Wood Talk No. 145

August 21, 20130 Comments

On today’s show, we’re talking about design aspects of a project, which replacement hand planes to buy, how much camber on a Jack plane blade and Waterlox.

Wood Talk

What’s New?

  • Justin“I came across Ben Orford on YouTube making a spatula on a kick-Ass looking shave horse and thought you’d appreciate it.” Ben Orford YouTube Channel.
  • Stephen – sent a link for www.opendesk.cc

Josh, Brian and Lamar all sent in kickback about our Flammable’s question from last week, but Josh said it best!

After your discussion of flammables storage in episode #144, I thought I’d throw in my two cents on fire safety for the woodshop, since firefighting is my day job. Disclaimer, this advice applies to hobbyist workshops only, commercial shops should follow applicable local fire codes.

A less expensive option for a flammables cabinet is to manufacture one yourself out of wood. Manufactured out of 1″ plywood with rabbeted joints and painted with inflammable paint, these will provide excellent protection and can meet OSHA and NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) standards for flammables storage. You can find the specifications in NFPA #30 – Flammable and Combustible Liquids Code. As an aside, most people don’t understand that flammables cabinets are primarily intended to keep the contents stored within from providing additional fuel to an exterior fire, however an airtight cabinet can slow or contain small contents fires. One option would be to add sheetrock to the interior as it’s an excellent heat insulator.

Some other fire safety tips:

Keeping your shop clean is your primary defense against fire. Disposing of dust and chips will mitigate easily ignited fuels, and storing oily rags in approved containers or spreading them out on concrete to dry will eliminate that potential ignition source.

An inexpensive ABC rated extinguisher is important to have and they should be located near an exit. Many local fire departments offer training in fire extinguisher use, allowing people a chance to practice using one on fire before they need to. When you have the emergency is not the time to be reading the outside of the extinguisher for the first time.

Fire alarms are an excellent tool for early detection of a fire, especially if your shop is connected to a living area like most garage renovations are. However smoke detectors (photo-ionization) are a poor choice for a dusty environment, since they can’t tell the difference between smoke particles and airborne dust. A heat detector (rate of rise) will provide early detection, while minimizing the chance of false alarms. Another excellent option is a smoke detector on the house side of the door leading to the garage.

For new construction, residential fire sprinklers have been proven to save lives and limit property damage at minimal cost when compared to the costs of construction, it’s worth investigating.

Lamar also sent a link to an article for a shop made flammables cabinet www.americanwoodworker.com.


  • Dustin“As much as I love the actual work in woodworking, I’m equally interested in the design aspect of a project. I think this is the one aspect that majorly differentiates an excellent project from a very amateur one. My question to you all is this: when you look at a project, what are the features that you see that make it “look right”? I’ve seen professional-level stuff that had crazy-difficult joinery and techniques, but didn’t look good to my eye, and I’ve seen people screw pallet wood together to make a chair that looked really good. What are the practices that you use in designing your own stuff to make it look good?”
  • RobertI have several hand planes that I have rescued and eventually will restore them. They vary from a Craftsman / Dunlap #5 to a #5 Bailey and also a #8 Keen Kutter. Since I will more than likely have to mail order the irons when the time comes how do I know what to order.
  • ChrisI just bought a Stanley S5 steel body jack plane from my local Habitat for Humanity restore. It came with 2 irons and 2 chip breakers. How should I sharpen the irons to get the most versatility out of my new plane? I’d like to sharpen each of the blades for different jobs. Should I have one straight blade and one cambered? What types of work would I use each blade for? How much camber should I sharpen it to? What radius?
  • Matt H.I am finishing our new home in qtr sawn white oak. I am considering fuming then top-coating with Waterlox finish. It appears to be an oil/resin that is used in the marine industry. They (company website) state that it can be renewed/refreshed with a simple top coat. I like that better than having to sand/strip poly off in 15 years. If it works out it may become my “go to” finish. Do any of you have experience with this product? Any recommendations?

Comments, questions or topic suggestions?

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