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Newsletter #130

Giving Thanks and Giving Back

As I write this I am in a worried state of mind. Hurricane Sandy has made a path of destruction through the Northeast. As news has rolled in about the tragic aftermath of Hurricane/Superstorm Sandy, our hearts and thoughts are on those who are suffering loss, deprivation and need. We hope that time will heal, that they will rebuild their lives, and know that we and our customers will support them any way they can.  In New York, where we live, it is expected that 40,000 families will have lost their homes. So if someone asks you to help, you can be sure that help is needed.

I am trying to stay positive and one way is to think about the good things. Thanksgiving is coming. My family will be together and I have many reasons to give thanks.  In my professional life I am most grateful for the people I work with, and for my continuous exposure to new ideas and methods from the woodworkers I meet and from the experts who write for our newsletter.  

For the November issue of newsletter we decided to feature the things for which woodworkers are thankful. We put this question to a few of our expert friends. “What tool, process or piece of knowledge makes you grateful?”

Here are some of the responses:

I have a career today because of the achievements of others and I’m thankful to them. I’m thankful for people who perfected their passions – to create the perfect hand tool, or people like Apollo who created amazing HVLP spray systems, or the folks who make wood finishes that work! I’m just as grateful to all the classic woodworking publications on every subject imaginable. I’m thankful for the old timers who took time to show me a thing or two over the years. I’m grateful to the helpful staff at Woodcraft. I am really thankful for the hard work of dedicated people in the industry who have helped make my hard work look good.
Tommy MacDonald, Rough Cut

When it comes to tools for which I am grateful to have in my shop, two immediately come to mind. The first is a good-quality dovetail saw. When hand-cutting this joint a good saw makes the job a pleasure. The second tool is a flexible-shaft carving tool (mine is a Foredom). Flame finials are a snap to complete, and take a lot less time than when hand carving them.

Now if you want to talk about machines, there is only one choice. My 24″ wide-belt sander. That machine has saved me so much work it’s worth every dime of cost.

Glen Huey, Master Finisher and Writer

I look out of my workshop window from the hilltop home where we live and I see my garden growing, my grandson playing, and indoors I have the great tools I am using to make a complete carved oak bedroom set for each of my sons. I’m thankful to have my craft, my tools and my family. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Juergen Buechele, Master Craftsman

The Apollo Sprayers/ family wishes you all a happy and satisfying Thanksgiving.

 Sr. Vice President and COO

Apollo Sprayers International, Inc.


Product of the Month: Apollo Model 835VR

If you want to upgrade the quality of your finishing, this is the way to go. The Apollo 835VR offers835vr.jpg precision 3-stage power to atomize higher viscosity coatings with ease. Precision LCD displays atomizing pressure that is accurate to 0.10 PSI. The Precision Pressure Control System controls motor speed, voltage and amperage worldwide, adjusts automatically for altitude and barometric pressure assuring precise atomizing pressure anywhere in the world. Precision FreeFlo® Filter warning LED indicates when a filter is restricted. Green for clean, red for clogged or partially blocked filters. Plus, it’s USA made and available now at 20% off!  What are you waiting for?


Finishing Feature Article by Glen Huey: Why Shellac Is My Go-To Finish for Fine Furniture



“I prefer to spray my shellac. Spraying shellac results in an even smoother finish which greatly reduces the amount of sanding during finish work.”


Rodney Dangerfield’s famous comedic catchphrase was, “I don’t get no respect.” In the world of furniture finishes, shellac gets no respect. That lack of respect is unwarranted. In fact, shellac is my go-to finish on fine furniture. It should be yours as well. The lack of respect for shellac may be due to the fact that it, a natural resin…READ MORE



Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: Remove Stripping Sludge with a Wide Putty Knife


On large flat surfaces it’s most efficient to remove the bulk of the softened or dissolved finish or paint using a wide putty knife. Scrape off the sludge into a cardboard box. No matter which type of stripper you use, keep it wet until it works its way through the coating so you can remove it easily. Don’t fight it. “Let the stripper do the work.”

Clear finishes on almost all old furniture and woodwork are either shellac or lacquer. These will dissolve into a “gunk.” After scraping off the bulk of the finish, reapply the stripper and remove the remainder with a cloth or absorbent paper towels.

Most paints, varnishes and modern high-performance finishes hold together pretty well—that is, they don’t dissolve—but they do separate from the wood. So you need to get under them with a putty knife and lift them off, as shown in the accompanying picture.

Be sure to round over the sharp edges of the putty-knife blade using a file so they don’t scratch the wood.


Finishing Tip by Bob Flexner: What to Do When Stain Dries Too Fast

Unlike oil stains, water-based stains and lacquer stains dry very fast. On large or complex surfaces you may have trouble streaks-from-dried-stain.jpggetting the excess stain wiped off before it dries. If this happens, you’ll be left with streaks like those shown in the accompanying picture.

If you have this situation, try to correct it by quickly wiping the surface with more of the same stain. The fresh stain will reliquify the streaks unless the stain has dried too much. Then work faster to remove the excess or work on smaller areas at a time.

If the stain dries hard, you may have to use paint stripper to get the streaks removed. Then sand lightly and restain. You don’t need to sand all the color out of the wood before restaining.

To avoid the problem to begin with, divide your project into smaller sections and work on each of these separately, or get a second person to help—one applying the stain, the other wiping off.