Popular Woodworking September/October 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
SPECIAL: Get 40% OFF with code: READ40
6 Issues

in this issue

3 min
the pursuit of perfection

Throughout my career, I’ve sat in on a variety of interviews with candidates, trying to fill various positions. The one phrase that always leaves a bad taste in my mouth is “I’m a perfectionist.” Now, don’t get me wrong. Perfection is a fine goal to have. Heck, I always strive for perfection. But when people ask if I’m a perfectionist, my response is always: “Absolutely not.” Hang with me and let me explain where I’m going with this. As you read through this issue, you’ll notice a few different projects with hand-cut dovetails, and I even have an article on hand-cutting them. Jokingly, we started calling this the dovetail issue. For some reason, people always see dovetails, and in particular, hand-cut dovetails, as the epitome of craftsmanship. I don’t really agree…

4 min
workshop tips

A True Black Ebonizing wood isn’t as easy as it seems. Black dyes usually leave a bluish or greenish cast, oil stains look washed out, and paint obscures the grain. But a good India ink, which is really a very finely ground pigment, does the job. It’s available as a fast-drying waterborne liquid at most art or hobby stores. As with any waterborne finish, raise the grain before you apply the ink. Dampen the wood with water, let it dry and sand lightly to cut down the swelled fibers. Now, brush on the ink. Once dry, it’s compatible under any finish. —George Riemann (Ann Arbor, MI) Unclog Your Paper When you’re scuff-sanding between finish coats, it’s not unusual to get some loading on your sandpaper, even when the top coat is good and dry.…

2 min
new tools

Woodpeckers Precision Taper Jig Most of the Shaker-inspired furniture I build has some form of tapered leg. When Woodpecker announced their Precision Taper Jig, I knew it would have a place in my shop. As you can expect from Woodpecker, the Precision Taper Jig has some features that make it a sheer joy to use. One of those features is the angle gauges with interlocking teeth. There are two on the jig—one for angles from 0-7° (in 0.25° increments), and a second for 0-15° in 0.5° increments. Another feature that I love is the handles that do double-duty as workpiece hold-downs. A replaceable MDFbasekeepsthejig zero-clearance for tear-free cuts. The Precision Taper Jig is set to ship in late October 2021. —Logan Wittmer ▪ Precision Taper Jig Woodpeckers Woodpeck.com Price: $279.99 - 399.99 ISOtunes PRO Aware Every once…

9 min
hand-cutting dovetails

Dovetails. They get put on a pedestal as a sign of quality. And while not every project or furniture style warrants them, I enjoy sitting down, listening to an audiobook, and cutting them by hand. Once you break down dovetails into a series of basic steps, I think you’ll find that hand-cutting them is easier than you think. Here’s my process for hand-cutting through dovetails. Essential Layout First Before any thought is given to picking up a saw, you’ll want to prep your stock. The front and back parts need to be the same length, as do the sides. Unless you want a twisted case, you’ll also want to make sure that the ends are square. The shooting board takes care of squaring everything up and allows me to sneak parts to…

5 min
kimmons hand tools

It’s not often that I see a new boutique toolmaker pop up on the woodworking scene. Usually, I see some form of press release or article in a publication. Over the last year, however, I’ve been closely following the journey of one small toolmaker from Ohio. Andrew Kimmons started selling his chisels on his Etsy store, and I had seen a handful of reviews that were showering Andrew with praise on his handmade chisels. So, I reached out to Andrew to see what the buzz was about. After receiving the set of chisels from Andrew, my first impressions were pretty striking. They were flawless. The curly maple handles were very nicely turned, and I knew immediately that they are made with a hand tool user in mind. It nearly felt like…

19 min
shaker-inspired sewing counter

PROJECT #2113 Skill Level: Intermediate Time: 10 Days Cost: $500 I work in the Kansas City Woodworker’s Guild, a shared shop with a fleet of Sawstops, bandsaws, jointers, planers, drill presses, mortising machines, wide-belt sanders, lathes, a panel saw, router tables, CNC machines, and innumerable handheld power tools. The entire lot of equipment would rival any commercial shop (all for the low membership due of about $100/year!). For me, the most stunning feature is the hand tool cabinet containing all of the Lie-Nielsen hand planes and saws in production, even the special joinery planes. I’d trade all the machines (except maybe the bandsaw) for that cabinet. The cabinet is the bench room, a space designated specifically for hand work and separate from the machine area. The swipe of a plane, the shush of a saw,…