Using Files

Files should always be protected from grease, water, or nicks that can make them less effective. When carrying files in a toolbox, it is a good idea to wrap them in a cloth. When storing, try to hang them in a rack or keep them in a drawer with wooden divisions. Keep file teeth clean by using a file card or a wire brush to clear the grooves.
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Sawdust Collection System

As a practical matter, workshops can be set up just about anywhere space is available. But if you set up in a basement, consider adding a sawdust collection system. While new tools are designed to control sawdust as much as possible, central collection systems are effective and economical to install.
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Bent Nails

Bent nails often result from poor hammering technique. However, they can also be caused by a dirty hammer face, especially when using cement-coated nails or working around adhesives. If you have problems, occasionally run a piece of fine sandpaper or emery cloth over the face. If you keep the face clean you will gain more solid contact with the nail and will avoid black marks on the wood caused by a dirty hammer.
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Carving vs. Sanding

Never begin sanding on the wood of any carving project until you have completely finished carving it. The small particles of abrasive that lodge in the grain can dull your carving tools fast, and can quickly destroy all the benefits of using good sharpening equipment and techniques.
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Cutting Circles

You can buy several types of guides that attach to your router so you can create decorative circular grooves on the surfaces of wood projects, or you can make up your own. Besides making grooves of various designs by switching router bits, these jigs can also be used to make circular cut-outs. Instead of cutting only partly into the surface, continue with shallow passes until the cut is all the way through the wood.
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Joint Sizing

Glue will soak more into the end grain of wood and can potentially result in starved glue joints. To help prevent this, you can "size" any end grain to be glued with a mixture of glue diluted with water. Dilute just so that when it is applied, glue drops don't form at the lower edges of the wood. Another method, somewhat less effective, is to coat the end grain with full-strength glue, allow it to dry 5 to 10 minutes, then re-coat with glue and assemble.
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Reduce Splintering

Here's a fast and easy way to reduce the amount of splintering that occurs when cutting wood with a hand saw. Apply a strip of masking tape along the cutting line on the backside of the piece. You'll notice a significant improvement. Another way is to use a utility knife to score the cut. This will give you an accurate measurement and make the cut smoother.
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