Category Archives: Build-Alongs

Follow my progress as I build various projects of my own design. Some are simple and some are complex.

Fairy Furniture You Can Make on Your Front Steps

After a big tropical storm made a mess of my daughter K’s fairy garden, she decided to do some remodeling. First on her list was new fairy furniture, so we thought up some simple designs for a table and chairs.  … Continue reading

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How to Install Hardwood Flooring without Power Tools

Can you really install hardwood flooring in your house without a special pneumatic nail gun and an air compressor?  Yes, you can.  We did it, and with a few tools and some skill, you can, too. First, the back-story.  (If … Continue reading

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How to Make a Tobacco Pipe with Hand Tools, Part 4: Stem-Bending, Staining, and Finishing

On balance, I would say that half of pipe making involves sanding. It’s not exactly the fun part of making a pipe, but the results are worth the care and effort. Theoretically, rasps and files are used to establish the … Continue reading

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How to Make a Tobacco Pipe with Hand Tools, Part 3: Shaping with Rasps and Files

When we left off last time, we had a stem inserted into a drilled block of briar wood.  Now, you could smoke this block if you wanted to (I’ve seen it done!), but you probably want to do some shaping … Continue reading

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How to Make a Tobacco Pipe with Hand Tools, Part 2: Drilling the Briar Block

In my last post, I explained how I prepare a stem to be fitted to a pipe.  In this post, I will show how I drill the holes in the block of wood itself. This stage of the pipe-making process … Continue reading

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How to Make a Tobacco Pipe with Hand Tools, Part 1: The Stem and Tenon

Five years ago, I wrote here about making a tobacco pipe with hand tools.  That post assumed you were starting with a “pipe kit,” i.e. a pre-drilled block of wood with a stem pre-fitted into it.  I still think that … Continue reading

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How to Replace a Tang Chisel Handle

There’s something especially satisfying about making or modifying your own tools, but it’s even more fun to do so while helping one of your kids build her tool collection. This 1 1/4″-wide Buck Bros. chisel was given to my oldest … Continue reading

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A Kitchen Essential: The “Staked” Stool

I don’t remember much of the furniture I grew up with, but one small piece stands out in my memory.  It was a small, oak footstool, which was kicked around my parents’ kitchen for years (sometimes literally).  I believe that … Continue reading

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How to Make Refrigerator Magnets from Wood Scraps

Some wood scraps are just too pretty to throw away.  For example, the briar wood burl from which I make tobacco pipes has beautiful flame-grain, and some even has eye-catching natural edges.  So every time I make a pipe, I … Continue reading

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The Best Tire Swing Ever

We have a large oak tree in our front yard, and while we have attempted to put up several different kinds of tree swings for the children over the years, this tire swing has been by far the best.  The … Continue reading

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