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30-Minute Bandsaw Rehab with Alex Snodgrass

I’ve already set myself up for massive criticism, and I haven’t said a thing yet. Yep, Alex Snodgrass came to my shop and did a 30-minute bandsaw rehab on my 1990s Delta 14″ bandsaw. Sure, Alex most likely won’t be showing up at your place to tune up your saw, but it isn’t that hard.[…]

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Triangle Marking System

The triangle marking system has been around for centuries, but many woodworkers just don’t get it. Throughout the years, I’ve seen nearly every possible incorrect application of this simple organizational system. The key to getting it right is simplicity. If you’ve done the thing correctly, there should only ever be a partial triangle on any[…]

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Gadrooning & How to Carve It

Years ago, as I wandered the rooms at Winterthur, a carved detail on some of the Chippendale furniture caught my eye – gadrooning. Although you may not be familiar with the term, you’ve probably seen this type of carving. It resembles a rope with alternating hollows and rounds. And while gadrooning is found on high[…]

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Seriously Simple Sulphur Inlay

If you’ve never heard of sulphur inlay before, you’re not alone. Even in the 18th Century, when the technique was popular, relatively few people knew about it. The fact that it was developed and used by Pennsylvania Germans in, and around, Lancaster, PA (a few of which traveled down through the Shenandoah Valley and settled[…]

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Bench Chisel Exercises Part 4: Simple Diamond Inlay

The culmination of the last three blog posts on Bench Chisel Exercises is today’s Simple Diamond Inlay. As my friend Ron Herman is fond of saying, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” And if you’ve been working along with the videos, you should be ready for something more complex and fun. Undoubtedly, the idea of setting up at[…]

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Bench Chisel Exercises Part 3: Slicing Cuts

Slicing cuts give you far more control than the ordinary blunt paring cut, and they give you more control. There’s also the added benefit of less tear out. But why? The slicing cut tends to do less damage because you aren’t approaching the grain head on. It’s a shear cut, coming at the fibers steeply[…]

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Bench Chisel Exercises Part 2: Paring Cuts

There are times when you miss the line. And there are other times where you want to creep up on it. In either case, you need to perfect your paring cuts. Paring is an act performed with a chisel in a very controlled manner to remove small bits of material. You don’t normally pare while[…]

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Bench Chisel Exercises Part 1: Chop Cuts

Every now and then we all enjoy wailing away at a piece of wood with a sharp chisel and mallet. Chop cuts are one of the most important, and fun, cuts you can make with a bench chisel. Like all things woodworking, it takes time and practice to master the various cuts you can make[…]

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The Scallop Shell – Carved Details

I get it; all the prep work in the world isn’t as exciting as seeing the carved details. That’s why, after several weeks of presenting the foundational steps to carving a scallop shell, I’m offering the final segment in the series. If you’re a details person, this post is for you. And if you’ve been[…]

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Excavating A Scallop Shell

Like many other types of carvings, you need to establish a topography by excavating the scallop shell. In other words, you’ve got to form the blank to a general shell shape before you can carve the details. I use bench chisels for the vast majority of this excavation, but you could certainly use larger, flatter-sweep[…]

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Carving Tool Cuts & How To Make Them

There are a handful of carving tool cuts every budding woodcarver needs to know. They’re essential because they help you remain in control during the cut, ensuring your carving turns out as planned. It’s all about control. Learning the fundamental cuts (push, pull, slice and chop) combined with an understanding grain direction puts you in[…]

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The Scallop Shell – Tools & Layout

Carving is one of those peripheral skills many woodworkers ignore, but you can add depth to your projects by including even a modest amount. In the video below, I walk you through scallop shell layout and the necessary tools to carve it. Honestly, carving a scallop shell is far simpler than it looks, and it’s[…]

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Wood Turning Basics: The Skew Part 2 & The Gouge

Getting a skew, or gouge, to cut is essential to cutting down the amount of sanding necessary to get a turning ready for finish.

Last week I introduced you to the skew, and this week I’m going to add the spindle gouge. Learning how to make both tools cut (as opposed to scraping) is essential if you want to produce the highest quality turned surfaces. Cutting with a skew and gouge is also faster than scraping. I know you[…]

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Wood Turning Basics: The Skew Part 1

The skew is one of the more difficult woodworking tools to master, but it’s definitely worth the effort. If you plan to do any amount of spindle turning for your furniture projects, you can save tons of time and effort with a skew. When used correctly, it leaves a near finish-ready surface. The key to[…]

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Cabinet Scrapers: How to Sharpen and Use

Cabinet scrapers are the bigger, badder, much more aggressive brother to the card scraper. When you have a large surface to clean up, the cabinet scraper can be your best friend. Because the tool is scraping and not slicing, grain direction is far less important than on a plane. That said, you can’t use a[…]

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Card Scrapers: How to Sharpen and Use

Card scrapers are great tools for surface prep, but there’s a bit of a learning curve. Many woodworkers often do more damage with a card scraper than good. The keys to getting great results are in an adequately sharpened edge and employing the correct technique when scraping. Neither the sharpening nor the technique is a[…]

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Jointing Tapered Legs

Adding tapered legs to your furniture projects is one way to give your pieces a lighter, more vertical appearance without complicating the design. You’ll find tapered legs showing up in furniture designs from the late 1700s through today. There are several key factors that need to be considered when designing furniture with tapered legs. And[…]

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Three Minute Crosscut Sled

A crosscut sled is an extremely versatile tool for any shop, and it only takes a few minutes to make one once you’ve gathered the materials. Having a single sled in your shop is like having a single chisel. You can get the job done, but it’s far easier if you’ve got more sizes available.[…]

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Foundational Finish Facts: A Case For Broken Corners

The foundation of any good finish is proper surface prep. One of the key elements of that preparation is breaking all the sharp edges. I know it sounds fairly obvious, but lots of woodworkers skip right over it and ruin their projects. I get it, you’ve spent days, week or even months working on your[…]