Hand Tools Techniques

Not even the best woodworking hand tools will do you a bit of good if you don’t understand the proper techniques for using them. The fact is, learning woodworking with hand tools can be fairly difficult – but it’s easier than you may think. The editors of Popular Woodworking Magazine have used their decades of collective experience building this library of hand tool techniques that all woodworkers can use in the shop, and also offer their expert advice when buying hand tools.

‘Chisel Use: An Easy Guide’

by Jim Stuard from the February 2001 issue Chisel Use: An easy guide to whether you should be pushing,paring or pounding your chisels, in any given situation. Back when I started as an apprentice cabinetmaker, a chisel was something to be beaten with a large hammer. That was before I learned...

‘Houndstooth Dovetails’ – by Rob Cosman

I recently posted on our Instagram account and Twitter feed the opening image from Rob Cosman’s 2006 article “Houndstooth Dovetails,” and it proved remarkably popular – so I figured I might as well post the article. And while that “opener” certainly benefited from good lighting, and great camera and a skilled...

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Bench Planes: The System of Three

We rethink the Western bench plane system. All you need to know is that there are three tools, three setups, three jobs and three surfaces. by Christopher Schwarz excerpted from the Winter 2009 issue of Woodworking Magazine Some days I think that every bench plane should come with a decoder ring...

Bad Luck with Hand Drills

While many people get warm and wet feelings about their smoothing planes, I have those emotions about my hand drill. Maybe it’s because I use a hand drill almost daily for nails and screws, especially after building a ton of campaign furniture with all the inset brasses. So this summer I...

The Better Way to Get a Plane to Stop Cutting

Making “stop shavings” – where the plane cuts only one part of the board – is one of the keys to better edge joints and lots of other handplane techniques. But few people in my hand-tool classes have ever been told how to do it right. Most people do it like...

Tapered Sliding Dovetails

Hand tools are the way to go for this traditional joint. by Frank Strazza Tapered sliding dovetails are multipurpose joints traditionally used for drawer dividers, holding legs in place on a pedestal table and attaching tops to case pieces. The primary reason for a tapered joint (instead of a straight joint)...

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Making Rabbets with Woodworking Hand Tools

If you are just getting started with woodworking hand tools, you will quickly learn that the ability to cut rabbets is essential for making drawers, casework and many other projects. Drawer bottoms usually sit in dados or rabbets, and drawer fronts can be attached to rabbets in the sides. Cabinetmakers cut rabbets into...

Sharpening Shortcuts

It goes without saying that there is a renewed interest in hand tool woodworking, and much has been written on the topic, and that’s great because there really is a lot to know about these tools that are “new” to many woodworkers. That said, my experience with hand tools has taught...