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41
votes
6answers
17k views

How do I prevent dangerous kickback on a table saw?

When cutting a board on the table saw the workpiece can sometimes be flung away from the saw at great (and dangerous) speeds. What techniques or equipment can reduce the chances of kickback?
38
votes
9answers
68k views

When using a hand saw, how do I cut a straight line?

When I'm using my hand saw to make various cuts, I find it extremely difficult to make a straight cut. Where am I going wrong, what I am missing that the pros seem to have down?
35
votes
4answers
26k views

What's the purpose of raising the grain before finishing a furniture piece?

I'm currently working on a entry bench in black walnut. I'm wondering if I should raise the grain before finishing my bench or not. In the past, I haven't done so. I've heard that it's better to ...
33
votes
5answers
53k views

What is the difference between a rip-cut and a cross-cut?

In this answer talks about rip and crosscuts and that one saw is better for ripping than one that is more suited for crosscutting. What is the difference between the 2 cuts and why would a saw-blade ...
30
votes
5answers
47k views

What advantages does a dust collector have over a shop vac?

From what I know, dust collectors are generally quieter, hold more chips, and can support a larger hose than a shop vac. Besides this, are there any advantages related to suction? Can dust collectors ...
28
votes
8answers
20k views

What is the recommended height of the blade on a table saw while operating?

I have been watching a lot of videos lately about table saws. In those videos I usually see cuts are being made with the blade just barely clearing the piece. For example: Image from HammerZone ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

Routing boards without burn

It seems when I utilize routers, they always seem to burn the edge of the board at some point in the cut. I believe I am cutting at a relatively even speed (though this is obviously subjective). My ...
27
votes
11answers
7k views

Why do I go through so many philips bits?

When fastening 2x lumber I keep grinding down the bits. I predrill a hole and a push hard as I can on my hammer drill but still wreck the bit. I'm using 2.5" gold screws. Can anyone help with a better ...
27
votes
3answers
4k views

When, if ever, is it safe to use gloves with power tools?

I don't use gloves when operating my power tools, but I know a few people who do--for instance, when operating a router with two hands (not in a router table). Is this safe, and if so, what other ...
26
votes
18answers
27k views

How can I store hand tools so they won't rust?

I currently have a small set of hand tools, but do not use some very often. One hand saw that I own (stored on a shelf with my other tools in the basement) has rusted quite a bit on the blade, and I ...
26
votes
4answers
6k views

What is special about wood glue?

Whenever I'm joining wood together, no matter what type of joint, I turn to wood glue. But there are other glues out there, such as epoxies and Gorilla Glue. It seems the alternatives are very strong ...
26
votes
6answers
89k views

How do I achieve a “piano black” high gloss finish on wood?

I'm building some speaker cabinets for my living room out of MDF. I'm wondering how to achieve that "high gloss" / "piano black" look, like on B&W speakers or, well, black pianos... Any ideas? I'...
25
votes
8answers
32k views

How can I join two boards at the ends?

I want to join two boards end-to-end, effectively making a longer board. Thus, the glue will be on the end grain of both pieces (highlighted blue.) (Source: self) I know that an end-grain butt joint ...
25
votes
5answers
3k views

How can I prepare the end grain for stain, so that its final appearance matches the rest of the wood?

Despite doing a great deal of sanding on the end grain, and getting it just as smooth as the rest of the wood, it always soaks up more stain than the rest, and turns out much darker and different. Is ...
24
votes
5answers
9k views

How do I prevent chipping when cutting a veneered counter top with a circular saw?

I bought a fake butcher block counter from Ikea which is really a veneer over particle board. No matter how I cut it, I can't seem avoid slight chips in the veneer. I'm using a 7 1/4" circular saw ...
24
votes
8answers
32k views

Stain then glue, or vice-versa?

After you've fabricated your pieces, is it better to "glue-up", then stain? Or is it better to stain first, then glue? What's a good rule-of-thumb?
22
votes
3answers
5k views

Which type of drill bit for which jobs?

I was looking at a 35 piece wood drill bit set in an online shop Although only Forstner bits are present for larger size holes, the size ranges overlap so .. If I want to drill a 10mm hole I have a ...
22
votes
7answers
10k views

How should I dispose of sawdust safely?

My workshop is more accurately termed my garage, with a small table saw, radial saw and a router table that I built. I don't have a central dust collection, and only the radial saw has any dust ...
22
votes
2answers
10k views

Is it safe to resaw on a table saw?

I have been under the impression that if you want to resaw lumber, the tool of choice is a bandsaw. I don't have a bandsaw, but I do have a contractor-style table saw. However, I have read elsewhere ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

How do I sharpen a chisel/plane blade?

I'm getting started with woodworking and am looking to refine my technique for sharpening chisel/plane blades. Currently, I just have a cheap double-sided water stone, but am now looking to get a "...
21
votes
4answers
5k views

How do I clamp box joints?

When making box joints, per a number of articles I've read, I've left the fingers a touch longer than the thickness of the board. So if I'm making joints on 1/4" plywood, my fingers might be 5/16" ...
21
votes
5answers
4k views

When should I use a Jointer vs. a Planer?

I am fairly new to woodworking and just starting to outfit my shop with power tools. One area that I find confusing is the use case for a jointer vs. a planer. Both tools seem to have very similar ...
21
votes
5answers
2k views

In what cases is it useful to have more than one of the same tool?

For the purposes of this question, please note that I am not asking for general advice on buying tools, but rather, I'm trying to identify the cases in which it may be practical and useful to have two ...
21
votes
2answers
24k views

How do bench dogs work?

At my woodshop, a lot of the workbenches have holes in the tops. I'm told these are for "bench dogs". What are bench dogs and how do they work? Why they're called "dogs".
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Can 160-year-old wood still have sap?

I bought a dining table and it was claimed that the table top was made from reclaimed wood from a 160-year-old Douglas Fir log. The table top is still seeping out sap. Is this even possible from ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

Can clamps be too tight?

When gluing pieces together, I've always used an abundance of clamps and tightened them with all my might. Is it possible to tighten them too much? At some point, could I squeeze out so much glue that ...
21
votes
2answers
2k views

Is sanding along the grain important?

I've heard from various sources that you must always sand in the direction of the grain. Is this always true? Does it depends on the sanding paper's grit, tool used or the wood being sanded? What ...
20
votes
6answers
7k views

How do I make a drill hole the same depth every time?

My drill press doesn't have a "stop". How do I make a drill hole the same depth every time?
20
votes
7answers
8k views

What are some safe finishes for indoor projects likely to be chewed on by a young child or infant?

I'm going to be putting together a crib for over the next few months for our first child. I found a blog that mentions shellac. Only, it doesn't exactly say that shellac is safe, only that it is ...
20
votes
3answers
22k views

Why a zero clearance insert?

I sometimes see woodworkers talking about a zero-clearance insert for their table- or band-saws. What is it? And why/when should I use one?
20
votes
3answers
12k views

How do I determine what type of wood a board/plank is made from?

I get wood from many places, including pallets. Often the wood will be of several varieties. By matching color and grain style, I can group similar types of recovered wood planks together. How do I ...
19
votes
7answers
9k views

What can I do to eliminate drift when cutting with my bandsaw?

I recently purchased my first Band saw and am loving its versatility for making curved cuts even in thick wood. However, when it comes to situations where I need a precisely straight line, for example ...
19
votes
8answers
9k views

How do I ensure my drill is perfectly vertical before cutting a hole in my desk?

I want to cut a hole in my desk (3/4" furniture grade plywood with an oak veneer) to run cables through. I'll be using a hole saw and my cordless drill. Since this is going to be very visible, I want ...
19
votes
9answers
18k views

How can you make a square without a square?

There are many tutorials on making a square to check that corners are 90 degrees, but they all require you to use a square to check. So how can you make a square, without using a square? How were ...
19
votes
8answers
95k views

How do you straighten/bend wood planks without removing any material?

I have some 6' long 2"x12" planks of douglas fir that dried into a twist, I need to straighten it out but I don't want to plane this any thinner. So basically I'm trying to bend the board back into ...
19
votes
2answers
22k views

What are the advantages of countersinking screws?

What are the advantages of drilling a countersink rather than just trying to force the screw head past the plane of the wood? What are situations when you would or would not countersink?
19
votes
4answers
5k views

What types of food-safe finishes work best for protecting wood that will be outdoors?

I am building some garden boxes out of Cedar. I'd like to protect them so that the wood lasts longer, but I am concerned about certain finishes that might leach contaminants into the soil. Is there ...
19
votes
4answers
38k views

Why and when should I wear a dust mask?

I'm a handy man with limited woodworking projects these days. I mostly use a circular saw, jig saw, and orbital sander to make crude storage. Sometimes I cut MDF, etc. I've seen it mentioned ...
19
votes
2answers
7k views

When should I use a spiral router bit?

Straight-cut router bits come with blades with three broad shapes: straight, down-spiral, and up-spiral from left to right, straight blade, down-spiral blade, and up spiral blade, from amazon.com ...
19
votes
5answers
4k views

How can you stabilize green wood after turning it on a lathe?

I've turned a few things green on a lathe and I expected them to to do odd things, and they warped and/or cracked. But what useful techniques are out there that this could be minimized or even ...
18
votes
3answers
5k views

How can I attach a solid table top to perpendicular cross rails?

I plan to build a coffee table following plans in Fine Woodworking. In the article, the author uses a plywood top, but I already have solid lumber that I'd like to use. Source: me, based on plans in ...
18
votes
7answers
13k views

What is the difference between “curing” and “drying”?

When learning about different finishes, some resources talk about the finish's drying time, such as this Zinsser Shellac. The shellac dries to the touch in 15 minutes and can be re-coated in 45 ...
18
votes
5answers
4k views

How do experts make dovetails by hand that fit so well?

I keep coming across various YouTube videos of experts making dovetail joinery by hand, and they get tolerances of the 1/16" of an inch or less. What I don't understand is how they get such accuracy ...
18
votes
3answers
3k views

Perfect miters every time

I'm using a table saw to make picture frames with mitered corners. It turns out that even tiny inaccuracies in the miter angle or the lengths of the frame pieces cause gaps that make a frame look ...
18
votes
5answers
3k views

What is the normal end-of-life for a bandsaw blade?

I suppose there are two alternatives for the death of a bandsaw blade: The blade breaks. The teeth get noticeably dull and the blade is discarded. I have never experienced scenario #2 but I've ...
18
votes
7answers
13k views

How do I shop for lumber to use in home wood working projects?

When I took wood working as a student, I learned to finish rough wood - cut it to rough size, joint it, plane it, rip and cross/cut on a table saw, etc. As much as I'd love to own large versions of ...
18
votes
4answers
6k views

How does one aggressively sharpen chisels and plane irons when damaged?

I have a lot of finds from garage sales and from picking out tools from my grandfather's old shop. While he mostly keeps his tools in great working order he had some that I would guess he didn't feel ...
18
votes
2answers
670 views

How do I know it's time to replace my circular saw blade?

I only use my table saw and circular saw, both with ripping blades, a few times a year. How can I tell when it's time to replace them? I imagine I'm not going to lose them to wear, but then again, ...
18
votes
2answers
104k views

Can I apply water-based polyurethane over an oil based stain?

I recently finished a dresser top in a very light gray oil based stain. Afterwards I applied a water based matte poly, because I didn't want any yellow tint to show on the light gray color (see this ...
18
votes
1answer
15k views

Is working with MDF going to kill me?

MDF is pretty cool stuff. Been around for a fair amount of time now. Stuff is used lots now and days. Dimensionally stable and cost effective for a great deal of projects. Problem is that MDF is made ...

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