Beginners Woodworking Videos

Knowing and Using Chisels

I don't know if anyone really knows when the first chisel was invented but it has it's roots in simple stone-age tools. A chisel is really just a modified knife designed for a variety of both light and heavy duty jobs. The largest chisels are those used in timber framing and log house construction and can have very wide blades. Woodworking chisel blades generally vary between 1" and 1/4" wide blades, but their are wider and narrower for specialized jobs.

There are many different kinds of wood chisels but they basically fall into 2 main groups, bevel sided chisels and flat sided chisels. Currently the bevel sided chisels are easily the most popular because of their ability to get into areas that most flat sided chisel just cannot reach. Because of the design of beveled chisels, some people suggest they are easier to bend when prying that will flat sided chisels. This may be the case, but often bend chisel blades are created because the chisel is being used for something other than what it was designed for.

Many flat sided wood chisels are also called mortise chisels as that is what they were designed to do. These chisels come in a variety of widths and shapes, and by themselves, a woodworker can cut out a quality mortise in a few minutes, using no other tools than the mortise chisel and a mallet. With today's wealth of power tools there are many other different ways of making moritises, but in the days before power tools, the mortise chisel was the main tool for this.

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Using a Electric Hand Planer

electric hand planeHand planers come in a couple of varieties, electric and hand and they really serve 2 different functions. Hand planes have been around in one form or another for a centuries and are used in many areas of woodworking. Electric hand planes are a somewhat recent addition having been around for the past 30 or so years.
The electric version, which is what we are dealing with here are more associated with building  type construction and carpentry and even home renovation, than they are to fine woodworking. That's not to say that many of us don't have them, just that they get used less frequently by woodworkers than a carpenter might or renovator might. For example, I do a LOT of woodworking and I'm not sure I use mine more that a couple times a year, but when I do, it works great for what I need.

One of the issues with electrical hand planers is their short length and the amount of wood they can plane down in very little time. The short length, like any plane, does not allow for a huge amount of control in terms of making a board straight and flat, and if the blade is set to a low depth, a person can sometimes do more damage than good when working with fine tolerances.


My plane gets most used when I have some rough lumber that I am planning to run through the jointer and later of the stationary planer. Sometimes this wood gets some nasty jags in it as it comes from the mill. Rather than run these boards dozens of times through the joint, sometimes it's quicker and easier to hand plane these down to a workable stage with the electric hand planer.

When using the electric hand planer that are a few things I have learned ...

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Tips and Info on Jigsaws

Jigsaws have been around for many years and have not changed significantly in that time. The principal of how they work is the same, the blades move up and down at a high rate of speed as the saw is pushed into the wood and thus a cut is made ... pretty easy eh? .... Well, not so fast. There are a few things that we can all learn about jigsaws that can make them far more useful.

First of all, there are 2 basic jigsaw blades available. The newest version is called a "T" connection, the older one is often called a "U" connection because at the very top of the blade there is a tiny "U" cutaway. As usual, the blades are not interchangeable. The quick way to tell (in most cases) if you jigsaw has some sort of a screw at the point where the blade enters the mounting slot in the saw, it is likely the older type, the "U" connection. If your jigsaw has some sort of twisting lever, it's likely a "T" connection type blade required.

The newer jigsaws now have variable speed motors, and locking switches so that if you are making a long cut, you can not only adjust the speed accordingly, you can also lock the motor on rather than trying to hold the on switch for the entire cut. What about blades you ask ... well ...

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Popular Woodworking Jigs

Jigs and woodworking are synonymous. There are many reasons for woodworkers to make jigs. Sometimes they are made for a single cut or single use, sometimes they are used to make multiple numbers of something and other times they are made to help improve safety. Whatever the reason, jig making is a part of woodworking. They can simple or complex but are often made from bits and pieces of wood found around the workshop that would otherwise end up as firewood.
I always seem to be making one sort of jig or another, the biggest problem I have is after I store them for a few months (or years) I forget what I had them for. What's worse, I have been known (on a few occasions) to make a new jig, when I already had one but forgot I had it.

I have a few jigs that I use all-the-time, like the ones featured here.


The first, is the center finder. I always seem to be cutting wood in half. I purchase a lot of rough cut lumber that is quite wide and often needs to be cut in half to run through the jointer and planer. I also find that I am often ripping thicker boards in half and all of this means finding an accurate center.

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