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As we wait for final electrical approval for our new shop, we can’t help but consider alternatives to 220 volts. If you want to see some of these old machines in action, take a visit to Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka, Calif. As kids we had a Hobbies treadle fretsaw in the shed and, next to the firewood axe, it was our favourite thing. We have exact replicas of many of these tools at the Steppingstone Museum up in Havre de Grace, MD too. Christopher Schwarz has helped many of us solve some pretty frustrating problems over the years. Picture frames are one of those woodworking projects that we all assume we know how to make. The rabbet in the back of the frame material doesn’t need to be wide, but it must be deep enough to fit the glass, mat and foam board. If the profile of your frame material isn’t consistent, it will create problems at some point in cutting and assembling the frame. If you’re making a frame with a shaped profile, use featherboards on the router table when you mill the profiles.
Unless the frame is extraordinarily large, glued butt-miter joints will have sufficient strength.
This sizing coat will allow a second coat of glue, applied just before jointing, to do its job. Some framing clamps hold the pieces at a right angle, but don’t exert any pressure across the joint. There is a special driver made for glazier points, but they can also be pressed into the wood with the tip of a common screwdriver. I like to keep the glass, mat board and image out of the shop until the frame is completely finished and I’m ready to assemble it. Braided wire is twisted around the loop in the hanger, and the hanger is held in place with a screw. A hanging loop is screwed to each of the vertical frame parts, and a length of braided wire goes between the loops. You probably know Earlex as the British company that a few years back introduced North American  woodworkers to an inexpensive but capable HVLP sprayer.
The day after tomorrow is Independence Day, and there’s nothing more independent than building out your own workshop.
I started digging into our magazine archives and found a number of articles on building your own router table.
All four of these designs are available in our store as part of the magazine issues in which they originally appeared. And speaking of no-nonsense designs for your workshop, there is one more router table and 23 other projects in our new book from Danny Proulx, “Practical Woodshop Projects.” Danny was famous for his stripped-down approach.
Celebrate your independence by spending a lot of time in your shop this weekend and making it that much easier to use!
Ever since we published plans for the Holtzapffel Cabinetmaker’s Workbench in Issue 8 of Woodworking Magazine, readers have requested information on how to build the bench so it could be easily knocked down and moved. The version I built and published plans for in Issue 8 used old-world bench-building principles where the legs were tenoned into the top and the base parts were permanently drawbored. By the way, if you missed my daily blog posts about this class, you can find them over at the Popular Woodworking editor’s blog by clicking below. This weekend my blisters from the class began to fade, and so I cleaned up the construction drawing and cutting list a bit , you can download them for free below. Chris is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking Magazine and the publisher at Lost Art Press. I was thinking about using unglued tenons to attach the top as you mentioned in another article. You said that you went from the large to small quick-release end vise so the vise travel did not hit the top stretchers on the knock down bench. With regard to the drawbolts passing through the tenons of the short stretcher, I lowered the short stretchers close to the floor so that wouldn’t be an issue. In a similar vein (following rules for rules sake) I also used haunched tenons in the top stretchers, completely unnecessary, given the massive nature of all the components. When you bore a hole through the leg to allow the use of bolts on the long stretchers I assume that you are also boring a hole through the tenons of the short stretchers as the latter are in the path of the hole. I ask as I don’t have a shop and would need to knock down and store the bench between uses during the day. Not sure how the Schwarz did it, but on my bench the overhang is long enough that with a thick wooden chop on the end vise the guide bars don’t hit the upper stretcher. I understand how adding another strecher to the side assembly makes it much easier to break down the bench, but doesn’t the right hand one interfere with the end vise’s mechanism? I also drilled the holes for the bolts rather than routing out a channel, and counterbored the legs for the bolt head and washer so that it was recessed below the wood surface. Lastly, my top stretchers are quite a bit thicker and extend the full width of the bench…the legs are mortised into it rather than the other way around. I improved the tabletop of my bottom-of-the-line table saw, and the saw’s performance has gone through the roof. To create the zero-clearance opening, I clamped the auxiliary top to the table saw’s top, turned on the saw and slowly raised the blade. The MDF piece that faces the saw blade is tall to provide support for thicker or taller workpieces. To add the “T,” I placed the face of the fence against the raised blade and clamped it to the table. In use, I secure the fence with two clamps – one in front and one in back – after making sure the fence is parallel to the blade.

To further enhance your new top, you can include miter tracks, adhesive measuring tape along the front edge and permanent hold-downs for the fence to eliminate the need for clamps. The last place I ever expected to stumble on Andre Roubo’s handiwork was next to an Art Deco radio and underneath some old water jugs. OK, let me back up a minute: I was in Canada (actually, as I write this I still am in Canada) to judge a tool-making contest for Wood Central.
My reply was something along the lines of what bears do when in they have natural urges in the woods. To plane long boards, there is a long stile that runs from the benchtop to the stretcher at about the midpoint of the bench’s front. Funny thing that, I recently saw a bench in an antique mall in Cambridge Ontario that was reputed to be from Quebec. The workbench that Roy Underhill was using was found (or perhaps copied from) a bench in L’isle sur la Sorgue, in the Vaucluse of Southern France. Big enough to seat six or small enough for two, this table expands to fill a dining room or shrinks to fit a cozy breakfast nook. Learn more about this downloadable woodworking plan which includes step-by-step instructions, a materials list, a cutting diagram, and how-to photography. In the late 1800s and early 1900s there were many non-electric choices, including lathes, table saws, scroll saws and combination machines.
It is cleverly built with a offset weight in the flywheel so that the bit rotates in the proper clockwise direction with the first push. Deceptively simple in concept, yet demanding in execution, it is only simple to assemble a frame if all the parts are near perfection. Square stock, such as the wave-form mouldings I used, should be as straight, flat and square as possible.
Variations may not be noticeable in a stick of frame material, but they will be screaming for attention when two parts meet at a mitered corner. A fraction of a degree may not seem worthy of concern in one cut, but there are eight edges in a mitered frame to put against each other.
When you think your saw is cutting a good 45? angle, place two pieces together on a flat surface, such as the table of your table saw.
Getting a good glue joint requires some extra care as the nature of the wood cut at an angle introduces a problem. These spring clamps pull the pieces toward one another, so the joints are tight and the pieces don’t slide around. Wood glues dry in stages; you may be able to remove the clamps within an hour, but the bond won’t achieve full strength for a much longer period. Dust or a greasy fingerprint on the image or the inside of the glass will mean taking the assembly apart.
Now the company has introduced an inexpensive electric steam generator that makes it ever-so-easy to add steam-bending wood to your arsenal of techniques.
Workshop projects are a double bonus because you save money by building fixtures yourself, and then you save money and gain independence while using them. This one is quite compact, stores easily and mounts to the top of your workbench when needed. But when Kelly Mehler and I taught a class in constructing the bench last month, we decided to modify the plans to make the whole thing break down for easy transport. A potential side benefit to this is that the short stretchers might someday support a handy tool shelf bellow the level of the long stretchers.
I’ve built several benches using this arrangement with complete success over years of use.
The surface on either side of the blade must be 90? to the blade, otherwise accuracy is compromised. But on Saturday, I walked into an antiques store in Ottawa, Canada, and there was a worn but functional Roubo-style workbench perched patiently under a window. The judging was held in the corporate boardroom at Lee Valley Tools, and at one point Robin Lee, the president of the company, and Doug, one of Robin’s old-tool conspirators, took me aside. I can’t say how old this bench is, but I can give you some interesting details about its construction and dimensions.
The rear legs are slanted (as you can see in the photo) and join the top with the exact joint that Roubo shows in his landmark 18th century woodworking book , it’s basically a through-dovetail combined with a through-tenon.
Inside was one small till and sliding tracks for at least two more (which were not in the drawer).
One of the members of our party asked if someone could have faked the bench or aged a newer example to look old. All the members of our scouting party were standing around looking at me like my kids do when I’m on a lunatic woodworking speech. Like this one, it has the center stile with holes, a single (smaller) drawer, a two piece top (with a thinner back board). With the leaves up, the table measures 48" wide by 60" long, and with the leaves down the table measure 31" wide. Back in 1973, Eric Hollenbeck started a salvage logging company that grew to include a millwork shop that specializes in authentic Victorian era details, a living history park  and a hands-on educational program in conjunction with the local school.
So unless you plan on making lots of frames, you are better off simply buying precut mat and glass. I saved time and money by pulling precut glass and mat board from a bin, instead of having them custom cut at an odd size. Without a table saw, it can be cut with a straightedge and a utility knife by making repeated passes alongside the straightedge. If you make sloppy cuts and try to shoot the miters, you will need to reference one piece off another to make them equal lengths, then adjust the rabbet with a shoulder plane. The gluing surface is mostly end grain, and glue tends to wick into the wood and away from the joint.

Without a fastener, they are good only for positioning – they can’t press the parts against each other as a clamp should. If you use good old yellow glue, let it sit overnight before doing anything to the frame that might stress the joints.
On a moulded edge, you can roll a piece of sandpaper into a tube, or wrap it over a sponge or piece of foam.
If the frame is large or heavy, add a third loop in the middle of the bottom frame member and run the wire in a triangle around all three loops. If anything, the fact that Popular Woodworking Magazine has not published a router table plan for over four years makes us a little different. You might want to mix and match different design aspects to create your own unique router table. These days Dan is a former online editor for Popular Woodworking, and is learning new skills every day. Can you send us some pictures or post them on our Facebook timeline when you have finished?
The students hailed from all over the country (Missouri, Alaska, Michigan), and so a portable version was necessary. You also can shift the top several inches right before you start interfering with the vise nuts on the face vise side. Did you 1) cut a notch in the stretcher to allow room for the guide rods, or 2) move the top toward the left to allow the mechanism to fit? It saved me hundreds of dollars because I didn’t need to buy a bigger and better saw for my space-deprived shop.
I secured the plywood to the MDF with screws and trimmed it flush with a pattern bit in my router. Also, the front edge of the tabletop must be flat and perpendicular to the blade; this is the edge along which the T-square fence rides. This is the portion that rides along the front edge of the tabletop, so it must be flat, straight and perpendicular to the saw blade. I applied a couple coats of polyurethane to the entire assembly, let it dry for a day or two, then added two coats of wax to create a slick surface.
I am going to study this plan, take a stab at it and then research, research, research until I correct the problems. We opened the front door, and it was sitting right there , underneath some metalware, stoneware and an old sled. There is no planing stop evident in the top, but there is lots of evidence of holdfast holes that were plugged. The legs join the stretchers of the bench about 4″ from the floor and each joint is pegged with through-pegs. The far right leg is also pierced by a couple holes, though these holes were larger in diameter than those on the stile , perhaps they were for holdfasts. The top was maybe two inches thick, showed heavy use and was covered with a thick layer of what appeared to be BLO. I know him as my Enabler… just last night I was working in my shop minding my business when he calls to say that he has a tool that I just gotta see!
The first place to look for information about old woodworking machinery is VintageMachinery.org. Among the highlights is a great collection of pancake-powered woodworking tools, with photos available online. Framing is actually a specialty within woodworking, and the people who do it all the time have it pretty well figured out. These should all fit easily in the opening without being forced; glazier points driven into the wood from behind the foam board hold everything together. You can purchase these either at a frame shop (pricey) or a large crafts store (pretty reasonable).
You can catch a variation you may have missed because the error will be doubled at the corner.
Glass-smooth surfaces on the miters may be impressive, but they won’t show in the finished frame. Special clamps, such as the spring clamps shown in the photo below, pull the faces of the joint toward one another, and are more effective than the clamps you use every day. This will take the weight of the frame off the joints at the bottom and transfer it to the wire. The router table in this book is a lot like the one that Norm Abram made famous, with drawers for your bits. I doubt it was the same bench, but he seemed to indicate that he thought this was to allow a wider base with a narrower top.
Drive them in from the top and bottom rather than the sides of the frame and they won’t be obviously visible.
There is a special driver for these points, but if you don’t want to buy a tool for one task, you can push in the points with the end of a common screwdriver. A very wide front piece and a narrow piece at the back that is joined with a square-shaped spline.
Especially if you’re a beginner who is just now building out your shop, I think you’ll find these very helpful. The lower part of the vise’s rear jaw was secured to the front leg with a strap of metal.

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