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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Sawdust Relief

Sawdust build-up can create heat and friction when you use a hole saw. One solution is to drill a smaller hole inside the area to be cut out that will allow the sawdust to escape. Size the relief hole according to the size of the larger hole. If, for example, you are cutting a 3-in. hole, drill a 1-in. relief hole. Don't drill the hole too close to the center, which you need for the saw's pilot bit.
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Steel Runners

If you are making up sliding jigs for the tablesaw or other tools, consider steel rather than wood for the guide runners. Steel runners won't swell like wood will during high humidity to cause sticking and binding. You can ask local steel suppliers for cold rolled steel to fit the grooves, or use runners from dismantled miter gauges. Steel takes a little more effort to mount, but will provide years of hassle-free service.
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