The Woodshop Shed

adventures in woodworking and home maintenance, from my shop in an oversized backyard shed

June 2017
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Elliptical Router Jig for Any Size Oval

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I love routers and this elliptical router jig makes me love them even more. I've made countless circles with router jigs over the years, but this simple jig for creating a multitude of oval shapes is slick. Ovals are tough because it's a mathematical equation to get the shape correct. While I love routers, I'm not so fond of math. By creating an elliptical jig you take the math out […]The post Elliptical Router Jig for Any Size Oval appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:02am on 30-Jun-2017
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Overspray and Bounce-back

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Terminology is important. If we aren't all using the same definitions, we can't communicate. Using sloppy language is one of my pet peeves, and I spend lots of effort just defining terms. Here's a term I often hear misused: overspray. Overspray is the sprayed finish that misses the target. It's less common on large targets such as tabletops or cabinet doors, but it's very common on narrow targets such as […]The post Overspray and Bounce-back appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:02am on 30-Jun-2017
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'Woodworker' & 'Woman' are Separate Nouns

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I've been trying for weeks to write this editorial; it is difficult to do because my idealist view competes with reality. I have long been ambivalent about woodworking shops and classes specifically for women, because I don't want them to be necessary. But they are. Also, I don't want to seem as if I'm trying to be the voice of all woodworkers who happen to be women. No doubt our […]The post 'Woodworker' & 'Woman' are Separate Nouns appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:02am on 30-Jun-2017
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Testing the Maslow CNC

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The Maslow CNC is a CNC kit that costs just $350. For that price, you should expect a few compromises. For one thing, you have to put it together. Of course you'll get the key mechanical, electrical and electronic parts, however, you will need to provide plywood and a couple of 2 x 4s to complete it. The good news, after using one for a while, I can confirm that […]The post Testing the Maslow CNC appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-Jun-2017
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Make a Traditional Rabbeted Door Frame

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Today it's easy tomake glazed doors and mirror frames by using a router to rabbet a mortise-and-tenon frame after assembly: Cut your joints, glue the frame together, rout the inside edges on the back using a special rabbeting bit, then chop the corners square with a chisel and mallet. Before the invention of the electric router, frames for glazed doors (which include doors with mirrors) were built from rabbeted stock, […]The post Make a Traditional Rabbeted Door Frame appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 27-Jun-2017
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Against Perfection, Precision or Accuracy

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It's difficult to argue against perfection in woodworking. That's because the counter argument is something like: You're a hack and can't get it right, and so you say that your imperfections are intentional. Or put another way, you can't be too rich, too thin or have joinery that is too perfect. Here's how I think about perfection: We now have the technology to abolish time zones. Each person's phone could […]The post Against Perfection, Precision or Accuracy appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 26-Jun-2017
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The Case Against Tail Vises

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If workbenches were like automobiles, then I'd consider the tail vise to be like the heated seats in a car. They're an option, of course, but they are by no means standard equipment, like tires. Out of economic necessity, my first three workbenches didn't have tail vises, and so I was thrilled when I was assigned to review a full-size European workbench with all the bells and whistles, including a […]The post The Case Against Tail Vises appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 25-Jun-2017
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Book Giveaway: Making Wooden Toys

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Wooden ToysIt's time for another book giveaway! This week I'm giving away a book on making wooden toys: “Making Classic Wooden Toys: 21 Step-by-Step Projects.” Who hasn't at some point been inspired by a kindly yet mischievous woodworker who gavethem a mysterious wooden puzzle and challenged them to figure it out? These days I have my suspicions whether some of the “puzzles” my own grandfather handed me actually could be solved […]The post Book Giveaway: Making Wooden Toys appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 24-Jun-2017
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Peeling Paint on Exterior Doors

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A reader had a problem with the paint on his front doors, which he thought might be caused by exposure to strong sunlight for many hours each day. Fortunately, he sent pictures, which told me a different story. From the pictures, it seemed more likely that the damage was caused by moisture. UV sunlight causes painted surfaces to fade, dull and eventually chalk. The paint on these doors appears to […]The post Peeling Paint on Exterior Doors appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 24-Jun-2017
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Shaving Horse & Drawknife Basics

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Traditional chairmaking starts with a shaving horse and a drawknife. Used with both green and dried wood, woodworkers have relied on these two tools for centuries. Simple to use, there are just a few things to be aware of before getting to work. In this short video, Windsor chairmaker Elia Bizzarri gives a valuable overview of what features are important when choosing a shaving horse and talks about proper grip, […]The post Shaving Horse & Drawknife Basics appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Jun-2017
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3D Carving the BARN Workbench Vises

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A workbench designed for hand tool woodworkers but made (partially) with a CNC. Each bench features a unique 3D carved leg vise. Here's a video introduction into how they were made. The BARN workbench was designed for the Bainbridge Island Artisan Resource Network. BARN is a Seattle area community group that built a wonderful community facility for artisans to share resources, education, and workspace. To give them a hand, I […]The post 3D Carving the BARN Workbench Vises appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Jun-2017
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How to Make a Window

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Small WindowWoodworkers often find themselves doubling as the resident fixer-upper. As the go-to person who has the tools you'll often be askedto “fix this” or “build that” for the house. I recentlydid some window repair on my own house, and I must say that all of the things I've been learning about the craft helped me do a better job than I mighthave a few years ago. Regardless of what you […]The post How to Make a Window appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Jun-2017
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Update on Finish Company Consolidations

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I've reported previously on Sherwin-Williams buying Valspar and PPG's attempt to buy AkzoNobel, which would combine the two largest coatings suppliers in the world. To complete the purchase of Valspar by Sherwin-Williams, Valspar was required to spin off its wood coatings division to Axalta, which it did. (I had never heard of Axalta before, but it is a large company headquartered in Philadelphia with lots of coatings divisions.) The sale […]The post Update on Finish Company Consolidations appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Jun-2017
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The Student with a 'Pause' Button

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My skew and I have a troubled relationship. It is by far my favorite turning tool and when things go right I feel I can do anything. We also fight a lot. To the level where those never again words crossmy lips. It usually takes some form of counseling to get us back together. Our latest blowout was over rolling a bead. I think video is one of the best […]The post The Student with a 'Pause' Button appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Jun-2017
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The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness

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I don't care for gizmos, jigs and silly accessories. So even though I spend a fair amount of time on the lathe, I resisted purchasing the Galbert Caliper for many years. In its place, I used go/no-go gauges, box wrenches and traditional turning calipers (which are the worst). But while at Handworks this year, I broke down and gave Peter $60 for a Galbert Caliper. Today I put it to […]The post The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jun-2017
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#WhyIMake: What's Your Story?

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why i make slices of zenAmong the goals of the #WhyIMake campaign (from Infosys Foundation USA)is to inspire people to make things with their hands,to spread the importance of maker skills and to share resources for doing so. It began as a foundation aimed towardencouraging children and K-12 educators of underrepresented groups,and has grown into a celebration of the maker movement at large.Among well-known people with whom the foundation has partnered to get out the […]The post #WhyIMake: What's Your Story? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jun-2017
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Winner(s): Ridiculous Woodworking Books

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Ridiculous Books cover winnerY'all are funny - picking the winner of the Ridiculous Woodworking Books contest was a difficult task. But I had to choose a winner, so…I chose two. Each of the winners gets a copy of our reprint of David Denning's “The Art and Craft of Cabinet-Making.” OneisWittefish's birdhouse homage to one of my favorite books, “Go the F**k to Sleep,” by Adam Mansbach, illustrated by Ricardo Cortes - of which […]The post Winner(s): Ridiculous Woodworking Books appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jun-2017
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Urban Forestry & a Rash of Alarming Stumps

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urban forestryRecently in my neighborhood, there has been an alarming outbreak of stumps. The City of Cincinnati has been removing trees that are encroaching on and breaking up the sidewalks, in anticipation of the replacement and repair of said walkways- a cost that is the responsibility of homeowners…which has caused some anger. Iunderstand why we need passable walkways (I also understand the disgruntlement at having to pay for them, particularly with […]The post Urban Forestry & a Rash of Alarming Stumps appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 20-Jun-2017
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Be Seated: The Benchcrafted Swing-away Seat

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Sitting at your workbench does not make you lazy. Many times it makes you smart. Chopping out the waste between dovetails requires endurance and patience - especially when building a large piece of casework with drawers. If you sit while chopping, you conserve energy and your eyes are closer to your chisel, improving accuracy. The same goes for mortising where exactitude is important. During the last few weeks I've been […]The post Be Seated: The Benchcrafted Swing-away Seat appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 20-Jun-2017
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Milling Live-Sawn Lumber

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milling livesawn lumberLumber from large commercial suppliers typically comes with straight-sawn edges. But when you saw your own logs or buy from smaller outfits, you have to find your way along the live edges and around the defects to get the best yield from a board. Or maybe I shouldn't say you “have to”; a happier way of thinking about live-sawn lumber is to realize that it affords creative, structural and aesthetic […]The post Milling Live-Sawn Lumber appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 20-Jun-2017
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Book Giveaway: Perfect Edge

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Perfect EdgeAny experienced woodworker will tell you that the first secret to good work is keeping your tools sharp. “The Perfect Edge” by Ron Hock is one of the best books out there on sharpening woodworking tools. If you don't have it, you need it. From choosing a sharpening set-up to in depth coverage of different sharpening methods, this book takes the mystery out of this crucial set of skills. I'm […]The post Book Giveaway: Perfect Edge appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Jun-2017
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11 Last Minute Father's Day Gifts with Digital Delivery

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brendan toolsSometimes the best Father's Day gifts are the ones that you pick up at the very last second…right? We understand that some of our readers haven't taken advantage of our free shipping deal - which runs through this weekend if you want to hand Dad a receipt of a product that is in the mail - so we have curated a list of 11 products from our store that would […]The post 11 Last Minute Father's Day Gifts with Digital Delivery appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Jun-2017
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Introduction to the BARN Workbench

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A workbench designed for hand tool woodworkers but made (partially) with a CNC. It features a 3D carved leg vise and a workbench top designed to improve ergonomics. I designed the BARN workbench for the Bainbridge Island Artisan Resource Network. It's a Seattle area community group that has built a wonderful community facility for artisans to share resources, education, and workspace. I wanted to help my new neighbors, so I […]The post Introduction to the BARN Workbench appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Jun-2017
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HVLP Finishing a Benefit for All

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HVLP SprayerWhen I was first learning woodworking, HVLP didn't exist. That's something I lament on occasion when I recall taking a deep breath (even with a face mask and decent air collection) before starting to spray a lacquer finish. The overspray cloud was amazing and there really wasn't a way to avoid it - affecting my breathing and my ability to see what I was finishing! HVLP (high volume low pressure) […]The post HVLP Finishing a Benefit for All appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Jun-2017
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Last Chance to Enter the 2017 Excellence Awards!

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The 2017 Excellence Awards entry period will close on Friday (6/16) at midnight! The grand-prize winner gets a check for US$1,000, the winner in each of the five categories, and the overall Readers' Choice winner, get a gift certificate to ShopWoodworking.com - plus, the grand-prize piece, and the Editors' Choice and Readers' Choice winners in each category will be featured in the November issue. There is absolutely no cost to […]The post Last Chance to Enter the 2017 Excellence Awards! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Jun-2017
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Ridiculous Woodworking Books (Give me More!)

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As I work on the upcoming article “Young Maker's Bookshelves” (for the October 2017 issue), I'm reminded of one of my favorite-ever posts (from 2009): “Ridiculous Woodworking Books, ” by Christopher Schwarz - mostly for the hilarious responses. But that was 8 years ago - it's time for some new ones. Here's a few from me (which are at best merely amusing): “The Ultimate Guide to Craft Fair Crap” (an […]The post Ridiculous Woodworking Books (Give me More!) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Jun-2017
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Paste Wax - Make it Harder & Glossier

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The first big investigation I ever did for an article in a woodworking magazine was on paste waxes. I collected 13 different brands and tried to figure out the differences. I also read as much as I could find on wax. This was all brought back to me when I got into the long discussion about wax that I told you about in my last post. My friend was trying […]The post Paste Wax - Make it Harder & Glossier appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Jun-2017
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To See Like a Woodworker - A Forgotten Chamfer

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In the August 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine, George Walker shares what it means to See Like a Designer. The article tells the classic story of how his workshop students transition from casual consumers of objects and art to sentient observers of form and design. It is a transition that I am familiar with - my upbringing in a machine shop that created custom automation equipment meant that very […]The post To See Like a Woodworker - A Forgotten Chamfer appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Jun-2017
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Congrats to Mark Bushinski, PWM 2017 Workshop Makeover Winner!

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Mark with daughterCongratulations to Mark Bushinski of Minneapolis, Minn.! Mark was chosen as the winner of the Popular Woodworking Magazine 2017 Workshop Makeover Giveaway. Mark won a new workshop stocked with more than $9,200 of tools from Jet, Bessey and Woodpeckers. Mark, where do you live and what is your occupation? I live in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with my wife and two children. I am 35 years old and work for the state […]The post Congrats to Mark Bushinski, PWM 2017 Workshop Makeover Winner! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Jun-2017
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How to Resize a Cabinet Door

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Cut the door to size on the table sawWe all know the old saw about measuring twice and cutting once. I've even gone one better in my world: Measure three times. Nonetheless, I still occasionally find that I've made a door or a drawer the wrong size. (I once made an entire cabinet, complete with four drawers, that was an inch too wide for the opening where it was intended to go…oh, the pain.) Over the years, I've […]The post How to Resize a Cabinet Door appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 13-Jun-2017
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'Arrowhead Joint' Box

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arrowhead jointEric Brown, aDayton-area tool collector and woodworker,has been conducting further investigating and experimentation into curious cornerjoinery(read his “log cabin dovetail”piece by clicking on the link). Yesterday, he stopped bywhile I was minding the Lost Art Press shop to show me his latest: what he's calling the “Arrowhead Joint.” The procedure is similar to the log cabin tails linked above, but he added a new angle - 45 to be exact. […]The post 'Arrowhead Joint' Box appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:12am on 12-Jun-2017
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How to Keep Kids From Wasting Sandpaper - Part 1

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It seems that no other shop resource is treated with such obliviousness as sandpaper. Although sandpaper is responsible for the last steps of shaping much of our work, it doesn't receive the same heed as hand tools, or even portable tools. And, for obvious reasons, it doesn't have the same sex-appeal as a hand tool. It is also disposable and cheap. Still, I tell my students: although it may seem […]The post How to Keep Kids From Wasting Sandpaper - Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 11-Jun-2017
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Book Giveaway: Denning on Cabinet-making

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Denning on Cabinet-makingAfter a brief lapse in book giveaways due to a bit of travel, I'm back at it again. This week I'm giving away a copy of “The Art and Craft of Cabinet-making” by David Denning. It'sa high-quality binding of a classic woodworking textthat belongs in every woodworker's collection. You'll find insight intowood selection, glue prep, tools and appliances, joinery, decorative details, hardware and much more (just check out the table […]The post Book Giveaway: Denning on Cabinet-making appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 10-Jun-2017
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Paste Wax for Table Saws & Machinery

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In my recent postings, I've been writing about silicone oil and fish eye. So a few days ago I was having a deep discussion with a friend about paste wax, and it reminded me of the time I was in a friend's shop and noticed him spraying Pledge on the top of his table saw. He explained that it was to reduce the resistance to boards he was pushing through […]The post Paste Wax for Table Saws & Machinery appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Jun-2017
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Frank Klausz & the Joys of Filister Planes

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If you enjoy using hand planes in your woodworking, then you mayconsider adding specialty planes (like a filister) to your shop. Frank Klausz is a fan of filisterplanes, and in this short video, he shows some of the details on adjusting and using a metal-bodied filisterto make a ship-lapped joint. Just one moreexample of his impressive knowledge of woodworking joinery, and why we love learning from Frank. If this video […]The post Frank Klausz & the Joys of Filister Planes appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Jun-2017
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The BARN Workbench

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The BARN Workbench is named for a community group of woodworkers and other artisans. BARN is the Bainbridge Artisan Resource Network located on Bainbridge Island. The island is directly across and a 35 minute ferry ride away from Seattle. Started by a group of enthusiastic woodworkers, the group has grown to include artisans with a number of interests, including fabric artists, metal workers, jewelers, writers, printers and more. After years […]The post The BARN Workbench appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-Jun-2017
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How to Make 90 Your Best Friend

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One of the great things about handwork is that 90 is not the most critical angle. While absolute 90 is a holy setting on machinery, 87 or 93 is just as easy to cut with a handsaw, plane or chisel. And so sometimes hand-tool users (myself included) denigrate absolute 90 as something reserved for beginners, Arts & Crafts enthusiasts and machinists. After years of working by both hand and machine, […]The post How to Make 90 Your Best Friend appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2017
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Taking Credit, Giving Credit and Stealing it

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On the way back from Handworks, editor Megan Fitzpatrick asked me a question I get a lot: Does it irk you when people build your furniture designs and fail to credit you when they post them on social media? Answer: Not at all. For me, the reward isn't that someone praises my design. The reward is that they were inspired enough to pick up the tools and build something. Building […]The post Taking Credit, Giving Credit and Stealing it appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2017
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The Craft Classics in Just 5 - Must-Read Woodworking Books

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Fight woodworking ignorance 15 minutes each day. Editor's note: In the September/October 2017 issue (which mails to subscribers on Aug. 1), we have an article from up-and-coming makers on the books that have influenced their work and woodworking philosophy. Below is a similar article we ran in June 2011, asking established makers what they felt were the most important woodworking books, plus we included our staff picks. I've linked to […]The post The Craft Classics in Just 5′ - Must-Read Woodworking Books appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2017
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Fitting Doors & Drawer Faces With a Router

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Indicating the mark for one end of the line to trimAs with most things in woodworking, there's more than one way to fit doors and drawers. Nothing beats a handplane for precision, flexibility, and speed when you have a solid bench and vise. Atable saw can also do the trick -quite well, in fact, even fortapered cuts. But what about those times when you're working in a shop (or on a jobsite) with a less-than-solid workbench and a portable table […]The post Fitting Doors & Drawer Faces With a Router appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jun-2017
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How to Increase the Holding Power of a Square

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Anyone who has introduced a square to young students or beginner woodworkers knows the challenges of teaching them how to control the tool and maintain it square to the edge of the workpiece during use. The main problem for the inexperienced woodworker is to keep the square where they intended. As the student slides their pencil or marking knife down the ruler, problems begin. The further away they slide the […]The post How to Increase the Holding Power of a Square appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 04-Jun-2017
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Even More on Silicone Oil & a Finishing Lesson

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I've told you the three main ways to deal with silicone contamination in my May 10 post: clean the wood well with solvent or an alkali soap before applying the finish; seal the wood with shellac; and/or add silicone oil (fish-eye flow out, fish-eye eliminator, Smoothie) to the finish. There's a fourth way I didn't mention because it's much harder to pull off. But thinking of it reminds me of […]The post Even More on Silicone Oil & a Finishing Lesson appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 03-Jun-2017
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Welcome Nancy Hiller to the PW Shop Blog

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I'm dead chuffed to announce that, commencing next week, the inimitable Nancy Hiller will be a regular contributor the PWM Shop Blog. She'll be sharing techniques and tips from her more than 30 years of experience as a professional furniture maker and cabinetmaker- a journey on which she embarked (with several fascinating detours along the way) after dropping out of Cambridge and training as a furniture maker in the City […]The post Welcome Nancy Hiller to the PW Shop Blog appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:01am on 03-Jun-2017
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How to Repair Loose Screws on a Chair

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loose joint screwWith time, furniture joints (especially in chairs) tend to loosen up a bit. It's part of working with a material that once was alive and continues to react with the environment. Wood shrinks and expands with humidity, and the same goes for the holes that have screws in them. So before you retire a favorite chair to the less-used area of your house, take a little time to tighten things […]The post How to Repair Loose Screws on a Chair appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Jun-2017
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Denning: Get it Before it's Gone

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Popular Woodworking Books has just reprinted the classic text The Art and Craft of Cabinet-Making by David Denning (1891) in a beautiful edition at a great price. If you are at all interested in historical woodworking methods, you should stop reading this blog entry and buy the book. It's only $36 (with free domestic shipping). That's a lot less money than original copies fetch, and this reprint is actually nicer […]The post Denning: Get it Before it's Gone appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Jun-2017
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Soap: Making a Clean Finish

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This traditional finish from Denmark is simple, safe and tactile. by Christopher Schwarz from the October 2016PWM When I tell fellow woodworkers and customers that I use soap as a finish on some of my tables and chairs, they think I'm joking. Then, when I pull out a Mason jar filled with soap finish to show them how it works, they laugh because it looks a lot like, well, snot. […]The post Soap: Making a Clean Finish appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Jun-2017
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Open Totes - Stop Hiding the Functional & Beautiful

Furnished content.


I don't like tool chests. There, I said it. Let's see if I'm struck down by lightning from the woodworking gods. I've bought them in the past, built them, understand their logic. Protection from thieves, protection from moisture, protection from metal cancer. But there is something to the concept of “out of sight out of mind.” Besides, the only time I've had tools stolen was when burglars walked off with […]The post Open Totes - Stop Hiding the Functional & Beautiful appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Jun-2017
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