Chris Kuehn is changing my opinion of Maryland

I’m a native of the great and glorious commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and although I left the keystone state for the land of the pines nearly a decade ago it’s still in my heart. I was born and raised in York, not far from the Mason/Dixon line that separates PA from it’s closest neighbor to the south.

Living in North Carolina has given me plenty of opportunity to travel up and down the I-95 corridor across one of the other Commonweals (Virginia- my wife’s home state) and that other state – Maryland. Although most of the the worst traffic is always in Virginia, for some reason I’ve always joked about Maryland as “that state I have to drive through” to get home.

I cannot tell you exactly why, but outside of the Baltimore Orioles and the aquarium at inner harbor I’ve never had much regard for the Old Line State. That is, until recently.

A few years ago Chris Kuehn decided to do the hand-tool woodworking world a favor and start Sterling Tool Works. Lifted directly from his vision statement, Sterling Tool Works exists “to bring highly refined tools to market that are both beautiful, functional and therefore, inspire and enable artisans to produce their very best work.”  

I’d say that’s about right.

Earlier this year when I finally decided to get serious about cutting dovetails I ordered one of their Saddle Tail dovetail markers and it has been a joy to use in every sense. Perfect weight in the hand, perfect stability and usefulness. Really, just perfect.


Marking more accurately has certainly helped me to cut more accurately, but after the kerfs are made and the waste is cleared, there’s still cleanup and a great way to take your dovetails from functional to beautiful is to make sure that cleanup is as accurate as possible.

That’s why I’m happy to finally add this little number to the tool chest and I’m looking forward to putting it to use on a drawer I need to finish up before Christmas.


Maryland has another good thing going for it now, and I heartily suggest you check them out.


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