Tips & Tricks: Issue 2

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This article is from Issue 1 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Coming Unglued

Here’s a little tool I use to remove excessive glue from joints that has worked quite effectively for me. You simply cut the end of a plastic drinking straw at an angle, then pinch the point together slightly to make it easier to reach the bottom of the joint. Push the angled tip of the straw along the bottom corner of the joint to scoop up the excess glue. Once the glue dries you can usually just push it right out of the straw; if not, just cut off the end again. 

— David Lykins, Marietta, Ga.

No-Marks Faceplate 

To prevent marring of workpieces when using faceplates on the lathe, use a bit of hot melt glue to attach wood false faceplates to bowls and plates for turning. The false faceplate can be removed from the workpiece more easily and cleanly if you place the two in the freezer for 30 minutes. If some glue still adheres to the turned project, it is easy to remove with a little mineral spirits or paint thinner. It also comes off more cleanly if the bottom of the turning has been fine-sanded. 

— John Williams, Kingston, Ontario

Hang It All

Between protecting my workbench from glue spills and putting pieces between clamps and wood, I use a fair amount of waxed paper in the shop. To keep it handy, I cut a heavy plastic clothes hanger and slip on a roll of waxed paper. It now hangs on the tool board above my workbench where I can tear off just as much as I need. 

— R.B. Himes, Vienna, Ohio

A Boy and his Dogwood

What do you do with that dogwood tree “scrub” in the front yard that has to come down for one reason or another? Even a mature dogwood is generally too small to yield any usable lumber. However, dogwood is a very hard wood that turns cleanly on the lathe and comes out silky-smooth. My answer is to save the trunk and large branches to turn wooden mallets (heads and handles) along with bench chisel handles. Why not make a set of premium turning or carving tools all with dogwood handles? Guaranteed they would look beautiful and work great. 

— Don Guillard, contributing editor

Caliper Gauge Block

Since most of my woodworking involves the lathe, I was constantly setting up my calipers to different dimensions using a ruler. This was always time-consuming and it was easy to make mistakes. To speed the process, I made this simple gauge from a piece of 3/4" scrap hardwood with incremental steps matching my most commonly used dimensions. Mounted to one of the support legs of my lathe, it takes only a moment to set the calipers perfectly every time. 

You can make your gauge any size you want, with as many steps and dimensions as you need. Depending on how you mount it, mark the steps either vertically or horizontally to make the measurements easy to read. Initially, you’ll need to measure very carefully when making the gauge to give you the highest accuracy possible, but you’ll only need to make those measurements once. 

— Carl Lepley, Fort Worth, Texas


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