There is nothing quite like a finely-sharpened edge. Many newcomers to the craft assume they are doing something wrong with their technique and quickly get discouraged because they just picked up grandpa’s old plane and started hacking away at some poor piece of wood. If that plane was well-tuned and the blade sharpened properly, that first experience would be much more pleasurable and the learning... [Read more]
Another big decision you need to make as a new woodworker involves setting up shop and buying tools. There are A LOT of opinions out there on this stuff. You might be wondering, “Should I go all hand tools?” “All power tools?” “A mixture of both?” If you ask me, I say a truly functional workshop is one that incorporates both hand tools AND power tools. The best tool... [Read more]
Without a doubt, the most important part of woodworking is the medium itself: wood. Just about everything on this page covers the ins and outs of working with wood. But what about buying it? [Read more]
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Keeping your tools running smooth will not only yield better results, it will also make your time in the shop safer. One of my earliest frustrations with woodworking came from poor setup. I struggled for weeks with my jointer thinking the problem lied in my technique. In reality, the tables just weren’t aligned properly. I used to hate using bench planes until I took a few passes with a friend’s... [Read more]
When starting your first project, its a good idea to follow a plan. This way you can focus on your milling and joinery skills. Eventually though, you are going to want to start designing and planning your own projects. Thinking of the idea is the first part of the challenge, and coming up with a reasonable way to bring that idea to life is the second part. Here are some videos on designing your... [Read more]
To Mill or Not to Mill?
That is the question! Buying lumber in the rough and milling it yourself has lots of benefits. First of all, its cheaper. Second, you can keep your boards as thick as you want. And finally, you can be sure that your boards are always flat with nice straight sides and 90 degree corners. But, you need to have the budget and the room for the main tools involved in milling:... [Read more]
Hand tools are enjoying quite a renaissance amongst woodworkers these days. And for good reason. They can be inexpensive, they’re quiet, and they require no power. Not to mention the romantic notion that hand tools somehow bring you “closer” to the wood. But hand tools do have a slight (and sometimes great) barrier to entry: they require dexterity and practice. But most folks... [Read more]
One of the most fundamental concepts in woodworking is joinery. Without it, our projects would simply fall apart. There are hundreds of ways to join one piece of wood to another. Here are some videos that cover some of the basics:
The Wood Whisperer – Video: When Dovetails Cry
The Wood Whisperer – Video: Tenons Anyone (Pt. 1)
The Wood Whisperer – Video: Tenons Anyone (Pt. 2)
Woodworking... [Read more]
Is there anything more important in our shops than our personal safety? I don’t think so. Knowing how to use your tools properly, and adhering to all safety procedures is the best way to keep yourself out of harm’s way. Below are a few videos produced specifically for Woodworker Safety Week 2008.
The Wood Whisperer – Safety Week
The Wood Whisperer – What If?
The Wood Whisperer... [Read more]
Once your project is complete, its time to turn your attention to the finish. Don’t let this be an afterthought. Remember that when people see your work, the finish is the first thing they see. So don’t let it be the last thing on your mind. I believe in keeping the finish process as simple as possible. So I created a DVD called “A Simple Varnish Finish”, that is available... [Read more]
There really is no better way to improve your woodworking skills than to simply head into the shop and build something. In the beginning, its important to pick projects that reinforce the fundamental skills that will come into play on every project. Its also important to include a few things in each project that are currently beyond your skill set. It is vital that you continually challenge yourself... [Read more]
A card scraper is nothing more than a simple thin sheet of steel, but it can be an incredible asset to any workshop, as it saves you time and money. Card scrapers come in numerous thicknesses to suit your taste and the needs of the project. You can also vary your sharpening technique to create a more or less aggressive edge. Scrapers are great for leveling surfaces, cleaning up glue in corners,... [Read more]
Once you have several years of projects under your belt, you’ll have some great examples of successes and failures, good ideas and bad ideas, flaws that turned out to be obvious and flaws that no one will ever see. This experience is invaluable in your growth as a woodworker. I am lucky enough to have access to a number of piece that I’ve built over the years. In this video, I analyze... [Read more]