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Feb 27, 2018

How to: Build a Custom Tool Wall

Move over pegboard. When you've assembled a proper collection of hand tools, the best way to keep them safe, organized, and available within reach is a custom tool wall. Each item gets a designed holder that keeps like pieces together and accessible, allowing you to maximize your storage space.

Plus, let's admit it: they also look super cool.    

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Feb 06, 2018

How to: Carve a Simple Wooden Spoon from Any Hardwood


Look, I love making furniture. I love sourcing the materials, planning out parts, and executing the joinery. But lately, I find myself increasingly drawn to the "other" things you can do with wood. What are the smaller, craft level projects that show off the beauty of working with natural materials, but can be completed in a weekend, or even a single sitting?   

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Oct 24, 2017

How to: Build a DIY Knife Sharpening Jig

Sharpening a blade at home - whether a pocket knife, a chisel, a kitchen knife, a hand plane blade, a pair of scissors - is a relatively simple process. In theory. In practice, it can be a bit difficult, since the essence of sharpening a blade is less about the ability to remove material and create/straighten a new edge. Rather - the trick is removing that material at the right angle to create the bevel that makes up a blade's sharp edge. 

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Sep 18, 2017

When I Make Something For You, I Am Offering You My Humanity

Earlier this year, I agreed to complete a woodworking project for my wife. Actually, I offered and volunteered myself to do it. She has a particular storage need in her office, and because of the weird layout, access issues, scale, etc, it's not something that exists anywhere. It has to be custom built, and installed in the space.

The truth is, I've been avoiding it. It's a big project, and it was easy to move to the bottom of the project list when it was the height of summer. We had houseguests coming in and out of our home, and the days were long and full of activity. 

But now, that season is over, and it's time to start building. I realized this week why I've been putting it off: I'm afraid. It's beyond my skill level, and requires a lot of moving parts that need to line up, just so. In any other situation, this wouldn't be something I'd agree to do, because it's too big of a leap; I need to learn to do too many new skills inside the same project. 

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Jul 27, 2017

ManMade Recommended: You Need to Get Your Hands on these Sandflex Rust Erasers

Earlier this week, for the Fourth of July holiday, some friends and I decided to try our hands at roasting a whole pig. We were cooking for 60-80 people, and wanted to do something more special than hamburgers and hot dogs, and figured: well, if we're going to try it, now is as good of a time as any. 

We wanted to go with a Southern United States-style "pig picking," meaning lots of wood smoke, and cooking over low and slow temperatures. In order to get the whole animal ready to eat with such a gentle heat, we needed to start the night before. And that's where this story begins.   

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Jul 16, 2017

How to Make the World's Easiest Clamp Rack

diy clamp rack

A functioning clamp rack. Every shop's gotta have one. "But, wait!" You say. "Isn't the easiest way to hold clamps just some 2x4s bolted to the walls, and maybe some holes and plumbing pipe inserted to hang the clamps on?" Yeah, perhaps. But, while that works if you have a ton of space, it's not the most efficient way to store clamps in a small shop. And I think of that as more of a "clamp hanging spot" than a proper organization system. Plus, if you already know about that trick, you certainly don't need me to give you a how-to. 

Instead, I present this clamp rack design: infinitely adaptable to any scale, and able to hold almost any type of clamp. You can build the whole thing with some scrap plywood, a jigsaw, and drill, and make one - no matter the size - in well under an hour.    

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Jul 13, 2017

Check This Out: Rotating Benchtop Tool Stand

Color us impressed. This fits almost as many small hand tools as a half sheet of pegboard, but in an organized, compact footprint.    

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Jul 11, 2017

ManMade Essential Toolbox: In Praise of the High-Quality Screwdriver Set

created at: 08/26/2015

Let's be clear: none of us are here to discuss the basics of what a screwdriver is, or what it can do. Its purpose is clear. It's right there in the name.

Nor is it important to name all the different varieties of tasks it can perform. Because it can't do much.  If you use them properly, they're not a paint can opener. They're not a punch, or a chisel, or a pry bar. They do two things: tighten hardware, and loosen hardware. 

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Feb 08, 2017

12 Ways to Add Texture to Your Woodworking Projects

created at: 10/06/2015

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.

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Jan 27, 2017

Your New Favorite Hobby: Everything You Need to Start Carving Heirloom Wooden Spoons and Utensils

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.  

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Jan 03, 2017

Weeknight Project: Make a Traditional Joiners Mallet Out of Firewood

 

"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...   

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Aug 18, 2016

Skill Builder: Make A Pair of Shop Horses to Practice Your Woodworking Joinery

Marking Gauge

Every shop needs a bit of extra temporary workspace. Build these solid shop horses to bone up on you joinery and come out with something you'll use often in the shop.  

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Aug 17, 2016

Seriously, This is the Best $5.00 I've Spent on DIY Projects in Years

created at: 08/17/2016

You know those things that prove to be so useful, and become so quickly integrated into your projects and processes that you can't believe you didn't know about it before?

I just found another one. And it might be the best $5.00 I've ever spent. (Sorry three taco special at Los Michoacanos).    

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Aug 11, 2016

How to: Make a Custom Wall-Mounted Tool Rack for Your Workshop

created at: 08/11/2016

There are lots of ways to store your hand tools. Tossed into a portable tool box, or organized in bins, totes, or the drawers and racks of a chest. I've always been a fan of getting things up on the wall where you can see them, find them, use them, and then put them back when you're done. (Plus, let's face it... they do look cool.)

If you're over the limitations of pegboard, but not quite ready to invest the time and resources into a tool cabinet, we suggest one of these: a tool rack. You can make some in an afternoon, and each space and slot is customized to fit exactly what you need to organize.   

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Mar 30, 2016

How to: Make a Custom Leather Roll to Organize Your Hand Tools

There's no better way to introduce this blog post than to say: I think it's a really, really good idea. The look is classic, and it helps protect your tools edges and handles by encasing them in soft, sturdy material, and it helps protect your hands by keeping the business ends covered. And, since you're making it from scratch, you can create custom slots and pockets to hold exactly what you want, and keep things where they need to be. And did we mention it looks great? Yes? Okay, great. Let's make one.    

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Jan 12, 2016

Make This: Shop Made Wooded Hinge

Wooden HingesShop hinges are a great way to make a piece customized to look smooth and streamlined. They can also be integrated right into the back for a seamless design. We take a look at what it takes to make this interesting hinge in detail.  

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Dec 29, 2015

How to: Make Your a Wooden Handplane

Are you still feeling the lingering of the Christmas spirit? Keep it going by crafting some carpentry tools dating back beyond the first century. This DIY guide takes your old plywood remains and an old circular saw blade to combine them into a custom and sturdy hand plane.   

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Dec 14, 2015

Free Download: The First Ever English Language Book on Woodworking - Joseph Moxon's 'Mechanick Exercises'

One of my favorite truths about woodworking is: it really hasn't changed much in the last few centuries. Sure, there are table saws that won't cut hotdogs now, but if you look at the hand tool design, they're nearly identical. (In fact, most modern high end tool makers are doing their best to emulate historic tools from the 19th century, albeit with newer materials). All of this is to say - this is a good thing, people who make stuff! It's good for your wallet, cause you can easily find these old tools and bring them back to life. And it's also good for your wallet (see what I did there?), because it means you can find loads of old books, magazines, and other instructional materials, all of which will be valid.   

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Nov 23, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: The Almighty Socket Wrench Set

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

 created at: 11/23/2015


An adjustable wrench is great for quickly tightening a loose bolt or taking a hex head measurement, but if you've got a lot of hardware to fasten and would prefer not to smash, scrape, and bang your hands and knuckles, only the ratcheting socket wrench will do.   

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Nov 17, 2015

ManMade Essential Toolbox: In Praise of the Humble Hacksaw, a Seriously Good DIY Value

Each week in 2015, ManMade is sharing our picks for the essential tools we think every creative guy and DIYer needs. We've selected useful, long-lasting tools to help you accomplish a variety of projects, solve problems, and live a hands-on lifestyle that allows you to interact with and make the things you use every day. 

created at: 11/17/2015

The hacksaw, like many of our favorite tools, has gone virtually unchanged for nearly 150 years, and its basic design dates to a couple centuries before that. Its structure is simple, its purpose is clear, and it does what it's designed to do.   

Which is, of course:

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