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Wax on, wax off

After its time in front of the camera for issue 180, the Mission bookcase was moved to our display area—props and all. Unfortunately, those props included two maroon candles with nothing between the wax and the wood. Sure enough, the wax from the candle fused with the lacquer finish.


Kevin Boyle, our senior design editor, suggested lacquer thinner, but I didn’t want a reputation as the guy who ruined a perfectly good bookcase by scrubbing off the finish. In the past, I’ve used mineral spirits to remove any wax you couldn’t pop off with a plastic scraper. That’s because mineral spirits will soften wax but its doesn’t damage lacquer. This time, though, a spirits-soaked rag didn’t budge the wax. So I took Kevin’s advice and tried wiping lacquer thinner only on the areas discolored by the wax. After a couple minutes, the wax (and a little of the lacquer finish) wiped off enough to call it good. That left a few pale areas in the Varathane Early American stain, but nothing that couldn’t be touched up. A quick shot of aerosol lacquer to even up the sheen and our bookcase was as good as new. If you ever wonder why you’d want to finish with anything but polyurethane, imagine what would have been involved in removing that wax-damaged finish.

After: no more wax

After: no more wax

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Something old, something new

So, while it was a tough decision to get rid of the old tablesaw and spring for a new one, I’ve decided that I will keep one memento. I’ll be switching out the fence for the Biesemeyer that was attached to the old saw. In most cases, the fence makes the saw, and I think this will be an improvement here. The fence on this saw has a bit of flex in it. To make up for it, they’ve added a rear locking mechanism, but that’s a bit less convenience than I’m accustomed to. Plus it is in the split-rail style that has become popular among the home center set. Great for shipping purposes. Not overly useful for my purposes.

But while I was in the process, I decided to make some repairs on the fence that were nagging at me. The corner of the fence nearest the operator was beginning to delaminate and some of the plywood plys had begun to work loose and splinter away. It was quickly throwing a good fence out of square. Time to replace the fence board.

Tablesaw Fence Board Replacement 1 Read more


As my loyal, loyal readers know (I see you, Dave. Don’t you have a meeting?), the move from the Sooner state saw most of my tools left behind in a defunct dairy bar on my parents’ rambling country estate.  But now that we’ve settled back down into Mortgage-town, the remainder of my tools have managed to make their way into my garage.

First order of business, fix up my neglected old tablesaw. I bought a early-to-mid-80s Craftsman contractor saw at an auction a few years back. Plus, a friend and employer from way back in my construction days was retiring and generously gave me a nearly identical saw. I took the best parts of both saws and came up with Frankensaw:

Old Tablesaw 1 Read more

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