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Shop Talk Live 25: Time for a New Monster Workbench?

comments (13) February 7th, 2013 in blogs

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This week on Shop Talk Live, we dive into the merits of boiled linseed oil as a workbench finish and answer a variety of your woodworking questions. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This week on Shop Talk Live, we dive into the merits of boiled linseed oil as a workbench finish and answer a variety of your woodworking questions.

Every two weeks, a team of Fine Woodworking staffers answer questions from readers on Shop Talk Live, Fine Woodworking's biweekly podcast. Send your woodworking questions to for consideration in the regular broadcast!


Also on iTunes Click on the link at left to listen to the podcast, or catch it in iTunes. Remember, 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. And don't forget to send in your woodworking questions to


Shop Talk Live 25: Time for a New Monster Workbench?

On this week's edition of Shop Talk Live, senior editor Matt Kenney reveals his plans for a second bench to compliment his Monster Workbench, then tangles with senior web producer Ed Pirnik on the merits of boiled linseed oil in a brand new edition of Pins vs. Tails. Plus, Ed, Matt and art director Mike Pekovich answer a variety of questions concerning everything from workbench top glue-ups and bandsaw brakes, to dust collection and conquering wood movement.

In Search of Questions for a Period Furniture Master

This week, Ed Pirnik solicits questions for period furniture pro Philip C. Lowe. We're hoping to catch up with Phil on an upcoming remote podcast interview. Be sure to submit your questions for him in the comments section at the bottom of this blog post.

Links from this Week's Show

Matt's Monster Workbench
Easy-to-Make Stains Offer Unique Effects
A Revolution in Dust Collection
Master Craftsman Philip C. Lowe


Mike Pekovich 
FWW art director

Matt Kenney
FWW senior editor

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer

Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, WorkBench, podcast, monster-workbench

Comments (13)

kawika81 kawika81 writes: this is grate thanks for what you guys are doing and keep it up
Posted: 2:52 pm on March 3rd

AJV AJV writes: Another place to get great lumber in NC is from Kyle Edwards runs this one man operation on his grandfather’s century farm, he's a great guy. He is located about 45 min north-west of Charlotte, NC in Iron Station, NC. If you’re close it worth a visit to his rustic location, especially if you’re looking for walnut, cherry or very large slabs.

Posted: 12:41 pm on February 26th

MKenney MKenney writes: whiddon,

I actually never attached the top. It doesn't move around on me. However, if I were to attach it, I'd just send a lag screw up through the top cross member on the trestle legs and into the benchtop. You could do one right in the middle, or you could do two. One on the front apron side and one on the back side. For the one on the back side, make the hole in the cross member elongated so that the top can expand and contract.

Posted: 8:50 am on February 25th

whiddon whiddon writes: How is the Monster bench top attached to the base? Enjoyed the DVD and shoptalk . I plan to build the bench. Doc
Posted: 6:31 pm on February 23rd

Rashbar Rashbar writes: Can you guys do a spot or article on re-tempering a blade or hardening and tempering blades in general? For example, if a blade over-heats during sharpening you can lose temper, it would be nice to get it back.

Shawn Field
Posted: 10:40 pm on February 21st

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: For a really great cherry finish, I have found nothing that beats Garrett Hack's 'Oil Varnish Mixture' - FWW Jan/Feb 1997. Nothing. Used it for years.


1. Always use 1/3 old-fashioned phenolic-based Spar Varnish. The inexpensive ACE stuff works great. As does Cabot (if you can find it - they continue ruining all their products by converting to water-based)

2. Always use 1/3 Tung Oil (Woodcraft is fine) - NOT Linseed

3. Always use 1/3 Turpentine - not Paint Thinner or mineral spirits. Makes a major difference, surprisingly
Posted: 2:09 am on February 18th

Timdekorte Timdekorte writes: I regards to Mike's comment about aging wood, I have used Iron Sulfate, ( fertilizer ), to age tannic woods like oak and redwood.
Also, regarding dust collection, my dust collector is housed in a “doghouse” on the back of my shop and the “ make up air” is channeled though a high efficiency furnace filter that is installed in the demising wall of the shop. This allows the for air recirculation back into the shop to keep the heated air in the shop… Not that winter in California is that brutally cold , but it helps….

Posted: 10:05 pm on February 14th

chucktown chucktown writes: In regards to lumber in NC it is Steve Wall Lumber and they are awesome! Just picked up some 15" + cherry for a clients table.
Thanks for the great cast guy's!
Posted: 10:20 am on February 14th

LPasqualis LPasqualis writes: To add to what BlueEnamel said: washing soda can be purchased or, if you can't find it, it can be made from baking soda.
To make washing soda simply put baking soda on a cookie sheet in a 1/2" layer in the oven at 400 F for 1 hour, and it will become washing soda.

Posted: 9:01 pm on February 11th

Cswood Cswood writes: Hey guys.. great to hear Mike and Matt back on the podcast this week to my woodworking ears ...regarding dust collection and filtration ...what I did was build a small wart off the back of my shop outside and put the dust collector there... I don't worry about the fine filtration because it's not happening in my shop's happening outside.... I did turn my single stage collector into a two stage collector with a cyclone trash can lid... I leave that in the shop and empty it when needed .... Any thoughts?
Posted: 8:29 pm on February 9th

BlueEnamel BlueEnamel writes: Regarding the chemical finishing question of washing vs. baking soda, the chemical used is sodium carbonate (washing soda), and not sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). Sodium carbonate is more basic than sodium bicarbonate, and works quicker. Also, a solution of sodium hydroxide will work quicker as well. There are a few drain cleaners that are 100% sodium hydroxide. Just remember to wear gloves and goggles. Another solution for coloring cherry is to expose the pieces to the sun. Just make sure they aren't in the shade, or someone doesn't put anything on them!
Posted: 12:35 pm on February 9th

AZSteve AZSteve writes: Hi guys. Enjoyed #25, my 1st Shop Talk Live, this AM. Love the humor. As I said on I-Tunes, "keep on goofing!" I live in Northern AZ and deal with completely different conditions than you folks back East with humidity. It's like living in a dry kiln that has its downsides, but things don't move much. My workbench has a hard maple top that I glued up from 8/4 lumber ripped to 3-1/2", turned on edge & glued up. It's stayed very flat. I finished & renew the top with boiled linseed oil and I think it looks great. It's a pleasure to walk into the shop and see it waiting there. Since I do glue-ups on it and want to keep it protected from clamp dings and glue, I've made a special add-on top out of 1/4" masonite. I lined the under edges with strips so that the top stays in place. It's lightweight and stores easily against the wall. Keep up the good work at FWW & on the air.
Posted: 12:31 pm on February 9th

K9Fendy K9Fendy writes: As a person that is interested in attending a 2 year trade school either at NBSS or Furniture Inst. of Mass. when I get out of the Military (8 yrs) what are some things that I can do to make a better “resume” to be accepted into these programs?

What does your school offer that NBSS does not? I know they are both top schools.

How many students to you have in a two program at a time?

Posted: 9:26 am on February 9th

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Fine Woodworking magzine's biweekly podcast, Shop Talk Live, allows editors, authors, and special guests to answer your woodworking questions and connect with the online woodworking community.