17 votes
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What is the difference between hardwood and softwood?

Hardwood is usually from a deciduous tree and softwood is usually from a coniferous one. Hardwoods typically have a higher density (hence hardwood). Seriously? For the most part that is the general ...
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  • 20.1k
10 votes
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Filling gaps/seams in a new cherry tabletop

This was then glued onto a plywood top. This isn't what you asked about but you might want to stop right there. You will likely run into problems if you glued solid wood firmly to a dimensionally ...
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  • 58.6k
9 votes
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Should you always use Pre-Stain?

It depends. On blotch prone woods such as pine, poplar, cherry, and maple, yes. On oak and walnut, it depends. A pre-stain conditioner can limit absorption and therefore the shade of the stain - it ...
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  • 1,176
9 votes
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Respirator: do not use for hardwoods?

The fact that there is any warning at all probably has to do with the fact that the mask's rating is only FFP2 and it can only filter 94% of dust particles, whereas other masks can filter 99% or more. ...
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  • 18.6k
8 votes

How do I make a table top from oak 1" x 4"

@bowlturner gives some excellent suggestions. Let me just add a few things: Be sure to use cauls. They are pieces of wood laid across the top of the boards being joined to keep them aligned (and to ...
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  • 4,146
7 votes

Respirator: do not use for hardwoods?

Masks rated for less than P100 are not recommended for hardwoods since hardwoods produce smaller, finer dust particles than softwoods. As each tooth cuts the wood, the depth of cut for a hardwood is ...
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7 votes
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What steps should one take to avoid spalting when drying timber?

The broader question here is what steps should one take to preclude spalting when drying wood? Spalting, as you probably know, is the result of fungal attack on the wood. Wikipedia lists several ...
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7 votes
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What's a reliable measure of wood hardness?

Technically hardwood comes from angiosperm trees, softwood comes from gymnosperm trees. So (mostly) if the tree has leaves it is hardwood, if it has needles it is softwood. This means that some '...
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7 votes

Sanding woods of different hardnesses perfectly flat

My other option might be to glue a rougher grit paper to a large flat board and use this combined with a lot of elbow grease to smooth it out. If you use the right abrasive and the right strategy ...
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  • 58.6k
6 votes

Do I need to seal the ends of hardwood fence boards?

Yes you absolutely want to treat the ends of fence boards, even if they don't face upwards but especially if they do. Typically you wouldn't use anything different on them, just coat with the same ...
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6 votes
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How do I make a table top from oak 1" x 4"

Well I would tend to use my biscuit joiner to join all the pieces. Try to avoid flat sawn pieces in the middle of the table top and if you have flat sawn lumber then make sure you alternate the ...
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  • 15k
6 votes

How can I dye my hardwood inside deeply so I can laminate something like this?

The handle in your photo is laminated, each colored strip was individually dyed before the lamination process. It's been 40 years since I dyed wood but the process worked well. I made my own purfling ...
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  • 1,072
6 votes
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How to smooth out an inside cut?

Once you've sawn1 out the bulk of the waste some careful chisel and gouge work may get you most of the way there, after which the ideal tools for completing this sort of shaping is files. Needle files ...
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5 votes

What steps should one take to avoid spalting when drying timber?

Moisture is the largest contributor to wood spalting, especially maple. However, what you are doing will greatly reduce the risk. The only wood I have used so far that has spalted when kept in a ...
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  • 15k
5 votes

Creating a hollow, seamless box; CNC needed?

How seamless does this need to be? Cuts along the wood's grain can often be glued back together almost undetectably, if you're careful. Bent lamination could be done, but the connection to face and ...
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  • 9,091
5 votes

Would sandwiching MDF between two layers of hardwood make an acceptable workbench table?

Exterior doors for homes are made out of MDF with a lot less than a one inch hard wood veneer. It is reasonable to expect your table design would hold up to normal work bench usage. A better choice ...
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5 votes

Should you always use Pre-Stain?

Red Oak is an open pored wood vs. White Oak which is a closed pore wood. Using a pre-stain on red oak can help close the pores to reduce the stain absorbed. Here's a video by Bruce Johnson ...
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  • 15k
5 votes
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What are good reasons to return hardwood boards selected by a lumber yard?

If the lumberyard selected and delivered it, I would feel comfortable returning for exchange any pieces that I could not use due to either straightness or cosmetic defects. Some yard workers will use ...
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4 votes

Should you always use Pre-Stain?

I've read that wood conditioner (also known as pre-stain) helps prevent blotching, but it 'designed' for use with soft or porous wood. More accurately wood conditioners are designed for blotch-prone ...
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4 votes

Should you always use Pre-Stain?

While it will probably have a greater effect on softwoods, it certainly won't hurt to use it on hardwood. As minwax's faq says, hardwoods have more even pores and thus take stains better. Bear in mind,...
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  • 5,394
4 votes
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Should I seal my bed slats, and if yes, with what?

He thinks that the bed slats might warp if I don't use a sealer. A 'sealer' won't make much or any difference to this once the slats are fixed in place and in use. I use quotes above because the ...
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  • 58.6k
4 votes

What's a reliable measure of wood hardness?

Per your edit, you appear to be looking for e.g. Janka hardness, a standardized measure involving indenting a wood sample with a penetrator and measuring the force required to indent a standard amount....
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  • 910
4 votes
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Purpleheart sustainability and environmental responsibility

Purpleheart is not listed in the CITES Appendices or on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. So it would not be generally considered "endangered". My understanding is that in the environments ...
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4 votes
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Planing end grain - cheap vs more expensive wood

Planing end grain is not an easy task and getting a nice result should be taken as a good indicator of sharpness, especially in softwoods. It's impossible for most beginners and very difficult for a ...
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  • 58.6k
4 votes

How To fasten rubberwood desktop to electric motorized steel base, in easy detach/ knock-down way using Fasteners? e.g. Wood inserts?

I would thread holes into tabletop because I know this is strong enough because wood screws are strong enough for same purpose, and there is no insert. But if you choose inserts here is my answer. ...
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  • 1,843
4 votes

How to fill 2”x12” gap in hardwood floor with something that looks nice

Trim it out with a frame. It will be nearly impossible to satisfactorily match the grain and edges of the flooring. And you need the length for enough strength to hold onto the existing flooring and ...
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  • 6,164
4 votes
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Can you use a jointer and planer on hardwood with gnarls?

Board looks ok to me, ready to proceed to next step. I see tiny silvery flakes on the jointed surface, which I suppose were a part of the knives just moments ago Your knives may not be good quality! ...
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  • 1,843
3 votes

Filling gaps/seams in a new cherry tabletop

Depending on the size and how many gaps you have, you could try a Dutchman or Butterfly patch.
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  • 5,394
3 votes

How can I dye my hardwood inside deeply so I can laminate something like this?

Wood dyes can be very expensive or very reasonable. Check out suppliers such Transfast wood dyes which come in a powdered form and can be tinted darker by adding more dye to the liquid base. You can ...
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  • 7,824
3 votes

Should I use Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to remove pencil marks from unfinished wood?

Acetone is my go to for removing pencil marks - I'm not sure why you're having trouble with it. Perhaps the builder has left very heavy/deep marks? Water is fine to use on wood - I wouldn't leave it ...
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