Editor’s Blogs

  • Yellowstone Hotel Shares Marquetry on Grand Scale

    If Yellowstone National Park is on your short list of future vacation destinations, be sure to stop and see Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel on the park’s northwest corner. It’s a wonderful vintage building in its own right, but the hotel also contains a remarkable example of marquetry you won’t want to miss! I stumbled on it almost by accident while staying there for a night last summer.

  • James Krenov, 1920 – 2009

    Woodworking has lost an enduring pillar of our craft. This week, at the age of 89-years old, James passed away.

  • Grinders Bite Back

    The other day, while grinding a fresh edge on my turning chisels, I was reminded of a rather searing injury from my past. It’s proof that sometimes the “safe” tools are the ones that bite you back. Here’s what happened…

  • A Better Way to Brush Poly

    Leave it to Norm Abram to come up with a better way to apply polyurethane. Have you seen him use a big binder clip and a piece of old tee-shirt? If that doesn’t show Yankee frugality, I don’t know what does. But, you know what, it’s an amazingly good applicator. In fact, it’s become my favorite way to apply poly (wiping it on is my next).

  • Splinter: A Supercharged Study in Wooden Design

    Joe Harmon uses high-tech woodworking to build high-performance car

  • The Ones that Get Away

    When folks find out that I review woodworking tools for a living, one of the first questions they usually ask is, “Do you get to keep them?” Especially those good-natured freight truck drivers who bring this stuff to my shop. Many of them are woodworkers. They really want to know.

    Here’s the honest answer: usually, no, I don’t get to keep the tools.

  • Fresh Perspectives

    Lately, my third-grade daughter’s pencil drawings are making me wonder if woodworking could be a genetic trait.

  • Handy “Tweener” Wood Screws

    Here’s a tip of my hat to McFeely’s for coming up with a better woodworking screw. Well, actually, a whole bunch of better fasteners, but there’s one type I particularly like: the #8 Promax® 1-3/8″ black oxide flathead.

    You read that right—1 and 3/8. Not 1-1/4″, 1-1/2″ or 1-5/8″ … the usual home-center suspects.

    Here’s why I like the 1-3/8″.

  • Can’t Smell the Roses

    I can’t smell the roses anymore…and I don’t mean that figuratively.

    I’ve literally lost my ability to pick up their aroma, for some reason. My wife likes to tease me about it, especially since I find that loss a bit alarming. But, thank goodness I can still smell wood.

  • Stick with What Works

    A couple years ago, I invested in a popular loose-tenon joinery system to see how that would work for me. As a tool reviewer, I’m always anxious to try a new gizmo on for size, and this tool was getting a lot of buzz. Heck, a faster, easier way to make mortise-and-tenon joinery. Sounded good to me!

    Well, the product came, and I put it to work on my next few projects. It did the job swimmingly, chomping mortise after mortise in good time. The cuts were clean, the setup was pretty easy and those loose tenons dropped right into place. Really, there was no part of the operation I could complain about.

    But as time went on, that new tool got less use than it first did. I ended up switching back to making M&Ts the way I’ve always done them: mortising on the drill press, followed by tenon-cutting on the table saw.