Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for October, 2009

The “No-Frame” Photo Frame

Friday, October 30th, 2009

If you’ve always wanted to make picture frames, but the thought of getting all those pieces to line up correctly seems a bit intimidating, then this is the perfect project for you.

That’s because these frames aren’t technically frames — not in the true sense of the word, at least. Each “frame” is made from a single piece of 3?4″ MDF (medium-density fiberboard). The MDF is cut to size and then painted. A piece of clear acrylic covers the photo.

You’ll also notice that we added a few decorative metallic touches to these frames. But if you look closely, you’ll see that these are just ordinary nuts and screws that you can find at any hardware store.

Making your own “no-frame” picture frames isn’t difficult. Just “picture” the following steps:

 
 

  1. Gather your supplies, and cut the MDF panels to size as shown in the Construction View above.

  2. Also cut the acrylic to size on the table saw. Sand the edges smooth, and then lay out and drill mounting holes in the corners.

  3. You’ll also want to carefully lay out and drill ten holes in the face of each panel. The three holes at the top and bottom are for the decorative screws and nuts, and the four holes closer to the center are for mounting the acrylic.

  4. After drilling these holes, flip the MDF face down, and bore shallow counterbores around the four inner holes to accept the T-nuts. Also countersink the outer holes to accept the decorative screws (Screw Detail, above).

  5. If desired, drill holes in the MDF to accept two dowels that allow the frame to sit on a table (Dowel Detail and Photo, above).

  6. Prime and paint the frame, and allow it to dry.

  7. Install the T-nuts, and then the machine screws and nuts.

  8. Place a photo behind the acrylic, and tighten the Allen screws to secure it in place.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (10 votes, average: 4.60 out of 5)
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Three Simple Tape Tips

Friday, October 23rd, 2009

Applying tape to the trim and molding in a room is the best way to keep paint off its surface. And as simple as it seems, a few basic techniques will help you make the tape do this job as efficiently as possible.

Figure 1   Figure 2   Figure 3
Fig. 1   Fig. 2   Fig. 3

“Miter” the Corners — One place where it can be tricky to apply tape is in corners. Often, it’s difficult to get two pieces to meet there without covering up part of the wall. For cleaner corners, create “miter joints” where the pieces of tape come together (Fig. 1). This way, they’ll butt together cleanly and completely cover the corner (Fig. 2).

Burnish the Edge — Of course, even when you apply tape, paint can still seep under the edge. The best way to prevent that is to carefully align the tape with the edge of the trim, and then “burnish” it with a putty knife by running the knife along the edge of the tape and applying firm pressure downward (Fig. 3). This ensures a tight seal that will keep the paint out from beneath the tape. Also, you’ll still want to brush carefully around the tape. It’s there only to provide defense against errant brush strokes.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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“Feed” Pipes Bread for Simple Soldering

Friday, October 16th, 2009

When you need to add a fitting to a water pipe, it’s almost impossible to get all the water out. And that in turn makes it difficult to get a good solder joint if there’s water running from the pipe while you’re trying to heat it with a torch.

The solution is to stuff a piece of bread into the pipe (Photo, below).

Pipe photo   Pipe illustration

This holds back the water for long enough to apply solder (Illustration above). When you’re done, simply remove the screen from your faucet, and turn on the water to flush out the bread.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (11 votes, average: 3.27 out of 5)
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Don’t Replace — Reface Your Cabinets!

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Today’s cabinet-refacing veneers are simpler than ever to use. They come in large sheets that you can easily cut with a utility knife and a straightedge. And because they already have a pressure-sensitive adhesive applied to the back surface, there’s no messy glue cleanup.

Cut strips

1] Cut strips of veneer to match the face frames. Position the veneer carefully, and apply light pressure by hand.

Smooth the veneer

2] Then use the applicator tool to smooth the veneer and apply increased pressure to ensure good adhesion.

Sand edges

3] Use a sanding block and medium-grit (120) sandpaper to ease any sharp or irregular edges in the veneer.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (18 votes, average: 4.06 out of 5)
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Plumbing Pillows

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

When working under a sink, that lip on the edge of the cabinet can really hurt your back. To ease the pain, lay on a couple old chair cushions or pillows as you work.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers

Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 3.67 out of 5)
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