Category Archives: Techniques

Weird Nail Tales

I wrote about the following trick to reduce splitting when nailing in “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” Since then, I’ve caught flack from people who say it’s not true. So much so that I’ve been doubting my own shop experience. Here’s … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques, The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized | 37 Comments

Smoke-painted Furniture

Soot was one of the earliest materials used by humans to decorate their surroudings. In the late 18th century and well into the 19th century smoke painting was a decorative technique used on furniture. It was cheap and the smoke … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques | 17 Comments

Grind Twice, Young Chiseler

“Do not condemn the cutting qualities of a new tool until you have ground it more than once, as invariably you will find a perfect edge on the second if not the first time grinding.” — Charles Buck, of Buck … Continue reading

Posted in Historical Images, Techniques | 5 Comments

This is Where we Fight about ‘Fishtails’

Here is joint I have not encountered yet. I suppose they are technically dovetails, but I think the construction looks more like tails of fish. Paul Windle-Taylor of Brittany, France, discovered them at the back of the bottom drawer of … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques | 15 Comments

Sticks and Stones and Naked Gnats

In our household, we have offered the following guideline to our young girls: Words are not weapons. The only way that words can hurt you is if you let them hurt you. So, as you can imagine, we allow complete … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques, Woodworking Classes | 53 Comments

No More Crack!

What’s wrong with this picture? I have found a number of ways to crack the stuff I am working on. Namely half-blind tail sockets in the drawer fronts. I have been chopping them out and been cracking the board. The … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques | 9 Comments

Dovetail Sawing for Non-professionals

After requests from several readers, here is a short video showing how I teach beginning sawyers how to cut pins. Some things to understand before watching this video. 1. We gang-cut the tails first and then transferred the shape of … Continue reading

Posted in Saws, Techniques | 13 Comments

My Supreme Suckage: Hand Mortising

Other bloggers are wary of pulling down their pants. Not me. I suck at a lot of things, but I really and truly suck at mortising by hand. The problem isn’t really my results – I can get a clean, … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques | 27 Comments

Real-work Repair

I’m sure you’ve heard this: What separates a good woodworker from a great one is his or her ability to hide mistakes. Which is complete and utter crap in my opinion. The really fantastic woodworkers I have worked with don’t … Continue reading

Posted in Techniques | 13 Comments

Mailbag: How to Dress a Tabletop

I am asked the following question a lot – that usually means I should answer it. Question: I am building a trestle table based on the one you built. I have a dumb question. I was lucky enough to find … Continue reading

Posted in Handplanes, Techniques | 24 Comments