Ask The Editor August 2013

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

How do you remove rust from a cast iron surface?
William M.

George: I wet sand the surface using WD 40, JB 80 or other rust remover as a lubricant and 400-grit wet/dry sandpaper wrapped on a block of wood as an abrasive. If there’s LOTS of rust and the removal is painfully slow you can also use a more aggressive Scotch Brite pad. I stick with hand sanding and elbow grease. This process will remove surface rust pretty quickly.

Once the sanding is done, remove the residue with mineral spirits. Prevent future rust by sealing the top with wax or a similar tool-specific sealer.

Check out this video that covers the topic: Cleaning a Rusty Table

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I have loved your lathe videos so much that I have just bought my first lathe. I am getting it set up and know that I need a sharpening system. I am trying to decide between a 8″ grinder, Tormek system (expensive!) or the Work Sharp 3000 you demoed in the video I just watched.

I have been told that tools for the lathe must be sharpened on a tool (such as a grinder or Tormek) that will hollow grind them. You demonstrated the Work Sharp with what looks like a flat grinding surface. Have you used any tools on the lathe after sharpening them on a Work Sharp and is this safe/effective?
Carl C.

George: Yes, there’s a benefit to hollow ground lathe chisels, but if you can’t do that it’s not a deal breaker. You can hone the chisels with a whetstone or other flat surface, like a Work Sharp, and get a great edge for lathe turning.

As a best-of-both-worlds alternative you can get inexpensive grinder to do the hollow grinding (and it’ll also sharpen your lawn mower blades and other stuff) and then use something like the Work Sharp for honing. Once the hollow grind is produced you won’t have to take the chisels back to the grinder too often, you’ll primarily just hone them.


George, I have the same system throughout my workshop, garage, and Shed, (from the George’s Solid Wood Storage video) but I put 3/4 ply down for more consistent support. Do you think the ply was a good or bad idea?
Tim K.

George: No, no problem adding a plywood deck. In fact an advantage to your approach is that you can store shorter pieces. You don’t have to worry about them spanning from one support to the next.


What brand/size/gauge brad nailer would you suggest for light work like that you frequently do in your videos?
Ross W.

George: 18-guage and 23-gauge nailers will serve you very well. Remember that with gauges the higher the number the smaller the item, so 23-gauge is smaller than 18-gauge. The benefit to 23-gauge is that they’re so small they’re headless, and nearly invisible once they’re in. But, and 18-gauge will have a little more bite pulling parts together. As a rule I use the 23-gauge for jobs like installing trim, and the 18-gauge for larger assemblies like cabinet carcases.

In this clip you can see how I use a 23-gauge pinner: Trimming a Cabinet.

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