Category Archives: Tutorials

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

How to Restore a Wooden Cutting Board

Wooden cutting boards are wonderful.  I wouldn’t be without them in my kitchen.  But over time, their surfaces get chewed up–especially if you keep your kitchen knives sharp.  A wooden cutting board can go years and years before its surface … Continue reading

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Another Great Use for a Handscrew: Holding Very Small Pieces

Reading old woodworking books like Aldren Watson’s Hand Tools, it’s amazing to me how often a handscrew is recommended for solving work-holding problems.. I use them all the time, and here’s one handy way to use that classic clamping device. I … Continue reading

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The Best Marking Knife Is…

The best marking knife is the one you make for yourself. Over the past eight years, I’ve used any number of knives to mark lines on wood.  Some of my first dovetails were laid out with a utility knife–and they … Continue reading

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Making a Joiner’s Mallet

My current joiner’s mallet is over six years old and is starting to show a little wear.  I’ve had some pecan wood drying in my attic for a year now, and I decided it was time to bring it down … Continue reading

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Winding sticks? We don’t need no stinkin’ winding sticks!

The other day, I set to work truing up the sole of my wooden jack plane, and I was doing my best to find the high and low spots with my straightedge.  The sole seemed slightly twisted, and it occurred … Continue reading

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Leaf Carving

My wife came back from Wooworking in America with a few carving gouges and a lot of enthusiasm.  She and I had attended Mary May‘s seminar on carving oak leaf shapes, and we were keen to try out what we … Continue reading

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Addendum: Training the Next Generation of Woodworkers

As a follow-up to my last post, I would like to offer a few more observations about passing on the knowledge of your craft to the next generation. 1. If your children are grown, all is not lost. There may … Continue reading

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How to Start Training the Next Generation of Woodworkers

This being a bookish blog, let me begin with a picture not obviously related to woodworking. The year was 2008.  I was in the thick of writing my doctoral dissertation, and I was spending much of my time reading academic … Continue reading

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Tobacco Pipe Aesthetics and Design: Whole Number Ratios

Why do some tobacco pipes look smooth and graceful while others look clunky and clumsy? I had been looking at classic pipe shapes, especially in old Dunhill catalogs I’d found online. I began wondering why some designs stood out, and … Continue reading

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Repairs Coming Down the Track

Not long ago, my wife and I were browsing an antique mall looking for old tools, old dishes, and old books.  In one stall, I opened a cardboard box to find a large expansion set of wooden train tracks.  There … Continue reading

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