Q&A Podcast

Q&AI thought it might be interesting to do a Q & A type podcast episode. Project podcasts are fun, but they can take a lot of time to put together, because, well, I have to complete the project. Technique videos are great too, but I have covered quite a few of those already as well. I’m not saying that I won’t be doing any more project or technique videos in the future. However, I don’t have any immediate projects that I’m working on for the podcast and I’m not sure what techniques folks would like to see demonstrated that haven’t already been done on the podcast. So I’m turning to you for ideas. What do you want to see? What woodworking questions do you have that you’d like to see on a Q & A type show? I think this could be a fun format for an episode, or maybe even a series of episodes if I get enough questions. So ask away and we’ll see where this goes.


29 thoughts on “Q&A Podcast

  1. I myself would be interested in several things, like the pole lathe and the shave horse. Maybe some about how you built them including plan links if possible as well as showing some actual uses for these two tools.

    Another one of interest to me, how to fix booboos. LOL I have plenty of information using power tools, such as the dust from the sander and glue trick. But what about hand tool ways of fixing things.

    One last one for now, I know every wood worker has his or her own way of doing dovetails. In fact ask 3 woodworkers about dovetails and get 8 answers. But how do you go about doing them? A 15 min podcast on showing in detail the various kinds of dovetails, why those and how you do it would be nice.

  2. I’ll second the request for an episode on the pole lathe. I’d be more interested in the use of the pole lathe, like using the dreaded skew chisel. There’s so little info I’ve been able to find on pole lathe turning, and I feel that it’s so much different than power lathe turning or even turning on the treadle lathe for that matter.

      • Yeah, I’ve been promising something on the pole lathe for awhile. I’ve put it off because I’m really a pretty lousy turner. Plus, like Jamie, I’ve not found a lot of information on USING a pole lathe. Plenty on building them, but turning on them is much different than turning on a ‘lectric lathe, or even a flywheel treadle lathe. So it’s been more or less trial and error for me as there’s little to no literature on actually using these things.

        Ironically, I may have to replace my pole lathe with a flywheel lathe as long periods on my pole lathe tend to aggravate an old hockey knee injury, making it uncomfortable for me just to walk for a day or two after. The flywheel lathe might be a bit less stressful on my knee based upon input from Shannon Rogers & my limited use of one at the museum I volunteer at. We’ll see. I’ll certainly do something on the pole lathe before it makes its departure from the shop though.

  3. I’m doing more and more of my woodworking by hand and I really enjoy it. That being said, I don’t finish at the rate I did when using power. I’m not really looking for short cuts but I’d love to have more data on how long certain tasks take. Ripping a 24” board, cutting dovetails on a 4” deep drawer, cutting 8 mortises and 8 tenons (I’m sure I could keep going and going with tasks). Sometimes I only get 30 minutes in my shop and knowing what I can start and finish gives me a better idea of what to tackle. Also, I feel like I’m still learning and knowing what an experienced woodworker takes to finish a task gives me something to work towards.

  4. I can’t remember if I read it here, or maybe a post of yours on SMC, but I remember you commenting on the usefulness of in-cannel gouges, and I’ve recently become quite enamored with the set I recently got on the eBay (turns out there are still some good deals on eBay if you’re willing to purchase from England!) if my admittedly sketchy memory isn’t deceiving me and it was you that had expressed a fondness for these, I’d love to hear your comments on these, both in use, and maintenance/sharpening/rehabbing.

  5. Assuming you’ve used it a bit, I’d also love to hear further thoughts on the resaw frame saw you discussed earlier – it seems these got a lot of press in the blog-o-sphere a while back, but I haven’t heard much noise about them lately (although I don’t read a lot of blogs, either) One thing in particular that struck me was that Tom Fidgen’s most recent book, he made a saw for resawing, but he went with a higher tooth count (5ppi if I remember correctly) than either your or the Renaissance Woodworker used. Having some mileage under your belt, is there anything you’d change about your saw? How are you feeling about the length and tooth count, particularly?

  6. I wouldn’t mind seeing techniques for making dadoes, rebates, simple profiles, etc when you lack the proper period tool. Also maybe a show on what affordable current production tools can be substituted for period tools (eg. dado and half round planes). I do enjoy watching you use period tools, but locating them in good condition can be a full time job and break the piggy bank, especially for us on the left coast where they all have to be imported.

  7. I would be interested in how you would approach an overlay drawer front with a fingernail profile.and half blind dovetails. Specifically what molding plane would you use and what would be the sequence you would use in building it. I have been trying to wrap my mind around the correct steps and tools to use.

    • That’s a good idea. I have a nice Miller’s Falls eggbeater with a busted handle and I would like to fix it, but I don’t have a set-up for turning a new handle. I was thinking of doing something along the lines of Bob’s chisel handle video.

  8. Not really a Q&A type thing, but I keep hoping to see the rest of the Ball and Claw process. How the toes are shaped, etc.

  9. How about discussing how different woods react with each other or with your tools? I’m thinking along the lines of pointing out types of wood that react badly in contact with one another or with tools. For example, iron and oak causing black staining.

  10. I am started to do more dovetail joinery, and one area I would like to see discussed is how to cut a dovetail, and still compensate for the groove to accept the draw bottom. I am having difficulty getting this right, and I am sure you could do an episode that would clear this up for me.


  11. You’ve covered a lot of basic (and not so basic) joinery. I think a useful expansion of this would be showing how and why these joints need to be modified in certain contexts. Examples would be how/when to use double or twin (or angled) mortise and tenons or how to modify dovetails to hide other joinery, such as rabbets or grooves. Things like mitered ends or half thickness tails.

    I love the podcasts – they’ve been incredibly helpful to me over the years.

  12. Thanks everyone! All of these are great ideas! In fact, some could actually be a series of episodes on their own. I’ve been fighting a bad stomach bug for almost a week now, but as soon as I’m back in the shop, I’ve got a few ideas from all of your suggestions that I think I’ll start working on. Stay tuned!

  13. A previous poster mentioned in-cannel gouges and I would also be interested in learning anything you can tell me about gouges. I compare some vintage gouges I own to new gouges and the old ones have such thick shoulders compared to the new ones. Especially, compared to new carving gouges.

    I have an old James Swan gouge and the shoulders are massively thick. I wonder what they were thinking, what they designed this gouge for. And I have Buck Brothers gouges and the vintage ones are pretty thick, but nothing like the Swan. Then I look at a modern Pfiel carving tool, and there is essentially no shoulder, just a line down the edge of the blade.

    Chirs Pye talks about removing the corners on the bevel so the thicker section of the blade doesn’t jam in the wood and prevent the edge from continuing forward. The vintage gouges are a good example I think. Maybe they were not made for carving. I’m sure I don’t even understand what they were designed for and how they should be used.

    • Those aren’t carving gouges. They’re firmer gouges. Think firmer chisels vs. carving chisels. They had thin fine carving gouges too. The good old ones typically sell for more than modern good new ones. Look at the old Addis carving chisels to see a good comparison.

      • So, maybe a podcast on this, but how were firmer gouges used. I have some I picked up, some have handles that indicate they were for use by hand and others have handles for striking. They made them quite large, too, compared to most modern ones. If they were not made for carving or for turning, I am at a loss to imagine how they were used.

        • Think Jack plane vs smooth plane. Carving chisels are for really fine detailed work. Firmer gouges are for rougher work, like say roughing in a gooseneck molding, or hogging out a bowl or spoon. They’d be used before finer tools. I’ll definitely do a gouge podcast. No worries.

  14. That could be a mini series on itself. Looking at the used tool market and what you are looking for vs what you should run from and why.

  15. This is a great podcast idea. As a fairly inexperienced woodworker, I have lots of questions. I am sorry if some of these seem extremely basic:

    On Wood:
    What are some good primary and secondary woods for working with hand tools?
    How do you pick out lumber in the rough?
    How can you identify quarter sawn vs. plain sawn lumber in the rough?
    How do I estimate/plan for wood movement?
    How do you lay out different pieces of your project on a board?

    On Design:
    What are some basic design principles to keep in mind when starting a project?
    How do you proportion different pieces of a project (i.e. apron width to leg width, table height to leg width, drawers to each other on a case, etc.)?
    What is the best way to make a story stick from a plan on paper?

    On Tools:
    What are some tricks for using dividers for layout & basic geometry?
    How do you know when you are ready to transition from a Jack/Fore to a Jointer/Try to a Smoothing Plane?
    How do you know when to sharpen your tools?

    On Joints & Construction:
    How do you correct over cutting a tenon?
    How do you correct over cutting a mortise?
    How do you cut a sliding dovetail by hand?
    How do you choose how many pins to cut on a case side or drawer side?
    What are some different ways to make tapered table legs by hand?
    What is the best way to reverse and fix a poor hide glue joint?
    When can I use nails vs. wood to wood joints?

    On Finishing:
    What are some good period finishes?
    How do you choose what finish is best for a project?
    What finishes work well together, and what combinations should be avoided?
    What are some different ways to apply finishes?
    What is the best way to clean up after different finishes?
    What preparation needs to be done to the wood prior to finishing?

  16. Hey Bob,
    mm you are probably tired of all the suggestions by now. I remember the podcast about choosing one’s first chisels, since you have covered many of the basic tool & techniques. I would second a podcast on choosing more advanced chisels/gouges and perhaps something on paring techniques (I have searched a many other blogs and not found that much on paring technique other than PBS WWS, and way too much on planing anything/everything). Also I would second a session on mixing of different woods appropriately, why and where and where you found not to.
    Love the podcast & Blog.

  17. Bob,
    I cannot top Thomas above, but I wonder about knowing when to stop and resharpen the chisel or saw. Of the two, knowing when the saw needs resharpening is more difficult for me. I realize it is a feel, not easily taught or demonstrated on a Q&A, but that issue bedevils me.

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