General Questions

V-Grooving Aluminum

Can I please be provided with product information for V-Grooving 1/8 aluminum plate... I need a cutter like RC-1109, a 160 degree v-groove tool... I was looking at your ACM tools but I failed to locate any other tool with 160 degrees...

Our Expert

Thank you for your inquiry. Please contact the Technical department at Amana to discuss you’re application.

Roll top desks?


Contacted to build two matching, large roll top desks for AV equipment. I am considering the Amana tambour bit set. My primary concern is the tongue, and whether the tongue of a slat would break over time, especially if the tambour was forced if bound in its track. Can you speak to this concern? Any other concerns with the bit set for full size tambour applications?


Woodridge, IL

- Jack

Our Expert

We certainly apprecite your interest in the Tambour Bit Set no.54314. Under normal use, there is very little stress upon the ball-and-socket joint. When the tambour is opened, the joints are under compression stress; during the process of closing the tambour, the joints are in tension (slightly stretched). The ball-and-socket joints can easily withstand both of these forms of stress. The stress required to break the joints, bending or racking stress, is limited by the track in which the tambour travels. In other words, the radius of the tambour groove prevent the tambour from bending to a point beyond its stress limit.

Even so, large tambours, such as those on a roll-top desk, are quite heavy and should be opened and closed with care. This is true with any tambour, whether made with our bit set or constructed with cloth.

When the tambour strips are cut to the correct length the completed tambour does not bind or rack; it runs smoothly and nearly effortlessly through the track. Only when the tambour strips are cut too short will they bind. If cut too short, the tambour strips will become mis-aligned in the track.

We cannot warranty the longevity or quality of a tambour made with the set because of the many factors that are out of our control such as wood selection, level of craftsmanship during construction and level abuse of the completed tambour. However, when carefully constructed of straight-grained dense hardwood, such as maple, the tambour should easily last longer than cloth-backed tambours. The tambour is also easier to construct and more attractive than a cloth backed tambour.

We suggest that you give it a try; we believe that you'll be pleased.

Mortise and Tenon work?


I currently make tenons on my table saw. I use a pair of spaced blades to saw the cheeks in one pass using a (vertical) tenoning jig, which gives me very consistent control of the tenon thickness. I then cut the shoulders using my miter gauge or sliding table and a crosscut blade.

Recently, I have added a very nice sliding table to my router table. I have a very powerful 3 1/4 hp variable speed router (PC7518) mounted in this table, which has soft start and is capable of running as slowly as 12,000 rpm.

I am considering buying a quality 6" sawblade with 1/2" arbor hole--- which the manufacturer states as safe to run at speeds up to 15,000 rpm, and ideal to run at approx. 11,5000 rpm --- and mounting it in the router table in order to saw tenon cheeks with the workpiece clamped horizontally to my sliding table, rather than vertically in the tenoning jig on the table saw.

To mount the sawblade into the collet, I would use the 1/2" spindle from one of my grooving style router bit sets.

So long as the router speed is held to 12,000, the blade adequately guarded (I'll make a special fully protective shield setup), and the workpiece clamped securely to the sliding table, do you think this setup would be safe and effective?

(Part of the reason I'm interested in going this route is that my router table also has a high-precision lift, which would make adjustment of the position and thickness of the tenon very convenient and extremely accurate.)

As always, thanks for your expert opinion.

Champaign, IL

- Michael

Our Expert

In my opinion a six inch diameter blade or cutter is too large to be safely mounted on a 1/2" router bit arbor. Unlike a power saw with an arbor, a router bit shank is held in place only by the compression of the collet. 6" exceeds the diameter of even the largest router bits and places too much lateral stress on the collet.

I cut a lot of tenons for furniture and so over the years I've tried a number of methods for cutting tenons. But I continue to use the Amana Prestige dado set with the stock lying flat. As you've discovered, standing the workpiece on end is awkward unless the stock is short. Also, standing the stock on end with a jig does not work well with wide stock for case parts. And using two blades with a spacer always requires a time-consuming second set-up to cut the tenon shoulders.

With the stock lying flat only one set-up is required. If the stock varies in thickness any variation ends up in the tenon. However, with a modern planer I have not had that problem.

Probably your best solution, if you cut large quantities of tenons, is to purchase a tenon machine. The stock runs horizontally between two shaper type cutterheads. The cutters can be adjusted independently to create an offset tenon or offset shoulders. Tenon machines are the most efficicient and accurate method that I've used for cutting tenons.

Sliding table shaper?


I have ordered a copy of you shaper book and am wondering if you know of a similar book that would be appropriate for someone using a sliding table shaper. I have a Felder Saw/Shaper combination machine and would like to make best use of the sliding table. I also have a 3ph power feeder that is set up to serve the saw as well as the shaper.

Paso Robles, CA

- Bob

Our Expert

Shaper techniques don't change whether you're using a shaper with or without a sliding table. A sliding table just makes it more convenient to shape large panels because the table supports the workpiece and slides smoothly past the cutter. A sliding table is also useful for shaping end grain, such as when using the Amana Tool no.SC562 Stile and Rail Cabinet Door Set. However, a shaper without a sliding table can also be used to shape large panels and end grain shaping, such as the cope on door rails, can be made with a miter gauge.

If you're unfamiliar with using a shaper I urge you to begin by taking light cuts on large stock, distance your hands from the cutter, and always use a guard.

spice box door?


I am constructing a Pennsylvania spice box and installing the butt hinges.
My question is how deep to mortise the hinges. Normally I mortise to the thickness of the hinge but I have read where it needs to be deeper based on the hinge in the closed position.

Cleveland, TN

- Gill 

Our Expert

When installing butt hinges on an inset door, I begin by carefully planing the door to fit the cabinet. A small stile-and-rail door, such as the doors on many spice boxes, will remain stable in dimension simply because the expansion and contraction in the stiles is minimal. Because there is little room required for seasonal expansion, I use paper as a feeler gauge when fitting the door.

When selecting hinges for a fine furniture cabinet I use good quality extruded hinges. If necessary I'll pinch each hinge in a vise in order to minimize the hinge gap when the door is closed.

After outlining the mortises with a layout knife, I use a sharp chisel to cut hinge mortises in the door stile and the cabinet sides. I typically cut the hinge mortise depth to equal the thickness of the hinge leaf. If necessary, I can always shave the mortise to make it a touch deeper.

However, if the mortises are too deep the door will be "sprung" which requires shims behind the leaf to correct. In my opinion, adding shims is unacceptable in fine furniture and should be avoided.

End Table?


I'm building a set of matching end tables for my siblings and myself from a walnut tree we cut down on our family property. I am using boards from the crotch of the tree for the tops, and will have a piece from each board that I can use for a drawer front IF the grain runs drawer top to bottom. Any problems with that grain orientation, rather than the more traditional side to side? Thanks.

Talladega, AL

- Tom

Our Expert

Traditionally, the grain in a drawer front runs from side-to-side. This positions the stronger long-grain on the ends of the drawer front where the joints are cut. In contrast, if the grain in the drawer front runs vertically, the joints will be weakened because of the short-grain.

I suggest that you run the grain in the drawer front horizontally for strength and apply veneer to the drawer fronts. Veneering allows you to make the most of the figured crotchwood. I slice the crotchwood boards into veneer on the bandsaw with a 1/2" wide skip tooth hook blade. Select a coarse blade pitch (teeth-per-inch) that places the fewest number of teeth in the stock. This will allow the large gullets between the teeth to effectively remove the sawdust from the kerf and prevent the blade from bowing. I slice the veneer about 3/32" thick to allow for sanding.

You can position the grain in the veneer to run in the same direction as the drawer front, or you can run the grain in the veneer vertically (90 degrees to the drawer front). If you choose to run the grain vertically, I recommend that you apply veneer to the back surface of the drawer front as well as the front. This will, in effect, create a three-layer plywood that will help stabilize the cross-grain construction.

Blades for a bandsaw?


I have a Powermatic 18" bandsaw and was wondering what blade you would recommend to cut 3/8 inch boards off of a 5/4 board. The salesman is recommending a Woodpecker. I am a little hesitant to buy it as I have purchased a lot of blades, tools and gadgets at salesman recommendations that I never use.

Talladega, AL

- Bill

Our Expert

Resawing requires a coarse blade (fewer teeth per inch). When resawing, the gullets between the teeth pull the sawdust from the kerf. If the blade has too many teeth, the small gullets cannot efficiently remove the sawdust from the kerf and the blade will bow and spoil the cut.

For general purpose resawing (stock less than 6" wide) I use a Starrett 1/2" wide, 3 teeth per inch carbon steel blade.

When resawing wide stock I use a Starrett or Lenox 1" wide, 2 TPI carbide tipped blade.

To resaw figured stock into veneer, I use a 1/2" Wood Slicer blade. This is a variable pitch blade with a thin kerf. The thin kerf produces less waste and more veneer from the stock. The variable pitch minimizes vibration to create a smoother surface on the veneer face.

How to rout a curve?


I work for Tiffin Motor Homes in Red Bay, Al. On one of our 2013 models we are making a curved dash with a vacuum system. This dash has two drawers and one cabinet door. My problem is I want to cut the drawer fronts and the door out of the curved mateial leavin space at the top and bottom much like a rail and style look. I want to use my cutouts for the drawer fronts and also the door cutout as my door face. I want to do the cutouts with a router using a 1/8" bit. I have trouble stablizing my router on the curved surface. I would be very grateful for some suggestions.

Red Bay, Al

- Olen

Our Expert

I suggest that you attach a curved base to the router. Make the curvature match the curve in the dash. This is also a good job for a CNC router.



What would be your choice if buying a new bandsaw? I have some experience and now that I am retired want to become more active in woodworking. I don't have large projects in mind at this time. The only specifications I can think of is the larger the motor the better & find one
that will accept a one inch blade. Thank you for any suggestions

Gillette, WY

- John

Our Expert

If buying a new bandsaw I would consider a 16" or 18" machine. When considering the purchase of a new bandsaw conventional wisdom implies that "bigger is better". And to an extent it's true; large bandsaws (20" or greater) have several advantages over their mid-sized competition: a larger throat (the distance from the blade to the column), greater horsepower (which can be a real advantage when resawing), a larger table for better support of the work, and an ability to accept wider blades.

However, large bandsaws (those over 18") can be quite expensive and a 16" or 18" saw may suit your needs just as well. Some of the 16" or 18" bandsaws will accept a 1" wide blade and perform extremely well when resawing. In fact, when equipped with a thin-kerf bandsaw blade some smaller saws will resaw as well as a much larger machine.

How do I soften the glue up so I can get the joint apart?


I have a kitchen cabinet door that had split apart from the tongue and groove joint. I glued it together and clamped it. When I took the clamps off the next day I noticed it was visibly warped because the groove obviously was too deep. I need to get the joint apart so I guess my question is how do I soften the glue up so I can get the joint apart? The glue was the yellow wood glue. I'd appreciate any feedback on my situation thanks

Midland, PA

- Bryan

Our Expert

Yellow and white wood glues will release with the application of water or heat. For example, recently, the edge-to-edge joint on my kitchen table top came apart as a result of continual exposure to the heat from a lap top computer. It was an easy fix; I just ripped the top apart along the seam and glued it back together (we since got a cooling pad for the lap top).

The tongue and groove joint that you're working may not be as easy to repair. Although heat and/or water will cause the glue to release, it must reach into the joint to be effective. Heating the surface enough to reach into the joint may damage the wood. Water will raise the grain and possibly warp the surface. Also, keep in mind that once you get the joint apart it is necessary to remove all traces of the old glue; fresh glue must penetrate into the pores of the wood to be effective. It may be easier and less time-consuming to construct a new door.

Drying Crotch Wood?


Your article about cutting walnut crotch wood was very helpful but the question occurs to me how do you cure it without it cracking so badly as to make it useless? Straight grain is easy enough but stump and crotch is much harder, isn't it.

What's the recommended proceedure?

Fayetteville, Tn

- Charles

Our Expert

You're right, crotch wood is more difficult to dry than ordinary straight grained lumber. No matter what type of wood I'm drying I prefer to purchase logs and saw the lumber during the late fall or winter when the sap is down in the tree. This way the boards do not have nearly as much moisture to lose and warpage and splitting is usually much less severe. But I'm not going to pass up an opportunity to purchase a log simply because the tree was cut down during the warmer months. If possible, I'll seal the ends of a log as soon as the tree hits the ground. Once started, small end checks can often develop into serious splitting.

I've had a lot of success by drying crotch wood slowly in an unheated barn. If crotch wood is stacked outdoors on stickers the stress of exposure to direct sunlight and rain may cause it to develop serious cracks and splits. Instead, by keeping it under shelter the stock is not as severely stressed as it slowly releases moisture. Also, I would avoid using a kiln. Instead, once the crotch wood has lost enough moisture to be in balance with the environment in the barn I bring it into my shop and allow it to reach equilibrium with the indoor air and humidity.

When drying a very special piece, such as a wide or highly figured plank of crotch wood, I'll watch for signs of warpage. If necessary I'll clamp cauls across the width of the board to keep it flat as it dries. 

Roll Top Desk?


The ring on my router table is too small to accomodate the raised panel bit # 55430. I can't get the bit low enough. Can I use a hardboard secondary fence to raise the work peice to that the bit will function properly?

I am not sure if I can find a replacement ring large enough to accomodate the bit diameter.

Eagle River, AK

- Charles

Our Expert

Amana no.55430 is a stile & rail bit set with a outer diameter of 1-5/8". While these are somewhat tall bits they are not large in diameter and so it surprises me that the ring on your router table is too small to accommodate them. I hesitate to give you the OK on modifying your router table. Most router tables have two or three rings to accommodate several sizes of bits; for the largest bits the table is used without a ring. It sounds like your router table is too small for using many of today's larger bits. For your personal safety I suggest that you purchase a large router and router table to work with these bits.

Moving to Delta 3 HP Shaper and have questions?


I recently upgraded to Delta Shaper 3HP that has 3/4" and 1" spindle and after reading your book, "The Shaper Book" I have some questions that I would like your input on:

1- Where can I buy the stub spindle that you mentioned in your book to do long mortise and tenon on kitchen cabinet doors instead of the shallow ones that are made using standard site and rail cutters?

2- In case I need to use cutter that is only available in 1-1/4" bore, can I use 3/4" ID to 1-1/4" OD T-bushings to allow the use of 1-1/4" bore cutters on this shaper?

3- If multiple passes is the way to go, will I need a 5HP or 7HP in a cabinet shop?

4- Last, what is the equivalent of router trimming bits for a shaper? Any recommendations? I need something that can trimmer 4" stock.

Look forward to hearing from you. Meanwhile, thank you very much for the highly informative shaper book.

- Ali
Yorkville, IL

Our Expert

A 3hp shaper will allow you to shape large profiles, such as raised panels, in one pass. The increase in horsepower, combined with a power feeder, makes the shaper more of a production tool. But don't get rid of your router table. The small diameter of router bits allow shaping of tight contours where a shaper cannot. Also, you'll find a much larger selection of router bits than shaper cutters.

The stub spindle for the Delta shaper is no longer available but Amana Tool makes a complete selection of stub spindles and profiles for the router table such as no.47515 ogee cabinet bit. These bits will allow you to make tenons of any length.

A 3hp shaper has plenty of power for the average furniture or cabinet shop. While it's OK to bush a 1" cutterhead to fit a 3/4" spindle, I wouldn't use bushings to place a 1-1/4" bore cutter on a 1" spindle; the stresses are too great for the small spindle.

For flush trimming stock on the shaper I highly recommend the Amana Insert Spiral Jointing Cutter.

Finally, please keep in mind that the shaper is a very dangerous machine that requires complete understanding for safe use. Keep the cuts light, the guards in place and your hands a safe distance from the cutterhead.

Cutting bowl blanks?


I'm a newly retired math professor, getting interested in making bowls. I just got a JET bandsaw. My question: I have a beard, so I want to get enough protection from the powdery sawdust when using the bandsaw! Any recommendations? Do you think the battery-powered positive pressure unit would keep me safe? I attached a shop-vac to the 4" outlet below the bandsaw table, but that didn't seem good enough.

I have really enjoyed your excellent book on bandsaws!

- Keith K.

Chagrin Falls, OH

Our Expert

Woodworking machines can create a lot of dust which becomes airborne and settles on every available surface in your shop. Besides being a fire hazard it is a
health hazard as well. I have never tried the positive pressure units but I've heard that they work well. Of course any dust mask or respirator requires a snug fit against your face to achieve the full effectiveness. I doubt that these devices work as well with a beard.

Here are a few more suggestions which may help to minimize the hazard:

1. Start with a good dust collection system. The unit must have enough power to provide the necessary CFM at each machine. The ductwork must be designed to minimize friction and reduce the CFM. Also, keep in mind that many dust collectors push the fine, hazardous dust back into the room. To be effective the filter must be fine enough to trap the smallest of the dust particles. And the filter will need cleaning often to prevent backpressure and a loss of CFM. Don't stop with just one dust hood at each machine. With machines that produce fine dust, I've had the most success at dust collection by using two hoods. On the tablesaw I have a second hood in the basket guard. On the bandsaw I have one hood in the cabinet and a second hood mounted under the table.

2. Trap the airborne duct with an air cleaner. No dust collection system will trap 100 percent of the dust at the source; some of the dust always manages to bypass the system. I have several air cleaners mounted in the ceiling of the shop which filter the shop air several times each hour.

3. Wear a dust mask or respirator. Although I don't wear a dust mask continually I have one that I use when the conditions become really dusty. Some tasks, such as sanding at the lathe or cleaning the filter on the dust collector, can be extremely dusty. However, some woodworkers wear a dust mask whenever they are in the shop.



I have your Bandsaw Book and have a question. After years of trouble with a 24" European bandsaw, I have come to find out that the top wheel is 1/16" smaller in diameter then the bottom wheel. Obviously a manufacturing defect. I have had safety issues with this saw that the manufacturer is not very helpful with. The 1" blade that I keep on the machine flutters back and forth at least 3/16" as it runs. Scary. What can I do to address the difference in wheel diameter, short of replacing the
cast wheel? These wheels have a replaceable rubber tire. Thanks.

- Tim B.

Midland, NC

Our Expert

Of all the different brands and sizes of bandsaws that I've used over the years, I've never encountered a bandsaw with wheels of different diameters.
Perhaps you could have a machine shop turn the larger of the two wheels to match. It's important that there is enough thickness to the wheel casting;
you certainly do not want to weaken the wheel by reducing it in diameter. However, I suspect that because of the relatively minor difference in size
that this solution would work. Keep in mind that the wheel that is reduced in diameter will most likely need to be balanced afterwards.

Another solution may be to send the wheels away to a company which will mount new tires and turn them to matching diameters. Of course this is only a temporary solution at best. When the tires wear out this process will need to be repeated.

Keep in mind that once the wheels are corrected that they must also match the upper and lower blade guides.

The blade "flutter" could be caused by a bent blade or running the blade with insufficient tension. It is difficult to analyze without examining the

bandsaw firsthand.

Our Expert

When I constructed the breadbox in the promotional photos I used tiger maple. I also used a traditional finish which adds depth as well as color. I've outlined the finishing steps under the "Finishing" portion of the Q&A column.



Hello I would like to know how you would sand a spiral table leg that cannot be disasembled from the table. Would you sand it by hand? Is that the only way

- Lee
East Setauket, NY

Our Expert

Sanding a spiral table leg can be slow and tedious, especially if it is fastened to the table. Your most effective method is probably to sand it by hand. I suggest that you wrap the abrasive around a wood dowel or rubber sanding pad to reach any contours. 

Rails & Stiles?


I have a very old Montgomery Ward Shaper that we used in a custom cabinet shop where I worked years ago. It is still in fine working condition. My questions is this. After many years, I seem to have lost my memory to recall how to put the cutters on. Ward's went out of business so long ago there is no manual for this machine. Can you help

- Jeffrey

Urbanna, Va

Our Expert

Before operating an old woodworking machine, it's important to check the machine over thoroughly. For example, make certain that belts and pulleys are secure and that the spindle is not bent. Also, check the fence and guard to make certain that they lock firmly in place.

Although some shapers have a reversing switch to change the rotational direction of the spindle, most shaper spin in a counterclockwise direction when viewed from above. Of course you can easily check this by watching the spindle rotation as it slows to a stop. It's very important that the cutting surface of the shaper cutter faces in the direction of the spindle rotation.

Once you've determined the spindle rotation direction disconnect the machine from the power source before going further.

Many shapers have at least one insert ring which can be removed to accommodate large diameter cutters. Make certain that the cutter clears the insert ring and/or the table opening. If the cutter does not clear the opening, even after removing the insert ring, the cutter is too large for the machine and should not be used.

With the cutter in position on the spindle and facing the correct direction, secure the cutter with the spindle nut. In order to lock the nut firmly in place the shaper will either have a second wrench to hold the spindle, or the machine will have a spindle lock.

With the cutter in place it's very important to position a fence around the cutter and lock the fence in place. When correctly positioned, the fence will cover most of the cutter. Covering most of the cutter will create a lighter cut which is safer.

Once the fence is in place position a guard over the cutter. If the shaper did not come equipped with a guard then make one of your own. It's important to cover the cutter and shield it from your hands.

For a full line of shaper cutters, including both brazed and insert, take a look at the Amana website.

Drying Pecan wood


What is the best way to dry pecan wood, air or kiln dry?  Do the ends need to be coated and with what? If air dried, can the wood be exposed to the elements?  Can you recommend a good reference in general to the subject of drying wood?


Marietta, GA

Our Expert

Although lumber that is dried in a kiln is usually dry and stable, it often has stress from having been dried too quickly. For example, sometimes lumber will bind and pinch the blade when ripped on a tablesaw. This is an example of drying stress that occurs when lumber is pushed too quickly through a kiln. Also, many kiln operators steam the lumber to hide the sapwood. The process of steaming spoils the color and gives each board a muddy appearance. However, when properly processed, kiln dried lumber is dry, stable and a pleasure to use.

These days, most of the wood that I use is lumber that I air dried myself. There are a number of reasons that many woodworkers opt to dry their own lumber. Air dried lumber has beautiful color, it is relatively stress free, and it is considerably less expensive than purchasing dry lumber from a dealer. However, there are trade-offs. For example, as you can imagine, air drying takes time; the rule-of-thumb is a year for each inch of thickness. So you won't be using the lumber any time soon. And the process of stacking lumber is very labor intensive.

Also, keep in mind that lumber which has been dried naturally outdoors or in a barn will not be dry enough for use in furniture and cabinets. Regardless of how long it dries, lumber dried outdoors will only be "in balance" with the outdoor humidity. In order to dry the lumber completely, I complete the drying process by bring the boards into my shop for a few weeks. In order to be certain that the lumber is completely dry, I check the moisture content with a moisture meter. Only when the meter reads somewhere between 6-8% is the lumber dry enough for indoor use.


If you'd like to try drying a few boards here are a few guidelines that I use:

1. Coat the ends of the boards with a commercial sealer. This helps limit end checking during drying.

2. Choose a dry spot for the lumber platform. Locating the platform in a damp area can cause mildew of even decay. It's also important to keep the stack shielded from the heat of the mid-day sun. The inside of a barn or under a large shade tree are ideal location. If the stack is located outdoors it's important to cover the stack with a top layer of inexpensive plywood to shield it from the sun and rain.

3. Construct a drying platform. I've attached a drawing to guide you. IT IS IMPORTANT TO KEEP THE PLATFORM LEVEL TO PREVENT IT FROM FALLING OVER. I begin with concrete blocks placed 24" on center. The blocks keep the lumber off the ground to prevent mildew and promote air circulation. 4x4's placed across the blocks support the lumber. As you stack the lumber keep the boards spaced at least an inch apart. Drying sticks placed between the boards keep the layers separated. It's important to use dry sticks. Green sticks can create mildew stain.

I've provide a brief overview of drying lumber. For in-depth information you can review the information on drying from the USDA Forest Products Lab. 


Cabinet Doors


I have been thinking about buying a raised panel cabinet door making router bit set. I have a router table with a 1-1/5 HP router. Do I need a larger router to use these bits?


Converse, IN

Our Expert

Your 1-1/2 HP router is capable of powering cabinet door bit sets such as Amana Tool no.55420. However, the motor lacks the power to shape door panels with a horizontal bit such as Amana no.54119. A better option is to use a vertical raised panel bit such as no.54524.

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