WT313 – Shannon is Better Wet

On today’s show we’re talking about sheet goods for exterior use, Japanese saws vs western saws, and tool recommendations gone wrong.

What’s On the Bench

  • Marc is an assembly line worker and a slave to corporate America
  • Shannon is turning bowls outside and sweating
  • Matt is hauling more logs and testing his log arch

What’s New


  • Andrew has a solution for the listener looking to add metal work to his shop with the Grizzly Model G8183 4 1/2″ Angle Grinder Stand


  • Joe is considering making a 2 part shop and wonders if there are pitfalls with that idea.


  • Tim is looking for advice on exterior grade plywood.
  • Matthew likes Japanese saws and is terrible with Western saws, he wonders if this is common and if he will regret it later.
  • Charles wants to know if we have ever bought a tool on a recommendation and had it turn out to be a crappy purchase.

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10 replies on “WT313 – Shannon is Better Wet”

Marine Grade Plywood. We used to order 4-5 sheets at a time and cut them into backboards for the ambulance, My boss gave me the cut offs and I made my daughter a bookshelf. By far the finest and most fun plywood to work with.

I can’t imagine what you are building (in the raging desert heat no less) where you have to have everything done including you video stuff in a week. Once I made a small 4″ cube pencil cup holder for my brother and that alone took me a week. Ok, so I have a full time 8 hour job but still!

As for plyWood Talk (heh heh) here’s one for you. I went into my local box lumber retailer the other day and picked up a quality sheet of 1/4″ ply for some drawer bottoms. I get it cut down and get ready to fit the drawer bottom into my sides and no go. I pull out my calipers and my 1/4″ groove reading is correct but the 1/4″ bottom is reading around 0.27″. I couldn’t believe it. Is this very common or am I just unlucky? I only ask because this was my very first set of drawers that I’ve ever built so I cannot compare. I ended up sanding the edges to make it work but still surprised. I’ve heard of undersized ply but not over. From now on I’m tempted to take my calipers with me to buy sheet goods.

I started out with Japanese saws mainly because it seemed to be an easier (no/less sharpening) and cheaper way for me to get a decent saw in the beginning. I like the ergonomics of pulling vs pushing a saw, and it’s hard for me not to agree with a lot of what I hear about them in terms of sawing straight (pulling vs pushing a string), thinner kerf, smoother finish, etc. I keep wanting to get a few nice Western saws, but can’t seem to swallow the cost without seeing much of a benefit.

Shannon I love the fantasy world you live in where your local plywood dealer has stacks and stacks of marine grade plies at 6 different price points.

I live in chicago. Our greater metro area has a population of 10 million people. We basically have a single retail hardwood dealer (with 3 locations). They stock one grade of marine ply. They call it “marine ply”. It is doug fir and over $100 retail for 3/4″ (I think). I assume they could special order some of your all sapele ply glued together with the tears of a virgin unicorn but they certainly wouldn’t order a single sheet or two.

I am just kidding but keep in mind most people don’t haver a huge wholesale lumberyard at their disposal and most folks are not near the yacht building industry either. I have really difficult time tracking down a lot of things I like to use in my woodworking. I can’t imagine what it is like for people not near a major city.

I measure the length of my projects in years. The ship models I build have thousands of pieces and hundreds of carvings too. If I set a time limit of any kind on this work I would go nuts. What I do is simply set a very small goal, that may simply be a single piece of 1/32″planking, that’s it. It is the process not the end product. Small bites and savor every moment.

Hey Guys,

On the time vs quality of project thing;

I have another tack, as a beginner. I want to be making things, but I don’t have the skills yet to pull off a lot of stuff that I see and want to build. I am also buying tools and timber (both of which are very expensive here in Australia)… So I feel very guilty a lot of the time I’m trying to pursue he craft, because it seems like I’m wasting time and money.

Classes are one thing, but they’re also expensive and time consuming. With a demanding full time job and a baby on the way, I often end up in pocket hole town 🙁

Hey kids,
I’m planning on building a 2 part shop this fall. The main floor is going to be all of my tools and bench ect. And upstairs is going to be dust collection, air compressor, wood storage and design area. Also upstairs will have all my woodworking books and a couch to chill. Also beer fridge.

Evening Gents! I was referred here by Wilbur Pan’s blog. I’ve listened to your comments with regard to Japanese hand saws, I must say that I feel it would be advisable to use good Japanese hand saws, and use them properly, if you want a fair comparison.

Having transitioned almost entirely to Japanese handsaws from very good western handsaws, I have appreciation for both but most certainly give the nod to Japanese handsaws. I have a few westerns saws that I will keep for life, but I digress.

Owning both high quality replaceable blade saws and handmade saws both the full size range of ryobas and of dozuki saws, along with hardwood specific saws for extremely hard woods I can avoid being improperly biased because I am using the correct saw for the job.

If I had made the mistake of using a dovetail saw for ripping big tenons then gave up on western saws most people would be very quick to point out the error of my ways, yet I see that happening with Japanese saws pretty regularly and the suggestion commonly made is to dump them and move on to western saws.

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