WT165 – A Zen Moment

Special thanks to our show sponsor Festool.

On today’s show, we’re talking about carbide tipped bandsaw blades, when to use a palm router, avoiding sapwood when buying rough stock, solid wood for wooden gears, working with weathered wood, and making a large bridle joint without a table saw.


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What’s on the Bench

Marc is finally using some prized wood for a project, with some reservations. Matt is playing with scraps. Shannon experience a zen moment in his shop.

What’s New

Geometric painting over natural wood.
Cat climbing furniture.
– Making guitars in an African refugee camp:


– Kenji has some thoughts on riving knives after our discussion in Wood Talk #164.
– Rob has something to say about building workbenches.


– Todd wants to know if carbide-tipped bandsaw blades are worth the added expense.
– Chris wants some advice on what operations might stress a palm router.
– Pug is trying to avoid accidentally buying sapwood when purchasing stock in the rough.
– Dustin wants to know if it’s ok to use solid wood for a wooden-geared clock.
– Peter has some heavily weathered wood and wants some advice for cleaning it up without ruining his tools.
– Mark is trying to make a large bridle joint using a setup that involves mostly Festool equipment.

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4 replies on “WT165 – A Zen Moment”

Your discussion of riving knives generated a thought to pop into my head (it’s OK, I’ve since recovered). Would it be safer to disregard the standard advice to raise the blade until it just clears the board, and instead set the blade height so the riving knife itself is higher than the board?
You guys are great, I’ve learned a ton from you.


Hmm…good question. The reason we fuss about the blade height it because of the blade’s relationship with the piece of wood. So I think it’s safest to continue following that advice and simply let the riving knife fall where it falls.

I am a beginning woodworker and was interested in the conversation at the beginning of your episode about workbenches. I agree with what you said that the most important thing to do is build a bench that works and move on to the next project while you refine what you want in the perfect bench. That being said, what would you recommend for a first bench? I have been researching online and can’t decide what my design will be. It sounds like you were pleased with the MDF benchtop over the torsion box. What about the base? Construction grade lumber, plywood, laminated plywood? Basic mortise and tenon, surface bolted, all thread rods?

Just curious if you could narrow down the options for those of us looking to build a first bench. Any examples or suggestions?


For what it is worth, I wanted bulky and solid. With no planer, I did not want to attempt to handcraft a laminated top. I used the Woodsmith heavy duty workbench plans:


You might have to give them your email address to access the plans – which then gets you weekly video tips, and weekly requests to buy their catalog of magazines on cd.

Anyway, for a top I used a buildup of solid core door, 3/4″ plywood, 3/4″ mdf, and then 1/4″ hardboard. Hardboard is for a wearing surface, plywood is because I don’t trust the mdf or particle board from the door to hold up for the dog holes. I wrapped the top in 3/4″ clear pine from the big box and buried a quick-release vise jaw behind the front edging (which I doubled up for 1.5″). The edging was flush trimmed for clamping. I modified the plans so the height was 1/8″ below my table saw and use the table as an outfeed table too. The bench is solid but can be “walked” into position. I also don’t have to cringe at cutting miter guage slots in it. My final bench size is 30″ by 72″ which balances well with mytable saw. I also built an additional clamp on outfeed support for when I want to extend the outfeed to a combined 52″ so that 96″ cutting is safer.

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