Woodworking guy img. A Woodworker's Notebook Presents:

Hot Tips, Vol. 5

These tips are compiled from various sources. Suitability of use is up to the individual, and of course- TEST BEFORE IMPLEMENTING!

A great tip from a fellow Notebook subscriber, Gary Amrhein, on how to saw a box lid free from the workpiece:

I make briefcases and I cut them apart on the table saw. You make the top & bottom at same time, thus getting a perfect match. The best way I've found is to glue several pieces of scrap wood around inside of box before assembly (I put 2 on each side using hot melt glue sparingly). Place the scraps where saw kerf will pass when you cut through the box sides- don't cut through the scraps, just score them. With the box intact, you can now mark for hinges, etc. Next take a small blunt object and place it through saw kerf and knock off the glue blocks, scrape off the hot melt glue, and you now have a perfectly matched and sawn assembly.


I tried this and it works terrific, now there is no need to make a special holding fixture to ensure a perfect parting line. - Hank


Need to bore a hole in standard strength glass but don't have or want to buy an expensive glass drill bit? Use a section of dowel of the desired diameter in a drill press. Form a ring of modelers' clay or wax around the holes' location on the glass and apply a slurry of valve grinding compound. Use the "pecking" method to worry a hole through the workpiece. Remember that tempered glass cannot be cut, scored, or drilled even this way, without shattering.

Remove pencil layout lines and assembly marks from raw wood with lacquer thinner instead of sanding.

Small pieces infested with "bugs" may benefit from being sealed in a plastic bag containing moth flakes (paradichlorobenzene).

Aspiring "Neanderthal Woodworkers" (hand tool devotees) may develop blisters working hand tools. Try using a sports glove with a padded palm to "break in" those hands.

Engine Turning or Jeweling; this texturing method was popular in the 1920s and '30s for instrument panels in luxury sports cars, and is also famous as decorating the nose of the Spirit of St. Louis. Early 1950's Sears Tablesaws also sported it, and it is a useful technique to "dress up" shop projects that may have metal components. Basically it is done with an abrasive on the end of a rod or dowel, the size of which, and the amount of adjoining overlap, being determined experimentally. Before starting however, lower the rod onto a sheet of abrasive to true the end. Some tool making variations are:

To "age" brass hardware, degrease the component with lacquer thinner and use gun blue, available from any sporting goods store. It's cheap, the results are instantaneous, it works well on non-ferrous and some plated ferrous metals, and is safe to use. Finish the effect by stropping with steel wool to effect "wear" spots, and spray with a clear flat lacquer.

Ripping a sheet of plywood calls for a decision: bring the tool to the work or the work to the tool. In the case of work to tool, for one person occasionally doing this operation this is risky because of the size and weight of the sheet of ply. Also to be considered is the need for a clear 20-foot span to facilitate the action. In initially ripping a 4 by 8 sheet to a given width, full out feed support is critical to prevent binding- it must support the entire panel after sawing. A plethora of portable stock stands are usually required. Care must be taken while lifting the stock onto the saw and feeding it as well, and it's not unknown for saws that are not bolted to the floor to tip if the stock to the left of the blade is well off the center of the panel. It is generally safer then, to bring the tool to the work under such circumstances. Initial sizing cuts can be made to the work with a portable saw and refined later using the tablesaw.

Don't forget to slap around the after-filter bag of dust collector systems to dislodge buildup, it makes a big difference in performance.

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