WT126 – 20 Questions

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On today’s show, we’re blasting through some emails with our 20 Question Quickfire Challenge! Topics range from grain direction to wood selection to dust collection to tool-buying circumspection!

20 Email Questions

I have a thickness planner, and a shaper that I use to joint edges. Is it worth investing in a jointer to clean up the faces of the boards as well? — Chris

I know pistol style clamps don’t have the most clamping pressure so I mainly use them as a “third hand” but I wondered if you guys had some opinions on which ones were better or worse than others or are they all pretty much the same? — Jeffrey

I’m starting on a dinner table to give as a gift. I’ve read a lot of online articles saying to swap grain pattern on the end grain of the top but I’ve read equal articles saying it doesn’t matter. Which is going to give me the best results? I’m using brazilian cherry (thanks Shannon) for the top and curly maple base. Will pocket screws be sufficient around the aprons or will using cleats be my best bet? What type of finish is best for a dining table as far as giving it a good moisture barrier, food safe and of course a nice shine? — Larry

You guys ever use a dado insert with a hump to get a dead flat dado? — Bob

How would you advise a married homeowner late 20’s with spouse and child and modest income in his next purchasing decisions and the path to follow? He has an attached garage with small homeowner type shop. Worktable (2x4s and plywood), normal complement of tools for home repair. Power tools are 7.25″ circular saw, power drills, and palm sander. He is considering purchasing a power 10″ compound miter saw for some molding he is going to put up in a bedroom makeover. He has also been researching woodworking on the internet and is very interested in building some modest furniture for his home and perhaps to pursue as a hobby. — Frank

What type or brand of blade should he purchase to get the longest life in a production situation? Is it normal to go through a sharpening every couple of weeks or is there a better solution? — Russ

The last time I bought blades for Miter & Table saw, I stepped up to Freud blades which were about $40 at the home center. I have noticed the miter saw struggling and burning more as of late and was wondering: at this price range is resharpening an option or is it time to buy a new one? If so, is it worth stepping up to a better quality blade that can have a longer life? — Andreas

Freud Authorized Sharpening Centers
Blade and Bit Cleaning Kit
Pitch and Resin Remover

I am currently designing a french-ish night stand with cabriole legs and a single drawer for my dorm next year. I would like to keep some sensitive things in that drawer, so I want to add a lock. Because it’s me and I can’t do anything the simple key-lock way, I’d like to have some sort of puzzle box thing to keep unwanted hands out. Do y’all have any ideas? —-David

I have some 100 year old rough cherry that was the interior siding of a family home. It’s now starting to cup and warp. These are 1″x10″x10′ boards. Should I plane them first, or should I cut to length for project first (bed headboard) or should I rip them and re-joint them. Which order is best or is it a crap shoot? —Rich

I did a project a year ago with some cedar 6 x 6 beams in my living room. I sealed all the ends with several coats of tung oil. How long do you think I should wait before they are done moving and dried out before touching them up? — Jim

I was dreaming of projects and one of them was making handle scales for a fixed blade knife. I picked up two pieces of bocote, both of which are drop dead gorgeous. What do I need to do to make sure they don’t swell or shrink that much? Also, any suggestions for a finish that can stand up to this punishing use? I have some spar varnish that I use for making walking sticks so I am very comfortable with that, but I am not sure it would work. —- Tony

Tru-Oil Gun Stock Finish

How do you come up with a price for a project? —-Lawrence

Pricing Your Work – The Wood Whisperer

I’ve heard that brown paper bags work well to gently abrade a shiny finish. Any thoughts? — Miles

My dust collector is a roll-around, 2HP machine with dual 4″ ports. When connected to the a machine with a 4″ port it performs reasonably well, sucks dust, and swirls things around in the bottom bag as I expect it should. When I connect it to the mitre saw, however–leaving the second 4″ port sealed like I normally would for the other machines, the swirling actions stops. To avoid burning out the motor or ruining things, I usually leave the cap sealing the second port slightly ajar to let in a bit of extra air and keep the dust spinning going. So my questions are as follows:
1. Do I risk ruining my dust collector if the swirling cyclone isn’t spinning?
2. How do you guys connect a smaller machine to your main DC? I know a few of you have shop vacs as well, which I don’t.
—- Michael

Hi guys, Just wondering what, if any, conferences you plan on going to this year. WIA, fine woodworking live, Weekend with WOOD? —- Bart

When is it appropriate to use a sanding sealer? Or is this just a product that manufactures put out to make more money? I typically seal with a coat of shellac before building my finish, is this sufficient or do I need to do more? — Chris

I’m building a workbench which includes a leg vise. I have some 12/4 kiln-dried, flat-sawn ash I plan on using for the chop. Do you have any recommendations on how I should orient the grain in relation to the bench? While the remainder of the lumber I’ve used has been incredibly stable I’m worried about possible cupping. As my workbench nears completion, I’m trying to figure out how to drill 3/4″ holes in my bench top. My plunge router seems like a possible solution, but I’m kind of new to routers. I was thinking I could start the hole with the router and then finish it will an auger bit in my drill. Can I safely plunge cut my 3/4″ holes? Any other recommendations suggestions on how to approach this? — John

Powerbore Bit Set
Workbench Dog Holes – Popular Woodworking

I just went to my first Woodworking show in Fort Worth, and went for two days, getting to absorb as much knowledge as I could (and buy some cool new accessories for the shop). Back in 2007 Marc was very disappointed in The Woodworking Shows saying it was not worth the money. Just curious how you think their shows compare now? Are there any specific shows that ARE worth the time and effort to go to? — Mark

I am working on a book shelf that uses plywood and solid lumber. They are going to look foolish next to each other unless I can get a better color match. I was hoping to keep the finish simple with some BLO and a top coat of poly or varnish. I tried out some BLO on the plywood and it took on a nice color and matched the untreated lumber closely. However once I put the oil on the lumber I’m back to square one. Next I tried a couple of the lighter stains I have and that’s a no go. The color match wasn’t great, but more importantly, I just don’t like the way stain unevenly colors the different parts of the grain of oak. Going back to the BLO, I figured that two coats on the plywood should match one coat on the lumber but the second coat of oil sure didn’t color the plywood twice as much. Are there any tricks or advice to applying two coats of BLO? Should I really flood the wood with just one coat and let it sit for a bit before wiping off excess to get more color? — Josh

I was just wondering what your opinions are regarding what skills you need to posses to graduate from a beginner to intermediate, advanced, master woodworker. — Mike

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2 replies on “WT126 – 20 Questions”

To the sub-$200 miter saw question. I have the Harbor Freight 10″ sliding compound miter saw and with a coupon picked it up for $90. It serves me well around the house for molding, building a porch, and all the cross cutting I need in my furniture. Is it a Kapex, no, but I feel it is a great deal and gives me square cuts.

Thanks for the advice guys! Since those sensitive items are prescription medicines, I felt that I could not hide them in a false bottom or back for fear of that being too obvious. Although that and Marc’s idea of having a fake drawer in front and the real drawer pull out from the back gave me a great idea. Here’s what I came up with. The drawer will be a normal drawer with no fancy locks or hidden secrets or whatnot. Instead I am going to slice a portion of the top off and re-secure it with Soss invisible hinges. Thus I can reveal a hidden box placed where a drawer guide normally sits to the side of the one main drawer.

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