When it comes to serious woodworking, a marking knife beats a pencil for most layout tasks. And here's why: 1) The knife's edge is finer and flat on one side, allowing you to truly scribe a line along a straight edge, not just next to it. 2) The knife cuts the wood grain on the surface, so that when you go back to make a through cut with a chisel, saw, router bit, etc, the fibers will stay clean and crisp along the surface. 3) The knife's indentation gives you a place to register your tools, ensuring accurate and gap-free cuts.
Don't own one yet? Don't like yours and want to improve it? Want to multiply your arsenal so you can keep one in every corner of your shop? Well then... it's time to roll your own.
We're huge fans of workwear, gear, and tool purveyors Hand-Eye Supply, and we regularly cruise their online shop whenever we're in the market for some new goodies. (And if you're ever in Portland, OR, their brick-and-mortar shop is full of inspiration. Also, if you're ever in Portland, OR, come say hi to me!)
From now until the end of March (or while supplies last), Hand-Eye Supply is offering a great bundle deal on their signature shop aprons and classic safety glasses combo.
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. Today: the Japanese saw.
I am, by no means, a traditionalist. I say the best tool for the job is always the tool that will produce the best results. Take my love for cast iron cookware: I don't prefer it because its old time-y, nostalgic, or because it's what my grandpa would have used. (My grandpa was kind of a jerk). I love it because it's often the best surface with which to cook; and when it's not, I'll gladly reach for a stainless steel pan or a piece of non-stick.
The same applies to woodworking and DIY tasks: I'm happy to use powered tools - saws, sanders, planers, jointers - in my projects if they allow me to work faster and smarter. And I do; I use them in almost everything I make.
But here's the deal: sometimes, the powered option is not the best tool for the job, and there are many cuts for which you should leave the table saw, the miter saw, or the jig saw behind. And in those cases, what you should grab is the Japanese pull saw.
Full disclosure: I have never played Settlers of Catan (simply due to time constraints). But I have watched the insanity, passionate rivalry, and joy it has brought to so many of my friends as to be able to endorse it as a great way to spend a couple of hours.
There's nothing more impressive than walking through a man's workshop, seeing the cool projects he's working to bring into existence out of nothing, and then realizing that even his tools are made from scratch. I can only fathom the satisfaction and forward momentum one must feel when beginning a hearty new endeavor and seeing the fruits of your past creative labors supporting you in the process of new creation.
When I was in graduate school, I taught guitar lessons to several neighborhood kids for some extra income. Inevitably, after a few months of convert's zeal, their practicing would slow down, and a parent would always ask me, "how can I get ______ to practice more at home?" I had some musical tips, sure, but my first answer was always: buy a guitar stand, and leave it out. No one is going to pick up an instrument that's locked in a case and placed under the bed or leaned against a wall in a closet. But, have it out and within a grasp in just a few seconds, and one can't help but just pick it up and rock out.
Taking his inspiration from mid-century hi-fi, where the music player didn't just sit on top of a shelf or piece of furniture but was the piece of furniture itself, Barry Abrams hacked together some existing speakers and some milled hardwood planks into an original stereo cabinet, customized for his own space.
A little personal update: after a few years of saving, I finally bought my first home. It's an awesome Northwest Craftsman bungalow built in 1924 in a great inner southeast Portland neighborhood. We're totally in love with it.
And it needs a lot of work. Not a lot to make it livable, but to make it ours. To make it a space where we're going to live and work and welcome others for the next 30 years. Of course, as a DIY blogger, I want to do most of it myself, and thankfully, I built up a handy collection of tools from my woodworking and general tinkering efforts (and now I actually have a garage in which to put them!)
When you're just getting started in the world of building things, you'll find it can be rather hard to develop the "best practices" to help guide you down the right path. You're busy trying to figure out what the difference between a bevel and a miter is, but what you really need is someone to say "do this, not that."
It wasn't until I took a few classes and befriended some woodworkers that i really started to learn how to not do dumb things. Here's a list of six things I wish I would have learned before I wasted money and time on early projects.
We've said it before, and we'll say it today: every man needs his own keepsake box. You know, all the trinkets and masculine things that enchant you as a child that your father probably had thrown into an actual box...or in my dad's case, a tiny dresser drawer. But now here's a stellar guide to not only crafting your collection, but building your own sliding tray box to keep all your treasures that includes a built-in, hidden compartment for the super-secret gadgets.
On quality keepsake boxes, Theodore Roosevelt wrote in his autobiography:
We used to wait in the library in the evening until we could hear his key rattling in the latch of
When Swiss designer Till Könneker moved into his new apartment, he loved the clean, minimalist design...but not the fact that it had zero built-in storage place. So, he came up with this clever storage cube to house his bed, book and record collection, and shoes and clothing. Oh, and this is the best part:
Sometimes a craftsman has to branch out from the ordinary for a bit of fun. This Latvian woodworker built a massive cabinet in the shape of a beetle, and it's on the one of the most beautiful pieces you'll ever see.
With an eye toward saving money and paying off student loans, jrytlews of Instructables.com decided he'd still find a way to have his own sauna even if that meant building one himself. After painstaking research and planning he decided on making this dream a reality, and even updated his design post with mistakes/fixes.
Chevron wall hangings and artwork are apparently gaining in popularity in the current interior design scene, although I find myself drawn to pieces like this for their ability to appear either traditionally masculine or feminine depending on the surrounding decor.