WT180 – Butt Buffing

Special thanks to our show sponsor Festool.

On today’s show: the pros and cons of a solid surface countertop for a workbench, adjustable height workbenches, and how to use a spokeshave.

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What’s on the Bench

Marc – Making up some test boards for upcoming finishing seminar at Weekend with WOOD.
Shannon – Work, work, work!
Matt – Installing hinges and other stuff.

What’s New

A table designed for people and cats!
Innovative new axe design.
– Mike Rowe Skills Gap:

– Get a look inside Morgan Motor Company:

Poll of the Week

What tool do you use for setting blade and bit heights?


– Nate has some thoughts on Roberto’s belt sander trouble from Episode #178.
– Brandon has some concerns about rotating inserts on segmented cutterheads.
– Alan has some thoughts on the Masterpiece finish. His video is here.


– Bob has a few questions concerning spray finishing.


– JimmyJoe wants to know the pros and cons of using a solid surface countertop material for a workbench.
– Dave wants an adjustable-height workbench. Marc mentioned Adjust-a-Bench. Shannon recommend this blog post.
– John is having trouble with his spokeshave.

Reviews and Thanks!

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Don’t forget to leave us a kick-butt review in the iTunes Store just like wilddeuce1, jamatfu, Ben Fiedler, and LubK did.

14 replies on “WT180 – Butt Buffing”

Mike Rowe is not running for office though he’d be great and I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. To the best of my knowledge he does voice overs for Deadliest Catch as well as reading books for audio companies. His main focus is the Mike Rowe Works Foundation – http://www.mikeroweworks.com/mikes-office/giving-back/mikeroweworks-foundation/ (Sorry, don’t know the HTML code to link).

And as far as his voice is concerned, his background is singing opera so it was developed years ago.

He’s a national treasure.

As Grantman said, he does the narration for Deadliest Catch on the discovery channel. He also does other voice work for Discovery channel. Gold Rush, Swamp People and some others. I think he did the voice over for Wicked Tuna also.

So marc – lets get this straight. you have a man crush on Mike Rowe and his oral skills?

Another great show guys. Imagine my delight when 10 minutes in you were still talking about finishing – a really good discussion by the way. Marc , your comment “you want to improve your results. Stop staining” was great. I recently had some american walnut floors installed and the installer insisted on staining. He just would not let it go. I think he was trained that staining was some magical step necessary step. So we finally agreed to apply a neutral stain base which added no color and really did nothing at all.

For Matt comment about using Polly, I was talking to Mike Mahoney one day and we were discussing finishing. I said I use and really like Arm-R-seal oil Polly. So he turned me onto 1/3 of each BOL/Gloss Polly/Mineral spirits. He claimed that basically that’s what Arm-R-Seal is. The reason for gloss Polly is you can finish it to whatever sheen you’re going for.

Hey Bob. I really don’t like publicly contradicting advice from experienced and respected woodworkers especially when I wasn’t privy to the conversation myself. But in this case, the advice (as you describe it) is not entirely correct. There’s certainly nothing wrong with the oil/varnish blend Mike recommends as it’s one that woodworkers use all the time and produces a beautiful “close to the wood” look and feel. But it’s important to understand the difference between it and Arm R Seal. Arm R Seal is a thinned varnish that will dry to the touch within 4-6 hours. It builds to a nice protective film and you can have 4-5 coats applied in a couple of days. But it’s nothing more than varnish and mineral spirits. There’s no BLO in the final mix.

Finishes with BLO in the final mix behave differently and must be applied in thin coats usually with 24 hrs between applications. If you apply too much too soon, you’ll wind up with a nasty sticky mess. So thin coats and plenty of cure time are the key. The finish will develop some film due to the poly content, but it won’t be as thick and protective of a film as compared to Arm R Seal. And if you apply the oil/varnish blend in the same way you apply Arm R Seal with the same frequency, you could end up with some major drying issues.

So if you’re truly looking to get a close match to Arm R Seal, your job is even easier than Mike’s recommendation. Simply purchase a can of oil-based poly and thin it by about 50% with mineral spirits. Leave out the boiled linseed oil or you’ll end up with a very different product and finish.

I will still use Arm-R-Seal oil Polly base until they stop making it (its getting hard to find and expensive). Mike may have been describing the end results but the way I took it was how I described it, and did think it a little odd. I love how general finish looks right out of the can and the finish is as hard as nails so it is my “go to finish”. I don’t care for the look of their water base finish though. I gave the BOL/MS/Polly a try myself a few times on walnut and on cherry and could not tell any difference between it and GF. I don’t know what the BOL does for the finish so I will leave it out and give it a try. Thanks for the tip.

About the new axe ‘thing’:
Maybe it was just the way I was taught, but an axe is used for chopping wood; which is why it’s sharpened. A maul is used for splitting wood, which is why it’s dull; the dulled bevel makes it easier to split the wood fibers. So basically, choose the right tool for the right task!

I’m sort of surprised Shannon didn’t bring up the book “Shop Class as Soulcraft” during the Mike Rowe segment. I think I remember him discussing this book many episodes ago (maybe over a year ago). Anyway, the theme of the book fits perfectly with Rowe’s sentiments and I recommend the book to anyone who “would vote for” Rowe.

Here is the essay that sprung the book:


Again, the whole book is a recommended read (or listen);

Love the show.


Regarding the new axe design. Perhaps an independent review of the product is required.

Someone with no axe to grind 🙂

(Sorry, would like to distance myself from the above lame joke, just couldn’t resist 🙂

John’s experience with the Veritas curved sole spokeshave sounds just like the morning I just had with the same tool. Thanks for the comments and tips Shannon et al!

I suppose using this tool for the first time on oddly-figured hard maple was probably not the smartest thing I have ever done :).

Definitely agree that the flat soled version is a lot easier to initially get a feel for.

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