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American Woodworker #157 December 2011 January 2012 .pdf

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. 3/8' Rounding Over BIt, .34·124
• 112' Roundong Over BIt, .34-126
• 5/32' Roman Ogee Bot, 1138·104
• Classical Cove & Bead BIt, 38·36;

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. 318' Roundong Over Bot, '34·124
· 5132' Roman agee Bt, '38·104


Available for 8 limited time only, For more infonnation visit www.freucltools.comIQuadra-Cut
Red rout. bots . . . oegoat_ tradenw1< of F....cI Arnerca. Inc


~n· 7307


#157, December/January 2012

38 Limbert Footstool
Build a replica of an Arts and Crafts classic.
40 New Hope Blanket Chest
Inspired by traditional Pennsylvania design,
this chest is a dovetailer's delight.
47 Brush Care 101
How to choose, condition and clean a
finishing brush.
51 Tablesawn Glass Panel Door
Make see-through doors in 6 easy steps.
54 Stringing Inlay
Learn how to embellish fine furniture with
a master cabinetmaker.
58 Logs to Lumber
In a search for wide boards, it pays to buy
whole logs.
62 Why You Need a Moisture Meter
It cans save you lots of money-and grief!


Workshop Tips

14 CNC Workshop
22 Well-Equipped Shop
28 A Great American Woodworker




You're using the most trusted
brand of paint in the U.S.

The Harris Poll
2011 EquiTrend'
Paint Brand of the Year

"Kill brand receIved the hIghest numencal EquIty
Score. TNst Score Ind QualIty Score Imoog Pllnt
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Study. Plea.. go to lor further det"ls.

When it comes to covering stains and old colors completely
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lVI,Olle On the Web at

#157, December/January 2012
Edlto< In Chief ~ndy Johnson
Ed,to< Tom ClISl»'
SenIOr Ed,to< Tim Johnson
Contributing Editor> Lonnoe Byrd
Spike urlsen
Imd Holden

Mano Rod"g....z
OffICe Admonlstrlto< Shelly Jacobsen
Art Dlrecto< Joe Gohman

Moisture Meters

Handcut Dovetails

Pin or pinless? learn more at

See how Mario Rodriguez cuts dovetails

Dlrecto< of Photography .... son Zentner

VIce President/Producllon Barbara Schmitz

for his blanket chest (p. 40) at

Production Manager MIChael J. Rueckwald
SYlterns Englrwer
VP, Consumer Marketong
Newsstand Consultant
Onhne Subscnpllon Manager
New Busoness Manager

Denise Donnarumma
Nicole McGu"e
TJ MontliU
jodi Lee
Joe luo

Assistant Marl<etlng Manager Hannah dl Cicco
Renewal .nd Bolling Manager Nekeya o.ncy
Renewal and B<1ling AsSCICilte Adnana Mai<l<lNdo
1285 Corpor",e Center Dnve. Suite 1eo. Eagan. MN S5121

Irian lift. bzi
office (203) ~125
S....n T.ust..,
office (630) 8S8-1558.cell (630) 3)6.<)916. fIX (630) 858-1510

TIm ......... thenningOArneriunWooclworbr.cO<n
oIIIce (708) 606-3358, fIX (866) 496-2376
Chief ExecutlY@ OfIIcer Stephen J. Kent
Executive VIce PresidentICFO Marl< F, Amen
VICe President/Publishing DI.ecto< Joel P. Toner

Stringing by Hand

Customer Service

Divided-Light Doors

We use a router (p. 56), but you can
learn how to make doors with
also use hand tools. See them at
mUltiple panes at

SubscrIptIon/Billing QuestIons
OnIlM: www.ArnericanWoodworlter.comiSublnfo
" " (800) 666-3111 .......... (515) 462·5394
P.per mall: American Woodworker Subscn~r ~rvlCe Dept.,
1'0. Box 420235, Palm Co..~ Fl32142~235.

Back Issues
Some are available for 56.99 each. plus shoppong and handling
o.der at www.awbookstoruomlrnagwnes

Contact the edItors
" " -: (9521 948-5890, FIX (9521 948-5895
P.per maU: 1285 Corporate Center Olive.
Suite leo. Eagan.MN 55121.

Get a closer loot at helical heads and carbide inserts at

Brush Care
See how to make a brush last a lifetime at
Find us on:


AmeriaIn WoocMaIoIr may "'-1nforrnaIlon about ~ WIth ~
tabIe~ in order for them to~~ prockmand seMces
01 ince<est to)lOU. f ~ --*I rmer we not "'-1rIamation. pINse
to us.t Amencan WoodworI<8. CUSIDnW ServO Doportment.
PDo Box 420235. Palm Coas~ Fl32142~235. PIN5e Indde a copy
01 )I0I.l' address iabft

part of this publICation may ~ ~uced by .ny meehanl·

Follow us on:

photographIC, 0< electronIC process. nO< may it ~ stored In
rial SYltetn. transmined. 0< otherwise copied (With the
non<omrnercill personal use) Without
permlSSlon from the publisher,

-eptIO<1 of Gr*llme.



DEC EM. E R/J A N U A RT lO 11

Workshop Tips

Clever Ideas From Our Readers



















Terrific Tips Win Terrific Tools!


We'll give you $100 for every original workshop tip we publish. One Terrific Tip is featured
in each issue. The Terrific TIp winner receives a $250 gift card.

E·mall your tip to workshoptlpq or send it to American Woodworker Workshop Tips, 1285 Corporate Center Drive,
Suite 180, Eagan, MN 55121 . Submissions can't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissions
and use them in all print and electronic media.











a AmerlcaaWoocIwol'


Step up in style with our custom Rolling Ladder System
Our new Rolling Ladder ystem combines clever design and a c1as ic look to give you a custom ladder that is both sturdy
and elegant. imply provide the wood to match your fixtures and get building!
The Rockkr Advantage makes building this sy tem easier than ever. An easy-to-folJow plan, premium hardware of
unsurpassed quality, and unmatched customer support help you Creat( with Confidmce.
CalII-800-279-44410r go to U e code 341 to get FREE SHIPPI G!


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Fru shippinK Off" cannot br IIpplird to prrolow ortkn or combinrd with 01"" promotions mdudmK Profmional Catll~ ortkn. Not l·aUd at Rodtln Rrtllil
tom or Intkpmtknt Rmlkn, 'Pmal ShippinK (haTtN may still apply for Exprm. Intn7llttlona~ Alaska, HawaIi and lNal,)/ol'miu iums,

Wor shopTip

con nued

Lumber-Drying Clamps

years, but I alwa had a
problem getting enough weight on top of the tack,
to keep the upper board from warping. Here' a
olution: U e clamp made from threaded rods.
tart building the tack by placing hort piece
of 2x4 on your shop's floor. Next, place 2x4 acro
them. You'll need one about eyery two feet. Cut the e
piece about 6"longer than the width of your lumber
pile. Drill a 3/ S" hole, I" from the ends of each of
the e 2x4 .
In ert 5/ 16" threaded rod through all the hole,
then put a fender washer and nut on the bottom end
of each rod. tack your lumber in the normal fashion, placing dry tickers between each layer.
When the tack i complete, place pnxlrilled 2x4s
on the threaded rods and use another fender washer
and nut to queeze the tack. Tighten the nuts down
nice and nug.
Luke Sleeves

Lamp Safety Screen
MY LATHE CAME with a lamp, but the lathe' manual

has thi weird warning: "Po ition the work lamp 0
that wood chip do not accumulate inside the lamp
hade and po e a fire hazard."
Now, where in the world could the lamp go?
When I turn, chip fly eyerywhere! It occurred to
me that metal creening from the hardware tore


would preyent chip from getting into the lamp, no
matter where it was placed. I used a ci or to cut
out a circle about 1/ 2" larger in diameter than the
lamp' hade and pre sed it into the shade. Friction
holds the screen in place. It worked 0 well, I added
creen to my drill pre and band aw lamp, too.

John English

Our Latest
Additions To
Our Family
Of Planes
Veritasili Small Bevel-Up Smooth Plane
Comparable in size to a #3 bench plane, this low-angle smoother is
9"long. 25/16 " wide and weighs only 21b 12 oz. Useful for final finishing
of surfaces, end-grain work and for shooting miters, it is easier to
maneuver and less fatiguing to use than a full-size smoother. The
narrower I Pl4 "wide) blade makes cuts easier to push through. The
machined and surface ground ductile cast iron body has a 12° bed angle
and a movable toe fully enclosed by the body casting. The locking front
knob controls the toe to set the mouth opening, while a stop-screw in
the throat allows repeatable mouth setting and prevents contact
between the blade and toe. The Norris-type adjuster mechanism
combines feed and lateral adjustments for accurate and easy blade
setting. Set screws on either side of the blade prevent shifting. Yielding
an effective cutting angle of 37° to minimize fiber tearing. the included
25° bevel blade is I/S "thick. lapped, and available in A2 or 01 tool steel.
Bubinga front knob and rear handle. Made in Canada. Patented.
OSP39.01 Small BU Smooth Plane, A2 $179.00
OSP39.S1 Small BU Smooth Plane, 01 $179.00

Size Comparison of Planes
12 bed
Adjust mouth by Ioosenong
front ball knob and sliding

forward or backward.

Enclosed IDe can be
adjusted for fine shaVll'lgS
(morwnum tear-out) or
opened for heaV18r cuts.



Veritas Detail Palm Planes
Wrth a height-adjustable palm rest for better in-hand registration,
these miniature planes are easily maneuvered and permit fine,
controlled cuts. The investment-cast steel body has a 45°
bed angle and a fixed mouth, and uses a brass retention
screw to secure the included 30° bevel A2 tool
steel blade 10.06 "thick by J/s" wide). The
soles are approximately 11/Z"long by 5/S"
wide and are available in four
profiles. The concave and
convex planes have
curved soles with a
side-to-side radius of
Double Convex
112". The double-convex
Ispoon) version has a 1/2"
side-to-side radius and a 4" front-to-back radius.
The bubinga palm rest is removable for work in tight
Hetght adjustable
spaces. Made in Canada. Patent pending.
palm rest
OSP90_01 Flat Plane $S9.00
OSP90_0S Double-Convex Plane $S9_00
OSP90_09 Convex Plane $S9.00
OSP90.13 Concave Plane $S9.00
OSP90.20 Detail Palm Planes, set of 4 $199.00

Low-Angle SINoli
Block Plane Bevel-lJp Low-Angle
wrth tote Low-Angle
and knob Smooth


To order these planes, call or visit us online. Request a copy of
our free 284-page woodworking tools catalog or browse it online.


Jack Plane

Workshop Tips








Blowout Beater
is a must-have acce ory for router table
work. It help you hold a narrow piece, such as a door
rail, perpendicular to the fence and backs up the cut
to prevent blowout.
At least, it' uppo ed to. On my led, the backup
piece i an integral part. Once you've cut one profile
in it, it won't ufficiently back up a new profile. The
olution i to use sacrificial backup boards. Whenever
I change bits, I attach a new piece of 3/8" thick hardwood to the led' fence with double-faced tape.

Premeasured Shellac
is a mainstay in my hop, both as a sealer and
as a fini h. I mix my hellac from flake and usually
go with a 1 lb. cut, which is ideal for brushing ultrasmooth coats. I used to measure out the flake each
time I made a new batch, but here' an easier way.
Mter buying a jar of flakes, I get out a postage
cale and about a dozen sandwich bags. I fill each bag
with 1 oz. of flakes and place the bags back in the jar.
Now, whenever I need a new batch of hellac, I just
dump the contents of one bag into an 8 oz. Mason jar
and fi ll it up with denatured alcohol. That make a 1
lb. cut, no measuring required. If I want a 2 lb. cut, I
put in 2 bags.
Tom Caspar


Learn how to brush shellac like a pro at

Spindle-Sander Sharpening
to sharpen chisel using a 3" anding drum mounted in an 0 cillating pindle sander
or a drill pre .
Cut a quared-up 2x4 the length of the sander's
table. Cut a 2" deep by 1/ 2" wide slot at 45 near the
2x4's center. Clamp the 2x4 to your sander's table.
Place the chisel in the lot and reposition the 2x4 0
that the center of the tool's bevel contacts the pindle.
Go low when you harpen, to avoid overheating
the teel. Quench it in water fairly often. Continue
until a wire edge form on the tool' back. Remove
the wire edge with 600 grit andpaper taped on a
flat urface, uch as the top of your table aw.
Benjamin Parran


Homemade Bench Grips
are hand for holding parts above the
bench for routing, sanding or fini hing. To make
them, just cut some wood and rubber helf liner
into 2" to 3" quare. Glue the helf liner onto both
ides of each square using prayadhe ive, uch as 3M
Super 77.
Marlin Davis


& DEC E M. E R I JA H UAR Y 2012


A Revolution In Table Mounted Routing.
The First Motorized
Router Lift!


Pre-mounted 1/4"

thick Aluminum

Perfonn true Hands Free
Plunge Cutting. Raise the
spinning router bit into
the wood... on the fly!
No cranks or handles.

RouterTable Insert

OnlyThe PowerLift...

Only The

has a Digital Control Panel
(with mounting ann included),
so you can set the speed, direction,
and height of the lift.

has a bi-directional

Electronic Foot

Pedal that allows
you to make
to the spinning
router bit (within
.005") for maximum
precision and ease.


Make repeatable plunge cuts for
mortises and dados. The built in
Depth Stop sets the maximum
height the bit can protrude above
the table.

OnlyThe PowerLift...
DC motor action allows you
to change the router bit
above the table ... in a
matter of seconds.

• Tap the footswitch to
make incremental
passes, achieving clean
cuts without ruming off the


• Make your table a mortising machine. A jig that controls
the work piece up top, combined with raising the spinning bit via the footswitch yields perfect mortises.
PowerLift. #9450 ...................................... $389.95

See PowerLift "& Table Combos at
"Top Table
and Fence"

The Fast Joint
System makes
unique custom
joints. Includes
an aluminum
jig, five clamps,
rwo router bits, and bushings. The
four template set includes heart, key,
half-blind and thru dovetail joints. See
additional II and 20 template sets at

Four Template et · #9411...... $169.95





The customizable
Router Table Top
with Fence features
a 24" x 32" tabletop,
miter slot, T-tracks,
high split 36" long
fence, and Aluminum
Router Plate with guide pin.
Tabletop, Fence & Router Plate
if2393 ··_······································ 189.95
PowerLift, Tabletop & Fence
#2200 SAVE $40 .....•.•_..--. $519.95

Our "pro" 6 piece
cabinet making
router bit set
creates raised
panel doors,
drawers and table tops. .................1/ 2" shank bits include an undercutter or
standard ogee raised panel, ogee rail &
stile set, glue joint, drawer lock, and door
lip. A wood storage box is included.

Undercutter Set 0 #8389 .. _. ...... II9.95
Standard Set · #8387-..·..··.·_-_·. II4-95

I N CONTICUOUS USA · PO BOX l'J AK. HY. PA, 1900' 1012

CNC Workshop

By Randy Johnson

CNC Project Gallery
AS CNCS BECOME increasingl common in mall woodshop , an amazing van ty of work i
emerging. Although thi confinn the technical versatility of
, it' an even greater
te timon to the creativity and ingenuity of woodworkers, de igners and arti alike. Th
following projects are but a ampling. To ee more, follow the w b links in thi article.

Allura Side Tab/e
This table by Brooke M. Davis is available in
Honduran or African mahogany. It is one of
several "luxury" designs that Brooke markets
through her website
See page 18 for another pierced CNC design
by Brooke. Brooke also owns and operates
(Make+SHift) atx, a design-on-demand shop
in Austin, Texas.





RIM/do Chair

My Home Made Chair

Plydea, a furniture company in Seattle, Washington,
manufactures this chair from zero-VOC prefinished
birch plywood. Plydea makes a growing line of readyto-assemble products utilizing snap-together joinery.
See more at

Richard Garsthagen, of the United Kingdom,
designed this chair in Adobe Illustrator and cut
it from 12mm birch plywood. An animated slide
show of the chair being assembled can be
viewed at


DEC EM. E R I JAN U A R Y 1011











C C Workshop


Pattern Study
Jennifer Anderson, of San Diego, explored the versatility
of CNC in creating this piece; the deep pleating in
couture fashion provided inspiration for the pattern.
Jennifer finished the table with milk paint and shellac.
More at

Shelter 2.0
Robert Bridges designed this for Design It Shelter Competition,
a 3-D design contest organized by the Guggenheim Museum
and Google SketchUp. Robert and collaborator Bill Young
envision this design as an inexpensive, quick-to-construct
shelter for homeless and disaster-stricken people around the
world. Cutting the project on a CNC takes about 12 hours; it
requires 36 sheets of plywood plus hardware and vinyl sheeting.
More information at

Bronzed Mahogany Bowl
Ed MacDona I turned this bowl on a wood lathe and then embellished
it on his shop made digital CNC ornamental lathe. The bowl measures
5-1/4" tall by 7" dia. The exterior is finished with Sculpt Nouveau Bronze
B and Tiffany Green Patina to create the look of aged bronze. The interior
is finished with Minwax wipe-on gloss polyurethane. To view pictures of
Ed's ornamental lathe, visit and search for the post
·Wrapped and Sculpt Nouveau."

Nice Carvings is the name of Melissa Jones'sign business-a fitting name given the quality of her work. Melissa started her
business carving signs by hand and many of the details in her current work are still added by hand, such as the distressed look
of the Maximum sign. Most of Melissa's signs are made of high-density urethane (HDU) foam sign board, such as the 36" dia.
Deerkill Day Camp sign, while wood is the material of choice for others, such as the Maximum sign. Melissa finishes most of her
signs with a primer coat of Kilz and top coats of Sherwin Williams latex paint Melissa creates her designs with Vectric Aspire
CNC design software and cuts them on a Shopbot CNC. View more of Melissa's work at



Ply Veneer Worker Blade
Designed Specifically for Cutting Plywood and Plywood Veneers
This commercial-quality blade is ideal for
np and cross cutting two-sided plywood,
whether finished or unfinished. It IS also
perfect for cross cutting solid woods. In
fact, there's no comparable blade on the
maritet today.

The Ply Veneer Worker If'IW) uses the
same high·precision technology that's
behind our popular Woodwor1<er " blade.
Designed for cutting wood products

• The PYWs list price is S231ess than
our Duraline Hi·AIT.
• It delivers I\awtess cuts without
splintering or fuzz. You never have to
worry about chip-outs on top or bottom
surfaces. No sconng blade is needed.
• It lasts up to 300% /onger between
shalpenings. The MIS made of superstrong C-4 mlCf'OQraIn carbide for extra
durability. Uke other Forrest blades, it is
hand-straJghtened to ensure perfect flatness and has a side runout of fl· .001.

The MIS superbly engineered. ~
features a 10" hook, 70 teeth, and a high

alternate top bevel grind. You can count
on this exceptional product to give you
vibration-free performance and long life.

All Forrest blades, including the new M,
are made In the U.SA and have a 3O-day,
money-back guarantee. So order today
from your Forrest dealer or retailer, by
gotng on-line, or by calling us directly.

The FIrIt Choice ~
WoodworMra &Ira 1848 1-800-733-7111 (In NJ, call 973-473-5236)
02011 Fonest

Code AW


One of the reasons
we've been the top
award winner in every

. 1 Micron

independent test we've
ever been in is workers
like Ken•

• 3 HP Motor

"1 weld every unit
1 work on like it
was going into
my shop at home. "

.60 Gallon

- Ken A. • Welder, Oneida AIr Systems


Contest ends December 30, 2011



CNC Workshop


Brooke M. Davis designed this 55" x 18" mahogany table top. While this elaborate carving would likely be a one-of-kind
table if done by hand, the CNC allows Brooke to reproduce versions in other woods and finishes to suit a customer's needs.
You can view the complete table (with legs) at

Doug HaHner, owner of
Haffner Signs, Wyoming,
Illinois, creates what he
calls "dimensional signs
- ones that you can walk
around." His own business
sign (photo far left)
highlights his "dimensional"
approach to signmaking,
as well as his designing
and sculpting talents. The
base of the sign reads "THE
and the other side says
works in multiple materials
including wood, foam,
sculpting clay, plastic and
metal. He's very pragmatic
about his approach; while
he uses a CarveWright CNC
for much of his worksuch as shaping the inner
foam layers for his rocket
and carving letters for
the panels on the sign's
base-many of the details
are modeled by hand. This
includes the rivet heads
on the base. So each
rivet would look unique,
he added and shaped
each one by hand. See
more of Doug's work at While
you're there, make sure
to check out his awardwinning Robot sign.



Type II PYA,
No FoamlA,

Dries Natural Color
Ideal Clamp Time
IndoorlOutdoor Use

CNC Workshop



Rose Window

Autumn Wreath

Using Vectric Aspire software, Michael Mezalick designed
this small-scale replica of the famed window of Notre Dame
Cathedral. Michael machined his replica out of 3/4" MDF
on his CAMaster CNC, and finished it with Valspar"Stone"
spray paint This window and other CNC-made products are
available at Michael's website

Jim Creco of Mebane, North Carolina, machined and
finished this project The design was created by Michael
Taylor, a graphic artist turned CNC project designer. This is
one of hundreds of CNC deSigns that Michael has created.
His plans are available through his website CarveBuddy.
com, as well as and

Bison Plaque

Carved Blanket Chest

Tim Merrill, of Henderson, North Carolina, carved this
bison out of mahogany. He highlighted it with a dark stain
and set it in an alder backboard. The bison and landscape
background designs are available through
Tim holds the well-deserved title of "Vectric Archimage" on
the forum for being the member with the most
posts and a reliable source of helpful information.

Reuben Foat, a graduate student, made this in the furniture
design program at San Diego State University. Although
most of his designs start on paper, Reuben is also an avid
Rhino CAD user. As for the CNC, Ruben says, "It wasn't until
graduate school that I got my hands on a CNC. It has been a
game-changer for me." See more of Ruben's CNC (and laser)
work at


DEC EM. E R I J" N U" R Y 20 11


ell-Equipped Shop

by Brad Holden

Thicker Glue
with dadoe , holding the
pieces vertically. You apply the glue ... and it run right
down each dado, pooling at the bottom. Ever wanted a
thicker glue that would tay put?
Titebond thinks so. They've just come out with
something they call No-Run, No-Drip glue. Titebond
say that it' the highe t-visco ity PYA wood glue on the
market. No-Run, No-Drip also has a trong initial tack
and an open time from three to five
Thi glue seem ideal for trim carpentry, where you'd like a piece of
molding to tay put once you tick it
in place and also have enough time
to wrangle that pin nailer. A thick
glue certainly has a home in the
hop, too, for ituation where
you want glue to tay in
place, not run down and
drip all over your bench
or other parts of the project. But it' not for pieces
that have to lide pa tone
another, like a morti
and tenon joint. Thick
i good, just not all the




Franklin International,, 800-347-4583,


No-Run, No-Orip Wood



Make Your Own Stain Marker
FINDING A FELT-TIP MARKER or touch-up tick that actually matches the color of your project i a real crap hoot.
What if you could make your own, using your own tain?
You can, using the Perfect Match tain Marker. It
works like an old-fashioned refillable fountain pen and
will hold any water, oil or lacquer-based tain.
It' imple to fill. Fir t, you remove the felt tip. Then
you pull on a plunger to uck up the tain. Replace the tip
and you're ready to go.
In addition to touch-up, you can use the tain
Marker for accents or highlighting.

Perfect Match Stain Marker,,
866-962-7537, Perfect Match Stain Marker, $6.

























Glue, 8 oz., $5; 16 oz., $7.






The Well-Equippe Shop


Router hanger

Cordless drill

Universal Tool Hangers
is the holy grail of a small shop.
Portable power tools need to be out of the way, yet easy to
grab. That often means hanging them on a wall. But tools
have such odd shapes-how are you going to do it?
Check out these wire shelves from Toolhangerz. Each
one is specifically designed for the tools we count on each
day, such as cordless drills, routers, circular saws, nail
guns, reciprocating saws and saber saws. According to the
manufacturer, they're designed to work with every major
brand of power tool. Toolhangerz also offers non-toolspecific 8" or 14" flat shelves.
The hangers are designed for a slat-wall, perf-board or
steel gridwall system.


Toolhangerz., 513-520-2660, Individual hangers,
$9-$14; #100,10 Piece Kit, $90.

Nice Clamp,
Nice Price
an industry icon. Now it has an
offspring-the Revo Jr.-which is
about 15% less expensive.
Comparing the two, you're not losing a lot by going with the Jr. The Jr. delivers 900 Ibs. of clamping force, while the" r." is
capable of 1,500 Ibs. (The Jro's 900 Ibs. is still more
force than you need for many clamping jobs, such as
gluing up doors or panels.)
The difference in force is mainly due to the size of the
bar. The Jro's bar is 114" thick x 15/16" wide; the Sro's bar is
3/8" thick x 1-1/8" wide. The smaller bar makes the Jr. about
50% lighter than the Sr. That's actually an advantage when
you're trying to precisely position a clamp on a cabinet.
Two other minor differences: The throat depth of the Jr.
is 112" less than the depth of a Sr., and while the Jr. comes in
12",18",24",36" and 50" lengths, the Sr. has a wider range.



1£ you need a clamp's jaws to stay absolutely parallel
when you apply extreme pressure, stick with the standard
Revo. If your clamping jobs don't require as much muscle,
the Jr. is a pretty good deal.

800-828-1004, KRJR-12, -18, -24, -36 and ·50, $28·$40 ea.

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right from your Desktop.

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With your brand n&N Shop80t Desktop
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The Well-Equipped Shop


Happy Feet
has a concrete floor, you know how uncomfortable it is to stand on a hard surface all day. Your feet are
sore and tired. Your back and knees ache. Well, here's an
answer: the New-Life anti-fatigue mat from GelPro.
I've been using one of these mats in my shop for
the last few weeks, and my feet, back and legs have been
thanking me ever ince.
New-Life mats come in tv...o sizes and four colors. I
prefer the larger size for a workbench because I have more
room to change my stance. The mats are 5/8" thick and
made from renewable soy-based material. They're very
soft-much softer than any other mat I've u ed-and have
just enough resilience to keep a spring in your step. The top
surface is durable; a non-skid underside prevents slipping.

Custom Dovetail Blades
CUTTING DOVETAILS on the tablesaw presents a pesky

problem. Sure, you can cut the pins with a standard blade,
but when it comes to awing the tails, as shown above,
that blade won't go all the way into the angled corners.
Forrest has a solution: a blade with angled teeth. Forrest stocks blades with 7°,9° or 11.5° angles, tilted left or
right, but they will also custom-grind a blade for you at
virtually any angle you wish. (You won't need both a left
and a right, by the way-you just reverse the workpiece
to make a cut angled in the opposite direction.)
These blades are part of the Woodworker II line. They
have 40 teeth, a 118" kerf, 5/8" bore and a 20° hook. Blades
ship in 7 to 10 days.

Forrest Manufacturing,, 800-733-7111,
#WW1040D12S, Dovetail Grind, $138.


DEC EM. E R/JA N U A RY 2012


GelPro,, 866-43Hi287, 20' x 32" mat, $80;
20" x 48" mat, $120.

A Great American Woodworker

An Artisan's Life Story

Michelle Holzapfel
Tu rner-ca rver-machi nist-ph ilosopher



(e pecially for magazine ) to pigeonhole woodworkers as cabinetmaker, or chair
builder , or turner , for example. But there' not a pigeonhole
wide or deep enough to contain
Michelle Holzapfel' talent. If
there were, it would be accompanied by a very long label. "Turner-carver-machini t-philo opher"
would be a good tart. Her technique and attitudes and the way
he approache her work are a
unique and inten e a her fini hed piece.

A roundabout journey

Lucky Leaf
Cherry burl. gilded. polished and burned
12' x 12' x 5'

Michelle has worked with her hand









for as long as he can remember. "I
grew up in a big family where people were elf- ufficient and knew
how to make things," he recall.
"My father was a machini t with a
big workshop and my mother was
a very good earn tre , 0 wheth r
I was helping guide a piece of plywood through a table aw or helping around the hou e, I ab orbed
my attitude toward working with
my hand at an early age."
Her carving kills were inadvertently awakened in a high chool
printmaking class. "We were making wood blocks for printing and I
di covered I didn't care about the
printing, but I loved carving the


















Terra Incognita
Spalted maple burl
S" x 22" x 24"

blocks." From there he began to
carve addre sign for neighbors'
houses. "U ing hand tool trained
the hand, mind and e e in a particular wa that has put me in good
tead," he explain.
She attended Marlboro College
in Vermont for a few erne ters,
married, and then in 1976, opened
a woodworking bu ine in rural
Vermont with her husband David.
They created mo tly furniture. he
took on the task of turning the legs
"on a crappy little Craftsman lathe,"
he say . "I got bored
after turning the
fir t et of legs, but
1 Loved working on
the lathe." Michelle
began turning little

weed pots from
crap tock and
hortly thereafter-remem bering how much
he loved carving-began embelli hing her turnings. The technique remain dominant in her work today.
Though mo t of Michelle'
works involve orne degree of lathe
work, creating a ve el, plate or
other "roundi h" object i only the
tart of her creative proce . Carv-

Dragon Panel (detail)
Quilted maple
42· x 30" x 6·

ing, painting, integrating, transforming and pyrographic shading
come next.
For reason of both entimentality and bodily pre ervation,
Michelle doe her turning on
a machini t' lathe built by her
father. Rather than u ing tandard

Rage Correctly
Basswood. gilding
and copper wire
14" x2S·x 2·




A Great .Am.erican Woodworker
handheld turning tool, he u e a
harpened blade of steel as a cutter
that' ecured to a tool re t. On a
machini t' lathe, handwheel are
used to adjust the tool re t on both
the X and Yaxe , guiding the cutter to create the de ired hape. The
blade can be ground to create the
nece ary cutting profile. While thi
may not create the ultra- mooth,
ultra-detailed urface orne woodturners trive for, perfection isn 't
Michelle' goal at thi point.
Once the rough hape has been
created, Michelle begin working
on it with carving gouges, air-powered grinder , electric chain aw ,
and her fathom Ie imagination.
Her work i in pired by quilt makers, old Dutch master and her
love of gardening, cooking and
sewing. "I've taken thing from my

daily life and the life of the mind
and mined them for imagery, texture, form and narrative." Her
works peak for them elve . In fact,
many of her piece have entire torie to tell.

Turning wood into art
and viewers into
In rural Vermont, Michelle has
acce to a cornucopia of fabulou native hardwood and burl .
When asked if he plan each
piece or lets it evolve he chuckle ,
"Often, when I look at a piece of
wood, I feel like Coyote when he
looks at Road Runner and ee a
roasted dinner. I can ort of ee
the piece in it. But 99.9% of the
time that' not the piece I wind up
with. The wood won 't let me do it

Ophelia's Mirror

Phantom Limb

Cherry, maple burl, birch bark and birch
burlllimb scar

Base: turned and scorched sugar maple
Vessels: ash limbscar and turned and
bleached spalted maple

34" x 17"xS"

lS" x 10" x 10"





Arrangement in black & white

Spalted sugar maple, burned fabric. curly red
maple, spalted maple, turned and bleached
36" x 22" x4"

or I change my mind. It may be a
cliche, but I have a dialogue with
the wood." The dialogue i often
lengthy and complex, as Michelle
pends an average of one month
per piece. "I try to pace m elf 0
I don 't fall apart," he ay . Mo t of
her works ell for between 5,000
and 10,000, but through gallerie ,
some piece have old for as much
as 20,000.
As one idea lead to another,
Michelle ometime works in
theme and variation. Recently,
upon di covering a tash of board
with limb cars and rot, she began
integrating turned pots into the
cracks and crevice (ee Phantom
Limb, at left). "It make it clear
that the e ve el are not for your
heerio ," she explains. "They' re
more like actors in little dramas of
tlle viewers ' own making."
Michelle love mysterie and
puzzle , and like to intrigue and
challenge viewers. "I like viewer
to participate, becau e that's what
reall brings a piece to life," he
explain . She equates her work
to black and white televi ion or
radio, where the absence of color

or a picture make the view r
fill in the information. Th fe I
mor in\'e ted and connect d to
the piece. """bile the viewer i n't
making th piece," h explain,
"the 're makin en of the piece
for them Ive. They fe I an ownerhip even wh n the don't bu the
pi ceo That can be a big difference
betwe n a ucc ful and a not-soucce ful pi ce."
Michelle rna ' be a philo oph r,
but having weathered the up and
down of profe ional woodworking for over 35 ea , h' al 0
a reali t. "Being a woodworker
ay .
" orne p ople have thi romantic notion of woodwork rs itting
around communing with natur
or gliding along on a magic carpet-but it' trenuou in every

en . You trug Ie to wrench the
work out of the wo d. You fi ht for
You reall have to harpen 'our
elbow and move ahead." Michelle
move with amazing vigor, lamina
and creativity. ~

Spike Carlsen i the author
of A plintered History of Wood: Bell
nder Race, Blind Woodworkm and
Baseball Bats and th newly rele d
Ridiculously imple Furniture Pr0jects. Hi upcoming book, The
Woodworking A nswer Book, will be
availabl in the pring of2012.

Vermont Spoons
Maple burl and gold leaf
36· x42· x 6·

A marriage
made in the


D.vid Houpfel has been
Michelle's partner in the
workshop and life for
nearly four decades. He too
specializes in one-of-a-kind
sculptural woodworking,
but on a larger scale. Most
of his furniture makes
use of mammoth burls
and chunky natural-edge
slabs. And while Michelle
states,·Our work is like two
different solar systems; the Holzapfels recently have begun
to collaborate (see Counter Chairs, at right). Do they have any
words of advice to other woodworking wanna-be couples
wishing to collaborate? "Whoever'sjob it is gets to be the
director,· explains David. "The other is the mule~
What's it like living in a two-woodworker marriage?
·Michelle is left handed and I'm right; David says. "The
biggest area of conflict is when we have to pick up and carry
something heavy. We each want to flip it a different way.·
Beyond toting heavy things, they've developed a peaceful,
successful relationship. David is the more talented salesperson
and photographer, while Michelle is better at keeping books
and designing literature. They influence one another more
through osmosis than direct conversation. Since their styles
differ from one another. much of their collaboration simply
involves giving one another support. "After 40 years we've

learned to figure things out; explains Michelle.
They share materials and tools. but they have their own
workspaces. David's is larger. because he works on larger
pieces. Since their work is mostly sculptural, their workshop is
atypical; there are no tablesaws, jointers or planers and many
of their tools are powered by a compressor.
The world of artistic woodworking is cyclical and both
of their careers have had ups and downs. At times Michelle's
work has been in the limelight; other times David has been
the shining star. Through the years it's balanced out.

Counter Choirs

Spalted and burled ~Iow birch, walnut and beech
3r x22·x 1r

D I( IM I I R /J AN U A R Y Z O 1 Z


A new hardware kit includes the metal shanks and square
spindle needed to make wooden doorknob sets for interior doors
(see Sources, page 35).

Make the doorknob first. Tum the blank to a cyfinder. Then cut
a tenon on the front end with a parting tool or a skew chisel, so
you can mount the blank in a scroll chuck.

Tum the blank end-for-end and mount it in the scroll chuck. Then

Use the spindle/detail gouge to shape the back of the knob.

use a Jacobs style chuck to bore a hole for the doorknob's metal

Make a rolling cut toward the hole in the end of the blank.

Turn the knobs










For each knob, use dried wood ranging from 2-1/2"
to 3" quare and approximately 3" long. Mount the
blank between centers and tum it into a cylinder with
the roughing gouge. Tum a 1/4" long tenon on the
tailst k end- thi will be the outside (front) face of
the knob (Photo 2). ize the tenon' diameter to fit th
croll chuck' ja\\ .
Remove the blank, turn it around and mount it in
the croll chuck. Then use th Jacob tyle chuck to
drill a 3/ 4" dia. x 1" deep hole in the end (Photo 3).
U e the pindle/ detail gouge to roughly hap the
back of the knob (Photo 4). At its b e, leave a flat or
lightly concave area around the hole for th metal
hank to eat again t. Thi eating area hould be no
maller than 1-1/4" in diameter. heck the hank'
fit to make ure it lide in \\ithout binding and eats
flat again t the wood. Then remove th knob from
the lathe.
reate ajam chuei-. bv mountin a 3" x 3" x 2" long
\ te block in the croll chuck and mming a 3/ 4" dia.
x 3/ 4" long tenon on the nd (PhotoS). Th roughed
knob will mount onto thb tenon, 0 u'ue it lowly with

a parting tool or ke\ chisel. The goal is to create a fit
that' tight enough to hold the knob ecurel ,but 100 e
enough to allow removing it when the tim com snot a very large \\indow!
Mount the partiall ' turned knob on the jam chuck
and make ure it run true. It' helpful for initial haping to bring up the tailstock for extra uppon. Be ure
to cO\'er the point of the center with a mall piece of
wood or other material oitwon'tmarth knob' front
face (Photo 6 ).
e the pindle/ detail gouge to refine the hape
of the knob (Photo 7). At thi point, 'ou can horten
its overall length, detail i face, add a bead- whatever 'ou de ire. A ball hape or an as mm trical form
both function well as a hap for the hand. Finaliz
the hape and then pull awa the tail tock to complete the turning on the very end. On the h ad tock
end, turn the back of th knob to its final hap
(Photo 8). Fini h- and the knob to 220 or 320 grit.
If 'ou plan to appl a fini h uch as m lamine on
the lathe, now i the time to do it. Melamine i a precatalyzed lacquer that' easil applied while the lathe
i running (ee ource).
DEC EM. E • I J AN U A • Y 1011


Mab a jam chuck to remount the knob for final turning. It's a
disc with a flat face and a tenon. The fit between the tenon and
the knob's hole must be snug, so the knob stays put.

Bring up the tailstock to support the blank. Install a pad so the

5Mpe the front of the knob with the spindle/detail gouge. Pull
back the tailstock when you near the final shape, so you can
finish turning the front end.

Refine the shape at the base of the knob, turning away the jam
chuck as required for access. The final diameter at the base must
be the same size or larger than the metal shank.

Turn the escutcheons
Make the e utcheon from a dry face-grain blank that'
between 1 4" and 1/2" thick and has on flat face. ut
the blank into 3" dia. dis ,on for ach e utcheon.
Mount a 3-1 / 2" dia. x 3/ 4" thick di of MDF, pi 'Wood
or rap lid tock onto a 3" faceplate. This d' provide a cushion of w te material that can be cut into
when 'o u tum the e cutcheon. Tme this "waste di "
round and flatten its outside fa e (check with a mler).
e woodtumer' double-faced tape to f: ten the
e utcheon blank to th " te d' c (Photog). Align the
tape with the grain and place it on the blank' flat fac .
uall . tw 3" long trip of I" "1d tape i ufficient.
nter the blank and pre it onto the di . Brin up
the tailstock to erv
a clamp. In tall a 2" quare pad
or di to evenl ' di tribute th pre ure. Wait about 20
minute before tumin .
Tum the
Ulcheon to the d ired diam ter. As the
its edg
blank is fa e-grain material,} u mt t cut a
to reduce the diameter, rather than into its ed . U ing
th pindle d tail gou ,work from the fa of the blanJ..
t ward (and into) the w te disc. Do not use a parting
tool or a kew chisel for this tep.

JlmericaaWoocIwodte... com


point of the tailstock's center doesn't mar the end of the blank.

Drill a 3/ 4" dia. hoI through the center of the blank
utcheon \\1th
the pindle/ d tail ou e, working from mall to larg
utch on and
diameter (Photo 11 ). Fmish~d the
apply the finish while it' till on the lathe, if d ired.
To r mO\'e the e cutcheon from the waste disc,
carefully lide a chi elunder an end-grain edge. Then
gentl ' appl low, t ad pr ure to break the tape'
bond and pry off the e cutcheon.
(Photo 10). Then hape the face of the

Assemble and mount the doorknobs
Glue the metal hank into th turned knob, u ing
flexibl epoxy or glue uch as £6000 (Photo 12 and
urce ). Allow plent}' of curing time (two to three
da ) before ·ou mount the knob on the door.
mbl to
You'll need orne r" and a latch
mount the d orknob. U uall the door' exi ting
mbl ' works fine. For n w in tallation , you
can purchase the latch assembl alone at almo t an '
hardware tor or home center for 10 or Ie .
The rew length depend on the thickn
of th
door and the thickne of the e cutch on. I l}picall
use bla k or brass oval-head heet metal re\ to con-


Use double-faced tape and pressure from the tail stock to

mount the rough-sawn escutcheon blank on a waste disc that's
mounted to a faceplate.

Tum the escutcheon's face with the spindle/detail gouge. Avoid
tearout by working from the center to the outside edge.

trast or complement th w d. The d orknob hardwar kit h two n 'Ion barrel that the cre" thread
into from each ide to hold the e lIlcheon in place. If
mbl ,you rna ' be able to
'ou use the exi ting latch
use its rew and metal pace I in t ad of 11 w crew
and th nylon barrel from th kit.
Drill a pair of match ing c unt rsunk mounting
hoi in each e utcheon. Align the hole with the
grain to allow e nal mo\' ment and drill the hole
metime the
light! larger than the r w hanks.
r w ize and pacing ar d t nnin d b} hole in the
latch embl ·.
In tall th latch
embh and mount the e utchons. D n't o\'er-tighten th cre". ;\10unt one knob
on th pindle and cure it \\ith the ets rew. lid
th pindle through the d rand lat h embl. Th n
thread the remainin kn b onto th pindle until it fi
ftI again t the e clilch n-n ith r 0 ti ht that th
that the kn b wobble.
knob won't tum nor 0 I
Wh n the fit' atisfactor~. f. t n t!l I e knob to th
pinrlle with the

See how to tum furniture knobs at

Drill a hole for the doorknob's metal shank after turning the
escutcheon blank to its final diameter.

Glue the shank into the knob, using E6000 adhesive-it's
fleXible, so it's excellent for adhering wood to metal, because it
allows for the wood's seasonal movement.

Finish options
For a natural appearal1c t!lat \\;11 patinate O\'er time,
pure tung oil or boil d
u e a dI);ng-type oil ( uch
lineed oil), or an oil/varni h bl nd. For a more durable fini h, use brushing \'arnish that' been reduced
\\;th mineral pirits 0 you an ";p it on, or melamine,
as m no n d earlier.

• Alan LacerWoodturning,, 715-426-9451,
Doorknob Kit (includes 2 shanks, 1 spindle and 2 nylon barrels for
mounting the escutcheons), $21.95 each.
• Craft Supplies USA,, 800-551-8876,
Vicmarc Four-Jaw Scroll Chuck. .991-0222, $239.99; Keyless
Chuck. .2MT. ~2200, $44.99; 1" Double Face Tape, .028-<l100,
$20.99; Melamine Lacquer, 16.2 oz. can, .049-1800, $17.99.
• Eclectic Products, Inc.., 800-767-4667,
E6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive, clear, med. viscosity, 3.7 oz., $6.54.

Alan Lacer i a woodtllrnel~ writcr and intmctor
who live · near Riv r Falls. WI. To ·c more of Alan',
work \'j 'jt
DEC EM. E ~ I JA N U A ~ Y 1011


Tool Talk

The Powermatic 15HH Planer



by Tom Caspar

A powerful planer gets the job done much faster.


REMEMBER the '65 Ford
Thunderbolt? The '67 Olds
uti ? Th '69 Pontiac
GTO? Th 're cJas ic mu cJe cars-rod with powerful
ngine , de igned
for p d . The world of
plan rs has i mu cJe car ,
too-machine with pI nty
of hor epower and th capacit
to quickl mill doz n of board .
Th Powermatic 15HH i an outtanding xampl .
heck out the pc: a 3hp, 240 volt
induction motor, a 15" \\ide helical utterhead and
a 4' long cast-iron b d, all totaling more than 500
lb . of wood-eating m tal. Thi i a hug tep up
from rna t portabl plan , which have Ie power
and m . If 'ou have a portable plan r and are fru
trated b how long it take to r mov a lot of material, rna be it' time to et out of the dan and mov
up to the muscJ -car cJ

a portable planer. cond,
you can feed in multiple
boards id b id, up to
th full 15" width of the
machine. Thi technique,
call d gang-planing, do
require caution. To avoid
kickback, never gang plane
boards that ar of unequal
thi kne
or boards that
are warp d in an wa. ang planing anI works \\ith boards that have be n
jointed fi t, then planed to the same thickne , on
board at a tim .
planer with an induction motor, uch as the
15HH, \\ill last much longer than a planer with a
universal motor (the typ found on rna t portabl
plan ). Thi planer' motor i rated to run continuousl '- all da , if nece ary. If 'ou e a lot of planin
in your future, and want a machine that won't wear
out anytim oon, then the 15HH or a imilar 240 volt
planer i the wa ' to go.

More work in less time

Tames big boards

Ther ar two wa in which a planer like the 15HH
can get the job done fast r. First, 'au can take a much
d ep r bite with each pass--about t\\ic
much as

big plan r is better quipped than a portable plan r
to handl big boards, particularl long and h a
one . The infi ed roller on the 15HH, which pull the

DEC EM. E ~ /J A N U A ~ Y 10 11










Cruise through huge boards

Hog off a big bite

This planer's 4' long cast-iron bed can easily support
this 3" thick, 80 lb. monster board.

Powered by a 3 hp motor, this planer can cut 3/16" deep on
material up to 5-1/2" wide, 1/8" deep on 15" wide stock.

Under the hood:
a helical head
The carbide inserts on this planer's
cutterhead are skewed at 14°. They
make a shearing cut, which produces
a smoother surface with less tearout.
A planer with a helical head is also
much quieter than one with a straight

wood through the planer, i a 2" dia. teel rod with errated ridge that bite into the wood. The infeed roller
of a portable planer, by contrast, i mailer in diameter
and has a mooth surface; it relie on friction alone
to pull the wood through the machine. A errated
roller, backed b a 3 hp motor, can pull heavy timbers
through a planer much better than a smooth roller.
Muscle planers like the 15HH al 0 have two mooth
non-powered rollers on the planer' bed, under the
cutterhead, for a heavy timber to ride on. (They're
adjustable from 0" to 1/ 16" in height) . Portable planers don 't have thi feature.
The bed of the 15HH, like other muscle planers,
i a long, olid cast-iron urface. It won't deflect or
twi t under the weight of a large timber. The bed of a
portable planer i not nearly as trong or tiff, because
mo t of its length is compo ed of two folding tampedteel wings.

Snipe: not beat yet
There's one aggravating problem that a mu cle planer
won 't olve for you, however: nipe. It' till there.
(Snipe i the lightly deeper cut that a planer take on
the leading and trailing edge of a board.)
The be t work-around to eliminate nipe i the
arne method you'd use with a portable planer: Butt
your boards end-to-end as YOU feed them.

Superior performance
Mu cle i ju t half the tory with the 15HH. Outstanding performance i the other part, and that' mo tly
due to the planer' carbide in ert cutters and helical head (the "HH" in "15HH"). According to Powermatic, thi head delivers a moother urface, with
Ie tearout, than a tandard traight-line cutterhead.
Plus-and thi i a huge deal-it' much quieter.
Carbide cutters will plane many more board feet
than tandard HSS knive before getting dull. When it
come time to put a new et of edge to work, you just
un crew and rotate the in erts. No leveling i required.
The 15HH use a Byrd helix head, which i currently tate of the art in planers. All of the in erts cut
at a kew angle. orne mu cle planer have omewhat
imilar head with carbide in erts arranged in a helical pattern, but the in erts aren 't kewed. They make
a chopping cut, like a traight knife, rather than a
hear cut. According to Powermatic (and this agree
with our own ob ervations) , a shearing cut minimize
tearout. ....6

so U RCE: Powermatic., 800-274-6848. 1SHH Planer.

Get a closer look at helical heads
and carbide inserts at



Foo stool

Build a replica of an
Arts and Crafts classic.
by Spike Carlsen
TWENTY-FIVE ' ars a 0 I fell in love
with an old oak tool. ince th n, I've
used it as a computer d k, kid eat,
nack table and tepladd r. 1\1 , tool
was built mor than 100 'ears a 0
b the Limbert Arts and rafts Furnitur c mpan ' of Michigan, and it'
till attractiv, useful and turd as
the da ' it w mad. Her ' how 'ou
can mak 'our own.
You'll be abl to us typi al 3/ 4"
oak boards found at a hom cent r.
You'U ne d a 4' board that is 11-1 / 4"
wide (it will be labeled a "lx12"), a
3' board that is 2" wide and a 2' board
that i 1-1/2" wide. ut the Ie (A)
and top ( ) from th wid board.
Tote that both ends of ea h leg are
cut at a 5° be\ I (Fi . A). ut th
apron (B) to final I ngth from th
2" wid material.
p and enlarge the halfpatterns for th I and apron (Fi .
carbon paper to trac th m
as mirror ima
onto th wood. Drill

hoi with a 1-1/ " pad bit to tart
making the I g cutouts (Photo 1),
then finish ,~ith a ji w equipped
with a finN th blade. (You could
also use a roll w.) ut the outlin
of th apron with th jigsaw or us a
bandsaw,~ith a fine-tooth 1/ 4" blad .
Wrap sandpaper around a hort
length of dow I to mooth the sawn
urfac . ut notch in the Ie for
recehing the apron. Tote that the
of th
not h lean at
bottom ed
5°, lik th top ofth Ie ; cut th m
on a tabl w or use a handsaw.
lu and nail the apron to the
Ie (Photo 2). Fi t, mark the top
e of both apron to indicate th
po ition of the Ie (Fig. ). Place
on apron on the I , then us a liding bevel to make ur both Ie lean
at 5 . Double-ch ck this b ' masuring the di tan e between th bottom
of th Ie . Pre-drill hole before
poundin in the nails. Flip the tool
mer and in tall th econd apron.


ut the top ( ) to length. U the
sam 1-1/" pad bit to drill hoi
for the ends of the cutout (Fi . B),
then cut between th hole with a
ji w. Round th come of the top.
embl on th top
nter th Ie
and drill pilot hoi for mounting
r w (Photo 3). lu and rewth
mbl to th top.
ut th tr tcher (D) to I ngth.
Po ition it betw n th I ,th n
rew hoi
locate th cent rs of th
on the outside of the Ie . Drill hole
for th decorative plu fi t, th n
drill pilot hoi for the rew. lue
r w the tr tcher in place
(Photo 4), then glu in the plu . ~
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DrII holes with a spade bit to begin making the leg cutouts. Use
a jigsaw or scroll saw to cut the rest of the pattern.

fUI' the aprons to the legs. Use a sliding bevel to make sure both
legs angle out at 5·.

DrtI pilot holes through the aprons for fastening the top with
screws. Use a combination bit adjusted to drill a hole that's the
full length of the screw.

Futen the stretcher between the legs with screws. Install
decorative buttons to conceal the screw heads.

Fig. A Exploded View

Fig. C Leg and Apron Patterns
Fig. B Top Cutout

0Yera Dimensions:

Cutting List
Part Name





To download full-size plans of the leg and apron, go to



, '/2"Wx 18"L

Qty. ThxWxL

114" x1O-1IT I t-J14"
3/4'x 2" x1r
3/4" 111-114" x11"
314" x1·1/2' x12-13/16"


Dovetail-friendly wood

Built-in till

Breadboard ends

This chest is made from butternut,
a relatively soft wood that's perfect
for cutting dovetails by hand.

The chest has a small storage box-a
"till"-built right into it. To prop up the
chest's lid, just open the till.

These pieces keep the chest's lid from
warping. I made them from red oak.
for strength.



D lC I M IIR ' JAN U A R Y 2012

I'LL BET that there' a blanket che t omewhere on
your honey-do Ii t. It' a u eful piece that looks great
in almo t any room. And it' aJ 0 the perfect project
to develop-or te t-your dovetailing kills.
Choo ing the right wood for dovetailing can
make all the difference in the world. If you u e a
den e wood that pHnters easily or has quirrely
grain-watch out! So let me hare with you ju tone
magical word: butternut. Thi wood i a dovetailer'
dream come true.
Butternut is relatively oft, like basswood. It take
little effort to aw and easily surrender paper-thin
having to a harp chi el. Your dovetail will really
tand out when the wood i fini hed becau e butternut' end grain trongly contrasts in color with
its face grain. Plus, butternut has beautiful figure: It
looks a lot like walnut, a clo e relation.
While mo t of thi che t i made from butternut,
I u ed red oak for the lid's breadboard end and the
cove molding that run around the base. The e parts
will probably get dinged over the years, 0 I cho e
a wood that is more durable than butternut. Combining woods like thi may ound unu ual, but cabinetmaker of long ago adopted the arne practice,
particularly on che ts that were going to be painted.
I wouldn't paint thi che t, of cour e, but I like the
effect. It' quite triking, and honors tho e craftsmen' practicality.

&.gIn building
the chest by
gluing up large
panels for the
front, back and
sides. Trim them
to length using a
crosscut sled.

Lay out the
dovetails by
using a template.
I made this one
from aluminum
flashing. Deepen
all of the lines by
scoring them with
a knife.

Dovetail the case
The front (A), back (B) and ide (C) of the che t
are 16" wide, 0 you'll probably have to glue them
up. I u ed two wide board for the front and ide
and a number of narrower board for the back.
When you glue the e piece , take every precaution
to make ure that the joints are even and the whole
as embl stay flat. Rip the panel to final width,
then trim them to final length using a cro cut led
(Photo 1).


Layout the dovetails (Fig. C). I tart with the
tail (they go on the front and back piece ). With
o many tail to layout, I make a template from
aluminum fla hing (Photo 2 ). On the wood, I fir t
mark the ba eline of the tails with a marking gauge.
Then I place the template in po ition and u e a
knife to core line for the ide of the tail . Finally,
I remove the template and core the baseline and
the side line even deeper.
I cut the tail to the line, aw mo t of the waste
benveen them with ajeweler' aw (Photo 3), then
pare the baseline from both ide. I lav out the pin
directly from the tail ,a in u in a marking knife.
I cut the pin a little fat. then undercut them a bit
and chamfer their in ide edge -to make as embly
easier-and pare to the line.

Cutting dovetails
requires many
careful steps;
you can find out
more about how
I do iton the AW
website. Here, I
use a jeweler's
saw to remove
most of the waste
between the tails.

Make the parts
for the till before
assembling the
chest. The till's
lid pivots on this


Mario Rodriguez shows you much more
about his dovetaili g methods at



Fig. A Side View



Dovetail Layout and
Base Detail

I-Y" " ~IO P,fN

Fig. 0 Cross Section of Lid

Y,," ~41> .



End View of Till





Till Housing Jig
(see Photo 5)


D ECE M' E ~/J A N U A ~ Y 1011

Make the till and bottom
After all that do\' tailin , 'o u'r not quit read to
glue the case to ether. First, you must make and
fit the parts ~ r the till (0 throu h ) and the bottom (H) . Th e piece \~;Il go in id the c
as ·ou
as emble it.
The front (E) and bottom (F) of th till fit into
hou in let into the front and back of the case (Fi .
B). The till' lid (D) pivots on a dow I ( , Photo4) .
Make a templat to rout th hou in and to drill
the dowel hole in the front and back piece (Fi .
ie twa ' to ma"e thi templat i to glue
F). (The
eparate pie e together, as hown in the drawin .)
When you r ut the hou in (Photo 5), us a 5 "
o .d. guide bushing and a 1 4" bit; thi \~;Il r ult in
housin that are 5 16" ,,;d . Mak th till' front
and bottom piece. ut tenon on their end to
fit the hou ing (Fig. E). Make the lid. Drill dowel
hole in its end and in rt the dowel. B vel th
back d e of thi piece
it \\ill win freeh. Te t fit
all three piece of the till 0 you d n't run into an}
trouble wh n gluin up the cas (Photo 6).

Liquid hide glue
takes the rush out of
gluing and clamping
aw or rout a groove on the b ttom edge of all
four id of the che t (Fi. ). When) u as embl
the che t, the ends of th
roove will b \; ible
on the id pi ce ; that'
K, becau th will b
covered b th cove molding ( ) that run all the
wa ' around the che t. lue the che t' bottom fr m
a number of pie e of) Ilow poplar. Rip it 1 4" narrower than the di tan e between the bottom of the
rOO\'e in the front and back piece (to allow for
expansion and ontraction). Trim it about 1 16"
horter than th di tance b tween the b ttom of the
gro "e in the ide piece (0 it ,,;11 lide in easily).
lit a 1 4" ton Ie all the wa\' around the b ttom
piec and t t i fit.

Rout grooves mto
the front and back
panels to hold
the till. This router
template also
locates the hole
for the dowel in
the till's lid.

Cut tenons on
the ends of the
till's front and
bottom pieces.
Make sure they
fit in the grooves
you routed. All of
these parts, plus
the bottom of the
chest, must easily
slide into place
when you glue
the case together.

Glue all ofthe
case together in
one shot. With so
many dovetails to
assemble, this can
take a while. Use a
slow-setting liquid
hide glue to give
yourself plenty of

Glue the case
lot has to happen all at once "hen )OU as emble
the c
you'll need plenty of time before the
glue ets up. I u e a liquid hide lue which has an
op n tim of about 1 hour ( ee
ur e . pa e 43) .
To tart the proce ' ,apply lue to the dO\ tail on
the back panel and the real pin of the . ide panel.
emble the three pit:ct: and dri,e the joints
home, forming a ML'" (Photo 7
'ext, lip th bOllom p nd illlo plac . Add th
front and bottom ofth till , the n the till' lid. Appl .
glue to th front pin 0 the id pand and the tail
of the front panel. Pill the r nt p nl'! in p ition
and radualh lap it illl pI
u'll h a\(~ to line up
the till piece at th am tim .

Plane the joints
flush. For cutting
end grain without
chatter, I use a
low-angle jack




Cut the front
of the base on
the band saw.
The sides and
back of the base
are just straight
boards. Dovetail
all of these pieces
and glue them
together. Glue
two horizontal
stretchers inside
the base.

After the lue drie ovemi ht, often the queezeout with wann water and remme it \\;th a putty knife
or chi el. Plane all of the joints even (Photo 8).
Plane all around th top and bottom edge to ven
them up as well.

Attach the base
Mill th base' front (J), back (K) and ide (L) . ut
their dovetail (Fig. ) and aw the cutout in the
front piece. tart the cutout b drilling large-diameter hole at each end, then aw the re ton th bandaw (Photo 9 ). Glue the piece together and even up
th joints.
Glue two tretchers (M) in ide the bas . Drill
over iz d hole near the nd of each tretcher, then
fasten the base to the case with cre, and washers
(Photo 10) .

Forged strap hinges
complement the chest's
handmade look

Fasten the base
to the bottom of
the chest. Drill
oversize holes in
the stretchers, so
the bottom is free
to expand and

Chest bottom





Glue and nail a
cove molding all
around the chest.
Shoot the nails
into the base


Rout th cove molding ( ) on two ide of a
long board that' at least 3" wide. Note that it' not
quare: the molding i 5/ "deep, front to back, but
3/ 4" tall , in order to cover the groove for the che t'
bottom. and the molding, then rip both ide of
the board to make the final piece. ut the molding
to length and attach it to the b
with glue and 1"
pin nail (Photo 11 ).

Make the lid
Mill the board for the main panel of the lid (P) and
the breadboard end (Q) to exactly the arne thickne . Glue the pane\. Rip it 1/ 4" extra-wide, but trim
it to final length. Rip the breadboard end to final
width, but trim them about 1/ 4" extra-long.
lit the groo\'e for the breadboard end (Fig.
D) on the table aw. To en ure that the groove are
exactl cent red, I u e a tandard 1/ " thick blade
and make t\vo pas e , one from each ide of the
board (Photo 12). ut the tenon on the end of the
main pan I u ing a dado t (Photo 13). I cut them
ju t a hair fat, then u e a houlder plan to get a
perfect fit.
Glue the breadboard end to the panel (Photo
14). ppl ' glue onl to the front half of the joint,
leaving the back half unglued to en ure that the
panel won 't plit when it expand or contracts. After
the glue drie , rip a little bit off of both ide of the
lid to arrive at the final width. often the front and
ide edge of the lid u ing a 1/ 2" roundover bit.
To fasten the lid, I u e forged hinge that have a
for the
hand-made look (ee ource). ut morti
hinge and rew the hinge into the morti e . Plac
the lid up ide down on 'our bench, then center the

che t on th lid (Fig. ). Roll th che t over on its
id and in tall the rew at the nd of the hin
(Photo 15). tand the che t up on its b e and
readju t the p ition of th lid, if nece ary. One
the lid' overhang i. even all around, in tall the
remaining crew. Finall ,in tall the hasp (it doe n't
require a morti ) and nail its eye to th front of the
che t. ~

MIlke the chest's
lid. Plow grooves
down the full
length of the
breadboard ends.
While most of the
chest is butternut,
I make these
pieces from red
oak, for strength.


Tools for Working Wood,, 800-426-4613,
Patrick Edward's Old Brown Glue, 20 oz. bottle, $20.95.
Nathan's Forge,, 410-848-7903, Blanket Chest
Hinges, 12" L. $75/pr; hasp and eye are special order.

Mario Rodriguez
has been a prot; . ional
woodworker for over
25 'e ars. He teache.
at Philadelphia
Furniture Workshop,

Cutting List
Part Name


Till lid

Base back
Base stretchtr
Chest lid


<>vera Dimensions: n" Hx38" Wx19-1n" 0


Qty. Material ThxWxL




Yellow poplar



Yellow poplar



Yellow poplar


3/4".16". )6"
3/4' x16"x36"
314" .141" .17-3/4"
518' x4-518' x16-1/4"
112".4-112".16-3/4" (,1
1/2' x4-118" x16-3/4' (bl
)/I" 111.11-114"
3/4' x16-3/4"x35' (cl
7/f'. 4"137-112"
7I8'x4'x 37·1/2'
7/f'.4" .19-1/4"
3/4 x2·112· x17-112"
5JI". 3/4".10'
314 x19-1/4 x33·112"(dl
3/4" d ".19-1/4"

Illndudes two 114' tenons.
b) Width is slightly oversize. Plane to fi
c) The width of the bottom is 1/4" na~ than the distance between the
grooves in the front and bad of the chest.
d) Indudes two 3/4" tenons.

Cut tenons on
the main section
of the lid using
a dado set. Start
out making the
tenons a little fat,
then raise the
blade until they
almost fit the
breadboard ends.
Use a shoulder
plane or rabbet
plane to fine-tune
the fit

Glue the
breadboard ends
to the lid's main
panel. I put glue
only halfway
down the length
of the joint, so the
panel is free to
move later on.

Install the hinges.
Start out with
only one screw
per hinge, then
close the lid
and see if the
overhang is even
all around. Adjust
as necessary,
then put in all the

Die I M I I • I J II II U II • Y 1011

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How to choose, condition and clean a finishing brush.

IT'S REALLY TEMPTING to bu an in x-






pen ive brush for finishing. y )' u
pend 4 on a tandard paint brush
and throw it awa rather than takin
the time to clean it. You rna buy 40
uch brushe over the next 10 years
... that' 160!
much better plan
i to buy one or tw high-<Jualit)
fini hin brushe (about 50) and
take care of them. Thi is a \\in-\\;n
propo ilion: ot only do u sa,' big
bucks, 'our fini he ,\ill look like a
million bucks, too.
A hi h-<Juality brush i ajO\ to ll'>e.
because it distributes fini h e\enl~ .
leaving a con i tent layer on the
urfuce, without an bru h mark! .
It won't 10
bri tle and it hold!
more finish man a tandard bru h.
so you ' re not con tantl, reloadin it.
On e you've llsed a high-<Jualit) fi nishin brush, you'll ne, , () back.
It' true mat c1eanin a bru h i
a chor . Well, 0 i \\d! hin"' tht.' d<H!,
but h ure mell betler aft rward !
M ' point is that tht.·, · , r \ rrl:
Take care of \,our bru h ld it \\ill
, ood
last a lifetime. In fact. jw t Ii
bottle of \\;ne. a hi... h-<Jl i£\ bru h

will get bell r with age. Here'. how
to ch
e and care for a brush for
appl)in film-fonning fini he uch
as oil-based polyurethane varnish.

Features of a high-quality
bru h
A thick head. The mol' bristl . a
brush has, tlle m re finish it can hold
and tlle better it will flow th finish
onto tlle wood. A hi h-<Jualit\ fini hing brush has a ,;sibl thick head mat
probabh contain three to four tim
tlle number of bristles in a tandard
bmh (Photo 1). tandard brush
head! have a hollow reservoir in tlle
middle, because me,' re rlesigned to
apply thick paint. Varni. h is thinner,
'>0 a high-<Jltalit) finishing brush has
no u h holl w"pace.
Soft, flexible bristl . The tiffer
the bri UC'i, me longer me, must be
to flex enough to lay down the finish.
111e longer m bri tle , me more diffic ult a brush i to control.
a brush \\;th natural
bl; tIes for oil-based vami. h. • 'aturaJ bri tle are usualh hina bri tle,
ox hair or a combination of tlle £\\'0.

hina bri tle i. hinese boar hair, a
long, tapered hair that works well for
oil-ba'ied varni, h. hina bri tles are
naturalh black or white-the whit
bri tie are a bit finer and fter. The
be, t China bristle are orne Lime
dved to imitat badger hair (a uperb
bristl tllat' become so expen. ive
it' rare! ' us d in fini hing brushe. ).
ne of m favorite brushes has hina
bri tles that are dyed thi way ( e
urc ,page 49).
x hair bristles are finer,
and more flexible tllan hina bristl .
Th , 'r usualh 'hort r, too, to opLimi7e control. Ox hair bri tl are especially good for detail work, because
thc\ flow beautifully over .Uld around
contour d urfac (see urces).
A hao<kculpted tip. A tip that ''I
chi, l-shaped allow more bristle.
to conta t the urfuce, resulting in
a moother flow of fini, h. The highquality brush maker actually binds
the hairs in tllis hape while fonnin the brush. Culting the bri tle
to create the hape after the bru h is
bound defeat! tlle adv'a ntage of using
natUl<llly tap<:red hail .

DECEM. E R / J A N UA R Y 1011

&merie. .Wooclwork.... c:om



Standard brush

badger hair


Ox hair


high-quality brush
will be thick and
hand-shaped to a
chisel point. Look
for bristles made
from top-quality
China bristle
(sometimes called
"imitation badger
hair") or ox hair.




A quick soak
before each use
fills the bristles
and coats them
with mineral
spirits, so the
varnish flows
easily from the
brush onto the
surface. Watch
as you insert the
brush-you can
actually see the
solvent wick up
the bristles.

A four-st.., rinse
with previously
used mineral
spirits removes
the varnish.
Notice that
the solvent in
the three rinse
gets clearer as
c the brush gets
cleaner. Use fresh
mineral spirits for
the last rinse only.

CItrus cleaner
removes most of
the mineral spirits.
Spray it into the
bristles and work it
through. Then rinse
it out.

Bnl.,h that are 2" "ide al the workhorse in my
hop, becall',e the\ 're the mn t \el'o<uile. For large, flat
urface , though, I often u (' \\ider bnl.,he .
High~ualil\ bmshes hale
A heavy-gauge ferrule.
thick femlle made of metal that won't nu t; the best are
tainle teel.

A quick soak co ditions the bristles
One imple step ensm' th "ami h \\ill flow moothl}
from vour bnu h onto themface. Befor each use, ak
th bl-il tl . in mineral spirits to fill them and coat them
all th way up into the femll (Photo 2 ). After a minute or two, genth flex the bmsh against th . ide of the
container to remove the exce solvent. There' no n ed
to hake or . pin the bmsh, because the goal is to lea\e
h'ent in the bri tle . ,Vow vour bmsh i read ' to apply
vami h. And cleaning i ell.' ier when th job is d n ,
because tlle vamish won't get up into the feml le.
Tip: It' best to lU>C a bnu h for onl} one type of fini h,
don't lU>C your \-amr h bmsh for anvthing but "ami h.

How to clean and maintain your brush
leaning i n't glamorous, but it tal.. I than 10 minut
to do thejob right, and it' rewarding how ft and luxurious th bri>tl feel at the end of the pr
. It may h Ip
to whistle whil you w rk.
Stage 1: Remove the varnish
tart with a four-step rinse to remove the vami h (Photo
3). Thi. . tem reuses mineral pirits from pre\iOl
clean in for all but th > last rinse--and it clean . ur
varnishin pan at the same time. Tip: To ke p from contaminating an entire can of vamish, almw work from a
pan rather than the can. And \ h n the job i done, never
pour the \-ami. h remaining in the pan ba k into the can.
After mpl\ing the pan, \\ipe it \\ith a paper tow I
to remOl any remaining \'ami h. Then gentl pour a
few ounce of th first-rin > mineral piri\! into the pan.
Thi pr \i uslr-u edoh'ent can be l d again becal
it' been tored long enough to let tll \'am~ h from the
pr \ious cleaning settle to the bottom of th ontain r.
Vi orousl work the bmsh in the mineralpirits. 111
goal is to r mOl as mu h varnish as possibl . w ep th
of th pan as u work. hake out
bott m and th ed
the bntsh and pour the dirt)' mineral pirits ba k into tl1e
fi t-rinse container. Then repeat the proc
using th
ond-rinse min ral piri and again using tlle third ril
Aft r thre rinses tlle bntsh is nearl cI an. Wipe OUl
the pan \\itl1 a clean paper towel and rin th bntsh ne
more time, lU ing fre h mineral pirits. When 'ou're finish d, pour th . pirits into tlle third-rin! container. If
V u
an c lor in the h nt after tllis fourth rin ,do
it again. t r the thre containers until th varnish has
ttled out, and they'll be read ' for the next c1eanin
Stage 2: Remove the mineral spirits
1ineral piril! can leave an oil\ re idue, t thorough I
clean the bri til' you hm > to remove all tile mineral . pirits. To do thi , I recommend giving the pirits a double-



whammy. tart by praying citnlS c\ aner into the bri ties,
working it through the bnlSh and rin in it o ut "ith wat r
(Photo 4 ). 'e t, squirt di hwashin
ap into the bristl
and \igorOlISI work them into the palm of our hand
(Photo 5 ). It'
K to realh ghe the bri. tl a work uL
rab them and pull them, 0 the cleaning proce also
remove any 100 bristl . Thoroughh rin the bntSh
and then repeat the pro e. . The . ap \\ill lather much
mor asily th
cond time, .U1 indication that the bristl are clean. Make ure to rin e all the ap from the
bntSh befor ·Oll proce d to the n xt tep. Keep working
the bristle even after you think the bntSh i
ap-freeyou'll be amaz d how long sud keep forming.
hake out the bnlSh and then pin it to removc the
water it till holds (Photo 6 ). pinning fan the bnt h
head. Work your fingers through the damp bri tI
to r hape th head, or lLSC a bnlSh comb. 'oticc that
the bri tle f, I ft and clean, Iik your hair feels after
hampooing. Wrap the bnlSh in a paper tow I (Photo
7 ). Then hang it up and let it dry for at least 24 hou .
water make. natural bristle go limp, the bntSh won 't be
usabl again until the bri. tie are complete! ' dry.
Keep the bnlSh wrapped in the paper towel until the
next lISe or tran fer it to a cardboard or plastic Ie ve
for trav ling to ajob ite. \\'hen u remO\o the bntSh, it
\\ill be oft and flexible, as good or better than new. ~

Scott Holmes m\TI and operat An Esoteric Finish in Houston ,
TX. where he pecializes in custom fini hing and woodworking.
Scott also teach finishing classes
at area woodworking tores.

so.p removes
any mineral sprits
the citrus cleaner
missed.Work the
bristles hard to
work up a lather
and dislodge any
loose bristles.
Then thoroughly
rinse the brush.

Spin the brush

to fan the bristles
and shed the
excess water.

Wrap the brush
in a shop towel
to hold its shape.
Then hang it up
to dry.



• Rockier,, 800-279-4441 , Natural Badger-Style China
Bristle Brush, 2", ' 23466, $23.49.
• Tools For Working Wood,, 800-426-4613
GramercyToois Finishing Brush, 2", 'GT-SHEBRU.20, $43.95.

See Scott demonstrate brush cleaning at

Short term storage
There's no need to completely clean the brush if you plan to use
it again within a day or two. Instead, just complete Stage 1 of the
cleaning process described above to remove all the varnish. Then
suspend the brush in fresh mineral spirits. Make sure the bristles
don't touch the bottom. This is different from conditioning the
bristles for a few minutes before using the brush (Photo 2). Letting
the brush stand on the bottom of a container for an extended
length of time will distort the bristles.

DEC E M . U /J A N U A R Y 10 1 2


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