After I finished building a pedestal table based on the Hancock Shaker Table, I thought I'd try a finishing system I hadn't used before. I went with the 3-part oil-and-wax finish made by Masterpiece Wood Finish. Here I'll share my experience with it. Deciding if This Finish is Right for
I have been researching what type of furniture the Average Joe, early American had in their home. These pieces were built to fulfill a need and not to show off status. Oftentimes they were built quickly, in between other projects necessary to survive like fences to keep livestock in, a
My sister-in-law is moving into a new house after completing her PhD. Essentially she is starting from scratch and has no furniture. Fortunately she has a brother-in-law looking for an excuse to make something. With some urging from my wife and mother-in-law, I started on a quick project this weekend to give her some semblance of furniture.
This may seem strange in an age of instant gratification, but there's an attribute of the current hand tool marketplace that makes me very happy: We have to wait for good products to arrive. Whether because the manufacturer has been "Schwarz'd"* and cannot keep up with the demand, or because
I get a lot of questions about where to find old hand tools. I myself find a lot at flea markets, yard sales and old tool shows that come through my East Coast town, but I've learned from my Hand Tool School members who are spread all over the globe
On woodworking forums you'll often read the adage "Buy your last tool first." Buying an inferior tool, the thinking goes, is a waste of money as its poor functionality will cause you to upgrade later. This is not a bad thought, but I think there are a few things wrong
I think some of the most constructive design exercises can be done when you force yourself to play in areas that you don't like.
Have you ever had to build a piece of furniture in a hurry? My wife gives voice lessons, and a student accidentally broke a makeshift end table in her studio when he leaned on it. This piece of furniture was previously considered unimportant, but after it collapsed and she got
I was recently asked by a Hand Tool School member to provide a list of good chisel brands to aid him in buying. That's actually a pretty tough question to answer seeing as I don't have more than 5 minutes of fiddle time with more than a couple brands. So
I hear from woodworkers all the time who struggle with their hand saws. Usually it has to do with just getting the cut started. Starting your cut is all about taking the weight off the toe of the saw so that the teeth can glide over the wood. Some people
Last night my Maple 18" bowsaw broke. It's a relatively well-made tool that I've maintained and used properly, but regular use over the last few years has weakened it and last night it just wore out. This should be expected since the wood choice, Maple, was not the best
Shop space is one thing we can never seem to have enough of. But we deal with tiny spaces and build highly efficient workflows to get things done. What if space were not an issue? What would you do differently in your shop? Would you buy more tools to fill
Recently I backed myself into a corner by losing track of grain direction in a SketchUp model. On the screen, my joinery solution looked perfect for strength and execution wasn't a problem. Then I got to real wood and suddenly realized my joinery would be very weak and violated wood
I don't think my workshop tweaking will ever truly be done, but one of the things my remodel did was give me a blank slate to start working from. This also helped to clearly identify wasted spaces in my shop. One of the most obvious was the door into my
I had the better part of eight hours invested in this little project. Next I only had to plow the groove around the outside to free the lid and finish the shiplap shape. After 15 minutes, I'm onto the final face when an alarm bell starts clanging in my head—Something
I have great respect for contractors who do on-site work. I would be a terrible contractor, and here's why: In my shop, I have every tool I need, but when I have to hit the road to do work, I overthink my selection and bring far too many tools—always missing
I'm a hand tool nut, but I don't begrudge anybody from using and loving power tools. However, what happened to "Necessity is the mother of invention?" So many of the time-saving wonder tools that exist today seem to have killed some fundamental abilities. There is nothing wrong with using a
Lately I have read some things online, had some conversations via social media, and fielded a few phone calls both as The Renaissance Woodworker and the Director of Marketing for a lumber company about using wood and environmental responsibility. I just had to say something in an effort to get
I built a toolbox as a Hand Tool School project. Quite a few members had requested it, and I decided to take it one step beyond something just to carry tools by adding in a sturdy benchtop and some workholding functionality. What I ended up with is a sort of
I like tables. Dining tables, side tables, hall tables, you name it, I like it. I have a folder on my computer that I keep images of pieces I would like to make or that inspire me in some way. I was looking through it last night, only to discover that 80% of what was in there is some form of table.
(Note: You'll see a shocking photo here of this thing called a tablesaw, which I used to use before switching over to hand tools. This old lesson here is important regardless of whether you use power or hand tools.) I am adding a French foot to a Hepplewhite bookcase that
I would estimate that I am doing 85-90% of my work with hand tools these days. Because of thist, I am constantly looking for better lighting so I can truly see my work. Lately, I haven't even been turning on my overhead fluorescent lights, instead favoring the incandescent work light
I need some help, dear readers. As I'm outlining projects I want to build in future semesters of The Hand Tool School, as well as future projects on my Renaissance Woodworker site, I have come across a design conundrum: Technically everything I do both on my free RW site and
I don't consider myself much of a designer, I'm more a student of history. I look at a lot of furniture and I stopped buying "how to" woodworking books years ago in favor of coffee table books and museum collection books filled with images of furniture from every style. This
I finished a bed recently for my guest room. I'm really happy with the build but now more than ever I really hate the flanking Lingerie chests that my wife and I bought decades ago. Truthfully I didn't much care for them when we bought them but this was before
What was the last difficult moment you had with a project? How did you tackle it? I bet the solution, regardless of the tools being used, was to slow down and take care of it meticulously. If
I'm building a tool cabinet right now for the final semester project at my Hand Tool School. I was going through a stack of rough sawn Cherry, matching color and grain and assigning each piece to a part of my build. I came across a 10? by 50? board that
At any given moment during a project, it is possible to find many tools scattered about the workbench. Here I am cutting hinge mortises and installing brass butt hinges on a door. Can you guess which is the most valuable tool in this picture? No surprisingly it is not
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