I'd be happy not to know what a drum machine is, but I do because I've watched the rooter guy use one to unclog our sewer line. What is a drum machine? It's a large motorized version of the hand snake a homeowner might use to clear the drain from
Fillets are one of those design features for which there seems to be no middle ground, or at least not one that is widely known. Either a part is devoid of them, and most or all edges are well-defined, or the part's designer decided to take the opposite route, and
I co-host the WoodTalk podcast with Marc Spagnuolo and Matt Cremona, and it's a running joke on there that I never put finish on anything. That's not entirely true, but I do tend to put it off a lot. The reason is that my shop is useless once I
In the European tradition, the steel parts of tools have usually been made, for the last couple of centuries anyway, in large factories. The metalwork is usually straightforward, forged by nameless smiths, and any decorative differentiation is in the handle material and maybe some brass trim. In Japan where the
When in a hurry or traveling light, we often resort to one-size-fits-most tools like adjustable wrenches and pliers. These tools are fine for rough work but are a poor choice when working on vehicles, machinery, and other precision equipment. It's not that they can't do the job; it's that they
Camping goods manufacturer Coleman has pulled off a clever piece of design with their Quad LED Lantern. By taking the old-school form factor of an actual lantern, then turning what would be the four glass faces into LED panels, they've created an object that provides 360-degree illumination—but allows four people
Since founding Tools for Working Wood, it's always been my philosophy to look to the past for direction, then push forward using the advantages we have today. When it comes to creating hand tools, 19th-Century manufacturers did a great job of industrializing the process to wring the most performance from
A Swiss Army knife is something everyone should have rattling around in a drawer or glove compartment. But if you're not into the classic red plastic cladding, Victorinox makes this sexier version in black oxide steel. The 29-function multitool is 0.7 inches thick, 4.5 inches long and weighs 10.2 ounces,
Beth Macy's "Factory Man" is a compelling read about how the American furniture industry developed in the 20th century, only to collapse in the face of Asian imports. I was really excited to get my hands on a copy.
Each video in this series is more satisfying than the last, as industrial designer Eric Strebel's solar charger prototype continues to take shape. Here he runs down priming/painting, how to fill minor imperfections, the best type of glue for bonding dissimilar materials, adding detail features with a Dremel and more.
Threaded connections, such as bolts and nuts, are used in a wide variety of applications, ranging from plastic toys to massive bridges. The one similarity that ties them together is that these connections need to stay together when we want them to, but also come apart when needed. For example,
Here in Part 5, the prototype of the mobile solar charging platform gets a body and base plate. Industrial designer Eric Strebel, founder of Botzen Design, shows how he turns a chunk of Ren modeling foam into the body on a more old-school tool than the laser cutter he used
Luthiers have a problem. When making a stringed instrument, the belly (front) and back need to be thin in the right places so that they will vibrate correctly, and thick and strong in other places so that string tension doesn't break the instrument. To do this they must carefully remove
A half-lap joint is good-looking, functional and, once you get good at it, quick to cut with hand tools. But even if you get the joint to fit snugly, the intersections may show ugly gaps due to slight imperfections in your sawing or chiseling technique. Traditional Japanese woodworking has a
At first I thought this was silly, but it's actually awesome! John Economaki, inventor and founder of Portland-based Bridge City Toolworks, has invented a contraption that allows anyone to make their own perfect chopsticks, completely by hand. Here he is unveiling the device at an event in Asia: Consider
Carpenters and woodworkers who want a work table that can be used for clamping would do well to consider the MFSlab, a one-inch mdf top that can be placed on whatever sawhorses are handy. The brainchild of Steve Olson, a remodeler in San Francisco, it is intended to be a
If you're creative, there are plenty of tools you can get away with not having in your shop, but a tape measure isn't one of them. The indispensable and almost absurdly inexpensive object truly is a marvel of design and engineering. Here's how the thing works and how it's made,
In the "good ol' days," grinders would sit for 8-10 hours a day straddling a 4-foot diameter solid sandstone grinding wheel spinning at a surface speed of about 60 miles per hour. While wheel explosions were rare, early death from silicosis wasn't. It was a known occupational hazard, but grinders
We've heard the story of how the Moxon vise was resurrected by Christopher Schwarz; seen a modern-day version created by Benchcrafted; and watched David Barron hack his for greater efficiency. In this video, engineer Paul Marcel shows you how to actually build one from the Benchcrafted kit. And not
We saw manufacturer Benchcrafted's improvements to the Moxon vise. But depending on your own preferences and workflow, there's always room for yet more design upgrades. Here David Barron, a UK-based furniture maker, has considered his experience with the vise carefully, then implemented two very clever modifications: Barron's attention to ergonomic
After Christopher Schwarz wrote an article on how to build a Moxon vise, untold numbers of people tried it. But a sticking point for some was that one of the design elements in Schwarz's rendition are handscrews made from wood: Creating these requires turning blanks and cutting threads into
Journalist Christopher Schwarz is something like the Indiana Jones of woodworking, uncovering valuable treasures from the past. In 2010 he was going through a book from 1678, Joseph Moxon's "The Mechanick Exercises"—widely thought to be the first book on woodworking published in English—when he came across the following illustration: That's
If you're a fan of Roy Underhill/The Woodwright's Shop, you've undoubtedly seen the handy tool tote he carries. In this video I'll show you how to make one. Plus I detail a stupid-simple method of making compound butt joints by hand; no angle charts or compound miter saws necessary. As
Scribing is the act of marking material that has to be removed from a counter or piece of trim so it fits tight to a wall or cabinet. Carpenters typically perform this operation with scribes, an adjustable marking tool similar to the compass used by a geometry students. Most
This is a look at using rasps as part of a coarse, medium, and fine system of tooling for efficient sculpting and refinement of curves in your woodworking projects. Edge tools are great and leave a finished surface and I hear from many a traditionalist that this is the only
A three-way collaboration has cracked four problems that plague 3D printing: Speed, size, material strength and perhaps most importantly, the need to design for gravity. With a conventional 3D printer, one cannot print cantilevers without support structures. This adds time to the process and adds the step of needing to
When people say "3D printing" they commonly mean one of two things: FDM printing, which turns a plastic filament into something that can be squirted out of a nozzle; or one of multiple sintering processes, by which a machine uses lasers to fuse parts together out of metal powder. Plastic
Sooner or later every building contractor has to run pipe or conduit through existing concrete walls. The best way to do it is by boring holes with a coring bit. Most such bits are designed to cut wet and look like oversize hole saws minus the teeth and pilot bits.
Recip saw blades are typically thrown out when the teeth near the tang become dull—even when the ones near the tip remain sharp and new. The traditional way around this was to make use of the saw's adjustable shoe, which can shift cutting to a fresh set of teeth an
I like to talk about tools and craft period, so I try not to make these posts too sales-like. But at the same time I do sell tools for a living, and Core77 has covered Festool a fair bit, so I thought this was relevant. This Saturday, Tools for Working
Last year John Heisz replaced his table saw blade with a paper disc, and discovered it could actually cut through wood. This month two different YouTube channels, "The Q" and "Mr. Hacker," put paper wheels into their angle grinders to see what other materials they could cut through: While the
Multitools are pretty personal, much like riding styles and the bikes that need fixing, but most just gently tweak the same old tools and features. So whenever someone manages to make a truly compact multitool that somehow improves on the existing folding hex wrench sets, I get pretty hyped.
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
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