Woodworking Workshop
Essential Woodworking Tools and Skills with Projects


Over the years, Make: has featured tutorials and projects by woodworker Len Cullum, both here online and in the magazine. Len works a lot in the Japanese woodworking tradition. Below I have chosen some of his best skill builder posts and woodworking projects. The great thing about these projects is that you’re not only exercising your woodworking muscles, you’re also creating useful tools for your shop in the process. You can see all of the articles Len has contributed to the site by looking at his author bio.

Introduction to Basic Woodworking Tools

woodworking_1Len runs through basic hand tools, measuring tools, and power tools for woodworking. Link: Skill Builder: Understanding Basic Woodworking Tools

How to “Tune” Planes and Chisels

woodworking_2Here, Len shows you how sharpen, or “tune,” your woodworking chisels and planes. It’s rare, he says, to buy a new plane or chisel and find it sharp and ready to use right out of the box. Even expensive handmade ones require some final honing before they are ready to use. Link: Skill Builder: Tuning Planes and Chisels

Make a Simple Japanese Toolbox

woodworking_7Put some of your newfound tool knowledge and woodworking skills to the test by building this simple, but handsome Japanese-style toolbox. Link: Japanese Toolbox

Making a Butterfly Spline

woodworking_3Turn the flaw of “checking” in wood into a beautiful feature by stabilizing the check with a butterfly spline. Link: Butterfly Spline

How to Make Woodworking Low Horses

woodworking_4Further hone your woodworking skills while creating a useful shop tool by creating these simple, lovely, and very useful Japanese “low horses.” Link: Building Woodworking Low Horses

How to Make Japanese Workhorses

Use a simple mortise-and-tenon joint to make these fine looking shop horses that you will constantly use and that will last a lifetime. Link: Shop Workhorses


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn