Tips & Tricks Issue 69

PVC lathe rack

I found the lathe tool rack in the issue #66 Tricks column interesting, but the sharp-end-up orientation of lathe tools always makes me nervous. For safety, I mount my tools cutting-edge-down within short lengths of PVC pipe. The diameter of the lower length of pipe, which supports the tool, is slightly less than the diameter of the tool’s ferrule. The tool handle sits inside a larger diameter pipe. In those cases where the blade is as wide as the ferrule, the cutting edge rests on a wooden block. I mounted this “rack” on the side of a mobile cabinet that includes a drawer and plenty of storage for drill bits, calipers, and other turning accessories. The unit has served me well for years.

—David Taft, Harpswell, Maine

Ripping knife-edge bevels

Ripping a knife-edge bevel of less than 45° is challenging because you can’t feed the board on-the-flat since the blade won’t tilt that far. Instead, you have to feed it on its edge. Unfortunately, this can be awkward and, because the work exits the blade traveling on the knife edge, it’s subject to damage. In these cases, I use a thick, squarely dressed carrier board to do the job safely and securely. Although you can clamp the workpiece to the carrier board, I prefer the less cumbersome approach of making the workpiece a bit oversized in length, then screwing it to the carrier board at both ends. Afterward, I cut away the screw holes.

—Paul Anthony, senior editor

A better eraser

A typical rubber eraser tends to smear pencil lines on wood and other materials. There’s a much better tool for the job: a plastic eraser. Available at art or office supply stores for a buck or so, it erases pencil lines cleanly without leaving streaks that might lead to other layout errors or finishing problems.
—Aaron Blackwell, Tucson, Arizona

Vise pads for power-tool mounting

It can be difficult to rout or sand small workpieces with portable power tools. In those cases, it’s best to take the work to the tool instead of the other way around. But what do you do if you don’t have a router table or stationary sander? Well, you could construct a custom platform of some sort for your router or sander, but there’s an easier approach. I just cut some appropriately sized pads from 3⁄4"-thick rigid insulation and squeeze the tool in my vise between the pads. The soft, but firm material conforms to the tool, holding it very securely without damaging it. If necessary, knife out any sections on the pads to accommodate large protrusions, and make sure not to block any tool vents.

—Roger Townshend, New Britain, Connecticut

Finishing turntable

When faced with spray-finishing a half-dozen Windsor chairs, I realized that I needed a rotating platform. When I remembered seeing a design for a turntable built around the concept of one pipe slipped inside another, I headed to the hardware store to buy the parts, and found that 3⁄4" ID galvanized pipe can nestle nicely inside 1" ID galvanized pipe. (But double-check, because some pipe diameters vary.) I had one end of each pipe threaded, and bought the appropriate pipe flanges and mounting screws, along with a 3⁄16" × 2" bolt.

Back at the shop, using a scrapwood V-cradle at the drill press, I drilled a row of 7⁄32"-dia. holes through the larger pipe, screwed each pipe flange to a piece of 3⁄4" plywood, and slid the pipes together. Voila! A turntable! To adjust the height for comfortable spraying of smaller pieces, I simply slip the 3⁄16" bolt into the chosen pipe hole, where it serves as a rest for the bottom of the 3⁄4" ID pipe.

—Marlon Rappaport, Newport, Rhode Island

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