Wood Talk #7

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Marc talks about the latest feature that has been added to Wood Talk On Line….Voicemail, you can now submit your questions either the standard e-mail way or by voice mail. Matt tells everyone about his recent review of the “Router Bit of the Month”, sponsored by Woodcraft and made by Whiteside Machine Company–this month’s bit is the Classic Pattern Profile which is a cove with a round over. Marc discusses the relative dimensioning technique, which basically is cutting pieces to fit rather than cutting them to a specific number.

Favorite finishes is the next topic of conversation. Marc uses all types of finishes depending on the project, but says if he had to pick a favorite it would probably be a good ole’ wiping varnish formulation or a oil vanish mixture, while Matt likes to stick with a simple polyurethane. Marc also talks about a video he watched on the Fine Woodworking website presented by Andy Ray. Its a special top coat method consisting of one part boiled linseed oil, one half part varnish and a half part pore filler.

Our first question comes from Steve who is looking for a new drill press and would like some recommendations. Marc and Matt discuss the advantages of bench top vs. floor models, models that are laser equipped and the variable speeds available. Marc also tells us about the drill press on his drool tool wish list! Then Ron wants to know what Matt and Marc think about alternating growth rings when gluing up panels. Matt says it has not really been an issue for him and he has not paid much attention to it and so far his projects have been fine. Marc is not convinced that it really makes a difference.

David writes in and asks what is the difference between the lever and the wheel for table adjustment on a jointer, and why would you want one over the other. The next question concerns how many clamps are required for glue ups, how much pressure is needed and where is the proper placement for clamps. Marc and Matt provide some good ideas and tips on clamping and glue squeeze-out. And lastly, Gordon from Australia would like to do some decorative inlay on a coffee table top and is concerned about movement. Marc says a thin inlay will move with the base and it should not be a problem.

6 replies on “Wood Talk #7”

Thanks for explaining what you mean by relative dimensioning. That’s the way I woodwork and to be honest I have long felt that I was compensating for my mistakes by working that way. When I see woodworking shows like NYW, it seems like Norm Abrams has a level of accuracy in the way he works that I am never able to consistently obtain so I don’t attempt to cut all my parts to size in advance. I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in my method of woodworking and would be curious to know if you found out if David Marks works that way as well.

Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if others like Norm used relative dimensioning when making their prototypes since by the time he shoots his show his “project” is a second go-around of anything he does.

With that in mind, the main drawback I find in using relative dimensioning to build a project is that in a small shop like mine a woodworker definately benefits from having both a workbench and an assembly table. Since my assembly table doubles as my table saw outfeed, it can be a pain to have to clear midway through a project so I can return to cutting something on the table saw.

Hey Paul. I think you will find that most pro and old timers are cut to fit kinda guys. No matter how you slice it is the most accurate way to woodwork. THink about how many places you can mess up if you are always trying to cut to a theoretical number. There is error in the tape itself. If you have more than one measuring device in the shop, they may be slightly different. The pencil you use could make a difference in the thickness of your lines. The placement of your line could be off. Then you have to cut to the line, which may not be consistent every time. I think if you asked around, you would find that this method, although perhaps not given a name, is very common. And believe me, Norm works hard to make the project look that easy. And its very easy to hide your flaws in a video.

And I see your point about space. It does make it hard if your assembly table is a shared space.

So that’s what you call that method of construction?? I thought it was the “oops” method:) I don’t think I have ever built a project any other way and to be honest I felt the same way Paul has in thinking I was just simply compensating for my mistakes. Thanks for the clarification:) Now I don’t feel like such a door knob

I think you guys touched on this in an earlier show. But, when would you use solid lumber for a panel alternating grain orientation or not, or instead using veneer over a substrate. The more I learn, the more it seems smarter to veneer, unless the piece is made of a common wood. ie. pine or poplar, etc.

In many cases, it is “smarter” to veneer. But many times, there is a certain pride that comes with making something out of solid wood. And you might eventually have a customer that insists on solid wood. So you have to strike a balance between what makes the most sense, and what the person wants. But since much of furniture involves a matter of taste and style, the decision to use veneer will always be a personal choice, rather than an necessity.
In my work, more often than not, if there is a flat portion to the piece, it will be a veneered sheetgood.

In hearing the discussion of the jointer outfeed table and why it moves, Marc, you touched base on one reason…variability in knife height after setting/sharpening. There is another use of the jointer I saw my grandfather do. He used it to make a relief in the lower leg stretcher similar to that on many work benches or even certain tables. Many people do that these days with a straight cutting bit and a router table I know, but it can be done on the jointer if both the infeed and outfeed tables are lowered.

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