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

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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 ...
21
votes
6answers
29k 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, ...
19
votes
13answers
55k 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). ...
18
votes
4answers
56k 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?
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 ...
17
votes
3answers
8k views

How would I go about turning a tree in to a tabletop?

My father-in-law is about to cut down a large Ash tree (on the insistence of a neighbour). At the same time, we need a dining table, and quite like the idea of a simple wooden slab on legs. ...
15
votes
8answers
26k 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
6k views

Should I use nails or screws to refasten my subfloor to the joists?

My subfloor is squeaky, and there's a small window of opportunity I'll have to fasten it down before/during my carpet being replaced. I have available to me a nice corded drill, and an air-powered ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

What is causing/caused these brown circular stains in my cabinetry?

Recently moved into a 1950s-built home and have unearthed a number of brown, circular stains on the wood inside various closets. These rings don't appear on the plaster walls, but rather on the wood ...
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'?
14
votes
3answers
645 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 ...
13
votes
6answers
58k 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 ...
12
votes
1answer
6k views

Which is better for deck flooring: 2x6 or 1x6 deck boards?

My current deck flooring is done with 2x6x10' boards, however they have degraded to the point now where they need to be replaced. I'm wondering if there are any specific pros or cons for using the ...
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? ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

re-using wood from a concrete form?

I strive to not waste materials wherever possible, and "use once then discard" methods are particularily irksome. So with this mind, what suggestions do you have for enabling re-use of lumber used for ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Can you rout plywood?

I have some applewood 13 ply 3/4" plywood that I'm using for a desk top. I was wondering if I took a router to the edges if it would turnout ok.
9
votes
2answers
34k views

What are the pros and cons of medium-density fibreboard (MDF)?

I heard mixed opinions about making cupboards and beds from MDF. Some said it doesn't matter, MDF is as durable as whole tree or sandwich boards. Some said that MDF is weak, and will not last for ...
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
789 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 ...
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 ...
8
votes
3answers
223 views

How can I tell if wood is properly dried?

I guess measuring it's weight would be one of the answers, but it doesn't seem practical because wood of a same type can probably fluctuate in it's density enough to make measurement unreliable in ...
8
votes
2answers
912 views

How do I drill a mortise and tenon joint so I can reinforce it with a dowel?

I want to make a mortise and tenon joint that will be held together with a dowel instead of glue. How can I drill the hole in the mortised stock and the tenon so that they line up accurately and ...
8
votes
2answers
4k views

Is this termite damage and if so how do I repair it?

I was moving a bolt storage rack in the basement, and when I took it off the wall, I noticed that the wall behind it was moldy. Then I noticed a ripple in the paint going all the way up, and when I ...
8
votes
2answers
282 views

How can I remove a moisture mark from a wooden table?

I have a white mark on my wooden dining table that was caused by a potted plant sitting there for too long without a saucer. Attempts to clean it off have been futile because it seems not to be a ...
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 ?
7
votes
4answers
760 views

What wood to build a bath-tub tray?

I'm new to wood working and I want to build my wife a bathtub tray that can hold a laptop (for Hulu watching) and a glass. It doesn't need to hold anything else really. But I don't know what type of ...
7
votes
2answers
841 views

How can I repeatedly cut the same pattern using a router?

I'm involved with a project where I need to use a router (or some other tool?) to carve a specific-sized square in the top of a desk. This square will not go all the way through the desk; rather, it ...
7
votes
2answers
5k views

What size dowels to use for joints?

I'm comfortable with the process of creating and joining wood with dowels, but I'm not sure what size dowels to use in which cases? Specifically, I'm working with 1" thick stock (3/4" actual), what ...
7
votes
4answers
5k views

My house has steel “2x4s” in the walls, can I hang cabinets, a TV, or some other heavy item from them?

The question is pretty much all in the title: My house has metal "2x4's" in the walls. Can I hang cabinets or a TV directly on these metal studs? If not directly, is there something special I must do? ...
7
votes
3answers
427 views

Do Old Houses Have a Pre-determined Lifespan?

Taking into consideration the building supplies that were available in that time period for that particular geographic area (say, a major metropolitan city in the mid-western United States), do homes ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

How can I get a stain to match on two different species of wood?

I have a plank of hardwood poplar, and I want to have a piece of decorative trim along the edge made of a different wood (probably just pine, or maybe balsam). Is there anything I can do to get a ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why do we need multiple coatings of polyurethane?

I just finished my first wood-working project ever, and applied the first layer of polyurethane last night. This morning, it looks beautiful. So I have a few questions: Do I need a second (or more) ...
7
votes
1answer
3k views

What kind of wood should be used to replace a sub floor?

I live in a British late 1900s semi detached house that I assume would have had floorboards originally. However it seems that these have been replaced by Chipboard. This doesnt seem very sturdy and I ...
7
votes
1answer
97 views

What tools and techniques are available for sanding without machinery?

I am planning on creating a table made out of recycled wood planks and I am wondering if it is too ambitious to hand sand the wood planks without the use of machinery. I am on a budget and am ...
7
votes
1answer
789 views

Table with 45 degree corner groove

I'm not a carpenter, so forgive me if this is obvious. Also, I'm Brazilian so forgive my English. I want to build a table with only 3 MDF plates, but I want the corners to have "45 degree grooves", ...
7
votes
3answers
875 views

How can I cheaply refresh parquet in an apartment?

We've recently rented an apartment with seriously damaged parquet. Since the deal is "take it or leave it", we've decided to "mend" the parquet ourselves. Dictionary :) Sorry for my bad english, I ...
7
votes
3answers
10k views

What is this soft, sticky wood finish and how do I remove it?

We have a second-hand table with a mysterious finish. The wood underneath is pale, possibly pine. With the finish, it's a slightly darker and "warmer" colour. The table is not antique; I'd guess only ...
7
votes
1answer
193 views

Is there a more rugged finish than Polyurethane for a heavy use table?

A few years go I sanded a stained table we had. Upon doing so, we discovered that it had really nice wood underneath. So instead of restaining, I applied about 4 coats of satin polyurethane. It looked ...
6
votes
7answers
2k views

How do I join 2x4s without mitering?

I asked this question on the Bicycles site: DIY wooden bike rack — looking for plans I'm planning to build this rack out of 2x4 pieces of wood. It'll live in my garage. I'm looking to make a rack ...
6
votes
6answers
1k views

How to SLIGHTLY widen bored hole in 2x6

I'm making a stand-alone pullup bar and I bored 1 1/4" holes in 2x6's for my 1" galvanized pipe (1 1'4" outside) to slide through. Only the pipe is definitely 1 5/16" (thank you, guy at Lowes) and I ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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)
6
votes
3answers
721 views

Hardwood floors cupping even after replacement

Let me start off by saying that I am NOT a flooring expert or installer, I am a homeowner looking for answers. About 3 years ago, my home was built in southern Louisiana with reclaimed/antique pine ...
6
votes
3answers
634 views

How to connect wood to concrete

How can I attach wood to concrete in this bench?
6
votes
4answers
252 views

How can I cut wood in a very awkward location?

I recently installed a new kitchen sink and faucet. It was one of those with the spot for a dish detergent pump. After getting everything in, I come to find out there just isn't enough room to fit ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

What is normally done to bridge skirting boards around an opening with different floor levels on each side?

I have to attach some skirting boards on recently plastered walls and openings. The issue is that the floors on each side of the opening are at different levels, therefore the opening has a step on ...
6
votes
2answers
503 views

How do I repair a split in trim boards?

I removed the quarter round and two trim boards to install a new hardwood floor. I partially split one of the larger (lower) trim boards. The split is about 24" long. The wood is 12" wide birdseye ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

What can I use to lubricate screws?

I am re assembling a swing set made of pretty hard wood. My electric drill won't drive the screws in all the way and I have to try to use plain screwdriver. I don't want to strip the heads though. Is ...
6
votes
4answers
328 views

Are small air bubbles on the surface while applying wood finish normal?

While finishing my door, I've noticed a lot of small air bubbles after applying the finish. I asked a painter about it and he told me it's normal, but it doesn't seem normal to me. Is this normal or ...
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 ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

Fixing a large (1/8"-wide) crack in a wood exterior door panel

This is a follow-up to my previous question: How can I fix a hairline crack in a thin wood panel of an exterior door? While getting ready to apply wood glue (actually a mixture of wood glue and ...