Letters

EDITOR'S NOTE:

We make every effort to ensure the accuracy• of Woodworker's Calendar listings at the time they go to press. Schedules can change, however, so we always include a phone number with each Calendar listing. It's a good idea to call to confirm the date and the time of the event before trawling. /Is for your comments about the quality of uxwduvrking shows these days, how about it readers? Let's hear what you think about the shows you've attended recently. Address your comments to the Editor.

Sir:

We encourage you to avoid recommending the use of tropical woods. The plans for the "Red Mower Push Toy" (September/October 1988 AW) call for the use of padauk. As evident from the article. Mr. Armstrong came to its use only after a great many trials. It was not his first choice. Nonetheless, we cringe at the use of tropical woods with the knowledge that rain forests, a most fragile ecosystem, are meeting their demise more and more cvcrv day.

Perhaps with your help, and that of other woodworking publications in concert with environmental watch groups, you could make woodworkers aware of which tropical woods not to use and encourage woodworkers to use woods which can be easily replenished without destroying fragile ecosystems.

It is our opinion that woodworkers are very special people. Thoughtful woodworkers create works that arc often heirlooms, deserving the utmost care. Perhaps woodworkers could be leaders of those who are careful with the fragile "heirloom." the Planet Earth, upon which we live.

LEON and MARILYN LlENKE Beaver Dam. WI

Sir:

When I first set up my woodworking shop, I was very concerned about my grandchildren and other youngsters wandering into my shop and turning on one of my machines. Of course, there are safety switches, keys, unplugging the plugs, etc. This didn't satisfy nie so I put in a central switch out of reach on the ceiling where only an adult could reach it. The switch controlled only the circuits for my stationary machines so I could still operate the lights and other accessories.

This svstcm had a flaw in that I

w would forget to turn off the switch. Then the idea hit me. I wired in a light that was operated only by the central switch. That way I would never leave my work area without forgetting to throw the central switch killing the power to my machines. I entertain my grandchildren now without worrying where they have wandered.

James P. Howard Eau Claire. WI

Send your comments, compliments, complaints and corrections to: Editor, AMERICAN WOODWORKER. 33 E. Minor St., Emmaus, PA 18098.

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Chair of a Different Color

Ql plan to make a chair a)id dye

• different parts of it different colors. For example, the amis will he red, one leg blue, another green. I want to color them with aniline dye. Would it be best to dye the pieces before or after I glue the chair together?

Mary Polk Lexington. KY

A I would dye all the parts first

• and then glue them together. This will give you very sharp divisions between adjoining colors without having to protect one color from another with masking tape while staining. Since you've put the color in the wood before gluing up, you will avoid the common problem of light spots around the joints where glue seepage has prevented stain penetration.

To know when a dve or stain can w be applied before assembly without weakening the glue bonds, you must know how that dye or stain is made. If it is dissolved in a solvent such as water, alcohol or lacquer thinner, it won't have any effect on the glue bond —even if some of it inadvertently gets into the mortises or onto the tenons.

On the other hand, if the dye or stain has a binder such as linseed oil added to it to help the color adhere to the wood, take great care and avoid getting any of the stain on the glue surfaces. The binder partially seals the pores and keeps glue from penetrating and bonding.

If you are using a water-base dye and some glue does squeeze out, don't wash the glue off with water since water also will remove some of the dve. Wait until the glue is dry and carefully chisel off the excess glue. Then apply the finish.

Bob Flexner

Furniture Restorer and Author

Norman. OK

Big Boards, Small Jointers

Ql haw a 6-inch Powennatic

• jointer. When I want to joint wide boards, I haw to rip them down to 6 in. first, which gets frustrating after a while. Is there a better solution?

Thomas Reller Columbus, OH

A At one time or another, we all • have the same problem. No matter how big your jointer, there is always a board just a little wider.

I solved this problem with a simple jig that, if necessary, trues up the first face on the thickness planer instead of the jointer. I glued and screwed 2 pieces of 7-»-x 12-x60-in. plywood together to form a very stable, flat base. Along one end, I glued and screwed a stop, countersinking all the screws.

feed jig Into thickness planer.

To joint a board, place it on the base with one end against the stop. Shim the board to keep it from rocking and send the whole thing through the thickness planer, stop end first. The stop will keep the infeed rollers from pushing the board through ahead of the jig. I've never had the jig kick back out of the jointer, but I always stand to the side of the machine just in case.

Take several light passes. Once the first side is flat, you can put aside the jig, turn the board over and continue milling.

Greg Johnson

Custom Wood Finisher Newton. MA

Scroll-Saw Puzzle

QI'd like to make some jigsaw

• picture puzzles for presents with my scroll saw. Can you suggest the best wxxjd to use as a base, the best glue and best finish?

C. Grant li.ckhardt Atlanta, GA

A For a quality jigsaw puzzle,

• the base should be '/«-, or '/•»-in. cabinet-grade plywood. Avoid the construction grades as they often have uneven surfaces, internal voids, and tend not to cut cleanly. Plywood with a poplar facing is my favorite; birch and maple facings are also good. For pieces of 1 or 2 square in., 3/i6-in. plywood is the best thickness.

Sand the plywood lightly before attaching the paper. Wallpaper paste powder is a good adhesive. I buy my paste from a paint or wallpaper supplier and apply it with a brush. There is such a variety of papers, pastes, and sizing requirements that I would experiment before gluing down a valuable print. Keep everything clean and dust free; press the print down with a hard-rubber roller.

Some adhesives may cause the plywood to warp. This probably won't be a problem in the finished puzzle but may prove to be a nuisance while cutting out the pieces. This distortion often can be avoided by gluing a sheet of similar, plain paper to the backside of the wood with the same paste.

Once the adhesive is thoroughly dry, protect the picture with several spray coats of artist's fixative. If rough handling is anticipated, follow by spraying on a coat or two of urethane varnish. Apply the same protective coating to the back.

When cutting out the parts, have a clear plan of each cut in your mind but don't draw the pattern of cuts

Shim board to prevent It from rocking in

due and screw two pieces of'/«" plywood together to form base.

on the picture—it's difficult to saw right on the lines and even more difficult to completely remove any visible lines. Saw with a new, thin blade and use a backing board to minimize backside whiskering.

If the puzzle is for small children, be cautious about the chemical content of all selected products and don't make the pieces small enough to fit in the mouth.

ALLAN* J. BOARDMAN Aerospace Engineer and Woodworker

Woodland Hills. CA

Shake, Rattle & Roll

QI want to turn ovals on my Delta heavy-duty lathe.

• I'm afraid that even at the slowest speed (340 rpm) the ovals could shake the lathe off its mounts. Should

I put in a D.C. motor with a speed control?

Roland Cortelyou EI wood, NY

A Whenever turning a large diameter or out-of-

• round piece, a slow speed and secure lathe are of utmost importance. Some of the new "custom" lathes have a variable speed that goes down to 1 rpm. This may sound like overkill, but even at this speed, the surface speed on the rim of a large piece is quite high.

You can do several things to steady the lathe. Bolt it to the floor. If the lower portion of the lathe has an empty, enclosed cavity, fill it with sand or put sandbags on the bed. If the lathe is located under a beam, wedge a 4x6 board from the beam to the bed sandwiching the bed between the floor and ceiling.

You may find that steadying the lathe is all you need to do. If not, you will have to slow down the speed at which you turn. Instead of changing the motor, change the pulley on either the motor or the lathe. To cut lathe-speed in half, put a pulley half the diameter of the original on the motor, or double the size of the pulley on the lathe.

Save the old pulley for doing smaller-diameter spindle work, which necessitates higher speeds.

Mark Sfirri Cabinetmaker and Instructor New Hope. PA

Where to Find It

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Small-scale wood-drying kilns are available from EBAC Lumber Drvers, 5789 Parkplaza Ct., Indianapolis. IN 46220.

Got a woodworking question for the experts? Send it to Q&A, AMERICAN WOODWORKER, 33 E. Minor St., Emmaus, PA 18098.

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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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