Mike Pekovich’s Go-To Work Holding Jigs

  • I 3rd tgello’s comments above! Thanks Mike for being such a great teacher!

  • unfortunately my vice is on the other end because of workshop layout, so do I,

    become a molly dooka,

    make new bench

    sell hand tools, rely on machinery,

    stick to turning only, sell everything



  • Great presentation of jigs that are pretty much indispensable. I would like to make make some suggestions, however, that I think might make a couple of the jigs more versatile. On the shooting boards, the bed on which the work rests needs be only at or slightly higher than the lower edge of the blade, or about 1/4″ above the bench or ramp of the shooting board, rather than the 1/2″ that appears here. This maximizes the width of the blade. Tempered hardboard or fin-ply is good for this; 1/4″ MDF is too soft and will wear quickly. In the same vein, the height of the stop should be the full width of the blade; while you may usually only do narrow pieces, this gives you the option of doing wider ones if you need to. If you find yourself doing a lot of thin pieces, it is often helpful to use a sloping ramp on the shooting board: this gives a slightly more shearing cut, but mainly extends the wear area on the blade from what ends up quickly being a notch to a slightly wider area, thus extending time between sharpenings. It’s also nice to chamfer the back edge of the stop as it chips out too.

  • Fantastic! Thank you for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us. There is no way to thank you for the fingers you just saved on the small parts jig, quick, easy, and fast. A lot of information in a well presented video. Thanks again.

  • Yes, terrific presentation. One aspect of my job is teaching people how to make presentations. You couldn’t have done it better. And I can use everyone one of the jigs. I’m headed to the shop now.

  • Thank you for a great lesson. Especially like the jig for cutting little pieces of wood. Glad you couldn’t see me doing it before I saw this jig.

  • Thanks for the tips Mike!

  • Thanks Mike, I also enjoy your way of teaching. I have enjoyed your video on handplanes it taught me a lot things I was not aware of. You do have a talent for keeping it simple, yet explaining it in a way that it does not seem technical when it is. I hope you will continue to create more video’s. Thanks again

  • Yes — superbly well-done: not a word wasted; always specific. Kudos — and thank you.

  • Great teacher. Not one ounce of fat in this video.

  • Thank you Mike for a fantastic demonstration of your jigs. You make it look so easy and with those jigs hopefully it will be.

  • I second tgello’s comment above. Thanks Mike!

  • This guy is a great teacher. His explanation is simplified for us newbies and without the pompous attitude. I listened to him on a recent podcast and it was enjoyable to sit and listen to him. Thanks Mike.

  • great video. super ideas/jigs. thank you!

  • (Why?)

    Published at Wed, 02 Nov 2016 13:33:50 +0000


    Essential Hand-tool Kit

    Article Image

    Whether he’s teaching at North Bennet Street School or working in his home shop, furniture maker Dan Faia wants certain essential hand tools close by. As it happens, the compact tool rack also featured in this issue holds them all. Your list may vary, but this comprehensive list of hand tools for layout, surface prep, shaping, and joinery is a good starting point for any aspiring hand-tool woodworker.

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    Published at Wed, 28 Oct 2015 04:00:00 +0000


    How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part 2

    Ed Pirnik and Cari Delahanty

    Perhaps the most alluring aspect of turning is the speed at which a skilled craftsman can crank out a finished project. With turning—everything goes quickly, be it stock removal or finishing, everything seems to happen at warp speed: no messy glue-ups, no labor-intensive finishing.

    stringing In this two-part video series, celebrated turner Richard Raffan demonstrates how to turn a basic bowl, complete with decorative beads. Beginning with a cherry blank, Raffan rough turns the bowl, offers tips on drying, and caps things off by adding two decorative beads and a beeswax finish that goes on fast and offers lasting protection.
    1 line How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part IRichard Raffan demonstrates rough turning techniques for a basic bowl.
    2 line NOW PLAYING
    How to Turn a Basic Bowl—Part II
    Learn how to finish the final shaping of the basic bowl, with tips on sanding, finishing, and more.

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    Published at Fri, 29 Nov 2013 05:00:00 +0000


    Dan Smith’s Dream Shop and Tool Chest

  • Very nicely produced video. Great job Ben!

  • Congratulations !
    What a legacy you are going to leave behind for your sons one day.
    I know ,I have been privileged to have had my foundation laid by my father .An excellent hoby to compliment surgical skills.
    Gert du toit ,gastrointestinal surgeon.

  • Sorry. We don’t have plans for any um… plans of this cabinet.

  • Are the plans going to be available to download?

  • I should have taken my American exams and done orthopaedics! When I was a student in Oxford I played tennis with a newly appointed Professor of orthopaedics. We had lots of discussions about the overlap with woodwork. Power tools were just being introduced to orthopaedics then. Can you wash out my arthritic ankle? (Only joking). What a superb workshop. I live in crowded England. No hope of achieving what you have here. I have holidayed in Maine. Higgins Beach. Very beautiful.

  • To JohnOSeattle;

    The radial arm saw is a Sears Craftsman circa 1973, identical to the one I received when I graduated from high school and that I still use in Missouri. Found it on Craigslist for $75, but it took some work to restore it to its current state! The lack of sawdust is because we hosted my younger son’s wedding in the shop and just restored it to its rightful use before the shoot.


  • A little detective work via Google reveals:


    Dan Smith is an orthopedic surgeon in St. Joseph, Mo., who specializes in reconstructive surgery, including knee, shoulder, and hip replacements. But woodworking has always competed fiercely with medicine for his attention: His subscription to FWW dates to issue #19, when he was a third year medical student, and he admits he would read it before reading his medical journals. Over the years, in addition to making clocks, built-ins, and many pieces of furniture for his family’s house in Missouri and for a summer place in Maine, Smith has also built four boats.

  • What does the shop look like during a project. This a beautiful shop and high end craftsmanship. How do you support this or is it a hobby. In other words, does the shop earn its keep?

  • Can’t view the video…

  • Easily in the top 5 shops I’ve seen for ambience. Very well done!

  • bmd November 5th

    What do you do (or did) for a living $?
    Nice building, shop and geographic area!
    Maybe too nice to work in…?
    I hope you have so much fun your tools get dirty.

    Birdie Miller

  • Very nice tool cabinet! Hope it turns into an article

  • I couldn’t help but imagine this is what it’s like to wake up in heaven. Complete with music. Great Shop, great job on the video.

  • Beyond the call of duty!
    What is the machine make/ model (Radial arm Saw ?) near the featured tool cabinet.

  • A dream come to life I’d imagine.

  • one word ok two WOW, WOW!

  • Absolutely beautiful! Amazing tool chest, shop and boats! And to my surprise well away in the corner a wood lathe with a guard. Not often I see those. Also nice video production!

  • That shop is inspiring! Great lighting … and just has a great feel about it. I love it.

  • Gorgeous. I am so jealous!

  • There will be more information in the Tools and Shops issue coming out next week.

  • Beautiful. Are there plans available for the tool chest?

  • Good job Ben and Cari! Where’s all the sawdust?

  • (Why?)

    Published at Wed, 26 Oct 2016 14:35:09 +0000


    How to Engineer an Expanding Tabletop

    John Hartman, Ed Pirnik, and Gary Junken

    When it comes to building an expanding table, there are several ways to get the job done. Butterfly tables store the leaves beneath the top. When the top is pulled apart, the leaves swing up and unfold. It’s a beautiful solution but difficult to build. Perhaps the most common method is a top that pulls apart to accept leaves which simply drop into place, but that means storing the leaves in a dusty closet until they’re required.

    Furniture maker Tommy MacDonald conceived of a hybrid solution. Two expansion leaves, one under each end, are pulled out from under the top on angled rails. It’s a solution that’s easy to construct, and allows for all the parts to rest within the table. That means no more trips to the closet for those extra leaves when company arrives.

    Learn how the mechanism works with this short animation.

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    Published at Wed, 03 Dec 2014 21:16:23 +0000


    Build a Shaker Lap Desk

    Article Image

    This classic Shaker lap desk is made of white pine and features exposed dovetails, breadboard ends with cherry pegs, and a small inside drawer. The case is traditional dovetail construction, with dividers set into dadoes inside to form handy compartments, including a tiny inkwell drawer. The bottom extends beyond the case and has a quarter-round profile routed into all four edges. Lap desks were designed two centuries ago to function as  miniature traveling offices with room for paper, envelopes, pens, and ink. Today, their precise joinery and elegant design still proves popular, whether they are used for writing the old-fashioned way or as storage space for a laptop or tablet.

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    Get the Full-Size Plan

    Build a classic Shaker lap desk with this printed plan. Designed by veteran woodworker Christian Becksvoort, this charming traveling desk recreates the era when pen and ink reigned. To craft your own version, one that can house your laptop, start with a copy of the Shaker Lap Desk printed plan.

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    Published at Wed, 13 May 2015 00:08:45 +0000


    Cherry Chest of Drawers

    Article Image

    Build a classic chest of drawers that features a variety of dovetail joinery and Shaker-inspired elements using this article with fold-out project plans. Fine Woodworking’s art director, Michael Pekovich, also an avid woodworker, shares his methods for cutting dovetails with a combination of hand and power tools, cutting sliding dovetail slots accurately, and attaching molding with dovetailed keys, a method that allows the chest to shrink and expand with changes in humidity. Careful grain-matching and graduated drawers accentuate the piece.

    From Fine Woodworking #170

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    Published at Tue, 06 Sep 2016 04:00:00 +0000


    The Modern Master: Allan Breed

    Growing up in New Hampshire, Allan Breed began buying, repairing, and reselling antique furniture in his early teens, and before he was 20, he was serving an apprenticeship in conservation at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. In the decades since, he has worked as a consultant and conservator on some of the most prominent pieces of American period furniture, and has reproduced hundreds of pieces, including the famous Nicholas Brown Desk and Bookcase, and the Newport secretary built by John Goddard that sold at auction for $12.1 million. Prized by Sotheby’s and Christie’s as an expert on period craftsmanship, Al also teaches classes in carving and period furniture making in his New Hampshire shop.

    Allan will be giving two presentations at Fine Woodworking Live 2017, Classic Furniture Carving, and Reviving Great American Furniture.

    Classic Furniture Carving:
    Master period furniture maker Allan Breed demonstrates the core techniques and tools used to carve the hollow shell and applied leaf-and-vine detail on the drawer front of a classic Philadelphia lowboy.

    Reviving Great American Furniture – Highlights and Insights from a Storied Career:
    A furniture consultant to museums and major auction houses as well as a master furniture maker with four decades of experience in the shop, Breed has examined, restored, or reproduced some of the most famous pieces of American period furniture. In this talk, he selects a handful of the most interesting pieces he’s worked on and describes the craftsmanship and style, materials, tools, and techniques that went into them, and the people who made and owned them.

    Go to FineWoodworkingLive.com to find out more about all of the presenters this year.

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    Published at Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:35:51 +0000


    Display Cabinet on a Stand

    Article Image

    Joinery takes center stage in this cabinet-on-stand. The base and case are made with contrasting woods, but the straight grain of the riftsawn stock unifies the two. An apron and rail on each side of the case make for a strong, light-looking base. A wide upper front apron paired with a narrow lower rail accomplishes the same objective. The base is joined with through-mortise-and-tenons, lightened with tapers and curves. Latticework on the front door dresses up the dovetailed cabinet on top.

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    Get the Full-Size Plan

    Printed and digital plans and a cutlist for this project are available in the Fine Woodworking store.

    Buy The Plan


    Published at Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:51:02 +0000