I just build commissioned pieces here and there.

Re: Old Growth Pine Coffee Table

The arts and crafts style wasn't necessarily my intention, but I do like that style. I usually start with a quick sketch and change things as I build, designing around the specific wood for that project. Thanks for the comment.

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