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Quick Tips, Vol. 1

Posted by Hank Metz on February 22nd, 1998 05:15 PM

A dispatch from Hank Metz on: 22 February, 1998

These tips are compiled from various publications. Suitability of use is up to the individual, and of course test before implementing. QUICK TIPS VOL. 1

To color tung- oil varnishes, use top grade artist's oil colors and mix in a small disposable container; test results on scrap- adjust if needed.

To prevent joint slippage when edge gluing, drive 1/2" brads halfway into one edge and clip back to form a 1/16" pointed projection.

Use talc (baby powder) to lubricate machine top surfaces- buildup will eventually fill pores providing moisture barrier protection as well as lubrication.

Thumbs and fingers cut from old leather- work gloves make good chisel sheaths.

Discarded pantyhose make a good fluid strainer.

Fancy beveled edge mirrors are expensive to re- silver; instead, scrape off the old silver and back with a new mirror.

Acquire perfectly sized tenons when turning by leaving it slightly oversize then burnish down with an open- end wrench. Bonus; tenon will expand when glued for super tight fit.

Lacquer and oily woods like Teak don't mix- for a film finish, polyurethane is a better choice.

To replace a wooden wheel on a riveted caster axle, turn the replacement wheel, bore the axle hole, split with the long grain and glue together around axle.

To quickly raise the grain before sanding, use rubbing alcohol. It works like water but dries faster thus speeding up this step.

Test bottled liquid hide glue before use, even if newly purchased. Spread on scrap, sample should be rock- hard overnight.

To make a radius bend using kerfed stock, applying a filament reinforced packing tape will keep the fibers in compression, thereby reducing splitting. Use straight grained wood.

To rip an octagon from a square billet, run tablesaw blade up and set to 45 degrees. Lay square stock flat to- up surface of blade; bring up fence to corner of billet. Lower blade to clip off corners, cut and rotate 4 times.

Use a plug cutter to cut a row of plugs in scrap stock. Tape the plug ends and cut the strip free at the needed length of plugs. They are neatly "soldiered" for easy pluck and use, not missile hazards.

Old aluminum screen can be salvaged for use when stripping furniture.

A crackle finish can be had by applying a coat of varnish and after a two to three hour wait applying a 1:1 mix of shellac to denatured alcohol. Applied at two hours after varnish, large cracks appear- smaller ones are produced after longer varnish drying time.

General rule of thumb: a fresh bandsaw blades minimum cut radius is 2 X blade width I.E. 1/4" blade = 1/2" radius.

Do not use remaining fingers as push sticks.

A shop-made wood branding iron can be had from a flea market purchase of an old working soldering iron. Cut copper tip back until flat- surfaced. Trace reverse image desired onto face of tip, route around profiles with Dremel tool 1/16" deep so that only the image projects.

If the tailstock of a Pony pipe clamp slips, the edges of the lamination plates may be rounded- reverse them for improved grip.

Shellac sticks are the pro's favorite filler medium, but an electric hot knife or alcohol burner is required. Cut a small plug of stick to fit the rear port of a hot melt glue gun. Use a dowel as a piston to expel the melted stick into the defect, overfilling. Level for a near- perfect fix.

Extensible clamps make sense for the infrequent need to clamp a long length project. Use pipe clamps and different lengths of pipe threaded on both ends with intermediate couplers to make up custom sizes.

Make odd- sized or special species dowel pins by drilling the needed diameter through scrap mild steel at least 1/8" thick. Do not chamfer the hole- this provides the cutting and shaping action as a pointed square is driven through, producing a perfect fitting pin. Make pre- sizing holes of larger step- down diameters first.

"Safety... Always"
Hank Metz
Producer, "Biscuit Joinery Techniques" video

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