Ask the Editor October 2013

Readers like you submit questions to us every day. Here, our woodworking expert George Vondriska answers your questions and offers helpful solutions to your woodworking problems.

Regarding your video Using Barrel Hinges , I’ve seen inserts that sit in the hole after drilled, which have points on them to punch a center mark in the opposite piece. Is this not the proper way to make sure the settings are correct?

George:The item you’re talking about is a dowel insert. They provide a handy way to bore one hole and then transfer its location to another piece. The problem in using them with barrel hinges comes from the hinges being metric and dowel inserts being inch. The two paths cross if you use 10 mm barrel hinges, which are very close in diameter to 3/8”, allowing the use of a dowel center. But a 12 mm barrel hinge doesn’t’ have an inch counterpart that’s close enough to be accurate. I haven’t had any luck finding metric dowel inserts.

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I recently hung two good sized wall cabinets in my garage. I used French cleats for each and they were affixed to brick veneer in the garage. I used Tapco hardware, including the supplied masonry bit. I wore out the bit and both arms, but I hung the cabinets. The next project is six sets of functional exterior board and batten shutters which, guess what, require eight bores per window into the same brick to affix the four pintles. Looking at four dozen bores, what don’t I know about drilling into masonry? Should I use a drill, as I have done on the previous project, or an impact driver? Should I run fast or slow? Should I lubricate the bore? Is blasting required?

George:Blasting would make things go faster, but the resulting hole might be too big for the fastener you’re using. I think the missing ingredient is a hammer….more specifically a hammer drill. Hammer drills put a forward impact on the bit, as opposed to the rotary impact that comes from an impact driver. When drilling into masonry they make a HUGE difference in speed and ease of drilling. In fact if you don’t use a hammer drill it’s pretty easy to prematurely wear out the carbide tip of a drill bit.
Hammer drills should only be used with carbide-tipped bits, and on masonry. Hammer drills generally have a high and low range for rpm. On small bits (I’m guessing you’re drilling around 3/16”) I’d use the high range. Don’t forget hearing protection.


In his recent woodturning CD George wore an environmental headgear which included a powered air filtration system (You can see it here). Could you let me know the maker of this unit and possibly sources for it?

George:I use the Trend Air Shield Pro. It’s available from a variety of woodworking retailers such as Acme Tools, Rockler, Woodcraft and Woodworkers Supply.

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