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Monday, January 31, 2011

Back to woodworking

Even though my garage is still too cold to use for long, I have the well-heated community shop, which will do in a pinch. I made up a batch of mini baskets, using adaptations of larger patterns, just to have some fun. They were more time-consuming that they look, but were a nice break from regular stuff. The coin is a quarter. I don't know if I can make them nickel-sized without using the Hegner, but it might be fun to try.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The kitchen is warmer than the garage

Since it's been too cold to work in the garage, I've been staying warm by baking up a storm. To keep from forgetting how to make and post videos, I decided to shoot a video series on making a cookie that is no longer available. Made by Sunshine, no longer in business, they were called "Golden Fruit Biscuits" or something like that. Hope you enjoy watching, and baking.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Quick Tip, but you have to be careful

If one of your rings looks really rough--lots of burn, bad blade or drill marks--give it a preliminary sanding before you glue it to the other rings. You have maximum access at this stage, but need to be careful not to take off too much wood, especially from the upper and lower gluing surfaces. And if you use a spindle or belt sander to do the clean-up, be extra careful since they sand so aggressively.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Those tricky lower edges, revisited with a square shape

One of the most difficult spots to sand is the inside bottom edge of the lowest ring, since once the base is glued on, there's no way to make corrections.

I've posted information on this topic before, but in case you missed it, here's a picture that shows sanding a square, which is even more demanding than a circle. It's sanded the same way as the circle, but you have to be careful not to sand in curves on the straight sides. If you're making your own patterns, be sure to keep the curves at the corners wide enough to accommodate the sander.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cutting precise angles

While I'm waiting for the weather to warm up a bit so I can get back into the garage without sending my pension check directly to the utilities company, I thought I'd use the time to post some hints that may have slipped through the cracks (in a manner of speaking).

Whether you're making a straight or angled cut, the first step is always to make sure that your saw table and blade are at right angles to each other. I like to use a small engineer's square, and hold it right next to the blade to see if it's parallel. If it's not "spot on", I loosen the knob that sets the angle, and tap the table gently until it's right. You'd be surprised at the precision of this non-technical approach.

Some people make a shallow cut into piece of wood, then see if the back of the blade will fit precisely into the slot. If you do this, use a blade with a very small kerf or you can "fudge" your results. However you determine square, tighten the adjusting knob so it can't slip, and move the gauge, if necessary, so it is set to zero. Sometimes this is done by loosening a screw, other times by moving the label. Now you can use the gauge with some confidence, although a quick check is never a bad idea.

Once you've set the table properly, you can use the saw's gauge, or a magnetic angle gauge, to set the cutting angle. And if you do angle cutting, always reset your table to zero when you've finished. Of course you'll notice large table tilts, but a tilt of 2 or 3 degrees may not be apparent if you're not expecting it, and can really mess up your straight cuts.