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How I work

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Here’s another installment of an irregular series of how I do things in the shop. No deep thoughts here, just something I’ve come to use regularly because it works for me.

Back in March I talked about using wiping varnish – but not actually wiping it – as something I do a lot simply because it works so well. I promised I’d share some of these methods of work every so often, usually when I realize on a current project that’s it’s something I rely on a lot. This is one of those times.

When I’m making utility items or things that will be painted, I love using laminated pine panels. They go by lots of names: project panels, handy panels, or just plain laminated pine panels. You can find them in two grades, paint-grade and stain-grade. (Although that last is a misnomer, as pine stains terribly, but the stain-grade panels are generally nicer.) They’re common in Big Box stores, intended more for weekend DIY work than serious professional work I suspect. But for me, they work great for the kinds of things I mentioned.

• Considering that they’re 100% usable, with few “bad spots” to work around, they’re cheaper than solid pine boards.

• They’re stable – I’ve rarely found one with a warp or twist – and tend to stay that way.

• You can find a range of widths simply unavailable in solid lumber.

• If I needed a laminated panel anyway, they’re huge time savers.

• They’re light.

• Typically, they’re well seasoned. Unlike solid pine boards, I’ve never gotten a “damp” one (unless it’s been improperly stored).

So there you have it, another one of the ways I work. This works great for me but, as always, your mileage may vary.



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