What gives a cleaner cut on plywood, a quality table saw, or a track saw?

I have to admit I have a bias here.

 Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw with Guide Rail

Makita SP6000J1 6-1/2-Inch Plunge Circular Saw with Guide Rail (aka “Track saw”)

If you are cutting LARGE sheets and have sawhorses (and a good “reach”), a track saw will be faster and easier than passing a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood over the blade of a table saw, and give a decent cut (provided the blade is sharp, with the correct number of teeth, and the operator is skilled).

For almost everything else, a properly aligned and set up table saw will do Much much more than a track saw. Here is my bias – I view a track saw as a “one trick pony”. I use an aluminium guide or a really straight board when I cut a plywood sheet. It’s fast and easy, and you can “dress” the edge afterwards. I also don’t have to store a single purpose tool just for these occasions – my skilsaw, guide, and clamps are easy to get to.

13 pointers for perfect plywood cuts – woodworking magazine

Bonus comment:

If you are cutting a lot of 4×8 sheets, the track saw can slow you down, compared to this baby:

Some of them even have a mount for a router, (or you can convert it), and you get very high quality cuts.
I owned a cabinet shop, and your plywood could slide vertically into this saw (it just takes up wall space), and you can stack the finished parts on a cart, ready for the next step

Little Giant PTC-2436-5PY Steel Panel Truck with Swivel Casters and Carpeted End, 1000 lbs Load Capacity, 24" Width x 36" Length

(banding/sanding/drilling). A decent panel saw costs more than a track saw, about as much as a good table saw.

Keep in mind that you have to determine what your shop does, when you consider the cost, and factor in any savings in time.

E. Emerson Tool Co. C50 50-Inch All-In-One Contractor Straight Edge Clamping Tool Guide

To Recap, either saw will cut clean if it has a sharp blade and is setup and used properly, but you have to determine your needs based on what you build. I have a bias towards the table saw and a good panel saw.

Best of luck with your cutting, and remember to wear a mask and eye protection!

Father Adams Irish Coffee – For St. Patrick’s day (And almost any day!)

–Dedicated to my Late friend, Thomas Adams.

Father Adam’s Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish coffee never appealed to me, until Father Adams himself explained that I was doing it “All Wrong”, and set me on the path to a righteous cup of Irish coffee, like a dram of Irish mother’s milk.

You will need 

Irish Whiskey – Jamesons or equivalent
Irish Cream Liquor – Baileys or any good brand
Fresh brewed coffee, medium roast, without any flavors or adulteration (that means a plain cup of Joe)
Whipped cream – Fresh or from a can
Green sugar crystals – for decoration and “sugaring the rim”
Irish coffee Glasses – get a mess of ’em, invite your pals and kinfolk!


Wet the rim of the glass, and either rub green sugar crystals on it, or prepare  without the sugar garnish.

Pour in a shot of Irish whiskey
Pour in a shot of Irish cream liquor
Pour in fresh brewed coffee, filling to about a 1/2″ (one or two fingers) from the top of the glass
Add a dollop of whipped cream to the top
sprinkle some green sugar crystals to add some color.


Depending on your artistry, cleverness, and sobriety, the measurements are not “exact”, and you are invited to adjust the ingredient mix to your individual taste.  don’t be afraid to add nuts, food coloring (to the whipped cream) and more.  Be creative and enjoy this wonderful beverage!

I hope to have truly inspired you to create a drinkable dessert which will elevate you to a new level of respect and glory with your peers.   Make yours an Irish Coffee!  -Alan

Thanks for Reading my Blog on Irish coffee!

What is the ceiling hook in the corner of living rooms for?

Alan Chenkin, Lifelong Carpenter/Cabinetmaker, owned an AWI certified shop for 10 years.
Most likely it is a plant hanger
usually with one of these attached:
1960’s vintage swag lamp, on a chain.
I can continue on with this, but you get the idea. Even
(Make sure the hook is sturdy enough, like these: Hammock Hooks)
Thanks for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!

Why is there cardboard in my bedroom door?

Alan Chenkin, Carpenter and “how to do it” guy. Making dreams happen with tools….
A door made of solid wood is both heavy and expensive; by using a cardboard honeycomb in the door, it is made lighter and less expensive to manufacture.
The bedroom door is an interior door, so there is no insulation, just a wood frame, covered with door skins (thin but ridged plywood sheets), and a cardboard honeycomb to keep the door rigid and resistant to warpage.
BTW, if you are in a rental unit, instead of replacing the door, you can purchase a door skin from a local lumberyard or “big box” store, and glue it over the damaged face of the existing door.  Stanley’s Complete doors and Windows, paperback, on Amazon.
Use one of these protectors to prevent the door knob from making a hole in the wall adjacent to the door. (They just stick on, easy to install).
Tapix Door Knob Wall Protector Plate – Will Also Conceal Damaged Walls – 5″ – White – 2 Pack
And you can use a door stop too.
Thanks for reading my blog, and feel free to share!

When making a wood chess board, is it sensible to use dowels between the woods while gluing them?

Alan Chenkin, Owned a cabinet shop for 10 years, is an avid woodworker.

Pallas Rounded Corners Chess Board with Inlaid Mahogany Wood – Board Only – 17 Inch

Dowels are practical and make a lot of sense if you are comfortable with the precision and time necessary to make the dowel joints. In a tournament chess set, the squares are 2″, and each would require sequential assembly with 2 dowels for each side of every square. You can use fewer, but that would give you less surface area for gluing, and less resistance to warp and coming apart. 

My preference would be to use splines, which increase the gluing area and are more forgiving than dowels. You will still need to sequentially assemble the chess board, but you can cut the splines and the grooves with a table saw to save a lot of time.


Biscuit joints can also be used, but you are adding more time to the assembly, and each hole must be cut individually for the biscuit.
For additional reading, consider “The Joint Book: The Complete Guide to Wood Joinery“, available on Amazon.

All About Spline Joints – FineWoodworking

Spline joint – Reinforcing Woodworking Joints – Table Saw guide

Spline joints are one of my favorite joints. They are fast to fabricate, and do a good job of increasing the glue surface area for optimum strength and durability.

Here is a picture of a chess/dining table that my father built in the 1970’s:


The table is Maple and Walnut, and was refinished by me in 2015. The squares are 2″, and the overall dimension (including frame) is 42″ square.  Here it is, in the Man cave dining room:


My Father, Morton Chenkin, was an Industrial Arts teacher at Thomas Edison High School, in New York City.  I believe he built this in the ’70s.  I also have the wooden Checker pieces he made, and a set of onyx chess pieces from Mexico.  Like most pieces he made, this table is built like a brick chicken coop! 
Thank you for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!
Morty Chenkin at his Table Saw

How do you feel about wooden watches?

When you buy a wooden watch, the wood is in the case and band – and the watch usually has a quartz/metal movement that accurately tells time.
The Jord watches are nice (based on their website – I do not own one at this time), and seem to be smartly fashionable, with name brand movements.
Not all woods are suited for watch cases, as they must hold tolerance in extremes and be resistant to minor scuffing and damage.
I personally feel they are a good purchase for an occasional or dress watch. Amazon carries a lot of wooden watches as well, but look carefully at the specs. Amazon.com: wooden watches: 
From the web:
If you want to join the Nat’l Assoc of Watch and Clock Collectors, Please get in touch with me, I would be happy to sponsor you. (My member number is 0120853. Tell them you read my Blog).

Best of luck!
Thank you for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!

What is the best adhesive for sticking two pieces of cardboard together for Prototyping?

Alan Chenkin, Uses glue all the time, for fun and woodworking projects
At the Chenkin Workshop prototyping is the most fun.  when you build something you never built before,  there is usually some vocal and provocative discussion, and test-attempts at assembly – and even production concerns.  Much more exciting than building something off a plan.
Aleene's Repositionable Tacky Spray, 10-OunceELMERS Repositionable Mounting Spray Adhesive, 10 Oz, Clear (E454)Stencil Ease Repositionable Stencil Adhesive Spray - 4.4 oz. can
If you are prototyping, my guess is that you need the ability to re-position the piece. For that you might prefer a spray-on re-positionable adhesive. Here is a list of them from Amazon.com: repositionable adhesive spray
The original glue for this purpose was rubber cement.
- Rubber Cement, Repositionable, 4 oz
Make sure the work is clean, and free of dust. sometimes you can spray on one side to be adhered,  but you usually need to spray both sides, let them dry to a tacky state, and press together. Try a test piece, before you risk the assembly;  Too much cement may make a permanent bond, and too little may not make any bond.  Be sure to let it get tacky, almost dry, as this is a “glue to glue” adhesion.
Good luck with your prototyping!

What would it take to make a living off of building and selling things from reclaimed wood?

Alan Chenkin, Owned a cabinet shop for 10 years, is an avid woodworker.


Commitment, Good tools, and a creative mind.

If you look carefully, there are lots of sources of free wood.  Pallets are readily available in most areas, but Don’t underestimate the time necessary to find usable pallets (ones not treated with chemicals, etc.) and you have to deconstruct them – it takes lots of effort and you lose a lot of usable wood or saw blades, etc. 

Vergo Industrial Pallet Buster / Pallet Breaker - Premium Steel with Handle, 41"
Once you have the pallet broken down, you need to make the wood usable for your project; sanding, planing, squaring, etc. -all time-consuming steps, and pallets have nails, embedded pebbles, etc., that can come flying out. Wear protective gear! Amazon.com: protective goggles and gloves: Tools & Home Improvement
There are other reclaimed woods, like Barn wood, wood from demolished sheds and houses, but the same rules apply; you have to cut out unusable pieces, and mill the rest to usable dimensions.  Amazon even sells Reclaimed Wood boards, if you want to skip the effort of conditioning the boards yourself!
Make a few pieces, finish them, calculate your time (IT WILL TAKE LONGER) and put them on Etsy, Pinterest, etc. Keep good records. It can be done, but it may not be easy to make PROFIT. The material may be free, but your time is not.  Repurposing old pallets is a very green thing to do, and that does have a benefit to the planet.
Consider reading:
Good luck, and Thank you for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!

Why does the blade on my Table saw get hot and burn the edges of the wood being cut?

Let me give you some of my observations, in the hope that my experience can help solve your problem.
Burning wood is usually an indication that the saw blade has become dull or gummed up;  In most cases it is time to change the blade.
A cheap saw (and some good saws) may not hold some settings well. recheck the fence, true everything up, and test it before cutting.
Make sure you have a sharp blade and it is running in the correct direction (not a misprint – I have seen sawblades installed backwards). 
Consider cleaning any gum or build-up with something like Router Bit and Saw Blade Cleaning Kit – Power Router Accessories – Amazon.com
A dull saw blade will “burn” through the wood due to increased friction, and is the most common problem as the blade is used.  the wrong saw blade will also cause this problem.
Make sure you have the right blade for the job, and it is at the correct height for the cut. Even a new blade can be defective, look at it carefully to determine that it is sharp.
Consider infeed and outfeed support for the wood to be cut, and consider building a sled for cross-cutting. You can buy plans (or a whole miter sled) on Ebay.  You also should have a an outfeed roller for supporting work that extends beyond the saw blade.
Shop Fox D2054 Roller Stand
I also wax my tables and the fence with auto paste wax so that the stock can pass easily over the saw table. This eliminates pushing hard into the blade, which causes errors in feed speed and potential for accidents. 
Take a good, hard look at your wood stock – is it old and case-hardened? [1] [2]
Are the edges against the fence straight and true?
it’s also a good idea to have some experienced friends look at your setup, and give you some advice.
Do some reading too, books have tremendous knowledge when it comes to woodworking. 
Best of luck with your saw. Remember to wear safety equipment and gloves – use push sticks, and take care!
Thanks for reading my blog!- Alan
I hope you found my point of view enlightening and informative. 

Are wooden watches the new thing?

Alan Chenkin, Member of NAWCC (Nat’l Assoc of Watch and Clock Collectors

Wooden watches are nothing new – there are woods that have tight grain and are machinable to close tolerances, which make for a solid, attractive, and wear-resistant wood case for a timepiece.
Many of the new watchmakers use wood as an artistic medium, and put solid movements and dials in the watch to make a very appealing watch.
If you go to the website of the National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors (http://www.nawcc.org) you can see many fine examples of wooden clocks and wristwatches, mostly antique and historic.
A well-made and sharp looking watch is an accessory that shows your attention to classy details, and makes a wonderful conversation piece. If watches are your thing, consider adding a wooden watch to your personal collection.
Many wooden watches have low price tags, and quality Quartz movements, and unique style.  This makes for a great occasional watch.  Wooden watches are conversation pieces, like wooden Briefcases, and add a nice complement to your appearance.
Yours in Horology, and
Thank you for reading my blog!  Feel free to share!