Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for June, 2007

Pocket Hole Tips & Tricks

Friday, June 29th, 2007

Most people think of using pocket screws to join items like cabinet frames and other small assemblies. But they can also be great for joining outdoor project parts made out of thicker stock like cedar 2x4s.

In their standard setup, pocket hole jigs join 3/4″ stock. But most come with a spacer that allows you to drill holes in thicker stock. (Photo, above). This spacer locates the pocket hole so the pocket screw will exit at a point that’s centered on the thickness of the workpiece (see Detail, below).

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Light-Duty Worktable

Friday, June 22nd, 2007

I use my portable Workmate for all kinds of jobs around the house. To make it even more versatile, I “topped it off” with a simple worktable (Photo, below). In addition to providing a light-duty worksurface, the table has a convenient tray to hold hardware and small tools.

The worktable is a piece of 3/4″ plywood with a handhold to make it easy to carry the Workmate when it’s folded up. The tray is formed by gluing three strips of hardwood around the edges and a narrower strip to the top of the worktable (Illustration, below).

It only takes a minute to attach the table to the Workmate. You simply fit a cleat that’s attached to the bottom between the adjustable jaws of the Workmate. Then rotate a wood turnbutton so it’s perpendicular to the cleat to “lock” the table.

To make this work, the cleat and turnbutton are bolted together and secured with a wing nut. You’ll need to drill a counterbored shank hole for the bolt in the cleat before screwing it to the table.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Long-Lasting Joints for Big Outdoor Projects

Friday, June 15th, 2007

When making outdoor projects out of soft wood like cedar, “TimberLok” screws provide a strong, easy-to-install joinery solution. Their long shanks and deep threads draw thick parts tightly together and prevent splitting, so no pilot or shank holes are needed. Counterbores let you hide the screw heads below the wood’s surface (Art, below left).

The only problem is that when you drive a screw into soft cedar, the head can bury itself in the wood. To prevent that, slip a washer around the screw head before installing it. I also brushed epoxy into the counterbore as added insurance to keep the screw from loosening (see Photo, below right).

Timberlok screws are available from McFeeley’s (www.McFeeleys.com).

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Fast Fix for Glue Smudges

Friday, June 8th, 2007

If you notice stain not “taking” in a particular spot, the key is to address the problem quickly before the stain sets.

A dried glue smudge won’t allow stain or finish to penetrate the surface of the wood. Fortunately, there’s an easy fix to this dilemma if you act fast.

Quick Fix — After wiping the smudged area (Fig. 1), take a scraper and rake it gently over the area to remove glue residue (Fig. 2). If you’re working in a tight space, then use a sharp chisel to scrape the wood fibers. Just hold the chisel with the bevel facing away from you, and gently pull it toward you.

After scraping, use 180-grit sandpaper to sand the area. Then, gently sand a small portion of the stained wood around that area. This creates a seamless transition between stained and unstained wood, so any color differences won’t be noticeable (Fig. 3). Finally, carefully wipe away dust, and continue applying stain (Fig. 4).

Prevention — To prevent this from happening in the future, try dry-assembling the project first, and then taping off any areas where squeeze-out may occur before gluing it up. Another tip is to rub the project down with mineral spirits and check it with a light before staining it. This will make clear any areas where finish might not take. And finally, always scrape glue squeeze-out first, then sand, before you stain.

First, remove as much of the wet stain from the wood as possible with a clean rag.

Next, use a scraper to remove the glue residue, scraping down to bare wood.
Hand-sand the spot, and also gently sand the stained area around it for a seamless transition. After wiping away dust, resume applying stain to the project for a flawless, smudge-free finish.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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A Real “Belt” Sander

Friday, June 1st, 2007

It’s hard to sand a workpiece with a curved profile (such as crown molding). A power sander “erases” the fine details, and finding (or making) a sanding block that matches the profile can take some time.

One simple solution is to stick a strip of self-adhesive sandpaper to an old leather belt. The leather is flexible enough to conform to the curves of crown molding, yet still distributes pressure evenly.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 4.36 out of 5)
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