This tool is specialized for the task of making shingles. The strange name comes from the antiquated word "froward," which means "away," in reference to the direction that the tool cuts. To use it, place the froe, blade down, on the edge of a log length, then hit the top of the blade with a wooden club, forcing the froe into the log. Next, pull the handle toward you and pry off a thin slice of the log. Voilà... shingle! Since buying a box of square-edged shingles is significantly less effort than making each and every one by hand, this tool has long since passed its heyday. But it still can be used to build up the kindling pile.
Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length.
Here’s an old woodworking adage I enjoy ignoring: “measure twice, cut once.” Honestly, I measure nonce and cut thrice. I often eyeball it. I use pieces I’ve already cut to measure what I need to cut. It’s not a great habit, but I prefer it to measuring everything. And the results usually aren’t that different. At least that’s what I tell myself. I ended up having to sand down the ends of the 2×12’s running the length of the table (where they meet the aprons) because they weren’t exactly the same length. 

No, it’s not a blood pressure tester. It’s an inflatable shim sold by Calculated industries. What in the world would you do with an Air Shim? Well, you could hold a window in position (by yourself) while setting the permanent shims, or prop up a door slab during installation without scratching the hardwood floor. Use it to align base cabinets or level appliances. You could even trick your big, burly buddy by betting him that your 10-year-old can pick him up off the ground… you will win that bet because the Air Shim is easy enough for anyone to pump and it holds up to 300-lbs. Deflate it as slow as you want for uber precision adjustments.
We call them strongbacks and we use them on every tabletop we build. It's just a scrap strip of 3/4" plywood, with 3/4" pocket holes drilled about ever few inches. The strongback is attached to the bottom of the tabletop as the glue dries. The square edge of the plywood prevents the tabletop from warping or cupping as it dries. Then we remove the strongbacks (and save them for the next tabletop) when we attach the tabletop to the base.

The result of this project is what your wife or girlfriend would call a “Rustic,” “Barn,” or “Ranch Style” dining room table. I call it a man table, because it’s made from inexpensive wood, can take a beating, and one day your grandchildren will be serving their kids Thanksgiving dinner on it. Being the man that built that table is, well, manly. I’ve found a few similar tables on Craigslist and furniture sites, starting at around $1200. That’s absurd. I built mine for less than $200, including the chairs I bought for it.


We call them strongbacks and we use them on every tabletop we build. It's just a scrap strip of 3/4" plywood, with 3/4" pocket holes drilled about ever few inches. The strongback is attached to the bottom of the tabletop as the glue dries. The square edge of the plywood prevents the tabletop from warping or cupping as it dries. Then we remove the strongbacks (and save them for the next tabletop) when we attach the tabletop to the base. 

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Just redid my dining room table with this technique and I an observation/suggestion others might find helpful. The boards did not line up well putting it together upside down, even on a flat concrete floor with me standing on the boards while they were screwed. I would have combined biscuits with the pocket holes to ensure a better alignment of the boards. Lots of sanding was required after assembly, and this might not be a huge deal with pine, but I used hard maple so it was quite a chore even with a belt sander. Also, be aware that the 1x2s around the edge may not line up perfectly -- I had to trim about an eighth inch from each side after assembly to get nice smooth, even edges. Not a big deal, but the top turned out a little smaller than the specifications I was give by SheWhoMustBeObeyed. Otherwise our table now looks great, and thank you for the post!
Woodworkers are a social bunch, and there are a few popular forums where people share thoughts on tools, discuss technique at length, and—of course—upload their plans. Some of the most active online woodworking communities include Lumberjocks, Woodworking Talk, Wood Magazine, WoodNet, Kreg, and Sawmill Creek. Search those to see if they have what you’re looking for (either with their built-in search tool or with Google’s site-specific search, e.g. site:lumberjocks.com side table).

This is another wood table but this time with a more elaborate design. Instead of using a large log, this time you’ll need several small ones. The idea is to cut them to the same height and to try to create a mosaic with them. You can glue them together and you can also wrap a piece of rope or something similar around them. You should be able to create an original coffee table.
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