Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for February, 2008

Easy-Access Extension Cord

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Tangles of extension cords in a workshop are not only annoying, but potentially dangerous. Here’s a solution that keeps a cord stowed safely overhead.

The extension cord holder works like this: a plastic-coated cable is secured to two opposite walls, and the cord is tied to curtain hooks that can be pulled along the cable above a work area.

First, secure eye screws to opposite walls. Then, attach a turnbuckle to one of the eye screws (Wall Mounting Detail). Using cable clamps, secure the coated cable to the turnbuckle. Pull the cable tight while a helper installs the cable clamps, and then use the turnbuckle to tighten the cable.

Using “zip”-style cable ties, attach curtain hooks to the extension cord every 2 to 4 feet, and leave enough slack on both ends of the cord as needed. Wipe the cable with silicone to help the hooks slide more easily, and attach the hooks to the cable.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.07 out of 5)
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A Touch of “Glass” for Cabinet Doors

Friday, February 22nd, 2008

If you’re tired of the same old kitchen cabinets, there’s an easy way to give them a great new look by replacing the wood door panels with glass. All it takes is a plunge router equipped with a 1/2″ straight bit and an edge guide. The idea here is to remove the back lip of the groove that holds the panel in the frame (Illustration, below). With this lip removed, the panel comes out easily. Then the glass is set in its place.

Edge Guide – To make a straight cut, you’ll need to use an edge guide. The guide shown here consists of a hardboard base for mounting the router and a guide block that rides against the outer edge of the door frame.

To determine the location of this guide block, position the router (with the base attached) on the door so the bit aligns with the inside edge of the frame (Guide Block Alignment Detail). Then, set the guide block against the frame and attach it to the base with screws.
Before routing, check to see if there are any nails holding the panel. If so, chisel around them and remove the nails with a needle-nose pliers (Chisel Detail).

Rout It Out – Now it’s time to rout the frame. Adjust the depth of cut so the bit will just cut through the back lip of the groove that holds the panel. Then, with the door clamped down, plunge the bit into the frame and hold the guide firmly against the edge as you rout from left to right. Don’t worry about routing all the way into the corner. You’ll use a chisel to square up the corners after routing all four sides of the frame.

Add the Glass – The panel now should come out easily, but you may have to give it a few light taps with a mallet. With the panel removed, set the glass in place. Put dabs of silicone sealant in the groove to hold it firm. Then, add glass stops to secure it.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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Vacuum-Sealed Brush “Cans” Clean-Up

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Those “vacuum packer” kitchen appliances that you’ve undoubtedly seen advertised on TV infomercials are good for more than just storing dinner leftovers in air-tight plastic bags. To avoid having to clean my paint brushes, I save them overnight in a vacuum-sealed bag (see Illustration below).

The bag prevents air from getting inside, so the brush won’t dry out. This means I can pick right back up where I left off the day before.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 2.91 out of 5)
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Ink Marks the Spot for Electrical Boxes

Friday, February 8th, 2008

I’ve never had much luck when cutting the openings in drywall for electrical boxes. No matter how carefully I measure and then lay out the opening, it always seems to be off just a bit.

My solution is to attach self-adhesive foam weatherstripping to the front of the box, apply ink, and press the drywall against the box (see Photo below right). This gives me a perfect outline of the box that shows me exactly where I need to cut (Inset Photo left). Note: Ink bottles are available at most stationery stores.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.67 out of 5)
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Align Shingles Perfectly with a 2×4 Gauge

Friday, February 1st, 2008

When installing roof shingles, I use a wood block as a gauge to establish the proper reveal from one course of shingles to the next (Illustration, below left).

The gauge is just a scrap 2×4 with a shallow notch that’s the same length as the desired reveal, 5″ in my case (see Illustration below right).

To use the gauge, set the notch in the block against the bottom edge of the previous course of shingles. Then, align the next course with the top of the gauge.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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