WT365 – Furry Bottomed Woodworking

On today’s show, we’re talking about chisel recommendations for a newb, when to stop face jointing, static explosions, and movement in manufactured furniture

What’s On the Bench

  • Marc is starting to design a dining chair
  • Matt is building his son’s bed and using a drawknife
  • Shannon almost botched a glue up

What’s New


  • Josh called in to say Marc ruined an old friendship and took beer money from his pocket
  • Nick wants to know when Marc is going to add Matt’s bio to the podcast description


AJ is wondering if he can veneer over top of Melamine


  • Ron wants to know if the static discharge from dust collection does really need a ground wire along the entire run
  • Harvey wants to know what big furniture manufacturers do about wood movement that is shipped all over the country
  • Jason is looking for recommendations for a beginner set of chisels.

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12 replies on “WT365 – Furry Bottomed Woodworking”

Matt, I got my first drawknife about two weeks ago, and I love it. First thing I tried was to see if I could turn a square length of wood more or less round. The knife dove into the grain and I ended up making a pointy stick, but it was still fun. My mother-in-law asked if I was planning to hunt vampires. I’m taking shop protection to a whole new level.

Shannon, I make a lot of knives for gifts, and I frequently need a small amount of epoxy. I use a gram scale to measure out small amounts of West System (the 205 hardener is a five to one ratio by either volume or weight). I use the pumps carefully to drop in a little at a time until I get the weight right. I also leave a little epoxy in the mixing cup; when I can’t move the stir stick, I know the project is probably set all the way.


Re; static electricity and dust collection, I’m reminded of the old line, “a little learning is a dangerous thing.” A favorite example was an old man who insisted I had to put a piece of wood beneath my car battery, lest it discharge itself to ground via the garage floor. Too many people expect static and normal electricity to behave in a similar fashion. Static charges can build to huge proportions on materials that are normally non-conductive, and static severity will vary greatly due to humidity. If I lived in a really static prone area I’d skip the plastic and use metal if it made me feel better.

If an ignition were possible, I suppose it could depend on the type of wood and dust. Fine kiln-dried sawdust from a belt sander might be more of an issue than larger dust from a table saw or planer. Sounds like a great science opportunity. Where’s Mythbusters when you need them? I recall an experiment from high school where we placed a candle in a closed container and blew in some flour particles to see it explode. Anyone want to try this with sawdust at home? Or maybe in a vacant lot?

The lab equipment I serviced for 35 years was, back in the 70’s, very prone to static problems. By the 90’s this had all but been resolved, yet we still encumbered our customers with anti-static mats on the floor, copper tinsel on the printers, etc. because it was chiseled into our Procedures, handed down from the dark ages. When customers questioned this, I told them the story of the London policeman, on his rounds late one night near the Parliament Building, when he encountered a strange old man in a wizard’s costume, sprinkling shiny purple powder on the sidewalk. When asked what this was all about, the old man smiled and confided in a low voice, “It keeps the lions away!” The startled bobby replied, “Old Man, there haven’t been lions in London for a thousand years!” The wise old one said with obvious pride, “See? IT WORKS!”

That said, with enough effort you truly can make a sawdust explosion, though this rig doesn’t look optimized for dust extraction, what with a road flare, and whatever’s in that LP bottle.


Dear Mr. Foreman, I made a 3.8m-long marquetry backsplash of maple and oak and then coated it in 3mm of epoxy resin to make it somewhat water- and heat-resistant. Yesterday while demolding it, I noticed a lot of dust adhering to the surface, sort of like rubbing your head on a balloon. I had not considered static electricity before designing this thing, which will have a light switch coming through it, and behind it, lines attached to undercabinetry lighting. Everything’s insulated, obviously, but there’s wood and electricity and now a surge factor, maybe. Silly to worry about?

Hey guys,

On the topic of big manufacturers and wood movement, I worked for a furniture store as grunt labor for 5 years when I was younger, and I can say those pieces can suffer from wood movement. I can remember a handful of times that we would open a box and there would be gaps or splitting, and they would get sent back to the manufacturer. As you mentioned on the show, a lot of pieces are not solid wood, and those that are, are mostly designed properly for movement, but problems can still happen.

As a side note, I have a solid wood end table bought from a furniture store that I can barely open the drawer most of the year due to wood movement. One day I’ll care enough to fix it, but there isn’t anything important enough stored in it to warrant my immediate action.

Love the show, can’t get enough.
Some additional info for veneering over melamine. I’ve worked in large cabinet production facilities most of my life and have done quite a bit of veneering/laminating over melamine. Two important things to keep in mind. Melamine has a very slick surface, it’s important to scuff the surface before gluing. Using a RO sander with 100-120 grit works great. You don’t need to remove the melamine, just knock down the shine. Second, if you’re going to use a solvent based finish on the veneer you need to let the veneered panel cure for a day or two prior to finishing and put the finish on in thin coats. The solvent in the finish can soak through the veneer and reactivate the contact cement and cause the veneer to bubble. I’ve seen this happen with all types of veneer, paper backed, foil backed and wood on wood.

Shannon, I use an epoxy that requires a 2 to 1 ratio resin to hardener. For small batches I’ve found the measuring cups that come with cough syrup are an easy way to mix small amounts of epoxy because they are usually marked with teaspoon measurements. This may not work if you have different ratios. For slightly larger amounts, I add two parts water in a clear disposable cup, and mark the level with a marker. Then I add one part water, and mark the new level. Dry out the cup and it is ready. I use teaspoons and tablespoons to get the exact amount of epoxy I need. This might work for you if you have a higher ration of resin to hardener.

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