STL268: What flavor are your chisels?

This episode is sponsored by Woodcraft and Pony/Jorgensen

Question 1:

From Daniel:

I’m currently following along with Mike’s Foundations of Woodworking book, which I’m really enjoying, however, I’m confused about the best way to mill thin (1/4, 5/8th) stock (which he uses a lot in the book) and I haven’t found a lot of help online.

I’ve tried a few methods, but was wondering if you could chat about what steps you follow when trying to mill thin stock like that. My first thought was to resaw on the bandsaw, however, the boards cup like crazy and then there isn’t enough material left to re-dimension them on the jointer. 

I tried planing down from 3/4 inch, but that just feels very wasteful. 

Question 2:

From Mike:

I’m working on a couple pieces based on Mike’s wenge Tea Box.  For the clasps, Mike makes it sound easy to face the block with a thin strip of ebony once the magnets are installed.

But what’s a safe way to make those thin strips of ebony in the first place?  I’m used to cutting shop veneers on the bandsaw, but that’s with much larger pieces of stock.  Doing that with affordable (tiny) pieces of ebony is another thing altogether.


Barry – All time favorite tool – mortising chisel
Ben – All time favorite tool – Woodpeckers saw gauge
Mike – Smooth move – A comically bad sharpening demonstration.

Question 3:

From Rob:

Kia ora from New Zealand

I enjoyed listening to the most recent episode (262) where there was talk about the order in which tools should be bought.  Haunting beginner forums on Facebook shows this is a Frequently Argued Question!  I could not agree more that a planer is more useful than a jointer, though the convenience of having both is awesome.

From the US perspective, it seems that the items are almost always bought separately, yet elsewhere combination machines are more common.

My perspective would be that I could afford to buy a very high quality planer/thicknesser whereas buying the same quality machines as separate items would have been prohibitive, both in money and shop floor space.  I currently use an 8″ deWalt planer/thicknesser and have plans to upgrade to the 16″ Hammer A441.  I don’t really need a 16″ jointer, but the 16″ planer is becoming essential as I like to do big stuff and I find the 8″ maximum thicknessing capacity quite limiting.  Buying a combination machine means one footprint, one motor, once casing, one dust collector port, and critically one very expensive cutter block, the wear on which from jointing is of course going to be minimal – basically you get a jointer/planer combo for only just over half the cost of buying equivalent machines separately, or you could argue that you get a 16″ jointer for the price of a 6″ if you buy the planer with it…

What do you all think?  Do you buy separates because you always have?  Because you need a wider planer than jointer?  Because you don’t like the changeover? – really interested to hear thoughts on why it is that separate machines have been so popular where the logical approach seems to be to buy a combination machine.

Nga Mihi

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

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