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Our final issue of the year has plenty to keep you busy in the run-up to the festive season. We have things to make as Christmas gifts, whether you’re into square or round woodworking, and we’ve left you plenty of time to tackle them. We’ve also got a selection of the latest product tests that might persuade you to buy an appropriate present for the woodworker in your life. Let’s start with a round-up of this month’s Projects.

• Bedside companions – Peter Nicholson crafts a matching pair of bedside cabinets in sycamore, each with two useful drawers and a pull-out leaf that puts your nightcap or your early-morning cuppa within easy reach.

• Mission accomplished – Vere Shannon presents the second and final part of his toy castle, by building the gatehouse with its working drawbridge and portcullis. Then all you have to do is add the knights in shining armour – Vere’s were by Playmobil – and wrap it up ready for the Christmas crusade.

• On the slate – Peter Dunsmore describes how he was inspired to create an unusual slate-topped occasional table by a design he spotted in a furniture store.

• Thomas’ tank engine – Bob Chapman explains how he borrowed some plans to make a train set for his grandson (called Thomas, naturally), and then embellished it in his own inimitable way and added a tank engine for good measure.

In our Workshop section, Ron Fox carries on routing, expanding on the use of guide bushes by introducing some home-made jigs and templates for you to try. Andy Standing’s look at the power tools you can carry around with you moves on to deal with sanders and planers. Keith Smith picks another five woodworking gadgets and invites readers to nominate their favourites, before using his regular Shop Notes feature to grumble about the Indian Summer and describe making a set of indoor flagpoles. Last but not least, Paul Sellers explains the background to his life in woodworking, and how it led to the creation of his magnum opus.

 For the turners among you, Bob Chapman uses a small pottery vase as his inspiration for a miniature vase exquisitely turned in yew. Colin Simpson presents a selection of small but perfectly formed Christmas gifts with a little help from the Axminster Tool Centre catalogue, and adds the cabriole legs he turned last month to a simple frame to make an attractive little footstool.

Our regular test has reviews this month of the following tools and equipment:

• Metabo STE 100 SCS Quick jigsaw

• DeWalt DWS780 double-bevel sliding mitre saw

• Quengsheng Nos 3,4 and 5 bench planes

• Makita BKP180RFE cordless planer 

• Colt drill and countersink

• Narex 8116 cabinetmaker's chisels 

• Makita Pro-Worker router cutters

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