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STL 65: Wicked Workshop Tips

comments (13) August 8th, 2014 in blogs

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OK, maybe y ou dont have access to a shop as stellar as Mike Pekovichs (please note that everyone on the FW staff drools over his space). That doesnt mean you cant conceive of your own wicked awesome basement or garage workshop. Catch our tips this week on Shop Talk Live. - CLICK TO ENLARGE

OK, maybe y ou don't have access to a shop as stellar as Mike Pekovich's (please note that everyone on the FW staff drools over his space). That doesn't mean you can't conceive of your own wicked awesome basement or garage workshop. Catch our tips this week on Shop Talk Live.

STL 65: Wicked Workshop Tips

This week on Shop Talk Live, Ed Pirnik reports on his ongoing workshop build and the crew offer a bevy of valuable workshop tips aimed at helping listeners build the best space possible.

Plus, your questions on hand tools, finishing, and more.




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



Mike Pekovich
Executive art director

Asa Christiana
Special projects editor

Ed Pirnik
Senior web producer



Listen to Previous Episodes

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Comments (13)

PaulChau PaulChau writes: Innovation is what it takes to have an even more incredible workspace be it in the basement or garage. Wherever it might take you, if you have all the tools you require and all that storage you need, then anywhere is possible to achieve dreams. DIY ideas online are easy to follow for workspace improvements and they are a good starting point to kickoff the improvement process.
Posted: 3:11 am on June 24th

user-2692873 user-2692873 writes: If you are blowing raw wood waste into a garden I see two problems agriculturally. First if sawing manufactured wood you are introducing chemicals into your garden. The next obvious is raw wood shavings will rob Nutrients from the soil unless composted. I practice this however but it is blown out into a clear area. I have the advantage of having high winds and open desert space & large acreage. By doing this I get ideal CFM by not bagging and I often work with a large roll away door so I don't have pressure difficulties. It is obvious Environment is working in my favor. If you want to catch the sawdust you can add a separator and allow the fines only to escape into the wind. Or Blow int a bag or box places about a foot from the end of the exhaust.
Posted: 6:07 pm on January 3rd

user-2933966 user-2933966 writes: Ed - You say you have in your basement a 'Hot Water Heater' - How hot do you need to get your Water?? It's a 'Water Heater'.......

Sorry, I work for an Architecture firm, things like that and calling a Restroom a Bathroom drive me crazy....... There's no Bath in a Restroom.
Posted: 2:31 pm on August 21st

DKHedstrom DKHedstrom writes: Dust collection:

I am amused about your comments on Dyami's solution to blow chips directly into the garden. I had contemplated the same solution while laying out my shop. To save space and make chip removal convenient I planned to locate the dust collector in the garage above.

Prior to occupying my new shop I was milling birch for 8 doors and grew weary of schlepping shavings from the far back catacombs. Simple solution: replace the basement window with a plywood insert with a 6 inch hole and some ducting. Ulrica!

Unfortunately, any dust collector worth its salt will evacuate upwards of 1100 cubic feet per minute. Almost immediately the temperature in my house dropped 10 degrees. There is also the potential carbon monoxide hazard from gas appliances. The only mitigating factor is the depressurized shop kept all the airborne dust in rather than migrating about the house.

Industrial facilities in our north country with exterior dust collection either return filtered air to the building or have huge makeup air units.

Love the podcast it is a constant companion in my shop even as Marsh and I chop and chatter away.

Posted: 10:06 am on August 21st

user-2743958 user-2743958 writes: great show, keep up the good work
Posted: 8:37 am on August 15th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: Son of a gun - yup, I just confirmed it online--mercury in fluorescent tubes. You learn something new every day. Thanks folks.

Not surprising that I had no idea about this: you're talking to a guy who as a child discovered his dad's glass jar of mercury (he used it somehow in the grinding of his telescope mirrors). I recall pouring that stuff out on a table and having an enormous amount of fun pushing it around, separating it into separate globules, etc. My old man had no idea I'd discovered it. Possible brain damage I suppose!


Posted: 8:45 am on August 14th

DKHedstrom DKHedstrom writes: --How did I ever understand life before this podcast?

user-2997713 is emphatically correct. The mercury from fluorescent tubes is extremely toxic especially in vapor form. Surely, your fair city has a recycle program for hazardous waste. The EPA ( will have you believing a broken fluorescent is slightly less toxic than Ebola virus, but in many ways the threat is more serious.

I too clean my lamps yearly. My tubes are exposed without a lens or cover to collect additional dust. Through superior dexterity and skill while deftly swinging boards about my shop in four years I have never broken a tube. (Actually, just dumb luck--the sawdust gods must look kindly on the feeble.)

Fluorescent tube output diminishes from day-one. Most tubes asymptotically reach 85 to 90% of initial output in one to two years at 15 hours per day. High CRI lamps are better. BTW: CFL's are terrible with less than 80% of intial output in one year and an 18 month life. I think the 5 year life quoted by the CFL promoters is based on the first four years stored in the carton.

The Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer University has a wealth of information.
Posted: 10:16 pm on August 13th

bit101 bit101 writes: Ed, I'd love to hear more about the book binding stuff. I'm sure many other woodworkers would as well. Any links into the double fan machine you got, and other resources to learn more?
Posted: 2:18 pm on August 12th

buyernate buyernate writes: Hi Guys-

I DO enjoy your show and save them to my iPhone and listen to them as I work in the shop, mow, travel, etc. What I'm about to say may seem like bitching, but I'm hoping you take it as a comment from a loyal listener...

I have a suggestion that may not seem obvious to you...

Picture you are mowing and get interested in something that is discussed and you hear..."in the last issue of FWW there was an article about...." Unfortunately, I could be listening to a show recorded a year ago, so:

-When you site an article...add the FWW issue or month

-When you say "in last weeks episode"....give a date

-Add a few times throughout the show the date of your show, my podcast rolls from one show to another and the date is not there unless I go and look it up on the phone

and finally, am I dense, or am I looking in the wrong spot for links. I think I hear you say that you will be posting some links when you post the podcast online. But I'm online now and looked at 5 shows and only saw links on 2 of them. I thought there would be more that I could use to track back.

Thanx, for the great show!

PS: oh, one of your presenters (not sure who it is) has a deep voice that doesn't record well, adjust the mic or boost his output would help alot

Posted: 10:59 am on August 12th

davidewi davidewi writes: Guys -

Thanks for the show. I enjoy the knowledge, the humor, and the snark.

Quick note on water based poly. I am of the same school off thought regarding preferring oil based finishes. I made a craftsman wall mirror from spalted maple that was a nice share of white. I wanted to keep the white of the maple with the subtle grain lines and the accented spalting vs. a more amber tone. I had very good luck with General Finishes High Performance Poly. It was milky in the can but flattened very well and left a nice clean finish. I applied with a foam brush in thin coats. I wasn't worried about wear protection so cant add there.

I'm very surprised your dining table is wearing so quickly. Bummer!

Lastly, how could you NOT drawbore your m&t on a bench? OMG! But in all seriousness for the person that asked the question via email to the show - I recently built the Schwarz Roubo with drawbored tenons. They are BOMB PROOF! I could not rack this bench if I tried. I have 3 blog posts detailing the process here:::

Thanks again guys - keep it up!


Posted: 4:47 pm on August 11th

Ed_Pirnik Ed_Pirnik writes: pcbg01207: You sir, are a genius! Those possibilities had never come to mind! I do have a young child so I think I might build a little locking box cover to keep curious hands away. Thanks for the great idea.


Posted: 8:42 am on August 11th

user-2997713 user-2997713 writes: Hey guys good show but had a few things to comment on:

1 Hg lamps are careful when disposing them. Try to do the right thing here.

2. Definitely try cleaning the tubes before replacing....I need to take all of mine down once per year and wipe them down.

3. You might want to check out some of the new LED options. There are some interesting form factors out there that might address the low ceiling problem. Our company recently replaced all of our tube lights with LED tubes....fits in the same take out the ballast and direct wire them with 120 volts. They should last a long time and will not have future disposal issues.

Finally I can't believe that you did not draw bore your tenons ....major party foul
Posted: 1:54 pm on August 10th

pcbg01207 pcbg01207 writes: You want to know what you can do with the gas point? Start using animal / hide glue, where you heat the glue in a water jacket pot. Veneering, colouring the veneer in a sand tray.
Posted: 6:30 am on August 10th

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