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Shop Talk Live 26: Workbench Glue-Up Conundrum

comments (18) February 22nd, 2013 in blogs

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This week on Shop Talk Live, we celebrate our first anniversary, announce the magazines next big live event, and tackle the issue of gluing up a big workbench top lamination without a beefy jointer. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

This week on Shop Talk Live, we celebrate our first anniversary, announce the magazine's next big live event, and tackle the issue of gluing up a big workbench top lamination without a beefy jointer.

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 26: Workbench Glue-Up Conundrum

On this week's edition of Shop Talk Live, editor Asa Christiana officially announces Fine Woodworking Live 2013. Our second live event will feature a whole host of woodworking classes, events, vendors, and more. After the success of last year's event, we've decided to make it bigger, and better!

Plus, we celebrate the podcast's first anniversary with a look back on our first broadcast, having a little fun at our own expense.

Finally, we answer a whole host of woodworking questions, including a debate on how best to tackle big workbench top laminations without a beefy jointer!



Links from this Week's Show

Save the Date for Fine Woodworking Live 2013


Asa Christiana
FWW editor

Mike Pekovich
FWW art director

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer

Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, WorkBench, podcast, fine woodworking live, glue-up, anniversary

Comments (18)

Metsch Metsch writes: @shuttermaker is right on the mark. Although the FWW site is great, it is a dog, especially on cell phone. More speed!!!
Posted: 10:17 pm on March 5th

Metsch Metsch writes: Greg1inCA might try buying another barrel. Leave the full one out for the City to empty.
OR try what they do on construction sites to control dust. Set up your garden hose with a sprayer/mister nozzle and have your helper keep the dust down.
Posted: 10:15 pm on March 5th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Hi folks,
Lots of great comments here. I thought I'd chime in on a couple of them. Regarding sound effects - I'm happy with the decision we made to get rid of them. While music or sound works well for segment intros, I too felt it was a bit much when they were peppered all over the place (although I still admit it was fun to play around with them - heh heh heh).

As far as live calls are concerned - I'm on the fence - I could go either way. That said, I feel as though we've got to take things one step at a time. Right now, the ability to have questions sent in via email is a boon to us. It allows us to go over the questions ahead of time in order to really craft a robust response--that's tough to do 100% on the fly. By reviewing the questions ahead of time, we're able to craft a well-edited answer that gets to the point quickly.

Anyhow, this podcast is now officially my favorite part of the "job" here at FWW. I love the interaction with folks who read the magazine/use the site, am constantly being challenged with questions, and just love hearing the final polished product when it goes out into the airwaves every other Friday. Many thanks for your continued support - seriously!

Best to all,
-Ed Pirnik

Posted: 8:58 am on March 1st

user-2421294 user-2421294 writes:
Posted: 10:46 am on February 28th

NikonD80 NikonD80 writes: Overall you're doing a great job with the pod casts. You are tending to let yourselves go off topic a bit more than I'd like but taking the rough with the smooth the balance isn't bad at all. Please don't add more sound FX though; they give the production a slightly embarrassed, apologetic tone. If I want to listen to things like that I can tune into a cartoon network for a while.

I was most interested to hear your thoughts on workbench tops. I went with a different approach: I can mill up to 8" wide stock and have been designing a split top bench. The two main parts of the top will be 8" wide with a 2" wide apron on the front. Add a 1" gap and then 5 or 6" tool tray at the rear and I've got all the depth I'll need for my workbench.
Posted: 10:11 am on February 28th

IfIOnlyHadMoreTime IfIOnlyHadMoreTime writes: Great! I enjoy listening and look forward to the next one.
Please don't move to live calls. On radio programs that have call ins I usually wind up turning it off. They can't seem to filter the callers well enough.
Posted: 10:41 pm on February 27th

bBrickey bBrickey writes: Just listened to the one year anniversary podcast while flying cross country after a college campus visit with my daughter. A great way to spend part of the trip. Enjoyed hearing about the second annual fine woodworking event in New Haven, CT. Hope to make it to this one. You guys do a great job mixing in some humor with serious subject matter. I missed some of the earlier podcasts so I can't really add much re: sound effects.

Keep up the good work.
Posted: 11:01 pm on February 26th

fpratt fpratt writes: @shuttermaker has a good point.
Posted: 8:58 pm on February 26th

Greg1inCA Greg1inCA writes: Great job guys, love the show. That said, I am seriously disappointed that you didn't answer my question in your most recent episode(#25)-- you had the perfect opportunity when you started talking about dust collectors! Below you will find my original question, am I the only woodworker in the world with this problem???

What is the best way to empty my 2-stage dust collector? When I dump my collection drum into the city compost bin, it makes an unbelievable mess. I wear a respirator and ski goggles which helps, but I'm always covered head to toe with dust after the dump. My driveway fares even worse. I try to enlist friends or even my wife to help, but for some reason no one is too interested once I hand them coveralls, a respirator and ski goggles! My cyclone works nicely with the supplied 55 gallon drum and I don't want to dedicate my compost bin to the dust collector by building an integrated system. Is there a better way to dump the dang thing?


Posted: 12:04 pm on February 26th

76953h 76953h writes: You asked for feedback on the sound effects. While I was not a fan as in asking for more, I saw no harm. A few in transitions is fine. I like the humor and listen to each podcast several times. normally that is because machinery running makes me miss sections, but hey I am listening. I also like the hardcopy magazines as I find it difficult to read on-line. Just not as convenient. Good work keep it up.
Posted: 4:03 pm on February 24th

Barry143 Barry143 writes: Nice job, as usual!

A few points, all related directly to the audio podcast...

A source of top quality workbench tops that didn't get mentioned might be your local wood dealer. My dealer, in Enfield CT, offers slab gluing and surfacing as a service. The purchaser can personally choose the lumber and specify the orientation, and the dealer will glue it up and dimension it to spec. I'd bet if the purchaser asked, they could even be present to choose the layout sequence of the individual boards.

I built an 8 foot split top bench a few years back, and after wrestling alone with my 3 1/2" thick, 12 1/2" wide ash slabs, would definitely consider this service if doing it over. The resulting product would be far better for hand tools and holdfasts than the urethane coated commercially sold examples. My dealer uses a double sided spiral head machine that will provide a flat slab, with pretty decent surfaces on both faces, possibly usable as-is, but definitely ready for 120 grit sandpaper or a smooth plane.

Sound effects and side topics... I like the way you guys can go back and forth between serious information and a few giggles. As a podcast is not limited by strict radio formats, I enjoy a bit of free-form discussion. The various combinations of people you've rotated through since Episode 1 have worked quite well.

Let's face it... Non-woodworkers aren't going to get our jokes, so who else can we kid with on woodworking subjects? I agree that stopping well short of "Morning Zoo" or "Weenie and the Butt" is a good idea, but you don't have to act like a British or PBS newscast, either.

To the folks waiting for an audio podcast to load... One of the whole points to the podcast format is portability, if you're sitting at a computer listening, I suggest a cheap iPod, and setting up iTunes to download the episodes automatically and unattended. Even if you don't get an iPod, once an episode is loaded into iTunes, you can simply hit "play" and enjoy immediate satisfaction.

Older iPod models can often be had for as little as $20 in pawn shops, and work just fine with podcasts. iTunes is a free download, and the device charges right from the computer's USB connection. I do this, and each morning have fresh content to enjoy as I travel, exercise, or work.. Episode 26 entertained me nicely on a flight from Belfast to Newark, NJ.

The computer that runs iTunes for me is a cheap, ultra-basic, underpowered, Netbook, Don't like headphones? The player can be plugged into any stereo or boombox, and many car stereos. Even my DeWalt charger / radio boom box has an auxiliary input suitable for an iPod.
Posted: 7:18 am on February 24th

hikerray hikerray writes: Great job guys. A litlle funky humor or sounds is not a bad thing - why should our hobby be all dry and serious.
Posted: 2:52 pm on February 23rd

B.L. Zeebub B.L. Zeebub writes: Shuttermaker has a point. Maybe your coders need to beta off-site on older machines and connections in order to keep from leaving anyone behind. We're woodworkers not techno-geeks. The machine I'm using to post this is over ten years old with a "throttled"high speed connection. I've only got a gig of RAM on my vidi card. Hope to upgrade the whole shebang soon.

That said, I dig whatever you guys try. I'm game for most things. The best thing for me is being able to download those .pdf's and store the links in the Favorites. Thanks a bunch.

BTW, I dig the new site.
Posted: 11:00 am on February 23rd

PatriotWorks PatriotWorks writes: I agree with the posters above.
What a profound drag.
Instead of associating fine woodworking with fun, excitement and learning I associate it with a huge waste of time and frustration. ...Waiting for video or audio is a drag, a turn off.
I want text and pics.
Posted: 10:53 am on February 23rd

JDcoyote JDcoyote writes: Nice job on #26 -- my first listen.

I enjoyed the back and forth discussion of the virtues of different ways to tackle an issue, which enriched my own amateur understanding of the topic. This surprised me, because I thought an oral discussion of work that is so physical and visual just would not succeed, but it did.

Camping on to others, I enjoyed the humor -- but I felt too much time was spent on off-point discussion. I have very little time, and would prefer a greater proportion of the time spent answering multiple questions.
Posted: 10:48 am on February 23rd

gcagala gcagala writes: Frankly, I think an illustrated article would be more helpful than the recording. But nice effort.
Posted: 10:17 am on February 23rd

shuttermaker shuttermaker writes: Add criteo, featurelink, and to the list of external URLs that slow down this page.
Posted: 9:27 am on February 23rd

shuttermaker shuttermaker writes: I've been a subscriber for a long time. But lately, I've been seriously considering canceling. Your programmers are doing you a disservice. Over the years, the time it takes to load one of your pages has been getting progressively longer. This one took over a minute on my DSL before I could scroll down to read the text. The reason is obvious to anyone who knows about web programming. You are retrieving data from multiple external URLs. Not only is this inherently slow, but if one of those URLs happens to be down, the whole page stalls. I counted eight separate URLs that caused this page to stall for several seconds each, including: googleapsys, quantserve, google-syndication,, facebook, doubleclick, googleanalytics, and sharethis. We used to have only google analytics on our site, but had to remove it because of how long it took for the page to load.

But the programming problems don't end there. You also keep experimenting with new video formats. Any competent web programmer knows to stick with the most widely accepted formats and to stay at least two versions behind the latest and greatest to give your visitors time to upgrade. I have no idea what format this latest video is in, but it causes my computer to stall for over a minute, then crashes my browser.
Posted: 9:23 am on February 23rd

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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.