Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for October, 2007

Tips & Tricks for Perfect Plugs

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Ideally, wood plugs should be flush with the face of the surrounding area. And that’s easy to accomplish on an unfinished project – just sand the plugs flush. But if you ever have to plug a project that’s already finished, you’ll need to do it without damaging the surrounding finish.

To do that, start by masking off the area around the plug (Photo). That done, it’s time for some chisel work. To avoid tearing out the wood fibers of the plug, carefully pare off thin slices of material, slicing in from the rim of the plug toward the center (Fig. 1). As you work, keep the chisel handle low, so the blade angles up slightly. And if you’re using face-grain plugs like we did, be sure to shave at a 30° to 45° angle to the grain. This increases chisel control and reduces the risk of tearout.

You’ll need to peel off the tape to remove the remaining material. Then pare off the waste as before, only this time keep the blade flat against the post (Fig. 2). Complete the job by ‘spot-finishing’ the plug.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Quick and Easy Stud Finder

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

If you don’t have a stud finder, another way to locate the studs in a room is to look at the switches, outlets, and cold air returns (Illustration, below left). They’re almost always mounted to the side of a stud. To see which side they’re attached to, remove the cover plate of the electrical box (or air return grill), and peek inside.

Once you’ve identified which side of the stud the box is mounted on, lay out a mark 3/4″ (half the thickness of the stud) from that side, as shown in the Detail below right. Then measure 16″ over to find the next stud, and so on. To avoid marking on the walls, use a piece of masking tape to mark stud locations.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Modifying a Spade Bit

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

If you have ever been trying to drill a hole to fit something, and you can’t get it quite right, you know how frustrating it can be.

For example, I recently had to drill holes to accommodate 3/4″ aluminum tubing. However, I discovered that the diameter of the tubing is actually 23/32″. That’s not a common bit size. And if I used the next largest bit (3/4″), it would produce a sloppy fit.

So to get tight-fitting tubing, I ground down a 3/4″ spade bit to drill smaller holes (Photo, below left). A quick pass on the grinder is all that’s needed. Grind a little at a time, and drill ‘test’ holes until the object fits tightly (Photo, below right).

Grind both edges of the spade bit, removing roughly the same amount of material from each edge. Drill test holes to check the fit.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)
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Circular Saw Edge Guide

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

If you ever have to rip a long board, you might have trouble doing it on the table saw. The main problem is space, as most garages don’t give you enough room to rip a board that long.

In these instances, I turn to a circular saw and a simple shop-made edge guide (Photo, right). A fence mounted underneath the guide rides against the jointed edge of the workpiece, ensuring a straight, accurate cut.

The edge guide consists of a 1/4″ plywood base, wood cleats that surround the saw on three sides, and a fence. You’ll need to start with an extra-wide base to allow for the two side cleats and the fence. After cutting the base, lay out and cut an opening in it to provide clearance for the saw blade and blade guard.

Since the saw will be contained by the cleats, some double-sided tape is all that’s needed to secure it to the base. That done, glue and clamp the cleats around the saw.

As for the fence, it’s best to make it about 1″ longer than the base to help guide the jig at the start of the cut. The fence also must be parallel to the blade. Otherwise, the blade will bind. And the distance from the fence to the blade should equal the desired width of the workpiece. With those things in mind, align the fence, and glue it in place. To complete the jig, apply a coat of wax to the inside face of the fence to make the edge guide slide smoothly.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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