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  • Woodworking advice...

    Hopefully I'm not breaking any rules here, and if I am, admins please feel free to delete this or tell me otherwise.

    The latest issue of Wood magazine arrived yesterday. I suppose that we could argue ad-nasuem about whether or not the guys at Wood magazine are "true" professionals or not, but in my book, they are a dang site more professional than I am. Heck, I would have to think that the mere definition of professional is getting paid to do something. They are getting paid to do woodworking, so that fits the definition.

    Lately, there have been several threads on here about "perfection" and how to get there. Various advice has been extolled from the community, NONE of which is bad, right or wrong.

    But the latest issue of Wood magazine had an article about "I wish someone had told me that when I started!", and in there were (3) tips in particular that I thought were worth sharing here: (Italicized text is quoted from Wood Magazine, March 2013 issue)
    1. All woodworkers make mistakes. Acknowledge them. Learn from them. But, most of all, shut up about them. Most people won't notice mistakes, so stop pointing them out when you show off your project. It will do wonders for your confidence.

      How true, how true this is. I recently built a table for my parents, and when they saw it for the first time, they were blown away. All I could do was tell them about every little flaw that was on it. SHUT UP! Enjoy the moment! They were thrilled with the project. Leave it at that. Walk away.
    2. Remember that woodworking is a hobby. It's supposed to be fun and relaxing, so take your time, and enjoy the process. ... Build to the best of your ability but don't drive yourself crazy.

      I know that this is something that we all struggle with. It's supposed to be fun! Over my last couple of projects, I've taken time to slow down, and just let things happen as they happen. If I don't think that I'm making quick enough progress, I walk away. Because hurrying only makes matters worse. Walk away and come back when you're ready to slow down and have fun. This ain't easy!, but in the end it makes ANY project better, because you're at peace with what happens.
      I would also add to the "build to the best of your ability", build to the best of YOUR tools! You don't have to go out and buy a new tool every time that you do a project. New tools are fun, and they do help, but woodworking does NOT need to be about who has the most and the best tools. You can do a LOT of amazing things with the tools that you own.
    3. Ask for help.Woodworkers are a helpful bunch, eager to share advice live in a tie in which we can quickly get answers to anything. ...

      I don't think that any of us here can deny this fact! We are an "instant" community here, and there is almost always someone who has done what you're asking, OR is at least willing to offer advice on how they would accomplish it. And remember there are NO stupid questions. That's one thing that l like about this community. No one is ever condemned for asking questions. (NOTE: that is not true in all online community forums)


    This is NOT meant to be a comprehensive list by any means. I just thought this information could prove helpful and useful to others, and I would welcome anyone to add to this list as they see fit...
    CADman_ks
    - Stentorian build...
    - Ochocinco build...
    - BT speaker / sub build...

  • #2
    VERY good advice, CADman, especially for those of us like me who DON'T read magazines like that but SHOULD! :T

    All of us can pickup a lot of useful info from sources like that in additional to what you'll see published on HT Guide and other sites for DIY; some of the guys here are so good they could be writing the book themselves, but others like me are coming at this from a different angle and level of experience regarding woodworking, and we benefit from all the help we can get, especially detailed build info by the more woodworking skilled members.

    This is higher level advice to put things in perspective, but very sound. Sometimes I wonder if it wouldn't be good to have a thread devoted to woodworking tips and hints, we could make it a sticky. Maybe turn this one into that for member contributions?

    What do you say guys? Are you willing to share new hints and tricks with the rest of us? :W
    the AudioWorx
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    • #3
      What's all that got to do with woodworking? It seems like sound advice for anything at all!

      I've done performances (violin) where I messed up pretty bad - the only time the audience EVER knows is if I stop, make a face, or otherwise make it clear to them (unless, of course, there's someone that knows the piece already...)

      That said, I think a woodworking tips thread would be great.

      C
      diVine Sound - my DIY speaker designs at diVine Audio

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      • #4
        Originally posted by cjd
        What's all that got to do with woodworking? It seems like sound advice for anything at all! ...
        LOL!!! Very true...

        I thought that the timing was perfect with some of the things we've been discussing lately, and the article.

        You're right, though, these points more or less don't really have anything to do with woodworking, per se. They are more "life lessons", found in a woodworking journal.
        CADman_ks
        - Stentorian build...
        - Ochocinco build...
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        • #5
          What more could you ask from a hobby...?

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          • #6
            I would define a professional as someone who needs to make money doing something (or go broke trying ). Having the most tools only helps you do that. I've seen plenty of hobbyists' work that was really impressive. Hell, I started in this when I was just a kid playing in my dad's garage. I had a lot more fun back then too.
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            • #7
              I completely agree with your post CADman, especially #1, I never have made a project without mistakes. What I have discovered is through the fixing of said mistakes, is when a lot learning takes place, especially if you remember the lesson the next time around.

              Good idea Jon on sharing tips and ideas, though I am starting to see a fair bit of that starting to show up of late which is great and very helpful.
              Hold on to your butts - It's about to get Musical!



              WEBSITE: http://www.smjaudio.com/

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              • #8
                Here's one of my favorite things.



                Stikit sandpaper rolls from 3M (Hi Hank!). I get the 4 1/2" x 10 yard rolls. We use these constantly in the shop, whether it's for flat sanding small areas or rounding off edges, etc. Cut some 4" wide x 8 or 10" long pieces of MDF (or anything flat) and wrap the Stikit paper on it. Best sanding blocks ever. It also comes in handy for odd sized work that needs to be sanded. Just cut a block of whatever size you need and cut strips of Stikit to match. We use 80, 120, 220 and 320 grits.

                Here's one site that sells it:

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                • #9
                  Thanks Pete! Definitely a useful tip!

                  I'm making this a sticky thread now, with the hope that many will contribute their tips, experiences, and thoughts... a wide range of discussion should be possible, let's keep the basic focus on general woodworking skills, tips, and hints!
                  the AudioWorx
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                  • #10
                    I built a pair of satellite speakers over the Christmas break - nothing fancy, and to an existing design. However, they are wall-mounting speakers and the boxes have a lot of non-90 degree angles. Two of the tools I found myself reaching for were:

                    1. My Tilt Box (http://www.leevalley.com/en/wood/pag...50&cat=1,43513) which is very useful for accurately setting the angle of a table-saw blade (and many other things).

                    2. A few random lengths of latex surgical tubing. This stuff is great for clamping strange shapes that conventional clamps can't deal with. You can't get the same kind of clamping pressures, but it is usually good enough, especially when your glue's timing out and everything's still sliding around!

                    Martyn

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                    • #11
                      Here's my newest toy. A Bosch oscillating tool.



                      These are really handy to have around. You can use it to do small cut-off work, it will plunge cut, and has a scraper and sander attachment as well. If, for instance, you were doing new flooring and had to cut door trim so the flooring could slide underneath, these things are great. We install a lot of our cabinets in existing spaces and these come in handy for cutting existing base and chair rail to accommodate the new casework. The more we use it, the more we find things it will do.
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                      • #12
                        Pete: Atta boy!
                        Martyn: the tilt box is handy - just make sure your table saw is level ;-)

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                        • #13
                          I think the most helpful thing (and the most painful to hear) is also rather simple:

                          "The second time is always better."

                          Usually heard when some poor soul caught an edge of something they'd made in the buffing room, sending it crashing into the cement wall/floor. Metalshop, non-ferrous, so nice shiny brass, silver, bronze, etc... usually hours invested, since the most problematic pieces seemed to be the raised work (i.e. you shape a flat piece of metal into a bowl or cup or ... somethign... by carefully hammering in just the right places, for just the right amount.)

                          Originally posted by JonMarsh
                          Thanks Pete! Definitely a useful tip!

                          I'm making this a sticky thread now, with the hope that many will contribute their tips, experiences, and thoughts... a wide range of discussion should be possible, let's keep the basic focus on general woodworking skills, tips, and hints!
                          Which adhesive did you use for that?
                          diVine Sound - my DIY speaker designs at diVine Audio

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                          • #14
                            As some of you know, I'm a big fan of making a baffle template instead of cutting every driver hole on a finished enclosure. Seems like the right place to re-post it.

                            I always make a template out of scrap MDF and use a shallow pattern bit to form the driver recess. My reasons are simple.

                            1) Using a template makes it nearly impossible to ruin your brand new enclosure.
                            2) The enclosure can be veneered and/or pre-finished.
                            3) Once the template is made and verified to be accurate, it can be used over and over again. They don't take up much room to store.

                            Here's the router bit. It's 3/4" diameter:



                            Here's an example of a template:



                            I make the template the width of the baffle and create the driver holes (full diameter of driver) spaced accurately from the top. I make it longer in length to aid in clamping. To use it, clamp it to your enclosure, evening it up to the top and sides. Set the depth of the pattern bit (see below) and follow the template. You could also make the driver holes in the enclosure first (with another template ) then use this template to create the recess for the driver flange. Flip it over for left and right layouts.
                            Last edited by PMazz; 19 January 2013, 09:44 Saturday.
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                            • #15
                              If you've got a plunge router with the typical adjustable depth stops, and you need to set a certain depth of cut, try this:

                              1) On a flat surface, lock the plunge depth so that the router bit just contacts the surface.
                              2) Using some shim material (we use small laminate samples but a small notepad or sticky notes works well), find the depth you want to plunge (for a driver recess let's say) by stacking shims or using the notepad by flipping pages.
                              3) With the router still locked, use the shims to set one of the depth stops.

                              Route away!

                              And if you're an old fart like me, use your old feeler gauge set. Remember those? 8O
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                              • #16
                                Need a little epoxy? Mix it on an 8 1/2" x 11" notepad. When you're done, tear off the offending sheet for easy clean-up.
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                                • #17
                                  Here's a foolproof method to attach grill cloth.

                                  I use screening rope (1/8") and route an 1/8" groove around the perimeter of the grill. I use a handheld laminate trimmer with fence. All items can be bought at Home Depot except maybe the 1/8" router bit.

                                  Another method is to use a table saw to make the groove but you'd need to fill in the thru cuts on the edges and use the appropriate sized rope.



                                  After applying fabric and rope, trim excess fabric with razor knife. The good part is if it doesn't look right, you can pull the rope and start over (before trimming).



                                  Here's the finished grill:

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                                  • #18
                                    Still using tee nuts? I really prefer the hurricane nuts from Parts Express.



                                    For MDF, I always add a drop of wood glue into the hole first. Q tips work great. Same for any screw holes in MDF except I dab it on the screw before inserting.
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                                    • #19
                                      Speaking of screw holes, if you ever strip one out (who hasn't?) keep some wooden toothpicks around the shop and insert them with some wood glue. Break off and repeat until the hole is filled.
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                                      • #20
                                        All right guys! Talk about going overtime on this- Thanks Pete!

                                        This is great stuff, and just what I'd hoped to see- thanks for these helpful tips and techniques! :T
                                        the AudioWorx
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                                        Just ask Mr. Ohm....

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                                        • #21
                                          Getting smooth cuts without a table saw and super duper table saw blade...

                                          There's frequently times I have to do some cuts sort of ad hoc, and often where I'd still like to have a very smooth cut after it's done. Sometimes it can be done with a saber saw, sometimes it must be done manually with a hand saw.

                                          One thing that's helped me is looking more closely at the blade types out there and matching the blade to the material and the job. In this case, I've really been happy since I discovered what I'd call flat side saw blades that have their cutting edges towards the inside of the blade, instead of with teeth beveled to the outside. The latter do cut fast, but they can leave a messy surface behind them.

                                          Examples:

                                          Saber Saw Blade: Bosch Progressor

                                          Manual saw: Vaughn Bear Saw (blades made in Japan)







                                          These are now my favorites in these classes of blades, and have become my general purpose go-to solution for when really clean straight cuts are required.
                                          the AudioWorx
                                          Natalie P
                                          M8ta
                                          Modula Neo DCC
                                          Modula MT XE
                                          Modula Xtreme
                                          Isiris
                                          Wavecor Ardent

                                          SMJ
                                          Minerva Monitor
                                          Calliope
                                          Ardent D

                                          In Development...
                                          Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
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                                          Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                                          Modula PWB
                                          Calliope CC Supreme
                                          Natalie P Ultra
                                          Natalie P Supreme
                                          Janus BP1 Sub


                                          Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                                          Just ask Mr. Ohm....

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                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by PMazz
                                            Here's a foolproof method to attach grill cloth.

                                            I use screening rope (1/8") and route an 1/8" groove around the perimeter of the grill. I use a handheld laminate trimmer with fence. All items can be bought at Home Depot except maybe the 1/8" router bit.

                                            ...
                                            WOW! This is a great tip. I absolutely did this the hard way when I built mine front faces! LOL!!
                                            CADman_ks
                                            - Stentorian build...
                                            - Ochocinco build...
                                            - BT speaker / sub build...

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                                            • #23
                                              Originally posted by JonMarsh
                                              ...

                                              These are now my favorites in these classes of blades, and have become my general purpose go-to solution for when really clean straight cuts are required.
                                              Again, I never knew that these existed!

                                              Have you ever used these in plywood, particularly the ones for saber saws? Do they cut well in there, and not tear out?, or is plywood just hard to cut in general???
                                              CADman_ks
                                              - Stentorian build...
                                              - Ochocinco build...
                                              - BT speaker / sub build...

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                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by CADman_ks
                                                Again, I never knew that these existed!

                                                Have you ever used these in plywood, particularly the ones for saber saws? Do they cut well in there, and not tear out?, or is plywood just hard to cut in general???
                                                These blades also work well for me in BB ply and composites, plus special materials like LBL bamboo. For standard dura steel, nothing beats a high power welding laser, though...
                                                DFAL
                                                Dark Force Acoustic Labs

                                                A wholly owned subsidiary of Palpatine Heavy Industries

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                                                • #25
                                                  We always keep a Ziploc bag of Q-tips in the shop for those special occasions besides ear hygiene.

                                                  1) Spreading glue in drilled holes.
                                                  2) Dabbing some touch up stain.
                                                  3) Getting foreign debris out of your eyes (not that that ever happens). Wet the Q-tip in your mouth (preferably not right after drinking lemonade) and swipe under the offending eyelid.
                                                  Birth of a Media Center

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                                                  • #26
                                                    Color Matching Wood Putty

                                                    I ran across this video this week. It runs along with some of the stuff we were talking about in the stain matching thread last week. I think I'll be giving it a try on my cabinet trim.

                                                    Colored wood putty
                                                    Hold on to your butts - It's about to get Musical!



                                                    WEBSITE: http://www.smjaudio.com/

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                                                    • #27
                                                      Here's an old school carpenter's tweak:

                                                      If your steel framing square isn't quite square, you can make minor adjustments by using a nail set to "stretch" it. To check if it's square, square a line on a flat surface, flip the square over right to left (or vice versa) and check if it still lines up.

                                                      Here's mine that was out at an acute angle. Using the nail set, strike a few times right in the inside corner on each side. Repeat as needed.



                                                      It also helps accuracy if you relieve the inside corner slightly with a file.


                                                      Attached Files
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                                                      • #28
                                                        Originally posted by Hank
                                                        Martyn: the tilt box is handy - just make sure your table saw is level ;-)
                                                        Easy...I just zero the Tilt Box on the table first. I also use it to ensure that my blade is true when I return it to 90 degrees.

                                                        Martyn

                                                        Comment


                                                        • #29
                                                          Originally posted by PMazz
                                                          Here's an old school carpenter's tweak:

                                                          If your steel framing square isn't quite square, you can make minor adjustments by using a nail set to "stretch" it. To check if it's square, square a line on a flat surface, flip the square over right to left (or vice versa) and check if it still lines up.

                                                          Here's mine that was out at an acute angle. Using the nail set, strike a few times right in the inside corner on each side. Repeat as needed.

                                                          ...
                                                          I've never had to do this to a square, yet, knock-on-wood.

                                                          I've always wondered though, if there's a practical limit to the number of times that you can do this?
                                                          CADman_ks
                                                          - Stentorian build...
                                                          - Ochocinco build...
                                                          - BT speaker / sub build...

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                                                          • #30
                                                            I've always wondered though, if there's a practical limit to the number of times that you can do this?
                                                            If there is, the squares are never that far out of whack that I've reached it. We're only talking about really small adjustments being necessary.
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                                                            • #31
                                                              Originally posted by CADman_ks
                                                              I've never had to do this to a square, yet, knock-on-wood.

                                                              I've always wondered though, if there's a practical limit to the number of times that you can do this?
                                                              Work-hardening steel to the point it breaks with something like this is probably pretty tough, especially considering it is probably NOT tempered and is a fairly mild steel. I'd imagine the same thing could be done with a ball-peen hammer or center-punch.
                                                              diVine Sound - my DIY speaker designs at diVine Audio

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                                                              • #32
                                                                For those who use screws to assemble, try these instead of standard flatheads. They are called trim screws and have a much smaller head. They were developed for use with metal studs for commercial work. Same as drywall screws except you wouldn't have to countersink. Just drill an 1/8" hole and run the screw just below the surface. You'll need a #1 square drive. Much easier to fill and finish.

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                                                                • #33
                                                                  Great stuff, PMazz!
                                                                  Jim

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                                                                  • #34
                                                                    No need for a table saw. I like to use a track saw to safely cut large, heavy sheet goods. Just about every major tool brand has their own version. I started with Festool and now I have a Porter Cable saw with a Eurekazone guide. The plastic edge is your finish cut line. When ripping a full sheet, I mark both ends and the center. No need to mark a line the entire length.



                                                                    Jim

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                                                                    • #35
                                                                      Keep organized. You wouldn't believe how funny that is coming from me unless you knew me personally. For a long time, I stacked my pipe clamps on the floor. They were always in the way. When I started buying parallel clamps, I decided to make a rack. It was one of my favorite projects in my garage so far. I no longer trip on my clamps!

                                                                      Jim

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                                                                      • #36
                                                                        I think I know exactly where you're coming from on this one!

                                                                        One of the biggest helps with my current project has been a line of stackable bins from England that I discovered at Office Max, of all places. Tools, jigs, parts for projects in progress, finishing stuff, hardware, etc.

                                                                        http://www.reallyusefulproducts.co.uk/usa/

                                                                        Many types of bins, including several heights of the same basic footprint, and organizer trays. Very strong, they have a pic of a Mini sitting on for of them, one box at each wheel. Stack stable to 6 feet easy.
                                                                        the AudioWorx
                                                                        Natalie P
                                                                        M8ta
                                                                        Modula Neo DCC
                                                                        Modula MT XE
                                                                        Modula Xtreme
                                                                        Isiris
                                                                        Wavecor Ardent

                                                                        SMJ
                                                                        Minerva Monitor
                                                                        Calliope
                                                                        Ardent D

                                                                        In Development...
                                                                        Isiris Mk II updates- in final test stage!
                                                                        Obi-Wan
                                                                        Saint-Saëns Symphonique/AKA SMJ-40
                                                                        Modula PWB
                                                                        Calliope CC Supreme
                                                                        Natalie P Ultra
                                                                        Natalie P Supreme
                                                                        Janus BP1 Sub


                                                                        Resistance is not futile, it is Volts divided by Amperes...
                                                                        Just ask Mr. Ohm....

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                                                                        • #37
                                                                          For those of you who are abitious enough to use hardwoods. When routing, pay attention to the direction of the bit "usually clockwise" If you are approaching the corner of a piece of hardwood say with a flush trim bit or roundover bit be VERY careful! The edge of the bit can "grab" the wood and throw out a large chunk destroying the expensive piece of hardwood you just purchased. General rule is rout most of the inside length within about 2" of the corner. Then, start from the outside of the corner "bit in free air" and pull it into the corner to finish the last 2".
                                                                          "The most successful people in this world have also failed the most"

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                                                                          • #38
                                                                            The problem J-Dub is addressing is worst when you are routing cross grain and approaching the end of the cut. It also happens with "wild" grain or grain that is at an angle to the edge. I'll add to that method that shallow cuts are important. If you try to cut too deeply cross grain or in a direction that would lift the grain you are more likely to rip out.

                                                                            I try to cut cross grain first and clamp a sacrificial piece to the side of the board when doing cross grain roundovers. That way the edge of the finished piece is supported and less likely to rip out.

                                                                            Comment


                                                                            • #39
                                                                              Actually looking for advice and methods. I've noticed many diy designs resembling the avalon Isis and was wondering what the best method is to make those angled cuts on the sides of the front baffle? Any advice will be well received. thanks!

                                                                              Comment


                                                                              • #40
                                                                                Finishing tips

                                                                                Use a sander for grits 150-220.
                                                                                Clean wood with a t shirt dampened with mineral spirits. This will also raise the grain. Let dry. only takes a few minutes.
                                                                                Hand sand with 400 grit then clean again.
                                                                                Hand sand with 0000steel wool clean again.

                                                                                Use Tung Oil instaed of Polyurethane.
                                                                                Polyurethane has superior abrasion resistence but is brushed on and leaves streaks. It also doesnt have the prettiest finish.
                                                                                Note: Sanding out brush streaks from polyurethane is a horrid experience. The sand paper WILL gum up and almost always tear little chunks out of the underlying finish only making things worse. Avoid this headache if at all possible.
                                                                                Tung Oil is rubbed on and can be very "deep" it is aslo extremely smooth if done correctly.
                                                                                For high gloss use many coats more than 5 and Buff with a lint free cloth about 5-10 minutes after each coat is applied.
                                                                                For a really deep finish use up to 10 or more coats.
                                                                                Clean with a t shirt dampened with mineral spirits between every coat but allow Tung Oil to fully dry first.
                                                                                For a satin finish, use about 3 coats, do not buff between and lightly sand with 0000 steel wool before last coat. Clean as above with mineral spirits between coats.
                                                                                Follow these tips and achieve super deep finishes that classic car collectors would be envious of.
                                                                                Last edited by J-Dub; 02 August 2013, 18:23 Friday. Reason: added content
                                                                                "The most successful people in this world have also failed the most"

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                                                                                • #41
                                                                                  Originally posted by J-Dub View Post
                                                                                  Finishing tips

                                                                                  Use a sander for grits 150-220.
                                                                                  Clean wood with a t shirt dampened with mineral spirits. This will also raise the grain. Let dry. only takes a few minutes.
                                                                                  Hand sand with 400 grit then clean again.
                                                                                  Hand sand with 0000steel wool clean again.

                                                                                  Use Tung Oil instaed of Polyurethane.
                                                                                  Polyurethane has superior abrasion resistence but is brushed on and leaves streaks. It also doesnt have the prettiest finish.
                                                                                  Note: Sanding out brush streaks from polyurethane is a horrid experience. The sand paper WILL gum up and almost always tear little chunks out of the underlying finish only making things worse. Avoid this headache if at all possible.
                                                                                  Tung Oil is rubbed on and can be very "deep" it is aslo extremely smooth if done correctly.
                                                                                  For high gloss use many coats more than 5 and Buff with a lint free cloth about 5-10 minutes after each coat is applied.
                                                                                  For a really deep finish use up to 10 or more coats.
                                                                                  Clean with a t shirt dampened with mineral spirits between every coat but allow Tung Oil to fully dry first.
                                                                                  For a satin finish, use about 3 coats, do not buff between and lightly sand with 0000 steel wool before last coat. Clean as above with mineral spirits between coats.
                                                                                  Follow these tips and achieve super deep finishes that classic car collectors would be envious of.
                                                                                  When I use Polyurethane,

                                                                                  1. I start with 2 coats sanding sealer to file the grain, then sand, dry 400 grit.
                                                                                  2. Brush on 3 coats of heavily flooded poly, don't worry a bought brush strokes or runs, no sanding between. After 3 coats Wet sand 400grit on a rubber sanding block. Lots of water splashed on. You want to level the surface. the wet sand will not tear layers, you just need each coat completely dry.
                                                                                  3. 2 more heavy coats and level again. repeat this until you are at least 3 coats over completely level. I'm usually 10 plus.
                                                                                  4. Wet sand 400, 800, 1000, 1200. then wax.
                                                                                  5. For near piano finish you can use rotten stone, but I use automotive rubbing compound, then wax.

                                                                                  I like a satin finish and the surface looks better if you use semi gloss or gloss until the last 3 coats. This process is labor intensive but can produce just as good as result as spraying and rubbing. For 2 cabs the brushes stay in solvent if using oil based and is probably just as fast as spraying when you consider clean up. The older the brush the better the finish, no brush strokes. I really like the new Fecto Nano water based poly. It has aluminum Oxide in it and dryers real clear as well as providing uv protection slowing darkening of veneers like cherry. With poly people tend to keep going over the surface to much trying to get it to lay down. I splash it on with the grain, then once against the grain, then lay it off with the brush at a 45 degree angle and don't touch it again cause it will self level and lay down. When you want to do thick coats only apply on one horizontal surface at a time and don't worry a bought the dust. The last 3 can be thin coat on the vertical if you want to limit sanding or leave it not rubbed. Brushing is an acquired skill and does take some practice but can produce results vary close to spraying. The nice thing with poly is you can go back years later and rub the surface again to remove any fine scratches if the surface is thick.

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                                                                                  Last edited by dar47; 21 July 2015, 12:19 Tuesday.

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                                                                                  • #42
                                                                                    Dar47,

                                                                                    Good information. I have achieved many nice finishes with poly in the past. Mainly I use it for table tops and chairs for its abraision resistence. But, I have never wet sanded it and I can see how that would help immensely! Really great tip! Still, I think that applying poly is much more labor intensive than Tung Oil and with speakers, I can do all six sides in one sitting without having to let dry. I use little blocks that I make with nails driven into them and the tips rounded off a little with a file and sandpaper. I always finish the back of the box first and then set it on the tips of the nails to finish the rest of the box.

                                                                                    Never the less, Your wet sanding tip sounds invaluable and I will certainly be using it on my next poly job! :T
                                                                                    "The most successful people in this world have also failed the most"

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                                                                                    • #43
                                                                                      Preparing MDF for paint

                                                                                      I wanted to add that anyone wanting to paint MDF should follow Dar47's instructions by applying sanding sealer first. Sanding sealer drys very fast and will seal the MDF stopping it from absorbing the paint and giving you a mottled finish. Sanding sealer sands easily but do it by hand. Using it will ensure a nice even coat of paint and will allow for nice high gloss finish. I also use spray on shellac in place of sanding sealer. It drys faster, sands just as easily and gives excellent results!
                                                                                      "The most successful people in this world have also failed the most"

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                                                                                      • #44
                                                                                        Fantastic thread guys. I've already learned quite a lot. One thing I'd like to see is a recommended tools. There have been a few, but for someone inexperienced like me saw blades and the like are still a bit of a mystery. Dado being the big one. Some cheap, some very expensive. I'd like to know what I'm really getting.

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                                                                                        • #45
                                                                                          Hey PanteraGSTK,

                                                                                          Glad you've found some useful info here!
                                                                                          I don't use dadoes anymore. I use a router and a guide that I clamp to the wood. A dado will make work fast if you are doing a lot but I find them dangerous and not as accurate. You'll also find that its better to have a separate saw set up for dadoes than your normal table saw. Switching out blades that often is never fun. With the right router bit and a set of guides dadoes are no problem.

                                                                                          As for saw blades Freud is a good brand and there are many other good ones. Just pay attention to the description and ALWAYS buy carbide toothed blades. The more teeth the finer the cut but don't go overboard. For a 10-12" blade use 60-80 teeth for very nice fine cuts in wood or MDF. For 7-1/4" use 60 tooth. For fast cuts but lots of tear out use 25 tooth blades in either size. For plastic, 1/4" laminate or plexiglass use 100 tooth or more. Be careful, plexiglass can shatter and throw sharp little chunks of plastic at you. Wear eye protection always! Also, learn to LISTEN to your cuts, don't go too fast or you'll get tear out, a burnt up motor and possibly the worst, kickback. That's where the saw grabs too much and throws itself back at YOU! With table saws it can throw the wood back at you! Going too slow will leave burn marks in the edge of the wood and usually ends up giving you a poor cut. Listen to the whine of the saw. Run it as fast as you can untill you hear the pitch change (like its straining) back off a little then keep that pace. Last, being an audiophile, I always use good hearing protection. Muffs have much better decibel reduction than the little cheap in ear ones. Kind of oxymoron to build speakers without hearing protection only to not be able to hear them right anymore.

                                                                                          Another trick for lessening the amount of tear out in plywood or veneered wood is to cut with the good side down (using a circular saw and guide) use a large piece of scrap MDF under the wood you are cutting (you can replace it once you've torn it up pretty good.) Set the depth of the blade only about 1/16" deeper than the wood you are cutting. You will cut 1/16" into the MDF with every pass. (I set my circular saw on the edge of the wood, push the blade down to 1/16" past it and lock it in place, then check again after I lock the blade.) That with a good blade should be good enough but if you want to be extra certain, run a piece of blue painters tape down both sides of the cut line before cutting. Press is down really well or use a short 1" dowel to rub it down. Open grain woods like oak tend to tear out easily so I use painters tape on those.
                                                                                          "The most successful people in this world have also failed the most"

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