Workbench Weekly eTip

Archive for September, 2008

Do-It-Yourself Glazing

Friday, September 26th, 2008

You can change the color of wood even if it’s already been finished. Furniture manufacturers do it all the time by applying a “glaze” over stained and sealed wood.

To do your own glazing in the shop, you’ll need two things: the right type of stain, and this simple “staining” technique.

The key is to use a thick stain with enough body to adhere to the finish. I’d recommend either Zar Wood Stain or Old Masters Wiping Stain. Most wood stains are too thin and won’t “stick” to the finish.

Just as important as which stain you use is how you apply it. Before you begin glazing, first sand the finished piece lightly with 220-grit sandpaper to allow the stain to get a good “bite.”

Next brush on a thin, even coat of stain. To apply the proper amount, dab the piece with stain every few inches using a foam brush, and then spread it on evenly (Fig. 1).

Now use a stiff, synthetic-bristle brush to remove excess stain from the surface. To do this, you need to brush aggressively: Apply firm pressure on the bristles as you brush back and forth with the grain of the wood (Fig. 2).  Also be sure to wipe off your brush occasionally on a paper towel to remove excess stain from the brush. You’ll know you’re on the right track as the color evens out and the brush strokes disappear.

Finally, switch to a soft-bristle brush to smooth the stain and soften any brush strokes (Fig. 3). Let the stain dry overnight, and then apply a new topcoat of finish.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Editor, Workbench

These kitchen cabinets were “glazed” a darker tone without stripping off the existing finish. The key is to apply a thick stain, and then brush it aggressively to even out the color.

1] Start by applying a thin coat of stain. To do this, use a foam brush to dab the surface with stain every 3″. Then use the brush to smooth it out.

2] Use a stiff-bristle brush to work the stain into the surface and remove excess.

3] Switch to a soft, natural-bristle brush for the final pass over the project to further smooth brush strokes and even out the color of the stain.

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Which Way Is Up for Clean Plywood Cuts?

Friday, September 19th, 2008

When cutting plywood, it’s important that you cut it correctly to prevent damaging the "good" face of the board. And which way you cut it depends on which tool you use.
The short answer is that you place the good face of the plywood up if you’re cutting on a table saw. But if you’re using a handheld circular saw, you place the good face down. To make these rules easy to remember, it helps if you understand why.

Tearout on Exit — Most tearout occurs as the blade teeth exit the wood. That’s because the wood fibers are unsupported and may tear under the force of the spinning blade before the teeth have a chance to cut through.

On a table saw, the teeth cut as the blade rotates downward. That means if you place the good face up, the teeth enter the good face and exit the bad face (Table Saw).

A circular saw cuts as the blade rotates upward, so placing the good face down results in the cleanest cut (Circular Saw).

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Editor, Workbench

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Add Mending Plates to Reinforce a Floor Joist

Friday, September 12th, 2008

If you have a floor joist with a small crack in it, it’s possible to reinforce the area to ensure that the crack doesn’t progress any further.

Make Repair Plates — Severely cracked joists should be examined by a professional, and may need to be replaced or repaired with steel reinforcements called “flitch plates.” But to fix a minor crack like this, you can make mending plates from 23?32″-thick “Sturdifloor” plywood that’s normally used for making subfloors (Illustration, below).

To make the plates, cut them to the same width as the joist and long enough to span at least 6″ beyond each end of the crack. Then lay out and drill two rows of mounting holes for #12 x 2″ mounting screws. Space each hole 1″ to 2″ from the edges of the plates and no more than 4″ apart. You’ll need to offset the holes in the plates so that the screws don’t hit one another (Section View Detail, right).

To mount the plates, apply construction adhesive, and then clamp the plates to the joist while you drive in the screws.

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

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Drill a Perfect Pilot Hole

Friday, September 5th, 2008

To add some strength to miter joints, it’s a good idea to drive a nail into each joint.

The trick is driving the nails into the edges of the frames without splitting the wood. Ordinarily, I would search through my drill bits to find one that’s just the right size. But then I realized I had the perfect “bit” right in my hand: the nail itself.

To use a nail to drill a pilot hole, first clip off the head with a pair of wire cutters (Inset), and chuck it into a drill with the tip facing out. Then drill each pilot hole in the frame, using the nail just as you would a standard drill bit (see Illustration, below).

Have a nice weekend,
Wyatt Myers
Online Editor
Workbench Magazine

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 4.46 out of 5)
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