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A Generally, a mortising attach-• ment mounts on the quill (the part of the drill press that moves up and down) right above the chuck. The attachment's housing extends about 2'/: in. below the drill's chuck. The hollow mortising chisel is inserted in a hole in the bottom of this housing. The drill bit for the mortising attachment extends through the hollow chisel, up into the chuck.

You can use the drill press for regular drilling by removing the hollow chisel and bit from the housing, inserting a drill bit up through the hole in the housing and into the chuck. But the useable length of the drill will be shortened by about 2'/j in. and its shank diameter limited to just under 5/«-in. (the diameter of the hole in the housing). Most small bits and hole saws are too short to use with the housing on the drill press.

On my drill press, I try to leave the mortising attachment on most of the time so I can set up for mortising easily. But for drilling small holes, I just have to remove it.

Ben Erickson Custom furniture maker Eutaw, AL

Source for Moulding Planes

QVm interested in 18th-century • furniture reproduction and prefer to use hand tools whenewr I can. Wiere can I obtain reproductions of old wooden moidding planes?

ROBERT A. WILTSHIRE II East Aurora, NY

A Using a well-tuned moulding • plane is one of woodworking's most pleasurable experiences. You can shape a dozen feet of handmade moulding in the time it would take to set up a router or shaper. I'm not aware of any company now producing moulding planes, but if you're just looking for one or two. you can have them custom made by Stuart Worthing, P.O. Box 834, York, ME 03911, 207-439-5486. He charges anywhere from $200 to $600 for each plane, depending on the profile.

Otherwise you can still buy old moulding planes for reasonable prices at auctions, antique shops and old tool dealers around the countrv.

The trick is to get your name on the mailing lists of auctioneers and old tool dealers, so they'll keep you informed of their inventory. The quickest way to find these people is to join Earlv American Industries Associa-tion, Box 2128, Empire State Plaza Station. Albany. NY 12220. EAIA's newsletter, "Shavings." lists upcoming auctions as well as tool dealers

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who have published catalogs. Reputable dealers grade old tools with a system developed by Fine Tool Journal. If you buy only planes graded "New" or "Fine," you will not have to recondition them. In my view, however, reconditioning an old tool is the best way to become familiar with it and to learn how it works.

MIKE DUNBAR Contributing Editor Portsmouth. NH

Natural vs. Synthetic Brushes

Q1W been told that oil-based • paints and varnishes should be applied only with a natural bristle brush. At the hardwxire store I found polyester bristle brushes that say "for all paints." Will these brushes uvrk as iveil as the more expensive natural bristle brushes?

ROSCOE MILLER Pawtucket, Rl

A Probably not. But both types of t brushes vary in quality. The bristles used in the best natural bristle brushes come from Chinese hogs, and they can't be beat for use with solvent-based varnish or enamel paint. But the best polyester or nylon bristle brushes can produce excellent results with solvent-based products.

I doubt that you're looking at the best quality synthetic bristle brushes if they're less expensive than the natural China bristle brushes. Top-of-the-line synthetic brushes cost about 50% more than the best natural bristle brushes. Here's how to determine if the synthetic brush is top quality. First, the bristles should be tapered—thicker at the top near the metal ferrule than they are at the tip. Second, the tips should be flagged (split), just as they arc on the natural China bristles. This allows the brush to carrv more material and aids in achieving a smooth finish. If the bristles are not tapered and are cut off flat at the tip, the brush will prob ably cost less; but it won't perform nearly as well as the tapered and flagged China bristle bushes.

BOB FLEXNER Rcfinishing Consultant Norman. OK

Where To Find It

Natural cane In a wide variety of strands and webbing for chairs, baskets and other projects is available from Frank's Cane & Rush Supply, 7252 Heil Ave., Huntington Beach, CA 92647.

Musical instrument fret rules, with fret scales etched in black on steel rule to simplify fret layout for guitars and banjos, is available from Frog Tool Co., Ltd., P.O. Box 8325, Chicago, IL 60680.

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

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The affordable new line of quality Bench Top Tools from Dremel. Ask for them where you buy tools.

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Micro-Adjustable Stop Block

A bolt screwed into a snug (but not tight) hole in a block of wood becomes a finely-adjustable stop block with the added advantage that debris doesn't accumulate in front of the block.

Trebor Narom Onalcd. NM

Custom Contoured Cabinet Scrapers

A router bit can clean up after itself. After I rout a moulding, I use the same bit as a miniature hand scraper to clean up burns or other minor imperfections.

Daniel c. Urbanik Washington, PA

Quick 'N Easy Spring Clamps

Saw 2- or 3-in. dia. PVC pipe into rings an inch or so wide and saw them open. They'll provide about eight pounds of pressure when opened about an inch. They may not be as convenient as one-handed spring clamps, but since you'll get more than a hundred of them from a ten-foot length of PVC pipe, at least the price is right.

TQM WHALEN Cohocs. NY

Citronclla candles, available from hardware stores, repel all types of flying insects. Use them to keep gnats and such out of freshly-applied finishes during the buggy time of year.

TIM MUZIC Fountain Valley, CA

Spin-Polish

You can sand (wire-brush, buff) small round objects like knobs by mounting them on a slightly loose-fitting dowel or rod and letting the tool spin them as it does its sanding. Adjust the angle between the rod and the tool to get the amount of spin and abrasion that you want. A piece of tubing over the rod will help to keep the knob from running off the end.

RUSSELL FIELD Federal Way. WA

use a gauge block, positioned well before the blade, so the cut-off piece poses no danger of becoming jammed between the saw blade and the rip fence.

TQM MOORE Madison. VA

Know a fatter way of doing something? Designed a clewr jig? Send your woodworking tips, along with a sketch or a snapshot to: Tech Tips, AMERICAN WOODWORKER, 33 E. Minor St., Emtnaus, PA 18098. We'll pay you &35 if \w publish your tip.

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