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STL258: Making pretty things and blowing up their spots


This episode is sponsored by Peters Valley


Survey: The hunt for denatured alcohol

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Question 1:

Living With Wood by Dr. Seri Robinson

From Brandon:
Every year I look at doing a “special project” with my courses that is different from your stereotypical High School “wood shop” class. I’ve done shaker boxes, and even completely switched it up to bring in my forge and anvil to have students try their hand at blacksmithing their own marking knives. In the future I was thinking about taking a stab at letting them try spoon carving. How to spoon carve is not what I’m asking, but somewhere I had heard a concern for using nut-bearing woods, such as walnut, in cutting boards because of potential food allergies. While I’d like to say I have immediate access to a class worth of cherry billets, being from Missouri my access to black walnut and hickories are far more plentiful. So when making wood projects related to eating (spoons, bowls, cutting boards, etc.) is there a concern for the species to use as it relates to possible “nut allergies”? Furthermore what would be your go-to food safety finish?



Question 2:

From Chris:
I’ve been woodworking for a few years now and most of my projects have been based on existing plans, both big and small. At Christmas I decided to make a mallet. I discovered that while I had ideas for the design, I had yet to establish a signature style of my own. Greene & Greene is a definite style. Jimi Hendrix had his own playing style. How does one find their own woodworking style or look?

Question 3:

From Matt:
I have recently changed my sharpening process on my chisels. I would like to know if you think it is a bad idea. I am sure other people do this but I have never seen or heard it discussed. I haven’t been able to think of a reason not do it other than it might take slightly longer to grind my primary bevel once it is necessary.

Just like everyone, I start with a primary bevel around 25 degrees. I then hone a secondary at 30. Once that secondary becomes to large to realize the benefit of having a secondary bevel I then sharpen to a 35 degree tertiary bevel. I will stick with this until it becomes to time consuming to get sharp and then repeat the process.

I haven’t found a way to get my primary bevel quickly. I have tried Rikon’s slow speed wet grinder, coarse DMT plates, and 180 grit paper on granite. Regardless of what method I use it usually takes me around an 1-1.5 hours depending on the size of the chisel. 1/8” and 1/4” are much faster.


 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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