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Popular Woodworking

Popular Woodworking June 2020

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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United States
Active Interest Media
6 Issues

in this issue

7 min
heirloom awl

Metal and wood are the basic ingredients in most woodworking tools. As woodworkers, we're familiar with working wood, but what about metal? Actually, the level of metal woodworking required to make some woodworking tools is pretty basic. If you've never made your own tools, give this project a try. There's something enormously satisfying about a tool you made yourself. We chose the scratch awl for this article because it's an everyday tool that's easy to make. This project will teach you the basic principles of heat-treating steel and turning a wood handle with a metal ferrule. This awl will be the first milestone on your custom tool-making journey. Note: This project involves metal grinding and working with an open flame, be sure to follow these basic safety guidelines: • Thoroughly clean work area…

11 min
swedish trestle table

PROJECT #2007 Skill Level: Intermediate Time: 4 days Cost: $500 My home is a 150-year-old farmhouse situated in the middle of Cincinnati, Ohio. When it came time to tackle the renovation of the dining room, we decided on a dining table that fit the period and aesthetic of our home. As I started to research mid-19th-century dining tables, I came across an auction site with a pine Swedish trestle table with a style that was almost exactly what I was searching for. The table features two strong stretchers with tusk and tenon joinery. This enables the table to be knocked down for transportation and assembled again without tools. I also appreciated that the leg assemblies each have two legs that provide additional support for a huge tabletop (this stands in contrast to some trestle tables…

3 min
workshop tips

No Slip Clamp Guides Guide clamps make it easy to position a straightedge for sawing or routing, because they clamp to both ends of a workpiece. I made my own, using a 5" wide length of ¾" MDF, aluminum T-track, T-bolts, toggle clamps and large rubber bands. First, cut a pair of 2½" by 3" blocks from the MDF. Then rout or saw a groove in the remaining length and install the T-track. Drill two holes in each block and mount the T-bolts. Then attach the toggle clamps and install the rubber bands. That’s it! To use the guide clamp, tighten the Tbolts so when the blocks are installed in the T-track, they’re held flush against the MDF base, but still slide easily. The action of the toggle clamps—and the rubber bands—will set…

2 min
spoon bit spoiler

Sometime in the haze of the 1970s, Armand LaMontagne, a wood sculptor from Rhode Island, sought revenge against the museum world. He had been rebuffed by curators when he questioned the authenticity of some antique furniture, so he set out to vividly demonstrate their gullibility. Armand painstakingly built a close copy of an extremely rare 17th-century medieval-style turned chair, as would have been made in the Massachusetts Bay colony, using green wood and period techniques. He tortured the chair to appear as old as the rocks of New England, place it on the porch of a rural house fronting a road often driven by a well-known antique dealer, and laid in wait. Sure enough, the mark bought the chair for a song. It passed through a number of other dealer’s hands before…

5 min
bandsawn dovetails

If you've labored over handcut through dovetails, you'll be amazed how much faster they can be cut on the bandsaw. You get all the benefits, including strong joints, classic appearance, the ability to use boards of any thickness and the freedom to size and space the pins and tails however you want. The only limiting factor is your bandsaw's throat capacity. My saw allows making joints up to 14" wide. That's wide enough for any drawer, but not for a blanket chest. As with any technique, mastering this one takes a little practice. You'll need a sharp blade for your bandsaw. I keep a chisel handy, too, for finetuning the fit. Make the Jig The jig is an angled sled. The slop angle you've chosen for the pins determines the sled's angle. Ratios…

13 min
building by eye

PROJECT #2008 Skill Level: Advanced Time: 1 Week Cost: $400 Almost 15 years ago when I was writing Pleasant Hill Shaker Furniture I fell in love with several pieces of furniture originating in that 19th century Shaker community, each of which represented what I saw as a near perfect expression of the Pleasant Hill aesthetic. Among those, in fact standing at the top of that group, is the original of this chair. In the text, I enthused about the coordinated detail evident in this piece, how the cutaway on the bottom of the arms mirrored a similar but more pronounced cutaway on the tops of the rockers below those arms, about the perfection of the curves on the finials and the vases on the front posts. Unfortunately no one had ever asked me to build…