Wooden Stick

cotton twine room object to k be cleaned 1 a,t* i \

1 f steel bucket and the positive lead to the bucket. When you plug in the charger the electric current will draw off the rust. I usually wait about 10 hours, then shut off the current and retrieve the object. After using soap and water to wash off the greasy black residue, I dry the object with an old towel and spray it with WD-40.

David Leard Mobile. AL

Now that cork pads are hard to find, I've discovered that a chalkboard eraser makes an excellent sanding pad. It's just the right size to grip and the felt provides a flat, yet soft surface—just right for hand sanding. It's particularly useful for breaking edges and gives you a neat, uniform roundover.

David Sell iff Frenclitcrwn, NJ

velcro laperlolder

The spring clip that comes with most steel tapes often takes two hands to get back on the belt. I found this awkward, so I removed the spring clip altogether and epoxied a square piece of Velcro to the tape measure. Then I made a matching Velcro patch that I looped around my belt and stapled together. This tape holder is a great improvement.

Wesley Phillips Greer, SC

Slotting Large Dowels

Cutting a groove in a dowel or sawing a flat on one side of it can be dangerous because the dowel has a tendency to^ spin. My solution is to simply glue square blocks to each| v end of the dowel. The length of the sides of theg

\ -- blocks must be the same as the diameter of5

jV the dowel (see drawing) and the two| * blocks must line up exactly so there is no i \ N. wobble. Then you can go ahead andg \ ir^ ma^c Your cut w»th perfect safety, ttr I \j YeungChan W1 I__Millbrae, CA

' Make Your Own

Foam Brushes

A roll of foam rubber weather seal can make hundreds of disposable brushes for just pennies apiece. Cut off the length you want—1 or 2 inches-peel the paper backing off the adhesive, and press the foam onto a wood tongue depressor or popsiclc stick.

G.F. Hinderholz Racine, W1

drill he would cut off about a 4-in. length of wire, straighten it and then flatten one end on an anvil. (Sec drawing.) His final step was to grind the end to a diamond-shaped point on a bench grinder. These homemade drills didn't last forever, but it was only a two-minute job to replace one. I've found that the wire in heavy-gauge coat hangers works equally well.

Pat Jordan

San Francisco, CA

More on Homemade

Drill Bits

H.R. McDermid s Tech Tip (aw *30) on homemade drill bits reminds me of an old boat builder I used to work with, Jim Smith. Jim kept a roll of heavy galvanized fence wire in his shop. Whenever he needed a fresh bit for his

Cleaning Gummy Blades and Bits

The tar and gum that build up on circular saw blades and router bits can increase friction, causing them to heat up and distort, and your wood to burn. The quickest and cheapest method I've found to remove these deposits is with Easy-Off oven cleaner. Just spray the blade or cutter, let it stand for a few minutes and then rinse it off with water. It works every time.

Cary Lowrancc Orland Hills, IL

Low-Tech Blade Cleaner

The quickest and most effective way to clean blades that I know is to use a solution of household ammonia and cider vinegar (1 cup of cider vinegar to 1 quart of ammonia). First, I soak a blade in the solution for an hour or two then I lay it on a wad of newspaper and pour on a little of the mixture. Finally, spread around the mixture with (XX) steel wool and watch the tar and pitch melt away. After cleaning, I dry the blade and wipe on a dry lubricant such as Dri-Cotc.


Clinton, TN

When remodeling my kitchen recently I had to rout all the face frames flush with the cabinet sides. Rather than fill the room with dust and shavings 1 adapted a plastic gallon milk jug to pick up the chips. I attached the milk jug to the router base plate making a hole just big enough for the bit. Then I pushed the 1-in. hose of my shop vacuum onto the neck of the bottle, fired up the vacuum and router, and trimmed the face frames with minimal mess.


Beiualem, PA



Having the drill press key at the end of a chain is a dangling nuisance. I finally cpoxicd a small magnet (from an old loudspeaker) to the feed handle hub and stuck my kev to it. Now the key is right where I want it with no entangling chains or cords. Magnets also work well on other machines. I added two pieces of self-adhesive magnetic tape to my bandsaw (inset) and now have a handy placc to store the alien wrench I use to adjust the guide blocks or thrust bearing.

Pat Sanders Palm Bcacli Gardens, FL

Fast btea rner

1 aming the Router

Handy Marking Gauge

A 4-in. machinist s square is easily adapted to double as a marking gauge. Use a fine, triangular file to cut a small V-gTOOve in the center of one end of the sliding rule. Put a pencil or steel scribe in this notch and, using the square's head as a guide, draw your lines.

Donald Kinnaman Pnoenix, AZ

Know a better way of doing something? Designed a clcvcr jig? Send your woodworking tipv along with a sketch or a snapshot to: "Tech Tips." Amirk.an W<kh»workek, 33 E. Minor St.. Enunaife. PA 1K(WN W e'll pay you SSd if we publish your tip.

When steaming small pieces of wood for models, I just stick a piece of PVC pipe, 10 or 15 in. long, into the spout of an electric kettle. You have steam, and plenty of it, in minutes. Tie a length of string to the end of the stock so you don't burn your fingers getting it out. Also, be careful not to let the water level get too low or you'll fry the heating element.

Guy Busli Nova Scotia, Canada

A Primer on One of the Basics of tlie Cabinetmaker's Craft

.Mail«* w¡lit a panel thai float* iii»id<* a frame, this door can oo|m* hiiIi xt'asoiial uood niovcnicut m kh vttmni

Tliere arc three things in life you can't escape: death, taxes and wood movement. Hut if you're clever you can painlessly cope with the last one, as woodworkers of old did when thev invented frame and panel construction.

Frame and panel construction has been around at least since the time of the pharaohs (examples were found in King Tut s tomb), and it is still the preferred method for creating wide, stable surfaces out of solid timber. The rela tively narrow frame components remain stable with changes in moisture. while the wide panel, which is more susceptible to wood movement, floats in a groove. (See Fig. 1.) Since it's free to move, the panel won't split, or distort the frame, as it would if it were glued or nailed in place. And the frame provides rigid support to keep the panel from cupping.

If you're building projects that have large surface areas, such as doors, cabinet backs and sides, and wall paneling.

frame and panel construction is often your best choice. And it's fairly easy to

master. In this article I'll explain how-to make one simple variation on the frame and panel theme: a cherry cabinet dtx)r that has an arched frame and a raised panel. Though you could easi-Iv construct this door entirely with

power tools, I used a combination of hand tools and power tools because 1 wanted a bevel on the panel that I couldn't create with my stock shaper and router cutters.

To keep the router hit from grabbing the workpiere, the author uses a

Mingle jHMiit fence while grooving the curved rail.


you could easily make them with a router or tablesaw. (For more on mortise and tenon joints, see aw *18.)

However you cut them, you'll want to proportion the parts for the greatest strength. My rule of thumb Ls to make the mortise one-tliird the tliickness of the stock. This gives you a strong tenon while maintaining enough thickness in the wood surrounding the mortise.

Curving and Grooving the Frame

After fitting the joints, mark out and cut the curved arch on the top rail. To do this, I used a tracing taken from my full-scale drawing. Then I bandsawed the curves and cleaned up the saw marks on the convex side with a block plane. On the concave side I use a spokeshave and scraper. I could have used a stationary sander, but hand tools communicate the fairness of curves to my hands in a way that sanding can't match.

The next step is to cut the grooves for the panel in the stiles and rails. 1 used a lA-in. slotting bit on the router table. This bit has a bearing that limits the depth of cut to % in. I made sure I ran the parts with the same face down

To keep the router hit from grabbing the workpiere, the author uses a

Mingle jHMiit fence while grooving the curved rail.

Roughing Out the Parts

Before touching any wood for this door, you'll want to determine the curves for the top rail and panel. I made a full-scale drawing of the entire d<x>r and created the curve by flexing a steel rule to a shape that pleased me. The resulting arches, which are somewhat parabolic, interest the eye more than a section of a circle might.

Next, use your drawing to lay out the dtx)r components on rough stock, looking for balance and symmetry in the grain. At this point, I like to cut the rails to final length, but I leave the stiles long for trimming later. This helps prevent the ends of my stock from splitting when 1 chisel the mortises. Also, I leave the arched top rail four-square to facilitate joinery. It's easier and more accurate to lay out and cut tenons on straight stock.

I planed the frame components for the door to in., preferring this over 5/i in. because the latter is so common it tends to bore the eye. Then I roughed out and milled the panel.

Cutting the Joints

With the parts milled, you can cut the mortise and tenon joints. I like to cut these by hand (see sidebar), though

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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