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
Bob LaCivita
June, 2007

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

  • Tools
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

  • Finishing
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

  • Techniques
  • Glue
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

  • Wood
  • Finishing
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

  • Wood
  • Techniques
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

  • Tools
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

  • Tools
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

  • Finishing
  • Tools
  • Techniques
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

  • Tools
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

  • Techniques
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

  • Wood
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

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

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

  • Turning
  • Tools
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

  • Finishing
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

  • Carpentry
  • Other
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

  • Finishing
Joe Barry, Herm Finkbeiner
September, 2006

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

  • Furniture
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

  • Tools
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

  • Outdoor
Al Breed, Jon Siegel, Brad Vietje
June, 2006

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

  • Turning
  • Wood
DJ Delorie, Dave Anderson, Jon Siegel
June, 2006

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

  • Jigs/Fixtures
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

  • Techniques
  • Furniture
Steve Olesin
April, 2006

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

  • Tools
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

  • Tools
Bob LaCivita
February, 2006

What would be a basic cabinetmakers tool kit? – Anon

  • Tools
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

  • Wood
  • Furniture
  • Finishing
DJ Delorie, Roy Noyes
September, 2005

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

  • Wood
  • Techniques
  • Furniture
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

  • Finishing
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

  • Tools
  • Sharpening
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

  • Wood
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

  • Finishing
Bruce Hamilton, Bill Newbold, Al Breed, Marty Milkovits, DJ Delorie
February, 2005

I turned a bowl (finished with buffing and wax only) which my wife liked and she put some fruit in it. The fruit never got eaten and spoiled staining the bowl. How do I get the stain out? – Dave Frechette

  • Turning
  • Finishing
Marty Milkovits, Al Breed
February, 2005

I recently cut some tiger maple on my table saw and got a lot of chipping. What is the best way to cut figured wood on a table, band or scroll saw? – Dave Frechette

  • Techniques
Bruce Hamilton
November, 2004

I’d like to master brushing polyurethane but it always seems to produce small bubbles in the finish for me. I use a good badger brush, a good poly (Moser’s Simple Success II), and I thin to as much as 50/50 and still can’t get the perfect finish. What am I doing wrong? - Ed.

  • Finishing
David Lamb
November, 2004

A breadboard table top must allow for seasonal expansion and contraction across its width. Is there a preferred method of attaching the breadboard ends to the main portion of the top and how much movement should be expected? - Ed.

  • Wood
  • Furniture
Al Breed, Jon Siegel
November, 2004

I’ve tried several approaches to sharpening a turning gouge – all with poor results. I’ve tried grinding free hand, polishing on a buffer, and honing on a flat surface. I’m looking for the equivalent of a consistent factory grind but with a razor sharp edge. What is the best way to do this? - Ed.

  • Sharpening
  • Turning
  • Tools