Hln One Adjustable System

Adjust this collar for screw length

Adjust this collar for countersink depth

Adjust this collar for screw length

Adjust this collar for countersink depth

You'll find a number of all-in-one countersink systems available. These offer you the ability to drill, countersink, and counterbore in one quick and easy operation. That way, you don't have to take time to make a lot of bit changes.

The countersink is attached to the body of the drill bit and is usually held in place with a couple of hex-socket screws. This makes it easy to adjust the drill depth so only one countersink and bit is required for many screw lengths.

Most of these systems come with tapered bits. But some will allow you to swap out the tapered bits for straight bits for use with many of the newer screw types.

A few systems, like the Fuller Type C Countersink you see in the photo at right, allow you to also adjust the depth of the counterbore. An adjustable stop collar around the countersink is used to make this adjustment (illustration at left).

These systems can be a real time saver when you need to countersink a lot of screws or make adjustments for different depths and screw sizes.

screw sizes.

Single cutting flute

Large taper allows wide range of hole sizes to be made

Single cutting flute

Large taper allows wide range of hole sizes to be made

▲ Single-Fluted. A single cutting edge or flute removes material as the bit rotates.

▲ Single-Fluted. A single cutting edge or flute removes material as the bit rotates.

Multiple cutting edges cut faster and prolong the bit

A Multi-Fluted. Multiple cutting flutes on the bit scrapes away the material.

Small taper sized specifically to size of screw

Small Adjustable Platform

Thin sharp hole edge makes a smooth clean cut

Zero-Fluted. A single hole through the bit acts as the cutting edge.

A Multi-Fluted. Multiple cutting flutes on the bit scrapes away the material.

Small taper sized specifically to size of screw

Thin sharp hole edge makes a smooth clean cut

Zero-Fluted. A single hole through the bit acts as the cutting edge.

The first step to an efficient shop is choosing the best location for your workbench.

small shop solutions perfect placement

Workbench Location

Aside from the table saw, I don't think there's a more important "tool" in my shop than my workbench. Sometimes I use it during each step of construction on a project and other times only for layout or assembly. But it's pretty safe to say that every project that comes out of my shop passes across my workbench at some point. And that's why deciding where to put

Ample space is provided at both ends of bench b et a g a^tt

Locate bench near wall outlet for convenience

Wall cabinet provides tool storage

Locating bench against a wall opens up floor space in the center of the shop

your workbench is something that deserves a little thought, particularly if you have a small shop.

TWO CHOICES

When you get right down to it, there are really only two choices when it comes to locating a workbench — either against the wall or out in the middle of the shop. Which of these locations you choose has a lot do with the way you use your workbench.

AGAINST THE WALL. For many woodworkers, a workbench serves as a "staging area" for setting out parts while using the table saw or other pieces of shop equipment. For woodworkers like this,

Add light fixtures near bench if necessary accessibility to the workbench may not be as important as having the bench close to your major power tools. If this is the case, you may be able to locate the bench against a wall. Take a look at the sample floor plan drawing at left to get an idea of some of the benefits of locating your workbench against a wall.

FRONT I CENTER. On the other hand, some woodworkers see their workbenches as more than just shop furniture. It's a tool in itself. It can be used to hold a workpiece while sawing, planing, or working on joinery. If you use hand tools regularly or do a lot of hand-cut joinery, you may want to give your workbench a place right in the center of the shop. This way, you can have easy access to the bench from all four sides, which is great advantage when it comes to assembling a project. The sample floor plan on the opposite page shows some of the advantages of this type of layout.

OTHER FACTORS

Regardless of whether you decide to place your bench against a wall or in the middle of the shop, there are some other factors youU need to consider as well. To get the most out of your workbench, you have to think about things like lighting, electrical outlets, and tool storage.

LIGHTING. Adequate lighting is probably one of the biggest considerations when it comes to choosing where to put your bench. It's hard to beat natural light, which is why I like to locate my bench near a window if possible. If the window is behind the bench or to one side, you don't have to worry about creating shadows across your work.

Of course, if your shop is in a basement, or if you do most of your woodworking in the evening, youU need artificial lighting. As with Locating nL natural lighting, you your bench want to make under a sure that window offers plenty of natural k It's hard to beat natural lighting in a shop — if you're lucky enough to have a window. Most of us have to rely on overhead light fixtures. But make sure that you locate the fixtures so that you don't block the light when standing at your bench.

Overhead Electrical Drop Cords

Tool cabinet

Use extension cords or drop cord to bring power to bench

Central location usually offers more even lighting

Use extension cords or drop cord to bring power to bench

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Freestanding cabinet _ y provides tool storage

Locating bench in center of shop allows you to use bench from all four sides lights are located so that you don't create shadows across your work as you stand at the bench. This may mean that you'll have to add some additional overhead light fixures or make use of lamps for task lighting.

POWER. I do a lot of sanding and routing at my bench, so having a few electrical outlets handy is important. If you're choosing a place along the wall for your bench, you can make life a lot easier if you select a spot near an outlet. This way, you won't have to walk across the shop every time you want to plug in a tool.

If you plan on locating your bench in the middle of the shop, finding a spot near an outlet is more of a problem. Unless you want to do some rewiring, you will probably have to rely on extension cords. These can be suspended overhead to keep them out of the way.

TOOL STORAGE. Unless your bench has built-in storage in the base, another major factor when selecting a bench location is where to keep your tools. A common arrangement in many shops is to position the workbench against a wall and then mount a tool cabinet on the wall right above the bench. This is convenient because all your tools are within easy reach. But the downside is that the tool cabinet can get in the way. And if you have a deep workbench (over 24"), it can be a stretch to reach a hanging tool cabinet.

Tool cabinet

Locating your bench in the center of your shop gives you more flexibility when dealing with long workpieces

With a bench located in the center of the shop, your tool storage options are even more limited. You can store tools in a wall cabinet, or you can build a short tool cabinet to place next to your bench.

Although choosing a location for your workbench is one of the most important decisions you'll make when setting up your shop, the good news is that it's not a permanent one. If the first location doesn't work out, you can always rearrange things and try a different spot. □

A hand-rubbed, high-gloss finish can make a project look like a million bucks. And best of all, it's easy if you know the right techniques.

There's nothing quite like the look of a polished, high-gloss finish on the right project. It brings out all the depth and beauty of the wood and lets it shine. It's like you're looking at the wood through a sheet of glass.

IH admit right off the bat that a rubbed-out, high-gloss finish isn't one that I use often. But on a special project — a tabletop, a small box, maybe a mirror frame it can make the ordinary, extraordinary.

Sure, a high-gloss finish is going to take more time and effort than most other finishes. But there's really nothing difficult or tricky about the process. The key is simply to relax, take your time, and follow the steps. The results are almost guaranteed.

A QUICK LOOK. The mirror-like sheen you're shooting for is the result of a multi-step process. First, you build up a thick film of finish by brushing on multiple coats — as many as eight. This thick layer of finish is then sanded until it's per-fectiy flat and smooth, but without any gloss. Finally, you bring the gloss back by polishing the flattened surface with finer and finer abrasive compounds. It's really just about as simple as it sounds.

GETTING STARTED. The finishing process starts about the same as any other. But here, I'm maybe just a little pickier with my surface preparation. You want to keep in mind that the smoother and flatter the surface you start with, the easier it will be to create a perfectly flat film to polish. So I sand the surface to 220-grit and then I'm careful to soften all the sharp edges and corners. This will keep you from sanding or rubbing through the finish later on.

FIRST STEPS. Once you're satisfied with the surface, there are a couple things you might need to do before you start applying finish. Naturally, if you're going to stain the work-piece, now is the time to do it. Any stain that's compatible with the finish you plan to use will be fine.

And if you're working with an open-pored wood like mahogany or walnut, you may want to take the extra step of applying a paste-type pore filler. This simply allows you to build up a smooth, flat film for polishing with fewer coats of finish. You'll find the details in the box on the following page.

CHOOSE A FINISH. Now before you can start building a finish, you have a decision to make, which type? The two traditional finishes used to create a high gloss look are varnish and lacquer. You can get great results with either, but there are some significant differences that you'll want to know about.

Multiple Coats. As you apply coat after coat sanding between each, you build a thick film of finish that gradually lies flatter and flatter on the surface.

Coats of finish

Sanding between will begin to even out finish

If you read through the box at right, you'll have a good idea of the differences between them. But I want to make special mention of one very important difference.

ONE LAYER. When you apply lacquer, each successive coat "melts" into the one before it. So in the end, you basically have one thick coat of lacquer on which to sand and polish.

MANY COATS. With a varnish, each coat simply lies on top of the previous coat. So sanding between coats is a must to get good adhesion. But a problem with varnish can lie in the final sanding and rubbing. If you rub through the final coat to the one beneath, you'll expose a faint joint line (called a witness line). The solution is to apply a flat film that won't require too much sanding to flatten. And with varnish, this isn't difficult.

I've used both finishes and had great results. In the end, your choice comes down to which type you feel more comfortable with. I think lacquer gets the job done a little quicker, but varnish probably takes a little less work. One last thing. If you choose varnish, buy a good-quality, interior type with a high resin con tent. The Behleri brand shown at right is my first choice (see sources).

A THICK FILM. Building the finish is a pretty straightforward process. Your goal is a film thick enough to sand flat and then polish without fear of rubbing through.

At this point, I just settle into a routine. I carefully brush on a coat of finish, let it dry completely, sand a bit, and apply the next coat. A good-quality brush and good technique will result in a flatter finish and save you work later.

Even with lacquer, I like to sand lightly between coats with 320-grit sandpaper. This flattens the surface a bit after each coat allowing you to judge your progress toward a thick, relatively flat film.

As each coat is applied, the finish will lie smoother and flatter, as shown in the drawing above. But even after the final coat is applied, the finish won't lie perfectly flat.

The trick is to judge when you've built up enough finish. Four or five coats of varnish will usually do the job. With lacquer, you might need seven or eight. After curing for several days, the finish is ready to rub.

Two Good Choices

Before you choose whether to go with lacquer or varnish, it helps to know the pros and cons of each.

I like the fast-drying property of lacquer. This lets you apply as many as three coats in a day. But since it tacks up and dries quickly, it can be tricky to apply without leaving brush marks. And it builds slowly, so you'll have to apply more coats.

On the other hand, a slower-drying varnish flows out and leaves a smoother surface. It builds faster, so fewer coats are necessary. But the slow drying time means one coat a day is the best you can do. And there's more time for dust to settle in the finish.

Lacquer

Pros:

• Dries within a few hours allowing several coats a day.

• Multiple coats create one thick film.

Cons:

• Can be difficult to apply without brush marks.

• Thin coats build slowly.

Varnish

Pros:

• Brushes easily and flows out smoothly.

• Requires fewer coats to build a thick film.

Cons:

• Dries slowly, only one coat a day is possible.

. It looks like a messy job, but you'll find that applying pore filler can really be a big help with some woods. You'll end up with a much flatter finish in less time and save yourself some work.

Shop Tip: Pore Filler

. It looks like a messy job, but you'll find that applying pore filler can really be a big help with some woods. You'll end up with a much flatter finish in less time and save yourself some work.

The mahogany tabletop you see in the large photo at left has thousands of open pores on its surface. This makes applying a nice, flat layer of finish on which to polish a challenge. The wet finish settles into the pores and leaves a "dimpled" look on the surface. The simple answer is to level the surface with a paste-type pore filler before you start applying the finish.

A pore filler comes as a thick paste. The pre-tinted variety reminds me a little bit of a gel stain, only thicker and stiffen You'll find that it's pretty easy to use, but there are a couple of tricks you need to know.

Pore filler dries fast, so I work small areas. Wipe or brush the filler on, forcing it into the pores (photo at right). Let it sit for only a couple minutes before removing the excess. First, wipe across the grain. Finish up by wiping with the grain. Try to work fast before the filler becomes too stiff. You don't want the filler to "muddy" the surface. I give it a good 24 hours to dry and then apply a thin coat of shellac to seal in the filler.

A Once you've laid down a thick film of finish, it only takes a small amount of elbow grease to level it. The three ingredients you'll need are wet-or-dry sandpaper, a padded sanding block, and plenty of mineral spirits.

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