Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for July, 2008

Protect Exposed Wood with Epoxy Sealer

Friday, July 25th, 2008

If you have windows or other woodwork that get exposed to a lot of moisture, you may want to take a closer look at a product called Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer. When brushed onto bare wood, this product actually penetrates into the wood fibers to protect them from moisture damage. 

Like standard epoxy, this epoxy sealer is a two-part product that gets mixed together before use. But what’s different about this sealer is that it’s a blend of epoxy and a solvent, so it’s as thin as water (Photos, below). This thin consistency is what allows it to soak into the wood (Photo, top right). The sealer also creates a compatible surface for paint or varnish to form a strong bond with.

You can use epoxy sealer on bare wood. But if the wood has mold or mildew damage, you’ll need to do some prep work first. Start by stripping the old finish and sanding the surface smooth. Neutralize any damage with bleach (Fig. 1). Then, brush on the epoxy sealer (Fig. 2). Once the sealer dries, sand the wood lightly, and apply a protective varnish (Fig. 3).

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

Unlike standard epoxy (left), this epoxy sealer penetrates into the wood and solidifies the structure of the wood fibers (right). This helps protect the wood from moisture damage.

1] To fix damaged wood, strip the existing finish. Then scrub any dark areas with a 50/50 solution of bleach and water.

2] After mixing the two-part epoxy sealer, brush it liberally onto the wood. Keep brushing until the wood is saturated.

3] Let the sealer dry overnight, sand lightly with 220-grit sandpaper, and then apply three coats of varnish or paint.

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Hassle-Free Countertop Facelift

Friday, July 18th, 2008

If you’re stuck with an old, dull-looking laminate countertop, you can “reface” it yourself by applying new laminate over the old. (Illustration, above). Note: This technique only works for flat rather than post-formed counters.

First, you’ll need to remove the sink. Then clean the old laminate thoroughly to get rid of grease. Next, rough up the surface with 220-grit sandpaper. Then lay the new laminate using contact cement, trim it to fit, and cut the sink opening.

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 3.63 out of 5)
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Hone Your Own Router Bits

Friday, July 11th, 2008

A few passes over a diamond sharpening stone will maintain a sharp cutting edge on most types of router bits. Hold the bit flat against the stone for a consistent edge.

As long as your router bits aren’t extremely dull, you can save money and avoid shop downtime by honing them yourself to maintain a sharp edge.

Carbide cutters on router bits are very hard, so you’ll need a diamond sharpening stone. A “super-fine,” or 1200-grit bench stone (about $20) is aggressive enough for honing but leaves a smooth edge (Photo, right). “Pocket” stones are also available (less than $10) that work well for bits with small cutters. The stones shown here are made by Eze-Lap (Eze-Lap.com).

Clean First – Before you begin honing, remove the guide bearing if the bit has one, and then clean the bit with pitch remover. Scrape gently with a knife to remove stubborn buildup.

Keep It Flat – Now you can begin honing by placing one cutter on the diamond stone. Hone only the faces, not the edges.

Grip the bit firmly to keep the cutter flat against the stone, and stroke it back and forth. Count your strokes as you go — 12 to 20 should be enough. Then flip the bit over, and hone the other cutter. Use the same number of strokes to ensure that the bit will stay balanced.

Pitch buildup and dull edges kept this core box bit from cutting smoothly. After cleaning and a dozen passes over a 1200-grit diamond stone, the bit was ready for action.

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)
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Use Corner Blocks to Square Up Cabinets

Friday, July 4th, 2008

To achieve square corners when gluing up a cabinet, I use these L-shaped corner blocks. The plywood blocks have 90° corners, so when clamped between two parts, they ensure a square joint.

To create a 90° corner on the block, start by cutting out a square on the table saw. Then, use a band saw or jig saw to complete the “L” shape of the blocks. Also cut a notch for glue relief.

Then, after clamping two case sides together for the glue-up, clamp the corner block in place between them (see Illustration, top right). Clamping two blocks into opposite corners is all it takes to square up a case.

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.08 out of 5)
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