Song of the Drawknife

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Synopsis: Curtis Buchanan builds his “democratic chair” with the bare minimum of inexpensive tools and materials with surfaces directly from the drawknife, embellished with a bit of milk paint.

Curtis Buchanan’s traditional Windsor chairs, with their slender silhouette, impeccably crisp turning, smooth surfaces, and polished, opaque finish, are exquisite expressions of the form. His rough-hewn “democratic chair,” so named because it’s meant to be buildable with just the bare minimum of inexpensive tools and materials, might seem a bit of a departure. But from the beginning of his career in the early 1980s, when he was working in an unheated log shop with a tiny kit of tools, greenwood chairmaking has been for him more about the experience of making, the pleasure of using the tools, than about the finished piece. Among his first tools were a drawknife and a shaving horse—“which go together like peanut butter and jelly,” he says—and he’s been using them with an almost guilty pleasure ever since. His new chair is a work song to the drawknife. Instead of seeing its bold facets smoothed over by more refined tools, the drawknife, in this chair, gets the last word: Nearly every surface is straight off its blade. When it came to choosing a finish for this chair, Buchanan highlighted the drawknife work with a translucent washcoat of milk paint.

—Jonathan Binzen

From Fine Woodworking #277

Curtis Buchanan: Windsor Master

Curtis Buchanan is widely known for the impeccable Windsor chairs he’s been making for thirty years, but also for his gift as a storyteller. This audio slide show captures him…

drawknife use and sharpening

How To Sharpen and Use a Drawknife

A brilliantly simple shaping tool that’s versatile, fast, and a pleasure to use

The Why of Windsor Chairs

A veteran maker explains the roots, the rationale, and the powerful appeal of America’s classic chair

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Modeling a Rustic Chair in SketchUp

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I’m in a new phase of interest – using green wood and my recently made Shaving Horse. It’s quite a change from building museum replicas of mahogany period furniture. My first green wood rustic projects were constructed on-the-fly without design. So there was no need for precise SketchUp modeling with detailed joinery and dimensional details. The size, diameter, shape of the timber were the driving parameters.

But here I’m making a Rustic Chair and need to know some dimensions and angles. So I’m back to SketchUp in this example of a small chair. The picture above shows the SketchUp model on the left, and my implementation in Scotch or French Broom on the right.

It’s a basic and simple chair, but there are angles that make things more difficult. The Legs are not perpendicular and the Seat is trapezoidal. I used a classic Shaker design as a pattern – a Two-Slat Dining Chair shown by Ejner Handberg in his book “Shop Drawings of Shaker Furniture and Woodenware, Volume 1”. The picture below shows my beginning SketchUp work on the imported image.

On this scanned image, you can see my red traced lines. Also from dimensions shown in Ejner’s drawing, I could create the trapezoidal shape of the Seat as shown on the right. In the next few slides and the attached video, I show the process of creating one of the lower Stretchers.

As a first step, below I position the Legs on the corners of the Seat pattern


Notice that all the turnings have centerlines included within the Component. These centerlines are perfect for positioning the turned components and making connections to stretchers and other pieces. Below, I’m using the Tape Measure to make a Guidepoint at 4 7/16-in. from the bottom face of the leg. This is the location of the bottom side stretcher as it connects to the Front Leg.

Below I use the Protractor to create a Guideline that will be along the centerline of the Stretcher. The Legs are not perpendicular but slightly angled toward the back as shown in the imported drawing. However, the Stretchers are connected to the Legs at 90 degrees, so the protractor gives me a 90 degree guideline from the centerline of the Front Leg.


Now I start to make the tubular shape of the Stretcher. I use the Line Tool to trace over the guideline. Then I make a rectangular face that is perpendicular to that line. On that face, I draw a circle with 3/8-in. radius for a 3/4-in dia. Stretcher. This process may be easier to see in the following video.


Now that I have the 3/4-in. circle, I can use the Push/Pull Tool to create the Stretcher. I stop the Push/Pull when reaching the outside face of the Legs.


Here is the resulting Stretcher, but without the 5/8-in. dia. tenons 7/8-in. long. In the video, I show making the tenons and finishing the Stretcher component.


Here is the final model. I changed a few things from the original Shaker design. The major change was replacing the Back Slats with a lattice of small diameter spindles. Therefore, I was able to make the chair completely with French Broom and the Shaving Horse.


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STL195.5: Scott Landis of Greenwood Global

For more than 25 years GreenWood has worked with artisans in Honduras and the Peruvian Amazon to produce high-quality wood products from well-managed forests. They train woodworkers to use appropriate tools and technologies, and connect their products to good markets.

The GreenWood Carver’s Mallets are available at

Support GreenWood’s efforts by heading over to their GoFundMe page.

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 [email protected] 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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The Facts of Sharpening

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I’m like a woodworking bartender. Folks come up to me and spill their guts about their woes with hand tools while I lovingly polish planes. I appreciate people doing this because I’m always up for a conversation about hand tools, but these talks always go the same way.

Distraught Woodworker: I don’t know Vic…I’ve tried everything but I still can’t get good results with (insert hand tool name here).

Me: How are your sharpening skills?

Distraught Woodworker: Ummmm…

The reality is that dull tools are the main reason why woodworkers struggle with hand tools. There is no way around it. If you don’t have sharp tools, then you won’t be successful with hand tools. The problem with sharpening is that there are far too many resources and opinions on the matter which can make it difficult for a neophyte to know what to do. In today’s climate, there is a constant struggle between opinion and fact, but make no mistake, what I’m about to tell you is fact.

When you sharpen any tool, regardless of what it is, you only have to do one thing: create two, flat and highly polished surfaces that meet to create an edge. That’s it! No more, no less. Some of those flat, polished surfaces may be tiny like in the case of a micro-bevel but those minute surfaces have to be flat and polished or you won’t have a sharp edge. Further to this, the higher the level of polish, the sharper the tool. It’s also a bonus if you can do this over and over again to make your life less of a struggle.

How you get to that point is where the opinions come in. There are many ways to get to flat and highly polished whether that is with oil, water, or diamond stones. You can also sharpen with a power system, with a jig or free-hand. All of these methods and sharpening media will get the job done. Some will be faster, some will more repeatable and some are just downright bananas, but in the end, if you are getting two flat, highly polished surfaces that meet then you will have an edge.

Personally, I use a lot of different methods because of the amount of travel I do. In my shop I use a Tormek, when I travel I used a Veritas Mk2 Honing guide and water stones. If I’m traveling by plane then I use oil stones because they travel better. I get excellent edges with all of these methods and equipment because I never loose sight of the goal: You must create two, flat and highly polished surfaces that meet to create an edge.

Now before all you readers with a leaning towards the minutia of life fire off a comment, I know that a Tormek doesn’t create a flat bevel but I can assure you that it still works. Save your arguments for an online forum.

I’m neither right or wrong in the practices I choose, it’s just me doing me. If you have a different opinion on technique and equipment, that is your right and I certainly won’t argue with you. The facts however are the facts, and they are irrefutable. No amount of foot stomping, grumbling or trolling will change this. So my sharpening advice is always: don’t sweat the technique and equipment discussions and just do what gets you two, flat and highly polished surfaces that meet to create an edge. Follow this advice and you can never go wrong….or you can research it on an online forum and see what you get. Suit yourself.

Sharpening a Router Plane with Vic Tesolin

A hollow-grind makes a difficult task simple and fast

Get Sharp Fast

Bob Van Dyke shows you how he keeps his tools sharp in under three minutes.

Turning For Furniture Makers: Sharpening

If you want to turn spindles successfully, you need to start with sharp tools

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STL195: New Tools From AWFS in Vegas

Pick up your mallet from Lee Valley now!

The Rugged Journey of 600 Mallets

How the nonprofit GreenWood helped bring woodturning skills and bicycle-powered lathes into Honduras, sparking the creation of some 600 mallets that will be sold by Lee Valley.

If we’re honest, there weren’t a lot of earth-shattering products to be seen at AWFS 2019. Instead of new items, it seemed as though a lot of companies were concentrating on improvements to their current product lines. And unfortunately, only a small fraction of traditional woodworking machinery manufacturers made the trek out to Las Vegas. In the end, there were five products that we got especially excited about this year in Vegas.

Image result for jorgensen clamps

We were really impressed by what we saw in the Pony Jorgensen booth. Of course, they were wanting to show off their new squeezy-clamp designs (which were nice), but we were drooling over their 1000-lb. F-style clamps. The handles felt fantastic, and we could see buying them by the dozen. In the end, we’re just happy to see a contender re-enter the clamp market.

In the market for chisels with super-hard steel? Narex was showing a set at AWFS that may have you covered. They’re treated to a hardness of RC62, which rivals many Japanese chisels.

Image result for triton tools oscillating spindle sander Triton Osc Spindle & Belt Sander

Triton Tools were showing off two spindle sanders: A nice handheld version that is designed to clamp to a bench, and new benchtop model that adds belt sander attachment akin to the legendary Ridgid spindle sander.


Who knew there was room for innovation in French curves? Lee Valley, that’s who. They come in a set of six curves: three smaller, 1/4-scale curves, designed for use at the drafting table, and three larger full-size curves that you can use on your furniture pieces. The best part is the registration holes that help you reference between the two different scales.

At first glance, Next Waves’s Virtual Zero Unlimited technology doesn’t seem like a big deal, but if you’re looking to work with reclaimed wood on a CNC, it’s a game changer.

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 [email protected] 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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The Rugged Journey of 600 Mallets

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Synopsis: How the nonprofit GreenWood helped bring woodturning skills and bicycle-powered lathes into Honduras, sparking the creation of some 600 mallets that will be sold by Lee Valley. It’s just one of the efforts by this nonprofit, which is dedicated to forest stewardship and sustainable development.

We fetched up on the west bank of the Río Sico just past noon. It was October, the heart of the rainy season in Honduras, and the river was swollen and running fast. We had been on the road in an old pickup for six hours and had last seen blacktop at daybreak. Charting an eastward course toward Mosquitia, we transited countless creeks and progressively smaller villages on a dirt road that roughly parallels this isolated Caribbean coast.

Since 1993, when I launched the field project that would become GreenWood, a nonprofit dedicated to forest stewardship and sustainable development, a handful of woodworkers have been traveling regularly to Honduras to teach artisans in remote communities. Most of these villages are well off the power grid, so we promote tools and technologies best suited to local resources: We emphasize hand tools and harvest wood species from well-managed forests. And we enable artisans to create products that can be sold locally or exported for sale. Initially, with instructors like Brian Boggs and Curtis Buchanan, we focused our efforts on greenwood chairmaking. As a result, there are a number of accomplished Windsor chairmakers in Honduras today. Lately, we’ve been doing more turning. In the last two years, Canadian woodworker Scotty Lewis led several GreenWood workshops, where we installed two ingenious bicycle-powered lathes of his design. A couple of dozen Hondurans have already begun turning on them.

My destination on this trip was Paya, a small village in the buffer zone of the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve, a 1.3-million acre UNESCO World Heritage Site, home to the fabled Ciudad Blanca (White City) and the focus of considerable archaeological interest. The reserve hosts the richest biodiversity in the region, including many rare and endangered species.

Paya is where Juan Vigil has set up shop and where we aimed to collect the last of 600 carving mallets that Juan was turning— mallets we planned to export to Lee Valley Tools in Canada. Juan was the most accomplished turner we had trained in our recent workshops, which were sponsored by the U.S. Forest Service and the American Association of Woodturners (AAW). I was looking forward to seeing how his skills had progressed since our last session the year before. I also wondered how our bicycle lathes were performing.


Paya was less than 15 miles away, as the egret flies, but it would take us a few more hours to get there. Next up was a hundred-yard crossing of the Sico River, which lay before us. Some years ago, we had to plow through this river in fourwheeldrive, and that could only be attempted at very low water. Nowadays the crossing is provided by a ferry composed of two dugout canoes, planked over and powered by a 40-hp outboard.

The far end of the supply chain. Juan Vigil’s mallets made a long trek by pickup truck through the rugged rain forest of Honduras (shown here) before being flown north to Canada, where they will be sold by Lee Valley Tools.

The rest of our journey took us through a half-dozen creeks and lush cattle pastures lined with trees planted as live fencing. We crossed several decidedly sketchy timber bridges, disembarking now and then to reposition loose planks. When we finally arrived at Juan’s home and adjacent workshop in Paya, we were at least half a day from the nearest power line.

Considering the remote location and the immense challenges to be found in this neck of the woods, one might ask: Why come here? What did GreenWood hope to accomplish with a lathe and a bunch of carving mallets?

Pick up your mallet from Lee Valley now!

The world’s most biologically diverse forests are to be found in tropical America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Due to economic pressures and a lack of governance, these forests— like the UNESCO site—face grave threats from illegal logging and gold mining, narco-trafficking, and the uncontrolled conversion of forest to agriculture. The enormous resulting loss of biodiversity and carbon contributes directly to greenhouse gases and is a fundamental driver of climate change—not to mention poverty.

But the millions of people who live in and around these forests depend on them for survival. If they can derive tangible benefits from the forest, they have greater incentive to protect and manage it. GreenWood provides those incentives, introducing skills that enable local people to utilize forest resources in a legal and sustainable way, developing quality products and access to good markets, and adding as much value as close to the forest as possible.

When Curtis and Brian taught our first Honduran workshops in the 1990s, they introduced shaving horses (“burros”), drawknives, and spring-pole lathes to shape the legs and stretchers of chairs built from green wood that was selectively harvested and hauled, by hand, from local forests. Chairmaker Don Weber later modified the spring-pole lathes, keeping the treadle but adding a chain drive, sprocket, and flywheel, thus providing the added power needed to turn bowls.

Scotty’s two-man bicycle lathe, capable of speeds approaching 2,000 rpm, was the latest example of the appropriate technology GreenWood has deployed. In other communities in the Peruvian Amazon and elsewhere in Honduras, a diverse team of GreenWood instructors has taught wood carving, chainsaw lumber making, and boatbuilding— always deploying the tools and technologies best-suited to local resources.

When we reached Paya and Juan’s shop, I was dismayed to learn that he had sidelined the bicycle apparatus to install a gas motor on his lathe. But in hindsight I see this was a natural step, rooted in necessity. Simply put, turning 600 mallets at a rate of about a dozen per day translates to at least 50 full days at the lathe. Juan struggled to hire enough pedal power among the young men in his village; and in any case the cost of their wages—plus the meals he was expected to feed them—would have priced his mallets out of the market.

Juan had arrived at a classic hinge point between sustainable development and appropriate technology. We were watching technology evolve in real time, with its predictable increase in speed, efficiency, and operator risk. But the risks—the fumes and decibels that a gas engine emits— turned out to be minimal in Juan’s open-air shop. His selection of a remarkably quiet, 4-hp motor and his installation of a homemade fan on the headstock of the lathe effectively minimized noise, engine exhaust, and fine dust.

There are few better teachers than repetitive production, and it was rewarding to see Juan’s confident manipulation of the gouge and skew chisel. His creation of hundreds of mallets in three different sizes and five different lesser-known wood species had honed his already impressive turning skills.

Now it was my turn to put an old tool to new use. To get the last batch of mallets back to the United States for transshipment to Canada, I repurposed my old hard-shell camera case and packed it to the brim with 100 freshly turned mallets. After a flight to Miami I endured a series of interviews with baffled Customs inspectors, but I was finally waved through with a “getoutahere,” and the mallets were on their way again, helping ensure that craftsmen like Juan could continue to play a role in building a better world while turning a better mallet.

Scott Landis, president of GreenWood (, lives in South Berwick, Maine.

Photos: Scott Landis

From Fine Woodworking #277

From the Bench: Tools from My Father

One son’s reflection on cleaning out his father’s woodshop.

From the Bench: The Family Violin

My personal story is about endings and beginnings, father, son, and daughters, completing one circle and starting another. My father, Henry Finck, was a professor of anatomy at the University…

George Nakashima–A Tree in the Chair Shop

George enjoyed that there was some intellectual activity along with the handwork.

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It’s in the Details

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When I first set out to design this lounge chair, the client gave me free range. Of course, this is always the best-case scenario for a furniture maker and I love the feeling of full creative license. As a shop owner trying to make ends meet, conversations with fellow furniture makers floated through my head. These conversations are generally centered on this question:  Are certain details included just for the satisfaction of the furniture maker himself and/or other furniture makers? If the details are only important to us, is it logical to include such details when designing furniture for a business?

The details I’m talking about are those minute considerations that some clients may not notice or appreciate. They take the most time and make it harder to make a living at woodworking.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
The arm is shaped in several different directions but quite subtly so it doesn’t stand out straight away. It has a slight curve downward from front to back and also has a convex shape going across the width of the arm.  Finally, of course, there is the D shape of the armrest and the cove cut on the underside that ends up creating a nice hard line that I maintain throughout the arm.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
The detailing of the back of the seat frame. The two stiles protrude past the back rail and have a nice radius profile to the end grain. That same profile continues on the back of the back rail. Everything is then eased by hand to keep the lines throughout the piece crisp.

I started designing this chair with that conversation in mind. This particular design is obviously not something super original. It is heavily grounded in Mid-Century Modern design, which is the aesthetic I am typically drawn to. Within that framework, I fully intended to keep the design simple by keeping everything on the same plane and adding no subtle details or edge profiles. . . . you know, all those nuances that add time and expense. Who would notice those details anyway?

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
The back side of the leg has a very subtle fingernail shape to it. The transition to the apron steps down in all directions while maintaining a hard line that transitions up to the arm. Also shown is the round tenon of the bottom back rail.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
The back panels are constructed from shopsawn veneer, a book-matched panel with a continuous grain from top to bottom. What doesn’t stand out too much is a very shallow shadow groove that goes around all four sides of the panels to create a point of interest.

But once I started getting into the design, I found that I just could not do it. While the practicalities of trying to run a business are still there, I simply cannot design a piece that is not for me at some level.  Why? Multiple reasons! For one, it is just not fun if I am not including all those elements that excite me. More practically, I cannot compete with mass-produced items on price anyway (nor would I want to) so I need to stick with what makes my work worthwhile.

While the craftsmanship certainly sets my work apart from factory-produced pieces, I can only conclude that it is those details that really make the difference. I know this from the pieces of handcrafted work by other craftsmen that I have in my own home, whether is pottery, textiles, or woodwork. The difference is a communication between the craftsman, the owner, and every other person who connects with the piece. That subconscious conversation is communicated through those unique, subtle details that flow from the mind of the creator to the rest of the world.

Maybe the client does not initially notice these small details: the pillowing of edges, the hand-shaped edges, the hand-shaped profiles and the skillful maintenance of hard lines. But I realized that even if the client does not consciously recognize the details of the piece, hopefully what they do glean from the piece is that it has a beautiful and unique presence in their home. As they live with the piece, sit with it, and run their hands over it, they slowly start to pick up on those subtle details . That unique and very human communication of aesthetics and skill is highlighted throughout.

Making a piece of furniture not just a functional tool in a house but is essential to the essence of a home.  I have been fortunate enough to find discerning clients who are willing and able to value that distinction.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
A bridle joint holds the back arm to the back rail. Also notice the subtle pillowing of the top and the bottom of the arm. The back rail itself has a thumbnail-like edge on the top and the back edge. This is one of my favorite images where everything transitions and blends together. Trying to keep those transitions crisp is always important to me.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
This image is really just to show the skeleton of the piece with its cushions. Also it shows the side panels that share the same shadow groove on all four sides as the back panel. It is subtle, but this panel is a trapezoid. I played around with the shape of the panel to optimize the appearance of the negative spaces.

Philip Morley's Lounge Chair Detail
The front rail has a subtle arc on the bottom and also has a pillowing of the front face which is almost impossible to see in this image. The front of the seat frame has a subtle curve that sweeps underneath.

The same pillowing is shown on the top edge, with the end grain polished out to make it an accent while keeping everything crisp. I really wanted to show this to convey the fluency of the design language throughout  the piece. However, none of these details are really screaming at you. I love it when clients discover them over time.

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A Marriage of Multiple Methods

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The one lesson I preach ad nauseam in woodworking classes is that there is (almost) always more than one way to do anything. (OK, two lessons: the above, and YOU WILL USE MARRIAGE MARKS.) So I do my best—particularly in longer classes when time allows for it—to demonstrate multiple methods to achieve the desired outcome.

In June, I taught a weeklong Dutch tool chest class at the Port Townsend School of Woodworking, in which I’d promised we’d do breadboard ends on the tops. Unlike in my shorter hand-tool classes on the same subject—for which I prep the stock as a kit build then concentrate on teaching dovetails and dadoes—the raised panels on the fall fronts and lids were not raised, the lids were still oversize in every dimension, the backboards had neither rabbets (for shiplap joints) or tongues and grooves (either joint works fine for the backs of these chests). I figured with two extra days in the schedule, we could do all that in class and learn a few more techniques.

For dadoes, we chose from among:
•Batten clamped to layout lines to guide a crosscut saw, then knock out waste with a chisel, followed by a router plane for smooth bottoms
• Battens, saw, and chisel, no router plane
• Knifed-in layout lines, chisel a V-cut to the lines (in the waste, of course!), then pare the remaining waste (router plane optional)
• Freehand sawing to baseline, waste removal method of choice

For raising the panels, we tried:
Skewed and fenced rabbet plane (and moving fillister)
• Batten clamped to layout line with a straight rabbet plane registered against said batten
• Sawing to baselines, then paring the (small amount of) waste with wide chisels, followed by a router plane or rabbet plane to clean up as needed
• Well-knifed layout lines, then tipping a shoulder plane into the knife line, lowering it with each pass (to create a wall against which the plane’s sharp shoulder registers) until it’s cutting flat and the baseline is met

For the backboards, I was more limited (how I wish I’d brought my Stanley 48!). We tried out:
• Wooden match planes (aka tongue-and-groove planes)
Plow planes and rabbet planes
• And…confession: We offered the option of a slot cutter in the shaper for the grooves (we were running out of time and available tools)!

As Thursday came to a close, the backboards were nailed on, and everyone was putting the final touches on their carcases and fall fronts. We were running short on time to get the lids done, so I began to extol the traditional look and robustness of a lid with battens on the outside edges. It seems I suck at selling; there were no takers. Breadboard ends for all.

But that was OK – they’d already learned how (several hows, in fact) for the tenon half of the joints. I sketched out the joinery on the whiteboard, then asked them to teach me how to cut it. To a one, they drew on what we learned in the previous four days, and applied that to a new end, and not everyone chose the same method (sniff – I’m so proud!). Then Raphael Berrios (my assistant for the class, a graduate of the school’s intensive program, and an excellent woodworker) and I showed our approaches to chopping mortises, and they were off.

There was still some finishing and cleanup for folks to do at home (as well as paint and hardware), but everyone left with the skills and experience to do it.

But most important to me is that everyone also left with the knowledge that there is more than one way to skin a rabbet—and that is the best lesson I can teach. (Along with staying true to your marriage marks.)

Marriage marks ensure things are easy to assemble in the intended orientation – and in a class situation where everyone is helping one another with glue-ups, I insist they’re used. If they’re not, all h*ll breaks loose when the glue is opened!

P.S. In my brief rundown of methods, I know I missed a few options (feel free to add them in the comments)—a dado plane, for example, for dadoes (would that I owned one).

Megan Fitzpatrick is the publisher at Rude Mechanicals Press and a peripatetic woodworking instructor and  freelance writer/editor. She lives in Cincinnati where she’s renovating a 1905 house, but can usually be found in the Lost Art Press shop in Covington, Ky.


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Links from Fine Woodworking issue #277

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Online extras from FWW issue #277

Video: A Deeper Look at Pull Saws 

You probably know that Japanese saws cut on the pull stroke. But there’s more to them. In this video, Andrew Hunter explains the subtleties of each of his saws, plus what to look for in your first pull saw.

Article: Dovetailed, mitered and half-blind 

There is a lot going on in the case joinery of Chris Gochnour’s sideboard. In an online feature, Chris shows you how to tackle this devilish dovetail step by step.

Video Workshop: Danish Modern desk

Tim Rousseau’s modern desk might look simple, but a lot goes into making such an elegant piece. While Tim tackles this project with a pro’s perspective using tools found in professional shops, he also draws parallels to tools found in most hobbyist woodshops.

Video: Bicycle Lathe in Motion (Coming Soon)

The GreenWood mallet-making project was initially powered by Scotty Lewis’s pedal-powered lathe. We take a closer look at the machine.

Video: Ask Peter Follansbee

We ask Peter seven of life’s toughest questions, such as: What is your favorite tool? Who is your favorite furniture maker? And what is your favorite species of wood to work with?

Video: Wall anchors demystified (Coming Soon)

Wall studs aren’t always in a convenient spot when you’re hanging a shelf or cabinet. In those cases you need to use hollow-wall anchors, but finding the right one can be difficult. We show you what to look for so you’re not left hanging.

Article: Drawing Big Curves

Creating a piece of furniture that uses long, curved lines and graceful shapes isn’t difficult, designer Paul Schürch says. It’s a matter of trusting your instinct and knowing how to use the right tools and jigs. This primer on drawing curves illustrates how to make jigs that will help you to craft such basic shapes as arcs, fair curves, and ellipses.

Podcast: Veneer Master Craig Thibodeau

Mike interviews Craig Thibodeau, author of The Craft of Veneering and creator of some of the coolest woodworking pieces you’ll ever see.

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