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STL243: Are big squares necessary?

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This episode is sponsored by Maverick Abrasives and Pony/Jorgensen


Question 1:

From James:

Greetings to the terrific podcast crew at FWW!

 What kind of things can woodworkers do when they get together? Are there small projects that are great for a couple of people to work on together? Are there other things to do in the shop that are better than working on a project together? Sharpening, refurbishing, watching FWW workshops? Is a trip to the lumberyard a better thing to do? Or do two woodworkers just get in each other’s way?

Both my father and father-in-law share my interest in woodworking, so when they come to visit I’d love to do some woodworking or something woodworking related with them. Do you have any ideas?

Outdoor deck chair with flair

Tapers, curves, and angles converge in a sleek, durable outdoor chair.

Question 2:

From Ken:

For high-quality cabinet making (sheet goods) is a high quality framing square, perhaps with stair gauges, actually good enough, e.g. tolerances at 18+ inches?  Or, is just getting an 18 or 24 inch blade for a combo square an alternative? The sticker shock of the high-end giant squares got me wondering.

*It doesn’t look like John White did an article on his fancy framing square

11 Essential Measuring and Marking Tools

Accurate layouts become routine when the right tools are close at hand

Shopmade Squares

Four precision tools from a quarter sheet of plastic

Make a Giant Cabinetmaker’s Square

In not much more than an hour, a carpenter’s framing square can be converted to a jumbo-size cabinetmaker’s square.



Question 3:

 From Monte:

I am having trouble finding a flat, plane surface on which to build furniture. I’ve been using a poor man’s assembly table (a hollow core interior door set over low sawhorses), thinking that the torsion box design of the door would provide an acceptably flat surface on which to build. My shop floor is uneven. My workbench is too small to assemble a large piece of furniture. I have no table saw with its supposedly dead flat surface on which I might build. Hence I bought a Luan interior door.

A recent project weighed nearly a hundred pounds. All four legs sat flush on the surface of the door and the legs were centered over the supporting sawhorses. I tested for flat by changing the position of the piece several times. Each time, the legs sat flush on the surface. When I moved the piece to its intended place of service however, the legs wobbled enough that I needed to shim opposing legs. I am thinking that the weight of the piece may have compressed the thin walls of the door enough to make the piece appear to be setting evenly, though I cannot say this with certainty. I am wondering what each of you use when you assemble a four-legged piece of furniture. Should I make a more robust torsion box on which to build, or is there another solution?

Best-Ever Outfeed Table

Versatile workstation stores all your tablesaw gear and then some

Build a Torsion Box Assembly Table

Build a torsion box for a flat and rigid workshop tabletop


Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answers questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking‘s biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to [email protected] for consideration in the regular broadcast! Our continued existence relies upon listener support. So if you enjoy the show, be sure to leave us a five-star rating and maybe even a nice comment on our iTunes page.

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