Q&AQ&A first ran in The Old Saw newsletter in late 2004 and has continued in The Journal. Questions from members are sent to a panel of experienced woodworkers. The "experts" do not always agree but you will find this collection to be a wonderful resource.

Use the archive lists below to help find what you are looking for or to just explore.

Displaying 255 Records
Ken Keoughan
August, 2009

What is the most effective way to preserve green wood for turning? Does it vary with species? Which is best – which is worst. I’ve used Anchor Seal on whole logs and on logs cut thru the pith but less than 50% of my logs are usable. — Tony Immorlica

Peter James
August, 2009

How does one tune a tablesaw for accuracy? — Fred Conley

John Whiteside, Peter Breu
August, 2009

Does anyone have a water based lacquer or varnish that they really like? I would prefer to spray it, but a brush-on water based product would be interesting too. — Anon

Garrett Hack, Jon Siegel
August, 2009

How do you dispose of highly combustible, oily furniture-finishing rags? I’m thinking spontaneous combustion. An infrequent user like me doesn’t have much use for an elaborate, airtight metal can. And anyway, where do you empty it? I’m looking for a solution that’s simple, safe, and environmentally decent. — Dave Corbett

Ken Keoughan
August, 2009

When you seal a piece of wood before turning it, how much longer will it take to dry and will it still continue to dry or will the moisture stay in the wood? — Matt Newton

Bob LaCivita
August, 2009

How do you make wooden railings for spiral stairs?  I’ve got a friend with an existing staircase with a wrought iron railing, who wants to add a wooden rail on top of it, but doesn’t know how. — DJ Delorie

BJ Tanner, Eric Johnson, Gary Wood
May, 2009

What is the best sanding sealer? And how often should it be applied during the finishing process? — Bob DeAngelis

Garrett Hack
May, 2009

When using abrasive paper on a substrate for sharpening, does it matter if the paper extends to the edge of the substrate or leave a border of 1/2" to 1"? — Avrum Silverman

Jon Siegel, Garrett Hack
May, 2009

What are the differences between O1 and A2 tool steel? — Lou Yelgin

Dave Emerson, Jon Siegel, Mike Cyros
May, 2009

Please discuss sanding for woodturning, that is, ways to avoid circular scratches under power which are hard to remove. — Gary Bashian

Roy Noyes
February, 2009

Any suggestions as to how to prevent rust from starting on bench and stationary tools kept in an unheated cellar shop? — Noah Cote

Dave Emerson
February, 2009

What are the advantages of air drying hardwoods vs kiln drying? — Peter Breu

Bob LaCivita
February, 2009

Where does one get three sided files with grooves to the edge for sharpening back saws? — Dave Frechette

BJ Tanner, Chris Kovacs, Eric Johnson
February, 2009

I would like to start spraying finish. Any recommendations for a startup HLVP setup? Should it be a compressor and HVLP gun or a turbine system? I do not have a compressor now? — Steve Colello

Bruce Hamilton
February, 2009

Please discuss coloring wood–aniline dyes etc. What finish will not cut the color? — Gary Bashian

Jon Siegel, Garrett Hack, Dave Anderson
February, 2009

Does the cryogenic heat treatment process result in a better, longer lasting edge? — Lou Yelgin

Dave Anderson
February, 2009

Please explain the method of reclaiming files & rasps via acid bath. Is it possible to do this electrically by electrolysis? — Ed Allen

Chris Kovacs
February, 2009

Since mahogany has doubled in price in the last few years, what is a good substitute for use in outdoor millwork such as porch work? — Jon Siegel

Bob LaCivita
February, 2009

I stack 1/2" baltic plywood vertically in a rack. The top of the plywood is “sloped” leaning against a wall. This “slope” or angle can vary from approximately 60° to almost vertical depending on the amount of wood stored in the rack. After about two weeks the plywood has a tendency to have a curvature towards the wall. I store at 62°F – 65°F… read more

Garrett Hack, Chris Kovacs, Jon Siegel
February, 2009

I have a few chisels that developed small spots of rust after sitting unused for a year. I removed the surface rust with fine sandpaper but tiny pits remain. Are these a problem? What is the best way to remove rust? — Monica Raymond

Ted Blachly
November, 2008

Are there any particular techniques to ensure a flat surface when jointing boards for a table top? David Frechette

Ted Blachly
November, 2008

What type of shellac does not have wax in it? If the shellac has wax, how do you remove it? What if any problems does the wax cause? John Watson

Bill Thomas
November, 2008

What is the benefit of the blade angle in wooden spokeshaves compared to metal spokeshaves? Joe Barry

Bob LaCivita, Bill Thomas
November, 2008

When sizing the parts for a furniture project from rough sawn planks, how do you deal with the movement that can occur shortly after the plank is divided? Do you allow the plank to sit for a period after being planed? Do you size them slightly over sized and allow them to find balance before a final shape is given? — Caleb Dietrich

Marty Milkovits
September, 2008

What glue would one use to laminate two layers of 1/2" baltic birch approximately 2' x 3'. – Bill Newbold

Guy Senneville
September, 2008

When should you use oil base vs water base finish? – Syd Lorandeau

Marty Milkovits
September, 2008

Mixed shellac has a shelf life. Do shellac flakes have a shelf life? – Anon

Al Breed
September, 2008

What are the essential steps to tune up an old handplane? Are there any good articles on tuning from Fine Woodworking? – Jim Bradley

Joe Barry
September, 2008

What are the different methods to remove rust spots from power tools? – Andy Young

Bruce Hamilton
September, 2008

Is it possible to get good results with a water based clear finish? If so, how? The quick drying and low oder benefits sound good, but how can you get smooth results? – Peter James

John McAlevey, Dave Emerson, Joe Barry
September, 2008

Where can second hand machinery be purchased? – Roger Bradley

Bob LaCivita, Brooks Tanner
September, 2008

When making kitchen cabinets, should I use standard plywood or baltic birch? – Roger Bradley

Mike Cyros
September, 2008

If an arborist offers you free wood, under what conditions is it worth doing? And, what is the process of turning it into usable lumber? – Andy Young

Brooks Tanner
September, 2008

How important is grounding of 4” and 5” ducting of dust collection systems in our shop? We all read about explosion hazards, but we hear conflicting issues on whether this concern is warranted. – Don Larnard

Joe Barry
June, 2008

I have a three HP shaper and plan on making raised panel doors. Would I be better served to use router bits or raised panel cutters that are dedicated for a shaper? At present I do not have any bits or cutters? Roger Bradley

Al Breed, Ted Blachly
June, 2008

Can anyone explain or demonstrate how to cut cabriole legs with a bandsaw? Ned Gelinas

Joe Barry
June, 2008

How do I keep tools in an unheated shop from rusting? Dave Hopkins

Joe Barry, Al Breed, Bruce Hamilton
June, 2008

What is the best finish for a traditional wood top workbench? Stuart Blanchard

Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

Can fish glue be used in furnituremaking? Its long set time makes clamping easy, but will it hold up under high humidity? John Whiteside

Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

Mixed shellac has a shelf life. Do shellac flakes have a shelf life? Roger Myers

Guy Senneville, Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

If you stain the pieces of your project prior to glue up, do you have to protect the joint surfaces to allow glue to stick? I know protection is needed for varnish, shellac, etc. David Frechette

Al Breed
April, 2008

Is there a method to sharpen a wood rasp or file? Any comments on caring for and cleaning files? Jeff Neil

Dave Emerson, Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

I want to glue two pieces of rock maple, 1-3/4" x 24" x 72" to form a 3-1/2" bench top. Would I be better off using epoxy than titebond? Bill Newbold

Dave Emerson, Guy Senneville, Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

What is the best way to keep your machine tops from rusting while in use or in storage? John Faro

DJ Delorie, Marty Milkovits, Dave Emerson, Guy Senneville
April, 2008

When I buy lumber that is surfaced two sides, why is it warped or twisted? Anon

Marty Milkovits
April, 2008

Any thoughts on HVLP spraying. Conversion gun or turbine. Water based or lacquer. Steve Colello

Marty Milkovits, Jon Siegel
February, 2008

What is the easiest way to set jointer or planer knives? – Roger Bradley

Terry Moore
February, 2008

What angles work best with a scraper plane? Where do I start? – Joe Barry

Marty Milkovits
February, 2008

With specific allergies aside, are there species of wood that are known to cause more serious acute and/or long term health issues? – Caleb Dietrich

Graham Oakes
February, 2008

How should I divide a burl into sections for bowls. I want to maximize the burl especially the large circumferential burls. – Ed Orecchio