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Posts Tagged ‘your questions about woodworking tools used’

Chris asks…

Psychology Question :) ?

You’re out hiking in a remote area when you are soaked by a sudden storm. You find shelter in an abandoned cabin in which you find a pile of 2X4 lumber (each board is 8 feet long), some very rusty carpenter’s tools, and some woodworking clamps. You decide to dry out your clothing, gear, and yourself by building a fire in the fireplace (your matches are dry).
It would be good if you could hang up your heavy, soaked coat so you decide to build a clothes rack to place near the fire. But you can’t find any nails, rope, or wire which you might use to build a sturdy enough structure to hold your wet coat, which must weigh a ton! As a responsible person, you don’t want to damage the cabin or its contents. Is there a solution to your dilemma?
Good answer :)

Dusty answers:

Yea hang the coat on one of the boards then lean the end of the board with the coat against the wall so it pins it on the board.

Most likely you would lay the coat by the fire on the ground though.

And if you really wanna get handy you can build a structure with boards and the clamps so that your coat hangs above the fire. I would not waste my time and energy doing this though depending on the situation I was in, how remote, and how many days hike out it was.

John asks…

USN Camillus Mark 2 Knife WWII… ?

I love this knife and it is one of the best tools I have for woodworking and camping. Unfortunately, the pommel has loosened over time and with use, and I do not know how to tighten it. What do I do???
If you have experience with knives of this kind, I can send pictures of the pommel attachment, etc. I cannot find any of this particular fashion…
Camillus Cutlery is no longer in operation.
It is my grandfathers from the Korean War, and as far as I can tell from research, it is a WWII USN Mark II.
Thanks for your input, I figured out the mechanism and resolved it for myself!

Again, thanks for your suggestions

Dusty answers:

You are probably talking about a Kabar Knive that was made for the Marine Corps and the Navy. If you can’t find someone who specializes in Camillus, look for the name ONTARIO KNIFE on the internet, both companies made them, if (indeed) they are not the same company.

If you can’t get it fixed, get a new Ontario knife. I don’t know what they did with their steel, but it is the easiest to sharpen and the strongest knife blade that I have ever used, I have had a few of them, but most of the time people want to buy them from me for more than I paid for them. Don’t get a Japanese look alike, they are junk.

Steven asks…

what should i make?

i have 3 large sheet of plywood my neighbor gave me and have no idea what to make

im 15 years old and woodworking inclined because my dad is a carpenter. he has alot of tools and im allowed to use them all so tell me something to make to waste some time with my friends large or small it doesnt matter as long as i can use it and have fun
i have already make a couple tree houses and many other things you would think a boy my age would have already made so give me something hard

Dusty answers:

Hope these give you some ideas.


How to make corn hole game boards

Rules of the game.


Laura asks…

KITCHEN CABINET REFACING:How to updated Kitchen Cabinets Refacing?

My next project is to update the kitchen cabinets. I plan to remove the trim strips, strip the carcases and restain and varnish the face frames. I will construct my own new doors and drawer fronts (perhaps the whole drawer). New hardware, different style doors (more of a craftsman style) and new color should look pretty good.

It is the sides of the cabinets that concern me. I don’t think they are even oak. I think the cabinet maker used fir plywood and an oak stain. In any case, they are pretty scroungy looking. They are also not perfectly flat. I am somewhat distrustful of the thin veneers on the market. I can resaw my own veneer and have an 18″ Rikon bandsaw for just that purpose. If I were to resaw a bunch of quartersawn oak into 8″ wide and 3/32″ thick strips, how would I stick them to the sides of the cabinets with any expectation of them staying put. Also, with wide strips of wood over plywood, what do I do about wood movement. Will my thick veneer buckle?

Finally, how do I smooth out the surface of the cabinet to create a flat gluing surface?

So, 4 questions:

1. Should I be so intimidated by the stick on veneers on the market?
2. How would I attach 3/32″ veneer to the sides of cabinets without uninstalling them.
3. What about wood movement in thick veneer?
4. How do I create a flat gluing surface.

many thanks,
P.S. I taught Industrial Arts for 8 years but never certified in woodworking. I was a plastics and metals kind of guy. I did get used to having those wonderful shops around for my own projects and have acquired some tools over the years.

Dusty answers:

Hi there nice to meet you again!!
You obviously know a good deal about woodworking, because you asked a lot of important questions that a beginner wouldn’t even begin to ponder. And it’s wise to consider all that you are thinking about, as all of this could prove problematic down the line. I’ll try to help with each questions you asked, so this may turn into a long answer.

1. Should I be so intimidated by the stick on veneers on the market? Yes, you should be a little intimidated by those veneers, but maybe not for the reasons you think. I have a fair amount of experience with these, and I have a couple of opinions. First, they’re pricey. Next, they stick like crazy, but CAN fail, meaning that they can bubble when you least expect it. It’s just my opinion, but they’re overpriced, and tricky to work with, so they wouldn’t be my first choice.

2. How would I attach 3/32″ veneer to the sides of cabinets without uninstalling them. Good question. I would guess that contact cement would just about be the only option you have, but once again, you’re going to have to be really careful to get it positioned right the first time. And this thickness of veneer can create movement problems, read below.

3. What about wood movement in thick veneer? I think this might not be as big a deal as one would first consider. Your plywood sides are pretty much stable, meaning they’ve acclimated to your kitchen environment. They probably don’t move much. It might be wise to bring the 3/32″ veneer inside for a while, and let it acclimate in the room, too, so that when you join the two materials, they’re both going to be a similar moisture contents, and movement will be reduced. Still- movement can happen. Using this veneer creates just as many problems as it solves. Keep reading…

4. How do I create a flat gluing surface. The veneer is going to be somewhat flexible, so the surface doesn’t have to be dead-on flat. And the contact cement will grab instantly, so it will compensate for any imperfections in the surfaces.

Roger, let’s talk about this project you’re going to undertake just a little bit. Taking off the doors and frames are going to leave you with just plain boxes that you want to get back into shape, right? You’re going to reapply a new face frame, too, right? And even perhaps rebuild all the drawers. This is a fairly large undertaking, and right off the top of my head, I can think of a few solutions to some of the problems that you are going to encounter. I’m going to throw a few things out there, and you can write back if you want to discuss them further.

Since you’re remaking new drawer boxes, it really doesn’t matter what you do to the inside of the cabinets. If I were taking on this project, I would buy some 1/4″ or 1/8″ white melamine sheets, and some 1/4″ oak plywood. Then- I would resurface the bottoms of all your cabinets with the while melamine. It will make it look clean and will be easy to clean in the future. You only need to reface the bottoms of the cabinets that don’t have drawers in their bottom area. In the cabinets have lower drawers, you don’t see the bottom interior anyway. Next, reface the sides using the 1/4″ oak plywood. Once again- you only need to face the interiors where you see them. If the cabinets have drawers in them, you’re not going to see the interior, so you can leave those alone.

So- you’ve refaced all the surfaces that are visible, and they’re clean looking and stable. And since you’re going to reinstall the face frame, it’s going to hide the fact that you’ve added a layer to the mix. Remember that you can’t just put the existing face frame back in place, you may have to cut the pieces smaller to hide the new layers you’ve added.

When you stop and think about all your time and the wood involved, I think it’s overkill to cut your own veneer to resurface the interiors. You can glue the plywood and melamine stuff in place using something like a thin coat of liquid nails, and maybe shoot a few brads into place to hold it while the glues sets up. A those sheets of plywood (or even MDF) are pretty cheap, and will be easier to work with than your home made veneer.

Last thing- you might want to consider using European hardware like the cup hinges that most cabinet companies are using these days. They make mounting plates designed to go with face frame construction, and it makes installing new doors a breeze. I like Grass or Blum hinges, and both have face frame mounting plates readily available. I can give you specific part numbers if you’re interested.

Good luck, I hope this helps. Feel free to write back with any other questions you might have after reading this. I’m sure you’ll have a few!
Maybe if you want more information,You can refer to this blog which show you an article about Kitchen Cabinets Refacing and Kitchen backsplash Ideas:
(if those website not change)

Kitchen Cabinets Refacing VIDEOS:

Kitchen Cabin

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Mandy asks…

Ideas for a woodshop project?


I’m taking woodworking this year at my school. After about the first five weeks (where we learn about safety, using the power tools, etc.) we choose a project to build for the remainder of the year. I’ll have about three hours a week to work on whatever I build.

That being said, what are some good ideas for a project. Past students built tables, benches, and maybe cabinets.

10 points to the best idea (or perhaps the funniest if they all suck)

Dusty answers:

I think I would make a little cabinet with drawers in it. It could sit on the floor or hang on the wall. The drawers should be small, maybe for CDs, or even smaller, for knick-knacks and various things.

The idea is that the cabinet itself (the ‘carcase’) is very straightforward. Measurements and accurate sizes are important, but otherwise it’s not complicated. The drawers are just boxes, easy to do. There are several of them but they’re all alike, so you can saw out the parts all at once, and use the same setups for all of them so you make sure they’re consistent. You even have choices for joinery–finger joints if you want to get fancy, or even dovetails if your school has a fixture for that, or simpler drawer joints.

When you finish the project, it looks more complicated and difficult than it is.

Daniel asks…

I’m looking for help on building a cigar humidor from scratch, anyone able to help me?

I am beginning a project to build my own cigar humidor box, i want it to be able to hold around 50 cigars or less, i do not want the box to be too large! I know practically nothing about woodworking so i am hoping this project is a challenge, but not impossible, and although i do not own any woodworking tools i know of people who have just about any tool and would let me use them to help construct my humidor. So with that said, my question/s are does any one know of a good, easy to follow site on how to build a humidor box and the materials needed. Or.. if anyone reading this is experienced in the making of a humidor from scratch feel free to contact me at

P.S. I am starting to learn the basics of what materials are needed for this project, but i am willing to take any advice i can!


Dusty answers:

There are plenty of sites online with plans for these. This is just ONE of them for a basic one:

I believe that cedar is the wood of choice in making humidors.

There is even a ‘homemade humidor’ online group if you want to check it out.


good luck!

William asks…

I need to find a guide on how to make this?

I need to find a guide on how to make this, please help :

EXCEPT without the bottom shelf (so it’s just a table) AND longer, so it’s like a real table. I want a laminate white wood surface, like this, and the same thick, seamless design like this.

I don’t know anything about woodworking, but my grandpa has a shop that he will let me use (hopefully) with tools and such. I need to know an estimated cost to this project and if in fact it’s possible for me to make, lol. If anyone knows where to buy something like this, please tell me. Or send me a few guides on how to do this. Thank you so much.
here is the link again in case that other one isn’t clickable

Dusty answers:

Here are a bunch of free table schematics. You may find one like yours.

Carol asks…

This is a tough one! I want to donate all donations received to finance the adoption costs of dogs.?

My goal is to get dogs adopted, period! Donations will come in through money collected by offering anyone excellent instruction in woodworking, sale of mass produced items, use of shop for projects & small children’s workshops. But how do I get an empty shop free? I feel I can get the power tools & some materials donated. Both woodworking & dogs are exciting topics to many. I’ll throw in my 30 years of teaching to get dogs a permanent home! Pass this on to anyone who might be able to help. Thanks!

Dusty answers:

I would recommend that you first become a qualified charity under 501c(3) – or work closely with one. If you do that you will be more likely to find businesses willing to work with you because they will be able to deduct their expenses as a charitable donation. At that point you can find shops and ask for the use of their space in return for a charitable receipt. It would also be helpful if you could let them know you would have local media or something around to show that the company is doing such a good thing.

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Ken asks…

What kind of tool is this?

It has two pieces, is made of cast iron, is painted black, and has spots of rust. I do not know if it is missing parts or not. It came in a toolbox from a garage sale from a man who used to make keys, although his abundance of woodworking tools tells me he worked in other areas as well. Provided below is a link to some pictures of the tool on Flickr:

Unknown Tool

I have added two pictures to Flickr that show the length of the tool, and opposite it is a handle for a metal file. The tool (or handle, I am unsure), is roughly 7 inches in length. I originally thought it was a frame in which to hold files and raps; however, the tool is loose and can be split into two parts, and the opening mouth is not adjustable. Again, I do not know if there are parts missing.

Dusty answers:

In the UK we know it as a Fisherman’s Creel or iron basket.

Michael asks…

Woodworking question: Using a jointer. I know I would be better served with a planer, but….?

Here is my situation:

I have about 300sqft of oak flooring. It was pulled up from an existing home (victim of imminent domain). Therefore, it has a varnish or urethane coating. I am trying to shave off a 1/16″ or so to get rid of the existing finish.

The planks of hardwood flooring are the standard 2″ wide and vary in length from 2 ft up to 14 ft.

I know a planer would be a perfect tool to shave the wood. However, I don’t have one, nor do I want to spend $300+ on one for this one project. I am able to borrow a jointer from someone to help me along.

Any tips, advice, pointers?

Anyone have experience using a jointer?

Dusty answers:

If you are planning on reinstalling the timber as a floor, then leave the varnish on, reinstall the floor (maybe a rebating plane – hand or power can remove the varnish from the tongues and grooves) then have it sanded and polished after it is installed.
If you machine it now then install it, you are still going to need to sand it to take out any proud edges and you don’t want to take off too much timber.
If you just want to have some nice timber to use ‘some day’ then maybe a coarse grit belt sander across the grain then a fine one along it will work (you also need time with this option), although this could cause rounding on the edges…
Or maybe bite the bullet and buy a thicknesser/bench planer… Or look into hiring one? A thicknesser would be a better option if you are going to reuse it as a floor, this will give you a precise thickness across your pack of timber, a power planer may leave little grooves (as a result of only having 2 blades) and will need to be sanded after.

Linda asks…

Cabinet refinishing book recomendation?

I want to refinish my cabinets my self. I have little to no woodworking experience. I am an experienced electrician though, so i have no problems with basic hand tools or tasks.

What is a good book series to use. One with diagrams and step-by-step instructions is appreciated.

Dusty answers:

If you have a Lowe’s or Home Depot near by…they have hundreds of How To Books.

Daniel asks…

cabinet refinishing book recomendation?

I want to refinish my cabinets my self. I have little to no woodworking experience. I am an experienced electrician though, so i have no problems with basic hand tools or tasks.

What is a good book series to use. One with diagrams and step-by-step instructions is appreciated.

Dusty answers:

I agree with the contractor above about the process and that there are literally thousands of books to choose from. But, I really think the Sunset books are about the most useful because they provide materials lists, diagrams and photographs, troubleshooting when problems ocurr and are very detail oriented. You find them near the front of the store in both Lowes and Home Depot.

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George asks…

newbie woodworking guy needs help choosing a router?

hi all,

I’m getting into woodworking..thought it would be cool to get a router…not sure about some things..
1. what is a good brand?..what is pure junk?
2. how much house power do I need for the average guy doing weekend projects..does more HP equate being able to do harder woods or does it mean that job will go that much faster?
3.I seen routers range from 69 to 199 dollars at the home depot…not sure if I want to invest tons of $$$ right now..could I get by with the 69 $ one or would I just be throwing my money away in the future?

4. finally my friend suggested that I look at pawn shops..might be a deal..most sell tools etc..just curious if you’d purchase one from a pawn shop..or do you think by that time someone really used and abused the router..not worth my time looking..
sorta like buying someone’s used has no idea that they’ve been hauling or how they abused it etc..

thanks for your opinion


Dusty answers:

Unless I’m buying a tool that I know I will have a very limited use for, I subscribe to the “buy once, cry once” theory of tool buying. That means you spend the money once to buy a good tool rather than buying something cheap that you will hate every time you use it and will fail prematurely.
I agree with Keith regarding the good brands, and buying a model with both fixed and plunge bases. My specific recommendation would be for the Porter-Cable 690 Combo Kit. You can see it at
It has both a fixed and a plunge base and the router is soft-start variable speed. Porter-Cable is nice because there are lots of available accessories. It comes with both 1/4″ and 1/2″ collets. If down the road you need to do template routing, you can get template guides to fit it with no problem.
The 690 is a 1 3/4 HP router, which is all you need for handheld routing. If you ever set yourself up with a serious router table, you’d probably want something in the 3+ HP range.

Carol asks…

Air compressor needed?

I allready have a huge tanked oil compressor in my shop for metalworking tools but want to get a small 2 – 4 gallon unit for the woodworking shop in the basement.

I have heard oiled units last longer so I want to try and stick with those if they have them for these smaller units.

Whats a good unit to get?

My price range: $60 – 150
Gallons needed: 2 – 4
Input voltage: 110/120 single phase
*If possable, an oil unit as they last longer

I normally would just go to but I never trust anything from them that ill be using and want to last long…

I’ll be using this compressor to just blow sawdust off the woodworking tools and all every now and then and dont want a motor running all the time…Thats why I like the tank models.

*I may get a small nail gun for use on 1/2″ plywood that I use in the shop allot though so maby 4G is better.


for a nail gun, i was looking at item # BN125A
well thanks for the answers……………

I got some opinions from people who have used this comp. and its a great unit…nice price too

“I swear by Sears Craftsman.”

yea normally I love buying from them too but looking online their compressors are expensive….I’ll have to take a look in store tomorrow and see what they have availabe.

Im an electrician and get electrical strippers from them and so if I get mine dull or someone else blows them up I just bring them in for a new pair….its great.

I also have an 19.2V drill from them that i have another year on so if I break it they replace it free of charge as well….It’s the best drill I have ever used.

Dusty answers:

I swear by Sears Craftsman.

Daniel asks…

Can you reccommend a good bench grinder?

I am a home hobbyist, artist, and general do-it-yourself-er. I have a shop in my garage where I do metalworking, welding, woodworking, repair bicycles and work on my motorcycle and car. I want a high quality, relatively inexpensive, heavy duty bench grinder. I expect to use it for sharpening tools, chisels and blades and grinding small metal parts for welding and fabrication. I also want something well balanced with little wobble so I can hone my lathe gouges. I would like the unit to have either a flexible light or a wide lamp. I don;t need a stand, I can build that. My budget is around $50. I appreciate your thoughts.

I am a home hobbyist, artist, and general do-it-yourself-er. I have a shop in my garage where I do metalworking, welding, woodworking, repair bicycles and work on my motorcycle and car. I want a high quality, relatively inexpensive, heavy duty bench grinder. I expect to use it for sharpening tools, chisels and blades and grinding small metal parts for welding and fabrication. I also want something well balanced with little wobble so I can hone my lathe gouges. I would like the unit to have either a flexible light or a wide lamp. I don;t need a stand, I can build that. My budget is around $50. I appreciate your thoughts.



Everything suggested so far I already know. I know my options. I know where the flea markets and yard sales are. I want to know WHAT TO LOOK FOR when I get there. A crappy tool is still a crappy tool no matter what price I pay for it. I want details about specific models you have experience working with. Pros and cons. Prices. Craftsman tools suck.
Yeah, Craftsman is American made. So are DeWalt and Porter Cable. They both blow Craftsman out of the water in quality, versatility, design and durability.

I dont care whether it was manufactured in the USA, China, Canada, or Ecuador. All I care about is that it does the job I need it to without burning out.

Lathe gouges can only be honed on a bench grinder. The grinder must be balanced with zero wobble. I use a cup of water to prevent over heating and loss of temper.

I dont mind spending more than my $50 budget, if the tool will do what I need it to do and is durable. Just tell me which models to look for.


Adendum 2: NAMES! Brand names and model numbers. That’s all I want. What is beefy and quality? I don’t care about the price.

Dusty answers:

If you want the best grinder that would be the Tormek Grinder.
It has a water wheel that spins around 300 rpm and for honing it has a leather wheel.I personally use a two inch
strip belt sander to sharpen my lathe chisels. How ever I have
been turning for almost 40 years. Sharpening skills are
a learned skill that comes with lots of practice.The Tormek
sells for 399 and I have never ever seen it on sale anywhere
anytime.Tormek only makes one grinder as a matter of fact they only make one tool that I know of and that is the Tormek Grinder.

You can buy them at most quality woodworking stores it is
by far the best grinder on the market and built to last two life times. My buddy has one and he has managed to tear up
every tool he owns but the Tormek Grinder.I mean this guy is
so clumsy he has sanded thru the cord on my belt sander when I loaned it to him. He stepped on his slide compound
miter saw and broke it .He has cut the tip off one his fingers and he managed to cut the tip off one of his coworkers finger.Enough of him buy the Tormek and you will be happy you did it is one heck of a tool.

Michael asks…

Need help with Woodworking….what is the best way to carve/make straight engraved lines within would piece?

i dont want to cut through the wood…and i want to use something that has more control and percision than the dremel tool

Dusty answers:

You could try a marking gauge.

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Linda asks…

What is this woodworking tool called?

You put it in a woodworking vice, it is a flat piece of wood with a block on each end (One end has the block on top, one end has the block on the bottom.) It is used along with a saw.
This may not make sense, it’s hard to explain in words, but you put this thing in the vice and then you put another piece of wood on it (So the tool holds it in place while you saw it.)
So if you understand any of this, what is this called?
Thank you!

Dusty answers:

Hi Jesse,

I am in my 60′s and when I was at school it was one of the first things I made and we used to cut pieces of wood with a tenon saw and I googled “saw squares” under Images and a few different derivations and saw one being used but it had no name.

You don;t have to put it in a vice and can lean it against the edge of a bench

These days I use a combination drop and draw saw but it doesn’t have the fine accuracy of a hand say and I use Japanese draw saws with fine teeth and you drag the saw rather than push for the cut.

Good luck and regards

Mike D


Sandy asks…

i’m trying to find good ways to use power tools?

I have a lot of power tools and i like woodcrafting. i basically have all tools that cut but i want to get into woodworking and i don’t know of any videos online that really explain how to use tools well. most of them are people at home and the video isn’t proffessional. other than that i’m going to go to the library and find a book and see where that gets me but good professional videos are usually better. any tips?

Dusty answers:

You can take some tool use at home depot , check the class schedules, also the AGC has classes you can take , thats association of general contractors . The best tip I can give you is to know where your hands are all the time and eye and ear protection, also never leave tools out or plugged in due to the curiosity of young ones. Safety is always the first issue . Try the construction trades and tool use, The best tip is to read your safety guide that comes with each tool you have purchased.

Ken asks…

kids and woodworking tool safety?

I manage a shop for kids aged between 10-17 and am curious what the opinions on tool use are.

My typical rule is to gauge child reaction to hand tools and slowly work up on various power tools such as scroll saws, drill presses, lathes, orbital sanders, jig saws, cordless drills, and with older children chop/miter saws. While I understand the value in starting kids with hand tools speed is a large factor when you only get 1-3 hrs to build a project. Especially one that a child can use and feel incredibly accomplished on. and who can argue using a coping is faster or gives a nicer cut then a jigsaw ever will.

are there any sites you might recommend for easier or safer tools to handle that would be faster then hand tools.

Dusty answers:

One good idia for safety.KEEP BOTH HANDS ON THE TOOL u are using i think it applys in most cases.

Lizzie asks…

Moving from US to Australia. Can I run my shop equipment?

In a short period of time, I will be moving from the US to Australia. Since I do not expect to live there indefinitely, I would prefer to use some of my electrical items from here. Specifically,I have some woodworking tools (bandsaw, drill press, bench grinder ) that run on 120V. I know that our system is 120V and 60 Hz. The Australian system is 240 and 50 Hz. Can I purchase some converters/inverters that will allow me to safely use my tools while I am there?

Dusty answers:

It’s going to cost you more than they’re worth to ship them over and ship them back. But if you did, the best thing to do would be to buy a portable generator while you’re in USA, then all you need is gasoline and oil over there. Don’t forget to take along extension cords too.
The best thing I found was to pick up stuff at garage sales over there. That way you don’t have to worry about conversion and you can sell the stuff there before you leave.
Whatever we have here, they have over there geared to their power supply.
If the stuff you take over needs repairs it could cost you a fortune.
I was going to do the same thing but when I searched the Internet I found it was better to leave my stuff here.
Garage Sales, Pawn Shops, Flea Markets, Auctions and there are New and Used Tool shops over there.

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Sandra asks…

Would these be good starter power tools?

I do not have enough money to be upgrading from decent quality tools to great quality tools, so this is why I’am trying to find some of the best tools out their..I’am going to be starting woodworking classes and want some good quality tools are these very good or not?
Corded drill:Milwaukee 1/2 in. Magnum® Drill, 0-850 RPM
Corded Circular Saw:Milwaukee 7-1/4 in. Circular Saw with Quik-Lok® cord, Brake and Case
Cordless Drill: Bosch 18V Litheon™ Brute Tough™ Drill Driver
Jigsaw: Bosch Top Handle Jigsaw
Also, how long do you think these tools could last if properly cared for and used 2-3 times a week or something like that,Thanks!

Dusty answers:

Honestly in later years I am not that impressed anymore with Milwaukee tools, in fact when I went in business in 97 I thought the same way you do about buying tools and bought a Milwaukee Magnum 1/2″ hammer drill, the hammer function failed withing 3 years. I bought a Dewalt to replace it and it still works fine today. I would opt for a Makita circular saw and a Dewalt or Hitachi corded drill. I like the Bosch jigsaw but I would choose the barrel grip model it gives much better control. The Bosch cordless drill is a great tool. Later when it comes to sanders stick with Porter Cable they also make a great plate joiner (biscuit cutter), for routers Bosch or Hitachi. Good luck

James asks…

Want to learn about woodworking?

I would love to take up woodworking as a hobby. Ya know, make tables and chairs and such, but I don’t know where to get started. I dont have a whole lot of extra money to go out to the store and buy wood. I DO have a huge pile of logs in my backyard though. Could I use that, if so how do I make it look nice? What tools do I need? a sander maybe?

Dusty answers:

Starting with natural wood is too big a job as you don’t have the tools or the experience to reduce it to usable shapes and sizes. Even if you could do it, the wood itself may be unsuitable. It is far easier to use wood that has already been made into straight lengths with parallel sides.

If timber is too expensive for you, some timber yards sell ‘off cuts’ cheaply … Bits that are too short for what most people want – They can still be usable lengths. The best thing about wood is that it can be re-used so a good source of decent wood is from junk – yours or other people’s. If you take wooden item apart carefully, you can often make something new from the parts. I sometimes use planks from broken pallets. Old solid wood floor boards are great.

The main tools you are going to need are a hand-saw, a plane, a ruler, a carpenters square, a chisel or two, a drill (not necessarily electric) and some drill bits, a hammer and a screwdriver. You’ll also want some ‘consumable’ bits and pieces like sand paper, screws, nails and glue. A couple of clamps would come in very handy and so would a work bench, but a sturdy table or cabinet would do. As you can see, the cost soon mounts up but you don’t have to buy everything at once and often you can make-do with old stuff that may still work perfectly well. Good tools last well if treated with respect.

Sadly, there is no such thing as a cheap new tool that is also good though hard-point saws are perfectly OK and not expensive. Those of us without money to throw around have to compromise.

To get started without spending much, how about sawing a couple of short lengths from your logs, splitting them into rough planks using an axe, and using nails to make a nest box for birds. The hard part would be making a small hole in the front but, if you haven’t got any way of doing that, you could make the sort that has an open slot just below the roof. Perhaps you could move on to making a tool box for your tools.

Making chairs and tables takes a lot of skill and, if they are going to be half decent, relies on using a workshop full of expensive tools. In the UK, you can take a class in woodwork in the evenings at adult education classes. They are good for learning what different tools do and how to use them safely and for learning the basic techniques for working with wood.

I hope you find a way of achieving your dream. Making things with wood can be very satisfying.

Sharon asks…

How can I build…..?

Anyone here know how to build a wooden notepad holder that uses old printing calculator paper tape ribbons? With basic woodworking tools like saw, miter box or less. There were too many that came up in my search so I was wondering if anyone has come across a plan to make this lately?
Sorry Precious J,

You are most definitely not my therapist!

I happen to believe in recycling. I have a office in my home for years. I want to recycle the paper that goes with the calculator that just broke…Yes, I had a wooden note pad holder that used them but broke years ago….

You must have lots of suicides if you regularly address your patients like that! Licensing board?

Haven’t you heard the phrase if you don’t know, don’t answer…
BTW, maybe this explanins my MIL who refuses meds but has many hobbies….

Dusty answers:

I haven’t seen any plans for such a notepad, but I recall one my parents had that looked fairly simple to make. The paper roll sat in a rectangler box that had a lid with hinges mounted on one of the short edges. The lid had a wire tied tight between two screws across the lid at the end opposite the hinge. The paper came out of the box, over the end of the lid and under this wire. Another wire was tied tight between two screws across the lid at the end near the hinge. Or it might have been a strip of serrated metal tacked to the lid like you might find on an aluminum foil or plastic wrap box to tear the paper.

That was pretty much it, except for some decoration. You would drop the roll of paper into the box and feed the end of the paper out of the box at the end opposite the hinge, under the first wire, down the lid and then under the second wire or metal cutting strip. You would write on the paper on the lid of the box and then pull the paper down under the metal strip and tear it off to take with you.

Lisa asks…

woodworking studio for rent?

hello, i am interested in getting into woodworking but live in an apartment.
are there places where I can pay to use a studio of tools for a few hours or something like that?
perhaps a school or something?
i’m in nyc

Dusty answers:

One of my fond dreams is finding (or even founding) a membership workshop like that offered at my first college or the craft center in the Army. It is a question of organization and liability and they seem to be few and far between, although there is a lapidary group that comes close here in Dallas.
I would suggest looking up Craft Guilds and woodworking classes and see if the people that offer them have an ongoing operation that lets you do work.

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Mary asks…

Woodworking shops?

I want to build a few bits and pieces for the house. Unfortunately I don’t have all the tools I need to build the stuff I want and I won’t be building enough to justify buying the stuff I need. Are there places in the UK where I can bring my materials and use their tools? How would I go about finding one in my area (near Bicester, Oxfordshire)?

Dusty answers:

I assume that you have done a bit of woodworking before, so probably have some basic hand tools – saws and so on. If you need machine tools (circular saws, power mitre saws, routers, power planes and so on) you may be able to hire these locally or in Oxford – try your yellow pages under tool hire.
It’s worth buying yourself an electric drill, though (mains or cordless), as it will always come in useful

Richard asks…

where do I find full size patterns for woodworking?

My husband and I want to make patio furniature, bird feeders , wind chimes , swings,garden animals, outdoor table chairs ect. to sell as a side line..we are new at this and bought basic tools, saws,air compresser guns ect and are just starting, I’d like to use full scale patterns for projects. Any ideas ??

Dusty answers:

This web site has just what you are looking for.

Lizzie asks…

Woodworking – What is the name for this woodworking tool?

About 2 years ago I remember seeing this tool in my fathers garage for sawing wood. The best I can describe it is that you slid the wood into it and it had different angled slits in it that guided the saw through the wood for you at different angles. I drew a picture to illustrate what I think it looks like but I just dont know the name for it. I was thinking that this woodworking tool will work for cutting angles in ceiling molding for my bedroom. That is the whole reason I am wondering the name so I can purchase one to cut the ceiling molding. I know your supposed to use a miter saw but I don’t have money for one right now and I need to replace the molding very soon. Do you think that this will work? By the way I’m new to woodworking but have been working for my grandfather painting and renovating apartments for about 3 years. Please help me figure out the name for this. Thanks

Dusty answers:

It’s a mitre box, and yes, they are used for cutting wood at precise angles. Here in Canada they are sometimes sold together with a saw appropriate for cutting molding. They’re not expensive.

Steven asks…

Public woodworking workshop in Toronto?


I live in an apartment in Toronto and I cannot have big tools like band-saw or bench drill etc…

Is there some kind of public place where we can use professional tools in Toronto for our own projects?

Thank you very much if you can help!

Dusty answers:

Try a high school, they might rent you something

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Laura asks…

What kind of tool do I need for woodworking?

I don’t know anything. That being said, I’m looking for a powered blade that I can use while doing woodwork. I need to be able to turn the blade while cutting. It’s not for anything intricate at all, and I don’t have much money.


Dusty answers:

The Dremel is a great tool that I use for all sorts of projects. It is very easy to control and can turn in just about any way you can turn your wrist.

It isn’t for sawing planks or thick boards (ie 2x4s) but it is great for sculpting anything or cutting thinner woods to specific shapes.

The review below is of one of the more expensive kits and the other link is to one of the kits on (about $90) but you can find kits for much less than that if that is out of your buget

Lizzie asks…

Is there much of a demand for wooden boat carpenters in Alaska?

I remember when I was up there years ago most of the boats were pretty utilitarian and metal.
Down here in the lower 48 there are quite a few ‘snob’ boats that wanted trick woodwork, somehow I found a niche in this market.
Is there much of a demand for trick boat woodwork up there?
Juneau more so than Anchorage? Ketchikan?
I’ve had it with the lower 48 and I’m wondering where my chances might be best.
I’m a jack of many trades, but it would be nice to put my woodworking tools to use up there.
Thanks for any suggestions.

Dusty answers:

The few wooden boats are older commercial fishing boats and some sailing craft, so you would likely be replacing planking,etc. Not sure if you could make a living at it. Some people take their boats to the shipyards at Port Townsend, WA in the winter for maintenance. Anchorage does not have a harbor–sea ice in winter. Seward, Homer have harbors. Also, Kodiak, Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka.
As you know, with the economy, people aren’t putting money into custom work right now, whether it’s cabinetry, custom furniture or work for shipwrights. When housing picks up, you might be able to do some custom finish work. Your best bet might be to see if you can find a gig restoring a building or vessel that’s on the National Historic Register. Keep a portfolio of your past work to show prospective clients.

Chris asks…

what is the difference (in appearance) between a masonry drill bit and a woodworking drill bit.?

I am putting up a tool rack on a solid block wall. Have a variety of drill bits but don’t know whether they are for woodworking or for masonary. Its taking a long time to drill even 1 hole. Any advice would be appreciated – I am using a hammer type power drill.

Dusty answers:

The masonry bit has a harden cutting tip. The tip is bigger than the bit size itself. With a hammer drill and the correct bit you should have it done in no time.
Here is a link that has more details:

Hope this helps

William asks…

Has anyone ever made their own baby toys, or had them custom-made?

My SO is quite crafty, and we have a basement full of saws, sanders, and various woodworking tools.

I thought it would be a fun project to try and make some toys for our baby (6 mos.). Has anyone tried this, or have any info about it?

How would I know if the materials/paints were safe? Anything to specifically avoid using?

Dusty answers:


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Mark asks…

Extension cord help, what’s an Amp anyway???

My garage is wired with 20 A dedicated outlets which I use for my woodworking tools. I am not a genius when it comes to electrical stuff, but I heard that having 20A dedicated outlets is good, even my table saw manufacturer says that the saw is rated at 15A, but having a 20A outlet is better. Does this mean that the saw can draw 20A? My question is about extension cords. I haven’t seen any that are rated at 20A. so can I not use a regular 15A rated extension cord for my tools? I wanted to get an extension cord and run a shop vac and my table saw at the same time. am I going to fry the cord or damage my tools or blow the breaker? What kind of cords should I buy, it doesn’t have to be long (< 25’). Any detailed explanation as to the “why” would be helpful, thanks.

Dusty answers:

Electricity can be compared to a water pipe…..higher pressure is like higher voltage, it will puncture though an insulater easier, like 9 volts will not poke though your skin but 120 volts will …. Amps is like the volume of water , like 10 amps being a half-inch water pipe and a hundred amps being a 2 inch pipe……that’s where the similarities end…. Amps create heat that melt the insulation on a wire if overloaded….. You need to look around more, there are 12 gauge extension cords, which is rated for the 20 amps…. Your breaker may trip with both pieces of equipment running, if so, see if you can find a different circuit for the shop vac.

The cord would melt if used for prolonged periods at a time, and your saw will not draw 20 amps, as far as damaging the equipment, not likely but why take a chance.

A 14 awg (gauge) COPPER wire extension cord (not aluminum) can be used for short duty cycles (short being 2 or 3 minutes max) but for a continuous duty, you definitely want the larger wire. When using the smaller gauge wire do not coil it up on the floor when in use, this will create more heat, but lay it on the cool cement floor and it will be OK.

A cord similar to this one will do

Steven asks…

any ideas for maximizing a 14′x14′ shop. Primary use is woodworking.?

It is a 14×14 ft. shed. I will have basic wood working tools. No tablesaw. Maybe even a good web site for setting up a shop.

Dusty answers:

In that small of space you must put everything on casters so it can be put next to a wall and brought out one tool at a time for use. If you put in shelves place them high enough on the wall that your tools will fit under them. !4×14 is more than doable you might have to roll your work bench so as to use the open door space to extend work out the door.
Yeah I had a 12×12 shop for a couple of years and made some fine furniture. It just takes a little longer. You’ll be fine
Good luck

Ken asks…

How can I go about making a simple dining table?

I don’t know anything about woodworking, nor do I have any woodworking tools. So, whatever I build will have to be VERY simple! I thought about maybe using columns for legs. Would that even work?

Dusty answers:

I was in a home improvement store (Lowe’s) w/ my husband the other day, and found in the lumber section that they have large, round, wooden table tops already sanded and varnished, various sizes. I was looking at them for a niece who needed a small table for her 1st apt. They were very reasonable, and they also have a variety of legs/posts that look like legs that you can buy and paint. If you need them cut down, they will do it for something like .50 cents per cut, so make sure you have your measurements for what height you need for your chairs, etc. With you. I think maybe the tops had predrilled holes, so you could put the legs in with wood glue and finishing nails, and – PRESTO – instant table! Be sure to buy the stick-on pieces of felt or cork for the bottom of the table legs to keep them from scratching your floor.
You can probably find one very cheap that you can just sand and repaint at a yard or estate sale, if you have a Sat. Morning to scavenge around. Have fun – it always seems to make it more “yours” when you build it / redo it yourself.

Nancy asks…

All around best book/website for primitive living trades?

Looking for a book that teaches… i use the word “primitive”, but what i mean is teaches trades and lifestyles of simpler times. No machines and what have you. Things like woodworking with hand tools, blacksmithing, using plants and herbs for remedies, wilderness survival/living, farming and such trades that are otherwise modernized now-a-days. Thanks

Dusty answers:

Check out Homesteading. There are a ton of sites and they will lead you to the subjects you want to learn about.

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Betty asks…

How can I turn my built-in dishwasher into a portable one?

I was recently given a slightly used dishwasher but I have no counter space for it, so I decided I would just convert it to a portable one. I have all the hoses and everything to make it functional but there is no cabinet. Not only is it ugly, but you can’t open the door without it falling over. Are there any pre-built cabinets or anything to help counter balance the door? I don’t have access to woodworking tools, so building one is out of the question.

Dusty answers:

Hi Joshua. Converting it to a portable one is (as you’ve already discovered) not going to be an easy fix. Yes, it can be done, but you would have to make your own counterweights, remove the leveling feet and replace them with wheels, hook up longer electrical cords and plumbing hoses, etc. Etc. Etc. Then, you would still need to make some sort of cabinet as none of them come with full cabinets since they are designed to go under counters. So all in all, yes it CAN be done, but it’s going to be a lot of work, a fair amount of cost, and a new portable unit will save you a LOT of headaches if you aren’t handy to begin with. It would be a fun project for someone who IS handy, but not very practical.

David asks…

cleaning rust off metal tools?

I left a toolbox in the rain, now many of my woodworking tools have rust on them. Is there a good solvent to use that will clean the rust and preserve the metal?

Dusty answers:

Go to a hardware store and get a jar of naval jelly and a couple Scotch Brite pads. They will look like new in no time. Hope this helps.

Paul asks…

Can moisture meters be used to detect pipe leaks in a house?

Many that I have seen in online stores have these pins and I think they are mostly used to measure the moisture of wood for woodworking projects. But I’m interested in detecting leaks behind walls. Any recommendations for what tool I need?

Dusty answers:

You won’t have any luck with a moisture meter if you’re trying to detect leaks inside walls, Toxxmaster.

If you’ve recently driven and nail to hang a picture on a wall containing plumbing, you’ll need to open the wall there and look for the leak. If there has been no work done to the wall where the water has appeared, you’ll need to open a larger chunk of the wall to find the leak.

Keep in mind that water can travel laterally before it appears, so don’t open sections of the wall blindly. Make your best guess as to where the plumbing runs are relative to where the water appeared before you open the wall or ceiling. Try to take advantage of any open areas such as an attic or basement to track the plumbing and path of the water prior removing any drywall.

Good luck with it.

Ruth asks…

What steps do I need to take to start a small woodworking business?

I would like to set up a small woodworking business but am not sure of how to go about it. I work as a carpenter right now and dont have alot of money to use towards start up. The only things I think I will need to get started would be some better tools and a building to work in. What type of loan and permits should I be applying for? Any help would be greatly appreciated! I live in a Central New York if that helps.

Dusty answers:

First, you’ll need to decide what kind of entity type you’d like to form. Each entity type has pros and cons, and you’ll need to determine which best fits your needs. For instance, a sole proprietorship is the simplest form of business to set up and has the lowest tax responsibilities, but you will be personally liable for the business’s debts and contracts; a corporation, on the other hands, gives you the liability protection, but there are tax responsibilities you wouldn’t otherwise have (which will further be determined by the type of corporation, whether S-corp or C-corp).

Then, once you’ve determined the type of business, you’ll have a better idea where to start on your licenses and permit requirements.

Hope this helps get you started — good luck!

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