Raves, Cleanliness, Homemade, Piano Finish, Metric

We Take the Good with the Bad

We may not make everyone happy about everything we do, but as this letter shows, at least we do some things right, even in the estimation of one with a heartfelt complaint. — Editor

“I was initially attracted to your eZine by the offer of free woodworking plans, but I have to tell you that I have never seen anything I would consider building. These plans are ancient. Where are the Craftsman, Mission, Arts and Crafts, and Modern styles that people would actually want to put into their homes?  In the interest of a balanced note, I think that the other parts of the eZine are great. I love the Industry Interviews and Tool Previews. The Q and A is also informative and gives multiple opinions on how to do something. Keep up the good work.” — John Rotondaro

While the Free Plans may look kind of funny to today’s eyes, they still contain some good information. You can build a toy tractor from a “classic” plan that will make a child just as happy today as it made a diferent child — maybe yourself? — years ago. Someday soon, you’ll be able to order these plans individually from a Woodworker’s Journal downloadable plans shop.

Complaints don’t stop at the wood portions of the eZine, either. — Editor

“I don’t want to hear about hunting. Many people are turned off when hearing about someone enjoying killing a living being, and I am one of them. Hunting doesn’t belong on a woodworking-related site. Here’s hoping you’ll spend time out in the woods collecting dead wood instead of dead birds.” — J. Sweetland

Cleanliness is Next to…Impossible?

“After seeing photos of other people’s workshops and comparing with mine, the others don’t look as if they are being used. Where do these people make their models or furniture? Outside? Mine has always got sawdust on the floor and all the machines I use, though I do clean up now and again. I do love the eZine, though.” — Adin Cockroft

Don’t Buy it; Make It

“In the issue 208 Q&A, someone asked which brands of tools come with a vacuum attached, and got an answer. However, it’s perfectly possible to attach a shop vac to many sanders (and other small tools) besides Fein and Festool. You may need a hose size adapter and possibly a narrower hose, and you may want to invest in a relay system which turns the vac on and off with the tool rather than having to switch it separately, but those are available as off-the-shelf items from many woodworking supply houses. I think Rockler offers both. Or you might just want to do your sanding on a downdraft table and let it catch most of the dust. The Fein and Festool systems are certainly more elegant and impressively effective, but homebrew does work.” — Joseph J. Kesselman

Another Take on Piano Finishes

A question about how to create a piano finish sparked this comment. — Editor

“Despite the glossy look, a piano that costs $100k and beyond is basically a plywood layup. Many pianos travel very frequently, and are leased. They have to withstand temperature changes, movers’ fingerprints and frequent cleaning. Their finishes have to be as durable as possible, so polyester auto paint, sprayed on, is better than lacquer. Also, unlike other string instruments, the outer case of a piano is not an important acoustic element, so it could be fiberglass or anything sufficiently sturdy, like carbon fiber.” — Richard J. Stein

While it is true that most pianos today are done in polyester, that is not a finish that lends itself to the setup of the hobby woodworker, nor is it, as the original question asked, what is traditionally meant by a piano finish. Here’s part of the original answer. “Generally we think of a piano finish as very clear, fairly thick and very high gloss. Unless you have a sophisticated finishing setup, it is easiest to do this with lacquer.•bCrLf In other words, while lacquer is but one option, it is the easiest one for most small-scale and hobby woodworkers. — Editor

The REAL Value of the English System

“I liked your WebSurfers article on Metric Vs English measurements (of course, on this side of the pond we call them Imperial Units.) Forty-plus years ago, I was taught the metric system at college, but I still use both systems. What surprised me was that no one mentioned the real draw back of the metric system. The units are the wrong size. Five foot two and eyes of blue gives an instant picture. It even tells you the sex of the person I’m thinking of. Try that in metric!” — Roger Webb, England

Perhaps, but we’re not so sure “dark, handsome and two meters tall” wouldn’t be just as picturesque, and evocative, for a lot of European women. — Editor

Typo Corner

What a difference one letter makes. — Editor

“We have two rough sewn wood beams running across the ceiling.”

Were they made by stitching together smaller roughhewn beams? — Editor

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