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Popular Woodworking May/June 2021

Whether it's a solo or group project, a home-improvement undertaking or a simple piece of art, Popular Woodworking lets you into the world of woodworking crafts. Each issue of Popular Woodworking features numerous projects for the expert craftsperson and the interested beginner.

United States
Active Interest Media
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
focus on the future

Much what we do as woodworkers is rooted in the past, using many of the same tools and techniques that joiners and cabinetmakers used in previous centuries. Lately, though, I find there’s an awful lot of new technology creeping into the shop (or my shop at least). Last year around this time, we surveyed our readers and found that most had the basics of a power tool-centric shop: a table saw, band saw, jointer and planer. Almost all had a cordless drill, miter saw and a handheld router. But what was the one machine they would purchase next if they could? Overwhelmingly, our readers indicated that machine would be a CNC router. A machine that’s super precise and can do the mundane, repetitive tasks while you focus on the fun stuff? Sign…

3 min

WORKSHOP TIPS Small Tool Cabinet Store your small tools in this simple, easy-to-build plywood cabinet. The shallow drawers are ideal for layout tools or carving gouges, while the deep drawers are best suited for marking gauges and block planes. Place your cabinet on a shelf or hang it from a wall by fastening through the back. Use 1/2" thick ApplyPly or Baltic birch for the case and back, 1/4" tempered hardboard for the drawer bottoms, and pine for the drawer sides. The drawer bottoms do double duty. They function as slides and pulls as well. Cut 3/16" deep dadoes in the case’s sides for the drawer bottoms to slide in. Stagger the dadoes in the middle divider so it stays strong. The lowest drawers do not have dadoes. Cut rabbets for the cabinet’s back…

5 min

NEW TOOLS South Bend Enters the Woodworking Market You may be familiar with South Bend as a metalworking tool brand—at one point half of all engine lathes were made by the company. It was acquired and re-energized by Shiraz Balolia (owner of Grizzly, Inc.) about a decade ago, and they just announced this new line of tools. The South Bend woodworking tools lineup is focusing on commercial and educational users (with special financing terms), as well as higher-end users. That means the machines are spec’d to stand up to heavy use and include options not found on other similar machines (variable speed controls, additional stop/safety switches, digital readouts, etc.). Its first tools under the brand are a 16" band saw, a 37" wide belt sander, an 8" parallelogram jointer and a combination belt/disc…

2 min
buchanan-smith's axe handbook

Abrams Image / 240 Pages / $24.99 / abramsbooks.com I’m a sucker for tools and good design, so Buchanan-Smith’s Axe Handbook was immediately added to my preorder list when I found out about it. Simply put, it’s a book about axes, written by a person who helped reignite interest in the tool as a symbol of both survival and hipster status. Peter Buchanan Smith, the author, built an entire high-end store around useful, high-quality tools and clothing, and it all started with an ax, painted with purpose. While he does present a brief history of the tool and its modern-day uses, the bulk of the book is devoted to understanding how axes are made and designed to be used today (including buying and restoring vintage axes, safety and sharpening). The section on…

8 min
cutting dovetails with shaper origin

Shaper Origin and Workstation are still pretty new to our woodworking world, but I’ve gotten to spend lots of time with the system over the last year. And it’s really quite incredible. Using a series of domino-looking shapes on a flat surface, the Origin is able to tell precisely where the machine is. As you cut, the router inside the Origin moves within the base, allowing it to precisely track a line (even if you aren’t able to do it with just your body). It will cut precisely to the line, inside or outside the line, and even off set from the line by a fixed amount. Woodworking really boils down to being able to cut precisely to layout lines, and that’s what the Origin excels at. It’s a handheld CNC…

13 min
lyre-legged table

The inspiration for this project originated during a recent trip I took to visit my brother in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The activity list for such occasion typically includes a stop at the Milwaukee Art Museum, catching a show at the Oriental Theatre, and some social imbibing down by the lakefront. It wasn’t until recently (after partaking in the latter of the activities listed above) that I discovered and old palatial estate on a bluff that overlooked Lake Michigan. To my surprise, it turned out to be a place called “Villa Terrace,” a decorative-arts museum that was once a private residence belonging to a couple named Lloyd and Agnes Smith at the beginning of the 20th century. Known as Sopra Mare (“above the sea” in Italian) to the Smiths, this resplendent piece…