I have a million e-mails. It's not actually a million, but it makes my soul feel that way. I know this feeling. It happens when I've been staring too long at a screen, clicking reply until I lose track of time and space and what name I'm supposed to sign in the sendoff. (It's Chris. My name is Chris.) The only way to fix it? Get away from the computer, turn on some music, and build something.
So let's go out to the shop and build a box that will never, ever have e-mails in it. Here's a simple woodworking project that can get you back to working with your hands, but isn't too fussy or complicated. And the cool part — it uses just a few basic tools and single board. When it's done, you'll have a stylish, versatile, stacking storage solution that will come in handy in any room in your house.
Note to the wise: a box usually isn't enough. Many tools in the shop need a bit more protection. When tools get neglected, edges get dull and things get lost. A tool roll is a simple way to keep those small collections of specialty tools in top shape and exactly where they should to be when you need them. Here's a simple way to make your own.
Gives a whole new meaning to the concept of "finish coat," right?
Woodworker Rob Brown invites us to look at our hand tool collection in whole new light... not simply using the tool only for tasks it was intended for, but as opportunities to see these common items beyond their typical use.
My highschool workshop teacher had a saying that's always stuck with me: Keep you edges sharp and your powder dry. While I don't pay much attention to the dryness of my powder these days, I take a lot of interest in my tools. Sharp edges are safer, more precise, less frustrating, and just a lot more fun to work with. Here is one of my secrets to keeping them cutting at their best.
A woodworking bench is more than just a table to lay your tools and project parts on. Used well, your bench is an all-in-one, three-dimensional clamping solution that will allow you to hold your work on any of its edges or faces. The traditional way to increase the work-holding capability is to place "dog holes" in your bench top, and allowing them to work in tandem with a face or end vise to secure parts of any size.
There are those pieces of furniture that make a statement. Those around which you build entire rooms, those that define a space. Those pieces are essential.
But, sometimes, you just need a quick and easy way to store your stuff that looks plenty sharp. If your taste leans towards the warm, the rustic, and the stylish, check out this super simple x-shaped magazine and book rack.
We love a full-on major woodworking project. It's ambitious, challenging, and, once you've figured everything out, you're left with a piece of furniture that will get used everyday.
But, building furniture is also time consuming, takes up lots of space, and if you're using all hardwood construction, can be expensive to source the right materials. So, while it's lovely to learn joinery and finishing techniques, sometimes, you need a woodworking project that can be completed in a single day. Better yet, in a single sitting.
It's that time of year! And by "that time," we mean: time to start thinking about getting a head start on a quality Valentine's Day gift. Skip the flowers and chocolate nonsense and get your hands to work on this elegant, modern necklace that is sure to stun your special someone.
If you're the type of person who reads ManMade, you're no doubt familiar with the modern genre of the artsy, dreamy behind-the-scenes video that captures the processes of creative types who make cool stuff. They're fun to watch: a bit poetic, a bit inspiring...and hopefully, they include lots of droolworthy shots of cool benches and workshops and tool walls.
But, there are a lot of them, and all that shallow depth-of-field and voiceover is nice, and... sometimes it can be hard to tell the difference between them.
A mortise and tenon is an extremely sturdy and strong way to join wooden furniture. A recess is created in one member (mortise) that allows a protruding tongue from the other (tenon) to fit tightly inside. There's no better way to assemble table bases, chairs, benches, and even frames.
Except, mortises can take a serious amount of work to cut. Unless you have a dedicated mortising machine, you're in for lots of time with a chisel and mallet, especially on large mortises like the one shown above.
Valentine's Day isn't exactly around the corner, but it's close enough that if you want to make a handmade gift (and if you can, you should) then now is the time to get cracking. And I don't know about you, but to me nothing seems to say "true love" quite like a hand-carved, anatomically-correct human heart. Well except maybe for this.
Joining wood can be as much art as it is skill, and beautiful joinery really defines a piece of furniture. But for the times when you just need to quickly join a few pieces of wood securely, try the pocket-hole.
There are plenty of times when a small wooden board is all you need to set out or serve something when entertaining. And it's even better when they look awesome and make whatever you're sharing look that much tastier. If you have a few scraps of wood lying around after a project, this is exactly what you should do with them.
It's a new year, and for the next twelve months, I'm committed to trying to make every object in my life something of true value. Call it a Kondo-inspired "sparking joy" if you like , but this year, I want to cut out the garbage and keep only what's quality. I want everything I touch and use in my life to be beautiful, lasting, and made with integrity. This starts with my morning routine, from the my coffee routine and the mug I drink it in, and goes all day through the book I read during the last few minutes before bed.
"Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but that's because a wooden mallet just won't fit on a ring." Or so claims James Wright of WoodByWright in his video tutorial on how to create this joiner's mallet out of firewood. It's a wonderful afternoon project but I'll let you be the judge on how much the lady in your life may love it compared to a diamond...
Anyone who has grown up near in the mountains knows what it means to see the ridgeline. Being tucked in nearby some exciting geological features has a comfort and appeal, and, of course, great views. It's safe, secure, constant. The mountains invite adventure, and simplicity. To honor my own local Cascade range, I built this simple key rack that takes a bit of that wild adventure and brings it home.
Every holiday season, sites like ManMade spend all kinds of effort doing our best to help you find meaningful, quality gifts that you'll be proud to give someone. Or, at least, that you can add to your wishlist and let those in your life know you'd love to unwrap yourself.
But once the gift guides are published, we never seem to revisit those things until the following year. So, today, during this week after Christmas, I thought I'd ask — Did you get anything cool for Christmas? Or give something that particularly excites you that we should all know about?
As the adage about trash and treasure goes, this dude literally found this rust-covered meat cleaver in the trash and decided to restore it to what I'm sure is more than its former glory. If you look in these up-close "before" photos you'll see that the rust is so thick it looks almost like soft moss. Not so by the end...
At this point in the season, the big gifts have already been decided. And if you're on your game, they're boxed, wrapped, and under the tree. But this week is all about the little bits: the practical things, the accessories, and the stocking stuffers. If you or someone on your list is a maker, DIYer, woodworker, tinkerer, or just a general creative type who likes to build and fix things, here's our list of quality stocking stuffers that are just as good as whatever's in that huge box with the bow on it.
Giving gifts? It's the best, right? Not cheap plastic things, and certainly not gift cards. But thoughtful custom - and most of the time handmade gifts - that I know someone will enjoy for years to come. Take a look at our list of 50 gifts for men here, and gifts for women here.
Of course, the gift has to be wrapped in something special as well. So, why would I want to use lame paper gift tags from the discount store after all that work? Here is a simple project to make some name tags that are as thoughtful as the gift.