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Popular Woodworking

Popular Woodworking August 2017

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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.

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Country:
United States
Language:
English
Publisher:
Active Interest Media
Frequency:
Bimonthly
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6 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
a thin slice of zen

Idon’t remember the exact year, but it was not too long after I’d joined the Popular Woodworking staff that I drove to Indianapolis for what was my first Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event. It was likely the spring of 2006 or 2007, and I’d but recently become semi-proficient in my sawing skills. I know I’d graduated to at least “marginally acceptable,” because Christopher Schwarz, who was editor at the time, allowed me to use his Precious (a.k.a. his Eccentric Toolworks saw) – as long as I was under his direct supervision. Andrew Lunn (owner and maker of Eccentric saws) was at that show, too, and we were using one of his carcase saws in a heated contest to see who could slice the thinnest and most consistent piece from the end of…

6 min.
small box lid hinge placement

I’m building a small jewelry box and am wondering if there are any formulas for spacing the hinges on the lid. Ray Carina, Sierra Vista, Arizona Ray, There are no modern rules of which I’m aware regarding hinges on a small box lid. Almost any reasonable arrangement will work – it’s all visual (unlike on a door, which has to resist gravity). The historical rule is to take the width of the box and divide it in half. Let’s say it’s 20", in which case the hinges should be spaced 10" apart. This, however, can look awkward to the modern eye. So the short answer is to do what looks right. But if the top is frame-and-panel construction, I would likely choose to align the outside end of the hinge in line with the inside…

5 min.
stabilize your strop

When stropping my plane and chisel blades for that final honing, I always want to be sure that there is little to no chance that a freshly sharpened blade will slide off of the strop and accidentally hit something on my workbench. Additionally, I want to make sure that the strop is level and that it will not shift while I’m polishing sharp blades. I found a simple way to keep my strops elevated and stable. After I flatten the block of wood I’m going to convert into a strop, I cut two rabbets along the bottom of the block on either edge. I’ve found 1/2" deep by at least 3/4" wide is about the right dimension. This creates a large tongue that can be inserted in a vise rather than trying…

1 min.
walke moore tools compass guides

Designed as solid anchor points for placing compasses and dividers on the edges and corners of boards to mark curves, two of these Compass Guides from Walke Moore Tools allow you to make perfect circles or arcs anywhere on projects without fumbling to align a compass leg. (The round center guide is handy for marking curves on a face, without leaving a deep prick mark.) The question is, do you need them? Truthfully, you can get by without them, but in some sense that’s like saying you can get by without a hammer if you have a heavy rock nearby. They’re the right tool for the job and they bring a functional precision to common layout tasks far surpassing the ad-hoc solutions most of us employ. I found myself reaching for the…

2 min.
omni square multi-function layout tool

This clever and inexpensive milled aluminum square functions as a try square, miter square, bevel square, T-square, combination square and (in a pinch) a compass (the compass function would work better were there a groove on the end of the blade in which to set a pencil, which the maker mentions, but leaves up to the customer to cut per his or her preference). It folds to a 7" flat for easy storage. The tool works by rotating on a spring between the two blades, and it has small high-density nylon balls that click into detents at 90°, 45° and 135°. That makes it easy to quickly change settings between common angles when the two curved ends are aligned. Click it out of the detents, and it’s easy to slide the…

5 min.
see like a designer

It happens during almost every furniture design workshop. At the start of day two, a carload of students shows up 20 minutes late. One would think they’d be embarrassed, but instead they burst in all giggly and excited. Then the story spills out. They were on their way with plenty of time until they noticed a courthouse, library, cathedral or theater across the street. With a few minutes to spare, they piled out for a closer look. It was then they realized they had new eyes. Instead of seeing just an old building with stone walls and wood doors, they saw for the first time what the original designer saw – the shapes and patterns once hidden, now alive again for those who can see. I’ve yet to hand out detentions for…