Tips & Tricks: Issue 11

Two Problems - One Answer

THERE HAVE ALWAYS BEEN TWO THINGS  that bothered me about a drill press key. One, if you forget to remove it from the chuck, it’ll be launched like a missile when you start the motor; and, two, when you do remember to remove it from the chuck, there’s no convenient place to store it. I felt there had to be a solution to both problems. What was needed is a storage place for the key that will not permit the motor to run if the key is removed from storage.

My solution was built from parts I had on hand: a microswitch and a 11/2" square by 3" long maple block. The block is drilled lengthwise to accept the handle of the key. Drill through top to bottom, so that dust and wood chips can fall through and not get trapped as they would if it were a blind hole. That hole is centered 1/4" from one face. About halfway down that face (the actual position for the cross-hole is determined by the dimensions of the switch) a 1/2" hole was drilled to intersect the first hole. This is for the switch actuator.

To keep fingers away from the live electrical connection, I fashioned an enclosure from 1/8" Masonite. I attached the holder to the drill press next to the existing on/off toggle switch and I wired the new switch in series with the existing switch. 

— Abe Litman, Lincoln, Neb.

More for Your Money

Having run out of my favorite rust inhibitor, I needed a quick replacement to keep my cast-iron table saw protected. The solution was as close as my second hobby across the garage. The chain wax that I use for my dirt bike was just the fix. It not only works as well or better but it is half the cost for twice as much. It is now the only product I buy.   

—Jay Williams, Shirleysburg, Pa.

Sick of Sticky Situations?

An easy way to remove sticky tape residue from almost anything is by applying aerosol shaving cream to the residue and wiping it off. Works like a charm!  

—Jude Gagner, Bangor, Maine

Sharpen Short Blades With Ease 

Not long ago i was given an old Stanley metal spokeshave by a friend. For a time it worked beautifully (he had sharpened the blade), until the blade became dull. At first I experimented with freehand honing, but because the blade is so short I achieved only mediocre results. Next I set my mind to the task of making a jig that could hold the blade securely in my honing guide. The following is what I came up with.

The body of the jig is a piece of hardwood, 3/16 " thick, as wide as your spokeshave blade (21/8" for me), and about 6" long. At the front a 1" rabbet about half the thickness of the body is cut to hold the blade. Make sure one edge is square, and glue on the square piece of hardwood 3/16 " by 3/16 " and the length of the body, making sure that it is square to the rabbet. Once the glue has dried, clean up the excess glue and drill a hole in the middle of the rabbet. Insert a bolt head down through the hole with a nut and washer. The bolt should be 1/4" in diameter or slightly larger.

To use, put the blade on the step with the bolt through the slot in the blade and square it to the fence. Put the jig in your honing guide or use it freehand. Either way, you’ll receive a square, sharp edge. 

— Isaac Stafstrom, Madison, Wis.

No More Awkward Situations

My partner, a 60-year-old, and I do a lot of wood finishing in houses such as installing vanities. As he is older, he gets frustrated putting in corner brackets underneath the vanity; the brackets keep falling out of his hands due to the awkward position required. This also happens when he is trying to straighten and screw a hook on the wall or attach a hinge to a door and so on.

We solved the problem by putting a small amount of 3M Hi Strength 90 Spray Adhesive contact glue on the bracket, placing it where it is to go and then screwing it on with the use of one hand. No more having things fall. We carry a can of the glue with our tools. This idea makes work twice as easy.    

— Fred Mandel, Dinsmore, Saskatchewan  

Stablilize with Superglue 

Turners have long used thick and thin superGlue to stabilize workpieces, especially bowls. I have found that superglue is also good for stabilizing knots, cracks and flaws in regular milled lumber. I simply fill cracks in lumber and loose knots with regular superglue, and give it a shot of spray-type rapid cure before I begin working with it. I have “saved” quite a few pieces of lumber which might otherwise have been discarded as unworkable.

— Lee Mothershead, San Marino, Calif.

Get A Grip

I FOUND SHARPENING PLANES AND CHISELS  somewhat intimidating and tedious, until I started using a honing guide (mine grips the sides of the blade), and the setting-up jig shown in the figure. The jig helps me to clamp the blade in the guide in a repeatable manner so that the cutting edge projects always the same distance from, and at right angle to, the edge of the guide.  As a result it takes just a few seconds to set up the guide, the bevel is maintained at exactly the same angle every time I sharpen the tool, and thus the least amount of metal needs to be removed to bring the edge to perfection.

The jig is made from three pieces of hardboard. First C is glued to A at right angle to the edge of A. The blade projection  for 30 degree and 25 degree bevels is, on my guide, given on the side of the device.  If in your case you do not have this information, or if you prefer non-standard bevel angles, first clamp the  blade in the guide and adjust it as if you were to sharpen the blade at the required angle, than hold the blade flat against piece A with the guide’s edge butting the edge of A, and glue B to A so that its edge touches the cutting edge.  Of course, separate jigs have to be made for each bevel angle.

To use the jig, hold the plane blade in the jig against the “L” formed by B and C and clamp the guide to the blade so that it touches the edge of A.      

— Frank Penicka, Mount Pearl, Newfoundland 

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