Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for December, 2008

Furniture Floss

Friday, December 26th, 2008

One of the primary challenges of repairing old furniture is re-gluing veneer that is separating from its substrate.

Getting enough glue between the loose veneer and the substrate is often difficult, though, and we have broken off enough pieces of brittle veneer to know that lifting the thin material to make space is rarely the answer.

The solution is to use dental floss to drag glue into the area being repaired. First, dip the floss into a puddle of glue, and then use a seesawing motion to spread the glue between the veneer and substrate.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 4.63 out of 5)
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Foam Carving

Friday, December 19th, 2008

Cutting upholstery foam is more challenging than it seems. You can try various knives and saws, but they all leave rough edges that are often visible even after covering the foam with fabric.

While carving a holiday turkey, however, it occurred to us that the electric carving knife would be just the ticket to make quick, clean cuts in the foam.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 4.83 out of 5)
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Visualize Design with a Tape Template

Friday, December 12th, 2008

To help visualize how a built-in entertainment center will look in its designated space, you can lay out the project directly on the wall using painter’s masking tape (Illustration). Each strip of tape represents a shelf, divider, cabinet top, or run of molding.

This technique is a great way to “see” the project before you build it to get a realistic sense of scale and to help estimate the materials required to build it.

And, if after examining the “template” you don’t care for the design, simply reposition the tape to create a plan that better suits your needs. When you’re satisfied with the design, transfer the details to a paper plan that you can build from while in the shop.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (14 votes, average: 4.79 out of 5)
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The Hot Way to Strip Paint

Friday, December 5th, 2008

The best tool I’ve found for removing paint from exterior trim is a heat gun. It’s like a high-performance hair dryer that heats the paint enough to partially melt it and loosen its grip on the wood. Then you can scrape multiple layers of paint off easily with a putty knife (Photo). This makes a heat gun fast and effective, but using one requires precautions.

First, the paint on an old home often contains lead. And lead fumes are more harmful than lead dust. So you need to wear a respirator when using a heat gun, not just a dust mask.

Second, the gun and the paint both get quite hot. So don’t touch either until they’ve cooled for a moment or two.

Next, use straight-edge razor blades to scrape away remaining residue (Fig. 2).

Finally, you can char the paint or wood if you overheat it. So keep a spray bottle of water close by to cool things off.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.33 out of 5)
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