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Self-Centering Drill Bit

Solf-centenng drill bits are the best way to locate screws in hardware. The tapered nose of the bit nestles into the countersunk screw hole in the hardware. Just run the drill and push the bit into your work. The pilot hole is perfectly centered every time. Various sizes are available to match the size of the screws you're using.

Source Woodcraft Supply. (800) 535-4482. Set 0< three self-centering bits. 5/64 in.. 7/64 In. and 9/64 to., #16140. S29

Sourcos Woodcraft Supply. (8001 635-4482. www woodcraft com Preva! spray gun, jar and power unit. »142198. S5

Sliding Protractor

A sliding protractoi can't be boat foi measuring angles.

I use it to check the bevels on my plane irons and chisels.

The skinny arm not only pivots to indicate the angle but can be adjusted for length by loosening the knurled lock knob.

I've used a sliding protractor to set the table on my drill press to drill angled holes for spindles in chair seats. The sliding arm can also be used to measure the depths of holes or mortises, even if they are cut at an angle.

Source MSC Industrial Supply. (800) 645-7270, www, Sliding protractor, »06475198. St7.

Low-Angle Block Plane

Use a pocket-sire sprayer when |ust a little dab will do ya. Got a touc>up to do? Fill the jar with finish.

Pocket-Size Sprayer

Use a pocket-sire sprayer when |ust a little dab will do ya. Got a touc>up to do? Fill the jar with finish.

screw on the aercsol can, and let it fly. One can wiB spray about

16 oz. of l>quid. This is also an easy way to make samples with different stains ard finislies before you do the real thing. Sure beats out a whole spray-gun assembly for each sample.

Sourcos Woodcraft Supply. (8001 635-4482. www woodcraft com Preva! spray gun, jar and power unit. »142198. S5

Pocket-Size Sprayer

American Woodworker January 2007 65

A low-angle block plane is great for tine-tunmg misaligned parts. With its low cutting angle, you can even skin gossamer shavings off of end grain. This small-bodied plane fits comfor.abiy in one hand, allowing you to hold the part being planed with the other. It's even small erough to travel around in your apron pocket, so it's always right at hand when you need it. Source Lee Valley, (800) 871-8158, www leevaileycom Apron plane. »05P27.01. S75.

American Woodworker January 2007 65

Diamond Paddle

Diamond paddles can help you touch up an edge on a tired router bit. The paddles are embedded with industrial diamonds—abrasives that can sharpen carbide. The Hone and Stone paddle shown »s small enough to fit under the flutes of a router bit and in your pocket. You can also use the paddles to freshen the edges on drill bits, hone scrapers, sharpen your pocket knife—you'll find many uses for this handy little tool.

Source Eze-Up. (800) 843-4815, www Hone and Stone diamond paddle, fine or super-fine grade. S5 ea.

Trim Router

A trim router allows routing with one hand. It makes quick work of rounding over cabinet parts. One-handed operation allows you to hold the piece in one hand and run the router with the o:her. The one-handed operation and small stature are also eal boons if you need to manipulate the router in an awkward spot. A variety of trim routers are available; look for the 'Tool Test: Trim Routers" story in the next issue.

Sourco Home centers and woodworking stores Approximately Si 10.

Card Scraper

Sliding Bevel

Card Scraper

A card scraper may not be much to look at. but it provides an indispensable way to remove tissue-paper-thin shavings. Worried about sanding through a veneer? Try a scraper. Tired of sanders that are noisy and raise lots of dust? Try a scraper. There's an art to sharpening it. but once you master that, you'll reach for this tool often (see "Foolproof Scraper Sharpening" AW #102, September 2003. pago 63).

Sourco Ue-Nioisen Tool Works. <8001327-7520. Hand scraper set. »HSset. SIS

Sliding Bevel

A sliding bevel is one of the best ways to transfer ang es from one surface to another The blade slides aid pivots within the head and can be locked with a turn of a lever or thumb screw. The bevel works g.-eat for laying out dovetails. With the blade extended out both sides of the handle. you can flip-flop the bevel as you scribe each angled side of a pin or tail.

Source Home centers and woodworking stores $20 to $50. depending on sae.

Paint Scraper

A 1 -in. paint scraper may not be considered a traditional woodworking tool, but it can't be beat for scraping a glue joint. Grind or file a burr edge on the blade and this little paint scraper is capable of much more than simply scraping glue. Use it to shave hardwood edge banding or face frames flush with veneered panels. Its size makes it easy to control and the flared blade allows you to get right into corners.

Source Home centers and hardware stores S5.

Small Lithium-Ion Drill

Palm-size lithium-ion drills are small but powerful little tools. Instead of gabbing a monster drill/driver, try one of the little ones, like the Skil ixo. It'll fit in the pocket of your apron, so it's there when you need it. The lithium-ion battery packs a lot of power in a smaller package than NiMh or NiCad batteries. This little drill can drive screws as long as 1-1/2 in., but it really shines on sach tasks as mounting drawer guides and door hinges. Plus it fits in tight spaces where other drills can't go. Source Hone centers and hardware stores Ski! ixo. $40.

Engineer's Square

A small engineer's square is ideal for quickly checking project pieces for square. Use it to create layouts, check cuts fresh off your miter saw. set the 90-degree stop on your tablesaw or square the fence on your jointer to the table. Carry this little square around in your apron pocket and I guarantee you'll reach for it all the lime. By checking as you build, you'll avoid aggravating mistakes that cause problems at assembly time.

Source Woodcraft Supply. 1800) 535-4486. www.woodcraft com Eng^eer's square. 2->n. blade. #141013. S10.

Flush-Cut Saw

A flush-cut pull saw is great for trimming off dowels you've left oroud. The blade bends enough that you can keep it flat on your work while bringing the handle up to a comfortable angle. The fine teeth leave a smooth cut and won't score your work. Still, I recommend laying down a playing card just in case.

Source Hone centers a«l hardware storss Stanley flush-cut saw. Si8

by Bob Floater t-) Clean Brushes l\ with Lacquer Thinner

The standard procedure for cleaning a varnish brush is to rinse it a couple of times in mineral spirits, and then wash repeatedly in soao and water. I take an extra step: After the mineral spirits, I rinse my brush in lacquer thinner. Commercial brush cleaner works well, too.

Lacquer thinner or brush cleaner quickly removes most of the oily mineral spirits. This step makes washing with soap and water easier and quicker. You'll usually need only one or two soap-and-water washings to achieve a good lather, which indicates the bristles are clean.

Remember to use adequate ventilation when you work with lacquer thinner or brush cleaner.

by Bob Floater


Good finishers have lots of tricks up their sleeves. Here's a handful from Bob Flexner, one of the nation's foremost experts.

1 Add Depth by Glazing dazing accentuates die three-dimensional K»ok of moldings, carvings, turning*, and raised panels. A glaze is simply a thickened pigmented stain—thickening it reduces runs on vertical surfaces. Gel Main works well as a glazing material.

Glazing is always done over a sealed surface, meaning over at least one coat of finish. After the first (or second) coat of.finish has thoroughly dried, wipe or brush on the: glaze. Allow the solvent to evaporate so the glaze dulls. Then wipe off most of the glaze using ;i rag or brash, leaving some of the glaze in the recessed areas of your project.

After the glaze has dried, apply at least one additional coat of finish. This prevents the glaze from being nibbed or scratched off. Never leave glaze thick: the finish won't bond well to it.

Keep Everything Clean

Reduce dust nibs bv keeping your project and work area clean. If you are finishing in the same area where you've been sanding, allow time for the dust to settle and then vacuum the floor. Vacuum your project using the brush attachment. Use a lint-free cloth to remove any dust that remains in the wood's pores. Just before you begin brush-ing or spraying, wipe your hand over horizontal surfaces to be sure they are clean. You will feel dust you don't see. Your hand will also pick up small bits of dust t hat may have settled after you did the major cleaning.

f3 Ebonize with Black Dye

The easiest way to make any wood resemble ebony is with black dye. Unlike pigment, which is the colorant used in paint, dye has transparent properties. You can make wood as black as you want and still see the figure of the wood through the dye. I prefer to use walnut when ebonizing because its grain is similar to that oi real ebony.

Dyes come in many forms. 1 prefer to use powdered water-soluble dyes bccausc they offer more time to wipe off the excess. If the wood doesn't become black enough with one coal, make a more intense color or apply one or more extra coats. Allow the dye to dry between coats.

Source Toofs for Working Wood. (800) 426-4613, v.v«v/ Lockwood water-basod obony biactc dye. 1 oz.. »LW-WMIS.327. $6.75

4 Bury

Raised Grain

Water-based stain and finish raise- wood fibers, making the wood's surface feel rough. Many folks suggest prewetting bare wood with water and sanding the raised gram after the wood dries. This method is fairly effective, but there's an easier way

Skip the prewetting and bury the raised grain in the finish. Burying simply means encasing the raised grain in a layer of finish. Apply the first coat of water-based finish and then sand it smooth, raised gram and all.

You can use the same approach with a water-based stain, which also raises the gram. The stained surface may become rough, but don't sand the stam. Apply one coat of finish and then send. Be careful not to cut through the finish into the stain.

6 Reveal Flaws in Reflected Light

Something is bound to go wrong when you brush or spray. You may get runs, drips, spills, ski ps. orange peel—you know the list. The trick is to spot these problems in time to correct them. Reflected light is the answer.

As you finish, move your head so you can see the surface in a reflection of an overhead light, a window, a handheld light or a light on a stand. The reflection's shiny surface will show you the exact condition of the finish.

Bob Ilexner is (he author />/ the newtf revised Understanding Wood Finishing.

Bob Ilexner is (he author />/ the newtf revised Understanding Wood Finishing.

Source Fox Chapci Publishing. (8001457-91 12. www.foxchdp<Hpub,:shing,c©m Understanding Wsod Fmsh>ng. 2nd od., 2005. oaperback, $19.95

Source Fox Chapci Publishing. (8001457-91 12. www.foxchdp<Hpub,:shing,c©m Understanding Wsod Fmsh>ng. 2nd od., 2005. oaperback, $19.95

7 Find

Dried Glue

Dried glue causes spotting when you apply .» stain or finish. Most glue dries clear, though, so how can you tell where it is? Water or mineral spirits reveal all.

Before a final sanding, wet the entire surface with water or, if you have adequate ventilation, with mineral spirits. This will make the wood darker, but glue drips, spills and fingerprints will Ik* easily identifiable ix-cause they'll appear as a light color. How does this work? Glue seals the wood's surface. H'.itei 01 mineral spirits won't penetrate the glue spots, so those spots won't become as dark as the test of the wood.

Water will soften dried glue, making it easier to remove with a card scraper or a chisel. You can also wash off glue by scrubbing with a rag and hot water. When you've removed the glue, sand with the highest grit of sandpaper you used on the rest of the project.

Spray Unseen Parts First

Spray the less seen and less touched parts of your project first. Spray the most important surfaces last. This way, overspray will land on parts where it really won't matter.

Overspray is the mist that bounces off an object or sometimes misses the object altogether. The mist floats in the air and eventually lands somewhere. often back on the project itself. Overspray makes surfaces it lands on feel rough.

Here's how to proceed on a table or chair. Spray a tablo's legs and rails before its top. Turn a chair upside down and spray the msides of the legs and insides and bottom sides of the stretchors. Stand the chair upreght and spray the logs' outsides and the stretchers' tops and outsides. Finish by spray/ng the backside of the chair back, the arms and finally the front side of the back and the seat.

9 Sand More on End Grain

End grain can turn very dark when stained. More often than not. the problem is that the end grain is still somewhat rough from sawing. The same sanding procedure that you used on the rest of your project is often inadequate to prepare end grain for staining.

To remove saw marks, begin sanding end gram with a coarser paper than you are using on the side grain An 80-grit sandpaper is usually coarse enough. When you have made the end grain smooth with this grit, work up through the grits just as you do with sido grain, finishing with the same grit you used to finish-sand the side grain.

You can make sanding any end grain easier by sealing it with thinned glue or finish before you begin sanding. Thin a white or yellow glue with about three parts water. Thin any finish by about half with the appropriate solvent. Both methods stiffen the fibers, making them easier to cut off with the sandpaper.

60 American Woodworker JANUARY* 200 7

Reduce Blotching in Pine

Reduce Blotching in Pine

Staining pine can be a risky business. Some stains cause pine to look blotchy with irregular light and dark areas. Wood conditioners arc widely used to reduce blotching prior to staining. For pine, though, using gel stain is far easier, more effective and more predictable than applying wood conditioner for achieving the intensity of color you desire.

In my experience, gel stain is not as cfTec live at reducing blotching on hardwoods. such as cherry, birch, maple or poplar. For these woods, use a wood conditioner before staining.

Americiiii Woodworker JANUARY 2007 61

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

THIS book is one of the series of Handbooks on industrial subjects being published by the Popular Mechanics Company. Like Popular Mechanics Magazine, and like the other books in this series, it is written so you can understand it. The purpose of Popular Mechanics Handbooks is to supply a growing demand for high-class, up-to-date and accurate text-books, suitable for home study as well as for class use, on all mechanical subjects. The textand illustrations, in each instance, have been prepared expressly for this series by well known experts, and revised by the editor of Popular Mechanics.

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