The Editors Mailbox

The Editors Mailbox

Win a tutorial with one of America's finest woodworkers.

comments (3) December 10th, 2008 in blogs

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Reader Tom Rawson improves his dovetailing technique with help from Contributing Editor Gary Rogowski - CLICK TO ENLARGE

Reader Tom Rawson improves his dovetailing technique with help from Contributing Editor Gary Rogowski

Photo: Steve Scott

"Your chance for one-on-one troubleshooting with a woodworking champion..."


Did anyone else happen to see the news item recently about the amateur golfer who won a contest and got to play nine holes with Tiger Woods as his caddy? Pointers for every shot from the world's greatest golfer, on the same course where Tiger won the U.S. Open last spring. Tell me that guy didn't go home with a few new tricks in his bag.


That story comes to mind every time I think about our new project here at the magazine. Because what Tiger did for that golfer is exactly what Fine Woodworking wants to do for you.


We're looking for woodworkers who want in-person, expert help with their most persistent woodworking problems. Could be sharpening, or design, handplanes or shop machines, cutting a particular type of joinery, applying a finish or what-have-you. Selected readers will get a free, one-on-one tutorial with one of America's finest woodworkers. Check out our editor's note in Issue 202 (p. 10) for details.


We've done this once already, arranging reader Tom Rawson's two days of dovetail instruction with contributing editor and "Dovetail Doctor" Gary Rogowski. You can see how much Rawson improved in Issue 201, and watch video of their tutoring sessions here.


I’ve been encouraged by the responses we’ve gotten from readers so far, but now it’s your turn. Post a comment here and let us know what's giving you fits in the shop. Or, send us a note at Either way, our experts can help you find your "A" game.


Steve Scott - Associate Editor

posted in: blogs

Comments (3)

vrap vrap writes: Hi FWW

The area of woodworking that is the most frustrating for me is glue-ups. Whether I need a 1/8 inch box bottom or building a work bench, the result is the same - not flat or uniformly thick. I've read every article in the library and followed the processes but no perfect joining. With exotic woods getting scarcer and boards narrower, being able to perfect glue-ups would be a valuable skill for many. Having an expert watch my glue-up tecnique and offer critique would be a thrill.
Posted: 8:55 pm on December 17th

JimFuller1 JimFuller1 writes: Hi Editors,

I am a hobbyist woodworker and I put most of my efforts into making small bible boxes. I make a box and put a bible in it and give it to all the children in my church. I have made mostly dovetailed sides for my boxes and I have a good WoodRat router set up for making the dovetails. The hardest part for me is making the tops and bottoms. I usually have to glue up something for the tops and bottoms since my boxes are around 8" x 12". I encounter warping, unequal overhang, gaps between the tops or bottoms and the sides, hinges that don't fit, etc.

I would like to learn several box making techniques that will allow me to make at least one box per week or I'm never going to get caught up. I would like to be able to use exotic woods as well as salvage wood and even mix and match them. I want my boxes to be built to last - not because they are so beautiful that people should take good care of them but because they are so well made that even if the glue fails over the years, they still are likely to stay assembled. That will mean that no matter how long the person receiving one waits, they can always be reminded of the bible that came with it and the everlasting promise of God.

Jim Fuller
Posted: 2:46 pm on December 17th

romags romags writes: Hi FWW,
Please help me!!! I am making a 4-leg rectangular dining room table and the tabletop wont stay flat.
The tabletop is 5/4 Cherry that was sitting in a neighbors' barn for several years. The width of each board was 5-7" wide. I planed, joined, and glued up the top then set it aside while I turned the legs. About 8 months later, when I cameback to the tabletop it was concave by 3/4" - 1". Admittedly, I wasn't watching the growth rings but most of them are alternating.
The tabletop is two pieces, each measuring 40" X 27" and I was prepare it make 3 10" leaves for a total 40" X 84" top.
I've been watching the top over the autumn and into the winter and the concave-ness has changed significantly - from almost flat to concave by upto an inch.

My question is.... What choices do I have?
Do I need to cut it all apart and start again?
Could the 2 boards that have the growth rings going the same way be causing this?
Should I reduce the width of each board? Is 5-7" too wide?
Should I wait until it gets close to flat and try to seal it to slow down the warping?

Posted: 9:49 am on December 17th

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