Latest Articles

Woodfloor1

What better floor for a woodworking shop than one made of wood? If you’re lucky enough to have a basement or dedicated outbuilding with sufficient headroom and a concrete floor that’s dry and reasonably flat, wood flooring can’t be beat as the starting point for a workshop. We chose southern yellow pine for the Woodcraft Magazine workshop floor for a number of reasons. First, it’s affordable and widely available. The 1 × 6 tongue-and-groove boards cost just under $3 per square foot in our neighborhood. Even though southern yellow pine is a softwood, this flooring offers an excellent combination of durability, strength, and resiliency—which probably explains why it’s been used for centuries as flooring in residential and commercial buildings.

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Workshopfinishes1

Many woodworkers dream of a shop lined with flawlessly finished cabinets like the kitchen of some celebrity chef. If you have the time and inclination, go for it; just don’t let perfection prevent you from making real sawdust. Cabinets and countertops deserve protection, but a workshop doesn’t need a showroom-grade finish to do the job.

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Planner1

Behind every great workshop lies a great plan, whether your shop makes up the corner of a basement, the back wall of a two-car garage, or a dedicated outbuilding. Common ingredients include good organization, a complement of tools (power and hand) geared to your interests, and a practical, efficient floor plan. Other considerations are dust collection, accessibility, heating, lighting, and electrical service. 

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In a perfect world, you’d make all the cuts for same-width project parts at the same time. There are instances, however, when you need to set the rip fence for other cuts, and then must return to the original table saw setup. That’s when you need this jig. Its adjustable arms allow you to quickly reset your rip fence for two repeatable settings without fussy measuring and/or test-cutting. I mostly use the jig with my table saw, but it works just as well with a router table equipped with a miter gauge slot.

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After reading some heated Internet threads about the WoodRiver planes, I’ll admit that I had some misgivings about putting myself in the crossfire. Then, I thought about the guy looking to buy his first block or bench plane on a limited budget. Price is important, especially today. (I had been woodworking for 15 years before I could afford my first Bed Rock.) That said, no tool is a bargain if it doesn’t work properly. So, out of pure curiosity, I accepted the assignment to examine and test the first editions of the WoodRiver block and bench planes.

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For years, cordless drill manufacturers have been in a battery-powered arms war. After years of equating better with bigger, somebody figured out that most woodworkers don’t need 36-volts or want to lug around a 17-pound brute. Taking a different approach, several manufacturers have employed lithium-ion technology to create palm-sized drivers. Triton’s palm-sized 3.6V driver is one of the smallest and least expensive in this new batch. Does the $40 mini-driver earn pocket space in your shop apron? Is it time to retire your manual screwdriver?

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Wonderland1

Instant gratification is how J. R. “Russ” Blaser, 82, describes the appeal of woodturning. Starting with seasoned wood, the retired manufacturing plant manager can sometimes turn a rough blank into a signed and finished work of art in a single evening. But the path to today’s quick success actually spans seven decades of woodworking. And at a key point during Russ’s development as a turner, a Woodcraft employee provided help that transformed raw interest into polished skills. 

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Loosetenon1

There’s little doubt that the mortise-and-tenon joint is one of the strongest joints in woodworking. But it’s not always the quickest or easiest to cut. There’s an alternative that’s a lot easier to make—the loose-tenon joint. This joint can be made quickly with a router, a cordless drill, or a high-speed mortiser, and when it’s assembled with modern adhesives, it’s plenty strong for most projects.

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Jointertuneup1

The jointer is one of those “heaven or headache” tools. When it’s working properly, it makes quick, sweet work of straightening and flattening boards. However, a poorly-tuned jointer can cause no end of frustration, yielding crooked edges, weirdly tapered pieces, and washboard surfaces.

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Tamingwildwood1

Curls, stripes, flecks, and eyes in wood can be attributed to many factors, but they have at least three things in common. First, most are difficult to machine without tearing out large chunks. Second, woodworkers will pay more for the pleasure (or pain) of working with them. Last, but not least, any frustration disappears the instant you apply the first coat of finish.

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