For questions involving wood as a construction material, either as lumber or finished features of a home.

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21
votes
6answers
28k views

Should I use steel or wood studs for basement exterior walls?

Related: When should you use metal studs? I'm planning on finishing my basement. (assuming all water issues are resolved) I'll be putting up a water barrier (tar paper) on all exterior walls, ...
14
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are 2“x4”'s really 1.5“x3.5”?

Just curious as to the reasoning, is it a spec, or is it simply 'backwards compatibility'?
6
votes
3answers
974 views

How can I drill a hole in a small stick of wood?

I need to make a few arrow shafts hollow, they're about 1/2" thick. Example: There would have to be enough space in the middle to put iron wire in it (the thickness of an old coat hanger)
19
votes
13answers
53k views

What are cheap ways to build strong shelves with a large span?

I have removed several old and moisture damaged built in storage units from my house. I would like to replace them with shelving. There are a number of different sized gaps (width and depth to fill). ...
3
votes
1answer
427 views

How to paint a wood house?

I'm looking for good resources for painting a wood house. I'm looking for the proper tools and techniques. I don't want to hire somebody to do the job, I would like to do it myself. I just need to ...
6
votes
4answers
6k views

How do I take apart a wooden pallet without cracking the wood?

I'm trying to save the wood from some wooden pallets and have been unsuccessful. I have been hammering close to where the nails are and then pry the nails out; however, before the wood comes out far ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

What is a good barrier between grout and wood?

A side of a tile flooring project abuts a strip of wood. How should I handle the side where the tile meets the wood so the wood won't absorb all the water from the grout?
3
votes
3answers
8k views

How can I “stain” wood white?

I am building a shelf similar to the one here, but mine is going to be against a dark wall. I think it would look nice if I could paint the wood white, but still allow the texture to show through. (I ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I repair water damage under the kitchen sink?

I found out that our kitchen water connection had somehow loosened up and was leaking water on the floor underneath the sink. Now the particle board cabinet floor is warped quite a bit. I was thinking ...
18
votes
4answers
52k views

When pre-drilling for screws, how do you determine the correct bit diameter?

Suppose I want to pre-drill for, say, a 5/16 screw. How do I determine the correct drill bit diameter?
14
votes
3answers
630 views

What are some tips for finishing wood?

I'm kind of embarrassed to ask, but I'm looking for a good how-to guide for finishing pine furniture. (Could also apply to baseboards and trim, so I'm hoping for an on-topic pass here.) I watched my ...
12
votes
6answers
55k views

What grit sandpaper should I use between coats of polyurethane?

I'm planning on applying polyurethane to a pine bench I've finished staining. I decided on foam brushes for application, but I wasn't sure what grit sandpaper I should use between coats. Is 400 good ...
23
votes
4answers
3k views

What is the best tool for cutting up scrap wood?

I have some wood left over from building a patio, mainly some planks. Normally when I'm creating firewood, I just use an axe a split the wood, but these are too long for that. I really don't want to ...
15
votes
8answers
24k views

How much load can a (wood) board support, if it is supported only at the ends?

How much load can a board support, if it is supported only at the ends? At the moment my specific problem is hanging a tire swing between two trees, and depending on which trees I choose they could ...
17
votes
5answers
10k views

What's the best way to account for saw blade width (kerf) when cutting boards?

In theory, to cut a 350mm piece out of a longer board, I would have to mark the line at 350mm + half of blade width. So if I have a 2mm hand saw, the line would be drawn at 351mm. How does that work ...
4
votes
5answers
17k views

How do I stain pine without streaks or blotches?

I did some test staining on pine scraps, and I ended up with a cross grain arc that's darker than everything else. Where did I go wrong? (Or is it just the pine?) (Related to this question, as a ...
9
votes
1answer
7k views

How can I fix a hairline crack in a thin wood panel of an exterior door?

My 100-year-old house has a wooden front door made of thick wood ribs interspersed with 8 wood panels, each about 10" high, 8" wide, but only 1/8" or 3/16" thick. Perhaps the door originally had ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

What tools do I need to make a straight cut in laminated chipboard?

It's 38mm thick. Next week I will need to cut it along a straight line, and I would like the cut to be as straight and clean as possible. What tools do I need to do this ?
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Should I choose MDF or plywood for my false stair treads?

I'm looking to install false stair treads and risers on my basement stairs. Generally, we're talking about a kit like this: Which is installed with adhesive and finishing nails like this: The ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Why should I use advanced nails instead of wood screws for strength?

Recently I found that there're some superior nails for constructing hurricane-resistant houses - with very clever design for preventing pulling the nails out and tearing the boards off when the ...
3
votes
2answers
3k views

What primer and paint should I used for a solid-core wooden front door?

I recently purchased a new pre-hung exterior door for my house. We opted for a solid-core Douglas Fir instead of the fiberglass models as the wooden door was substantially cheaper. We want to paint ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

How can I attach two pieces of wood in an invisible way?

I would like to attach a thin tree trunk to a flat smooth piece of wood, in order to create support for a very heavy shelf. Any suggestions on how to do it, while leaving a minimal outside marks? ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

What type of wood is recommended for an outdoor jungle gym?

I'm not sure what other specs to include, as I haven't started the blueprints yet, just wanted to price the main parts out to see if it would be cost effective to build one vs buying from a big box ...
9
votes
1answer
715 views

What is the recommended number of teeth for making finish cuts with a miter saw?

I'm going to be cutting 1x6 oak planks with a miter saw, but I'm not sure what blade to use. I currently have a 24T blade in the saw (which I know for sure I don't want to use), since I usually use it ...
4
votes
1answer
446 views

When should I round over the edges leading to a miter joint?

I'm going to be joining 2 1x6" pieces of wood at a simple miter joint. However, I want the top edges to be rounded over. I'm planning to use my router and a round over bit to soften the edges, the ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the difference between various wood sealers?

I've recently become aware of the existence of various seals for wood. I'm lead to believe that they are necessary, but I am unclear on the differences between the types of sealers you can find: ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a way to remove the warp in plywood?

I just bought some 1/2" plywood from HD for a project, and the best piece I could find was still pretty warped. Is there a way to fix this? Currently, it's sitting flat on my garage floor with a sheet ...
3
votes
1answer
119 views

What causes seasonal doors and how do you prevent it?

I understand that wood expands and contracts based on temperature, humidity, and other factors... However in our house the doors are really subject to seasonal changes. For instance my bedroom door ...
3
votes
1answer
469 views

Installing railing pickets using dowel pins

I am building porch railing, and I'm considering using dowels to attach the pickets so that no nailing is required. For 2x2 pickets: What size dowel stock should I use? How long should each dowel ...
3
votes
3answers
344 views

Dresser/Chest with convex front

I'm contemplating building a dresser and am looking at designs and such to get my creative juices flowing. Today I noticed that some dressers/chests have concave or outwardly curving drawers on the ...
2
votes
4answers
2k views

How to drill a hole in the wood without an electric drill?

During a travel in Laos, I need to drill some holes into a double-door's wood to install a locker. The wood is rather hard, and I don't have an electric drill (and can't find it). I only have 2 small ...
2
votes
1answer
58 views

Can uneven ACQ treatment be corrected on decorative objects?

I bought some "pineapple" post caps made of treated pine. When they arrived, I was taken aback to see, rather than an overall greenish tinge, splotches and patches of green. As my plan has been to ...
2
votes
3answers
302 views

How do I remove multiple layers of paint from wooden entrance ledge?

Here's a picture: If I recall correctly I have already tried a chemical stripper years ago and it didn't work. What would be the easiest way to remove the layers of paint all the way down to bare ...
1
vote
2answers
593 views

What header joist sizes do I need for a loft bed?

I've decided to design and build a king-sized loft bed for our bedroom. Basically, I've got an 80" x 89" frame, 54" off the floor, covered with slats instead of plywood (see image, below). I'm sure ...