WT122 – Ana White’s Nickers

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On today’s show, we’re talking about tiny router bit screws, the effect of sites like Pinterest, wet-sanding shellac, mortising into the end of a dowel, dado blade recommendations, the purpose of the nicker, CNC in the small shop, ways to encourage finish to dry faster.

Around the Web

Inside an Amish Trade Show
This dude builds his own bicycle frames!
Benchcrafted’s French Oak Roubo Project – Sign up for the 5-day bench-building event for $4500.

Poll of the Week

Do you use pigmented wood stain?


Roberto is looking for some of those tiny router bit screws that hold the bearings in place. Marc recommends this Whiteside Bearing Repair Kit

Bob wants to know our thoughts on sites like Pinterest that encourage people to make their own furniture using potentially inferior materials. Does this help or hurt woodworking. Marc referenced Ana White’s website.

Cliff has a two-parter. First he wants to know if you can wet-sand shellac. Second, he is looking for advice on how to make a square mortise in the end of a dowel for knife handles.


Robert is looking for a dado blade recommendation. Marc recommends the 6″ Dadonator Jr.

John wants to know what that “nicker” is on his new rabbeting block plane.

Lawrence is curious to hear our thoughts on using small CNCs in wood shops. Matt mentioned 100k Garages as a resource for folks who needed help with CNC.

Kurt wants to know if there are ways to encourage a finish to dry faster.

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15 replies on “WT122 – Ana White’s Nickers”

Regarding the whole “Ana White”thing, I do think it helps build the craft. In fact, her site is what got me interested in learning about woodworking. My wife found a plan she liked, I built it and fell in love with the process. While researching the craft, I found the wood whisperer site amongst others. I have slowly built up, what I feel is, an adequate shop. My skills have progressed beyond her target audience, but I still check her site fairly regularly. I think the genius of her site is that it shows that woodworking is just taking things one step at a time. It instills confidence.
As far as taking jobs away from the pro wood woodworkers, I don’t think that is the case at all. I have a feeling that the vast majority of people who visit that site cant afford to hire a pro to build them something. So, there never was a potential job to begin with. I previously thought that the high end showrooms and custom pieces I saw were priced way to high and that the craftsman were looking to get rich. I now know that is not the case. I was shocked at the cost of decent materials alone, not to mention how long it actually takes to build furniture. In fact, I am now more willing to to pay more money for a custom piece that is beyond my skills because of these factors.

re: the Roubo Bench build
While $4,500 is not in my spare change pocket, it seems like reasonable value considering the material used (by size, type and source), the participants and opportunity to create a bench with tremendous memory value.

On our TWW Guild bench built I’d expect most of us spent close to $1500 or even more with the hardware and materials. And those most likely of the dimensions of this project. On the downside is the cost of expanding my garage to hold such a massive bench. So no, I won’t be attending, but sure hope they get their 10 folks so the rest of us can follow along.

Great job guys.

Got to agree. $4,500 for that bench build isn’t that bad given the materials … And the woodworking company while you build it. I’m in the middle of building my BC split-top and already looking like it’ll finish out around the $2k mark. I actually would have guessed the price of the French roubo build would have been higher.

Enjoying the shows while I’m working in my shop guys! Keep it up!

I agree with Brian’s comments about Ana White. Rather than taking work from craftsmen (or women), Ana is helping people build furniture that they would otherwise buy from Walmart, Lowes, Pottery Barn, etc – furniture that comes to this country in a shipping container.

With regard to Ana’s woodworking, she is teaching people to cook, and you guys are teaching people to be chefs. There is a refinement to further woodworking that goes beyond her methodology, but she serves a very important purpose. You can’t make hollandaise if you don’t know how to crack an egg. Further, she clearly appeals to women, which helps the craft. If I was a manufacturer of power tools I would sign her up in a minute.

As far as small CNC routers in our workshops, I have a shark, the 12″x24″. I use it mainly for personalizing boxes for customers. It’s not really rigid enough for accurate machining of parts. I’ve used it on occasion as a sort of jointer to flatten things that were too wide for my 6″ jointer.

I think as far as CNC goes, it’s sort of like synthesizers in the 80’s. Some people thought oh, we don’t need guitars and drums anymore, we’ll just synthesize everything. But after the initial intrigue wore off they recoiled in horror and went running back to their guitars. Fast forward though and there’s been a maturing and some creative people are doing really interesting things that they wouldn’t otherwise have been able to do. I think we’re still in the 80’s as far as CNC goes.

Ana White is taking business away from Crate and Barrel and the Pottery Barn. The Wood Whisperer, The Renaissance Woodworker and Matt’s Basement Workshop are the ones taking business away from professional woodworkers 🙂

I attended the Amish woodworking show and huge tool auction held at the same time. This was the most industrialized show I have ever seen. I could not find a single hand tool that didn’t have a motor attached. The tools are from every manufacture just the electric motors have been replaced air motors. The shops are full of every power tool you can think of just air powered.
My favorite was a Makita sliding miter saw with a Stihl gas chain saw motor replacing the electric motor. I am petty sure they voided the factory warranty.

In regards to the square hole in the dowel end… This in the metal machining world is acomplished with a tool called a broach. It is basically the same thing as what a hollow chisle mortiser is the the wood working world. You drill out a slightly undersized hole first and then smash square shaped tool into the hole. The link is an example, and they do make 1/8th”

http://www.dumont.com/proddir/archive/525//sort_order,edp_number/0/50/?Search%5Bmeasurement%5D=American Standard&Search[shape]=Standard Square&Search[size_inches]=’1/8′,’5/32′,’3/16′,’7/32′,’1/4’&a=42052

My first “woodworking project” was a rack for holding 5 gallon Poland Spring bottles. I scoured the web looking for one to buy, but the only ones I could find held 3 bottles (I needed 4) and were made of cheap steel tube. So I decided I could build my own. I got some 2x4s and some screws and “borrowed” my father’s miter saw.

Measurements were lucky to be accurate to 1/4″ , all the joints were butt joints with 3″ deck screws, and I went through 2 cans of wood putty to fill the screw holes and other various gaps. Halfway through the project, I realized I had to ease the insides of the bottle holders, so I bought myself a router and some bits. And since I had the bits, I decided to rout some profiles onto the visible pieces. And cut them at a 45 on the miter saw.

When I was done, I had something I thought was beautiful. Well, at least it was better than something I could buy in a store. But it gave me this overwhelming desire to make more. I didn’t know what to make at first, so I started reading all the DIY stuff I could get my hands on. I cleared out some garage space to set up shop. I built a 2×4 and MDF workbench. I put my eclectic assortment of tools up on pegboard.

Fast forward 6ish years and I still have that same garage shop, but most of the tools have been upgraded, replaced, restored, or removed. I’m hand-cutting all my joints now and making furniture I plan to pass down to my grandkids. But none of this would have happened if I didn’t screw together that bottle rack.

Just listed to the episode yesterday and wanted to comment that personally I can point out a negative to Anna White’s projects, that being the wood the plans say to use (construction quality pine). As I was warned by a few people over on LJ and have now fully discovered for myself, that stuff can be VERY frustrating to work with, especially when it comes to stuff like warping. The project I’ve been working on for a few months now that has me pulling my hair out is a large table project that uses 2x4s for the base (which worked out OK), and 2x10s for the table surface. Now THOSE are a friggin’ nightmare. My wife and I probably spent a couple of hours sorting through boards looking for straight boards that weren’t too beat up, only to have them warp like crazy after being home for a few days (I’m assuming the weight of other boards in the stack kept them from warping previously) – making them basically into neary $50 worth of worthless lumber.
I’m going back this weekend and am planning to try to do it using 2x4s instead of 2x10s in hopes that the smaller surface area will be less likely to warp so bad (which has been my experience so far with past projects) – but I can definitely see how that type of thing could make someone throw up their hands and give up on the whole hobby.

I just wanted to comment on the Pinterest/entry level woodworking websites. I started my first woodworking projects based on Ana Whites plans and encouragement. Since then I have dug deeper and purchased TWW IPad app to learn the craft better. I would never have known where to start without finding Ana Whites plans/cut lists.

I know this is an older episode, but I’m working my way through them all.
Just a note regarding setting the knife tang into a turned handle. I just saw where one guy heated up the tank red hot and simply stuck the handle on. It basically burned away where the tang would rest, perfect fit. To address concerns over hardness on the blade, could probably use a dedicated blank that is the same as the tang. It sounds like the caller has a fairly standardized blade that he uses.

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