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Popular Woodworking November 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
planting trees

As I write this, I’m sitting in my basement (“home office”) in Minneapolis, a few days after my 35th birthday. It’s 2020, and the world is dealing with the pandemic effects of Covid. It’s not going well for the United States. I think about how I got here, to this point in my life. Was it watching the New Yankee Workshop on weekends with my dad? Was it Mr. Bokern who showed me how to write thoughtfully about almost anything in my high school freshman history class? Was it Randy who hired me on part-time when I graduated from journalism school? Was it my mom who indulged all of my wacky creative impulses, including nearly a decade of playing host to band practices and house-shakingly loud music? Was it Monica, who gave…

3 min
workshop tips

Speed-Square Assembly I found yet another use for my trusty speed squares. Just clamp one or two of them inside of the corners of a cabinet when you’re gluing it up. This guarantees that the corners will be square.—Charles Mak Magnetic Helping Hands The thought of emptying my dust collector’s plastic bag used to make me cringe. Many times I’d go through my entire repertoire of colorful language two or three times, and that darn bag still wouldn’t stay in place while I put on the strap clamp. I solved this by holding the bag in place with rare-earth magnets. The bag stays put, leaving me with two free hands to position the strip. I just leave the magnets in place until the next bag change. — Mike Cyr Spindle Sander Extras My oscillating spindle sander’s…

3 min
forstner bits

Forstner-style bits can go where no other drill bits dare. The reason is simple: A Forstner bit is rim-guided while other bits are center-point guided. That means you can use all or only part of the bit’s diameter to drill overlapped, angled or partial holes. Forstner bits also shine when it comes to drilling clean, precise 90° holes and large-diameter holes. Car-bide-tipped Forstner-style bits excel at drilling the precise, flat-bottomed holes required for European-style hinges. Plus, unlike other drill bits, the rim-guided Forster bit can drill into end grain without deflection. Forstner bits do have their drawback and are not a substitute for your everyday twist- or brad-point bits. For one thing, they are more expensive: A 1/4" Forstner bits costs between $3 and $23. They’re also designed primarily for use…

5 min
router carving

Creating stunning carved woodwork has never been easier with a CNC router. Think of all the creative possibilities for carvings: door panels, box lids, frieze boards, emblems, awards, artwork, signs or having your signature carved into the back of a project. The more you use your CNC router to carve the more projects you will find for it. Not only can the CNC router add beauty and interest to your work but it’s a blast to watch as the machine dances along the workpiece methodically and precisely revealing a beautiful carving. Not into digital carving? That’s OK, the CNC router can also be a tireless shop helper for hand woodcarving. (Yes, really.) Three Elements So how do we start creating carvings with our CNC router? There are three main elements to consider: the…

9 min
plans vs proportions

I think of plans as sort of a roadmap. They were a big part of my early work as a machinist and later as a woodworker. We had an unwritten rule in the machine shop. Never touch a job if it didn’t come with a drawing. Admittedly, what qualified as a drawing was sketchy. It could be just a crude scribble on a napkin with a few dimensions, or a full-fledged engineered print. Yet drawings insured one thing above all. That the maker would turn out something exactly as ordered. The correct size, correct material all made precisely to specifications. When I took up woodworking and wanted to build a table, it began with search for plans from books or magazines. It worked well for my first few projects, but…

11 min
japanese street vendor stool

PROJECT #2013 Skill Level: Intermediate Time: 2 days Cost: $200 As a curious designer I often find myself frequenting estate sales, online auctions and even local antique stores in search of oddities and relics of the past. This exercise affords me the opportunity to be exploratory in my quest for inspiration and has become a practice that remains integral in the overall design process. The act of seeking without presumption allows one to experience new pieces through an unadulterated lens. This method has also proven itself to be an effective way to develop a historical connection with pieces and to appreciate the zeitgeist of any given period. It’s this exact process that led me to discover a set of 19th century Japanese street vendor stools on a British auction site. Initially frustrated by my inability…