Category Archives: Tutorials

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

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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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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