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Right to left feeding of your workpiece on a router table, also known as a conventional cut, is much safer than a left to right climb cut.

It calls for a certain weight, of shellac flakes to a certain volume of liquid alcohol. A V/> pound cut means you add Vh pounds of flakes to one gallon of alcohol.

Obviously, that means you end up with more than a gallon of shellac. For smaller amounts, convert to ounces versus pints. Three ounces of flakes in one pint of alcohol also gives you a pound cut

Michael Dresdner

QI recently purchased oak from a lumber mill that I plan to use for furniture. Some of the wood is more than 12" wide. Should this be ripped into narrower strips to glue up for panels in order to prevent cupping, or is it OK the way it is?

Charles Jacobs Canton, Ohio

A Rip it into narrower pieces, but only when individual boards show signs of cupping. If not, take advantage of the luxury of your wide wood.

Rob Johnstone

QDoes anyone have a handy way of determining what wood leftovers from projects to keep? I find it difficult to part with scraps: I seem to collect them for a year or so, then have a big throwaway party when I find I'm running out of shop space! And, of course, I always part with a piece I can use a week later! Someone else must have solved this problem.

Tony iMzzaretti Andover, Massachusetts

A I save the savoriest of hardwoods, like cherry and mesquite, for the barbecue.

Solid wood strips of just the right width and thickness make nice stir sticks and glue spreaders. I like to build drawers and various sub-structures (webbings, glides, etc.) out of available solid scrap, like I can imagine they did in the olden days.

I usually take it a scrap at a time; if it looks compelling, I'll keep it around. I also have a friend or two and other associates who hit the scrap bin on occasion for art, cabinetry or heating applications. I also find myself diving in there almost daily, looking for some little piece of something. I tend to let some better stuff go into the scrap bin, knowing that it'll get used eventually, for something other than kindling.

I try to save all I can, out of respect for everything.

Frank Grant

QWhen people talk about sanding, they usually start by saying "start with 80-grit, then 120-grit, then 180- or 220-grit." Why can't you just start with 220-grit?

Greg Bennett Portage, Michigan

Alt's a matter of speed and efficiency. Each sanding step has a particular goal, and the idea is to reach that goal as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The first sanding removes tool or machine marks, and 80-grit aluminum oxide paper does that quickly. Then, you must remove the 80-grit marks, and 120-grit does that. From there I go to 180, to remove the 120-grit marks.

Finally, I sand by hand, going with tiie grain, using 180grit garnet paper, which leaves a softer scratch pattern than aluminum oxide.

I suppose you could remove tool marks with 220-grit paper, but my guess is that you'd use up about 16 limes more paper, and time. It would feel a bit like digging a foxhole with a teaspoon.

Michael Dresdner

QI overheard a salesman say a portable table saw needed to be close to the power source, or have a thick extension cord. How does the electricity know what size the cord is, and why is this important?

Chuck Kubin Denver, Colorado

A Electricity flowing through a wire is like water flowing through a pipe: the longer and thinner a wire is, the less power flows through it readily. With a long, thin extension cord, the saw wouldn't get enough juice to perform properly. If used for a prolonged period, the motor would likely overheat and could burn out.

A heavy-duty extension cord might be expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than replacing a motor! How much extension cord is enough? The smaller the American Wire Gauge number, the heavier the wire, and the longer the cord, the heavier it must be to handle the power.

Check the power tool's manual or consult the manufacturer for specific recommendations. And always make sure the cord is properly grounded and plugged into a ground fault interrupt outlet, to prevent a dangerous shock.

Sandor Nagyszalanczy

SOMMERFELP'S TOOLS

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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