Like many woodworkers, I store finishes in appropriately sized jars to prevent them from skinning over in a partially empty can. The problem is that no matter how well I wipe the rim of the jar before closing it, the lid often sticks stubbornly shut afterward. To solve the problem, I designed this jar opener that mounts to the underside of a cabinet, allowing me to twist the jar with both hands while the jig holds the lid firmly in place. It works so well that I made a second one for the kitchen too.
When you do something over again, and again, and again, your chances of getting it right vastly improve. That, in short, describes the journey taken by Centerville, Ohio, craftsman Dick Reese. Back in 1965, while fresh out of college, the basement of a townhome served as his first shop. As he climbed the ladder at NCR (National Cash Register) Corporation where he spent his career, relocations and job improvements spurred him to start anew, creating woodworking shops in a garage, a barn, three basements, and, most recently, the main level of the two-story dedicated building shown at right.
At some point in your woodworking or do-it-yourself activities, the need to install plastic laminate will come your way, and why not? While it’s a great material for use throughout the home, it excels as a super-smooth shop surface material for projects like the router table on page 20, outfeed tables, cabinet counters, project design desks, and more. Beyond that, it’s cost-effective, installs and cleans easily, and withstands a world of abuse. If you shied away from the material having never worked with it, relax. We’ll run through what you need to succeed, from buying laminate, to choosing glue, to the tools, to laying and trimming for a finished fit.
A shoulder plane might not be the first plane on your wish list, but once you wrap your hands around one, you’ll wonder how you got along without such a handy shaver. This tool picks up where power machining leaves off. It’s most often used for trimming tenon shoulders and cheeks, but it’s also well suited for other cross- and end-grain trimming chores like cleaning up rabbets and dadoes. The blade can be set either flush or slightly proud of the side, allowing this tool to knick into corners out of the reach of most other planes. If you don’t own a shoulder plane—perhaps because the cost of a metal-bodied model has given you pause—consider building one from a wood kit.
As a professional bowyer, I’ve been building longbows for a couple of decades and teaching the craft around the country for some years now. I’ve come to realize that a lot of people enjoy making bows as much as using them, and for good reason. A bow is a fun project and something that can be made with just a few pieces of wood, a bandsaw, a couple of files, and a bench vise.
You probably already know this, but if you spray finish, whether it’s a water-based finish from an HVLP rig, lacquer from a compressor and gun, or even paint from an aerosol can, you need a booth. In addition to the obvious health and safety reasons, using a booth can result in a better looking finish by helping to prevent atomized overspray from settling on your work
No shop is complete without a good router table, the Woodcraft shop included. Recognizing this need, the Woodcraft Magazine editors and I put our heads together to design this practical, hardworking table. But “practical” doesn’t mean it’s without amenities. In fact, we incorporated all the best features you could want in a router table, including voluminous bit storage, three graduated, full-extension drawers for your router accessories, great dust collection, and easy mobility. The joinery is simple, but don’t expect to build this table in a weekend. However, once it’s done, you can expect it to provide a lifetime of rock-solid service. It’s definitely time well spent.