Tips & Tricks: Issue 21

Put glue materials within easy reach

For small glue jobs, I made this handy support to store my glue, glue brushes, and water. Storing the bottle upside down ensures that the glue is always ready at the first squeeze. 

The scrapwood project requires two ¾ x 4 x 9" blocks and one ¾ x 4 x 4½ " piece. To make a 25/8" hole for the spray paint lid water reservoir, I used my scrollsaw and cleaned up the cut with my spindle sander. After gluing the blocks together, I made the two-step hole for the glue. Drill a 1¾"-dia. x 3/4"-deep hole through the top board, and second 1"-dia. x 1¼"-deep hole through the middle and into the bottom block. Finally, I made two  3/8" -dia. x ¾"-deep holes for the glue brushes. Now my glue, glue brushes, and water are all at my fingertips.

—Melvin Rhodes, Jackson, Missouri

Sharpen anywhere with a portable station

Too often my workbench pulls duty for a variety of tasks, forcing me to find another shop location to sharpen my tools. I also teach woodworking classes, taking my hand tools on the road. For both reasons, I needed a portable solution for sharpening with waterstones. 

What I came up with is basic and compact, but it keeps my benchtop clean. It’s just a 7/16 x 12 x 18" polypropylene cutting board with a “juice groove” around the perimeter and two pieces of ¼ x ¼ x 9" UHMW (ultra high molecular weight) plastic attached with ten 6-32 x 5/8" stainless steel flat head machine screws (five screws/strip). The cutting board cost $7.95 at a local discount department store; UHMW plastic is available from specialty woodworking shops.

I drilled through holes, countersunk the underside of the cutting board, and drilled and tapped the UHMW. I spaced the UHMW bars about ¼" farther apart than my longest 8" stone. Actually, my 8" stones vary from 7¾" to 8¼", so for my station I placed the bars 8½" apart. I cut a bunch of cherry wedges of varying thicknesses so I can accommodate all of the stones I currently use. The wedges are placed opposing each other and are used to lock the stones in place. The “juice groove” around the perimeter keeps water off the bench, and the board easily cleans up when I’m done.

I set the whole apparatus on a piece of non-slip shelf liner (which comes in 12" wide rolls), and it really secures everything nicely. I can apply as much pressure as I want and nothing moves. The handle hole makes it easy to pull out from under my bench and can also be used to hang it on the wall.

—Craig Bentzley, Chalfont, Pennsylvania

Grind blades accurately with a narrow strip belt sander

I prefer using my 

1"x 42" sander-grinder to grind plane blades and chisels. My low-tech method provides the same results as a regular-wheeled grinder, minus any expensive attachments. The belt also seems to run cooler than a wheel. This reduces the risk of accidentally overheating the edge and ruining the tool. This method can be easily adapted to fit a disc sander.

Starting with a 1-1 ¼" thick piece of scrap, miter one end to 25˚. Next, adjust the sander’s top so that it’s perfectly perpendicular to the belt. Clamp the block to the table to match your sharpening needs.

To grind a fresh 25˚ bevel, use a square to make sure that the guide block’s edges are perpendicular to the front the table. Alternately, you can rotate the block to match a completely different angle. To do this, simply touch the bevel against your belt before clamping your guide block.

Be aware that grinding does produce some sparks. If you use your sander for wood, be sure to clean out any sawdust before doing any metalwork. 

—Richard J. Libera, Newark, Delaware

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