Basic Shop Stool

I’ve made a number of stools over the years but I like this one because it is both easy to build and super strong. If you’ve never made lap joints, this is a great first project to practice them on!

I started by gluing up some boards on their edges to make a panel for the seat.

Next, I ripped some 2x4s down into 2×2 strips, then cut all the legs to length.

Them it was just a matter of taking careful measurements and using a stack of dado blades to cut notches in the legs.

Then I cut tenons on the ends of the cross braces.

With all of the pieces prepared, assembly is a piece of cake! The lap joints are self-squaring and keep everything nice and straight while gluing.

Finally, I cut the seat down to size, sanded it smooth, and glued it to the leg assembly.

Free plans


Rusted Nail Push Stick

Posted by Jeffrey Burke

As a member of the Southern Woodworkers i am taking part in the annual Makers Swap, i was chosen to build a piece for the shop: A Glimpse Inside.

The Makers Swap is a great way to grow camaraderie with fellow woodworkers by crafting a piece that another shop can either use or proudly display. A Glimpse Inside has a great shop set up so i figured a piece that he can proudly display in his shop or home would be the best bet. I decided to build him a custom, one of a kind Rusted Nail push stick with box made with genuine Reclaimed American Chestnut.

If you haven’t already check out the A Glimpse Inside Youtube channel and Instagram, you won’t be disappointed.

A glimpse inside

To get an alternate Voice Over with more of a “How To” approach where i talk about what i am doing and what i am thinking while building this piece, become my patron at

Check out the Youtube video here

STL 165: Staying Safe in the Shop

Enter for your chance to win the Fine Woodworking SawStop Professional Cabinet Saw Giveaway

Question #1

What is your order of operations when milling up lumber? I’ve always been told to joint a face of a board, then place that surface against the jointer fence to square up an edge. THEN head over to the planer. Recently, I watched a video of Philip Morley where he who jointed a face, then planed the opposite side before deciding which way to present the face edge to the jointer knives to minimize tear out. Which order is correct? -Mathew in Australia

Question #2

I started woodworking three years ago. After a few furniture projects, I decided to build a guitar.
I made the top and bottom, bent the sides and glued up the neck. Then I realized how much work it would be to finish this guitar. Eventually, I lost track and this thing just inhibited me to do any woodworking at all. So, I cleaned up my workshop, set all guitar parts and jig´s aside, and started a new project. But this guitar sitting there, unfinished, annoys me all the time.  How do you deal with projects you can´t or don´t want to finish? Just burn it? – Thomas in Bavaria

All-Time Favorite Safety Technique of All Time… for this week

Tom – Making your own tablesaw splitter

Mike – Keeping workpieces large, as long as possible

Ben – Always operate a chisel with two hands

Question #3

I’m building a Stickley-style box-spindle chair.  The plans call for 6″ wide arms that meet a similarly wide back, joined with miters.  I’m apprehensive about miters since I’ve had bad luck with them in the past when seasonal expansion/contraction open up wide miters either on the inside or at the corners.  How can I better control for these seasonal changes? The plans call for quartersawn white oak, but I’m i flatsawn cherry with maple slats for a soft contrast.   -Derrick in Australia

Listener Comments:

In reference to episode 163:

From Neil Brooks: Cycling’s Greg LeMond was once asked if bike racing ever gets any easier.  His reply: It never gets any easier.  You just get faster.

From Robby Wright: If you ever spill CA glue again, you can clean it up with nitromethane. It dissolves CA glue very quickly. It is sold as a CA glue release agent. You can get it at woodworking supply places. Or, you can go to your local RC model shop. They use it as fuel in RC cars and models. If you plan to do a lot of CA glue spilling, go to your local dragstrip – they use nitromethane in top fuel dragsters and funny cars. You can get it by the drum there.

Via YouTube:

In reference to episode 163:

WB Fine Woodworking: Super podcast. First of all the three of you convinced me that I need to buy Matt’s book.

Mat Weesner : Great episode Anissa is the bees knees. Mike’s the man. ben great job. Camera guy sold work.

On iTunes:

From nbgwdb:

Excellent podcast: Thanks for all the wonderful knowledge you impart and for keeping it entertaining in the process. And now, just like everyone keeps telling you, make it once a week. Thank you in advance.

From Mruniqueid:

The Best – If you’re a woodworker, this is essential listening. These guys go into fine detail on all the little tips and tricks that it takes to become a better woodworker. I’m a pretty new myself, and I feel like I’ve gained so much knowledge by listening to these guys chat. It’s reassuring to know that other people have the same issues as you, and it clues you in to what to look out for in the future. Not only that, but I always feel excited to get out into the shop afterwards. Whole hearted 5 stars.


  • Mike – China marker
  • Tom – Blue shop rags

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

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Wille Sundqvist

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On Sunday, June 3, 2018, word of Wille Sundqvist’s passing made its way through the internet. I’m not usually personally affected by the passing of a celebrity, (yes, in my world Wille was a celebrity) but this one stung. It isn’t often that a lineage of inspiration and education is as clear as it is in the green woodworking world, and even less often is the alpha still walking among us. As before, I am smart enough to know when I’m not going to say it better than Peter Follansbee, so I’m not going to try.

There’s no exaggeration about Wille’s impact on so many of our woodworking trajectories … I’ve written and talked at length about what I often call “craft genealogy” and I trace mine back to a very simple event—Bill Coperthwaite bringing Wille Sundqvist down to meet Drew and Louise Langsner, c. 1976. That visit led to the creation of  Country Workshops, where I often traveled to learn from Drew, Louise, Jennie Alexander, Jögge, Curtis Buchanan and Wille Sundqvist – and on & on.

So, in honor of Wille, and in case some of our readers don’t know about the effect he had on the modern-day woodworking scene, I’ve dug through the archives and brought to light some work of Wille’s that hasn’t been posted online. The first, Carving a Dough Bowl – Using ax, adze, knife, and gouge (FWW #83), is an excerpt from his book Swedish Carving Techniques, first published in 1990. The second, Knife Work – Make the knife and carve a spoon (FWW #38) is written by Rick Mastelli, but the content is all Wille. I can’t be sure, but it’s probably taken from the same shoot that produced the astoundingly good video recently published on Country Workshop’s YouTube channel.

Finally, I’ll point you toward a couple of posts by Wille’s son, Joggé Sundqvist, who is doing more than his fair share of carrying the torch his father lit.

First copies of Slöjda in wood in my father’s hands. Certified .

A post shared by Jögge Sundqvist (@surolle) on May 6, 2018 at 9:25am PDT

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Effecting a Serpentine Shaped Drawer in SketchUp

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The Exploded Drawer

I’m finishing an English 18th C. Serpentine Chest, circa 1750. The primary wood is Honduran Mahogany and secondary, Monterey Pine. Crotch mahogany veneer is used on the Drawer Fronts. Here is a picture of the piece still in the shop for finishing.

The canted corners and serpentine shapes certainly add complexity to the shop work. But it was also a challenge creating the detailed SketchUp model and its resultant shop drawings. SketchUp has a special feature called Paste-in-Place that was extremely effective in developing the model. I will show you how this feature was used to make the shaped drawer fronts. A video of this process is included.

The final assembly of the SketchUp model is shown here.

For your reference I show below drawer details for the top drawer shown in the following Assembly and Exploded views.

The Assembled Top Drawer


The Exploded Drawer


To shape the drawer front, it is effective to reuse the serpentine shape that is already in the Drawer Frame. So you copy that shape (a continuous line shown highlighted in blue below) in the Drawer Frame, then Paste in Place that shape within the definition of the rough drawer front. Once that serpentine shape is in the rough drawer front component, you use the Push Pull tool to remove the waste. You can see this entire procedure in the video.

The Paste in Place command is shown when clicking on the Edit Tab.



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Announcing SketchUp 3D Basecamp

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Every couple of years the SketchUp folks host a conference they call 3D Basecamp. It’s five days of workshops, presentations, and other sessions geared around using SketchUp and LayOut in a wide range of disciplines. As they say…

3D Basecamp is for people who design, model, work, plan, coordinate, innovate, and play in SketchUp. If you’re interested in 3D modeling, this is the conference for you (and we think it’s the most fun you’ll have all year!)

There will be a wide range of workshops where you can learn everything from the basics of SketchUp to advanced modeling skills. I’ll be leading a couple of workshops on LayOut for Woodworkers and there’ll be other sessions that are applicable to those who do woodworking whether they are professionals or hobbyists. Grant Imahara  who worked on special effects for blockbusters like The Matrix and Star Wars, as well Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters will be the keynote speaker.

This years 3D Basecamp will run September 24 through September 28 in Palm Dessert, California. Check out the 3D Basecamp website and if you sign up from Design. Click. Build., you can save $50 off the registration fee. I hope to see you there.


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From the Bench: Our house of stories

My name is Megan, and I am 11 years old. People love our house and say it is unique, warm, and inviting. It definitely isn’t your run-of-the-mill house. Dad has made most of the interesting things in it.

He made the dining room table with beams from a warehouse that was being demolished. He finished it on Christmas Eve one year, hours before we were hosting 27 people for dinner. It took five men to carry in just the top. Mom says she wasn’t sure we were going to have a table for dinner. I don’t think Dad really was sure either.

There is a bit of a “wood and wrought iron” theme to a lot of Dad’s furniture. And he likes to highlight the imperfections in the wood, not hide them. So although the top of the dining table is 5 in. thick, there is actually a spot where my brother used to be able to push his peas right through and get them to drop on the floor. Dad’s reputation is that anything he builds will last forever, and weigh more than you care to lift.

Dad loves your magazine. That is where I got the idea to contact you about some of the things that my dad has built. I think a good title for my email would be Our House of Stories. Because that is why people find our house so warm and inviting—just about every item has a story behind it. Maybe that is what spending hours in the workshop designing the next piece of furniture does—allows Dad the time and space to work out special symbolism for each item, and make it “fit.” That is the beauty of having a shop in the backyard.

The chandelier in the dining room is another one of people’s favorites. Dad got the inspiration for it from the skyscrapers in Toronto, when his plane was landing on a rainy night. The boxes are built of wood, with rice paper as a lining. He then added glass rods shaped like water drops, which reflect the light and add color (and represent the rain).

The picture frames in the hallway were made from old windows from Mom’s farm in Southern Alberta (last time anyone lived on the land was in 1960, and the buildings were abandoned or used for storage after that, until each one was, in turn, “decommissioned” because it was in danger of falling over). On a family vacation to see the farm, Dad ripped the windows out of the dilapidated buildings. He spent hours stripping them down (much more time than it would have taken to buy new wood) and making frames for my Mom and her two sisters, so they could have mirrors and picture frames from the family farm.

Dad framed a picture of Mom’s Mom (Gramma) from when she lived on the farm, smiling and holding a cat. And he framed a picture of Grampa learning to harvest, when he first took over the farm in the 1950s. Dad searched the photo archives from Southern Alberta and got two pictures of when Foremost, Alberta, was just being settled. Only the hotel and train station existed. He framed these pictures with wood from the rest of the windows and hung them down the hall from the ones of Grampa and Gramma on the farm.

There are also curio cabinets, a mantel on the fireplace, shelves for the TV, the sideboard in the dining room, a shelf made from wood and steel that runs the length of the dining room, and a playhouse outside that was built to code (the only structure on our property that Dad says is actually built to code, as the house is almost 100 years old). Plus more than I can really write about here. All of it is made by my dad, who spends his time in antique shops when he is not designing and making furniture or doing his job as an environmental engineer.

The tree that Dad made his office desk from was from … I can’t remember where it was from. He could tell you. But it was the perfect shape to form around him as he works. I sent a picture for you to see.

Megan Clarke lives in Port Moody, B.C.,Canada, and often works wood with her dad and brother Keigan in the shop behind their house.

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Lael Gordon: Prismatic Patterns

Raised the son of a shipwright in southern Alaska, Lael Gordon was always comfortable with tools and machinery. He chose a teaching career, but took up woodworking as a hobby. As he got more serious about working wood, he took a year away from teaching to study furniture making at the Inside Passage School, a program near Vancouver based on James Krenov’s teachings. While there, Gordon began experimenting with what he calls “prismatics”–marquetry patterns created not in the usual manner, by using contrasting species of veneer, but simply by controlling and arranging the orientation of the grain in pieces of veneer of a single species.

After his year at Inside Passage, Gordon considered a career making furniture. But he recognized that the joy for him lay in making an exploration of each piece he built; rather than struggle against that impulse in order to make money, he decided to go back to teaching math at a technical college and devote his spare time and summers to new work in wood.

This slideshow was originally posted June 17, 2013 and updated June 1, 2018

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Marketing for woodworkers: Shows, festivals, and exhibitions

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To make a living as a furniture maker, you have to sell your work—and that means selling, actively. I don’t know of anyone who simply hung out a shingle and proceeded to make sufficient income to live on. Word of mouth is excellent; there’s nothing like having a happy client recommend your work to friends and colleagues. But word of mouth alone is not always enough to keep a furniture maker in business.

Fortunately, there are other ways to market your work. Some are more effective for those who do custom work; others, for those who concentrate on building a basic range of pieces to order. For this post, I interviewed internationally renowned furniture designer and craftsman Michael Fortune on the value of one form of marketing that I now see I was approaching incorrectly: furniture shows.

Furniture is physical: It needs to be seen and ideally also touched, opened, and (at least where chairs are concerned) sat upon. Shows, festivals, and exhibitions provide a means to getting your work directly in the view of prospective customers in a setting where you, the most knowledgeable person on the topic of your work, can speak with them directly.

On the other hand, shows and exhibitions require a hefty investment. Entry fees can be expensive. Factor in the cost of building or renting a booth, renting a trailer, and accommodations for events out of town—not to mention days away from work in the shop—and such events add up to a costly proposition. Moving furniture to the venue and back is also fraught with risk. If you’re considering making that kind of investment it’s worth reading the following advice from Michael Fortune, who has 40 years of professional experience.

Fortune has found exhibitions an excellent source of work. In fact, he’s still making furniture for several clients he met at his very first exhibition, circa 1980. Here’s his advice about how to make exhibitions work.

1) Choose the right kind of show

Fortune doesn’t generally participate in exhibitions focused exclusively on furniture. “There’s too much stuff,” he says, “too much woodworking.” He prefers exhibitions related to interior design, which encompass a variety of media.

2) Don’t just do a show once

Fortune will sign up for a minimum of three years. “People go to an exhibition and see someone’s work and think it’s interesting. The next year they look at what you’re doing and go, ‘Oh, that person’s still here,’ because as they walk around they see a number of other people for the first time, never to be seen again. They’ll stop and talk casually, and nothing happens. But during the year they think about ‘we might need this, we might need that,’ so they come back the third time with their checkbook to put a retainer in place to start a conversation about building a piece.”

3) Appearances matter

Fortune puts a lot of effort into making his display look good. He brings his own walls (painted particleboard), floor, and lighting. He brings anyone currently working with him so they can see the kind of clients with whom they’ll be working. Also, he says, “I dress really, really well for exhibitions: expensive slacks, nice sport jacket and shirt. At furniture exhibitions there’s a bunch of people walking around in jeans and plaid shirts. That’s just not something I would do. When I go visit my clients I’m generally dressed better than they are.”

4) Make your business cards work for you.

Fortune’s cards are illustrated with images of his work. “People put them on their fridge,” he says. One couple called him eight years after a show; they’d had his card on the fridge. He has been working for them ever since then.

5) Don’t build spec pieces for shows.

“Spec work is generally the wrong size, the wrong everything,” he says. Instead, Fortune recommends borrowing pieces back from clients, for two reasons. First, his desire to show their piece in public says he’s proud of it. What client wouldn’t appreciate knowing that his or her chair was worthy of display in a prestigious show? Fortune finds that clients will generally attend the show; this gives them an opportunity to see others responding favorably to their piece. Again, who wouldn’t love that? Furthermore, he’s often showing more than one piece from the same residence. The subliminal message: He’s not a one-shot deal; his clients are happy with the work and hire him repeatedly. Second, when the piece is out of the house, there’s a blank space. Friends ask where the chair went. This gives his clients a chance to say that Michael Fortune requested the piece for a show. That’s impressive.

-Nancy Hiller

Nancy Hiller is a professional cabinetmaker who has operated NR Hiller Design, Inc. since 1995. Her most recent books are English Arts & Crafts Furniture and Making Things Work, both available at Nancy’s website.

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Press Release: New Powermatic PM2200 Cyclonic Dust Collector

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From Powermatic on May 29, 2018

Powermatic’s new PM2200 Cyclonic Dust Collector is one-of-a-kind. It is currently the only cyclonic dust collector on the market with an auto-cleaning HEPA filter, which allows for a longer filter life, as well as enhanced filtration.

The PM2200 is great for woodworking shops of all sizes. Its four air inlets include three 4-in. ports to connect to three separate machines and one 8-in. port for shop piping. The machine weighs 359 lbs. and is made from powder-coated steel, making the base stable and operation quiet with dampened vibration.

Its cyclone design pulls heavy debris into the collection drum without interfering with airflow, allowing the HEPA filter to collect 99.97% of particles. The HEPA filter auto-cleaning system begins when the PM2200 is turned off. Then, a secondary motor kicks on to rotate flappers inside the filter for 15 seconds in each direction to dislodge particles stuck in the filter.

Other features of this cyclonic dust collector include a single-handed drum release lever and swiveling drum casters, as well as a vacuum pressure gauge and frameless dust bag vacuum retention. Hence, bag changes are fast and easy. The collection bag’s capacity is 55 cu. ft.

The PM2200’s stop/ start switch has a magnetic safety key. Also, its radio frequency controller runs on two AAA batteries with settings for continuous operation as well as 2, 4, 6, and 8 hours. The controller’s range is approximately 50 ft.

Powermatic’s PM2200 Cyclonic Dust Collector has Powermatic’s 5-year warranty and is CSA certified.

Watch Powermatic’s video on the PM2200.


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