Robyn Mierzwa is the founder of Makeville Studio, a community workshop established in 2008 that offers classes in woodworking and furniture making in Brooklyn, NY. A self-taught woodworker, Robyn has honed her craft over many years and continues to learn something new on every project. In addition to furniture making, she is passionate about teaching and is grateful for the opportunity to help others tap into their creative selves through craft.

Using these bookcase plans, I built three of these for my children’s school about five years ago (five years in an elementary school is equivalent to a hundred years in a typical home). They have seen tons of abuse, and have held up beautifully. The school can’t wait to get their hands on more of them to replace the “bargain” bookcases they got from a furniture chain which have needed extensive repairs over the same five year period.

An assortment of chisels should be part of every workbench. Chisels are not just for wood carvers. Any woodworker will need chisels to clean out joints and saw cuts. Look for chisels made of high-alloy carbon steel or chromium-vanadium alloyed steel. Hardwood grips are best, especially if they have metal caps on them. This will keep the end of the handle from becoming malformed when you hammer on it.


Plywood is an essential material for bookcases. It’s strong, affordable and good looking. There’s just one problem: those ugly edges. You can hide edges behind solid wood or moldings, but the quickest, easiest edge solution is a thin strip of wood veneer called “edge banding” ($6 for 25 ft. at home centers). The process couldn’t be simpler: You just iron on the adhesive-backed veneer and trim off the excess.
My $0.02 worth. I agree with the thickness planer [mine is 10″] but anything over a 6″ jointer is expensive and space-consuming, so use hand planes as in your later blog. I inherited an 8″ table saw that my dad and I used to build a 12′ outboard boat back in 1955. I’ve used it for ripping, but I’m having second thoughts because of safety issues. Some have suggested a band saw for ripping, which is quieter and safer to use. I gave my router away [and hope to get rid of my Freud biscuit joiner and 6″ jointer]. A quality eggbeater drill works every bit [pun not intended] as well as a power drill, and they cost less. A coping saw and a jewelers saw negate the need for a jigsaw unless you are into making puzzles. Chris Schwarz has a video short on one of the Highland Woodworker series showing how to joint the edge of a board with a plane and a simple jig on the workbench surface. Another reason to bypass the jointer.
Your moisture meter should have settings on it that will account for different species of wood. For instance, oak is a hardwood, but ebony is an even harder density wood. If you are planning an inlay job using both types of wood, you will need to know the moisture content levels of each of the two species so that your inlay glue joints will stay intact. These different wood species have different specific gravities, which must be used or programmed into the moisture meter.
Some might expect to see a cordless drill on this list, but when we're talking about basic power woodworking tools, a corded drill is more versatile and powerful. Sure, the cordless is, well, cordless, which makes it more portable, but corded drills are less expensive and can do more than a cordless drill. There are some options to consider when choosing a corded power drill, such as whether you want a 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch chuck, keyed or keyless chuck, straight drill or hammer drill, and so on. Learn all about these options (along with some suggestions on what to look for when shopping) in this article on corded power drills.
Today, in our age of plastic and factories, woodworking has transformed from a common necessary skill into something almost mysterious or awe-inspiring. Because most 21st-century consumers are used to driving to big box stores to pick up another mass-produced replacement when their desk falls apart or their chair breaks, any man today that can walk up to a lumber pile with saw and plane to shape a beautiful and enduring replacement is revered as a “true craftsman.”

For large outdoor gatherings, copious seating is a necessity. This outdoor couch can fit several adults, and oversized arm rests act as end tables for drinks. Before getting started, you’ll want to pick up the cushions for the couch first; depending on their size, you can make any adjustments to the cut list necessary for the perfect fit. Once you have the cushions, all the materials you need can be found at local home centers. We used treated lumber, but you can splurge for a naturally rot-resistant wood like cedar or cypress. We’ve got the full plans here.
Hi, Patrick. In a space constrained scenario, a good track saw can enable you to do some very high quality work, and you can perform many of the tasks that are commonly performed on a table saw. You could definitely build closets, vanities, and a great variety of other comparable projects with a good track saw. The advantages that a table saw can bring are efficiency, repeatability with a single fence setup, and support for a dado blade. If you get a larger shop space someday and decide to add a table saw, you’ll still get plenty of use out of your track saw. Even though I have a large cabinet saw I still use a circular saw and guide for a lot of cuts on sheet goods, mainly because a 4×8 sheet can be unwieldy to handle on a table saw.
It's a little strange but you can charge premium prices for birdhouses and people are ready to pay for it. People who want to enjoy birds coming to the garden, attach a high value to a functional and nice looking bird-house. And who doesn't really want pretty birds coming and chirping in their gardens. Therefore, birdhouse is one of the top-selling woodworking projects.

Description: You've seen him demo in the store, now come join Rod Hendrickson to learn to carve your own realistic animals. Beginners and carvers of all levels are welcome to join this on-going class. First time students will make a miniature duck decoy. Tuition is for 12 hours of class time. Rough cut outs are supplied by the instructor - check with Rod for cost. (approximately $15 for the miniature duck decoy blank)
Start by arranging all the parts on your work surface. Justin used a flux brush to spread the glue in the slots, and onto the biscuits after they were installed. Any small brush will work, though. When you have everything assembled, install clamps to hold the sides tight to the shelves while the glue dries. Check by using a framing square or by measuring diagonally from opposite corners to make sure the bookcase is square. Adjust it if needed. Then tighten the clamps. This is a good time to take a break while you let the glue dry for about an hour.
Your first backsaws should be (1) a dovetail saw, with fine rip teeth, used for cutting joinery along the grain (like dovetails), (2) a “carcass saw” used for cutting across the grain (fine cross cut teeth), and (3) a larger tenon saw used for cutting deeper cuts, like tenon cheeks, along the grain (rip teeth). All three saws are used very, very often in my workshop. You could certainly get by with just a larger dovetail saw and a carcass saw at first, if you don’t plan on immediately cutting large tenons. Buying backsaws can be very confusing because there is no standardized naming system, and a dovetail saw can be turned into a carcass saw (and vice-a-versa) by sharpening it differently. And practically everybody that’s selling antique saws mixes the names up. My buyer’s guide really clears this confusion up and will help you know what to look for.
Thickness planer. A thickness planer is used to fix surfaces of imperfect wood. If you are picking up less than perfect wood from the lumberyard, wood with some surface defects, a planer will let you fix that wood in the quickest time. A thickness planer pays for itself quick as it allows you to buy cheaper wood that doesn’t have perfect surfaces and fix it yourself. Be careful though. You loose wood during planing. So the remaining amount of wood still has to be worth the price you paid for it.
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