Tips & Tricks: Issue 97

A smarter way to spray small

I’ve always loved using my HVLP sprayer, except when finishing small projects. That’s because it’s inconvenient and wasteful to mix up small amounts of finish for the large can, which also doesn’t work as well when it’s mostly empty. I was agonizing over this when my 6-year-old granddaughter wandered into my shop sipping from a small 8-oz. water bottle, and I realized the answer was right in front of me. 

I dried out the bottle and drilled a hole in the cap that would create a tight fit for my gun’s siphon tube. Drilling part way through from each side with a brad-point bit created a very neat hole. I filled the bottle with finish, screwed on the top, and inserted the siphon tube. After slipping the bottle into the can and dogging down the lid, I found that the gun worked very well. Even when I tilted it sideways, the finish did not leak out. When done, I simply removed the bottle, sealed it with another cap, and set it aside to wait for the next coat. I didn’t even have to clean out the can. No muss, no fuss. 

—Thomas Moss, Bradenton, Florida

A tall-vise handscrew 

There were times when I used to wish my vise jaws could project above the bench top, which would be helpful when securing workpieces for biscuiting and other operations. I got my wish recently when I realized that all I have to do is clamp a large wooden handscrew into the vise as shown. It sure makes a lot of jobs quicker and easier now. 

—William Purcell, Laurinburg, North Carolina

Tapering boards at the table saw 

I was working on a project that called for tapering long, wide boards, but my commercial tapering jig wasn’t big enough for the job. So to make the cuts, I used a strip of 1/4"-thick plywood to serve as a straightedge guide against the rip fence. After marking out the taper on the workpiece, I tacked the plywood to it, aligning the plywood’s fence-bearing edge parallel to my cutline. At that point, it was a simple matter of ripping to the cutline in the usual fashion. To prevent marring, begin with a workpiece that’s oversized in length, and tack into the excess. Or use double-faced tape. 

—Mark Clement, Phoenix, Arizona

Heavy metal backup

This tip came to mind the other day when I was tacking a strip of loose rattan back onto its table leg. There are times when you need to hammer against something like an upended table leg or a cantilevered chair arm that can’t be laid on the bench for solid support. in those cases, you can bring backup to the piece in the form of another (preferably larger) hammer, small anvil, or any other chunk of heavy metal. It makes a world of difference, and often is the only way to smack the piece sufficiently without breaking it. 

—Charles Fitzenberger, Mobile, Alabama

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