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Mar 24, 2016

How to: Make Your Own Marking Knife

created at: 03/24/2016

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.    

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Mar 24, 2016

Good Deal of the Day: Shop Apron and Safety Glasses Combo from Hand-Eye Supply

created at: 03/24/2016

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.    

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Mar 20, 2016

ManMade Essential Toolbox: Why You Definitely Need a Japanese Pull Saw

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.

Japanese saw - this Dozuki saw is fast, safe, and accurate

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.    

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Mar 11, 2016

How to: Craft an Entire Settlers of Catan Game From a Single 2x4

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. 

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Mar 02, 2016

How to: Build a Homemade Lathe from Scratch

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.   

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Feb 19, 2016

How to: Make a "Hold Everything" Tool Rack

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.     

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Feb 17, 2016

Make This: You Need A Solid Work Bench

Gluing Up a Top

The heart of a workshop is the bench. It's the base where everything is made so it need to be solid and easy to use. Here's a great tutorial on making a simple bench with plenty of function.  

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Feb 16, 2016

Building a Mid-Century Modern-Inspired Hi-Fi Cabinet from Scratch

created at: 02/16/2016

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.      

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Feb 12, 2016

Home Fitness: How to Make a DIY Plyometric Box

Plyometric BoxOne of the most common items in the gym today is the simple plyometric box. These boxes are a fantastic way to get your workout on, and it's easy to make them any size you need to push that workout to the next level.  

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Feb 11, 2016

4 Great Books for your DIY Library

[Image Credit] ManMade DIY

Outside the blogs like this one, books are a great way to get new ideas and sharpen your skills. All too often, I find nothing but outdated crafting and how-to books with black and white pictures and outdated power tools.    

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Feb 10, 2016

DIY Essentials: How to Assemble the Ultimate Homeowner's Tool Kit

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!)

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Feb 10, 2016

A Closer Look: Urushi Craftsman

Seated Making BowlsHere's a look at the traditional art of Urushi Craftsmen as they talk about the process, and perfection of this unique and beautiful work.  

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Feb 09, 2016

Woodworking Faux Pas: 6 Things You Should Never Do When Tackling a New Project

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."

created at: 10/06/2014It 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.   

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Feb 05, 2016

How to: Make a Masculine Treasure Box (with a Secret Hidden Compartment)

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

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Feb 02, 2016

How to: Make a Wooden Bedside Phone Rest

created at: 11/16/2014

Don't you hate it when you're ready to plug in your phone for the night and the dang cable has fallen off your night stand and into the void between your bed and the wall? Yea, so did I until I invented this lovely walnut Phone Throne!    

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Feb 01, 2016

DIY Idea: Make a Space-Saving "Living Cube"

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:    

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Jan 27, 2016

Woodworking Done Right: You Gotta Check Out Janis Straupe's Carved Beetle Armoire

Beetle CabinetSometimes 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.  

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Jan 26, 2016

Why We Make: A Look Into a Furniture Maker's Mind

Walnut California tableIt's always interesting to hear why people have start down the road of becoming a maker. Jared Rusten talks about what inspired him to start making artisinal furniture that is built to last.  

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Jan 25, 2016

How to Build a Personal Wood-Burning Sauna

created at: 01/25/2016

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.   

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Jan 22, 2016

Weekend Project: How to Inlay Wooden Shapes to Make Some Geometric Wall Art

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.

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