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Shop Talk Live 27: Million Dollar Woodworker

comments (9) March 8th, 2013 in blogs

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On this weeks episode of Shop Talk Live, we catch up with period furniture master Phil Lowe, answer your woodworking questions, and enlist the help of woodworking actor Nick Offerman to come to the aid of a craftsman looking for advice on drying slab lumber.
On this episode of Shop Talk Live, we were lucky enough to have captured an interview with period furnituremaker Phil Lowe (R), seen here during a Video Workshop shoot with Ed Pirnik (L) and videographer Gary Junken (C).
On this weeks episode of Shop Talk Live, we catch up with period furniture master Phil Lowe, answer your woodworking questions, and enlist the help of woodworking actor Nick Offerman to come to the aid of a craftsman looking for advice on drying slab lumber. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

On this week's episode of Shop Talk Live, we catch up with period furniture master Phil Lowe, answer your woodworking questions, and enlist the help of woodworking actor Nick Offerman to come to the aid of a craftsman looking for advice on drying slab lumber.

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 27: Million Dollar Woodworker

On this week's edition of Shop Talk Live, we hit the road for an interview with master furniture maker Philip C. Lowe, straight from his Massachusetts workshop. Then, we tackle a variety of questions-from rust prevention and appropriate finishes for cherry-to a few rules of thumb for mortise-and-tenon joinery. Finally, we call in fellow woodworker and actor, Nick Offerman, to come to the aid of a furnituremaker looking for advice on dealing with slab lumber.

**Note: Special thanks are in order for Phil Lowe's workshop sidekick and all around good guy, Art Keenan. Art appeared a bit in the interview with Lowe and, along with other folks in the shop, assisted on a recent Video Workshop shoot.



Links Mentioned on this Week's Show

Visit to Phil Lowe's Workshop
Matt's Monster Workbench
Ed's Not-So-Big Workbench
The Best Rust Preventers
Nick Offerman: Level Big Slabs in No Time Flat
Tim Rousseau's Asian-Inspired Hall Table



Asa Christiana
FWW editor

Matt Kenney
FWW senior editor

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer
Phil Lowe 


Listen to Previous Episodes

posted in: blogs, podcast, period furniture, offerman, lowe, Linseed Oil

Comments (9)

Billy3152 Billy3152 writes: This was the first episode I listened to, and, I got hooked. Great job guys.
Posted: 8:09 pm on March 27th

byerbyer byerbyer writes: I wear a old denim apron when milling parts to keep the majority of the dust off me. I don't carry any "tools" in it per say, with the exception of my dust collector remote. The biggest plus for me is the warmth denim provides in my unheated garage (southwest Kansas.) I'm hoping for one the fine denim models Mr Offerman sells will finds its way under the Christmas tree this year.
Posted: 10:42 am on March 26th

CyberBiker CyberBiker writes: Some shop aprons have various arrangements to take the weight of the apron off your neck, crossed shoulder straps, a strap that goes from the neck strap to the waste strap and the like. The aprons that actually hang on your neck are tiresome if there is much in them. These others do a good job of keeping the weight off your neck.

The one I currently use is from Duluth Trading company. It has some vented material in the bottom of the 3 frontmost pockets to lets sawdust and small shavings fall thru rather than filling up the pocket.

I tend to carry a 6" Combination square, 4" T square, 12' Tape measure, a multi-tipped screwdriver I made from a Rockler Kit, a razor knife, 6" ruler, pencil, remote switch for my dust collector, and occasionally some parts for my current project, or the chuck key for the drill press if I am working at the Drill Press.

Posted: 7:11 am on March 19th

Village_Handyman Village_Handyman writes: I usually avoid the apron and head toward the tool belt. However, mine is a belt with two bags. One is a carpenter's bag with a place for my speed square. The other is probably closer to an electrician's bag. I carry a 6" combo square, a speed square, an LED flashlight, a utility knife, 6" Channel Lock pliers, a 6" crescent wrench, the remote for my dust collector, and a collection of writing implements, ranging from a fine mechanical pencil to a Sharpie. I can add the other tools that I need for the moment.

When I use a router, I usually put on a real apron, but inside-out. That keeps my pockets and my underwear from filling up with sawdust.

I should use the apron for glue-ups. My clothes would look good a little longer.
Posted: 7:07 pm on March 16th

CB1010 CB1010 writes: I'm partial to wearing some army-issue coveralls I found at a thrift store years ago--especially in the winter in my ice cold shop. My clothes stay relatively clean and there are huge pockets to carry measuring tools, pencils, screwdriver, tape measure, etc. Nothing hangs off of my body to get in the way of my work. I think I may try overalls as suggested by cahudson42 in the summer months. I might add that the coveralls make me look like I mean business even if I don't.
Posted: 3:42 pm on March 9th

cahudson42 cahudson42 writes: Instead of an apron, get to your nearest Tractor Supply and pick up a pair of Liberty washed denim bib overalls. Best ones out there...

No belts, no suspenders. Nice zippered pocket in front for pencils, small square, cellphone, etc. Big pockets all around if you need them.

I always turn mine into Cutoffs as I don't like the baggy legs - except for Winter.. Use the denim for a pullover rubber, tool roll, etc.
Posted: 7:57 am on March 9th

thisworks thisworks writes: An inexpensive tool belt from Home Depot works great for me. It keeps my pencil and layout tools handy. I used to leave them all over the shop. Putting it on is the first thing I do now when I walk in the shop.
Posted: 9:56 pm on March 8th

JPSzcz JPSzcz writes: I use an apron most of the time in the shop. It helps to keep the sawdust off my clothes, so I can keep it out of the house. I don't like the neckstrap, so when it's time to get another one, I will get one with suspender-like straps. It will also have flaps on the pockets, because the only thing I carry in my apron pockets now is sawdust.
Posted: 9:39 pm on March 8th

SolidSnake SolidSnake writes: I agree with Asa on the apron neck thing. Thats why I opted for a regular carpenters tool belt. It works great. I store a 6' double square, a speed square, pencil, counter sink bit, screw drivers a knife and most important a tape measure in it. Sometimes I'll add a hammer and mallet. The other good thing is for home improvement projects I can just re-outfit it to that task and I'm good to go. Also Norm did it so it has to be right, although I'm pretty sure he had some brad nails in his.
Posted: 1:20 pm on March 8th

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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.