Shop Tour

Working with Melamine

In this episode my wife coerces me into building some closet organizers for the kids' closets by threatening to buy them from a manufacturer of mass produced furniture. The solution? Make them out of melamine particleboard. I take time out after a glue-up to explain what you need to know when working with melamine particleboard.

Compensating for Bandsaw Blade Drift

This Straightedge Shop Tip addresses a phenomenon that all too often vexes woodworkers who are new to resawing on the band saw, sometimes frustrating and discouraging them to the point of giving up: band saw blade drift. This is unfortunate since being able to resaw effectively unlocks a door to new design options and even advanced techniques. The good news is that once you understands drift and how to compensate for it, you will be able to resaw with confidence.

Not Another Cards Scraper Video

If you have been getting less than satisfactory results with your card scraper, then perhaps this video is for you. Often it may seem that the process of preparing a card scraper is downright mystical, and that those can do it have some sort of magic. However I do not like mysticism and magic, and I find more often than not, that there is simply a single link missing in the chain that keeps woodworkers from getting shavings out of their card scrapers. Hopefully this video will help you flush out whatever is keeping you from getting those sought after shavings, and send you on your way to scraping utopia.


  • As fellow LumberJock Brian Grella astutely pointed out, I used no oil on the burnisher before using it on the card scraper. Although I seem to get away with not using oil, Brian is right; you should apply a thin coat of oil on the burnisher. Anything that is non-drying (e.g. not tung or linseed) will work. Just remember to wipe it off the scraper well so that it does not get into the wood.
  • It is not always clear in the video, but I always prepare all four edges of the card scraper. That way I can flip and rotate, using all four edges.
  • In the video I mentioned that, as part of my research for this video, I posted a forum question at LumberJocks asking woodworkers who do not use card scrapers why the do not. You can find that forum topic here. *I got the idea to use a grinder to prepare a course burr on a card scraper because this is the way (most) turners prepare their scrapers. A thicker card scraper is definitely better in this case, but the thickest you can usually buy or make out of an old saw is about 1/32" (or .8 mm). Although these will work, if you can find thicker, harder material, this method works even better. Look for worn out plane irons or worn out scraper blades from a Stanley #81, #12, or #112. If you really want to try this and do not mind spending a few bucks, try any of the Hock replacement blades for cabinet scrapers or scraper planes. I use a spare Hock replacement for a Stanley #80. I also noticed that you can get a Stanley replacement for much less, but I do not know if this one works as well.
  • My 'fine' method of preparing a card scraper is nothing new really, but I wanted to come up with a derivation that was quick, easy, and inexpensive. A file is about $6, and the PSA abrasives are about $3 per sheet (enough for 11 1" strips), and any steel rod that is smooth and harder than the card scraper will do as a burnisher.
  • I use 1/8" baltic birch, russian birch, or masonite (a.k.a. hardboard) as the substrait for my honing stick. I use 1/8" think so that they will fit into jigs that accept files, but if you are only interested in using them freehand and in a vice, then you can use a thicker substrait.

Router Inlay Basics

This episode of The Straightedge covers the essential knowledge and skills required to do router inlay. Router inlay is a fantastic way to embellish a project, and is not as hard as it may look.

Making Cove Moulding on the Table Saw

In this episode of the Straightedge, learn how to make large cove moulding on the table saw. No fancy machinery or fancy jigs are required. The technique I use in this video is slightly different that traditional methods and, I find, can be used to make a wide variety of profiles.


  • In the video I touch on two ways, in addition to the three table saw blade settings, to vary the resulting profile: 1) by varying the width when ripping the cove moulding stock in half, and 2) swapping the stock end-for-end and making a second pass. But there are other variations as well: 1) consider that the margins need not be the same width and consider what would happen if you swapped end-for-end when the margins were not equal width; 2) Consider rotating the cove moulding 90 degrees to get a very tall cove moulding and even make such compound moulding; 3) Consider making an asymmetrical profile and using either half for the top and bottom moulding. The variations are limited only my imagination.
  • I mention that my method is different than the "traditional" method of making cove moulding, but I do not intend to imply that the traditional method is inferior. On the contrary, it is preferred in cases, for instance, where there is a ceiling involved. I chose not to cover the traditional method because it is well covered elsewhere. The method in this video is not well covered, and creates moulding that are more appropriate for a lot of projects.

Turing Urban Lumber

Every day, in urban areas, trees are cut down for various reasons. These trees are a veritable treasure trove of lumber that can be reclaimed, as opposed to finding its way to the junk yard or fireplace. As well, many of the species of wood growing locally in your area may be otherwise unavailable from lumber suppliers. This episode covers the steps required to reclaim such wood for turning.


  • You can find the wall thickness chart mentioned in the video here. This chart is in PDF format, so that you can easily print it out and keep it by your lathe.
  • If, as I did when I started turning green wood, you do not have the patients to wait six months for your rough turnings to dry, check out this fine article by Dave Smith on alcohol drying. I have used this method with the same success as Dave. In most cases, the rough bowl blank will be ready within three weeks. Dave's article is also where I got the idea to cover only the bottom of a bowl blank with brown paper bag for drying.
  • I hesitate to make negative recommendations, but in this case it is significant enough, and I do not want to see fellow woodworkers get burned like I did. The recommendation is this: Do not buy a McCulloch chainsaw online. Mine went kaput about a month after I bought it, but that is not the problem. The problem is that their warranty process is not at all setup to deal with online purchases. I got the run around for over a year, trying to get it replaced or repaired, before giving up in exasperation.


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