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Popular Woodworking April 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
R 101,18
R 260,41
6 Issues

in this issue

2 min
bit by bit

If it were up to me, I’d be able to divide myself into two parts. One would focus on my family, health and career, and the other would focus on making great furniture. Unfortunately, that’s impossible. So, I’ve done the next best thing: I’ve publicly declared that I’m going to woodwork every day this year, all those other things be damned (see issue #251). And it’s actually working (so far). So much about woodworking is learning new skills, trying things, failing, learning from failure, trying again and succeeding. Yes, reading and learning about woodworking is important. You really can learn a lot about how to approach projects and what to look out for when starting out. But it doesn’t get real until it’s you, in your shop (or back porch or…

6 min
workshop tips

Mobile, Sturdy Light Stand Good light is a must in every workshop, but sometimes I need a little extra light in just the right place. To make my light/magnifier more portable, I drilled a hole in a handscrew to fit the light’s post. Now I can clamp the light to any of my benches, stationary tools, or shelves.—Edward Hansen Clamping Dowels I recently made a couple boxes with finger joints. I didn’t have enough clamps to glue both boxes at once, so I decided to use band clamps. During my dry run, I discovered that the bands wouldn’t allow the joints to close. To fix this, I put a dowel on each side of each joint to keep the band clamp clear of the corners. —Mark Thiel Friction-Free Resaw Fence Re-sawing a board is tricky.…

5 min

New Saws from Harvey Harvey Tools recently released a new line of shop tools aimed at the hobbyist under the Ambassador name. We got a chance to put both the 14" bandsaw and the C200-30 table saw to work in the shop, and overall, we were quite impressed—especially factoring in the bang for the buck factor. C-14 Bandsaw This floor-standing bandsaw has everything most woodworkers want, including a lot of features found on higher-priced saws. It’s a steel frame bandsaw with dynamically-balanced cast iron wheels and weighs in at about 350 lbs. The saw has a 13" throat and a 14" resaw capacity. Coupled with a 3HP 230-volt motor (larger than I’ve seen on most saws this size) and the included ¾" blade, it did a great job resawing wide boards. The resawn…

9 min
pepper mills

When it comes to pleasing the senses, a well-turned pepper mill has a lot going for it. It pleases the eye, is comfortable to hold and feels smooth to the touch. Of course, there’s always that wonderful taste and smell that only fresh ground pepper can deliver. Keep these things in mind as you follow me in creating your own pepper mill. Your first consideration is the mill mechanism. Mills come in lengths from 3 inches to 24 inches with 8" and 10" being the most popular. For this story I used a 10" mechanism with a nut on top. You can also get mechanisms with crank handles, mechanisms that adjust from the bottom (no nut on top), or mechanisms that crush rather than grind. My rule of thumb; buy the best…

8 min
butterfly keys made easy

Furniture made from thick wood slabs, with gorgeous grain and natural edges, at once rustic and refined, has remained popular ever since George Nakashima first introduced it to U.S. woodworkers in the 1950s. Better yet, woodworkers of almost all skill levels can build something with a natural-edged slab. If you can get your hands on a beautiful slab and find a way to smooth its faces—buying time on an industrial sander or using one of many homeshop methods—you can find a way to showcase your unique find. While I prefer the thick furniture bases Nakashima favored, which root these tree sections to the earth, others place slabs on welded steel bases, reclaimed industrial equipment, or stylish hairpin legs that simply bolt on. Enter the Butterfly Key The main calling card of these beautiful log…

11 min
out of the ashes

After six years as a draftsman at Boeing—his first job out of high school—Ken Richards had enough money put aside to buy five acres and a barn in nearby Maple Valley, Wa., and he was ready for a career change. “Six years of sitting at a desk, in a room full of desks, in a giant building full of rooms full of desks—was enough to convince me the insecurity of unemployment beat the security of Boeing,” he recalls. Drawn to woodworking, Richards got a contractors license to pay the bills and spent his free time building furniture in the barn, for family and friends. To keep his overhead low, he lived in an unfinished house on the property—essentially a basement with a roof on it, left behind by the previous owners. Within…