What worries me most about woodworking...

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Forum topic by KnickKnack posted 01-21-2009 02:07 PM 1278 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1094 posts in 3801 days

01-21-2009 02:07 PM

(... apart from the really sharp things that spin at a million miles per hour)

... is whether what I make will last. I’m not talking next-millenium last, I’m talking 5, 10, 25, 50 years last.

So, I’d be grateful if those who know might provide the important “do”s and “don’t”s to ensure that my projects, like cute puppies, “are not just for christmas”.

Thanks in advance for enough pearls, I’m sure, to make a lot of necklaces.

-- "Do not speak – unless it improves on silence." --- "Following the rules and protecting the regulations is binding oneself without rope."

6 replies so far

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4240 days

#1 posted 01-21-2009 02:38 PM

I suppose in the big scheme of things a wooden item is a fairly temporary thing. It can’t pretend to compete with granite as a grave marker for example. All we can do is pay particular attention to strong common sense joinery and hope fires and floods stay clear.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View Ryan Shervill's profile

Ryan Shervill

278 posts in 4047 days

#2 posted 01-21-2009 02:47 PM

Focus on proper technique and suitable joinery, and there is no reason a piece of wood furniture won’t last 200 years. The biggest mistake that people make is not properly accounting for seasonal wood movement, and this will destroy a project over time. The other factor in longevity of a project is joinery. A properly constructed/reinforced joint (dovetail/dado/mortise and tennon/dowelled, etc,, etc.) will last far longer than screws or nails ever would.

-- Want to see me completely transform a house? Look here:

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 3996 days

#3 posted 01-21-2009 03:48 PM

My first two projects, made on the dining room table in a 1 BR apartment back in the 60’s, are still in everyday use.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2658 posts in 3761 days

#4 posted 01-21-2009 05:51 PM

Glues are import to age. Hide will last for decades and then can be reactivated and live on forever. Epoxy is very strong but its a one time shot. Contact cement will have forgiveness (veniers) and will last many years but not forever. White and yellow glues are good and have strength but most likely not be in good condition for other generations. Everything is based on your project and how long if wish it to last.

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 4225 days

#5 posted 01-21-2009 08:03 PM

I think it depends on functionality and appeal. Your first project was a “Craftsman style” chair that I’m sure will outlive you. Make sure you sign and date it, so your future generations will know.

I have an old foot chest here, made of pine, half-lap joinery and nails…who knows what kind of glue…and ugly, peeling green paint. On top are the initials I.F.N. done up with upholstery tacks. Nothing here speaks of quality craftsmanship, but it has outlived it’s maker that is for sure! The initials stand for Issac F. Niles and it was his foot chest.

Issac fought in the Civil War!

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View mranum's profile


131 posts in 3651 days

#6 posted 01-22-2009 05:27 AM

A thing to remember too is when you are new to woodworking, and trying to learn on your own, you will have a tendancy to “overbuild” the project. In other words you will be reinforcing, and using thicker materials than you probably need to. At least I did.

-- Just remember,it was a lone amatuer that built the ark, and a team of experts built the Titanic.

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