News & Views: Issue 97

Tenon alternative

The article about the Counter-height Stool (Issue 95) is great. Could the chair be redesigned to use dowels to connect the joints?

—Walt , via email 

Senior editor Ken Burton replies:

I’ve repaired too many dowel-assembled chairs to be willing to advocate this. That said, there is one potential way that dowels might work here. A stepped dowel installed in through holes rather than blind holes provide a mechanical lock in addition to the glue’s bond. The dowels and special drill bit are both available from the Miller Dowel company. I’d use the largest of their three sizes for the main joinery and the smallest for the stretchers. In the case of this chair, you’d clamp together the front and side rails and drill through the front and into the ends of the side rails. This might hold up to the rigors of being used in the chair, but I haven’t tried it myself.

Making the list

Thank you for a most timely article on the counter-height stool. I plan to attempt this most interesting project. A question first: is a cutting list available?

—Michael Carter, via email

Woodcraft Magazine staff replies:

A complete cut list is now available at

The finial word

I appreciated Jeff Peters’ tip for turning a live center tailstock for finials in the Aug/Sep 20 issue. I had never thought of turning my own mandrel, and I would worry it wouldn’t fit snugly or squarely in the Morse taper of the tailstock spindle. Instead, I have always opted to hold a ball bearing in a drill chuck in the tailstock for turning fine finials, but not anymore with this clever trick. 

—Barry Stephens, Fairfax, VA

Happy Birthday, James

October 31 marks what would have been the 100th birthday of James Krenov. A master woodworker, author, and teacher, Krenov continues to inspire furniture makers with his regard for both material and craftsmanship. Krenov’s cabinets are recognizable for their long, slender legs and hand-carved elements. His designs were often driven by the grain in a certain piece of wood, particularly those used in the legs and cabinet doors. Krenov also made his own wooden handplanes, continuing to do so by feel when his eyesight failed him. He founded the fine woodworking program at California’s College of the Redwoods and authored the groundbreaking A Cabinetmaker’s Notebook, still considered one of the premier books on the craft. Krenov passed away on September 9, 2009 at the age of 88. Learn more about Krenov, his signature style, and his lasting influence from The Krenov Foundation, 


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