WT216 – Giant Little Wood Turds

Today’s show is sponsored by Festool and Harry’s. Be sure to get your free $15 engraving using the code WOODTALKVALENTINE at checkout!

On today’s show, we’re talking about double tenons vs large single tenons, mortising for curves, when to sharpen your hand saws, and our thoughts on two new furniture-building shows (Framework and Ellen’s Design Show).

What’s on the Bench?

  • Marc – Starting the chest of drawers, because calling a tall chest of drawers a “dresser” is dumb.
  • Shannon – Started display shelf and thinks it boring
  • Matt – Started the dresser build, because calling it a tall dresser is as cool as bowties and beards

What’s New?

Poll of the Week

Does plywood belong in fine woodworking?


We share our thoughts on Ellen’s Design Challenge and Framework, two new TV shows about furniture design.

PLUS…tune in to this week’s Weekend Edition of WoodTalk for an interview with Brandon Gore, one of the judges on Framework for an insider’s take on the show and furniture design.


Roberto sent us a picture of what happens when you put a lightbulb, finish, and glue into a Coleman cooler and leave it for two weeks. (sounds like an intro to a bad joke).

Glenn, Glen, Tim, and Jeremy all have suggestions for keeping finishes and glue from freezing. None of these we recommend (see the episode on Project Creep).


  • Crickett wants to know if he should use single or double tenons.
  • Dan is stumped on how to deal with a curved rail and many slat mortises.
  • Craig wants to know how to know when his saw is dull and how to know if it is a poorly tuned saw or bad technique throwing off his cut.

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7 replies on “WT216 – Giant Little Wood Turds”

I watched the first two episodes of Ellen’s show and really enjoyed both episodes. If nothing else the designers opened my thinking to using other materials in concert with wood to produce nice artistic furniture pieces. Although the shot of the show two runner up piece being slathered with wood filler was a bit disappointing the end result was exceptional.

Question: Does a piece like that qualify as fine furniture? A lot of woodworkers have the idea that fine furniture must be solid wood and use traditional joinery. While I personally do not care for CNC plastic furniture I appreciate the originality of those pieces. Personally can’t say they are “fine furniture” but it might be for someone else.

First, let me say that I love watching all of you on your You Tube channels. Two, I love the podcast. Three, I apologize for the lengthy reply as brevity was never a strength… I work in sales.

Two observations:
My other hobby includes muscle car restoration. This conversation on Framework vs. Ellen’s Design Challange is exactly the conversation car guys had several years ago when all the classic car “restoration” shows came out. Many of us who like the craft, expertise, skills, etc. that go with the hobby, are mortified when, for time and casual fan interest, these shows play on shortcuts, drama, and personalities rather than technique, results and quality.
The other observation is that I grew up on Norm and Roy. Then I was blown away, like Marc (not Mark), by David Marks and WoodWorks. That is a level I will never get to. But Norm broke everything down to basic steps and allowed me to think I could do something like that. I could relate to the folksy way he taught. I enjoy these new reality shows for their out of the box thinking. I hate the drama. Therefore, I record Framework and Ellen’s Design Challenge, and fast forward through the crap.

PS: Marc loved you on Tommy’s show. He’s kind of what you get if you played David Marks at 78 speed.


In regards to the finish cabinet, it’s seems to me like everyone is working/speculating really hard to avoid actually doing it the right way. Kind of like a child will put more effort into getting out of cleaning his room, than it would take to actually clean it.

Anyway, get a cheap thermostat, a relay and an electric heating element and be done with it.

^Reading that sounds a bit harsh, but it’s just weird hearing all the speculation about how to accomplish something that is a long solved problem.

I don’t know if I’d consider that “solved” honestly. I suppose if you’re very comfortable with electrical components you’d be able to pick the correct thermostat, relay, and heating element to do the job. But to a non-sparky like myself, those terms are somewhat vague and they wouldn’t make me feel any safer than some of the other options mentioned in this episode.

As far as I’m concerned, you can’t be too careful when you’re talking about electricity, heat, and flammable substances.

Honestly, it’s how every zone in every house/building in this country is heated. Thermostat-Relay-Heat source, of course a small cabinet brings up some ventilation/air movement concerns. Anyway, the horse is probably dead by now.

Might I propose a alternative method for those opposed/unfamiliar with electricity.

If he has access to a south facing wall or window, build a simple solar collector. It won’t keep them warm at night, but should warm up fairly fast in the day. Simply painting the back black and placing it in a window would help a bit.
The best solution would be to create an windowed chamber on the back of it with a hole connecting it to the cabinet at the top and the bottom. Then some sort of absorbing medium (a couple layers of black screen, galvanized ducting painted black, pop cans painted black, etc). When exposed to sunlight, the medium heats up, and creates a convection current as colder air enters at the bottom and forces the warm air into the hole at the top.

Get a fir cabinet and install a gun safe dehumidifier rod. It will cost $20 to $50, and puts off a slow hest that should be sufficient enough to keep your finishing goods from freezing.

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