January 29, 2023

Furniture Makers

We Speak Furniture

STL228: The best gifts to make as a woodworker


Question 1:

From Tom:
What project/furniture would you suggest making as a wedding present for a non-immediate family member, like a niece or nephew? I have three weddings (two nieces and a nephew) next year. In addition to what we typically give, I thought I would put to good use the wood working tools and skills to make something. No cutting boards suggestions.

Christian Becksvoort gives you four ideas for handmade gifts that will please your friends and family and use up the scraps lying around your shop: a versatile flatware carrier, a two-piece desk set with tray and pencil holder, a tea light holder, and a hanging mirror.

Question 2:

From Zachary,
I live in the US, but am in Europe and have a chance to buy some good European woods for “local” prices. I know Mike is very fond of his English Brown Oak!

If you could stock up on European woods at “local” prices, what would be on your list and why?

Also, I’m considering building Ed’s “Not so Big Workbench”. Ed had recommended Hard Maple for the top, but I see most of the pre-made European benches you can purchase are made using European Beech. If both the hard maple and Beech were the same price, which would you choose and why?

Segment: All-Time Favorite

Asa – Bosch drill with interchangeable collets

Mike – Not applying finish to open grained wood

On his wenge tea box, Mike Pekovich reaches for a tool not normally found in the arsenal of most woodworkers, a metal barbecue grill brush

Ben – “Downgrading” bandsaw bearings to guideblocks

APRIL 1, 2001

Blocks, bearings or replacement assemblies: The right choice will improve your saw’s performance

Question 3:

From Pete:
My first question is about clamping mechanical joints such as a mortise and tenon. Common practice is to use clamps to pull the joint together, but this is not putting pressure on the face grain to face grain mating surfaces. We’re instead just relying on the quality of the joint to get a strong bond. Once the joint is pulled together, why wouldn’t you use another clamp to squeeze the faces together, as if it were a bridle joint? I expect there’s enough flex in most mortise sides for this to work.

Next, why the disdain for using pegboards to hold tools? I love a beautiful tool chest as much as the next person, but right now I’d rather be making things that actually make it out of the shop. Pegboards are cheap, flexible, and provide easy access to all my tools. What am I missing?

See which joints performed the best in a stress test

We push 18 popular frame joints to the breaking point

Make them bigger, reduce gaps, and don’t spare the glue

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

Sign up for eletters today and get the latest techniques and how-to from Fine Woodworking, plus special offers.

Get woodworking tips, expert advice and special offers in your inbox