One Stick, All the Info

Measured drawings for some, story sticks for me (and others). I once had a job making a couple of wainscot chairs and chests for the National Park Service. After barely surviving the paperwork it [...]

On Wood Selection

Both fast- and slow-growing wood present good opportunities. Wood selection is an important part of any woodworking project. I sometimes feel like I take it to an extreme, like I’m some kind of [...]

Wedged Sliding Mortise Gauge

Make your own copy of this precision vintage tool. Even after two years of working alone, I can still hear the visitors to my museum shop where I worked for 20 years: “My grandpa was a [...]

Work Begun

Forget the stockpile of wood; what about the stock of partial projects? When building furniture, some woodworkers keep a stockpile of lumber on hand and draw from their stacks as they begin a new [...]

Wood Too Good to Burn

Look to your firewood pile for plenty of project inspiration. I’ve been cutting up my leftover bits of green wood for firewood to use in my new workshop. It’s not going well. I have a feeling [...]

Tool & Furniture Records

Nicholas Disbrowe, Samuel Sewall and chairs as corpse transportation. Editor’s note: This article originally appeared in the August 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking. As I study [...]

Joyners vs. Carpenters, 1631

Period woodworking trades in London were strictly regulated. I’ve temporarily put down my 5⁄16” joiner’s mortising chisel in favor of a 2″ chisel for chopping carpenter’s mortises. [...]

Carpenters’ Work

Early modern records show guild regulations in London. Early 17th-century London tradesmen were protective about their work, carefully keeping an eye on any interlopers to their craft. A dispute [...]

Lighting Matters

Raking light through windows is the clear winner in a hand-tool shop. In 2007, I was a speaker at Colonial Williamsburg’s Furniture Forum, and there I met Adam Cherubini. He was in costume in the [...]

Art History v. Experimental Archeology

I have often found it beneficial to sketch furniture while examining it.  Unlike a photograph, a pencil insists a form be understood to be reproduced. But my sketches don’t always look like [...]

Beginning Woodworking: Splitting Logs

If I could teach a class on period woodworking and really control the syllabus, I would start in the woods and teach beginning woodworking. And while I doubt I could fill woodworking classes like [...]

Shop Cleanup

We all have junk in our shops that we don’t use or no longer need.  My junk is sometimes a bit unique, but it’s junk none-the-less.  I’m cleaning out my shop, making room for more junk and I’ll [...]

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