Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for November, 2007

A Better Bead of Caulk

Friday, November 30th, 2007

As simple as it seems, applying a smooth, tidy bead of caulk takes some finesse. Start by cutting the tip of the tube to match the largest gap (Illustration, below center). The angle you hold the tube in relation to the joint line also makes a difference. I hold it almost perpendicular to the joint, so the tip “knifes” off any excess caulk (Illustration, below right). If necessary, use a damp rag to clean up small smears (Photo).

Caulking doesn’t have to be a messy, imprecise job. To form a clean bead, hold the tube almost perpendicular to the gap. Then use a damp rag to tidy up imperfections.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Swap Chucks for a Simple Drill Upgrade

Friday, November 23rd, 2007

If you ever need to cut matching slots (or dadoes) in a number of pieces, here is an easy way to do it with a circular saw.

If your bit slips a lot in your drill, you might be able to get by with replacing the chuck rather than the entire drill. You’ll find replacement chucks in home centers for $25-$35 that outperform the standard chuck on a “consumer” drill.

These replacement chucks are easier to tighten thanks to easy-to-grip surfaces. And some have a ratcheting mechanism to hold the bit tightly.

Or for a few dollars more, upgrade to the single-sleeve style chuck used on high-end drills. These can be tightened with one hand, and offer carbide jaws that are serrated for extra gripping power. You’ll probably have to go to a tool repair shop or your drill manufacturer to find one.

Before buying a new chuck, you need to remove the old one. This lets you check the diameter of the mounting shaft, so you can select the correct replacement.

To remove the chuck, open up the jaws and remove the retaining screw that’s inside (Drawing, below). Next, unscrew the chuck as shown in the Photo below right.

After removing the retaining screw (above, left), put the drill in low range, and then tighten a large hex wrench into the chuck. Strike the wrench hard to break the chuck free.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 2.83 out of 5)
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Cut Wide Slots with a Circular Saw

Friday, November 16th, 2007

If you ever need to cut matching slots (or dadoes) in a number of pieces, here is an easy way to do it with a circular saw.

1] Make a jig to guide the circular saw in a straight line as it cuts (see the Illustration below). Then align the boards that will receive the dado, and clamp them together. Next, align the jig’s reference edge with the layout line for the dado, and clamp the jig in place. Adjust the saw to cut at the proper depth, and run the saw along the fence to cut one shoulder of the dado. Now reposition the jig, and cut the other shoulder of the dado the same way.

2] With both shoulders of the dado defined, remove the waste material between them. A good way to start is by reducing the amount of material that’s there. To do this, make a series of cuts between the shoulders, moving the jig over slightly between each one (there’s no need to clamp the jig during this step).

3] Now it’s cleanup time. Set the jig and the saw aside for this, and use a chisel and mallet to knock out the comb-like waste you created in the previous step. When you get that done, there’ll still be some kerf tracks in the bottom of the dado. Just use the chisel to pare off those ridges and flatten the bottom of the dado.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Clamp Blocks Aid Assembly

Monday, November 5th, 2007

If you ever need to draw two pieces together that can’t be easily clamped, these clamp blocks are the perfect solution.

Each block is just a plywood base that’s glued and screwed to an angled block. By clamping two of them to the mating pieces, and then clamping them to each other, you can pull the pieces tightly together.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Thick Molding from Thin Stock

Friday, November 2nd, 2007

Thick wood can sometimes be hard to find. So if you need a thick piece for a project, sometimes it’s better to make it from two pieces of thinner stock glued face to face (Photo, top right). If you’re making thick pieces like this, it’s not a good idea to glue up pieces that are already ripped to final width. The glue will make them slip out of alignment when you tighten the clamps, and by the time you clean up the edges, the piece will be too narrow. The solution is to start with extra-wide pieces (about 3/8″ wider than needed). Glue them together so one edge overhangs the other along the entire length.

Once the glue dries, the thick stock can be ripped to width in two passes. First, set the fence so the blade slices off one overhanging edge, along with a sliver of the edge it overhangs (Fig. 1). Then adjust the fence to cut the piece to final width. Flip it so the flush-cut edge is against the fence, and rip it to width (Fig. 2).

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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