• by Matt Becker

    It's easy to see why the venerable router table is often one of the first and most important tool purchases that a woodworker ever makes.

  • by Matt Hocking

    Black cherry has been a premium furniture wood in the United States since Colonial times. It was widely used in the 17th and 18th centuries by fine furniture makers of North America, and that use continues today. It is relatively easy to work, is stable after drying and holds a finish very well. The heartwood of black cherry is reddish brown, while the sapwood is nearly white and is fairly narrow in older trees. Cherry is difficult to stain well but will darken to a rich reddish color with age and exposure to light. The heartwood is resistant to decay.

    Black cherry is the only native cherry of value for furniture grade wood in the United States. Its common name originates from the black color of its small ripe fruit. It occurs generally from along the U.S. and Canadian border south to central Florida and west to the edge of the Great Plains. Large trees of higher quality are somewhat restricted to the Allegheny Plateau of Pennsylvania, New York and West Virginia, although individual quality trees occur throughout the Appalachians and the upper Gulf Coastal Plain. Rarely, it will grow up to 100 feet tall and 3 to 4 feet in diameter.

    Black cherry is not tolerant to shade, so thrives in clear-cut and other areas where the overstory has been removed. As the stand ages, other hardwoods will crowd it out and, after about 80 years, its growth slows or stops. Many of them will die. Due to these characteristics, cherry grows best under even-aged management.

    Black cherry fruit is an important part of the diet of many birds and animals. Curiously, the leaves and twigs are high in prunasin, a cyanide precursor. Cattle have gotten sick and died from ingesting wilted black cherry leaves and twigs. However, whitetail deer show little reaction to eating the twigs and leaves.

    Although the United States does not have an unlimited supply of black cherry, it is widely grown and managed. It is not in danger of eventual rarity, and the supply is sustainable. For this reason, it is a preferred wood for use by those who desire high quality wood grown under “sustainable forestry” techniques.

  • by Sandor Nagyszalanczy

    For health and tool maintenance, one of the biggest improvements you can make to your shop is an improved, advanced dust collection system.

  • by Matt Hocking

    Q: In your article on “Building a Base Cabinet for the Kitchen,” the author builds the base and carcass separately. Most of the articles I’ve read build the base cabinet as a single unit. I would like to know the pros and cons of each approach.

    A: Ease of installation is the signal benefit of a separate base.

    Building a cabinet with full-length sides is a bit easier and saves some material. It’s the ideal approach if the cabinet is a stand-alone with both sides exposed — a bathroom vanity, for example. With access to both back corners, such a cabinet is easy to level.

    But more typically, you combine two, three or more cabinets in a row. You want the faces in the same plane, the tops straight and level. But you’re unlikely to have a flat, level floor and plumb walls with square corners to work to. There’s always at least one back corner you can’t reach to shim.

    If the cabinets are designed to sit on a separate base, you make one base for the whole row. It’s easy to level because nothing interferes with your access to the back or corners. If you need to trim material to accommodate a high spot in the floor, it’s easy to scribe the base and to cut away the edge. When the base is level and solidly supported, screw or nail it to the floor. Then set the cabinets in place and screw them to the base.

  • by Matt Becker

    Jack planes are mid-sized hand planes perfect for planing doors, panels, and creating and paring down joint edges before you start glue-ups.

  • by Bill Hylton

    Lonnie Bird Tambour Door Bits are highly specialized, but they are extremely proficient in cutting tamboured slats and the joinery between them.

  • by Matt Becker

    To properly get your cabinet scraper in working order and keep it maintained, you should take a burnishing rod to it in three easy steps.

  • by George Vondriska

    Joiners are becoming a very popular tool in modern workshops, as they make joinery easy, our author helps you pick the features you need.

  • by Rockler

    Here's yet another reason to use Blum European hinges: a new soft close system that installs in seconds and is virtually invisible.

  • by Rockler

    Looking for an elegant gift that you can produce in multiples? If you know how to drill a hole and turn a small cylinder, you can make a pen or pencil. The hard- 1 ware kits are readily available, and the process lends itself to production-line efficiency, even in a home shop.
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