Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Shop Efficiency with Matt Kenney

Matt behind the Fine Woodworking shop bench
As you may well know, dear readers, the Modern Woodworkers Association was recently treated to a tour of the Fine Woodworking offices and shop. At the close of the tour our hosts, Matt Kenney & Mike Pekovich provide us with demonstrations on how they stay efficient in the shop.

Matt’s demonstration was about how he uses three (3) bench appliances (a saw hook, planing stop & shooting board) to quickly efficiently breakdown small parts for the items he builds.

Matt’s points (as hastily written down by me):

  • Go to the shop with a specific goal that can be accomplished in the time you have.
  • Between big furniture projects, stay active with smaller projects. Smaller projects are quicker, cheaper and keep you in the shop.
  • The most efficient and accurate way for final part milling, adjustment and dialing in is with the use of a saw hook, plane stop & shooting board.
    • Keep all three (3) right next to each other on the bench for less movement and higher efficiency
  • Preparing for finish before joinery will eliminate slop which results from planing the face after dovetailing.

Matt shows Steve Branam how is groove planes work.


  1. Matt and Mike did a great job of giving us their time saving ideas and showing us around their shops. Thanks again guys for a great time.

  2. Thanks for the write up. I know I didn't say anything earth shattering, but I hope it was useful nonetheless. We enjoyed having y'all in for a visit.

    1. Happy to be able to write it up, Matt. I was a please to visit and we thank you for the invitation.