Q&A LogoQ&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 236 Records
Owain Harris
August, 2014

In my furniture projects, I tend to use woods such as oak, maple, walnut, cherry, etc. How do these woods perform in bent lamination projects? Are there certain woods better suited than others for bent lamination?—Bob Wyatt

  • Wood
Bob LaCivita
August, 2014

I have put a tung oil/turpentine/urethane mix on my finished work and it is not drying (it must be a stale mixture). What do I do now? How do I clean it off or what can I add to harden the finish?—Jim Forbes

  • Finishing
Bob Couch
August, 2014

The kitchen has old pine cabinets that look good in the kitchen (it’s an old reproduction antique cape) but in some areas the patina has blended with finger prints and is difficult to clean up. I’m afraid that if I start really going after them with aggressive cleaners, I’ll damage the “look” too! Most of these areas are several years old at… read more

  • Finishing
Bruce Wedlock
August, 2014

What is the primary use for holly and its properties?—Bob St-Laurent

  • Wood
Steve Branam, Bob Oswald
August, 2014

When looking at a dovetailed joint how do you identify which side is the pin and which side is the tail.—Michael Brown

  • Furniture
Bruce Hamilton
April, 2014

Modern finishing books suggest thinned shellac or Zinsser sanding sealer (a shellac with preservative). However, old books mention using a very dilute hide glue solution (like 2 ounces hide flakes per quart of water). What are the pros and cons of these two coatings as a sealer for a complicated finish like Stickley’s. Is one preferred for… read more

  • Finishing
Claude Dupuis
April, 2014

What are appropriate choices for adhesives used in segmented vessels?—Richard Davis

  • Turning
  • Glue
Marty Milkovits
April, 2014

What is the best brush or brushes for applying shellac? Also, do you use a different brush for different brush for different cuts say a 1 lb or 2 lb or 3 lb cut? — Mike Noel

  • Finishing
Owain Harris, Bruce Wedlock
April, 2014

Can you suggest some sources/contacts for veneering supplies (equipment, veneer, inlay bandings, plans and templates)?—Bruce Grimes

  • Veneer
Bruce Hamilton, Bruce Wedlock, Richard Oedel
April, 2014

Can artificial light speed up the natural darkening of cherry?—Michael Whitman

  • Wood
Bruce Hamilton
April, 2014

I have a butcher block kitchen counter which has some areas that are worn and beaten up. Are there any quick maintenance methods or do I have to take it all down to the wood and start over? If I do that, what are the suggested steps?— Jim Hamilton

  • Finishing
Bruce Hamilton, Richard Oedel
February, 2014

I have some raised panel wainscoting which is quite dull. What would be the best way to give them a little brightening?—Jim Hamilton

  • Finishing
Peter James, Steve Costain
February, 2014

What is the best type of glue for attaching silicon bottle stoppers to wood dowels. I’ve tried CA glue but it doesn’t work that well.—Tony Immorlica

  • Glue
Bob Oswald, Steve Costain, Bruce Wedlock
February, 2014

What is the best way to mount sandpaper to a 12" diameter disk sander? I have used Velcro backed sanding disks in the past that came with my long gone Shopsmith, but recently have been using plain disks which I “cemented” onto the metal disk using a Sears Craftsman Disk Cement. However, that was a real bear to remove. I like the Velcro… read more

  • Tools
Peter James
February, 2014

I recently discovered that if I spray a lot of WD-40 on steel as a rust preventer, if it pools, say between saw blades in a stack, it actually causes rust. Is there a reason for this?—Wayne Baker

  • Rust
Bob Oswald, Peter James, Bruce Wedlock
February, 2014

What is the best lubricant to use on machinery and vises so that they work freely and sawdust does not clog up the mechanisms?—Myrl Phelps

  • Tools
Peter James, Bob Couch
February, 2014

My workshop is in a barn, with a section heated and a larger section that is not heated. I need to use the unheated portion for my tablesaw, jointer, planer, dust collector, etc. Over the years I have tried different approaches to protect this equipment from condensation in the cold months, with varying degrees of success. What is your… read more

  • Rust
Richard Oedel, Bob Oswald, Gary R. Wood, Bruce Hamilton
February, 2014

What is the best method to use when applying shellac to the inside of a box that has dividers, if brushing then what type of brush.—Steve Costain

  • Finishing
Bob Oswald, Peter James, Richard Oedel, Bruce Wedlock
February, 2014

I have a 14" Jet bandsaw with a slowly dying motor (I need to give it a spin to get it to turn on). Can I replace it with a higher horsepower motor? What’s the limit on hp for an existing tool? How do I "spec" the motor if I buy it from a catalog?—Anon

  • Electrical
Al Breed, Dave Emerson
February, 2014

Why would you create pins first and tails second or vise-versa? What are the advantages and disadvantages?.—Michael Brown

  • Techniques
Bob Oswald
February, 2014

What is the best type of lighting for photographing woodworking pieces?—Claude Dupuis

  • Photography
Peter Breu
October, 2013

Ebony is very expensive and somewhat hard to find in large pieces. I heard there is a “faux” ebony which is a secondary type wood that is dyed through the whole structure of the wood (different from dying it yourself which is only on the surface and needs to be careful not to sand it off). Does anyone know of this product and where is can be… read more

  • Wood
Peter Breu, Owain Harris, Jeffery Cooper
October, 2013

What are the pluses/minuses of using yellow glue for veneering? Are you better off using glues like Unibond and why? What are the trade-offs?—Michael Brown

  • Glue
Claude Dupuis, Jon Siegel, Bob Oswald, Al Breed, Dave Emerson
October, 2013

As a beginning woodturner I have been watching YouTube videos and reading up on sharpening lathe tools. I have the Wolverine jigs so initial sharpening is going nicely. My question concerns the need or desirability of a secondary bevel. This may be one of those questions that the answer depends on who you ask. What is the consensus of the… read more

  • Turning
  • Tools
Dave Anderson, Bob Oswald
October, 2013

If clear shellac turns brown, can it be used as is, or recovered to a clear condition?—Norm Miner

  • Finishing
Peter James, Fred Chellis, George Saridakis, Bob Oswald
October, 2013

From time to time when I am using the jointer the result will be a taper across the board and the total length of the board. The output table is set correctly at the blade height. What causes this?—Michael Brown

  • Tools
  • Techniques
Claude Dupuis
October, 2013

Are there ways to prevent cracking of wood for turning? Anchorseal helps but does not prevent cracking. The fruit woods are particularly bad—Gary Bashian

  • Turning
Dave Emerson
April, 2013

Through what can only be called a “fortunate accident”, I find myself with a nice supply of spalted maple. Knowing that spalting is caused by several different types of fungi, however, I’m wondering if I should use any special precautions in working with it.—Bill Douglas

  • Wood
Bob Couch, Peter Breu, Dave Anderson, Peter James, Fred Chellis, Bob Oswald, Jon Siegel, Steve Costain
April, 2013

I am constantly working to prevent rusting of my hand tools and stationary equipment. I currently use carnauba wax with mixed results.—Ed Taylor

  • Rust
Bob Oswald
April, 2013

I have a factory-made dining table with a commercial lacquer finish. There are a few small areas of alligatoring where alcohol was spilled or something hot was placed. Not having a sprayer, is there any way using amateur materials to fix these spots without doing a complete refinishing?—Kent Michaelsen

  • Finishing
Jon Siegel, Al Breed, Peter James, Bob Oswald, Dave Emerson
April, 2013

I have some yellow birch in the rough. Since this wood is so hard, do I need to be concerned about prematurely dulling saw blades, jointer and planner knifes when working with this wood?—Roger Grey

  • Tools
Peter James, Steve Costain
April, 2013

What are the most productive sources for used equipment?—Len Rochette

  • Tools
Dave Emerson
November, 2012

Where can I find a steam box design?—Joe Barry

  • Tools
  • Wood
Bob Oswald
November, 2012

Please de-mystify “sanding sealers.” When is it appropriate to use them or not to use them?—Tony Immorlica

  • Finishing
Peter Breu
November, 2012

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

  • Sharpening
Garrett Hack
November, 2012

Does seasonality affect the machinery in my shop enough for the need to go through a setup process again?—Mike Noel

  • Tools
Garrett Hack, Joe Barry, Steve Branam
November, 2012

What causes a hand plane blade to suddenly dig in deeper than it is set for?—Bob Couch

  • Tools
Bob Oswald, Dave Emerson
November, 2012

When buying wood, what do you look for so when you rip it that it does not bind your saw?—Syd Lorandeau

  • Wood
Peter James
November, 2012

In turning green wood, what is the best way to dry after turning?—John Kerr

  • Turning
  • Green Wood
Steve Costain, Bruce Wedlock, Garrett Hack
November, 2012

What tool steel and heat treatment is recommended for planes and chisels?—Lou Yelgin

  • Tools
Peter Breu
March, 2012

How does one cold mold a windsor style chair seat? How thick could the veneers be?—Anon

  • Furniture
Dave Frechette, Bob Oswald, Bob LaCivita, Brooks Tanner, Myrl Phelps
March, 2012

I am building a desk and want to sandwich glass between two wooden ends. Should I use tempered or non-tempered glass? What thickness? How to attach glass in wood sandwich (glass panel in frame)?—Anon

  • Furniture
Garrett Hack, Joe Barry, Myrl Phelps
March, 2012

What is the best brand of chisel?—Brooks Tanner

  • Tools
Peter Breu
March, 2012

Can you rub out or polish a non-poly long-oil varnish?—Ken Zahn

  • Finishing
Terry Moore
March, 2012

To build a planter, what is the best most weather/water resistant wood besides cedar?—Hugh Gardner

  • Outdoor
  • Wood
Bob Oswald
March, 2012

I use a lot of reclaimed lumber which does have hidden nails. Is there a good way to find them?— John Davey

  • Wood
David Lamb, Jon Siegel
November, 2011

I noticed at David Lamb’s shop all the old bandsaws have the column on the right as do the old European ones (Inca). Is there a good reason why most new models have the column on the left?­—Allen Everett

  • Tools
Ken Keoughan
November, 2011

What benefit if any is there in using hook or ring tools on the lathe?—Joe Barry

  • Tools
  • Turning
Bruce Hamilton, Guy Senneville, John Whiteside, BJ Tanner
November, 2011

What is the fastest and/or easiest method of grain filling open-grained wood?—Dave Anderson

  • Finishing
Bob Oswald
November, 2011

What is the best way to use 100% raw tung oil? Does it need to be mixed with other liquids such as Japan Dryer?—Myrl Phelps

  • Finishing