Questions tagged [wood]

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

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46
votes
6answers
304k 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?
37
votes
8answers
100k 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, ...
31
votes
12answers
7k views

How do I make around-the-room shelves for a seriously skewed room?

I've been given the Christmas task of setting up an HO model train and rails around a child's room, so I researched a bit and found a shelf train would be the thing. So I go to measure the room in ...
30
votes
14answers
152k 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). ...
28
votes
9answers
297k 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 ...
26
votes
4answers
8k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

How can I remove material from this wood beam?

I am trying to mount a roller shade in between two wood beams on my porch. The problem is that the beams are a hair too close together to accommodate mounting the shade. I am trying to remove a small ...
22
votes
12answers
199k 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 ...
22
votes
5answers
70k 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. ...
22
votes
3answers
14k 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'?
20
votes
7answers
53k 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 ...
19
votes
12answers
34k views

How can I repair a puncture in a hollow-core wooden door?

Someone punched my wooden door. Now it has a giant dent in it. The dent is similar to this one. Fortunately, it's a bit less severe than this. How can I "pop" the dent back out?
18
votes
6answers
28k 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 ...
18
votes
2answers
27k 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 ...
18
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
16
votes
3answers
143k 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
50k 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.
14
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I repair my stair bannister?

My stairs bannister are made of small wood posts nailed to the ramp. The whole thing have always been quite fragile. After 10 years, a couple posts came loose and most show a gap between the posts and ...
14
votes
1answer
57k 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
945 views

What's the difference between “Framing Lumber” and “Framing Studs”?

The Home Depot website has these two as categories under Dimensional Lumber. Why would one want to exclude items from one category during a search for wood to use in a project? What is the ...
13
votes
3answers
50k 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 ...
12
votes
10answers
6k views

Was my approach to repairing stripped holes in a door jamb appropriate?

Two of the screw holes on the doorframe of a bedroom in my house are completely stripped out, to fill them in I soaked small strips of paper towel in wood glue and carefully stuffed them deep until ...
12
votes
4answers
32k views

Why mate two boards instead of using one thicker board?

I need to build a footbridge across a creek and, due to soft and low land around it, will need a long span crossing the creek. I found this tutorial by Ron Hazelton where he makes a bridge with a 12' ...
12
votes
3answers
115k views

How to calculate the maximum safe load on a horizontal wooden beam?

I am thinking of constructing a wooden bed/desk/roof/shed/ship/bridge/rocket How can I calculate the maximum load a rectangular horizontal wooden beam of dimensions L x H x W can safely support if ...
12
votes
1answer
58k 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 ...
11
votes
6answers
6k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
60k views

Is it safe to use an angle grinder with wood cutting blades?

Being a newbie to DIY and trying to get more and more jobs done myself, safety is a concern to me. I recently bought a Makita 5" angle grinder to cut some metal balustrades, job done. I considered ...
10
votes
5answers
12k 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
3answers
13k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
89k views

Should I let pressure treated lumber dry before building with it?

I bought some treated 2x4's from Lowes, and it was fairly wet and heavy. I went ahead and built a firewood rack, but screwing into it releases a lot of water. It got me thinking, is it better to let ...
10
votes
3answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
9answers
23k 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
6k 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
3answers
4k 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 ...
9
votes
5answers
23k 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? ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Can I put small nails through plexiglass?

I would like to attach a 1/8" thick piece of plexiglass to the front of a bookcase. (It will be open at the top and will be used to house a hamster, so no hinges are needed.) Can I use small nails? ...
9
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
21k 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 ...
9
votes
4answers
39k views

Recommended screw fastener length

Is there an industry standard for recommended screw lengths to fasten to pieces of material together? For instance, if I need to fasten a piece of 3/4" plywood to a vertical brick wall, how long ...
8
votes
7answers
39k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

How do I use threaded inserts?

I got these fasteners with table legs that I bought for a formica table top. I get that I need to embed the outer part with the big thread into the table, and then use an Allen key to fasten the bolts ...
8
votes
3answers
287 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 10-...
8
votes
1answer
6k views

What is this amber substance on the wood in my attic?

I was examining my attic with a head lamp and the light illuminated the wood just right and these amber drops started to glow. They are on the surface of a lot of the wood in the attic. What is it ...
8
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
47k views

Should I use MDF, plywood, or something else when building a desk?

I'm looking at building a desk but have been reading a lot of conflicting info about which material to use. My main concern is having the desk sag at all. I will also be painting/coloring the desk. ...
8
votes
1answer
20k 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) ...
8
votes
9answers
70k 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
27k 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
108k views

How do I vertically connect two 4x4s on a deck to build a roof?

I have a deck I am going to put a roof over. It has 4x4s for vertical supports that I need to extend upward to attach my trusses to. What is the best way to connect two vertical 4x4s?
8
votes
1answer
5k 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", ...

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