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AMFKICAN WOODWOK K t K A DECEMBER 1 «> ') b co use a topcoat finish, such as an oil-based varnish or polyurethane. Apply one light coat as a sealer so the finish will be less likely to penetrate.

One more tip: When purchasing pecl-and-stick veneer, inspect the protective backing sheet. Bubbles in the sheet may indicate dricd-out or insufficient adhesive in that spot. The best thing to do is return the sheet for a new one.

Sal Marino Technical consultant Conscantine's New York, NY

Carbide Cleaners

Someone told me that using oven clcancr to clcan carbidc saw blades isn't a good idea. Why not?

Oscar Glynn Austin, TX

O There has always been debate in the woodworking and sharpening communities regarding the use of oven cleaner to remove pitch and gum residue found around carbidc teeth. Sodium hydroxide (lye) in oven clcancr has been found to react with the cobalt binder that holds the carbidc particles together. Therefore, cobalt-stripped grains of tungsten carbidc will erode more rapidly, and the cutting edge will dull.

However, I have not found sodium hydroxide to appreciably damage cither the carbidc teeth or the binder. By comparison, a blade has more carbide loss due to corrosion created from cutting MDF or particleboard.

Sodium hydroxide is effective, but it is also extremely caustic—it will burn you. Be sure to wear rubber gloves, an apron and safety goggles when using oven clcancr. A safer method, which 1 prefer, is to scrub the teeth with dishwashing soap solution and a nylon-bristle toothbrush.

Matt Ver Stccg Professional sharpener and blade designer Des Moines, IA

WHERE TO FIND IT Small pieces (up to 15 in. by 72 in.) of Corian are available from Art Specialties, Box 215, Depew, NY 14043, (800) 724-1002. A catalog and a booklet, "How to Work with Corian/ are available by request.

Synthetic ivory, mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell for turnings and inlay are available from Woodcraft Supply, Box 1686, Parkersburg, WV 26102-1686, (800) 225-1153.

Hot-melt adhesive in 24-in.-wide sheets for veneering is available from The Woodworkers' Store, 21801 Industrial Blvd., Rogers, MN 55374-9514, (800)279-4441.

Leather belting for vintage machinery is available from Sutherland Leather & Felt Co, Inc., 2963-W Industrial Row, Troy, Ml 48084, (810) 280-0450.

Miniature Router Bit Set

i A mana's unique set of miniature router ■ I t, iVbits is comprised of 12 useful shapes, • ft I all carbide-tipped for extra long life. V- 11 Designed lo meet the needs of doll house enthusiasts, model makers. ^tfjSA* architects and professionals, they are fy ideal for producing a wide variety of small-scale mouldings. Available individually, handsome wood storage box.

All of our miniature router bits are IJ^j furnished with 1/4" diameter shanks and work equally well in any router or trimmer with III nil a 1/4" collet.

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CIRCLE WO 15 ON PBOOUCT INFORMAT K)N FORM 18 AMERICAN WOODWORKER A DECEMBER 1996

Imperfect Plane

©I just picked up a Stanley Bailey No. 4 hand plane at a flea market. Ic appears to be in very good condition in ever)' respect. However, stamped into the side of the body is the word "imperfect." I assume ic camc from the factory this way, but for the life of me, I can't figure out why.

What kinds of defects were allowed in planes sold with this stamp?

Scott Braun New York. NY

OTool inspectors used to be very picky. Anything less than a top-grade tool received the "imperfect* or "second" mark. Some planes were marked down for the hardness of their soles, minor voids in the casting, or for frogs that did not seat parallel to the throat. Many failed for cosmetic reasons—nicks and dents that could happen naturally in any workshop over the years. Rarely do these imperfections seriously affect the usefulness of the tool.

To some collectors, an imperfect tool can be worth more than a perfect one. If you are lucky enough to find one still in the original box, you're better off selling it and using the proceeds to pick up a better tool.

John Walter Editor

The Stanley Tool Collector News Marietta, OH

Cure for Stalling Saw

My l*/2-HP contractor's tablesaw stalls frequently when I do a lot of ripping. I realize chat it's less powerful chan a cabinecmaker's saw, buc shouldn't I be able co rip V4-in. oak?

Dr. David Miller Rutland, VT

O Ripping does require more power chan crosscuccing, but still, ic shouldn'c consisccntly stall the motor. First, make sure the splitter is lined up co prevent the kerf from closing in on the blade. Next, cry using a chin-kerf blade. These chinner blades remove less waste and therefore require less horsepower. If the motor scill stalls, try raising the blade '/4 in. higher than normal. Fewer teeth in the wood will make for a slightly rougher cut, but your saw will be less likely to bog down bccause of the reduced friction.

When I was still using a contractor's saw, I replaced the arbor and drive pulleys with machined cwin-belc pulleys. The twin-belt system transferred the power from the motor to the arbor more efficiently. It also made for a smoother-running saw.

Lonnie Bird AW contributing editor Rio Grande, OH

WOODWORKING QUESTIONS?

Send them to: "Q&A," American Woodworker, 33 E. Minor St., Emmaus, PA 18098. Or e-mail them to: [email protected]

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