Category Archives: Tutorials

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

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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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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