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
Terry Moore, Jon Siegel, Marty Milkovits
February, 2008

I understand that mahogany is considered an oily wood. What is the best glue to use for joints in mahogany and is special cleaning needed before gluing? – Bob Jarrett

Terry Moore
February, 2008

Is there a simple, cost effective vacuum bag process for gluing and clamping? – Harvey Best

Terry Moore, Marty Milkovits
February, 2008

How do I get an acetone (nail polish remover) stain off of a cabinet? – David Belser

Terry Moore, Marty Milkovits
February, 2008

Please explain NGR stain. – Bob St. Laurent

DJ Delorie
February, 2008

I have a rotating head stock. How do I ensure alignment when I rotate it back to align with the bed? – David Belser

Al Breed
November, 2007

What is the best way to deal with glue spots after the finish is applied? – Gretchen Gordon

Graham Oakes
November, 2007

Nearly all bowls are turned cross grain. Aside from the issues with pith, what is different about turning end grain? What wood species are good for end grain bowls? – Tony Immorlica

Al Breed, Guy Senneville
November, 2007

For inlay work involving light and dark woods such as maple and ebony, after planing and scraping, how do you sand the work without the sanding dust bleeding into each other? – Paul Miller

Guy Senneville
November, 2007

How do you set up a resaw on a bandsaw for very thin (less than 1/16") pieces? Or should it be, can you? – John Pitrone

Al Breed
November, 2007

When smoothing figured wood, when should I use a scraper vs a scraper plane or a hand plane? – Steven Marcq

Marty Milkovits
November, 2007

I’m building a book case 14' wide and 7'4' tall. How do I figure what size molding to put on the top to make it look in proportion? – Wyman Ordway

Marty Milkovits
September, 2007

In making kitchen cabinets, I use both soft and hard maple as the situation calls for. I’m interested to know how they can be distinguished before being milled, and which types of figure are typically found in hard and which, if any, can only be found in soft. – Caleb Dietrich

Ted Blachly
September, 2007

In the process of finishing cherry, what grit sandpaper should you sand to – 150, 180, 220? How about walnut? – Steve Colello

Al Breed, Marty Milkovits
September, 2007

What planes would you suggest as a minimum for basic woodworking? – Allen Everett

Joe Barry, Roy Noyes
September, 2007

Is it a good idea to “raise the grain” with water even if the finish is an oil finish? I’ve observed that some cherry items which initially have a very smooth finish can lose some smoothness and feel “grainy” after a couple seasons of high humidity. Is the humidity slowly raising the grain? – Stuart Blanchard

Jon Siegel
September, 2007

What is the process of turning found tree parts into usable bowl blanks? – Anon

Will Neptune
June, 2007

What is the best method of jointing and gluing a 3” bench top? – Roger Bradley

Harvey Best, Marty Milkovits
June, 2007

I am building several heavily figured maple tables. What would you recommend for the surface finish to highlight the figuring and not significantly change the color? Also what type of fill (epoxy or other) would you recommend for the knot holes and other features? – Anon

Al Breed
June, 2007

When using haunched tenons to join table rails to legs, should there be a shoulder at the top and bottom or just on the sides? – Dave Frechette

Bob LaCivita
June, 2007

Why do my tools turn dark from my skin? – Anon

Gary R. Wood
June, 2007

What are the functional differences between shellac, varnish, urethane, and lacquer finishes? How do I decide which is best for any particular project? – Peter Bloch

Marty Milkovits
June, 2007

Are there advantages and disadvantages using epoxy coatings and adhesives (West system specifically)? How about water proof glues vs standard yellow glues? – Harvey Best

Bob LaCivita
April, 2007

Can “sticker stain” which has just happened (within 24 hours) be removed? I had wet walnut touch steel overnight and had blue stain. Has the stain penetrated deeply? Could it be bleached out? – Peter Breu

Brooks Tanner
April, 2007

What is the best way to smooth highly figured wood (e.g. bird’s eye maple) to a mirror finish? – John Whiteside

Brooks Tanner, Jon Siegel, Bob LaCivita
April, 2007

Is a combination blade the best choice as a table saw blade or would dedicated rip, crosscut and solid surface blades make more sense? – Anon

Brooks Tanner, Jon Siegel, Bob LaCivita
February, 2007

Is a combination blade the best choice as a table saw blade or would dedicated rip, crosscut and solid surface blades make more sense? – Anon

Jon Siegel
February, 2007

On numerous occasions I have heard the advantages of using a cabinet scraper in place of sanding. I find it hard to believe that scraping can provide a better result than progressively sanding with finer and finer gritted sandpaper using a random orbit sander and following with ultra-fine wet (oil) sanding. Please explain. – David Steller

Joe Barry
February, 2007

Are there ‘rules of thumb’ to decide which speed to use on variable or multi-speed tools such as a drill press, router, power saw and now sanders? – Alan Saffron

Geoff Ames, Jon Siegel, Joe Barry
February, 2007

What is the best way to adjust the infeed and outfeed tables on a jointer so that the jointed surface is flat and straight so that it is neither concave nor convex? – Jack Minassian

Joe Barry
February, 2007

In dealing with a barn or garage shop, should I bring materials and projects under construction into the house between work sessions for stability (moisture threat)? – Ray Atwood

Joe Barry
November, 2006

What is the best way to route uniform short slots (1/8" to 1/4") such as those used to allow screws to slide? – Roy Noyes

Brooks Tanner, Joe Barry, Geoff Ames, Jon Siegel
November, 2006

How do I make sure a lathe is running true (round)? – Bob St. Laurent

Brooks Tanner, Bruce Hamilton, Herm Finkbeiner
November, 2006

What is the purpose of “Japan Drier” and does it have a useful place in the furniture finisher’s arsenal? – Greg Benulis

Bob LaCivita, Herm Finkbeiner, Jim Seroskie
September, 2006

I make old post office box banks. One of the things that I need to keep the banks authentic is numerical decals for the windows. Can anyone give me a clue as to where I can obtain numerical decals. — John Willse

Gary R. Wood
September, 2006

How can I use water based finish & get good results? I need a low VOC product to use inside a residence. – Peter James

Joe Barry, Herm Finkbeiner
September, 2006

Summer Swelling – Why do drawers and doors get tight (hard to open) or stick in the summer? – Anon

Jon Siegel, Joe Barry
September, 2006

When considering the purchase of used machinery. What should one be looking for to insure that the machine is worth buying? – BL

Roy Noyes
June, 2006

How can I prevent rain, snow and moisture from getting into the groove where the stile and rail meet the raised panel on exterior panel entrance doors? – Anon

Al Breed, Jon Siegel, Brad Vietje
June, 2006

What kind of woods should be avoided for turning? – Anon

DJ Delorie, Dave Anderson, Jon Siegel
June, 2006

What is the difference between a jig and a fixture? – Louis Duplessis

David Lamb, Dave Emerson, Al Breed
April, 2006

By what methods did the shakers fasten drawers together. If a box joint or dovetail was used, would they glue it or nail it or what other method did they use to secure the drawer parts? I have glued several of mine and now am wondering if they are authentic. – R. Bradley

Steve Olesin
April, 2006

When buying a table saw blade, what is the best number of teeth to buy? Is more better? – Kenneth Chase

Garrett Hack
February, 2006

How often does a professional who uses his planes all the time flatten or check for flatness the soles of his planes? – Anon

Bob LaCivita
February, 2006

What would be a basic cabinetmakers tool kit? – Anon

DJ Delorie, Bruce Hamilton, Roy Noyes
November, 2005

I recently bought a couple of old barn rafters, probably maple. They turned out to be full of worm holes which is fine by me as the wood is solid.

My questions – Are there worms there now and if so, how do I kill them? Is the dust harmful? There is a lot of it. I am making a child’s bed with some of it. I would like to fill the holes… read more

DJ Delorie, Roy Noyes
September, 2005

Why are frame and panels used on a majority of doors rather than solid slab construction? – RL

Bob LaCivita, Jon Siegel
September, 2005

My oil finishes are less than satisfactory. I tried several oils and really like Tried and True. What is the difference in these oils and the application techniques to improve my finish? – Jack Grube

Pete Boorum, Jon Siegel, Bill Thomas, Dave Emerson, Garrett Hack
June, 2005

How do you judge when a blade (of any kind) is truly sharp? – Peter Breu

Al Breed, DJ Delorie
April, 2005

I want to build an office work surface using MDF substrate and veneer. Since I’ll spend significant time setting at the keyboard, my arms will rest on the edges. Will a veneered top and veneer edgeband provide a long lasting countertop edge? What other alternatives could I use? – Ken Kuster

Bruce Hamilton, Marty Milkovits, Bill Newbold
April, 2005

I discovered that I missed some glue smears after applying shellac to cherry. What corrective action can I take? – Ken Kuster