Hi guys. Today I’m going to answer some more of your questions. Buckle up.
Q- “What’s your favorite cold one?”
I assume everyone knows what that question is all about, but just in case you’re new here… Back in the very first video we made, we ended with this (play clip). And that sort of became the way we ended every episode of the old “Blue Collar Woodworking” show. It became sort of a catchphrase. People have bought t-shirts and coffee mugs with it on there. These days we still end all the “Behind the Sawdust” vlogs, like this one with it. And occasionally I get asked about where it came from. Well, it just sort of came out when we were filming the first take. The phrase “cold one” is common to northern Michigan and Canada, and usually refers to beer. Of course, we don’t drink while woodworking, or while filming- most of the time. So, this is usually pop, or soda depending on how you say it in your part of the country, inside my Red Wings koozie. But I do enjoy a real cold one from time to time. And I like just about anything. My favorites are the abundant craft beers that are brewed here in Michigan, especially IPAs. But I am not a beer snob, I like the mass-produced domestics occasionally too. Except light beer, because if I wanted to pee in a can and drink it, I could without having to pay for it. I also like good bourbon and scotch, and I learned to drink Vodka during my time in eastern Europe. Russians know their vodka. One of the perks of doing what I do is that sponsors sometimes send me expensive bottles, so I’ve been able to accumulate a nice collection of top-shelf stuff. But I am a reasonably light drinker, I like to keep my head clear whether I’m in the workshop or not. When you have a personality like mine, you don’t want to alter it with too many cold ones and deprive the public of all this charm and wit.
Q- “What are your thoughts on combination jointers/planers”
I think there are some pros and cons, just like with anything else. A big benefit, as far as a small shop is concerned, is that a two-in-one machine generally takes up less space. Their footprints are larger than a typical 6” jointer, but you get the planer in there too. And by sharing a cutter head, you get to use the full 12” width for jointing as well as planning, which is huge! I would kill for the ability to flatten 12” wide boards on the jointer. The problem is, while they have been common in Europe for a long time, they are still hard to find here in the USA. There are only three or four companies that I know of that sell them here, and the reviews on them are sometimes iffy. I can’t really give you my opinion on whether they are a hassle to switch back and forth between jointing and planning, but that is definitely something worth considering. And I can’t speak to the reliability any specific machines. There are reviews online about some of them, so I would point you to those. You do not want to buy a piece of equipment like that without reading as many reviews as possible. And be honest with yourself as you look at the reviews. You have to put aside your desire to own the tool and consider if it is really right for you. And as you read and watch reviews, try to pay close attention to the ones made by people who have actually used the tool for a while, rather than posting a review of their first impression, as a lot of people do. Everybody gets excited when they get a new tool, and they often leave good reviews before they have a chance to take a more objective look. For example, the 10” benchtop jointer/planer combo Jet makes looks great, and a lot of people are drawn to it. But people that have used it a while report all sorts of alignment problems due to its flimsy design. Bottom line is, I would love to have a jointer/planer combo machine and I may get one eventually. They seem like a fantastic option for a non-production shop. But they are expensive and you should do your research really well before buying one.
Q- “Do you even use your jointer to do rabbets?”
I think this is a question a lot of new woodworkers wonder about when they see that fancy jointer in the store and among the features they is listed “cuts rabbet joints”. Don’t be fooled. Yes, a stationary jointer can cut a rabbet, but should it? First of all, you have to remove the blade guard, which is always a pain in the butt on every jointer I’ve ever used. I know some people do use their jointers for rabbeting, and they may totally disagree with me. But I think it’s little more than a gimmick. It is easier to use a router table or a table saw to cut a rabbet where you have more support for wider panels throughout the cut. Table saw fences are usually easier to adjust to fine tune the rabbet’s fit than a jointer fence as well. And let’s face it, if you don’t have a dado set or router table, you probably don’t have a jointer. And either way, you can double-cut rabbets on the table saw with a rip blade instead of a dado set. In fact, we made a video all about table saw rabbeting recently. I’ll put a link in the notes below this video to it.
Q- “What types of joints need glue?”
I always glue my woodworking joints, no matter which kind they are. Unless I may want to get them apart later. But glue is especially important in certain types of joints. Generally speaking, if it can be easily assembled, it can also be easily disassembled, so you should glue it. Finger joints should always be glued. Dovetails should be glued even though on drawer construction they can’t come apart by pulling in the direction that a drawer is usually pulled. But they can still come apart, especially after seasonal movement has time to work on them. A mortise and tenon joint should be glued, unless you are going to use wedges or draw-bore and pin it. In those cases, as long as it’s done properly, those joints are not coming apart, glue or no glue. So, whether you use it or not on those joints is up to you.
Of course, there are some joints that shouldn’t be glued, at least not with standard yellow glue. Obviously, you wouldn’t glue a joint that you think you may want to take apart later. I use screws on certain parts of complex jigs, for example, in case I have to make changes later.
Another thing to consider is what type of glue to use. Chairs take a beating every time we sit our fat butts on them. They are going to need repairs eventually. So, do a favor for the guy who someday may have to work on that chair. Use hide glue. It’s strong enough to last, but the joint can be heated and disassembled if and when repairs are needed. I would apply the same reasoning to stools and benches and other pieces of furniture like that. I don’t think it’s as important to sue hide glue on casework such as cabinets and chests of drawers because those are less likely to require disassembly someday. And the fact that hide glue has a short working time makes it difficult to use for dovetails and other joints you are likely to find in that sort of furniture.
Another time when you may not want to use glue is if a joint is likely to squeeze the glue out when you assemble it, and it would be too difficult to clean that squeeze-out up later. But you had better make sure the joint will hold together on its own. Some people use tiny pin nails, for example, to attach fine moldings to avoid squeeze-out. But that’s another place that hide glue may be useful because it is much easier to sand or scrape away than PVA glues. We could talk about glue all day. But we won’t
…because that wraps things up for this Q&A edition of Behind the Sawdust. If you have questions, leave them in the comments below, or contact us through our website, or leave them for us on Facebook or Twitter. Don’t forget to support our sponsors who made it possible for us to produce over 100 free woodworking videos for you this past year. You can visit their websites at the links below the video, just to see what they have to offer. Next week we’ll do another cool tools episode of Behind the Sawdust, where you’ll see some things you may have never seen before. SO don’t miss that, or the other videos we’ll be making between now and then. In the meantime, be sure to visit stumpynubs.com for the latest issue of Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal, full of tips, tricks, tutorials and techniques to make you a better woodworker. You can read and subscribe for free at Stumpynubs.com. Then you can sit back and have a cold one, because you’ve earned it my friend!
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