Woodworking Projects

STL276: Too flawless to cut

Gary Rogowski joins Vic and Ben to discuss the important parts of a mortise and tenon joint, using rope in place of clamps, and that board you wind up carrying around for the rest of your life instead of using it.

Oct 07, 2022

Click here for more information on Gary’s online mastery program.

Question 1:

From Justin: I’m currently building a wall-mounted stanchion style bookshelf/desk, and was thinking about tenon lengths (as one may do when there are 27 mortise and tenon joints to cut, fit, and draw bore) Does the species of wood determine how short or long of a tenon you can use to maintain structural integrity and usability of a project? For instance, I would feel much more confident in a shorter tenon in Oak than I would in cedar or sugar pine. I also had similar thoughts on the overall thickness of the tenon. Thoughts? Reactions? Ponderings? Musings? Unrelated banter spurred on by thinking of said question?” All are welcome. Thanks!

Question 2:

From Devin: In the past I’ve heard many a STL host recommend one or another aspect of Japanese woodworking technique. Laminated chisels, pull saws, wooden planes have all made the list. One thing I’ve not heard about is the use of cord or rope as a way of clamping mitered boxes and drawers. Has anyone had any experience with that method? I’ve only ever seen it mentioned in videos of Japanese cabinetmakers. Basically the craftsperson takes a long length of twine or cord and wraps it, many times, around a glue up, ties a quick knot and sets it aside. No fussy bar clamps. No marring ratchet straps. No slipping corner clamps. I’ve tried it on some small boxes using para cord with great success. Any reason why more people do not use, or talk, about this as an option? Or has my selective hearing struck again and just missed the right episodes. Love the show. Keep up the great content.

Make a Tourniquet to Clamp Segmented Rings

Rather than purchasing a number of band clamps or big hose clamps for assembling segmented rings for the bowls I turn, I use 1⁄8-in.-dia. cord, twisted tight with a 1⁄4-in.…


Vic: All-time favorite tool – Jigs. Ya… jigs. Ben: All-time favorite tool – A crazy high work surface Gary: All-time favorite tool – 1/2-in. chisel

Question 3:

From Zachary: I was able to purchase two sapele boards, and one genuine teak board for about 30% of what I would have paid at my local hardwood dealer. The boards are ten feet long, 8/4 kiln dried stock. One of the sapele boards is 11.5” wide, and the other has a beautiful ribbon figure and is 6” wide. The teak board is also 6” wide. Being new and still getting a handle on my skills, I’m admittedly a bit intimidated by these boards; I want to do them justice.

Question 1: When you were starting out, were you ever intimidated by a gorgeous or expensive piece of wood? I’m planning on stowing these away until I feel my skills can do these works of nature justice.

Question 2: Do you ever put wood away and keep it for that one “special” project even if you don’t know what it is yet?

Question 3: What do you think would be the best way to employ the sapele? I was thinking shop sawn veneers?

Question 4: What are your thoughts on the “right” length of boards for storage? I’d really like to cut them down to 8 at least, but 10 foot long pieces of 8/4 Sapele and teak don’t come along every day. Also, I’ve heard Mike say in the past he doesn’t see a reason to keep anything longer than an 8 ft board, and that’s for a table.

Wood hoarding

If, like Vic Tesolin, you can’t help keeping all those scraps around, it helps to have a system.

Every two weeks, a team of Fine woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to  [email protected]  for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our  iTunes page .

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