Classic Shaker Side Table - Popular Woodworking Magazine

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Classic Shaker Side Table - Popular Woodworking Magazine

WOODWORKINGM AG A Z I N EAutumn 2004woodworking-magazine.comEditorial Offices 513-531-2690EDITOR & PUBLISHER ■ Steve Shanesyext. 1238, steve.shanesy@fwpubs.comART DIRECTOR ■ Linda Wattsext. 1396, linda.watts@fwpubs.comEXECUTIVE EDITOR ■ Christopher Schwarzext. 1407, chris.schwarz@fwpubs.comSENIOR EDITOR ■ David Thielext. 1255, david.thiel@fwpubs.comMANAGING EDITOR ■ Kara Gebhartext. 1348, kara.gebhart@fwpubs.comASSOCIATE EDITOR ■ Michael A. Rabkinext. 1327, michael.rabkin@fwpubs.comILLUSTRATOR ■ Matt BantlyPHOTOGRAPHER ■ Al ParrishCIRCULATIONGroup Circulation Manager ■ Mark FleetwoodPRODUCTIONVice President ■ Barbara SchmitzPublication Production Manager ■ Vicki WhitfordProduction Coordinator ■ Brian CourterF+W PUBLICATIONS, INC.William F. Reilly ■ ChairmanStephen J. Kent ■ PresidentMark F. Arnett ■ Executive Vice President & CFOF+W PUBLICATIONS, INC. MAGAZINE DIVISIONDavid Hoguet ■ Group HeadColleen Cannon ■ Senior Vice PresidentNewsstand Distribution: Curtis Circulation Co.,730 River Road, New Milford, NJ 07646You can order our first issue for $7 ($9 Canada; $11 other foreign).This includes shipping and handling. Send check or money orderto: Woodworking Magazine Spring 2004 Issue, F+W PublicationsProducts, 700 E. State St., Iola, WI 54990, or call 800-258-0929.Please specify Woodworking Magazine, Spring 2004 issue.IMPORTANT SAFETY NOTESafety is your responsibility. Manufacturers place safetydevices on their equipment for a reason. In many photos yousee in Woodworking Magazine, these have been removed toprovide clarity. In some cases we’ll use an awkward bodyposition so you can better see what’s being demonstrated.Don’t copy us. Think about each procedure you’re going toperform beforehand. Safety First!Highly RecommendedThough some people prefer new tools,there is great merit in purchasing vintagechisels – if you know what to buy. Premiumsocket chisels are still widely available atflea markets and through eBay, and cancost from $2 to $25 apiece. With some exceptions,these chisels are better than newones. The steel holds a better edge, thehandles fit your hand better and the bevelson the sides are ground much smallerso you can easily sneak into corners.We’ve had immense success with the lowing vintage (and now-vanished) models:fol-Witherby, Swan (shown), E.A. Berg and oldBuck Brothers socket chisels.Avoid buying rusty ones, especially ifthere is pitting on the face of the tool. Thehandles should feel good when paring andchopping. Most of all, look for chisels thatwere used as a chisel – not as a pry bar. Beatupchisels are difficult to restore.– Christopher SchwarzOn the LevelThe Process is the PrizeIf I asked you what made a piece of music soundgreat, chances are you’d respond by saying it’s thenotes. But that’s only partially correct. The spaces,or time between the notes, are equally (somewould even say more) important. The same successionof notes played with more or less timebetween them would produce a totally differentsong. Odds are, it would sound awful.So what does this have to do with woodworking?Glad you asked.Let me apply the music question to the craft ofwoodworking. What makes woodworking so enjoyable?There must be something to this activity,because at least a million people in the UnitedStates and Canada say they are woodworkers.If you asked them, I bettheir responses wouldbe something like: “Ienjoy making things,using my hands.” Onceagain, I believe this isonly partially correct.The mere act ofmaking things may notbe all that enjoyable.But combine that act (the musical notes) withall the thinking required to perform the act correctly(the spaces of time between the notes) andyou have the essence of what makes woodworkingso enjoyable.Let me elaborate. The actual doing – say, thecutting of a board or the gluing of parts – if donerepetitiously for hours on end wouldn’t be enjoyableat all. Have you ever made 20 or 30 of thesame thing? It can get old very fast. It’s the brainworkthat puts the joy in woodworking.Consider all the thinking required, the problemsto be solved and decisions to be made, oneven the simplest project. What joint should Iuse? Is that joint the best choice? How do I makethe joint? Is that the best way to make it? Hundredsof choices must be sifted through, considered,decided on and executed in even simpleprojects. Larger projects require thousands ofthought processes before your efforts come to asuccessful conclusion.A major reason novice woodworkers experiencetremendous frustration is not so muchfrom a lack of skill. It really isn’t hard to cut aboard to a specified size, to rout an edge profileor glue a couple of parts together. In fact, when“It’s good to have an end to journeytoward; but it is the journeythat matters, in the end.”— Ursula K. Le Guin (1929 – )novelist, poet, essayistyou break down the physical skills required tobuild a project into individual steps, they’re oftenrather simple. Instead, the frustration the novicefeels comes from the lack of experience in makinggood decisions about how to go about completinga task successfully. The frustrations andresulting insecurity lead to a lack of confidencethat comes from navigating unfamiliar territory.A series of less-than-good choices makes fora bad day in the shop.That’s partially why beginners rush to completeprojects. They focus on the end project, notthe process. For these reasons, the beginner’s finishedproject often looks amateurish. Noviceslack the ability to understand the importanceof the means to achievea desirable end. They“don’t know enough toknow they don’t know,”as the expression goes.That’s why many peoplethink patience is thehardest thing to learnabout woodworking.Alternately, considerthe confident, experienced woodworker. Hecalls on experience to direct the work as he movesseamlessly through each task. He makes the rightchoices, anticipates problems, knows how andwhen to go slow, be patient and get it just rightbecause he knows not doing so will create otherproblems down the road. The experienced woodworkerfocuses on the process of doing the work.As he works through each step, he spends littletime thinking about the completed project.For the experienced woodworker and thoseon their way to becoming one, the day of enlightenmentcomes with two realizations: First,that you just spent hours in the shop and it seemslike minutes. And second, you feel relaxed, evenrefreshed, after hours of hard labor. The joy ofwoodworking is simply being engaged in doingit. The completed project is but a nice souvenirof time well spent. WMSteve ShanesyEditor & Publisherwoodworking-magazine.com ■ 1


LettersQuestions About Guards andOil/Varnish BlendsYour article on rabbets (“Cut Accurate and CleanRabbets,” Spring 2004) raises one question inmy mind. Near the end of the article, you state“I also like being able to use our overarm guardduring the cut.” I’m thinking of getting an overarmguard so I can protect myself when makingdado cuts, but I don’t see how you use it for a rabbet.Looking at the pictures on page 10, I wonderwhere the guard goes. I’d like to see some ofthe “how to” photos showing an operation beingdone with a guard, even if it means putting in anextra photograph or two.Also, in the article on wipe-on finishes (“UnderstandingWipe-on Finishes,” Spring 2004), itseems the author takes for granted that varnishis the best finish. For example, for projects likethe Shaker Hanging Cabinet, which will never besubjected to the punishment a dining tabletop receives,I’ve used an oil/varnish blend because IVacuum tube collectschips and dustOverarm blade guardis adjustableGuard is necessary becausesplitter will interfere withrabbet or dadolike the way it looks. If the magazine is to addressthe “why,” it would have been nice to explain whythe wipe-on varnishes are superior.Tom RyanState College, PennsylvaniaTom,You raise a good point about showing the guard inuse. Because we mentioned that it could be used,we should have showed it. Check out the illustrationsat left. An overarm guard cantilevers overthe table and hovers over the blade. Because youcan adjust it left and right (plus up and down) youcan make it work with our rabbeting technique,which uses a dado stack and a sacrifi cial fence.Stock guards won’t work because the saw’s splitterwill block the work.As to the article on varnish, I’m sure we’ll beaddressing this issue in the future. We are hesitantto use oil fi nishes and oil/varnish blends. Thesetypically offer little protection to the wood andmust be maintained over time – even if the piecesaren’t subjected to much handling. Oil/varnishblends typically have little binder to them, so theyare only marginally better than a straight linseedoil fi nish. There is nothing inherently wrong withan oil/varnish fi nish, however. If you’re pleasedwith the way it’s working for you, then defi nitelydon’t change what you’re doing.– Christopher Schwarz, executive editorHow Should I Store Lumber?I build outdoor furniture projects using pressuretreatedpine (mostly 1x4, 1x6 and 2x4). What isyour recommendation for storing fresh lumber soit can dry quickly? I also want to minimize warpingand cupping. I have tried various things, suchas stacking with stickers between the boards andclamping, with fair success, but I still have a fewproblems. I realize some of this is to be expected,but I would like to improve my success rate.Jim ReevesWhitehouse, TexasJim,This is a common problem, so we talked to someexperts for some advice: Always stack lumber thatrequires drying horizontally and at least 18"off theground. Your first layer in the stack should be reasonablyfl at scrap pieces of similar size to the restof the pile. On top of that, put down alternating layersof 1x stickers and lumber. Use plenty of stickersand keep them uniformly vertical to each other asyou stack your lumber. Your top layer should bethe same as your bottom layer (fl at, scrap lumber).On top of that add some weights, and a tarpor a piece of plywood. It’s OK if you don’t completelyprotect the sides – you mainly want to ensurewater doesn’t seep through the top.Finally, consider where you keep your lumberpile. You want air running parallel to the stickersthrough the stack, so position your pile to take advantageof the direction of the prevailing winds.This strategy will help remove the high humiditycreated by moisture escaping the lumber.For more information, read R. Bruce Hoadley’s“Understanding Wood” (The Taunton Press).– Kara Gebhart, managing editorDrill Press as a Mortiser?Overlapping holescreate mortiseOther than convenience, does a mortising machinehave any advantages over using a mortisingattachment in a drill press?Ian CalvertWinston-Salem, North CarolinaIan,The mortising attachment sold for drill presses isa somewhat dubious accessory for all but the occasionalmortising task. A dedicated mortisingmachine is based on a metal arbor press, whichtransfers the downward force of the machine’slever much more effi ciently than the plungingaction of a drill press.With a drill press attachment, you’re turningthe handles of the machine for several revolutions,and it’s hard work. Also, if you do a lot ofmortising with your drill press, this will put a lotof wear and tear on the machine.If I didn’t have the money for a mortising machine,I’d simply purchase a good set of Forstnerbits and make all my mortises in my drill press bydrilling overlapping holes. This works well.– Christopher Schwarz, executive editor2 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Avoid Drawknife InjuriesDrawknives can be dangerous tools. One of themost common injuries occurs when your handsslip and the corner of the blade catches you. I oncewas shown how to easily avoid this injury by simplygrinding off the two sharp corners where theblade ends. It’s the first thing you should do afteryou buy your drawknife.Christopher Schwarz, executive editorUsing Your Drill Press for Threaded InsertsThreaded inserts have machine-screw threads onthe inside of the barrel. Wood-screw threads areon the outside. These inserts are great for manyjigs and furniture projects. But after drilling yourappropriately sized hole in the wood for the insert,it can be difficult to drive the insert straight intothe wood with the standard screwdriver approach.So use your drill press instead. Insert a machinethreadedbolt (or length of threaded rod) into theinsert with an appropriately sized nut stoppedagainst the insert. Then chuck the threaded rodinto your drill press’s chuck and turn the chuck byhand (don’t turn the motor on) to install the insertstraight and accurately into your hole.David Thiel, senior editorFirst, threadnut ontopressThen thread insertonto bolt orthreaded rodLine up insert with hole,then screw it to correctdepth by handFraction/Decimal ChartEver need a quick chart that can help you convertfractions to decimals and back again? Well, we’rehere to help. Check this out:FRACTION1 ⁄ 641 ⁄ 323 ⁄ 641 ⁄ 165 ⁄ 643 ⁄ 327 ⁄ 641 ⁄ 89 ⁄ 645 ⁄ 3211 ⁄ 643 ⁄ 1613 ⁄ 647 ⁄ 3215 ⁄ 641 ⁄ 417 ⁄ 649 ⁄ 3219 ⁄ 645 ⁄ 1621 ⁄ 6411 ⁄ 3223 ⁄ 643 ⁄ 825 ⁄ 6413 ⁄ 3227 ⁄ 647 ⁄ 1629 ⁄ 6415 ⁄ 3231 ⁄ 641 ⁄ 2DECIMAL⁄ 64 0.016⁄ 32 0.031⁄ 0.047⁄ 16 0.063⁄ 64 0.078⁄ 32 0.094⁄ 64 0.109⁄ 8 0.125⁄ 64 0.141⁄ 32 0.156⁄ 64 0.172⁄ 16 0.188⁄ 64 0.203⁄ 32 0.219⁄ 64 0.234⁄ 4 0.25⁄ 64 0.266⁄ 32 0.281⁄ 64 0.297⁄ 16 0.313⁄ 64 0.328⁄ 32 0.344⁄ 64 0.359⁄ 8 0.375⁄ 64 0.391⁄ 32 0.406⁄ 64 0.422⁄ 16 0.438⁄ 64 0.453⁄ 32 0.469⁄ 64 0.484⁄ 2 0.5File off sharpcorner of bladeFRACTION33 ⁄ 6417 ⁄ 3235 ⁄ 649 ⁄ 1637 ⁄ 6419 ⁄ 3239 ⁄ 645 ⁄ 841 ⁄ 6421 ⁄ 3243 ⁄ 6411 ⁄ 1645 ⁄ 6423 ⁄ 3247 ⁄ 643 ⁄ 449 ⁄ 6425 ⁄ 3251 ⁄ 6413 ⁄ 1653 ⁄ 6427 ⁄ 3255 ⁄ 647 ⁄ 857 ⁄ 6429 ⁄ 3259 ⁄ 6415 ⁄ 1661 ⁄ 5431 ⁄ 3263 ⁄ 64DECIMAL⁄ 64 0.516⁄ 32 0.531⁄ 64 0.547⁄ 16 0.563⁄ 64 0.578⁄ 32 0.594⁄ 64 0.609⁄ 8 0.625⁄ 64 0.641⁄ 32 0.656⁄ 64 0.672⁄ 16 0.688⁄ 64 0.703⁄ 32 0.719⁄ 64 0.734⁄ 4 0.75⁄ 64 0.766⁄ 32 0.781⁄ 64 0.797⁄ 16 0.813⁄ 64 0.828⁄ 32 0.844⁄ 64 0.859⁄ 8 0.875⁄ 64 0.891⁄ 32 0.906⁄ 64 0.922⁄ 16 0.938⁄ 54 0.953⁄ 32 0.969⁄ 64 0.9841 1Michael Rabkin, associate editorSharpening Curved BladesMany woodworkers struggle when it comes tosharpening the curved blades of drawknives, inshaves,adzes and even shallow gouges. Here’s areliable way to make your edges better. Chuck asanding drum in your variable-speed drill. Thecurvature of the tool determines how large a diametersanding drum you need. Use a bigger drum(1 1 ⁄ 4 ") for wide-bladed tools and smaller diametersfor the smaller scale stuff. Use #120-grit paper tostart sharpening. You can switch grits if you needa really keen edge. Once you refresh the edge withthe sandpaper, it’s simple work to finish it up witha small curved slipstone.Christopher Schwarz, executive editorUse largedrum for tools withwide curvatureUse different-sizeddrums based ontool diameterSanding Wooden KnobsIf you’ve ever purchased wooden knobs for a project,you know that sometimes they can be lessthan perfect. Some have tear-out from the lathe;others are poorly sanded at the factory. To makemy wooden knobs look as good as the rest of myproject, I wrap the knob’s post or mounting dowelin electrical tape and chuck that in a variablespeeddrill or drill press. It’s an instant mini-lathe.With a piece of sandpaper in one hand and thedrill in the other, I can quickly sand the knob toany grit. WMChristopher Schwarz, executive editorHold piece of sandpaper inone hand and drill in otherWrap post inelectrical tapeSEND US YOUR SHORTCUTWe will send you $25 for each Shortcutwe print. Send your Shortcut via e-mailto shortcuts@fwpubs.com, or byregular mail to Woodworking Magazine,Shortcuts, 4700 E. Galbraith Road,Cincinnati, OH 45236. Please includeyour mailing address and daytime phonenumber. All Shortcuts become propertyof Woodworking Magazine.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 5


Mortises & Tenons for TablesWe found that all you needto cut this stout jointis a router, a router table anda single inexpensive bit.TTo avoid cutting mortise-and-tenon joints, manywoodworkers opt to build their projects using simplerrabbets, dados and grooves instead. Whatmany of them fail to realize is that the mortiseand-tenonjoint is nothing more than a clever combinationof rabbets and grooves.The mortise is just a stopped groove. And thetenon is just a piece of wood that has been rabbetedon at least one (but usually four) of its faces.So the real challenge for the woodworker whosets out to make this joint for the first time is actuallya set of three manageable tasks:■ Choosing the right tools.■ Setting up the tools for accurate results.■ Choosing a project to practice on.Why Build a Table?Without a doubt, the best project to learn how tomake a mortise-and-tenon joint on is a table. Thetypical table has – at most – eight joints to cut.(Compare that to a Morris chair, where you caneasily have 75 joints or more.)Fitting a mortise-and-tenon joint for a tableis more forgiving than fitting the same joint foreven a simple square picture frame. With a frame,you need to fit the horizontal members (calledrails) between the vertical members (called stiles)at the top and bottom of the frame. There canbe quite a bit of fiddling to get the rails closedtightly against the stiles at both places.With a small table, each assembly of two legsand one apron is simpler – you have to fit the jointonly at the top of the legs. There is indeed somefiddling when you put these assemblies togetherinto the completed table base, but because the workis done in stages, it’s more manageable.Also, the mortise-and-tenon joint for a smalltable can be much simpler to execute than themortise-and-tenon joint for a frame or door. Tounderstand why this is true, you first need a lessonin basic tenon anatomy.The Tenacious TenonEach part of the tenon has a job to do. Once youknow this, you’ll also know how the joint can bemodified or tweaked and still do its job.All tenons have four cheeks. The wider cheeksare face cheeks and the narrower ones are edgecheeks. The face cheeks are the backbone of thejoint. They are the long-grain gluing surface thatmates with the long-grain surface in the wall ofthe mortise. The better the fit between the facecheeks and the mortise, the stronger your gluejoint ultimately will be.The edge cheeks don’t provide much gluingstrength at all. Though the edge cheeks are alsolong-grain surfaces, they mate with end-grain surfacesin the mortise, which makes a poor joint. Instead,the job of the edge cheek is to resist rackingforces in the assembly. The better the fit betweenthe edge cheek and the mortise, the less likelyyour project will wobble, even if the glue joint atthe face cheek becomes compromised.Tenons also have shoulders. This part of thejoint – which literally looks like a shoulder – canbe on one to four of the edges of the tenon. Thejob of the shoulder is mostly cosmetic: It hidesany sloppiness in the mortise opening. It also canbe pared in various ways to hide other defects ofthe joint. For example, if you sanded your mor-PHOTO BY AL PARRISH6 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Mark yourstart and stoppoints on apiece of tapeStopTo cut the mortise with the router, first mark outthe location on the end of a leg and line up the bitwith your layout lines as best you can.The stop determines the length of the mortise. Don’t forget to include the diameter of the bit whendetermining where the stop should go. Try to get it as close as you can when making a test cut.tise using just hand pressure. If you have to usea mallet, it’s too tight. If the tenon drops into themortise and wiggles, it’s too loose.If the tenon is too tight, don’t force it. You’lldestroy a fragile leg. If it’s too loose, you’re goingto have to beef up your tenon a bit. The best wayto do this is to glue hand-plane shavings (forsmall adjustments) or thicker scraps (for largeerrors) to the tenon. Once this extra wood is gluedin place, you might have to mill down the tenon abit again. Take your time when cutting your tenons– a little extra care saves you a lot of grief.When the tenons slide home in their mortises,you’re close to completing the joint. Now it’s justa matter of squaring the rounded end of the mortiseand either mitering or notching the tenons sothey fit together, if necessary.Getting the tenons to fit with each other is simplework with a backsaw. Really, there is nothingdifficult about this cut, and even if you messit up it will never show. If you like, you can cutwide of your line and then pare to your layoutline using a chisel.In small tables (and many large ones), it’s typicalfor the two mortises in a leg to meet at thecenter. This is easy to deal with; you’ll just haveto modify your tenons a bit to make them fit.There are two generally good solutions: You canmiter the end of each tenon to fit, or you can cutnotches on the ends so they interlock, as shownin the illustrations at right.Both solutions are simple work with a saw. Youdon’t need a perfect fit inside the leg because itwill never show. But they are both good ways toget some experience cutting with a hand saw ormaking a couple of miters.When your joint is ready to assemble, hereare a couple of tips: Don’t try to assemble yourtable base all at once. Glue up one side andMill the mortises in several passes to avoidstressing the bit. With your stop and fence inplace, the work proceeds quickly.WallsA dial caliper ensures that you will have lessfussing when you fit your joints. A perfectlycentered mortise will result in a table base that issquare and not a parallelogram. Check the twomortise walls. When they are equal in thickness,your mortise is centered.One option to deal with the point where thetenons meet is to miter the end of the tenons.If you don’t want to miter the tenons, you can cutnotches in the ends so they interlock.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 9


The tenon length is determined by the diameterof the bit and its distance from the fence. Use aruler to get this setting close. Make a test cut andadjust the fit so it’s perfect.Your test set-up is perfect for milling the singleedge shoulder. Make this cut with the apron onedge guided by a back-up block or a miter gauge.After the second pass, your tenons should be onlya hair off. Make this cut on a piece of scrap first toensure you don’t overshoot your mark.then the other. Then glue those two assembliestogether. It takes more time, but there are fewerjoints to keep an eye on as the glue begins to setup. The glue-up procedure also reinforces thesometimes-fragile mortise wall created by thismortising technique.Be sure to do a dry fit. If the tenon won’t seat allthe way into its mortise, shorten your tenon untilit does. If there is a gap at the outside shoulder, tryparing away some of the end grain of the shoulderat the corner where it meets the cheek – but don’tchisel the edge of the shoulder that shows.During glue-up, add glue on the mortise wallsonly. Don’t glue on the shoulder and don’t worryabout gluing the edge cheeks or the mortise’s bottom.If you get glue there, that’s fine, but mostlyyou want to get the maximum amount of contactbetween the face cheeks and the mortise wall.ReinforcementsFinally, I think it’s a good idea to reinforce tabletenons using a wooden peg driven through theleg. But don’t peg your joints until the glue is setup. If you don’t want the peg to show, you can pegthe joint from inside the table base.No matter where you put the peg, the procedureis the same. Cut some pegs on your table saw;I like square stuff that’s a hair bigger than 1 ⁄ 4 " x1 ⁄ 4 ". I don’t use manufactured dowels because theyare inconsistent in size. Sharpen one end of yoursquare peg in a pencil sharpener and crosscut it to1" long. With a knife, trim off a good deal of thepointiest part of the end you sharpened.Take a drill with a 1 ⁄ 4 " brad-point bit and drillthe hole for the peg. The hole should be deepenough to pass all the way through the tenon butnot pass through the entire leg. Usually I like tocenter my pegs on the length of the tenon.Put a little glue in the hole and drive the peg inwith a hammer. As the peg hits bottom, the hammerwill make a different sound when it strikesthe peg. Stop hammering. Any more hits couldsplit the peg. As you’ll see, this procedure lets youput a square peg in a round hole. The corners ofthe peg bite into the surrounding wood to keep itfrom twisting out. Finally, trim the peg flush (oralmost flush) using a chisel, a gouge or a flushcuttingsaw, as shown below.With this simplified version of the mortiseand-tenonjoint mastered, you can see how a coupleof extra cuts can change it. Keep practicingthis joint and before you know it, that Arts &Crafts spindle bed or Morris chair will look likean easier (or at least doable) job. WM— Christopher SchwarzRoundedcorner leftby routerScrap guidesthe chiselThe best way to square the end of a mortise iswith a chisel that is the exact width of yourmortise. This joint will be concealed by thetenon shoulder, so it doesn’t have to be pretty.If you’ve never pegged a joint before, give it a try on one of your test joints. It’s actually simple andstraightforward work. This extra effort will add strength to your table base.10 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Sharpen a ChiselHere’s the secret: The less you sharpen, the keener your tool’s edges will become.TThere are two things you must learn to get yourchisels sharp enough for woodworking.The first is easy. Your cutting edge is the intersectionof two planes: the bevel and the faceof the tool. As the metal is abraded, the pointwhere those two planes intersect becomes finer,sharper and more durable. The ultimate goal ofsharpening is to make that point of intersectionas small as possible. The smaller that point of intersection,the sharper your edge will be.The second thing isn’t as obvious. Good sharpeningis more about learning to observe yourprogress than it is about rubbing a tool on a sharpeningstone. Ultimately, a good sharpener spendslittle time rubbing the tool and more time makingevery stroke count.If this sounds odd, think for a minute abouthow you viewed furniture before you startedwoodworking. Most non-woodworkers can seea piece of furniture as a whole form. But it takestraining to see the individual details (such asrecognizing inset doors that have perfect revealsall around) and to know what they mean (whichis good craftsmanship). As your woodworkingskills develop, your eye becomes more discriminating.At that point, creating fine furniture hasmore to do with seeing the details than with rippinglumber on a table saw.With sharpening, you must develop your eyeto know what a good edge looks and feels like.Once you know what sharp is and how to getthere, your edges will get better every time yousharpen. And you’ll spend less time at the stones.Ultimately, it should take you only five minutesto bring a dull edge back to perfection.The Right Sharpening KitBuying the right equipment is important. Somesystems are slow (oilstones), some need moremaintenance (waterstones) and some have peculiarities(such as the tendency of sandpaper toround over an edge). I have used every system,and after years of experimenting and sharpeninghundreds of edges, I’ve settled on a hybrid systemthat consists primarily of the following:■ A DMT diamond stone for removing metalquickly and truing my other sharpening stones(dmtsharp.com or 800-666-4368).■ A coarse waterstone (#800- or #1,000-grit)for shaping the tool’s secondary bevel.■ A fine waterstone (#6,000- or #8,000-grit)for polishing the secondary bevel and face.■ An inexpensive side-clamp honing guide.This list is a bit unusual because of what I’veincluded and what some may say is missing. Thehoning guide is a bit controversial, but it’s thekey to early success. Many excellent craftsmendispense with these “training wheels” and insistbeginners sharpen without it. However, withouthands-on instruction, most beginners will struggleneedlessly learning freehand technique. Producingyour first keen edge will take far morepractice. And your progress will be slower. Thehoning guide allows you to succeed on your firstor second try. And once you know what sharp is,you can then choose to use the guide or not.The second reason the above list is radical isbecause there is no medium-grit stone betweencoarse and fine. British craftsman and teacherDavid Charlesworth recently convinced me thatPHOTO BY AL PARRISHwoodworking-magazine.com ■ 11


the medium-grit stone was unnecessary. Aftersharpening about 100 edges his way, observingthem with a 30x jeweler’s loupe and putting themto work, I’m convinced he’s correct. A fine-gritwaterstone cuts fast enough to polish your edge andremove the scratches left by the coarse-grit stone.In addition to the above equipment, I recommenda Tupperware-like container to store yourstones (a $6 expense), a spray bottle to mist wateron your stones, a plastic non-skid mat from thehousewares department to contain your mess,some oil, a small square and some rags.Know Your ChiselBefore you can sharpen a chisel, you must knowyour goal. Chisels are somewhat Zen-like tools.Though they are the simplest woodworking devices,properly setting them up is tricky.The first thing to understand is the function ofthe face of the chisel. The face is the flat, unbeveledside of the blade. For a chisel to work correctly,this surface must be flat. If you polish onlynear the cutting edge (a tempting time-saver) thechisel won’t cut true. When you guide your chiselon one surface to pare a mating surface, the toolwill wander up or down, depending on whetherthe face is convex or concave. When you attemptto clean up a routed corner or remove waste betweendovetails, you will have difficulty steeringthe tool straight for the same reason.You should also remember that the face of thetool is half of your cutting edge. If left unpolished,your edge will be less durable. Why? Pretend thatyour hand is a chisel and the spaces between yourfingers are scratches in the metal left by grindingon a coarse stone. If you jabbed someone withyour fingers stretched out and spread apart (similarto an edge with deep scratches), you’d probablybreak your hand. But if you brought yourfingers together into a fist (similar to an edgewith smaller and shallower scratches), your handwould endure the punch pretty well.The second important thing to know is that thecutting edge must be 90° to the sides of the tool.A skewed edge will tend to wander in a cut.Third, the bevel of the tool must be evenly polishedat the cutting edge. The best way to determineif you are truly sharpening at the cuttingedge is the emergence of a “burr” on the face ofthe tool during sharpening. The importance ofthis burr cannot be overstated. Your edge mightlook nice and shiny, but unless you created a burron the face of the chisel on your coarsest stone,your edge isn’t sharp. The photos below discusshow and where to look for this burr.The Act: Brief but BountifulAs you follow the photos that illustrate the stepsto sharpening, keep these things in mind:Honing the chisel does not require a lot ofstrokes on the stone. In fact, the more back-andforthmotions you make, the more likely you areto put pressure in the wrong place or dish yourwaterstone unnecessarily.Here is another trick I learned from Charlesworth:When honing on the waterstones, startwith about six strokes. Then observe the edgecarefully by eye and rub your finger up to theedge of the face to feel for the burr. If you don’tfeel the burr but it looks like you’re sharpeningthe bevel, switch to a coarser stone and try againuntil you can definitely feel the burr.When you can feel the burr and the scratch patternis consistent, move to the next finer grit.One mistake beginners make is that they useSTAGE 1: Preparing the FaceThe face of a chisel needs to be flattened and polished only once if youdo it right. Before flattening the face, remove protective lacquer from theblade with lacquer thinner (you may need to soak some tools overnight).As you flatten the face, be mindful never to lift the chisel’s handle duringthis operation. If you do, you will grind a curve into your tool’s face thatwill be difficult to ever straighten out.MoreworkneededherePlungeMove forwardFlattening begins on the diamond stone. I useDMT’s extra-coarse stone for this, which is#220-grit. I use mineral spirits as a lubricant.The first type of stroke is used for 1 ⁄ 2 " chiselsand wider. Rub the face against the stone asshown, keeping the face flat against the stone.Start with 20 strokes and check your work.The scratches shouldrun left to right on theface of the chisel afterthis stroke. This chiselis getting there, but itneeds more work.The second stroke (used with all chisels) is toplunge the chisel back and forth on the stone.After each plunge, move the chisel forward alittle bit on the stone. Note that with narrowchisels ( 1 ⁄ 8 "- 3 ⁄ 8 ") this is the only stroke possiblewhen flattening the face. (The first type ofstroke will round over the edges of the face.)Here is a picture of the polished face of the toolreflecting the surface of the diamond sharpeningstone. Ultimately, this is what your face shouldlook like: a mirror along most of the face of thetool. There will be some small scratches frompolishing, but these are OK.After 20 strokes of theplunging motion, thescratches should lookvertical. Repeat thesestrokes until the first3" of the chisel’s faceshows a consistentscratch pattern. Thenrepeat these strokeson the coarse #325-grit diamond stone,then the coarse andfine waterstones.12 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


“The carpenter is not the best whomakes more chips than all the rest.”— Arthur Guiterman (1871 - 1943)humorist, poet and journalisttoo much pressure when honing the bevel. Excessivepressure wears the stone unevenly andcan result in the edge being sharpened more inone place than in others. Just use enough pressureto keep the chisel and honing guide undercontrol. Let the stone do the work.Another big mistake beginners make is nottruing their waterstones regularly. If your sharpeningsession isn’t proceeding as planned or yourresults don’t look like they’re supposed to, theculprit is almost always the stones. Waterstonescut fast but wear fast – usually by “dishing out”in the middle of the stone. You need to flattenthem regularly. I flatten mine with the diamondstone after honing three tools. It takes just a fewminutes and pays big rewards.I flatten my stones in the sink under a slow butsteady stream of water. Place the diamond stonein the bottom of the sink. Place the waterstone onthe diamond stone and rub the waterstone forwardand back. Cock the waterstone left 30° and rub itback and forth. Then cock the waterstone right30° and do the same. Repeat these three motionsover and over. If you are not sure if your stoneis flat after a minute or so, try scrawling a pencilline on the waterstone and rubbing it on thediamond stone. If you can still see pencil lines,you have more flattening to do.Sharpen RegularlyHere’s the real brain teaser about sharpening toconsider: The more you sharpen your tools, theless time you’ll spend sharpening.This is true because of the way an edge tooldegenerates. A freshly sharpened tool starts outwith an extremely keen edge. After just a littlebit of work, the edge quickly degenerates to whatI like to call a state of “working dull.” The edgeisn’t as sharp as it can be, but it’s sharp enoughfor the task. Then the edge degenerates slowly, ifit’s not abused. The last stage of an edge is what Icall “edge failure” – this is where the edge givesup and becomes chipped and ragged.The best time to sharpen a tool is before edgefailure occurs. A chipped and ragged edge takesconsiderable time to renew, but an edge that isstill at the working-dull stage can be honed veryquickly. So if you sharpen your edges beforethey’re destroyed, you’ll have more sharpeningsessions, but they’ll be brief.If all this makes your brain hurt, you’re notalone. Sharpening challenges even the best woodworkers.My advice is to sharpen regularly andyour tool’s edges will improve over time. I findthis true even after 15 years of sharpening.Recently I dug out a 2"-wide slick (a verylarge chisel) from my toolbox that I use infrequently.When I’d put the tool away a few yearsago it was sharp. But when I examined the edgerecently I saw that the tool needed honing. Theedge hadn’t changed a bit in three years, but mydefinition of what is sharp sure had.So I sharpened up the slick, put the tool to useand put the sharp tool back in the toolbox. And Ibet the next time I get the tool out I’ll hone it firstagain. Good sharpening, like good woodworking,is a continuously moving target.—Christopher SchwarzSTAGE 2: Grinding the Primary BevelShaping the primary bevel is done on the coarse diamond stone. Theangle of the bevel will affect the toughness of the edge (higher anglessuch as 30° are more durable) and the ease of cutting (lower angles suchas 20° cut more easily). Most chisels come from the factory with thebevel ground at 25°. Here’s my recommendation after years ofexperimenting: Grind the primary bevel of your 1 ⁄ 8 ", 1 ⁄ 4 " and 3 ⁄ 8 "chisels at 30° – these tools are used mostly for light chopping and needthe edge durability. Keep your 1 ⁄ 2 " chisel at 25° – it’s an all-arounddo-anything size. And grind your 3 ⁄ 4 " and 1" chisel at 20° because thewider tools are used mostly for paring.After a couple of cycles of grinding, theprimary bevel should look scratched and youshould feel a burr on the face, which is whatmy index finger is feeling for here. Keep workinguntil you feel the burr. Once you feel theburr, you can move on to honing.Set the chisel in the honing guide. The angle ofthe bevel is determined by how far out the toolprojects from the honing guide. I mark thesemeasurements on my bench to speed sharpening(they work for all the side-clamp guidesI’m aware of). For a 30° bevel, set the chisel so1 1 ⁄ 4 " projects from the guide. For a 25° bevel,set the chisel so 1 5 ⁄ 8 " projects from the guide.For a 20° bevel, set the chisel so 2 1 ⁄ 8 ” projects.Unlike honing, grinding involves lots of strokes.Keep even pressure on the tool and move itforward and back on the diamond stone. Checkyour work after every 20 or 30 strokes. If you’renot sure where the sharpening is occurring onthe edge, paint it with a permanent marker andtake a stroke or two. That will point out where thechisel is contacting the stone. Also, check yourwork with a small square to ensure you aregrinding a square edge.This is a chisel ready for honing. You can seethe 30° bevel created on the diamond stone.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 13


STAGE 3: Honing the Secondary BevelTo hone the secondary bevel, you want to sharpen only at the cutting edge – sharpening theentire bevel is a waste of time. So you need to shift your tool in the guide a bit so only theleading edge contacts the stone. I usually shift the tool back 1 ⁄ 4 " in the guide; this adds a 2°or 3° secondary bevel. This works with all makes and models of the side-clamping guide thatI’m aware of.STAGE 4: Polishing theSecondary BevelThe motions are the same for polishing asthey are for honing. Keep the tool in thesame position in the guide and place it onthe waterstone. Some polishing stonesrequire you to first build up a slurry with asecond little stone, called a Nagura. Adda little water and rub the Nagura on thepolishing stone until a thin film of slurryappears over the entire surface of thewaterstone. Now you are ready to polish.First loosen the screw on the guide and shiftthe tool backwards. I mark this second settingon my bench, which speeds my sharpening.Retighten the guide’s screw.Second, place the guide on your coarsewaterstone at the far end. Place even pressureon the chisel and pull the guide toward you ina smooth motion. Roll the guide forward usingalmost no pressure. Repeat this motion fivemore times and then examine your edge.Place the guide on the far end of the stoneand roll it toward you. Repeat this motionfive more times and examine your edge.Secondary bevelYour secondary bevel should appear as aseries of fine scratches in a narrow band at thecutting edge. Feel for the burr. If you can’tfeel it, repeat the six strokes on the coarsewaterstone. When you can feel the burr andthe scratches appear consistent on thesecondary bevel, move to the next step.BurrThe burr is almost impossible to photographbecause it is so small, but we got lucky here.The small wire lying across the bevel of the toolis indeed the burr, which detached from theface when I pushed my thumb against it. Nowyou know how small the burr is.The edge should look like a mirror all theway across. You should not be able to feel aburr on the face of the chisel, but it’s there.You must remove the burr before proceedingto polishing. Use your polishing waterstone.When removing the sizable burr left by thecoarse waterstone, you want to take carebecause the burr can score the stone. Pressthe face lightly against the polishing stone andpush forward. Repeat this a couple of timesand increase the pressure slightly. When theburr is gone, you can move to polishing.Remove the burr from the face of thechisel. Remove the chisel from the guide,place it face-down on the polishing stoneand push it forward once. Rubbing back andforth will scratch the face needlessly. WM14 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Bevel-edge ChiselsFFor any one project, a set of chisels can be usedto pare, chop, scrape, clean up, clean out or (eventhough you shouldn’t) open cans. In short, it is amust-have in the toolbox. Owning a good first setis invaluable, but choosing that set can be hard.A chisel should be easy to set up, endure a fairamount of abuse before it needs to be rehonedand feel comfortable in your hand – even afteryou’ve chopped out a dozen dovetails. You alsoneed to pay attention to a chisel’s side bevels, asshown below. (Smaller is better for cleaning outtight joints.) So we put five common, reasonablypriced 1 ⁄ 2 " chisels through a series of tests to helpyou select a good first set.3 ⁄ 32" side bevelThe side bevel on the Craftsman (above) is too bigat the tip (it’s 3 ⁄ 32 ") to clean out dovetail joints. TheSorby’s 1 ⁄ 32 " side bevel is much better.ASHLEY ILESMARPLES BLUE CHIPOur Four TestsFirst we set up each tool, lapping the back until itwas flat, then honing the bevel to a razor-sharp,30° edge. (Typically you would use a 25° bevel ona 1 ⁄ 2 " chisel, but 30° is better for chopping.)Next, we tested edge retention. We drove eachchisel with a mallet 20 times into a piece of ash,then inspected each cutting edge under a rakinglight with a jeweler’s loupe. We then pared a pieceof cherry’s end grain with each chisel. We repeatedthis routine until the tool required rehoning,at which point it was removed from the test.To test the ergonomics of each tool, five editorsused the tools in different applications. The size ofour hands vary widely, so the results vary, too.Finally, we tested hardness on the Rockwell“C” scale using an industrial hardness tester atthe University of Cincinnati’s College of AppliedSciences. David Conrad, the director of the CertificateProgram, performed this test.SORBY CABINETMAKER’SCRAFTSMANSTANLEYConclusionsIn the end, we determined none of these tools isperfect. But three will get the job done comfortablywithout requiring hours of set-up time: TheAshley Iles is balanced, quick to set up and heldits edge reasonably well; the Marples is inexpensiveand performed adequately in every test; andthe Sorby held its edge very well and is a beautifultool. All earn our “Recommended” rating, butnone can be called “Highly Recommended.” TheAshley Iles’ and Marples’ edges could have heldup longer, and the Sorby, which some editors saidwas uncomfortable, took too long to set up.We can’t recommend the Craftsman and Stanleychisels. Their bevels are too big for cutting intothe tight corners of dovetails, they’re a chore to setup and they’re uncomfortable to use – especiallywhen your hands get sweaty. The word to describethese isn’t inexpensive – it’s cheap. WM– Kara GebhartBevel-edge ChiselsBRAND PRICE* HANDLE LENGTH SETUP EDGE ERGONOMICS BLADE CONTACTTIME RETENTION HARDNESS**RecommendedAshley Iles $83.25/ Bubinga 7 1 ⁄ 2 " Easiest Edge looked fantastic Short, smooth handle 59/32*** 800-426-4613 orset of 4 throughout; paring ideal for chopping and toolsforworkingwood.comincreasingly difficult; comfortable for paring3rd most durableMarples $42.50/ Plastic 10 1 ⁄ 4 " Adequate Paring increasingly more Handle orients easily in 60 1 ⁄ 2 /60 1 ⁄ 2 800-871-8158 orBlue Chip set of 5 difficult after a few rounds; hand; some editors leevalley.com4th most durablesuggest cutting plasticseam off for best results3⁄8Sorby $144.90/ Boxwood 10 3 ⁄ 8 " Longer than Edge looked awful with Results mixed; some 59/59 800-225-1153 orCabinetmaker’s set of 4 acceptable deep nicks and crumbling editors suggest woodcraft.comacross; pared very well; breaking octagonal2nd most durable edges for best resultsNot RecommendedCraftsman $19.99/ Plastic 9 1 ⁄ 4 " Unacceptable Most durable Results mixed; plastic 60/60 800-377-7414 orset of 3 slippery when hands craftsman.comget sweaty3⁄4Stanley $14.46/ Plastic 7 3 ⁄ 4 " Unacceptable Edge immediately showed Similar to Ashley Iles; 58/58 1 ⁄ 2 Available at mostset of 3 big nick and crumbling; plastic slippery when home-supply storesleast durablehands get sweaty*Prices as of publication deadline. **From Rockwell “C” scale. First number is hardness of metal measured 3 ⁄ 4 " up from cutting edge. Second number is hardnessmeasured 1 1 ⁄ 2 " up from cutting edge. ***Great difference indicates steel near cutting edge has been hardened and steel near handle has been tempered.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 15


Simple Shaker End TableMost joinery for small tablesis unnecessarily complex.You can build this icon ofgood design using simplified(but solid) methods.WWhen woodworkers first set out to build a projectthat they designed themselves, the end resultis usually overbuilt and chunky-looking. I myselfwas a victim of just that problem: One of my earliestprojects had massive finger joints that werereinforced with #10 screws.Good craftsmen also must be good designersand good engineers. This mix of sound skills,pleasing proportions and just-right joinery is asdifficult to teach as it is to learn.And so, as my best teachers always said, “Itis better to show than tell.”This small Shaker-style table is a perfect blendof traditional joints and delicate lines. ThoughI’m going to tell you how to build it, my hope isthat this article will show you that strong jointsdon’t need to be massive – just well-made. Andthat good design doesn’t have to be flashy – justpleasing to the eye.This table is adapted heavily from ThomasMoser’s excellent book, “How to Build ShakerFurniture” (Sterling). Moser, an English-professorturned-cabinetmaker,has an excellent eye fordesign. You can see it in the line of furnitureproduced by his successful Maine-based business,Thos. Moser Cabinetmakers, and you can see itin this book, first published in 1977.The first time I built a version of this table, Iwas stunned by its proportions. The legs are sodelicate – just 1 1 ⁄ 8 " square. And the detailing is soSpartan – the only ornament is the wide bevel onthe underside of the top. But the results are impressive,and I think you’ll be impressed, too.I built the table shown here with a handdovetaileddrawer. However, if you’re not up forattempting that joint yet, don’t worry. We’ve outlinedan effective technique for making simplerabbeted drawers on page 24.Begin at the LegsFor me, the most difficult task in making this tableis choosing the right wood. It sounds ridiculous,but it’s true. There is so little wood in this project(only about 12 board feet) that you have to bepicky. The pickiness begins with the legs.Making table legs is more involved than youprobably imagine. If you ignore any of the followingsteps, there’s a good chance your legs won’tlook right and this will bother you when the projectis finished. The goal with the legs is to findthe straightest-grained boards possible with theend-grain growth rings running from corner tocorner. A leg with the growth rings running fromcorner to corner exhibits what’s called “bastardgrain” on all four faces.“The finest tool ever created is thehuman hand, but it is weakand it is fallible.”— Sign above door to shop of planemaker andauthor Cecil Pierce (1906 - 1996)The reason for this is simple and is shown inthe photos at right. If the growth rings do not travelfrom corner to corner, then each face of your legswill look markedly different than the face adjacentto it. It’s distracting and worth avoiding.If you can find boards at the lumberyard thatare cut this way, count yourself lucky, because Inever can. So I purchase 1 3 ⁄ 4 "-thick stock (soldin the rough as 8/4 wood) and mill the legs fromthose over-thick boards.The legs are 1 1 ⁄ 8 " thick, so I made a cardboardtemplate with a hole in the center that is oversized,1 3 ⁄ 8 " square. I place this template on the end grainand rotate it until I see the grain lines run fromcorner to corner. Then I trace the shape of the legonto the end grain using the template.Next I rip out that shape. Transfer the cuttingangle from the board to the blade of thetable saw using a bevel gauge and rip one edge ofthe leg at that angle. Then, rip the leg free of therest of the waste (you might have to reset your sawblade to 90° to do this) and square up the otherthree faces of the leg.With the grain tamed in the legs, you can thenjoint and plane them to their final thickness andPHOTO BY AL PARRISH16 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


width. I prefer to use my thickness planer for thisjob. It gives me more consistent results than tryingto size the parts on my table saw.Choose your best-looking boards for the tabletopand drawer front. Your next-best pieces shouldbe reserved for the aprons. The rest of the stuff isuseful for the parts inside the case that guide thedrawer. Joint and plane all the parts to their finishedthicknesses, then rip and crosscut them totheir finished widths and lengths.Tackle the TopMaking a good-looking and flat tabletop is a skillto itself, so we included a primer on gluing uppanels on page 22. Even if you have mastered theedge joint used for making panels, you shouldkeep a wary eye when it comes to picking theright boards for your tabletop.To make the top look as natural as possible,pay attention to the seams. Never join the straightrift-sawn wood edges of a board to the cathedralgrainwood you typically find in the middle of aboard. This looks horrible. The best arrangementis to join edges with rift grain to similar-lookingedges with rift grain. Shift things around untilthe top looks good. Ignore the adage about alternatingthe growth rings face up and face downon adjacent boards in a tabletop. The warpagepatterns of almost any antique table will quicklypoint out the fallacy of this approach.Glue up your top and set it aside for the adhesiveto cure. It’s time to make mortises.Simple & Sturdy Table JoineryMortise-and-tenon joints are the best ones for atable. Yes, there are metal corner brackets outthere, and a couple of biscuits also could do thejob. But the simple router-table setup we’ve devisedis so simple, straightforward and inexpensivethat there’s no reason to cheat here.Essentially, the mortises are open at the topand milled in the legs using a router in a table anda 3 ⁄ 8 " straight bit. The simplified tenons are cutusing the exact same tools and setup. There is noreason to buy a pricey mortiser or spend hourslearning to make the joint by hand. Both of thoseapproaches are noble; they’re just not necessaryfor this particular table.It’s important to talk about the length of thetenons used for this table. As a rule, you want yourtenons to be as long as possible – within reason,of course. An ideal tenon is 3 ⁄ 4 " to 1 1 ⁄ 4 " long. Butwhen you’re dealing with a small project such asthis, you need to scale your joinery. The legs forthis table are quite delicate, just 1 1 ⁄ 8 " square, sofull-size joints aren’t going to work. And onceyou set the aprons back 3 ⁄ 16 ", as shown in the illustrationon page 19, you get even less room.The maximum length for the tenons in this tableis 3 ⁄ 4 " with the tenons meeting in the middle. Butmaking these mortises open at the top makes afragile shoulder on the inside corner of the leg.Bastard grainFlat-sawnQuartersawnfigureFlat-sawnfigureGetting good-looking legs is all in the growthrings. When the rings run from side to side (right),the leg shows flat-sawn figure on two faces andquartersawn figure on two faces. This won’t lookright. Grain that runs from corner to corner –called bastard grain – creates four faces that alllook the same.Yes, this wastes a little wood, but there isn’t muchwood in this table to begin with. When the grainlines run from corner to corner of your template,mark that shape and head to the table saw.PHOTO BY TIM GRONDINWith the shape of the leg drawn on the end grain,it’s now just a matter of sawing and jointing tothose lines. First cut the angle on the table saw.Then square things up on the saw or jointer.3⁄8The 3 ⁄ 8 "-deep mortises are centered on the ends ofthe legs and are open at the top. This allows youto cut them all with one fence setup. Note that thefront legs receive a mortise on only one face. Theback legs get mortises on two faces.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 17


3⁄8The 3 ⁄ 8 "-long tenons arecut using the same setupon your router table. Hereit’s obvious that tenons arenothing more than rabbetsthat have multiplied.A 5 ⁄ 8 "-wide chisel makes quick and accurate work of the small mortiseson the legs. If you don’t have a mortising chisel, a standard bevel-edgechisel will do the job, though you should avoid wailing on the handleand levering out the chips as much as possible. Work from the centerout as shown. Mark the mortise depth on your chisel using permanentmarker (believe me, it’s not permanent). This works better than tape.Shave 1 ⁄ 16 " of all four faces of the tenons for thelower front rail. Make the same cut on three facesof the upper front rail. Then raise the bit’s heightto almost 3 ⁄ 16 " and shave the two larger cheeks onthe lower rail. Adjust the height of the bit until thelower rail fits snugly into its mortise.Once you glue up the joint, the shoulder is supportedjust fine, but you risk breaking it beforeassembly time.So I opted for 3 ⁄ 8 "-long tenons. There is still aremarkable amount of gluing surface and the jointis more than stout enough for a table this small.When you make a bigger table in the future, youcan make bigger tenons.For details on executing this joint, see “Mortises& Tenons for Tables” on page 6.After milling the mortises and the tenons forthe aprons and the legs, you need to join the fronttwo legs with the front two rails. This is a fiddlybit of joinery, but there are some tricks to make itfoolproof. Let’s start with the lower front rail.The lower front rail needs to be mortised intothe front legs. The best way to cut the mortisesis with a chisel. First lay out the location of themortises on the front legs. The mating tenon onthe rail will be 3 ⁄ 8 " thick x 5 ⁄ 8 " wide x 3 ⁄ 4 " long.Next, lay out the mortise wall 1 ⁄ 4 " in from thefront edge of the legs.Chop out the mortises to a depth of 3 ⁄ 4 ". Workfrom the center to the ends of the mortise withthe bevel facing the center of the hole. Keep inmind as you work that though you want to be asneat as possible, the edge of the mortise will beconcealed by the shoulders of the tenon, so theoccasional small ding is no harm done.Now you can cut the corresponding tenon onthe lower front rail. Use the same procedure asyou did for the tenons on the aprons. First set theheight of the bit to 1 ⁄ 16 ". Then adjust the fence sothe tenon will be 3 ⁄ 4 " long. Make a couple of testcuts to confirm your setup.With the bit at this setting, cut away all fourfaces of the tenon on the lower rail. Next, get theupper front rail and make this cut on three facesand set it aside. Now increase the height of thebit and shave away material on the tenons untilthe lower rail fits in its mortise snugly.The upper front rail is dovetailed by hand intothe front legs. Before you despair, take a look atthe upper rail, which you just tenoned on threefaces. You’ve cut three perfect shoulders for thisjoint. So even if your dovetail is the sloppiest oneever cut (which is doubtful), it will still fit tightlyagainst the legs and the joint will never show.With that knowledge, lay out a 3 ⁄ 4 "-long dovetailon each end of the upper front rail. Its size andslope aren’t critical. Lay it out so it’s easy to cut andyet takes away as little material as possible. Andmake the slope of the angle about 8° or so.Simple Shaker End TableNO. PART SIZES (INCHES) MATERIAL NOTEST W LCut the dovetail on the end of the rail. Next,dry-assemble the table base and clamp up all thejoints. Place the upper rail in place (the shouldersshould fit tightly between the legs) and trace thedovetail shape onto the top of the front legs andthe part of the apron tenon that it overlaps. Disassemblethe table and saw out the socket in thelegs and on the top of the aprons’ tenons.Now you can assemble the table without glueand take a look at how your joints fit.Taper the LegsThere are a variety of ways to cut tapers on legs.I don’t like the commercial tapering jigs fortable saws. They work, but they put your hand tooclose to the blade. Shop-made tapering sleds areTable❑ 4 Legs 1 1 ⁄ 8 1 1 ⁄ 8 26 3 ⁄ 4 Cherry Taper to 5 ⁄ 8 "❑ 1 Top 3 ⁄ 4 18 18 Cherry 1 ⁄ 4 " x 2" bevel on underside❑ 3 Aprons 3 ⁄ 4 5 12 1 ⁄ 2 Cherry 3 ⁄ 8 " tenon both ends❑ 2 Front rails 3 ⁄ 43 ⁄ 4 13 1 ⁄ 4 Cherry 3 ⁄ 4 " tenon or dovetail❑ 4 Drawer guides 3 ⁄ 4 1 12 1 ⁄ 8 Cherry Notched around legs❑ 2 Spacers 3 ⁄ 163 ⁄ 4 11 3 ⁄ 4 Cherry Glued to apronsDrawer❑ 1 Front 3 ⁄ 4 3 1 ⁄ 2 11 3 ⁄ 4 Cherry 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 2 " rabbet on ends❑ 2 Sides 1 ⁄ 2 3 1 ⁄ 2 12 1 ⁄ 4 Poplar❑ 1 Back 1 ⁄ 2 3 11 3 ⁄ 4 Poplar 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 2 " rabbet on ends❑ 1 Bottom 1 ⁄ 2 11 1 ⁄ 4 12 3 ⁄ 8 Poplar In 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " groove18 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


18"14"11œ"2" ø"œ"œ"3ø"5"œ"1˚"Taper starts1" below front rail27ø"26œ"Rear apron∕Rear leg∕µ"-thick xµ"-long tenons‹‹∕∫"set backSide Apron∕œ"-long dovetail‹∕∕upper front railFront legLeg, Apron and Rail JoineryTop is 18" x 18"π"End Tablewoodworking-magazine.com ■ 19


safer, but they require wood, material and timeto fabricate. And don’t even ask me to explain themath involved in making taper cuts on a jointer.It makes my head hurt.The most straightforward, safe and foolproofway to cut tapers is to lay them out on the legs, cutthem out with a band saw (or jigsaw in a pinch)and clean up the cuts on your jointer or with ahand plane (my tool of choice).The leg taper begins 1" down from where theaprons end. The legs taper down to 5 ⁄ 8 " square atthe foot. That seems almost too delicate a taper,on paper. But when you see the results, you’ll beimpressed with the strength and beauty of thelegs. Don’t forget that the tapers are on only thetwo inside edges of the legs. With the tapers complete,you’re ready to assemble the base.Gluing it upBegin by sanding or planing all your base piecesso they are ready for finishing. If you choose toThe dovetails are simple backsaw work. Even ifyou miss your line, you’ll be able to fix it whenyou cut the socket. If you mess up the socket,the result will never show. Saw down to theshoulder and pare away the little waste sliverwith a chisel.sand, I recommend you sand the legs by hand witha small sanding block. A random-orbit sander willgive you a bellied surface, which will spoil the fitof your joint. Begin with #100-grit paper and workyour way up the grits to #180- or #220-grit.Start the assembly by gluing a side apron intoa mating front and back leg. When this assemblyis complete, you can then check the fit of yourdovetail a second time and make any modificationsnecessary for a tight fit. If you’re going topeg your joints from the inside (as described in“Mortises & Tenons for Tables”), now is the timeto peg those side aprons. Then glue up the remainderof the table base.Sorting Out the GutsThe rest of the table is simple joinery, but you needto pay close attention to how everything fits so thatthe drawer slides well. The first order of businessis to fit and glue up the four drawer guides. Thedrawer rides on the two at the bottom. The two atCutting the Dovetails on the Upper Front RailSecond, mark out the shape of the dovetail onthe top of the leg using a mechanical pencil or(even better) a marking knife.This table is a great project for practicing yourplaning. The parts of the base aren’t wide, so youdon’t have to worry about the corner of the planeiron digging into your work. If you’re interested inlearning to use a hand plane, planing the tapers,rails and edges of tabletops are three goodplaces to begin.the top have dual functions: They attach the tablebase to the top and they prevent the drawer fromtipping downward when it’s pulled out.Start by notching the corners of all four guides.A 3 ⁄ 16 " x 3 ⁄ 16 " notch allows the guides to fit aroundthe legs. You can cut it with a band saw or jigsawif you like, but a backsaw will be just as fast andaccurate. When the guides fit around the legs,glue the lower guides to the aprons. Make suretheir top edge is flush with the lower front rail.This ensures the drawer won’t hang up.Before you glue on the upper guides, youshould drill countersunk holes that will allowyou to screw the base to the underside of the top.These holes need to be elongated a bit to allow thetop to expand and contract, but please don’t gettoo worked up about this point. There is no needto rout out a slot or drill overlapping holes. Simplydrive your drill into the hole, and while thedrill is running, pivot it forward and back.Glue the upper guides in place. Make sure theyare flush to the top of the apron (or just a little below)and don’t drop below the upper front rail.You can see details of what the inside of thetable base looks like – with all the guides andrunners in place – in “Simple & Fast RabbetedDrawers” on page 24.Third, use your backsaw to define the edges ofthe socket. Saw inside the marked line. You canpare away the extra waste with a chisel oncethe socket is chopped out.To remove the waste, first loosen it up bychopping a series of score lines on top of theleg. Then come in from the front of the joint(as shown) to pop the waste out. Keep workingdown and back. This is good chisel practice.Return To the TopYou might think that building and fitting the draweris the next step, but it’s not. In a small project,the top will change how everything fits below it.If you tighten the screws between the top and basetoo much, the drawer will bind up in the case. Soreally the best course of action is to make the top,attach it, then fit the drawer.Cut your top panel to its finished size and layout the bevel on its underside. You can cut thisbevel on the table saw much like you would araised panel for a door. This can be tricky dependingon the height of your table saw’s fence and thesize of the throat opening for the saw blade.If you choose this route, set your table saw’s20 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Notch fitsaround legOnce you cut the notch in the drawer guide,a sharp chisel can fine-tune the fit with ease.To learn how to correctly sharpen a chisel, see“Sharpening a Chisel” on page 11.blade for a 7° bevel and sneak up on the propercut by making a couple of passes over the blade,changing the height of the blade and location ofthe fence until you get the bevel you desire.If that approach doesn’t appeal to you, I recommendyou mark the bevel on the undersideand shape it with a rasp and file. A rasp (I preferthe inexpensive Microplane rasp for this job) canremove wood in a hurry. A mill file, scraper andsandpaper will clean up your work from there.Plane or sand the top for finishing. Attach it tothe base with #8 x 1" screws. The easiest way toaccomplish this is to put the top upside down onyour bench. Then clamp the table base in placeto the top. Drill pilot holes into the top and thendrive each screw home. Now you are ready toconstruct the drawer.Upper drawer guidesThe holes need to allow the body of the screwto pivot. So reaming out the holes as shown isperfectly acceptable.Drawer DetailsWhen I’ve built this project in the past, I’ve madea dovetailed drawer, which is typical of Shakerconstruction methods. But to make the projectsimpler to build, I recommend you try out thedrawer-building method detailed on page 24.That style of drawer is easy to construct and willbe more than adequate for the light duty thisdrawer is certain to receive.Note that the sizes in the cutting list for thistable assume you will make the drawer using thisrabbeted construction method.No matter how I make my drawers, I usuallychoose poplar for the sides and bottom. It’s inex-pensive and machines well. When the drawer isbuilt, I fit it with a jack plane. Plane the top, bottomand outside faces of the drawer’s sides untilit moves smoothly in and out of the table’s base.Then turn your attention to getting the right gap(called the “reveal”) around the drawer front, atask suited for a block plane.With the drawer fit, attach the knob. I like toscrew a piece of scrap on the top edge of the drawerback to prevent the drawer from being pulledall the way out of the table (unless you mean to).It’s a small detail that I’m fond of.Cleaning UpBreak all the edges with #120-grit sandpaper anddisassemble the table for finishing. With cherry,I think it’s worth the extra effort to accelerate itsdarkening by applying a couple of coats of boiledlinseed oil and putting the table out in the sunfor a day. Then you can brush or wipe on yourfavorite film finish. I prefer a satin lacquer.The first time I built this table, I was going togive it away to my sister as a wedding gift. Butwhen it was complete, it sparked something rarein me: envy. So I kept the table and it sits by mybedside as a reminder of the rewards of good design.My sister can have the next one. WM— Christopher SchwarzSuppliesRockler800-279-4441 or rockler.com1 • Cherry Shaker 7⁄ 7 8 " knob, 3⁄ 3 8 " tenon,#78493, $2.59/pairPrice as of publication deadline.The entire top is riding across the blade on a 1 ⁄ 2 "-wide edge, so take care when cutting the bevel.Thin the sides of the drawer until you get asmooth fit. A sander can do the job, but a handplane removes material in a much morepredictable (if slightly slower) manner.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 21


Gluing up Flat PanelsThree easy steps – joint, glue and clamp – help you create perfect panels.WWood panels are an essential component inmaking almost every piece of furniture. While aflat panel less than 6" wide can be made by simplycrosscutting a board, a panel wider than thatwill require gluing a few boards together edgeto edge. Keeping those panels flat, straight andattractive is easily learned and will make all ofyour projects much more successful.First let’s get rid of a common myth: To makesure a panel stays flat, it’s not necessary to ripthe individual boards to 2" or 3" widths and thenreglue them. All this does is create more workand an ugly panel.Wood moves primarily because of changes inmoisture content. After being felled and cut, thewood from a tree slowly acclimates to its environmentas the moisture in the wood evaporates.Because of the shape and orientation of the fibersin a board, some will shrink more than others.Even when kiln-dried and assembled into a project,lumber will continue to react to changes in humidityby cupping and warping. The illustration(below) shows how wood will move as it dries andshould help you choose the right orientation ofgrowth rings. A trick is to try to leave the wood’sheartwood side showing on your panels.Proper preparation, technique and tools are all required to make a perfectly flat panel.PHOTO BY AL PARRISHFresh cutAfter dryingThe first step in gluing up a flat panel isreading the wood. The end view of a board (orlog, as above) shows the different shrinkagepattern for different cuts of lumber. Knowinghow your lumber will react to humidity changeswill help you with your panel layouts.Proper wood preparation also can help youavoid warping. When planing boards to final thickness,remove material evenly from both sides toallow grain tension in the board to remain stable.When you rough-cut your wood, leave theboards a little long and wide (so the panel glueupis 1" oversize in both directions). Cut them tofinished size after your glue-up. This lets you cutaround imperfections near the edges.Also, pay careful attention to the appearanceof each board. Even though we have to use morethan one board to make our panels, we want tomake the panels look like they’re still one piece.Matching the cathedrals or the straight-grain patternsat the joint (as well as matching the color ofthe wood) will make for a better-looking finishedpanel. Try to get all of your panel pieces from asingle board length. Color- and grain-matchingis much easier then.Once you’ve determined where your jointsshould occur, you must make those edges mateperfectly. The jointer is designed to produce anedge that is perpendicular to the face of the board.But if the fence is slightly off, the edge will be,too. Each board needs to be flat and have at leastone perpendicular edge (interior boards need two)to achieve a flat panel. The bottom left photo onpage 23 shows a trick to make sure your boardsmeet flat at the edge every time.Now let’s talk about glue – either yellow orwhite glue will work fine for a simple edge joint.Glue isn’t intended to fill gaps between two piecesof wood, but rather to bond two pieces together.Only use enough glue – about .001" thick – toform a locking layer between the two surfaces.Too much glue creates a weak joint. Insufficientor partially dried glue results in inadequate bondingstrength.22 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Now you’re ready to glue up your panel, butthere’s still lots to know. Let’s start with clampingpressure and proper clamp orientation. Clampsare designed to produce tremendous pressure,and that’s great, but it doesn’t mean you shoulduse that pressure to force an open joint closedduring glue-up. If you have to do that then youredges weren’t properly joined to begin with. Evenwith a perfect joint, applying maximum clamppressure can cause the panel to twist.You should be able to close the joint usingonly hand pressure. A slight gap at the center ofthe joint, called a “sprung” joint, is acceptable(some woodworkers say preferable). This addstension at the ends of the joint, which can separateas the wood dries. But if the gaps occur atthe ends of the panel, problems with the jointpulling open later could occur.With the glue properly applied, it’s time toadd clamps. No matter what type of clamp youSplitSapKnotThis three-board panel (on top) shows nicelymatching grain patterns, making the transitionbetween the boards invisible. The three boardsunderneath the panel exhibit some problems thatcan arise in matching grain.are using, it’s good practice to alternate the barsabove and below the panel. You should also spacethem about 6" - 8" apart on panels made with narrowboards and farther apart (up to 12") on panelsmade with wider boards. Clamping pressureradiates out from the clamp face at a 45° angle.That radiant pressure should overlap at the gluejoint. The order that clamps are applied will helpas well. (See photo at bottom right.)If you’re gluing up a panel with many boards(such as a kitchen tabletop with six boards) youcan make the glue-up much easier by being a littlepatient. First glue up three two-board panels, thenjoin those three panels together. Aligning twoglue joints is much easier than aligning five.Another suggestion during clamping is to useyour clamps’ bars to keep the panel flat. With thepanel resting against the bar, the bar adds support(from both sides) to keep the panel flat. But whenyou use your clamps in this manner, the steel ofthe bar (if not plated) can react to the glue andleave black marks on your panel. Either slide apiece of paper between the clamp and glue jointor make sure you use clamps with plated bars.Apply enough clamp pressure so the boardsdon’t slide around at the joint. You likely will haveto apply some side pressure to slide the boards.If you need extra leverage to level up the joints,twist the unclamped ends of the boards. Whenthe seam is flush between the clamp heads, applyenough clamping pressure to make glue squeezeout of the joint and close the gap to about .001"wide. Again, don’t overtighten the clamp. If you’regetting good glue squeeze-out and the joint istight, that’s when it’s time to stop.About that excess glue: Before you set thepanel aside to dry (that’s at least 30 minutes beforeyou can take the clamps off and an hour beforeyou should apply pressure to the joint), take adamp cloth (not wet) and wipe along the joint inshort swipes, cleaning off the glue completely.One myth is that adding water to a glue jointwill dilute the glue, weakening the joint – notso. The amount of water involved in the cleaningprocess will have no affect on joint strengthand save a lot of torn fibers if you try to removethe dried glue from the panel later.Once the clamps are removed, it should onlybe necessary to plane or sand the joint lightly tosmooth it flush on your panel.And that’s all there is to making perfect flatpanels. It’s the backbone of any woodworkingproject and when done correctly, it’s also one placeto let the beauty of the wood show through. WM– David ThielA good glue joint starts with a thin, even coat ofglue. Glue will penetrate wood until it starts tocure, then it only lays on the surface of the wood.So for fast glue-ups, putting glue on one surfaceof the joint is adequate. For multiple or long (24")joints, spread glue on both surfaces.Clamp pressureradiates outat 45° toclamp headsFingercheck2°With your finished faces showing, markone board with an “I” and the otherboard with an “O.” Also mark the jointon both boards to avoid confusion. Take the board marked with an “I” andplace that marked face “in,” against the jointer fence, and make your pass.Take the “O” board and set it with that face “out,” away from the jointerfence, and make your pass. Even if your jointer fence was out by 2° or 3°, byproducing complementary angles at the joint you will have a square joint.And it works for as many boards as necessary to make up your panel. Theinset photo shows the flat panel with the 2° offset at the joint.When clamping, it’s easiest to start at the center of the joint with yourfirst clamp. As you apply pressure, make sure that the faces are aligned asperfectly as possible by running your finger across the joint. Wipe off theglue with a wet rag. You want to remove the glue entirely, not push the gluefurther into the grain, so wipe well.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 23


Simple & Fast Rabbeted DrawersIt takes only one setupon the table saw to cutevery joint you need to makea solid drawer. Without adoubt, this is as easy as it gets.AAlong the road to comfortably referring toyourself as a “woodworker,” there are a few importantmilestones you must reach. One of theseis building your first drawer. For some reason,this project causes more antacid-popping thanalmost any other project.A drawer is just a box. The tricky part is thatthe box must fit accurately into a hole and movesmoothly. There are three steps to a successfuldrawer: precise measuring, accurate joining andcareful fitting. This article shows you the tricks weuse to successfully complete all three steps.Measuring Like a ProLet’s say you’re building an end table with adrawer. Knowing the size of the drawer’s holeis the first critical piece of information. Seeinghow that space is made and understanding howthe drawer will “run” in the table is the next step.In traditional case construction, the drawer is justslightly smaller than its hole (which is the techniquewe’re showing here). In modern cabinets,the drawer is considerably smaller than its hole tomake room for mechanical slides or glides.In our traditional case, the drawer hole mustbe clear of obstructions or corners that the drawercan hang up on. For that reason, the sides of thedrawer are traditionally kept in check by “drawerguides,” which are simply pieces of wood insidethe carcase that are parallel to the sides of thedrawer. Essentially, the guides create a smoothsleeve for the drawer to run in and out of.With the guides in place, you’re ready to measurethe opening for the drawer. You want to builda drawer that fits the largest part of its opening.First measure the height of the drawer openingat the left side, right side and in the middleto make sure your case is square. The drawer forthe “Simple Shaker End Table” on page 16 is an“inset drawer,” which means the drawer frontdoesn’t have a lip that covers the gap between thedrawer and case. (Drawers with a lip are called“overlay” drawers, by the way.) Because this is aninset drawer, you should end up with a small gapall the way around the drawer front, called the“reveal.” The reveal must be equal on all four sidesof the drawer front. Next, measure the width ofthe drawer opening at the top and bottom. Finally,measure the depth of the drawer space.Now comes a tricky decision: Do you buildthe drawer to fit the space exactly and then trim itdown with a hand plane to allow for proper movement?Or do you trust yourself to build the drawerso that there is exactly 1 ⁄ 16 " of space between thedrawer and its guides?We like to err on the side of caution. Buildyour drawer to fit the opening exactly and trim itto fit. If your drawer opening happens to be out ofsquare, trimming the drawer is the easiest way tocompensate. So build to fill the space, then workdown to a smooth operational size.PHOTO BY AL PARRISH24 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


One Setup Cuts All the JointsNow that you know the size of your drawer, you’reready to build it. Mill all your stock to size (seethe cutting list on page 18 for the Shaker end tabledrawer), paying particular attention to its thickness.The thickness of the sides and bottom mustbe exactly 1 ⁄ 2 " for this operation to work well.We’re going to build our drawer exactly thesize of our opening, except for the depth. Thedrawer’s depth will be 1 ⁄ 2 " shy of the depth of theopening to allow us to fit the drawer flush with itsopening, which we’ll explain shortly.The drawings on page 26 show how we buildsimple drawers using one setup on the table saw.You won’t have to change the blade height or movethe fence as you cut these three joints:■ The 1 ⁄ 2"-wide x1 ⁄ 4"-deep rabbets that join thesides to the front and back.■ The 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " groove on the sides and frontthat holds the bottom in place.■ And the 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " rabbets on the bottom thatallows it to slip neatly into the grooves.It may not be the way you’ll build all yourdrawers, but it’s simple and nearly foolproof. The1 ⁄ 2 "-wide x 1 ⁄ 4 "-deep rabbets at the corners – whenreinforced with brads – make the drawer resistracking and tension. While this can’t compare toa stout dovetailed drawer, it’s more than adequatefor most furniture applications.To make the drawer a one-setup operation,you’ll need a dado stack. Dado stacks traditionallyhave two 6"- or 8"-diameter saw blades thatcut a 1 ⁄ 8 " kerf – plus a variety of “chippers” thatcan be inserted between the two outside blades toadjust the width of the groove to be cut. For our“Yes, risk-taking is inherentlyfailure-prone. Otherwise, it wouldbe called sure-thing-taking.”— Tim McMahan (1949 – )international business speaker, author, photographerdrawer, we’re going to use only the two 1 ⁄ 8 " outsideblades to achieve a 1 ⁄ 4 " groove.(Note: If you don’t have a dado stack, you canuse an 1 ⁄ 8 "-kerf rip blade. You’ll have to make afew extra passes over the blade, and you will needto move the fence, but only once.)Now install a new zero-clearance throat insertto be used for this operation alone. (You canbuy one from any tool supplier or make one usingyour saw’s stock insert as a template; your saw’smanual should show you how.) Without this newinsert, rabbeting the bottom using your stock insertcan be dangerous, especially with a left-tiltsaw. The opening will be too big and your workcould tip into the blades.With the two dado blades installed on yoursaw’s arbor, raise them so they are exactly 1 ⁄ 4 "above the new insert. Set your saw’s rip fence so itis exactly 1 ⁄ 4 " away from the dado stack. Confirmyour setup with some test cuts and dial calipers.Use the drawings to walk through the simplerabbeting steps for the front and back, and thegrooves for the bottom.If you use a 1 ⁄ 4 "-thick plywood bottom insteadof solid wood, you’re done at the saw. If you’reusing a 1 ⁄ 2"-thickhardwood bottom, you need tocut the rabbet on its edges so it slides in place.We’ve shown two different ways to make abottom here. In the drawings, we show a bottomthat actually extends past the back. The back iscut 1 ⁄ 2" narrowerthan the front. This has severaladvantages: You can remove the drawer bottomfor finishing and easily replace it if it ever getsdamaged. It’s necessary to build drawers thisway when they are deeper than 12" to allow thesolid-wood bottom to expand and contract withoutbinding or busting the drawer.Second, in the photos we’ve shown a bottomthat is completely captured by the groove on thesides, front and bottom. In small drawers such asthis one, wood expansion isn’t a major concernand this method allows all the drawer pieces tobe the same width.Fine-tuning and AssemblyBefore assembling the drawer, dry-fit the partsto ensure everything will go together easily. Therabbets should fit easily, but the bottom needs toslide into its groove without forcing, and you needto make sure the bottom isn’t keeping the cornerrabbet joints from closing tightly.If the bottom is too tight you have a few options.You can head back to the saw and movethe fence a little closer ( 1 ⁄ 32 ", or at most 1 ⁄ 16 ") tothe dado stack and rerun the four edges to thinthe rabbet. A couple of passes with a bullnoseor shoulder plane will also thin down the rabbetquickly. If the bottom is holding the corner jointsopen, raise the height of the dado stack ( 1 ⁄ 16 " isfine) and, re-run the edges of the bottom. Thenkeep checking your fit and adjusting until you’reready to assemble.Drawer guidesBrad locationDrawer runnersHere I’m measuring the height of the drawer opening near the center. Youshould also measure the height at both ends of the opening. The width alsoneeds to be measured at top and bottom. Also shown in the photo are thedrawer guides and runners in a typical case.When building a drawer with a captured bottom, clamps are placed to applypressure in both directions with the bottom in place. Note that the clampsare placed just behind the rabbet to apply as much direct pressure to the joint(without interfering with it) as possible. Brads add strength.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 25


Build a Drawer with One Saw Setup1¬"¬"2ø"Set your 1 ⁄ 4 "-wide dado stack at 1 ⁄ 4 " highand 1 ⁄ 4 " away from the fence. All of thecrosscuts are made using the miter gaugeto support the work. The first cut trims 1 ⁄ 4 "off the end of the piece. Make this same cuton both ends of the front and back.Make the second cut with the end ofthe piece pressed tight against thefence, which will create the full 1 ⁄ 2 "width of the rabbet. Repeat this cuton both ends of the front and back.¬"ø"PlanThis drawer design employs1 ⁄ 2 "-wide x 1 ⁄ 4 "-deep rabbets cuton both ends of the front and back.The rabbets allow for more gluingsurface and add a rigid corner toreduce racking.Exploded ViewA rabbeted bottom fits into the 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 "grooves on the sides and front. Note that theback is 1 ⁄ 2 " narrower than the front to allowthe bottom to slip in place under the back.3Keep your saw at the same setting tocut the 1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " groove in the sidesand front that holds the bottom inplace. One pass is enough.¬"¬"¬"¬"4¬"Elevation, from rear¬"ø"Finally, cutting a rabbet will allow thebottom to fit into the grooves. Make thiscut with the bottom on edge as shown atleft. This operation is dangerous withouta zero-clearance insert in your table saw.Featherboards help keep the bottom tightagainst the fence during the cut.26 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Use glue and 5 ⁄ 8 " brads to attach the sides tothe front and back. Apply glue to the rabbets atthe corners. If you’re using a solid-wood bottom,don’t place glue in the grooves. The bottom shouldbe allowed to expand and contract (unless you’reusing plywood).Slip your bottom into the groove and clampthe drawer. Place your clamps as shown in thephoto on page 25. If you’re adding brads to thejoints, drive them through the sides into the rabbetsin the front and back.Fitting the Drawer in its SpaceWhen the glue is dry, take the drawer out of theclamps and try to fit it in its opening. It probablywon’t fit. This is OK. The first step in getting it tofit is to take your block plane and remove materialfrom the top edge of the sides, front and back,checking the fit as you go. You can easily gaugeyour progress by first marking a 1 ⁄ 16 " line aroundthe outside of the drawer. As you plane, use thisline as a reference.Check the fit of the drawer at the top and bottomby inserting one corner of the drawer in theopening so you don’t have to worry about theside-to-side fit. When the drawer fits at the topand bottom, check the side-to-side fit.Removing material from the sides can be donewith a plane or a power sander. If you’re planing,remember to work in from both the front and backto avoid tear-out on the end grain that shows onthis surface. Remove material slowly and workboth sides evenly. It shouldn’t take much to getthe drawer to slip into place.You may notice at this point that the revealaround the drawer looks OK at the top and thesides, but the bottom is a tight fit. Here’s a littletrick: Take your block plane and lightly bevel thebottom front edge to give the appearance of a gapto match the top space. Continue to trim the frontwith your block plane until the reveal is consistentall around the drawer front.If you’re having trouble planing the end grainon the sides of the front, here’s another little tip:Wet the end grain with some mineral spirits. Thiswill make it easier to slice.Now it’s time to fit the depth. Because we madethe drawer 1 ⁄ 2 " shorter than its opening, it will slipin past the front edge of the table. Slide the drawerall the way in, and measure how far in it went.Then predrill and drive two #8 x 1"-long roundheadscrews (one on either side) in the drawerback. By adjusting the depth of the screws, youcan fit the drawer front flush to the table.With these basic skills in place, you can nowuse different material thicknesses. And as you becomemore comfortable with your skills, you cantry a new drawer joint on occasion. But you’ll alwaysbe able to make a simple one-setup drawerthat fits perfectly with these rabbets. WM– David ThielThe first step in fitting the drawer is to trim theheight. A simple block plane can be used to takeoff a little bit at a time until the fit is perfect.Next, a larger jack plane removes material from both sides until the drawer slides in smoothly.Screws1 ⁄ 32 " revealWith the drawer in place, you can see the reveal at both sides, on top and onbottom. By beveling the lower edge of the drawer front with a block plane,the spacing appears to match on all four sides.Another trick to fitting a drawer is to use screws in the back to help adjust thedepth. The two screws can be adjusted in and out to fit the drawer front flushin the opening.woodworking-magazine.com ■ 27


Drawer Primer: Sliding-lid BoxWe discovered that ourdrawer-building techniqueis an ideal method to makesturdy storage boxes.TThis simple box uses the same saw setups andrabbeting techniques for building the drawershown on page 24, and it’s good practice for buildingthe “Simple Shaker End Table” on page 16.However, there are a couple of differences.Unlike a drawer, this box has a sliding lid that’scut using the same joinery we used to make thebottom. We also added a notched piece of woodinside to organize the box’s contents (for us, it’schisels). And there is a small amount of detailinganyone can try: The lid’s bevel and thumb pull aremade with a chisel, rasp and small gouge.To make the box, first choose wood withstraight grain for the sides, front and back, andwood with nice figure for the lid. We built oursfrom a hybrid called Lyptus (see page 32). Dress(joint and plane) your lumber, then cut the partsto finished size, except for the tool holder.Cut the rabbets on your side pieces next, thencut all the grooves. These grooves capture thebox’s bottom and guide the sliding lid. Finally,cut the rabbets on your bottom and lid.Lay out the 11 ⁄ 16"-wide x1 ⁄ 4 "-deep bevel on thelid and shape it using a rasp. Once you get close toyour layout lines, finish the job with a block planeor #120-grit sandpaper and a sanding block.Lay out the location of the thumb pull on thelid. Define all the edges using a straight chisel anda gouge for the curved area. Chop out the straightsection with a chisel and use the gouge to removethe waste. Hand plane or sand all the parts. If youwish to make a tool holder, do so now. To makethe slots for our chisels, we drilled five evenlyspaced 1 ⁄ 2 " holes, then cut out the remaining materialwith a hand saw or a band saw.Dry assemble the box. Once satisfied, glue thesides to the front and back. The bottom floats inits groove and the lid (obviously) slides. Reinforceeach joint with 5 ⁄ 8 " brad nails. We finishedour box with garnet shellac. WM— Christopher Schwarz and Kara GebhartSliding-lid BoxNO. PART SIZES (INCHES) NOTEST W L❑ 1 Front 1 ⁄ 2 2 6 7 ⁄ 81 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 "groove on bottom❑ 1 Back 1 ⁄ 2 2 1 ⁄ 2 6 7 ⁄ 81 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 "groove on top and bottom❑ 2 Sides 1 ⁄ 2 2 1 ⁄ 2 15 1 ⁄ 2 "-wide x 1 ⁄ 4 "-deep rabbet on ends;1 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 "groove on top and bottom❑ 1 Bottom 1 ⁄ 2 6 7 ⁄ 8 14 1 ⁄ 21 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " rabbet on all sides❑ 1 Lid 1 ⁄ 2 6 7 ⁄ 8 14 3 ⁄ 41 ⁄ 4 " x 1 ⁄ 4 " rabbet on sides and back❑ 1 Tool holder 1 ⁄ 2 1 1 ⁄ 2 6 3 ⁄ 8 Varies depending on your usagePHOTO BY AL PARRISH28 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


6®"2ø"ø"‹Bottom hasrabbet onall foursides‹Profileshownwithoutside panel14ø"14"15"14œ"ø"6®"2"©"Plan2" Wide¬" deep at front¬"ø"Profile¬"¬"ø"ø"©"1¬"6µ"2"1ø"Elevation∕See Tool Holder DetailSliding-lid Box¬"ø" Dia.Tool Holder Detailwoodworking-magazine.com ■ 29


Brushing LacquerConsidered by many to be difficult to use, this fast-drying finish is worth the effort.UUntil recently, only two manufacturers (Deftand McClosky) offered a brushing lacquer for thehome woodworker and finisher. If that doesn’tindicate the lack of interest in the product, perhapsthis little fact will: Deft didn’t even label itsproduct as a lacquer until a few years ago. Itwas simply called “Clear Wood Finish.” Today,however, in smaller type, the label refers to thecontents as “Your Finest Brushing Lacquer.”Score one for this marvelous, although mysterious,finishing product.Brushing lacquer is racking up more pointsnow with relatively new products from Watcoand the finishing industry giant, Minwax. Withmore products coming to market with greater frequency,the time is right to learn about the advantagesand disadvantages this finish has to offer.Home woodworkers used to steer clear oflacquer because of its worst hazards: fumes andflammability. But lacquer was the finish of choicefor the commercial woodworking industry. Factoriesequipped with sophisticated spray equipment,spray booths to evacuate the noxious, volatilefumes and automatic fire-suppression equipmentwere able to overcome lacquer’s hazards.Some home woodworkers may find the odors,which are stronger than odors emitted by oilbasedpaints and varnishes, too objectionable.Precautions must be taken when storing, handlingand using lacquer because a build-up of fumesin an enclosed space can be explosive. You needgood ventilation, no open flames (think waterheaters or furnaces) or sparks, and to avoid prolongedcontact with skin. While daunting, thesedisadvantages can be dealt with and brushinglacquer can be used safely.Why Use Lacquer at All?Lacquer has a number of built-in characteristicsthat give it advantages over oil- and water-basedfinish materials. One of the biggest is the amazingspeed at which it dries. A straight-from-thecanbrushed coat will dry tack-free in less than15 minutes and work can be handled in 30 minutes;surfaces can be recoated in less than twohours. Quick drying means far less time for airbornedust or insects to land in a wet or tackyfinish and cause imperfections.Proper technique, including using as few strokes as possible, is key to a good lacquer finish.Lacquer is in a class of finish products whereeach new coat actually dissolves the top portionof the previous coat so that all coats form a singlecontinuous film. Other finishes, such as oilbasedvarnish and polyurethane, form coats ofsuccessive layers, with each coat merely “sticking”to the coat below it. Failure to properly sandthese finishes between coats can result in finishadhesion problems. Sanding through a coat ofvarnish or polyurethane to the layer below cancause an unsightly blemish.By comparison, lacquer sands easily betweencoats, making a flawless, glass-like finish mucheasier to achieve. Brushing lacquers that are nowavailable are referred to as “water white,” whichmeans they are free of any color that might changethe natural color of the wood. Furthermore, becauselacquer contains no oils, it will not causeyellowing of the wood or finish over time. Thiscan be very important in preserving the color ofmany lighter woods such as maple, yellow birch,white ash and pine.Of course, the bane of a brushed finish is thebrush marks left in the wet finish that don’t “level”or “flow out” as the finish dries. While brushinglacquer is formulated to have a somewhat slowerdrying time and is thicker than spraying lacquer,it still is thinner than other oil-based varnishes,polyurethanes and water-based finishes.To illustrate this, we checked the viscosity(which means its resistance to pouring) of avariety of products. A high viscosity indicates athicker liquid while a low viscosity indicates athinner one. We did this using a conventional viscositycup – essentially a cup with a small hole inthe bottom. The procedure is simple: fill the cupwhile placing a finger over the hole, then timehow long it takes for the liquid to run out. ThePHOTO BY AL PARRISH30 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


time measurement starts with the removal of thefinger and ends when the stream flowing throughthe hole breaks its continuous stream. Ordinarywater took 11.7 seconds for the 3.5 ounces tobreak stream. The Deft brushing lacquer took30.5 seconds, while the Watco took 31.1 seconds.Minwax’s Fast Dry Polyurethane, an oilbasedfinish, required 40.98 seconds. McClosky’sHeirloom Varnish, another oil-based finish, took1:32.88, while another Minwax product, a waterbasedPolycrylic, required 32.88 seconds.These readings indicate how the finishes willperform when being brushed. The thinner lacquersand water-based materials will level betterthan the varnish and the Fast Dry poly. Brushmarks will be even less of a problem if goodbrushing technique is used; this is a requirementbecause lacquers are thinner and more aptto run or sag if too much finish is applied to anysurface other than a horizontal one.Using a BrushApplying any finish material with a brush requiresthe right techniques to avoid the occasional selfinflictedsurface imperfections.Start with a decent and appropriately sizedbrush for the job. A brush that’s 2"-2 1 ⁄ 2 " wideshould be used for all the large, flat surfaces.Choose a 1" brush for smaller work or jobs thathave more details, such as turned objects withmultiple beads or other irregular shapes.Use a natural China bristle brush with bristlesthat have been “flagged” (these are roughlyequivalent to human hair split-ends). The tip ofthe brush should be chisel-shaped. These two featuresallow the brush to carry more finish materialto the surface and spread the material morefinely as it flows off the brush. Avoid the temptationto use foam brushes because the lacquersolvents will break down the adhesives that holdthe brush together.Make sure the contents of the can are thoroughlymixed by stirring or, in spite of the can’slabel warning against it, shaking. Shaking the candoesn’t cause bubbles in your wet finish. The primaryreason bubbles appear is from overbrushingduring application. Turbulence occurs at the pointIf the coat of lacquer is still very wet, you canbrush out a run, such as the one shown here.of contact between the bristle tips and the surfacebeing finished. This turbulence is the causeof bubble formation, not the transfer of bubblesfrom the can to the surface. This is another reasonwhy a continuous, gentle stroke is superiorto back-and-forth brushing.A fresh can of lacquer is not likely to requireany thinning. However, a can that has been openfor a period of time or is half-empty may need asmall amount of lacquer thinner added.Load the brush with lacquer by dipping it intothe can and begin brushing flat surfaces with asfew strokes as possible, using only the tip of thebrush. Consider the brushing as more of a draggingmotion along a straight line than actual backand-forthstrokes. Also, start brushing at an edgeand move in the direction of the grain.When the lacquer stops flowing off the bristles,lift the brush, turn it over, then restart just aninch or two back from where you stopped. Continueas before until the material stops flowingoff the brush, then reload the brush and continue.When you come to the end of the first row, liftthe brush off the surface. Think of it as a “takeoff”from an aircraft carrier.With a full wet row applied, go over the rowagain in one continuous stroke, holding the brush90° to the surface using just the very tip of brush.This technique, called “tipping off,” will eliminatemost of the bubbles in the finish and levelout any brush marks, including where a pick-upbrush stroke began.With one full row of finish applied, begin thesecond row using the same technique. For eachsuccessive row, overlap the previous row only asmall amount – just enough to blend the two rowstogether. Continue until the surface is done, thenmove on to the next unfinished area.The amount of lacquer to apply as a wet coatwill depend on what you are brushing: either ahorizontal surface, such as a tabletop, or a verticalsurface, such as a cabinet side. With verticalsurfaces, less material must be applied or it willdevelop runs or sags. Experimentation and experiencewill guide you. A sound brushing techniqueand paying close attention to the work is the bestprevention against brush marks, sags and runs.A sound brushing technique will deter a sag, suchas the one shown here.“Show us a man who never makesa mistake and we will show a manwho never makes anything. Thecapacity for occasional blunderingis inseparable from the capacity tobring things to pass.”Herman Lincoln Wayland (1830 - 1898)authorIf you detect a run and the coat is still verywet, you can brush it out. Keep in mind that youneed to work with “deliberate speed” so the freshcoat doesn’t start to set up before you go backover an edge when lapping one row to the next,or during the “tipping off” stroke. One factor thatwill, in part, determine the speed of work is thethickness of the coat, because a heavier coat willtake longer to set up than a light one.Three Coats are TypicalAfter the first coat dries, it will likely be somewhatrough to the touch. This is easily remediedwith a light sanding using #360-grit lubricatedsandpaper, such as Norton abrasives 3X brandor 3M’s Tri-M-Ite. These lubricated papers willprevent the finish from clogging the abrasives onthe sandpaper. If you’re working over a stainedsurface, be careful not to sand through the finishand cut into the stain color.After sanding, the second coat will apply moresmoothly with very few bubbles produced (lessturbulence). After the second coat, sand as necessaryto smooth the finish once again. The thirdcoat should be left unsanded.Three coats of a lacquer finish applied witha brush will produce a smooth, durable, nearpiano-qualityfinish with the least amount ofwork, compared to other brushing materials.It’s easy to work and dries exceedingly quickly,which means you can finish most projects in asingle day. Used safely with ample ventilationin an area free of open flames or sparks, lacquercould become your finish of choice – if the odorisn’t too objectionable. If it is, a respirator caneasily solve that problem.As a final note, some brushing lacquer brandsoffer a lacquer sanding sealer to be used as a firstcoat. Using it is optional. Sanding sealers containa substance that makes sanding them easier thansanding regular lacquer. This is a convenienceand certainly does no harm. However, the veryproperty that makes it easy to sand also makesthe material softer. Don’t make the mistake oftrying to use a sanding sealer as a complete finish,as it offers far less protection than when it isused appropriately as a first coat. WM— Steve Shanesywoodworking-magazine.com ■ 31


End GrainPHOTO BY AL PARRISHLyptus: A Wood Worth Working?WWoodworkers who are concerned about therainforests tend to avoid using exotic species suchas mahogany, purpleheart and rosewood, to namethree. While some of these are harvested responsibly,others aren’t. And exactly where your woodcame from can be a real headache to sort out atthe lumberyard on a Saturday morning.The latest solution to this problem is a hybridwood sold as Lyptus. It’s a cross between twospecies of eucalyptus (Eucalyptus grandis andE. urophylla) that’s grown on Brazilian plantations.Lyptus trees are fast-growing, and theycan be harvested after about 15 years of growth –compare that to 40 years for the North Americanmaple. Weyerhaeuser, the company that developedLyptus (the name is a registered trademark,by the way), touts the timber as being producedin a sustainable and ecologically sensitive manner.And it’s marketed as a good substitute forcherry or mahogany.Rainforest politics aside, I was interested inhow the wood actually behaved in the shop usinga variety of power and hand tools. So I went toa local lumberyard and picked out some typicalLyptus. The price? About $6 a board foot for surfaced4/4 material – about the same as cherry andmahogany in most markets. (Lyptus is also availableas flooring or in plywood sheets.)Most of the boards I examined were in 6" and8" widths, which I’m told is pretty typical. Thatmakes it generally as wide or wider than you’llfind cherry. But it’s a bit narrower than what youcan find in the mahogany rack – I see that speciesin 20" widths on a regular basis.The stack of Lyptus we picked through hadsome boards with occasional knots, but nothingyou wouldn’t find in a similar stack of cabinetgradehardwood maple or cherry.A Mahogany Look-alikeLyptus looks a lot like the American or Hondurasmahogany that has passed through our shop,though the Lyptus varies in color a bit more.Though Weyerhaeuser’s literature comparesthe wood’s density to hard maple or red oak, itseemed more lightweight as I was machining it.But my hunch was wrong. I weighed identicallysized samples ( 1 ⁄ 2 " x 3 1 ⁄ 2 " x 12") of Lyptus, redoak and hard maple on a digital postal scale. Theresults? Lyptus weighed in at 10 ounces, red oakat 9.7 ounces and hard maple at 7.4 ounces.The face grain of Lyptus looks like a mellowreddish mahogany, though the end grain doesn’t.It has stripes of a darker red. Throughout mostof the board, the grain of the Lyptus was straightand mild, though it did change direction regularly,which gave me some fits as you’ll see.Easy on the MachinesLyptus behaved reasonably well on the jointer,planer and table saw. When I dressed the woodon the jointer and planer, I had just a few localizedareas of tear-out – nothing I wouldn’t expectfrom typical cherry or maple.Because the grain changed direction so much,I was worried the Lyptus would cause troublewhen ripped on the table saw. Some boards withinternal tension can bind a blade or twist unacceptablyas the cut releases these stresses. ButLyptus ripped easily. The edge scorched in a coupleof places, but it was minor compared to whatyou see in cherry, which scorches easily.But similar to Philippine mahogany, Lyptus isstringy. When routed, the grain sometimes tearsunacceptably, even with backing boards. So payattention to the direction of the grain as much aspossible before routing. Routing with the grainwill give you less trouble.Lyptus Challenges Some Hand ToolsThe wood was difficult to plane and scrape.Because of the frequent grain reversals, standardbench planes (with irons bedded at 45°) andlow-angle block planes (bedded at 37°) wouldfrequently tear-out. I eliminated most of this byusing a high-angle plane bedded at 50°.Scraping was difficult at times because thegrain is soft like mahogany; scrapers preferharder timber. Fortunately, Lyptus sands well,so you can easily fix any grain defects from yourplaning. The wood behaved well under a rasp andfile, and took detail quite sharply.When finishing, the pores soak up pigment,which can be ugly if you don’t use a paste fillerfirst. To see some finished examples of the wood,turn to the Contents page in this issue and lookat the bottom right corner of the page. In thatphoto, the topmost board has a mahogany stainand lacquer on one side and clear lacquer on theother. The smaller board below has shellac only.And the board they are both sitting on is a pieceof cherry with shellac for comparison.The Verdict on LyptusI think it’s unfair to compare Lyptus to cherry.Except for its reddish cast, Lyptus just doesn’thave the same gorgeous tight grain – it’s clearlyan open-pored exotic-looking wood.But Lyptus is a fair substitute for mahoganyin appearance and workability. So if you wantthe appearance of mahogany without the naggingpolitical or environmental questions, giveLyptus a long look. WM– Christopher SchwarzFOR MORE INFORMATIONCall Weyerhaeuser toll-free at 877-235-6873 inthe United States or 888-439-8822 in Canada. Orvisit weyerhaeuser.com/wbm.32 ■ woodworking magazine Autumn 2004


Extras“Believe one who has tried it.”— Virgil (70 B.C. - 19 B.C.), Roman author and poetBuy the First IssueOnline Now!Don’t miss out on owning the premiere issueof Woodworking Magazine. Filled with the samegood craftsmanship and sound techniques(and no outside ads) as you see in this issue, ourSpring 2004 issue features:■ Two better ways to cut accurate rabbets■ Tricks to building stub-tenon doors■ Plans for a beautiful Shaker hanging cabinet■ How to get good results from wipe-on finishes■ Plans for a simple tool cabinet■ Reasons why most 6" rules don’t measure up■ Tips and techniques in our Shortcuts section■ Illustrated GlossaryTo order, visit woodworking-magazine.comor call 800-258-0929. But hurry – this specialcollector’s edition won’t last long.Questions AboutWoodworking Magazine?What is Woodworking Magazine?Woodworking Magazineteaches the fundamentalknowledge necessary for good craftsmanship.Our goal is to make you an independent,mindful and competent woodworker by fillingthe inevitable knowledge gaps left by teachingthe craft to yourself. To ensure our magazineis of the highest quality, we challenge woodworking’sconventional wisdom to find thetechniques, materials and tools that work best.Every operation and tool in Woodworking Maga-zinehas been tested time and again by our staffof professional and enthusiastic amateur woodworkersin our shop in Cincinnati.Why is there no advertising?To ensure that Woodworking Magazineis freeof bias – or the perception of bias – we don’taccept any outside advertising from the manufacturersor sellers of woodworking tools andequipment.Who publishes this magazine?And who are the editors?Woodworking Magazine is owned by F+W PublicationsInc. F+W publishes a wide variety ofmagazines and books for the enthusiast on topicsthat include hunting, scrapbooking, gardening,writing and woodworking. The editorsinclude a staff of professional journalists andwoodworkers who also work on a sister publication,Popular Woodworking. Their names, phonenumbers and e-mail addresses are listed onpage 1, as well as online.How often do you publish?And can I purchase future issues?After receiving an overwhelmingly positiveresponse to our first issue, we are pleased topresent our second issue. Our 2005 publishingschedule is now being planned. You can sign upto receive information about future issues of themagazine by visiting our web site and signingup for our free e-mail newsletter.Coming in 2005:■ Arts & Crafts bookcase■ A better way to cut sliding dovetails■ Choose the right marking knife■ Getting great results with shellac■ Bench vises worth buying■ Glass-door display cabinet■ Learning to read the grain■ And a whole lot more!CONTACT USWe welcome letters from readers withcomments about this magazine or aboutwoodworking in general. We try to respondto all correspondence. To send us a letter:■ E-mail: letters@fwpubs.com■ Fax: 513-891-7196■ Mail carrier:Letters • Woodworking Magazine4700 E. Galbraith RoadCincinnati, OH 45236Good Resources Available Online atwoodworking-magazine.com■ Get the latest information about upcomingissues of Woodworking Magazine.■ Sign up for our free e-mail newsletter to getall the news about Woodworking Magazine.■ Have a question about the magazine?Need advice about a woodworking projector buying your next big tool? Head onlineand find contact information to talk with theexperienced staff of Woodworking Magazine.■ Search throughour illustrated WoodworkingGlossary –a comprehensive listthat helps explainmuch of the jargonrelated to the craft.If you encounter anunfamiliar word in thisissue, look it up online.


WOODWORKINM AG A Z I N ECutting bevelor BezelG2 Common TypesChisels Autumn 2004Cutting with the tool Perpendicularor at an Angle to the WorkThe most important consideration is to positionyourself so you can see the profile of the tooland determine if it is indeedat 90° to your work.Common Chiseling TechniquesParing with the FaceFlat Against the WorkWhen paring, it's typically best to use onehand to steer the blade and the other to pushthe tool into the cut. This gives you controland power.Face or Back(opposite side)BladePushinghandPushinghandBevel EdgeNeckUse the cutting edge to define your layout linesbefore removing wasteinside them.SteeringhandSteeringhandBolsterTangSocketScrapingHold tool as shown below and pull towardyou with firm downward pressure. Scrapingis an excellent technique for cleaning uphand-cut joints, such as tenons and rabbets.Bevel-edge ChiselLong edges are groundat an angle to allowthe tool to get intotight spaces, such asbetween dovetails. Notdesigned for heavychopping. commonvariant is the paringchisel, which has alonger, thinner blade.FerruleHandleMortising ChiselThick blade allows thetool to be driven witha mallet and to leverout waste in mortises.One variant is thefirmer chisel, which hasa thick blade — thoughnot as thick as amortising chisel — andis designed for heavierwork. The butt chisel,another commonvariant, is typically afirmer chisel but witha much shorter blade.Useful Chisel SizesFirst Buy a set of fiveBevel-edge Chisels:1/8" – Invaluable for cleaningout waste in tight spacesbetween dovetails.1/4" – Many grooves in frameand-panelwork are ¬" wide, sothis is an ideal size to use toclean them up.3/8":– Mortises in œ"material are typically ¬"or µ" wide, so the µ" chiselis useful for cleaning outcorners and waste.1/2":– Good for cleaning outhinge mortises.3/4":– Good for paring andsome scraping.Then Buy:5/16" bevel-edge:– If yourwork uses π"-thick material,this will prove useful forcleaning out mortises.5/8" + 7 /8" bevel-edge:–Intermediate sizes for hingemortises, paring and scraping.1/4" + 3 /8" mortising:–If you're a hand-toolwoodworker, these two sizeswill handle most of yourmortising needs.Common Sharpening Angles20° Bevelparing only20° 25° 30°-35°25° Bevelgeneral purpose,paring and lightchopping30° to 35°Bevelmortising andheavy choppingIllustration by Matt Bantly

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