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Jim Morgans Wood Profits

Wood Profits by Jim Morgan

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American Woodworker Online

I jusr heard the news about AMERICAN WOODWORKER becoming available through America Online. I'm glad you're taking the steps to bring quality woodworking to the electronic world. l:or more than 30 years I've been a hobbyist woodworker while pursuing a career in computers. The ability to interface with others who share this interest is exciting and should build a strong bond among woodworkers who have access to e-mail. Welcome aboard the c-mail express!

Mike fussy Aussiego n c#aoI .com Wylic, TX

Words on the Workbench

Frank Perry's workbench (AW 442) is a wonderful piece of craftsmanship. I especially like the inlaid measuring tape and outlet strip, which I'm retrofitting on my own bench. However, there are three aspects of his design which you should consider if you plan to build it.

First, although there is nothing wrong with a "nontraditional" top, careful selection of materials is important. Most building-ccntcr-grade plywoods are prone to voids in their inner laminations. One unfortunate hammer blow could create a significant hole instead of merely a ding. Consequently, the top layer of the benchtop should be constructed from void-free ply-wood (such as Baltic birch) or perhaps MDF with plastic laminate.

I also believe that, over the long run, round dog holes will prove less than satisfactory. Vertical pegs won't stay vertical under pressure. If you're going to put the effort into building a high-quality workbench, the time taken to incorporate conventional (square, angled) dog holes will be well spent. Mr. Perry's design could easily be modified to accommodate a traditional dog-hole system.

Last, either Mr. Perry is left-handed or one of the two photographs accompanying the article is backwards. For a right-handed woodworker, the tail vise should be on the right side of the benchtop.

Al Kozakiewicz Niskayuna, NY

Frank Perry is indeed a lefty. but the photo on page 33 if also indeed backwards. Good catch!—Eds.

Frank Perry's workbench is a wonderful and thoughtful item. Frank was inspired by the benches in our shop, where he received an intensive half-year of disability vocational training after an injury ended his truck-driving career. Frank added many details and ideas that arc lacking in our spartan benches. We are very proud of his progress and skills.

John and Carolyn Grew-Sheridan Grew-Sheridan Studio San Francisco, CA

More on Avoiding Blowback

In Issue #42's "Q&A," Tony Viccaro asked about reducing blowback when spraying casework. I like Andy Rae's Suggestion to finish the carcase and its back separately, then install the back; but this isn't always possible.

From my experience as a professional finisher, here are a few more tips. First of all, use a booth if it's at all possible. Even a jerry-built version with an explo-sion-proof fan poked through the wall will help to confine overspray while pulling the finish away from the sprayer.

Second, use a fan behind you. This will encourage the overspray to keep moving away from you. When I'm spraying boxes or carcases, I spray my passes and immediately trigger the gun to blow just air into the box while I position myself to the side so I don't block this air movement.

An HVI.P sprayer helps to some extent, but it's a pretty negligible difference when spraying into an enclosed space. Above all—and even with a superior ventilation setup—don't work without a respirator and eye protection. Many of the toxic components used in finishes enter the mucous membranes.

Pat O'Daly El Verano, CA

Dado Correction

In our Buyer's Guide to carbide stack dado sets (AW #42), the chart specifications for CMT's 108-240X dado set were incorrect. This set has six chippcr blades (not four, as listed in the chart), with four (not two) teeth per chippcr.

Machine-Made Edges

I'll have to agree with Lonnic Bird in his reply to William Velich ("Fetters," AW #42). While the hand plane might have been the tool of choice when attacking a crooked edge in the 19th century (and earlier), in light of contemporary technology. the generally preferred method calls for the jointer. To tout the hand plane as superior simply because one has an expertise with that tool is self-congratulatory and atavistic.

I've used jointers to straighten crooked edges for the past 35 years and I've taught my students to do the same. Jointers are efficient and accurate. Depending on the length of the board, we've used either powerful stationary machines or the lighter-duty portable variety. Lonnie Bird's instruction coincides with my own.

Bernic Maas Professor of Art) Edinboro Univ. of PA

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