It seemed like a modest question from a woodworker, but it got a lot of attention: Why Is Walnut Graded Lower Than Other Hardwoods? Yet that query launched tens of thousands of comments, shares, and likes at Woodworking Network's Facebook page, and jostled the ordinarily somnolent American Walnut Manufacturers Association into issuing formal positions on the matter. 

It's also typical of the slightly different way Scott Wunder (he comes off a bit like Tom Bodette) looks at woodworking, asking questions as he persistently looks for a better way to go about things in his shop. He'll share his observations on woodworking, both technical and business, during a session at Wood Pro Expo Charlotte, "Quit Going to Work: Building a Woodworking Business," March 6 at the Charlotte Convention Center. 

Wunder operates WunderWoods in St. Charles, Missouri, felling trees, and slicing slabs and boards for his own cabinetry and furniture projects, and for sale to professionals and serious craftsmen of all types. He also shares his woodworking knowledge with anyone that will talk to him about wood - perhaps to the detriment of the bottom line, but in the long run contributing to the industry overall.

Wunder covers it all, starting with milling the tree. You get a sense of his knowledgeability from articles like this extract from How To Cut Thick Lumber

For hardwoods, the commercial target for 4/4 lumber is actually 1-1/8″, which allows enough margin to produce dried and planed lumber at a thickness of 13/16″ or 3/4″ (3/4″ is acceptable, but the extra 1/16″ of thickness in 13/16″ material allows room for additional planing or sanding after panels or doors are glued up).

In my experience, 4/4 hardwood lumber cut at 1″ is too thin [for] producing 3/4″ thick unless the boards are very flat. The only way 1″ thick rough-cut hardwood lumber can plane out completely to 13/16″ or 3/4″  thick (since the planer will simply follow the curves of any crooked boards) is to cut  4/4 hardwood lumber like all other quality producers at 1-1/8″ thick. Don't  accept anything from other sawmills or wholesalers at 1″ thick. Read more>>

Wunder has wide-ranging interests, reflecting the variety of work that hits his shop, as well as his lively curiousity.

Wunder explains how to sharpen your own bandsaw blade

Recent Wunder entries include Super Glue is Super in the Woodshop - he revisits these suspect adhesives and finds merit for certain applications, to wit: 

CA glue is also great as a wood hardener. It isn’t uncommon for me to run into wood that is decayed or starting to decay somewhere (especially in spalted or “character” wood) and needs a little support structurally. By soaking the questionable wood with the thin version of CA glue, I can quickly turn a delicate spot into a spot which is as hard as rock and will stay bonded with the surrounding wood. And, again, it happens almost immediately, even without an activator.

And his April Fool's Day post on a sanding drone was legendary. His mythical Whirl-wiz drone could sand the undersides of tables. 

From the whimsical Impress the Ladies With Tape ("whenever I don’t have a vacuum or a broom handy on an installation, or if I just want to impress the ladies, I reach for the tape and pick up the mess") to the self-effacing My First and Last Time on a Wood Turning Lathe  to the practical How Much Is Your Log Worth  or How Much Solvent To Use in a Conversion Varnish, Wunder is informative and entertaining. 

Wunder writes about all aspects of woodworking but he gives particular emphasis to finishing ("mostly because no one else likes to sand," he says. Hear Scott Wunder at Wood Pro Expo Charlotte, March 6-8 at the Charlotte Convention Center.  


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