Jun 16, 2009

Veneer bubbles, and how to fix it.

Veneer bubbles, and I can't get it to stay down.

My veneer keeps on bubbling up after a day or two of drying. Is there something i am doing (or not doing) to cause this? I use paperback veneers and good quality professional spray adhesive 3M, and a 5 gallon pressure pot.


Veneers can be quite tricky. First you have to consider the type of substrate you'll use, particle board is the most common. Make sure to sand the particle board with a block to remove any debris or other obstructions. This will ensure you won't have bumps or high spots to deal with later. Secondly prepare the Glue. We use HP15 which is a high solids (38%) contact adhesive. Laquer based solvent works best in a professional atmosphere due to its quick dry time.

Glue must be mixed.
Just like paint the solids will settle overnight. If you don't mix it your spray will work fine for the first half of your 5 gallon can, the second half you'll be spraying mostly solvent. So your 38% solids will be reduced to 5%. When you spray make sure to get 100%coverage around the perimeter of your work piece. and 80-85% throughout the rest. Edges are important because once it lifts after a year or so due to lack of solids, the rest will be exposed to the elements and it will snowball from there.

A new thing i have adapted to my ways is when applying glue. Do one coat, let dry 20 mins, then do another. Sounds wasteful but it's well worth it. This is a sure way to eliminate lifting or bubbles. Most of the first coat soaks in the substrate. applying again will make it sit on top like you want. Bubbles are created by gases getting trapped in between the layers. So make sure when you touch the glue it doesn't transfer to your fingers. (about 20mins). Roll out your work piece with a pinch roller or j-roller using plenty of pressure. If you do get bubbles poke a hole in them with a pin or something small and roll out again. DOn't wait too long because you want the glue to be tacky still underneath. Overnight it should settle down and stick.These are not 100% foolproof, just tricks of the trade I have learned over the course of my career.

I wish you luck Joe, feel free to ask if you come into anything else.

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Jun 8, 2009

Building a cut-off sled/box

How to build an accurate, smooth functioning, cut-off box.

What's it for?

A cut-off box is good for many functions on the table saw. This sled will make your repetitive work seem less monotonous, while producing a quality cut the can be reproduced over and over again. While a cut-off box is designed for cross cuts, It also can produce tight mitres along with great looking joints. After all a table saw is our "go to" tool when it comes to accurate, repetitive cuts. I'll cover different jigs that can be applied to the sled in future updates.

What materials do I need?

  • A table saw (Not portable)
  • A piece of good 3/4" plywood (Not shop ply, cabinet grade is good).
  • A 2" x 3" x 8' ( +\-) straight hardwood. (preferably oak or maple, dried)
  • 2 strips of hardwood 3/8" x 3/4" x depth of sled. (Width may vary on different saws)
  • Some screws (#8 x 1 1/2" and 1" should be good)
  • a pneumatic nailer with 1 1/4" and 1" nails
  • 2 Pennies

Where do I start?

Step 1:

Find the width of your table saw and decide on how wide to build your box. Cut the front and back supports from the solid 2" x 3" wood. You may need to glue up a piece where the blade will come through, that's why I made this step 1. Get creative and make a nice fence for the user side, but make sure you are able to grip your work piece. In other words only have it rise near the blade. See photos

Step 2:

Start by cutting your pieces of plywood to the dimensions of your table saw. I like to leave an inch reveal on the sides and the same front to back. This is personal preference, and you should build according to your needs. Remember the bigger it is, the heavier it is.

Step 3:

Place two pennies in each slot on the table saw to support the strip of hardwood. this will hold them up high enough to allow a nail to hold the parts firmly against the bottom of the sled. Lay the strips on top of the pennies. Next, lay the plywood on top of that squaring it up to the user side of the saw. Once in place layout where your rails end up and mark a line with the framing square across the top of the sled for reference.

You can now remove the plywood and apply yellow glue to the runners in the slots, you may leave them in place. Once you have the glue and nailer ready, lay the plywood back on top and realign all your marks, then square it up again to the user side. Apply pressure to the work piece and work your way from front to back putting a nail every 6" or so. Do this to to the other guide and remove your sled. You'll need to clean out any glue that squeezed out with a wet rag. Flip the sled over and pre drill and countersink 1" screws to permanently attach the runners. Don't forget to remove the pennies.

Step 4:

While the sled is still upside down. You can go ahead and attach the back side of the sled to the plywood. Screws and glue for this side will ensure a solid, rigid, long lasting sled.

Pre drill everything you'll use a screw in.

Step 5:

Slide the sled back and forth on the saw with the blade lowered. You might need to sand or plane some spots on the runners to ensure a smooth sliding product. Wax the runners and underside with paste wax, pledge, or other dry lubricant when finished.

Step 6:

Now you can attach the front side. Only attach with one screw at first, left or right, not center.(this will be adjusted in the next steps). Do not use glue on this side, if the fence needs adjusting in the future, it can be easily re-squared.

Step 7:

With the sled in place on the saw in it's "home position" and the blade completely lowered, start the saw. Holding you work piece in place with one hand while raising the blade slowly with the other, cut through the plywood (watch your hand placement). Once you just get through the plywood push the sled into the blade almost reaching the front fence, but not cutting it. Then pull the sled towards you and cut almost to the backside but not through. Be careful here as the sled will want to kick.

Step 8:

Use a clamp to apply pressure to the fence. Snug it up, but still allowing you to move the board with a tap. Place the framing square against the fence and line it up with the cut you just made. One squared, lock it down with the clamp, flip it over, and finish screwing it all the way across.

Final Step:

Once the sled is squared up make sure by cutting a sample piece. Using a different square, compare the cut and adjust if needed. You might want to make a stop block with a notch in it to use exclusively with your new sled. Enjoy, and check back for updates on jigs and other uses for your sliding cut-off box.


  1. Mark out some basic measurements for quick reference.
  2. Try to use a blade of the same thickness always. (keeps your cuts clean and accurate)
  3. Store the sled somewhere convenient.
  4. Don't store it on the fence side (back side down)
  5. Angle cuts should be kept to a minimum.(tilted blade)


Frankie Talarico Jr.


Bulk wood shop supplies.

May 11, 2009

How to charge for your woodworking

How to charge for projects I build?

Charging customers for custom work can be a very intimidating thing. Some people charge by the hour, some by materials, other charge in a totally different way. The important thing here is to make sure you get paid for your work. I found this to be a hard bridge to cross when it comes to hobby projects. All of us woodworkers want to make our work as beautiful as we can, which in turn sends the labor hours through the roof. To build something your going to sell you need to factor in a few details to ensure you have all your bases covered. Another thing i need to mention is building 1 piece is not nearly as productive as building 10. Of course, if you build something that's totally unique and have the proper client base you can name your price. But, many of us are building projects that inspire us at that moment. Or by customer request.

How do we get started?
Getting started is the hardest part. You need to figure out what your going to build. Ask yourself, Is this something people are actively seeking out? Or, is this something that gets mass produced? Is the demand higher than the supply? you'll need to answer these firstly if your going to sell products online, the competition is fierce and they will create an equal but cheaper product that you'll wonder how they sell it cheaper than I can buy the wood for. This is why you need a plan. A step by step program that you'll take into account for every job. This is for the guys and girls that want to produce and sell online to a pretty tough market, craft work.
When I'm about to embark on a new product, I research google, ebay, and other sites of the like. I find products that are closely related to what I'm trying to build. I check out the prices, then compare them to my costs. This will show me a quick glance of my profit line. Sometimes you can sell it for more than they do, but often times you'll see the ignorance of people that will always go with the cheaper (not to mention the economy's current state).

How do I overcome the mass producers?

This is where you need a little working capital. Enough to buy your wood in bulk. Maybe you only have a basement shop, or garage space, and you can't store large amounts of anything. I have ways to make it work for you. Find out the maximum storage you have, then figure out how much wood each project Will need. This will give you an estimate of how many projects you can buy ahead for. Now to get the better prices you'll have to buy bulk or have a bulk account. There is a way to deal with these suppliers of lumber. One way is to open your own wholesale account. This is only worthy if you buy a substantial amount of wood through out the year. If not they might not even give you an account.
That's when you call around to local wood shops. Offer the owner a few bucks to make a phone call to his supplier to order some material for a pickup. They will normally have no problem making $20.00 from a simple phone call. This works well if you already know the guy your dealing with. Another way is to add to what he already is ordering. and go pick it up upon arrival. This is more successful than it sounds. Like I said earlier, they like the cash in pocket and are willing to help. I find it best to approach them after lunch, when most people are the happiest.
Everything you buy should be in bulk or close to it.
How many do I need to make?

This is where you find your happy medium. Pick a number based on the material you bought. And cut that many parts for the project,( all the parts needed to accomplish your goal). This in now turning to a production line. You'll soon find out your making ten, boxes for example in close to the same time as one.( that's because naturally you want the one to be absolutely perfect. and ten your mindset will be more on quantity while still adhering to your quality standards) Your mass production standards should be at a lower level. Don't produce junk people won't buy, but find ways to "make it work". Smaller projects need to be more perfectionized(is that even a word?). Don't leave things un-sanded or roughly finished, and don't rush your joints too much. It's not garbage until you can't fix it. Remember this isn't for the president or the pope, just a regular consumer like you and me. I find I accept minor defects in woodworking more than anything else. Even my car has a scratch or two, But it's still a nice ride, and no one else sees those marks but me. That's because I'm an anal woodworker.

How do I charge for my hours of work?
Here is the key to the mint, depending on your shop size. I have seen shops charge as much as $105.00/hour and as little as $40.00/hour, and smaller guys are happy with $25.00/hour. Me I'm at the $40.00 mark and this works out great. Normally, it would be me alone in the shop making $40.00/hour, But sometimes you need help for half a day. You can pay someone cash to help and you're still making $25.00/hour that day. This is tricky when it comes to having more employees. You need to charge accordingly to ensure you cover all the guys on that particular project. They need to build more than they earn also, but this is another topic...... Say you start with $40.00, o.k. next you figure your time, 32 hours and that's packaged and all. Then your total material costs, next you do some math.

32 hours X $40.00/hr = $1280.00
it cost you $275.00 in materials
$1280.00 + $275.00 = $1555.00
You built 20 finished pieces
$1555.00 divided by 20 pieces = $77.75 each

I like to add another 10% to that for power costs and fuel
$77.75 + 10% ($7.75) = $85.50/ea

This works fine and dandy if your making jewelry boxes or coat racks. But if your building cabinets and hutches there is another technique to be used that might earn you more money. I've seen larger shops with a developed system charge by the lineal foot. Depending on the customers requests,(base cabs, wall cabs, crown, options, counter type, etc....) you would have a lineal foot prices that includes all the aforementioned. A shop I worked at sometime ago was charging anywhere for $75.00 - $250 depending on all these factors. This would bring kitchen installs into the $10,000 plus range and customers are not surprised by the prices. It's all laid out for them. Like I said you have to have a more productive shop to do this and it would have to be measured in Ln/ft.
Decks are all together different. I take all I already mentioned into account. I charge more an hour due to the fact of paying a helper. This moves me up to the $60.00/hour mark. I can pay my help good and still make a decent paycheck. Complete as much as possible in each day, most guys forget to calculate driving times and fuel charges, the more days it takes the less money you make. You can also charge by the square foot which in turn will help easily determine the price. which normally works out to about $8.00 per sq/ft. It works well for me anyway because I'm laying 300 sq/ft decks in a day or two, depending on the circumstances, that's with railings.(after the cement is dried)

They want a price now!
It's very hard to figure prices, especially because most people want a price before you start. So use your best judgement, lean toward the higher side of your estimates, You WILL run into the unforeseen, there will be mistakes, and guys will call out on you. This all has to be factored in or you'll be paying them for the work you're doing. And another secret is charge more on jobs you really don't want. This way if they do take you up on your offer your getting paid really well. If not it's O.K. because you really didn't want to do it in the first place(of course unless you need the money, this trick ONLY works if your loaded with work)

I tried to cover everything on the topic. I hope this gives some insight to all my woodworking friends out there. There are many, many ways of charging a customer. Finding the happy medium will get you more work and a better paycheck at the end of the week. Most people call on you, because they don't have the knowledge or experience to do it on their own.
Once you have a product or service, you'll have to figure ways to market them. That will be next weeks topic. We will touch upon the most productive avenues for selling your items.
After you completed a job and someone calls you back for more, you can pretty much up the price a little (10-15%) because they appreciate your work, the quality, or speed. This is'nt offensive i=unless it's the same project where you'll have to give them the same price.

Frankie Talarico Jr.
Light to medium bulk woodshop supplies.

May 4, 2009

Quick Release Feather Board, Jig

Quick release feather board

This article explains how to build and use this versatile feather board customized for your table saw. This was a project I read about a long time ago, and finally found a use for it. I took pictures along the way to demonstrate the construction, and ease of use. The feather board is adjustable from left to right and once set, hold tension on the board we are cutting, keeping our fingers away from the blade.

Firstly, find some scrap materials around the shop. You’ll need some ¾” plywood, and some solid oak or maple somewhere around 2” x 2”. The project will take about 2 – 3 hours to build, but last through the years to come. Take dimensions of your table saw from front to back. This will be your base measurement and what you’ll be working off of. My home saw was 24” square, and that is where we will begin.

Start by making a “T-square” shape with your pieces. This will be the end that goes opposite of where you’d be standing when in use. I made ours 8" long so it can square up fairly easy. If you make it too short the jig will rock and possibly create a dangerous situation. You really never have to stop to wait for glue dry time. I used pins and screws so I can keep moving.

Next you want to create your slot where the handle will pivot. I did this by laying out my slot in conjunction with the depth of my saw (24”). You’ll want to leave at least ½” between the slot end, and the table itself. This will enable the mechanical aspect to make its revolution and apply friction.

Next you’ll want to glue, nail, and screw on your solid oak. These pieces were about 2” x 2” x 4” I used these because they were lying around. Any hardwood that will hold up to the wear and tear of a lever would work just fine. I lay out the pieces and mark them with pencil. I figure out where my pivot is and drill a ¼” hole through both pieces. This is where my axle will go.( a ¼” x 5”carriage bolt). Once drilled, I glue, clamp, nail, and then screw. (It’s a jig, and I don’t want it to fail because of weak integrity). Be careful to keep the handle close by and use it to align the oak supports and tabs all together. Making sure the mechanism is still functional.

Once attached, you’ll be able to place it on the saw and start figuring out the radius on the handle needed to lock the jig in place. I start out with a ½” radius and work from there. Always start big and work you way down. How I did this was use a pine scrap, much easier to manipulate and sand. Once the desired radius is reached I copy the pattern to an oak piece. This can take abuse much better than pine. Sand a smooth radius and handle corners and edges for a smooth feeling grip.

Once the handle is installed, you can do this with a carriage bolt, lock washer, and a ¼-20 nut. The jig should be able to grip the saw when the handle is in the down position. The handle should not exceed 90°, as the pressure will start decreasing, and soon you’ll have a stripped lever form regular wear. Using 40-60 grit sand paper where the jig contacts the table will improve the grip allowing for increased pressure from the actual feather board.

Now that the jig can attach to the table saw securely you can cut and build the actual feather board. This part was actually the hardest of the whole jig. The way I did it was first cut the angle, then the feathers. Once complete I re-saw the piece halfway through on the band saw with a fence. I then cut the remainder with a chop saw. To match the angle I used a flush cut saw to accommodate the angle when it pivots towards the fence. Once complete I sand the parts that will come in contact with the jig, ensuring a smooth sliding pivot point. Secure this to the jig with a strong screw, allowing the feather board to swivel towards the fence.

No spring installed yet but you can see where it goes.

Now that everything is in order and working, install two pan head screws to the jig, one on the feather board, one near you handle, to allow spring pressure to pull the feather board tight. You may also use a few rubber bands to do the same. Depends on how much pressure is needed.

Congratulations on building a quick release feather board that will last you for years to come. Making your feather board something that is actually user friendly, economic, and something to brag about. There are many ways to improve this design such as doubling the plywood that spans the table. In some instances this piece bowed and challenged the integrity of the jig. Another way to improve, make more surface area at the handle end where it comes in contact with the table of your saw. Our design uses one point about ¾” thick. You may also add another feather board after the blade if you need that kind of support. Just duplicate the first one. The jig functions perfectly under most conditions and is a very useful tool. Eliminating the need for deep throat clamps in awkward positions on the saw creating a sometimes dangerous situation, making this a great addition to any small shop.

A rough drawing I did for my own reference:

Thank you for taking the time to read this how-to. If you have any suggestion or ideas for future articles please submit them to Frankie’s e-mail.

Don’t forget for light to medium, bulk wood shop supplies,
Screws, locks, drawer slides and more visit:

Frankie Talarico Jr.

Apr 29, 2009

Tips for dust collection in small and large shops

Dust collection in small shops, and tips for for bigger shops to minimize waste and maximize efficiency.

Dust collection is a rather important aspect of the woodworking trade. Believe it or not, sanding dust is a very combustible substance. To add to that, it sure doesn't taste good, and breathing it is harder on your lungs than smoking cigarettes. For safety sake and your health, you should consider some type of collection in your small shops.

Do you sand a lot, and find yourself waiting for the dust to settle before finishing, because it's the same room. Any person who already has dust collection might find a couple of pointers that will help reduce the waste when running the system. Though some people do woodworking for a hobby, and would rather not spend $200.00 - $500.00 on a cheap dust collection, others have thousands of dollars spent into their systems and would like to optimize it's use. The following tips are a great way to eliminate most of your dust control problems.

I've seen and done many different techniques in many shops. Some take the route of using smaller dust collectors at each machine, while others have a big unit with piping to each machine. If you have duct work running to all the machines and are not using gates, you are wasting tons of energy, which equals money. Not only does the system not take all of dust out of the air current, you find yourself sticking your arm in the table saw often to clear it out. It's not easy tilting the blade to a 45° angle when it's packed with sawdust all around it. A good dust collector would prevent this, or at least minimize your cleaning time.

One tool that doesn't absolutely need collection is you jointer. This tool makes shavings more than dust. And most cases if you don't have a fancy cabinet under it, you have an angle iron stand and your chips fall below. You can stuff a cardboard box under there, this will catch all your chips. If you do in fact have a base to your jointer, with a chute for chips, which are mostly square for some odd reason. Make a 9" x 9" square, or what ever size you need to overlap the chute by 2" or so, with a 2 3/4"(or whatever size you have) hole in the center for your vacuum. This way you don't have to clean up when your done.

Go over your machines and determine what makes dust and what makes chips. You can be quite creative and find easy solutions with the stuff you already have. Saw dust is the real problem, and we are going into that right now.

Solutions for the small shop.

Firstly and most obviously, your sander most likely can connect to your shop vac, if it has holes in the backup pad and paper. It does get heavy after a lot of sanding, and it's hard to do panels on different angles because the bulky hose coming out of the back. But, it is an efficient way to put dust where you want it, and not air borne. This works well because it's actually sucking the dust through the sander, not pushed by the sander. Beware that you might need a finer filter on your vacuum to trap the dust inside so it doesn't blow out the side of the thing,(Not that it happened to me....lol).

Another good way that won't cost you an arm and a leg is a simple box fan. Believe me this helps a lot. What you do is use a furnace filter on the back side of the fan, Mount it with screws or duct tape. This filter will last years so semi permanent is o.k. Hang it from a hook in the ceiling, or somewhere you can reach it. But be sure air can pass through it from both sides. I keep mine near my sanding bench. Run the fan on low during your work hours. Simply vacuum the filter every so often as it's pulling the dust out of the air. I run two actually, one near the sanding bench and on central to the shop, but out of my way. This works rather well, and it'll cost you $25.00 for one. You can buy the stuff and any local home center, or Wally world(walma*t).

Another good, but a little more expensive way, is to build yourself a sanding station. Sounds huge, but it's really easy. By some 2"x4"'s and a sheet of peg board. Build a bench about 4" inches shorter than working height. Then stand you 2x4's on the tall edge and make a frame around the edge of the table. Depending how big the table is you might want to put some cross supports to eliminate bowing of the work surface. I recommend at least one. I used Velcro to attach the peg board to the surface so I can clean the inside periodically. Next, make a hole in the side, that your dust collector or vacuum can connect to. When you sand your project 90% of the dust will be sucked through the top and into your system. Works well but takes time to build, and floor space to sacrafice. You can also devise some type of foldable legs for easy storage.

Solutions for a bigger system.

On bigger dust collection systems there are many things you can do to optimize your usage. First and foremost, if you don't have gates, get them. Make sure all other gates are closed when in use, to maximize vacuum pressure on your machine. Some shops have automatic gates which are a great system as long as they don't get jammed. Plywood squares do help, but manual gates are rather inexpensive, and are easy to install.

Don't walk so much it's not a marathon.

Set up a switch that works on a pull string rather than push button. Then run a web around your shop that's in reach to each machine. Not the most efficient but it minimizes walking time, and works good. Another way to do that is run actual switches to each machine that all connect to your one dust collector. This takes a little more money, and OSHA wants the wiring enclosed in conduit, with junction boxes.

Downsize your duct work.

As you reach the far extents of your shop, your dust collection seems to lose its sucking power. Get some reducers right at the machine and you'll double it. ( 6"to 4" reducer) these are most common as a six inch runs the length of the shop and your 4" drops down to your machine. Sometimes you can reduce again right at the machine to increase suction, depends on the tool. Don't downsize below the machines output duct size, then increase to make the connection because you'll lose all that gained power.


Most shops I've seen always use sheet metal screws to attach duct work together. Naturally it's the way to do it, but do you take the extra steps to ensure quality? Run a bead of silicone around the tube before connecting, then cover each screw. Even better don't use screws, use hose clamps. This will minimize the loss as you get further away from the dust collector. It may only be a little at this joint, but after 100 joints or so, and 1000 screws you'll lose a lot. I seen a guy make a living from optimizing collection systems. This is one of his techniques that always boosts suction. In the least, use duct tape to seal the joints.

These are some tips that will help you breath and work better, and make your woodworking experience a much more pleasurable one. A safe shop is a happy shop.

Frankie Talarico Jr.

Apr 24, 2009

Sorry for the delay

We haven't done much this week on the blog, but we are working on videos and other jig making tutorials. There is a lot to be learned in the upcoming months. We added many more products to the store, and are continually adding more. Two new things to look for at the store are
1- The simple screw finder.
( A program designed to make yor screw selection as simple as possible.)

2- Free gifts with every order
(You'll recieve a free gift with any order over $25.00)

Don't forget to all you twitter users, Use promo code "tweet" during the checkout process to recieve 15% off your total purchase. While you are there you should sign up for our monthly newsletter. This is a once a month email that you get on the upcoming events, specials, and woodworking tips. Often times there are promo codes attached to them for even more savings.

Happy Woodworking and we'll talk soon


Apr 13, 2009

Board Feet

Measuring Board feet

When it comes to buying solid lumber it’s a good idea to know how they are going to charge you. This way you have a good idea on what it will cost and there shouldn’t be any surprise when they give you your total.

Simply put, break down all measurements into inches. Then multiply Length X Width X Height. Then divide by 144 (square inches in one board foot)

Dimensions are strictly for rough sawn lumber. So a ¾” pland board is actually called a 1 by.

Example - 1” x 8” x 10’ of red oak

1” is ok.
8” is ok.
Convert 10’ * 12” = 120”
120 x 8 x 1 = 960 sq\in
960” / 144 = 6.66 Board feet

I found a nice calculator that makes this formula simple, all you do is enter the dimensions of the lumber. http://www.csgnetwork.com/boardftcalc.html

So if they charge say $6.00/ board ft. this one piece of 1” x 8” x 12’ would cost $39.99

Unlike softwoods, which are sold in standardized dimensions, hardwoods are sold in random widths and lengths. So to tell how much wood hardwood boards contain, they are measured in board feet. "Board Feet" is a volume measurement. One board foot equals 144 cubic inches. Often, a board foot is illustrated as a board 1"-thick x 12"-wide x 12"-long, but you'll rarely find lumber in those dimensions.

Any board containing a total of 144 cubic inches of wood equals one board feet, regardless of its proportions. To calculate the number of board feet in a piece of lumber, multiply the board's thickness by its width, then its length, all in inches. Then divide by 144: (thickness x width x length)/144

For example, a 1" x 9" x 96"-long board equals six board feet (1x9x96=864/144=6). If this board were 1-1/2"-thick, it would contain 9 board feet (1.5x9x96=1296/144=9). Thinner stock is not typically described in board feet.

Also, hardwood thickness is expressed differently than softwood -- in quarters of an inch. A 4/4 (say "four-quarter") board is 1"-thick. A 1-1/2"-thick board is expressed as 6/4. This often reflects the rough-sawn thickness. Surfaced lumber will be slightly thinner.

Frankie Talarico Jr.

Apr 7, 2009

Climb cutting with a handheld router

Climb Routing
Techniques and safety.
(all pictures in this article are clickable)

Climb routing is an alternate way of using your router. There are times in every woodworker’s life that he or she will encounter an instance of funny grain patterns. Most people approach this technique with a premature fear. But, there is nothing to fear when you are properly trained.

Previous experience with a router is a must, and you do have precautions to watch for.

On this particular piece you can see the grains pattern is left to right. The router cuts against this pattern creating a risk of splintering or chipping out. The reason you’d climb cut is to avoid this.

Let’s understand the term “climb”.

A router when in the upright position spins in a clockwise direction. The blades on the router bit are tilted the same way, so it cuts into the wood. When you make your cut, you travel from left to right, creating resistance on the bit. Giving yourself control over how much, and how fast.

When climbing you would travel from right to left creating a drag that pulls the router in that direction. This will climb the board because there is new material to grab and pull it that way, making a dangerous situation for the unsuspecting craftsman.

Special notes:

-Never climb cut on a router table unless you have two people. One person on each side
and the board is long enough for you both to have a grip the entire cut.

-Always use a router bit with bearings.

-Shapers can climb cut if the proper feeders are mounted to the machine. Only
experienced employees should attempt this.

-Stand in directly in front of travel direction, or directly behind so you have the most control over travel speed, never perpendicular unless it's absoulutly mandatory.

The Approach:

The approach is actually very simple. I stand in a boxer position, giving myself a solid foundation to balance on. I lock my elbows straight and use my core (stomach and back) muscles to resist the router.

Once started you can relax your elbows and gradually feed the router into the board. Following the line you need to route, but not going the full depth of the cut. Watch the video below to see how many passes it takes to run an Ogee pattern on ¾ red oak.

As you can see I don’t force the router, I let it take what the chip clearance allows. As I approached the end of my cut I felt it get a little heavy so I re-climbed that section. It’ best to hold your footing and climb one section at a time, all the way to the bearing. Once the length of the cut is finished do one pass the right direction as demonstrated in this video.

Respect the tool, Don’t fear it.
The finished product:

Frankie Talarico Jr.
Bulk woodshop supplies

Apr 6, 2009

Top 5 ways a cabinet shop can save money

Top 5 ways a cabinet shop can save money

1: Have your employees work no more than 40 hr weeks.

This can be arranged in a variety of ways. Some guys like to come in earlier than others so plan a happy medium. Make sure to keep the office running normal business hours, to take potential orders. Some places have even gone to 32- 36 hours to avoid layoffs.

5 days 8 hrs,
The normal, whatever you regular shop hours are.

4 days 10 hrs.
A little less likeable, but the employees like the three day weekend.

9hrs a day 4 on Friday.
This seems the most favorable from the executive position, due to the fact you have guys in the shop all 5 business days. You are readily available if needed.

2: Plan your deliveries so you can consolidate your driving.

If your a busy shop, you're more than likely making deliveries weekly. Why not make them on Monday mornings, or any other set day, and put more than one job if space permits. Try to plan your routes, and stick with it. Plan any material pick up on the same day, sometimes it's cheaper just to go get certain things yourself. 1 round trip is always better than 2 or 3

3: Buy material in bulk.

Try ordering materials in bulk. Things like screws, hinges, locks, mdf or ply sheets, office supplies, and stuff you use regularly. You always buy the same ones, so why not buy more. We all know when you buy small you pay big. Only stuff that you find yourself ordering all the time. try buying as much from one vendor as possible, this way you save on stacked shipping costs. It all adds up at the end of each month.

4: Shop around before you just buy.

Too many times businesses get comfortable with the supplier they use. Often times they don't even ask about price. Normally they do beat the competition, but not on everything. I've seen prices rise as much as 15% over one week. This is like the gas stations that sell fuel through accounts. They are always top dollar, could've saved if you went across the street, but they don't accept that card! Don't forget to calculate shipping costs as well.

5: Save on energy costs.

In the hot summer months, keep the place buttoned up during the morning hours. The insulation will help keep it cool with some fans circulating. Once the heat builds up open two door or windows across the shop. Use a fan in one pointing out, It makes a good cross breeze that is steady, Start early so you're done by 2:00pm. During the winter keep the heat at 63-66 degrees in the shop. Sounds cool, but aren't the guys already dressed up for winter? Once you're working ( should be immediately) it's perfect, not sweating is good.

You start applying these tactics to your everyday work day. You will save thousands by the end of the year. I'm not the most perfectly green person around, But I'm on my way to be greener, and I hope you to will to find a greener way.

Frankie Talarico Jr.
Woodworking supplies

Reading and understanding wood grain.

Understanding wood grain.
(any picture is clickable for a full view)

One of the most common mistakes people make in a woodshop is feeding the wood into the machine in the wrong direction. They don't understand the grain of the wood and often times find themselves chipping or gouging out grain when running a router, shaper, or planer. First of all wood grain is a form of natural organic growth. As we all know anything that grows, does so in a pattern. And natural patterns, if not followed, normally lead to problems. Lets go with an example of a cats fur. When you pet a cat front to back it's fur is nice and smooth. The hair lays down over each other with a very natural pattern. Now stroke him backwards, what do you get? Ruffled up hair standing straight up on end, in a ugly not so nice pattern, with a cat half mad.

The anatomy of wood cell structure:

I couldn't explain this better. This is an excerpt from wood magazine. Detailed information on the pores and structure of wood cells.
Technically, the word grain refers to the orientation of wood-cell fibers. That's quite different from figure, which describes the distinctive pattern that frequently results from various grain orientations. To understand this, it may help to think of the word direction following the word grain. All grain types except straight grain can be a blessing or a curse. Because wood with anything other than straight grain may be sawn to produce sometimes exquisite figure, errant grain becomes a blessing. In structural applications, such as home construction, lumber (mostly softwood) with other than straight grain loses some strength. And hardwood boards without straight grain require extra care in machining to avoid tear out and other reactions.

Grain means texture, too
Texture means the relative size as well as the amount of variation in size of the wood cells. It's the cells and how they're arranged in bands called rays, and the size and distribution of pores, that make the difference between fine-textured wood and coarse-textured wood. Woodworkers, though, say "fine-grained" and "coarse-grained" rather than use the word texture to describe this characteristic of wood. And you don't have to be a wood technologist to see as well as feel the difference in grain.
First let's go over the three grain types there are.

1. End Grain (usually not exposed after a project is finished due to it's nature of absorbing too much stain)
The end grain is the little straw ends of the natural fibers in the tree. These used to be feeding tubes. There are 2 end grains on each board.
2. Face Grain (Most commonly used to display a finished even toned pattern)
Face grain is what you normally see when you look at your cabinets, or the side of the wood you can easily identify tree species. This grain is often the most precious side of the board. A piece of wood normally has 2 faces.
3. Edge grain. (This is the strongest side of wood. Quality cutting boards are made from maple on edge.)
Edge grain is usually the same side you measure thickness from. It can be stained to match the face and looks similar to face grain. Edge grain is acceptable as face grain on certain applications.

As with the cat theory, the same applies for wood grain. If you look at the edge or face of a board you can easily see the pattern. We used red oak to express this, for it's natural prominent grain pattern.
turned on edge

As you can plainly see the grain lays in a distinct pattern. This is the direction it grew in and will always stay that way. This example has a tendency to go left to right. meaning a cutter should move right to left. If you tried to cut against the grain the wood will splinter and try to continue down the grain line. If cutting with the grain, the wood chips would clear out smoothly revealing a nice clean cut.
Some examples below.

This one the grain goes right to left meaning you cut left to right. An example of a face cut

This example demonstrates a left to right grain. And feed again is opposite that. This demonstrates jointing

Things to keep in mind:

When making an edge cut, you will be reading the face grain.

When cutting the face grain, you'll read the edge grain.

Sometimes you won't be able to control which way to cut. This often happens while doing a project that needs lots routing. Most times it's after assembly of certain pieces that you run a decorative edge and need to pay special attention to details. These are instances of running against the grain. Sometimes it's got to be done, and when this is the casea you need advanced techniques and experience. Some people believe running the piece slower over the blade helps. To some degree this is true, but most times it's not.
check out my advanced routing and techniques. Covering against the grain cuts.
Coming soon, as this will be my next article.
This is pine Easy to read.

When jointing near a knot or check in the board use caution. The grain will often change direction. This is very common and should be handled appropriately. You read the entire length of the board. Majority of the grain direction is heading one way. This is the way you'll cut, taking time when approaching the knot and exiting. You will hear a distinct noise of wood breaking and chipping out where the cutter makes contact. There are tricks a jointer can do to prevent chipout or at least minimize it. I'll cover that at a later point.
Frankie Talarico Jr.
Woodworking supplies

Apr 3, 2009

How to use and read a tape measure

Reading and understanding a tape measure:

All the photos are clickable and you'll see the details needed if your having trouble viewing.

For first time woodworkers or anyone that needs to make a measurement. For most people you'll have to measure something sooner or later. You might as well sound like you know what your doing so you don't end up saying something like,"5 and three little little lines". Should be sounding more like "5 and 3/16 of an inch". After reading this you should have a good understanding of the following techniques:

1) Increments and steps

2) Reading a tape

3) Understanding fractions

4) General rules of thumb

Firstly I would like to make a note for all the beginners out there. The tip of your blade has a l shaped hook on the end. This piece is loose for a reason, don't tighten it or your tape is worthless. The purpose of this play is for an inside or outside measurement. The difference in the tip is actually the thickness of that tip. This is something that is set at the factory and should not be adjusted.

"What do all those lines mean anyway?". The standard or "imperial" tape measure is mostly used in the western world. Every one else in the world uses Metric. I will do a writeup about that another time. The imperial standard is an easy to use system that requires little to no thinking when it comes to math.

The way a tape measure is laid out is in such a way that inches are broken down to 16 equal step increments. those steps when multiplied are. 8 equal steps, then 4 equal steps, then 2 equal steps. 1/16th", 1/8th", 1/4", 1/2" respectively

Memorize fractions like this

1"= 2/2, 4/4, 8/8, 16/16"

1/2"= 1/2, 2/4, 4/8, 8/16"

1/4"= 1/4, 2/8, 4/16"

1/8"= 1/8, 2/16"

By remembering the fractions this way you'll easily be able to determine what your measurement is to the 1/16 of an inch, or even 1/32". To break it down visually I will demonstrate by marking out the lines on the tape. On the right we have an example of the 1/8" increments. This shows the actual numbers you would say or use.

And this example is broken down to the 1/16 of an inch increments. It's hard to put all this on one picture because it gets a little confusing. You can easily see that 1/2" would be 8/16". And 1/4" is equal to 4/16" This is what makes it easy. Then just remember to break down your measurement so you have a proper fraction.

When it comes time to actually read the measurement I do one of two things. I either round it up and subtract the number of lines or I count the steps and multiply. I will explain.

If I measure something that is 7/16" I look at the tape and see 1/2" is closest (which is 8/16 as we all know) subtract one little line ( equivalent to 1/16") And I get: 8/16" - 1/16" = 7/16" right?

If I happen to notice its center of 1/2" and 1" I can tell that its a quarter time 3 (because If i break an inch into 4 quarters I have 3 on my measuring side.) That would make it a 3/4" measurement.

The easiest way to measure is to follow these steps here:


Look at the big number that's nearest to, but before the mark you’re trying to read. It should be a whole number. That’s how many inches you’re measuring. If the mark you're reading falls on a whole number, then that number is all the information you need. Carpenters usually measure in inches. While framers use Feet, then inches, then fractions.


Count how many marks there are in between each inch if the mark you’re reading doesn't fall on a whole number. Most tape measures will divide an inch into 16 equal parts, or 16ths of an inch like the photo above.


Start at the whole number you found nearest your desired mark and count the number of marks between the whole number and the spot you're trying to read.


Read the final number as "inch and fraction." For example, if your nearest whole number is two and there are five marks between your spot and the whole number, then your measurement would be "two and five-sixteenths".


Reduce the fraction, if necessary. Fractions are expressed in the smallest numbers possible, so eight sixteenths would be reduced to half of an inch.


Sometimes a measurement ends up in between the lines, Now what? Well you say the line below your measurement the say heavy. and this is considered a 1/32 step from that line (ex. two and five sixteenths heavy)


You might have noticed that every 24" on the tape measure are marked with a contrasting black background and every 16" is marked with a red background. The marks are used by construction workers for spacing wood studs in a wall or joists in a floor/roof. 16" spacing is used most commonly for load bearing walls and 24" for non-load bearing walls. The small black diamonds represent a less common spacing scheme.

Rules of thumb and care for using a tape measure.

1. Don't ever let the tape slam back in when retracting. Always slow it down.

2. Try not to bend the tape against it's self. Bending the tape backwards shortens the life of the metal, and it creates slivers on the tape that will cut you when you least expect it.

3. Don't pull the tape out as far as it can go this ruins the spring mechanism inside rendering you tape useless much sooner than planned. I carry three tapes. 16', 25', 100'

4. Don't drop the tape measure on concrete. If you do measure up with someone around the job. You can bend the tip and create incorrect measurements.

5. Use a ladder when measuring in high places because an 1/8" can mean the difference between quality and crap.

6. The lock is over rated. Only use it if you have to walk away from the tape, or lay it down. this kinks and sometimes caused malfunction and the tape is useless.

7. Don't use a cut tape measure. If your blade has a tear or slice in it you need a new one. If you want to risk your own safety go ahead but I recommend against it. Too many times a job goes bad because silly tool related mistakes, and someone goes to the hospital for stitches. Is that really worth it?

For a video explanation check this out. Thank you to Tim Carter for this nice explanation.

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Mar 15, 2009

Wood Screws: drives, threads, and tips

Wood Screws are measured by how much screw is actually in the wood. Below is an illustration demonstrating this exact fact.

In this discussion we will go over the basic anatomy of a wood screw. We touch on each aspect to consider when buying screws for your next job. At Getneds.com we supply what we feel is the most efficient and cost effective product. We will go into greater detail on our particular screws later on.
Let's get started.....

Types of Drive:

The type of drive you choose should depend on its functionality. Sometimes you only need a Phillips because of the funny install angle (installing in a corner or under a counter). Sometimes a square drive to apply torque when power is needed (like a stud). And other times you will need the finish appearance and you'll use pozidrive. These choices should be considered before you actually purchase anything.

Types of Heads:

Photo courtesy http://www.wikipedia.com/

A: Pan head- These look like a frying pan upside down. Commonly used to attach metal to wood, but can but used where a finished head application is needed.

B: Button Head- Used and acts much like the pan head. Smaller head to thread size ratio.

C: Round head- These screws are most commonly found with a flat head drive. Used a lot in older construction. This was before the screw manufacturing technologies went to a modernized technique. Still used in today's applications but not as common as pan head.

D: Truss Head- This head type has a low profile to allow clearance when moving parts are involved around the screw. The specially designed low profile head allows drawer slides to function with no interference from the fastener.

E: Flat head- This design is intended for a flush mounting application. Where the screw head must installed below the working surface. Very common in the cabinet trade for the ability to hide the screw with caps or plugs.

F: Oval head- This type of head is commonly used for mounting hardware to finished products. The head is a decorative design intended to enhance the look of your final product. The finish comes in wide varieties to match any style.

To finish up this topic please keep in mind I only discuss screws related to woodworking because that what i know. I will not try to explain machine screws unless it applies to hardware we supply at Getneds.com.

For greater explanations on types of machine screws visit: http://www.wikipedia.com/

Types of Tips or Points:

Screw Points in general can be a long and bumpy road. I will cover only four here because woodworking only has so many tips that function properly. The choice of tip is critical when choosing the proper screw for the job. Tips will make your life easier or hard depending on your decision

A: The first type is commonly known and used everywhere. Not too sure on the proper term but it is a regular point. Nothing special just tapered towards the tip of the screw.

B: The second is most commonly used in production work is a type 17. This has a special slot cut into the tip to allow chip clearance, and eliminates the need to predrill certain woods and substrates.

C: The third is a self tapping metal tip. Widely used for mounting to steel studs. Has a special tip designed for drilling and tapping through metal studs.

D: This final tip is Spax brand. They have a special corrugated tip to grab instantly and pull the screw the rest of t he way eliminating the need for excessive pressure while driving.

For great photos and excellent descriptions on screw points visit:
Good information on helping determine which point to use.

Types of Thread:

For thread choice most commonly used are deep threads. The allow for maximum grab and holding power as time causes woods to shrink and dry. Fine threads are used for very hard woods. When minimal thread diameter is needed. Like i said, deep thread are most often your best choice. Partial deep threads allows for a stronger hold without damaging the first piece you penetrate, while holding the the work piece fast and firm from below. Carefully examine the photo to better understand the concept.
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Mar 13, 2009

How to apply and use our fasteners

Welcome to Getneds official blog.

This section of the blog is to inform readers of fasteners we supply along with techniques on how to apply and use them. We will update on a weekly basis so check back often as we will update often.

I would like to begin by offering my ear to anyone who needs instruction or guidance on how to apply, use, or install any of our cabinet hardware fasteners. Anything we carry is industry specific and there are a lot of questions. We would like this to be the place you turn to when in doubt. We have the know-how and experience to help you better understand the products we offer. If you don't find what you need on our site please feel free to contact us. We are always interested in new venues and are willing to look into it further.

Our company mission is simple.

Total customer satisfaction, Every time, Guaranteed

If there are any topics you would like us to look into or products you need information on let us know. We do business with professionals and offer professional expertise. Take a look at our store and bookmark us. You'll save in the long run.

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Frankie Talarico