Workbench Weekly eTip
 

Archive for February, 2011

Easy Oil-Based Brush Cleanup

Friday, February 25th, 2011

After using oil-based paint or finish, here’s an easy way to clean brushes without wasting mineral spirits. Just create an “assembly line” of jars, cleaning your brush in the dirtiest jar of thinner first and moving toward the cleanest jar. Then you can seal and store the jars until needed. The other nice thing about this approach is when one jar gets too dirty, you can remove it, shuffle each jar down a spot, and add a new “clean” jar.

Brush Cleaning

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

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A Few Simple Rules for Routing Right

Friday, February 18th, 2011

With many tools, it’s pretty obvious which direction you should move it as you work. But you can move a router in either direction along a workpiece, and there’s nothing in the tool’s design that clearly indicates which direction is correct. But there definitely is a correct way and an incorrect way.

Illustration
To use the “rule of thumb,” point your right thumb toward the piece, and push the router in the direction of your index finger.

To figure out the correct way to move the router, you need to think about the rotation of the bit. When viewed from above, the bit spins clockwise. You can see that in the Illustration above. You need to move the router against the rotation of the bit. That way, the bit digs in. If you move the router with the rotation of the bit, the bit will act like a drive wheel, pulling the router along the workpiece. This makes it almost impossible to control, and results in a very bad cut.

An easy way to keep the direction straight is to use the “rule of thumb” shown in the Illustration above. Just place your router against the workpiece, and then hold your right hand over the top, so your thumb points toward the edge to be cut. Point your index finger, and it shows which direction to move the router.

You can also use the simple guide shown below: Rout counterclockwise around an outside perimeter and clockwise around an inside perimeter.

Illustration
When routing, you need to move the router against the rotation of the bit. That means moving the router counterclockwise around an outside perimeter. On an inside perimeter, you’ll need to move the router clockwise.

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (3 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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A Greener Battery Cleaner

Friday, February 11th, 2011

Corrosion on battery terminals can disrupt performance, but there’s an old trick for cleaning those terminals that’s easy and doesn’t require caustic chemicals. Just mix a large amount of baking soda with water, pour it onto the corrosion, and clean it with a wire brush.

Illustration

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (4 votes, average: 3.75 out of 5)
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Reach New Heights with an Adjustable Workbench

Friday, February 4th, 2011

A workbench is an indispensable tool in any garage or shop. But if you’ve ever needed to work on something tall, awkward, or heavy, you know the average workbench has a limitation: It sits at a fixed height, which makes it difficult to lift items onto it.

Adjustable Work Surface
This workbench started as an inexpensive motorcycle lift. Then, adding some basic lumber and a few pieces of hardware transformed it into the height-adjustable bench you see here.

Here is a workbench that overcomes this limitation. We made it height-adjustable by building it on top of an inexpensive motorcycle lift. (We used a Torin Model #T64017 from NorthernTool.com, but any similar lift should work.)

In its lowest setting, the lift positions the bench just 21" off the ground, so it’s great for working on tall projects or lifting heavy things onto the bench. Raising the lift with a foot-operated pedal brings the bench up to a comfortable working height of 34". The lift also has locking casters, so you can move it around easily and then lock the wheels to create a stable work surface.

Building the Bench — The bench top is made of two layers of ¾" plywood that are cut to size and screwed together. Then edging strips get glued and nailed around the perimeter.

With some of the scraps of leftover plywood, make a pair of risers to go underneath the top and raise it up to its working height. The risers are bolted to the upper arms of the motorcycle lift through existing holes — you’ll just have to replace the lift’s original bolts with ones that are 1" longer to pass through both the arms and the plywood.

Finally, a pair of 2×4 cross members get screwed to the top of the risers. These in turn receive screws from underneath to hold the top in place. (To see how it all goes together, see the Illustration below.)

Illustration

Have a nice weekend,

Wyatt Myers
Online Editor, Workbench

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (2 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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