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Woodworking Tips
Especially for the solo professional woodworker

Many of the techniques that a hobby woodworker uses are no longer appropriate for the working professional, or even someone working professionally part-time. For example, a finish that requires days to dry in a dust-free room is not practical - you may need or want to use your shop for another project before the varnish is dry. These are some of the lessons learned as a "full-time" solo woodworker.. or at least a retired guy who does this every day.

How big a shop do you need, if you become a professional?

A discussion of stationary saws - especially those with round spinny blades. Also, is the bandsaw a necessary machine? (Some say it is the most important machine.) And what kind of Bandsaw should you have? Once you have a bandsaw, how do you use it for resawing?

There is no one perfect glue, but many choices for different purposes. Many of the glue choices are discussed.

How to buy hardwood - the mystery of the board foot, and how to look smart at the lumber yard.

Building your furniture doors, with a spreadsheet to calculate the components of a five piece door, and implied hints about building doors.

There is a detailed discussion of drawers and drawer hardware, as well as an analysis of build vs. buy for drawer boxes.

Shapers are covered, as well as a comparison between a router table and simple shaper. The second part of the page is a discussion of shaper cutters.

Commercial grade woodworking machinery often is powered by three phase power, as contrasted to the single phase power we use in our homes. I have tried to define it in enough detail to make you an intelligent user, without putting you to sleep, and have reviewed some of the alternatives for getting three phase power.

I am not a finishing expert... Not a Jeff Jewitt, expert on applying finishes, nor an expert on finish chemistry like Chris Minick or Jeff Weiss. But as I build custom furniture, I have developed some strong feelings about finishes. These notes are based on many Internet forum discussions, my experiences, and discussions in our woodworking club and in demos at the local Woodcraft store. There is a page on finishing overview and options, followed by a separate page on rubbing out the finish to various sheens, a page on lacquer including water-based acrylic lacquer (guess what finish I recommend), and a page on spraying, with a short page on sprayer choices.

No topic gets as many strong but conflicting opinions as dust collection. Hopefully this dust collection page is a calm collection of the underlying facts, not pronouncements of irrefutable logic that nobody else believes.

Going Green is a popular rallying cry. There are issues in growing lumber, the environmental impact of the factory (your shop), and the end-user environment, such as product "emissions" and safety. This isn't the answer to all questions or issues (that could be a lifetime career), but brings together some of the hotter issues I hear.

I welcome your suggestions on topics that you would like,