Paul’s Top Woodworking Tips: Part 1

Having worked with hand tools for over 50 years, Paul adopted many tips and tricks to help him in his everyday woodworking. In this blog post we’ve shared some of his favourites in the hope you find them useful too!

Pulling a Plane

Sometimes you can’t get your body in the right position to push the plane along the grain, to avoid tearout by going against the grain, simply turn the plane around and pull it towards you.

Temporary Gauge Lines

The marking gauge is useful when laying out, but you might not always want a permanent mark on your project. Set the stock to the required distance from the end of the beam and use a pencil to make your mark.

Using a Nail in a Drill

Sometimes wood can split when driving in a nail near the edge. Cut the head of a nail and use it in your drill driver to drill a hole. Drive your nail into the pre-drilled hole to avoid splitting.

Drawing an Arch with a Sash Clamp

Use a stick in the jaws of the sash clamp and turn the tommy bar, push the stick outwards so it begins to bow. Use the stick as template to help mark out an even arch.

Heavy and Shallow Setting on a Spokeshave

Set one side of your spokeshave really flush and the other side heavy, this way you don’t have to keep adjusting your spokeshave when doing a roundover. Simply move from one side of the spokeshave to the other as required.

Gluing Plugs

To hide a screw head, predrill a hole and cut a plug to size. Pour out some PVA glue on a scrap piece of wood, coat the plug by rotating it into the glue. Press the plug into the hole with your finger then use a hammer to drive it in. Let the glue dry then either use a sharp chisel or plane to level the plug flush with the surface and remove any glue residue.

Using a Steel Rule as a Scraper

Using a knife against the edge of a steel rule creates a very fine burr on the edge. If you don’t have a scraper to hand, this makes a great instant replacement in your time of need to remove a ding from a piece of wood!

Using a Warrington Hammer to Start off a Pin

Use the flat square edge of the warrington hammer to start of small ½” pins. Put the pin between your fingers and use the tapered end of the hammer to start off the pin with a few taps, once it’s established, move your fingers away, turn the hammer over drive it in.

Making Glue Spatulas

Glue spatulas are useful to have to hand in the middle of a glue up. Cut down some scrap wood then cut below the cut line to keep them all together, split them off as you need them.

Starting Off a New Saw

When you’ve just bought a new tenon saw or dovetail saw it can start to bite into the surface and be hard to start. Put the spine of the saw in the vise with the teeth pointing towards the sky, take a smooth flat file and file off the first few teeth (3 or 4). When you start it off in the wood it will be much easier and shouldn’t bite.

Comment below to let us know your favourite! Prefer to see these tips in video format? Click here.

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  1. Wonderful tips from a well learned maker. Paul, you are a “good man”. I use this term good man because growing up in the 50s and 60s on my grand parents farm in Santa Fe Tennessee ( in the south we said Santa fee, when my grandpa said that one of our farm hands was a “good man” I knew, that I could trust this person and set with him when we had lunch out on the back porch. I could listen to him as he was a seasoned farm hand unable to own his on farm and livestock but so knowledgeable in both aspects. A “good man” is a simple adjective but with a powerful (to me) thing to say when referring to a person.

  2. Starting Off a New Saw… What a Great Tip! Works Great! I saw this (possibly in you questions and answer video) a while back, and found this to be the answer to starting a cut when prior to this it would catch and be difficult to start a saw cut. Thanks Paul.

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