Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for January, 2009

Miter Saw Blade Stop

Friday, January 30th, 2009

While installing new trim, you’ll find that you often have to trim a tiny amount off the length of a workpiece to make it fit perfectly.

After several frustrating occurrences of cutting off just a bit too much with a miter saw, we found that the best way to “sneak up” on the cut was to use the saw blade itself as a “stop” to position the workpiece.

With the cutting head in the “down” position and the saw not running, butt the end of the workpiece against the body of the blade (not the teeth), as in Fig. 1. Then hold the piece in position, and raise the blade. Now power up the saw and make the cut (Fig. 2) to remove just a sliver of material.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.50 out of 5)
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Brush Saver

Friday, January 23rd, 2009

Have you ever noticed how paint tends to wick up the bristles and clog near the ferrule when using a paint brush for a long period of time?

After having to throw away several brushes prematurely because cleaning that paint out of the bristles was nearly impossible, we discovered that simply by dipping a brush into the appropriate solvent before painting (water for latex paint, mineral spirits for oil-based), it made cleanup much easier and extends the life of brushes.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 3.77 out of 5)
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Triangulate for a Safe Ladder Angle

Friday, January 16th, 2009

Properly setting a ladder up can be the difference between an uneventful climb or a nasty fall. One of the most critical elements of ladder safety is setting the ladder at the proper angle. Many ladders have alignment guides printed on the side to help you position the ladder. But if the guide is missing or obscured, you can always check the angle by placing your toes against the ladder rails and stretching out your arms, so they are parallel to the ground (Illustration). If your palms can rest on top of a rung, the ladder is at a safe angle.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (16 votes, average: 4.31 out of 5)
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Plane-to-Fit Rigid Foam

Friday, January 9th, 2009

The best way to fine-tune a piece of rigid foam insulation to fit into a stud cavity is to use a handheld power planer.

The planer leaves a clean edge on the foam (Inset Photo) and allows you to make finer adjustments than you could otherwise. Be prepared to clean up a lot of foam shavings, though.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (13 votes, average: 3.92 out of 5)
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Avoid Upheaval by Caulking Driveway Joints

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

Heaving concrete—or concrete that seems to rise up out of the ground every winter—is a common problem in colder climates. It’s often caused by water underneath the concrete freezing and pushing upward on the concrete slab.

To avoid this, you can caulk expansion joints to make them waterproof. Use a self-leveling caulk like Vulkem 245. To get enough caulk into the joint, first cut a V-shaped wedge into the expansion material using a sharp utility knife.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (12 votes, average: 4.58 out of 5)
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