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T(April F)ool news: New abrasive changes grits while you sand

We all tolerate it, but nobody actually *enjoys* sanding projects: Sand the whole project to 100 grit, then to 120, then to 150, then to 180, then to 220, and finally to 240. That’s six changes of paper for every project, leaving a weekend woodworker little time for golf.

No more.

SandTrap, Inc. just introduced a new type of abrasive called “VariGrit” that lets you use only one sheet (or disc) of sandpaper to smooth your entire project from coarse to fine. How does it work? Read more

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Finding a link between woodworking and motorcycles

During my vacation last week I had a chance to visit the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, AL. So what does that have to do with woodworking? Glad you asked.

Advanced materials used in today’s motorcycles, such as carbon fiber, titanium, and sophisticated metal alloys, weren’t known in the early days of motorcycling. So many times parts were made of wood. Like this wheel rim:

Wood rim

Wood rim

What does it take to make a perfectly round rim like that? Read more

Wood Movement Experiment, Part Deux

The boards arrived a couple of days after my last post and I immediately measured them with a digital calipers. I recorded the thickness at each of the four corners of each board. I also charted the width of each board at four locations: across the top face and bottom face at both ends. Finally, I noted the length of each board at each edge on both the front and back face. Read more

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The Great Wood Movement Experiment

Couple of weeks ago, I was talking a little shop with Tom Iovino of Tom’s Workbench (and an active blogger here at woodmagazine.com) when the subject of seasonal wood movement came up. It’s kind of a key concept because project parts change size as they absorb and release moisture as the seasons change. Fit a solid-wood part perfectly into a dado in the winter when the shop air is relatively dry, and come summer, when the humidity kicks up a notch, that part may swell enough to blow the joint apart. It usually happens so slowly, though, it’s hard for some folks to grasp. Read more

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The coffee timer finds a purpose!

You may remember this post where I showed how I recycled a coffee timer for use in the shop, and the subsequent post where I described its shortcoming: shutting off after 2 hours. Well, it finally dawned on me this weekend how to make that shortcoming a positive. I plugged the batttery charger for my cordless tools into the timer! After charging the battery, it shuts off automatically after 2 hours, preventing overcharging, and eliminating some of my vampire electric consumption.


Proper Motivation

I’ve mentioned in the past how I have “completion issues” sometimes when it comes to projects. I’ll get 90% of the job done, then lose interest.

We’ve been in our “new” house for almost 11 years now. The people who built the house didn’t put any cable TV or phone jacks in the upstairs bedrooms, which I thought was going to be a major nuisance when our kids got computers in their rooms. Of course, that was in the old dial-up modem days, so it turned out to be a non-issue Read more

The coffee timer in action

In my last post I outlined the on/off switch I made from an old coffee timer. Last weekend, I had a chance to try it out. It fulfills its intended purpose, providing an easy-to-reach on/off switch, perfectly. And there’s the benefit of having an easy-to-read digital clock in the shop.

There was one thing I did not anticipate, however. After 2 hours, it automatically shuts off. A smart function for a coffee pot. Not so much for the stereo. So I’ve taken to just plugging and unplugging the stereo directly from the wall receptacle.  And the timer? It will serve nicely as a clock until something presents itself that needs to shut off after 2 hours. Air compressor perhaps?


Maybe I’ve had too much coffee

One of the final loose ends in my shop reorganization was finding a place for the stereo. It’s three stacked components, an old garage-sale find, but it works and allows me to plug in my iPod. The only suitable spot I could find was on top of my wall cabinets. I can j-u-s-t reach the volume control, but not the power switch. So I decided I needed an on/off switch that was easier to reach. Hmmm, how to do this creatively without spending any money? Digging through my junk drawer produced a switch and timer salvaged from an old coffee maker (see, I knew I’d find a use for it), and a female replacement plug for an electrical cord. The scrap bin yielded some mahogany. After milling the lumber to size, cutting box joints, and mounting the electronics, here’s what I had. Read more

More Bad Translations From Tool Companies

Here are some more bad translations about oscillating spindle sanders from a Web site. (I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks–it’s actually hard to write this poorly. I should know!)

This, regarding Jet’s JBOS5:

“JET’s fixed end in opposition to this instrument was to plan the charles herbert best spindle sander on the Read more

Translation, Please? Pretty Please??

Like it or not, we live in a global economy, and with very few exceptions, the power tools you and I use every day are made in some country where they speak a language other than English. For example, engineers in a machinery plant in China may first write the owner’s manual for a tablesaw in Chinese, then someone has to translate it into English before it gets shipped over here. The translation doesn’t always go smoothly—it’s like those people have a different word for EVERYTHING! (I’ve heard a couple of manufacturers refer to the broken English as “Chinglish.”) Read more

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