Record Irwin #4 Plane

Oh, it was such a sick, sinking feeling in my spirit. My student’s Irwin Record #4 smoothing plane sat bright blue atop his workbench awaiting my critique. He was proud of it but couldn’t get it to cut at all. I thought to myself, ‘well, it can’t be much, I’ll get it working!’ and I […]

What Are You?

Perhaps I should say, “Who Are You? Periodically I wrestle with the terms adopted to describe a certain category of woodworking and then other crafts generally too. Somehow it’s an effort to slot people into a more suited category, you know, to match their skill sets. On the one hand you have professional and master […]

How To Make Change

In my early days of trying to correct what went wrong, I tried to engage with so-called professional woodworking entities like woodworking magazines, woodworking outlets like Woodcraft and Rockler in the USA and my own woodworking schools Stateside and here in the UK. I soon realised that such entities had their own agenda of making […]

Boys and Woodworking

From around three years old my boys were in the woodshop every day with me for while. They indeed cut their teeth on Stanley spokeshaves and sharpened their skills by honing chisels and planes as I watched them. By the time they were all sixteen they were highly competent and the skills they learned are […]

Woodworking for Beginners

Hannah found a great woodworking how-to book entitled as above to add to our library. My initial thumbing through the pages made me wonder whether this was a book for adults or for children. On the one hand the projects seem more than beginner-level projects and then the only image of a person in the […]

Unstable Wood? Don’t Panic

My glued wood panels changed overnight. They mostly do. It might happen to you and at first you might panic, recut and reglue. Don’t! One thing I have learned through the years is that joints constrain wood and rarely does the wood have the power to resist the power of goo joinery. I had glued […]

Can You Cope With Coping Saws?

To push or to pull? That is the question. Whether ’tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune or take arms against a sea of troubles, and by opposing end them? Do you have coping saw questions? Oak, not Shakespeare’s Hamlet, but we have noticed a high number of searches surrounding coping […]

A Tool-Drawered Unit

At what point something becomes a chest I am not sure. Probably more than two drawers I seem to remember from my early days with George. I made this one well over two decades ago and now find it an indispensable place for my special tools and equipment. It’s one of those pieces where simplicity […]

I Designed A Plywood Bridge

It may not seem like me: you might well be surprised, but my history with plywood dates back to my earliest recollection of woodworking with my dad in 1960. I know! Time passes when you’re having fun! That was 59 years ago! It was springtime when I sat on the kerb outside my house. Trucks […]

You Are Special…

…and then you are the same. It’s not a look alike thing, more a feel alike. But it doesn’t destroy your uniqueness. Amateur woodworking and its woodworkers is not at all a new thing. In times past most men did woodworking in support of their daily life, a rural worker repaired his cart though he […]