WT296 – Horse Butt

On today’s show we’re talking about trouble with a Mission Oak Finish, saw tooth geometry, grain direction in a panel, finishing all sides of a board at once, heating a workshop, project stability when shipping across the country, proper clamping pressure, and our Featured topic: how to do Woodworking in America right!

What’s On the Bench

  • Marc resolved his bed panels situation with some groovy Walnut
  • Matt wrapped up the Sofa Table and has started playing with a new chainsaw.
  • Shannon has a horse butt

What’s New

  • The Wood Whisperer Guild now has a scholarship program!
  • Here is a video on making fishing rods the old fashioned way


  • Jeremy called in to talk about hand saw grip in terms of helping to saw accurately. Shannon rambled for a bit but did a video to ‘splain
  • Andrew needed a relaxing project so he built the gift box that Matt made in last week.
  • Wolf says we should check out Peter Brown’s YouTube channel for tips on keeping bubbles out of epoxy.

Featured Topics

  • Jason wanted to know the best way to “do Woodworking in America” so the guys chime in on their take on this wonderful annual show.


  • Phil called in to see when too much clamping pressure is bad.
  • Joel is concerned about wood movement when shipping a project out of the area.


  • Chris is trying to replicate a fumed finish but the dye keeps smearing around.
  • Gray has some weird teeth on his saw and is wondering if it was sharpened incorrectly.
  • Chris is looking for some advice on heating his shop.
  • Nick wants to know how we finish both sides of a project in one shot.
  • John glued up a panel with the grain going in opposite directions and wondered if this is incorrect.
  • Scott has been working mostly with construction grade lumber and is getting frustrated with squirrely boards. He wants to know how to get flatter boards without buying a jointer and planer.

How You Can Support Us

Use the links in the left column and sign up for a recurring donation, kick it up a notch and wear a Wood Talk T-Shirt, or leave us an iTunes Review

13 replies on “WT296 – Horse Butt”

As for heating my detached shop, I use a Dr. Infrared Heater DR988 Industrial Heater. It’s hooked up to a large relay and a WEMO switch so that I can remotely turn it on from inside the house. It’s quick to heat up my shop. With the wemo app, I can control the amount of time is stays on and alert me if I forget to shut it off.

I just got this same heater 2 weeks ago and it works great. I have a partially insulated attached garage (door and roof are uninsulated) and in an hour it heated my garage from about 30 to 60 degrees with it being 20 degrees outside.

I just read some reviews on this heater and there were a lot of complaints about the fan dying after a few months. Maybe too soon to know how yours will hold up.
Is there any chance of a fire hazard with an infrared heater? I assume there aren’t really elements there that heat up like a regular electric heater.
I started looking at micathermic heaters because of the low fire risk, but haven’t found a large enough unit yet.

Hello there, listening to today’s show right now and I have a comment for the guy who was concerned about wood movement on a cross country Marimba.. I live in Chiapas, Mexico, the native habitat of the Marimba and the climate here is tropical- sub tropical… we have generally high humidity but dramatic swings are common with averages running from 65-95%. Humidity levels swing from the wet to dry season but can also change suddenly. My point is that local Marimbists (sic?) don’t seem to have any problems with the climate and humidity swings… I’d also be interested to know what wood this guy is using for his Marimbas, here they are almost exclusively built from Hormiguillo, which is not widely exported.
While I’m here writing I’d like to say thanks for the show, thoroughly enjoy listening here in the workshop!

Hi Jeth,
Joel here-the marimba builder. I build Zimbabwean style marimbas. I use Padauk for the keys and usually red oak for the frames. Zimbabwean style marimbas are different than the Chiapas style-they are more of an orchestral style where you have high sopranos all the way down to huge 10 foot long and 7 foot tall bass marimbas with keys made of 8/4 Mahogany (8″ wide by 42″ long for the biggest keys). Thanks for your interest!

Hey folks,
Since Shannon mentioned it, I also have a horsebutt strop. I’ve never stropped before and was looking on technique pointers. How much downward pressure and how many strokes are you taking? Should I find the primary bevel and assume the secondary bevel will be left sharp by the slight give in the strop?

I would really appreciate any ideas that anyone can afford me. I like figured wood and planes can always be sharper.

10 or so strokes without bearing down much seems to work for me. With the secondary bevel, from what Shannon says, seems like you only would be getting a ‘wire’ if you’re hitting it; but for sure if there is some slight round over on the micro bevel your stropping it for sure.

As a young woodworker looking to take that next leap for wood kind I am very intrigued by the thought of being an apprentice! And for Marc and Matt, I’m great with kids so not only would you get free sanding but also free baby sitting! Totally interested if this is a real thought. You guys have been teaching me the way since day one in my shop and I always look forward to seeing or hearing your work.

All the best,

IG: auvari

In regards to heating the garage workshop in NJ I’ve considered Mr. Heater Buddy which is apparently a safe way to heat closed space with propane. Apparently people use it in their camping tents and wake up the next morning which should then be fine for my shop. However I’ve heard it may leave condensation in the shop and was wondering if anyone out there had any first hand experience in a shop with this system.

Out of curiosity, I took a look at this unit and it has an oxygen depletion sensor that turns the heater off if the ambient oxygen levels drop too low. Condensation would make sense since water vapor is a by product of the propane combustion. I would think you would have to be burning a lot of propane to notice a significant amount of condensation though but hopefully someone with experience with this setup will comment.

I use a Mr. Heater Buddy (Large? I can’t remember the exact name) in my uninsulated two car garage. Its enough to take the edge of the temp (I live near Duluth, MN) but just barely. It can warm it up to about 40 degrees when its around 0 outside. Perfect for me working in there and would likely be even warmer in a smaller space. I have had no issue with condensation that I have noticed and I’ve been using it all winter. I currently have it set up to run with 2 1-gallon canisters(simply because I haven’t set up a feed outdoors to a 20 gallon tank), so I do have to swap canisters every 8 hours or so of run time. If you are heating a two car garage or bigger, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it unless you don’t mind putting on a few extra layers!

Hey guys, I’m a luthier and in regard to limiting wood movement when it would be moving around the country, Marc suggested trying to use species… unfortunately, the instrument buying market is relatively traditional… instruments in the violin family are made of curly maple, well known for being the opposite of stable… Quartersawn stock is ideal for most applications. Luthiers usually try to have a stable environment when building, and we try to educate our buyers that the instruments like the same atmosphere that you prefer. Most repairs I’ve done have been the result of temperature or humidity.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *