Great Gear: Issue 84

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This article is from Issue 84 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Highpoint Single Hole Keyhole Hanger #125505, $1.75 (2 pack)

Keyholes made easy

Keyhole slots are useful for hanging mirrors, picture frames and other items on a wall. But routing them requires an expensive bit and careful work with a plunge router. You can eliminate the hassle and expense by using keyhole hangers that cost about a buck apiece. Trace the outline of the steel hanger on the wood, drill two shallow holes with a 5/8"-dia. bit, then chisel out the rest of the mortise and screw your hardware in place. Good work, done cheap and fast.

—Tim Snyder

The Man Who Made Things out of Trees: The Ash in Human Culture and History by Robert Penn. ISBN: 978-0-393-35412-6, $9.00

This book kicks ash

What’s your favorite wood species? Mine would sometimes change depending on the wood I was working at the time, but I’ve always liked cherry. However, I recently read a book called The Man Who Made Things Out of Trees, by Robert Penn, and my new favorite wood is ash. The author describes selecting and felling the perfect tree and traveling Wales in search of expert craftsmen to turn his humble ash into works of art. Penn meets a woodturner, a wheelwright, a fletcher, toolmakers, furniture makers, and many more lively characters. In the 240 pages, Penn explains through meticulously researched history how the ash tree has permeated our culture through the ages. Read this book knowing that you’ll have a new favorite wood. Buy it anywhere books are sold.

—Chad McClung

MicroJig Matchfit Dovetail Fixture and Jig Clamps Pair #163976, $45.00

Helpful hold-downs

Where would woodworkers be without jigs? The importance of these shop-made accessories is evident in all items you can buy to make jigs work. Among my favorite jig-making products are the dovetail clamps from MicroJig. Sold in pairs, these clamps are designed to slide in a 3/8"-deep groove routed with a 1/2" × 14° dovetail bit. The slots enable the clamps to be positioned just where they’re needed. Moveable clamping feet lock positively in place, and can handle thicknesses up to 8". Once you put a pair of these clamps to use on one jig, you’re sure to find a number of other uses as well.  

—Tim Snyder

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