Category Archives: Tutorials

How to use specific hand tools and perform different operations in joinery.

How to Start Carving Spoons

As part of my ongoing “How to Start” series of blog posts, here is some advice on how to start carving spoons.  My goal is not to guide you through the entire process of making a spoon; I just want … Continue reading

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Flattening Your Oilstone Is Really Easy

While sharpening some blades this afternoon, I finally got sick enough of my dished oilstone to actually do something about it.  I’ve had this double-sided (soft/hard) Arkansas stone for probably 5-10 years and have never flattened it.  The soft side … Continue reading

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Folding Outfeed Table for My Bandsaw

I don’t enjoy working with powered machines nearly as much as I enjoy working with hand tools, but I do rely a lot on my bandsaw for cutting down big pieces of wood into smaller pieces.  My main bandsaw is … Continue reading

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How to Build Carpenter Bee Traps (That Look Nice)

Down here on the Gulf Coast, we have a lot of insect problems–mosquitoes, termites, fire ants, you name it.  Another common pest here is the carpenter bee, which is not at all aggressive, and a good pollinator to boot.  But carpenter … Continue reading

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Crafting (in) the Home: Passing on Your Skills to your Children

I just returned from a conference on community building called The Urban Village: From Cloud-Castles to Blueprints, sponsored by The Servi Institute in Oklahoma City, OK, where I gave a presentation on passing on manual skills to children by letting … 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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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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