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Topic: Workshop Tips
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 1, 2011 01:15AM)
Over the years that we have been posting on this forum, there have been a wealth of wonderful shop tips that make life easier for builders in general, including magic builders. Most of these are scattered among the hundreds of topics in "The Workshop".

I am starting this thread, as a proposal to post your favorite shop tips here. The tips can be anything you know, that maybe you discovered as a way to simplify a job, or simply give better results.

I am also hoping that we can have this thread as a sticky topic... a first for "The Workshop".

To begin, here is my first shop tip...

This may already be common knowledge among woodworkers, but I had never encountered it before and came up with this solution. I actually discovered this earlier tonight when I wanted to rip a long piece of Walnut and found to my dismay that it had a pronounced crook. A crook is a type of warp in which the faces of the board are flat, but it warps in one direction, much like a curved road. (# 1)

It was not going to be possible to cut a straight edge using a rip fence because the direction the wood fed into the blade would change as the curve passed along the fence. The board was considerably longer than the rip fence.

So after thinking about this for a minute, I decided to use sort of a surrogate straight edge. I took a piece of wood that I knew had a nice straight edge and taped it on top of the piece of Walnut. I fastened it over the inside edge of the curve, making sure the near and far ends of the Walnut were flush with the edge of the straight board. The center portion of the Walnut curved away from the straight edge of this surrogate board. (# 2)

With the boards now joined, I was able to make the cut, using the straight edge of the surrogate board against the fence. This cut a nice straight edge on the opposite edge of the Walnut. (# 3)

Once that was done, I detached the surrogate board, as it was no longer needed. The Walnut was flipped over so the newly cut straight edge was against the fence, and the board was run through again, this time being ripped to the width I wanted. (# 4)

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/crookwarpfix.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 1, 2011 12:53PM)
Next shop tip...

Sometimes, you want to sand without a sanding block. It is usually easier to manipulate the sandpaper, if it is folded in halves or quarters providing a thicker "pad" of sandpaper. It can also be beneficial if your fingers are contacting a grit surface, as the texture will make it less prone to slipping.

The problem with folding into quarters is that you will have grit surfaces contacting each other inside the fold. So by the time you get to those fresh surfaces, a lot of the grit has already been worn away through friction. Here is a solution to that problem that will make a piece of sandpaper last a lot longer...

Start with a piece of sandpaper 4X the size of the folded piece you'll want to use. Crease it along the horizontal and vertical centers, as shown. Tear or cut from one side to the center, along one of the fold lines. (# 1)

Lay the paper with the grit side down, and fold as shown in the next three drawings. (#'s 2-4)

Folded in this manner, no two grits surfaces will ever touch each other. As you wear away one panel, just refold so that different surfaces are exposed for use.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/shoptip_sandpaperfold.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Dec 1, 2011 01:34PM)
Michael, Great idea for a thread.

Heres a tip for building boxes. This tip speeds up production, gives you a perfect square lid and box and you end up with the grain matched between the lid and box.

Build a box with all sides top and bottom in place. just make the box 1/8 an inch taller than you want the end box to be. set the blade on the table saw 1/16 lower than the wall thickness of the box. Now set the fence to what you want the lid to be. Use tape on the corners to avoid split out. Now run the box on all four sides to the fence. next trim the lid free from the box with a hand saw and sand or plane off the exess. Even if the box was built out of square the lid fits perfect.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 1, 2011 04:33PM)
Thanks, Gimpy! That's how I make boxes, and the tip on cutting a shallow pass is really good. If the blade is set for too deep a cut, it can really do some damage to the adjacent sides, especially if the blade is even just a hair off 90 degrees.

The idea for tape is also good, and worthy of its own inclusion. So...

Another tip-top tape tip...

Use masking tape on the exit side (the underside) of wood you plan to run through a table saw. This is especially true is you are using thin plywoods, or other wood prone to chip-out and tearing. Even a zero clearance blade insert can benefit from this. It also helps to run the wood through the saw with what will be the visible face up as it passes through the blade. This way, even minor tear-out will end up on the inside of the box. In the case of rabbet joints, as I use, any chipped edges will be buried inside the joint. It can be very difficult to mend chipped outside corners.

Another use for tape...

Let's say you have a piece that needs edge sanding. Taking off too little is not a problem, but taking off too much is. Sometimes one or both ends will drop off. Sometimes you find you've sanded a dip in the center of the edge.

Mark the line where you want to stop with a strip of tape. This will give you a witness mark that is very easy to see. Just sand right up to the edge of the tape and you've got it!

Yet one more use for tape...

If you've ever had small pieces to spray paint, you may have found that the force of the spray will blow the piece off the table. I take a length of tape and position it on the table or painting tray, so the sticky side is up. Use a couple more pieces to tape down the ends and you have a nice strip of sticky surface that you can stick the small parts to. Then just spray away!
Message: Posted by: Dr_J_Ayala (Dec 1, 2011 11:36PM)
Indeed Michael - a very fine idea for a topic!

To start my contributions off - most of which will refer to hand-worked (read: without power tools) projects: If you have an edge on a piece of wood that you have finished planing and it is ready for sanding, still having some slight high spots here and there, color those high spots with a graphite pencil and sand away carefully until the graphite is gone. Check occasionally to make sure you do not go too far down, and repeat as needed until you get an even surface.

Another easy way to find those high spots: Use two 1/4 inch-thick boards as wide and long as you need them to be, and screw them together in an 'L' shape - a 90 degree angle. These must be perfectly square. Lay this on a table and spread powdered graphite along the bottom board where the two boards meet. Place the width of the board with the high spots against the vertical board of the cradle, making sure the rough edge is in the graphite. Rub the board back and forth a few times and the high spots will pick up the graphite, letting you know where you have to sand.

I hope this is not too confusing and that the drawing helps. It may sound like a lot of work, but to a minimalist woodworker who does not have a lot of tools, it just may be a serviceable solution.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 2, 2011 01:07AM)
Great tip, Dr. J! Thanks!

Here's a special jig that may be useful to some...

Magicians like to use small wooden boxes, associated with cards, coins, rings, etc. Making these boxes can be a bit tricky because of their small size. Most clamps are too large for the project at hand. In order to easily glue up things like coin boxes, Lippincott Boxes, etc. I made a simple jig as seen in the photos below. It is a simple block of wood with the outside dimensions (length and width) equal to the inside dimensions of the box.

Quite often, boxes this small are assembled with simple glued butt joints. The problem with this type of joint is that the pieces do not automatically lock themselves together as they somewhat do with rabbets, dovetails, etc. Assembling them can be like trying to manipulate a jellyfish.

With this jig, the pieces (minus the top are formed around the jig, and pressure from the outside holds them perfectly square. In some cases, I use CA glue with an accelerator. I use the thick CA as it has a slower set time. It is possible to run a bead of glue along each area where the joints must be made. The pieces are then assembled around the jig, held in place with the fingers (avoiding the glue) and the accelerator sprayed on to quickly dry the glue.

It is also possible to use regular wood glue, and once the pieces are assembled around the jig, they can be held securely with a rubber band or two.

You can assemble miter joints the same way.

Notice that the jig has all edges and corners sanded off. This is so you do not glue the jig inside the box, should a small amount of glue seep out.

The screw in the top serves as a handle to more easily pull the jig from the box when you are done.

You can later glue on a top if making a box as mentioned above by Gimpy.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/jig_cb.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Dec 2, 2011 09:05AM)
Tape is also great for holding hardware in place. Tape the piece of hardware in place then use a self centring bit to drill pilot holes through the hardware. Install enough screws to hold it in place then remove the tape and install the rest of the screws. The tape not only gives you straight instalation it gives you an extra hand to work with.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 2, 2011 09:51AM)
Here's a good idea for gluing up boxes maybe 8" or less. Let's say you are gluing up a six-sided box that has interlocking joints, like rabbets (as seen in the drawing). You may not want to use screws or brads, and attaching clamps in all directions can be awkward, if not impossible. Keep a big bag of different sized rubber bands on hand. Gather several of them that will work for the project at hand, and when you assemble the glue joints, wrap the bands around the box in every possible direction. They will hold everything nice and tight until the glue dries. The interlocking joints will keep everything square.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/jig_rubberbandclamp.jpg[/img]

Note: The drawing shows a top view of the four sides. The top and bottom would be rabbeted on all four edges, and fit like a bottle stopper in the well formed by the sides.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Dec 2, 2011 11:53AM)
Newbies sometimes have a hard time cutting straight with a circular saw. For a nice cut heres some tips.

Start with a dark but thin line. don't try to split the line with the blade and don't keep your eye on the guard. Instead keep your eye on the spinning blade and try to shave the side of the line.

A straight edge to guide the saw is great for long cuts. you don't need to buy one, a level clamped in place has always worked for me

When cross cutting plywood. Tape the the area before you mark. Make your line then score the line with a utility knife before cutting.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 2, 2011 12:56PM)
Cutting with a table saw sled or a miter saw often requires the use of a stop block. This is especially useful when making multiple, identical cuts.

Problem: Saw dust can build up in the corner and keep the successive pieces from butting fully against the stop block. This can sometimes blow a cut by as much as 1/8".

Solution: Undercut the stop block, so sawdust has an escape route. (Indicated by the arrow in the drawing.) Of course, you'll have to periodically brush it out, and be sure the wood you are cutting is not so thin as to slide under the stop block.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/jig_stopblockundercut.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 3, 2011 02:01PM)
[quote]
On 2011-12-02 10:51, Michael Baker wrote:
Here's a good idea for gluing up boxes maybe 8" or less. Let's say you are gluing up a six-sided box that has interlocking joints, like rabbets (as seen in the drawing). You may not want to use screws or brads, and attaching clamps in all directions can be awkward, if not impossible. Keep a big bag of different sized rubber bands on hand. Gather several of them that will work for the project at hand, and when you assemble the glue joints, wrap the bands around the box in every possible direction. They will hold everything nice and tight until the glue dries. The interlocking joints will keep everything square.
[/quote]
Michael, Here is an idea to make assembly of small boxes easier. Place a long piece of masking tape sticky side up next to the fence of your table saw. While pushing them against the fence, place the pieces (sides) of the box end to end on the tape in the order that you want them glued up. Roll the pieces on the tape up to form the box to check for fit. If the top and bottom of the box are captive in dados, make sure they are in place and fit properly. Unroll the box, add glue, reroll the box and add rubber bands as suggested. Using the tape will hold everything together and in place until the rubber band clamps are added.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 3, 2011 02:23PM)
Good one Tim! I have seen this idea done with mitered corners, as they are really hard to glue-up.
Message: Posted by: chill (Dec 4, 2011 08:16AM)
And don't forget to measure your diagonals to insure the corners of the box are square.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 4, 2011 12:30PM)
Yes, sir! I've made a few unintentional diamond-shaped boxes in the past! Those inside dimension glue-up jigs I mentioned earlier solved the problem for small boxes. I also use them for boxes as large as card boxes, because they absolutely have to be perfectly square. But, they are not any good for six-sided glue-ups, and impractical for large boxes. For these, and things like picture frames, measuring the diagonals is a quick way to head off trouble!
Message: Posted by: Wizard of Oz (Dec 4, 2011 09:24PM)
Wow. I've been reading these posts and have loved them. As a collector, this insight into what builders and creators go through into making magic real makes me appreciate my collection so much more. I wish everyone could see that you are making these beautiful pieces of magic out of love for the art of magic...verses profit...of which there can't be much. The time it must take to create these beautiful pieces must be extensive, and for the most part, unseen and unappreciated.

These dialogues are helpful for collectors like me, who value what you do...and now...value it even more. My sincere appreciation for keeping our fine art alive and well...
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 4, 2011 10:13PM)
I posted this on another thread some time ago, but it should be here, too...

When you glue-up a joint, there is often a bit of glue that will squeeze out at the joint. Naturally, you want to wipe this away. If this is on an inside corner, it can be a bit difficult to get a rag or paper towel to get all the way in there, and you usually end up smearing the glue all over the place in the process. Here's the fix...

Keep a few plastic drinking straws on hand, and use those like little scrapers. If you push the straw into the corner and run it down the joint, not only will it scrape away the glue, the glue will go up into the straw, where it can be easily disposed of.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/shoptip_gluestraw.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Dec 5, 2011 08:17AM)
Michael,

I saw this tip when you posted it before and had meant to thank you. I build a prop that requiers metal lap joints that are held by epoxy. This is a great way to clean up the sticky goo that squeezes out. The joints turn out perfect every time. GREAT TIP!
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 13, 2011 12:49PM)
[quote]
On 2011-12-02 12:53, gimpy2 wrote:
Newbies sometimes have a hard time cutting straight with a circular saw. For a nice cut heres some tips.

A straight edge to guide the saw is great for long cuts. you don't need to buy one, a level clamped in place has always worked for me

[/quote]
Levels work great for this but I saw a jig in a wood working magazine a while back that is even easier. use a piece of hardboard (masonite) that is about 12" wide and as long as you need it to be (mine is 8 feet) and screw a straight piece of wood or aluminum to the center of the hardboard. Now use the installed straight edge and your circular saw to cut off the excess hardboard. You now have a straight edge on the hardboard that can be set to the exact measurement on any piece of sheet goods that you want to cut. You don't have to account for the distance between the side of the shoe and where the blade will cut. This will also help with clamping as the clamps can be on the other side of the straight edge so the saw won't hit them.

I have two different circular saws so I turned the jig around and cut off the opposite side with the other saw. Now I have 1 jig that works for either saw.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 13, 2011 04:33PM)
Another thought on cutting sheet goods; get a large piece of 1-1/2" to 3" thick flat styrofoam and lay it on the ground or your bench and put the piece to be cut on top of it. Set the blad height (depth of cut) on your circular saw so it just cuts through the sheet of material you are cutting. The styrofoam will protect your saw blade (or the bench beneath it) and will support the workpiece completely for a smooth cut...and it is re-useable.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 13, 2011 04:45PM)
Here is a tip that I sometimes forget to do and always regret it. Sand the surfaces of anything you are building BEFORE you assemble it. It is much easier to sand flat stock and there are no inside corners to deal with. Any necessary touch-ups after assembly are usually quick & simple to deal with. Just be sure not to round any edges while you sand. To keep this from happening, place a matching piece of stock next to the piece you are sanding so the edges of both pieces stay flat & square.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 13, 2011 05:56PM)
All good tips, Tim! Thanks!

Regarding sanding, I always sand what will be the inside of each piece, but because the outsides of many of the boxes I make will be sanded after assembly, I usually wait until then. Exceptions would be if a box has an extended base, like some of the things I do. In such cases, I will give a light sanding to the sides and the base before the base is attached. This is especially necessary is using a belt sander, which can only accept flat surfaces.

To add to this, I will sometimes prime the inside panels of a box before assembly, but masking areas where glue must contact bare wood, so a good joint can be made later. This gives me the chance to deal with the "fuzz" that sometimes comes from the first coat of paint or primer raising the grain on bare wood. It's a lot easier than getting my hand and sandpaper inside the box to sand down the fuzz. This is important if building boxes that might hold silks, as a rough interior will tear up the silk. It's not always possible to do this, but can help when you can.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 14, 2011 01:35PM)
Michael, I have even final finished the inside of boxes, before assembly, where a mirror was involved.

We need more posts to keep this at the top of the forum...Where is our stickey?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 14, 2011 02:22PM)
Tim, I have done the same. It often depends on what exactly is being made, as to the order of tasks. Mirror boxes very often require a final panel to be added last, after everything else is done. In such cases, I will first pre-assemble, temporarily tacking the final piece in place. Then I sand/adjust for the best fit later, remove that piece, complete all the other tasks, including painting, and then add the last piece later.

This process works as well when there may be a need to remove a panel for repair, maintenance, or adjustment. Nothing worse than a broken mirror that you can't easily replace.

Sometimes you don't realize this is a good way to do things until you've made one the wrong way! Ha!

~michael
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Dec 14, 2011 03:02PM)
One of the firfst props I ever made was a mirror box, this was over 30 years ago. On loading up for my first Local TV shoot I shattered it. This was a real big deal to me as it was the start of my dove routine. No back up and no way to replace the mirror. At age 13 this was in my mind the biggest disaster ever.

Shop tip. try to build props so they can be repaired easily.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 14, 2011 03:07PM)
Ah yes...Experience is a great teacher but the lessons are quite often hard & expensive.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 14, 2011 05:08PM)
But, those lessons learned are usually indelible! ;)
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Dec 14, 2011 08:53PM)
On that note we should talk about shop safety. We have discussed it in “The Workshop” before and I suggest everyone read those posts.

Because of what we do and the size of some of the parts it is often impossible to operate machinery with all of the safety guards in place. Please, make sure you are working safely with proper jigs, fixtures and push sticks and the like. I can’t tell you how many veteran wood and metal workers I have met with less than the allotted number of digits on their hands. I nearly lost a thumb just cleaning the paint of a piece of perforated sheet metal with a wire wheel some years ago. I was VERY lucky and now I am VERY careful!

Use good judgment. If it doesn’t look safe, it probably isn’t. Find another way. If you don’t know how to do a particular process, do the research to learn or hire it out. Wood and metal working machinery is very unforgiving when the cutting edges meet flesh.

Don’t work with distractions, or when you are tired. It is better to not have that prop for your show than to not have a finger or two.

Always use proper dust collection and/or dust masks. Many species of wood are toxic to different people. Even if you are not allergic to it now, you may become allergic to a particular species of wood in the future.

Also, different finishes can cause multiple problems to even the healthiest folks. Polyurethane is particularly nasty when sprayed. It doesn’t break down in your lungs like lacquer does and can eventually build up enough to create a severe breathing problems.

This post is intended for those who are new to building magic props but it is also a reminder for those of us who have been at it for a while.

Work Safe!
Message: Posted by: Bapu (Dec 15, 2011 10:15AM)
[quote]
On 2011-12-04 23:13, Michael Baker wrote:
I posted this on another thread some time ago, but it should be here, too...

When you glue-up a joint, there is often a bit of glue that will squeeze out at the joint. Naturally, you want to wipe this away. If this is on an inside corner, it can be a bit difficult to get a rag or paper towel to get all the way in there, and you usually end up smearing the glue all over the place in the process. Here's the fix...

Keep a few plastic drinking straws on hand, and use those like little scrapers. If you push the straw into the corner and run it down the joint, not only will it scrape away the glue, the glue will go up into the straw, where it can be easily disposed of.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/shoptip_gluestraw.jpg[/img]
[/quote]

Now that is a great tip Michael!

I'm gonna run out and get some straws today.

On the subject of glue squeeze-out, and as an added refinement, you can also carefully run some masking tape along the edges of the joint before gluing and clamping. After clamping run the straw which should get up most of the glue. Then carefully pull off the tape to remove any remainging smeared glue.

If some glue beads still remain on the edge of the joint, leave them alone for thirty or forty minutes, then carefully run a scraper along them. They should just pop off with no smearing. :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 15, 2011 11:27AM)
[quote]
On 2011-12-15 11:15, Bapu wrote:


On the subject of glue squeeze-out, and as an added refinement, you can also carefully run some masking tape along the edges of the joint before gluing and clamping. After clamping run the straw which should get up most of the glue. Then carefully pull off the tape to remove any remainging smeared glue.

If some glue beads still remain on the edge of the joint, leave them alone for thirty or forty minutes, then carefully run a scraper along them. They should just pop off with no smearing. :)
[/quote]

Another great tape tip!! This is really good if you use a "Gorilla" type glue that continues to ooze out the longer it sits.

Regarding scraping away glue squeeze-out, you'll find that there is a "best" time to do this. It falls somewhere between fresh, liquid glue, and hard, dried-on glue. The timing will depend on the type of glue you are using, but suffice to say that liquid glue smears too much and hard, dry glue is more like chipping away rocks. Get it while it's still somewhat soft.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 1, 2012 10:47PM)
When your playing cards are too worn for magic, you can use them for shims in your shop. If they are cut into strips they also make pretty good glue spreaders.
Message: Posted by: mvmagic (Jan 2, 2012 05:13AM)
This is certainly nothing novel, but I just couldn't live without it...

Get a steel sheet and a lot of different magnets (square) and you can create on infinite number of jigs.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 2, 2012 08:36AM)
[quote]
On 2012-01-02 06:13, mvmagic wrote:
This is certainly nothing novel, but I just couldn't live without it...

Get a steel sheet and a lot of different magnets (square) and you can create on infinite number of jigs.
[/quote]

mvmagic, I like this idea. Please give an example of how it may be used.
Message: Posted by: mvmagic (Jan 2, 2012 11:25AM)
Certainly!

Lets say you need to make a frame of certain size. Just place your wood on the sheet metal and put magnets around the pieces (I usually use two magnets on both sides of the wood) to keep them in place while gluing. If your magnets are square and large enough, you can use them at the corners as well.

You can customize your sheet by drawing straight lines at intervals of your liking (use a straight edge) to have guides on it.

Instead of just magnets, you can get varying lengths of steel or aluminum angle (I have 2" by 2" angle) to make yourself jig pieces. Get some round magnets, drill corresponding size holes on the angle, make sure the magnets are flush with the bottom surface of the angle and from the top, glue them into place with a generous amount of epoxy (or whatever you like).

You can also take two identical pieces of steel plate and put a few magnets between them to make an instant jig piece which will stick to the "main plate" as well.

Really your imagination is the limit here! You really can create jigs for almost any need with a system like this. You can add magnets to existing clamps to further expand the possibilities.

I got the inspiration years ago from this product:

http://www.micromark.com/magnetic-gluing-jig-10-1and4-inch-square,7038.html (Cut and paste, the comma breaks the link)
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 2, 2012 01:58PM)
OK, this is an easy one. The top of a plastic butter tub makes a great glue holder when you are brushing glue onto your parts. Just put a puddle of glue on the lid and use it for your glue up. The lid doesn't get soggy from the glue and when the unused glue dries it will peel right off the lid.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 2, 2012 01:59PM)
Love the steel plate and magnet idea!
Message: Posted by: Ekuth (Jan 2, 2012 03:46PM)
When I'm hand painting details, I find that the bottom of an empty soda can makes a perfect paint pot; just break off the tab and flip it upside down. Nice little dished area for mixing small amounts!
Message: Posted by: mvmagic (Jan 2, 2012 05:08PM)
Now this is not a tip per se, but a brand recommendation...If using an airbrush to paint props, Wicked Colors are amazing to paint with. They will stick even when reduced 800% and work on pretty much anything from a T-shirt to car bodies-and I have used them on many things from t-shirts to metal (no cars though). The one issue I have had with them is that they don't mix well. They do mix but will separate in a few minutes. But the spraying capabilities outweigh that.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 2, 2012 05:54PM)
Michael, I used your very first tip in this post last weekend to straighten up some 1/8 inch maple to get it ready for inlay. I taped the maple to a piece of hardboard and it worked like a charm! I knew of this trick, but had never really needed it before. Thanks for the reminder!
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Jan 30, 2012 02:27PM)
Does anyone have any plastic or metal working tips to share?
Message: Posted by: Leland Stone (Feb 2, 2012 09:39AM)
Simple metal tip I picked up at a knifemaking workshop: Store your files in sections of PVC pipe. Cheap, easy to cut (and even stack into 'file cabinets!') and NOW your files won't be knocking together in toolbox or on the shelf in your shop.

Also, don't assume that since the stock you found in the scrap pile used to be a coil spring, it will therefore make a dandy woodworking gouge, only to find out (after forging a bolster and lavishing hand filing on the hammered blank) that it can't be hardened to more than Rc25. But I digress. :0/
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 6, 2012 11:58AM)
We have just been honored with a sticky, my friends! A first for The Workshop!! Keep the great info coming!

~michael
Message: Posted by: Ray Tupper. (Feb 7, 2012 10:11AM)
When sanding moulds or intricate carved work during finishing,use a scotchbrite
scouring pad rather than wire wool.Less mess and easier to handle.
They can also be used for bare metal to achieve a brushed finish.
Available in a variety of different grades,from fine to extra coarse.
http://www.vikingtapes.co.uk/Abrasives/3M_Scotch_Brite_Non_Woven_Abrasives/3M_Scotch_Brite_Hand_Pads/3m_scotch_brite.htm
(UK link)
Ray.
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Feb 20, 2012 12:17PM)
Michael, great idea for a thread and congrats on coming up with a sticky!

I don't have a tip, but rather a question that will probably require a tip from someone reading through this thread. This isn't really a workshop question, but I tried posting it elsewhere in the Workshop forum and it hasn't gotten any response, so perhaps I can try it here. Here goes....

I'm restoring a old MAK French Wrist Chopper. It's old and rickety and the last time I tested it before a performance, one of the spacer shims fell off and rendered the trick useless so I axed it for the performance. I was actually going to throw it in the garbage because MAK doesn't make a quality chopper; at least this one isn't.

My wife convinced me that I should look it over before trashing it, and I did. I took the whole thing apart, and found that all it really needed was some new glue and tightening up. However, in my test failure, the blade got stuck and jammed in the bottom, marring the surface pretty badly. I took some emery cloth and a file to the aluminum blade dings and realized I would have to put a lot of elbow work into re polishnig the blade, and the effect just isn't worth that much labor to me.

So I thought, why not age the blade? Rough it up a bit and stain it somehow so that it gives the appearance of old blood stains on it. It is after all an old prop I purchased from someone for about $75 and I only used it twice. I introduce it as an old device anyway, that might be "well, a little rusty in some places." So aging the blade might add to the effect.

Any ideas on how to make that blade look old, worn and bloody without the blood?

If this isn't the appropriate place, perhaps a suggestion on where to post? Thanks folks.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 25, 2012 05:32PM)
Hi Bob,

I was going to reference this thread.

http://www.themagiccafe.com/forums/viewtopic.php?topic=426724&forum=26

But, it seems you have already found it. I am not an expert working with metal, although I suspect your techniques will be based on whether the blade is steel or aluminum (I don't know which MAK uses for their chopper).

~michael
Message: Posted by: Bob1Dog (Feb 28, 2012 08:32PM)
Hi Michael, it's aluminum. I'll play around with it a little.

I might just not put a band-aid on my finger or whatever, the next time I bleed a little in my shop. That happens a lot, so I'll just keep letting the blood stains pile up! I'm sure after playing around with it I'll find the right reactive agent that will help it all along. It's not major on my to-do list. I don't like the quality of the thing to begin with. I've already changed the drop bag from the original cheap felt that's stapled in place and made a nice black satin drape. It actually looks a lot better and does a better job of hiding the rubber hand I keep in there for the climax.

Anyway, thanks for getting back! Best, Bob
Message: Posted by: chrom (Mar 5, 2012 03:12PM)
Nice thread! I am a hobbiest woodworker and just recently got into learning magic. So far its been a blast and when I saw this thread I felt right at home. A couple of recommendations as I have done everything from small puzzle boxes to lathe work and I even built my own CNC. For small pieces you are trying to cut I highly recommend using a combination of a sliding sled, like the one pictured a few posts back, and a Micro Jig GRR Riper. Whats nice about it is you can span across the blade with pieces as small as 1/8 inch. Then if you combo this with a riving knife (if your table saw supports it) its a breeze to make each cut. I was making puzzle boxes out of 1/8" plywood and it was a snap. The other recommendation I would make would be to pick up some double sided pressure or turner's tape. Its great for holding pieces while you work on them and I have used it to secure bowls while turning them on a lathe. The stuff is very strong and great with small parts.

One final tip, I can't remember if you posted it with your straw idea from earlier, but when doling any glue up, if you wait about 30 minutes or so after you have clamped everything together the glue starts to congeal. It is still plyable but is hard enough to easily remove with your weapon of choice. I personally use an old cheap sharpened chisel but the straw idea will work just as well.

Hope this helps.


Shane
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 5, 2012 03:58PM)
Hi Shane,

Welcome to The Magic Café, and welcome to the workshop!

Thanks for your tips! I'm taking the liberty of posting a link to the [url=http://microjig.com/products/grr-ripper/index.shtml]Micro Jig GRR Riper[/url]. I had not seen that before, but it looks like a great device!

Regarding the straw to scrape up glue squeeze-out, the best use for that is when working with hardwoods that will have any penetrating finish that leaves the grain visible. The advantage is that the excess glue goes up inside the straw, rather than possibly being spread into the wood grain, where it would affect the finish.

For general glue scrape-ups, I keep most of the trimmings from my metal cutter. Those little scraps of brass, aluminum and steel make handy scrapers, and can be cut to a variety of lengths, widths, and angles. They're also disposable, and save the time of cleaning tools!
Message: Posted by: chrom (Mar 5, 2012 04:36PM)
Thanks Michael for posting the link. I do not yet know of all the rules surrounding posting of links etc. I like your straw idea as well. I was only pointing that if you wait until the glue is a little dry it is easy to manage and remove without affecting the future stain. That being said most of the glue ups I have done are large enough projects that by the time I have all the clamps applied (you can imagine how many clamps) the glue is just perfect to get up.

Thanks for the welcome!

Shane
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 5, 2012 05:45PM)
Yes, I understood, Shane. Maybe down the road we'll have enough combined info to start a completely new thread just on joinery! Ha! There are entire books dedicated to the subject. :)

Ok, in order to stay true to this thread, let me offer a tip for more shop tips...

Each of us likely won't have the same programming, but my local PBS station runs "The Woodsmith Shop" on Saturday afternoons. It's really a very informative show, but even if you don't have this on your local programming, I'll suggest you go to their website, and sign up for the email shop tips.

http://www.woodsmithshop.com/
Message: Posted by: Chance Wolf (Mar 5, 2012 08:55PM)
Here is a wood filling/gluing tip that I use on all of my hardwood projects. It may seem a bit laborious but it is well worth the effort. It kind of kills two birds with one stone.
This method prevents the glue from getting into the wood grain which sometimes ruins the staining process as the glue will resist stain even if you think you have wiped it away.
Apply strips of easy release Blue Tape on all surfaces right on each edge of the joint where the glue would typically squeeze out. Glue and clamp as usual and take a lightly moist paper towel to wipe off seeping glue.
Peel the tape off after the glue has dried.
This same method can be used when using wood fillers. Mask off the area to be filled. Apply filler and sand down level. Remove tape and finish sand. This not only minimizes the filler exposure but ti also protects the wood from over sanding.

One last tip.
When you need to set a depth on your drill bit, use a Whit Out Pen to make your depth mark on the bit. These pens are available at any office supply store. The white paint/ink dries fast on the bit and stays on long enough to get thru any job. The pens have a ball point tip and a shaker/mixing ball in them. They are about 3" long and blue with a white label. These pens also work awesome on to make indicator marks or lines on dark surfaces. You will find a lot of places to use them once you have one. Plus they do NOT dry out.

Hope this helps. I will drop in more tips as they come to mind.
Chance
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Mar 6, 2012 02:56PM)
A great finish for hardwood Is Antique oil in the red can. Tabman turned me on to this stuff years ago. It leaves a wonderful rich satin finish that looks old. The best part is how easy it is to put on. Just brush on and let it dry for 10 min then rub it off. It only takes three or for coats to get good results. This stuff is so easy to use even if you let it dry to much you can just put more oil on and it will desolve the mistake. The can tells you to let it dry 24hrs but if you let the first coat dry that long the other coats can be put on 8 hours apart. It has no smell and clean up is a breeze.
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Mar 23, 2012 01:13PM)
A couple of acrylic fabrication tips.

Sometimes you need to drill holes at specific locations in acrylic tubes, for example every 90 degrees. One good method is to use two L shaped framing squares on a flat surface and to place the cylinder in between two right angles and slide them together. This makes it easy to mark holes on opposite sides of the tube.

I have had some luck making acrylic shapes look like brass. Use the type of glue with suspended acrylic particles, looks like model glue. Fill in any gaps with extra glue and let dry completely. Then sand the item with some rough sand paper to round the edges and leave some deep scratches. Then use a polish wheel to clean up. Paint with brass colored spray paint, and then cover with black shoe polish and wipe clean. This really looks like old cast brass with some scratches left over from the mold. Bulges of acrylic glue left in a seam looks like welding artifacts.

My 12 inch chop saw will not cleanly cut a 5 or 6 inch tube. So make two cuts on the tube and then sand the face flat by holding the tube down on a piece of sandpaper with a polishing movement.

Sometimes I need a washer shaped piece of acrylic: a disk with a perfect hole inside that fits something else. Mark the disk inside and out with a sharpie. Sand the outside to shape with a drum sander on your drill press. Make an initial cut inside and then use the drum sander to smooth out the interior space. Keep checking against the interior and exterior size needed and you can get an exact fit.

A great compliment to acrylic is the use of cut neoprene sheet. It comes in all different thicknesses and hardnesses. Use contact cement and the neoprene can be used as a gasket or bumper as needed. Sometimes I include a suede leather surface on the neoprene or just on the acrylic. This can make one tube slide into another or act as a way to make two parts pressure fit together nicely. The contact cement works great for leather, neoprene, and acrylic.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 29, 2012 07:52PM)
Bill,

Those are really good tips! I do very little work with acrylic, Plexiglass, etc., but always appreciate learning something. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: wandmgc8 (Mar 30, 2012 08:54AM)
This is nothing grand, but, when using those cheap sponge brushes with the wooden handles on a one-time basis, don't throw them away. Let the sponge dry. It may be peeled off/removed to reveal a flexible plastic piece underneath. This makes an excellent small "spatula" with which to apply glue, etc., to small parts, and, may be trimmed to any convenient shape. Some glue residues will be easily removed from the plastic after drying, and so, the "spatula" may be re-used.

Hope this is a helper!

Michael
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Mar 31, 2012 03:17PM)
Good idea, Michael! I throw away a ton of foam brushes. I use them for applying sanding sealer. A friend once gave me several cases of them, but I am starting to run out. Some of them came with replaceable heads!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 5, 2012 11:36AM)
Maybe you're like me? I keep a number of small bottles of touch-up paints around here. The tiny Testors and Model Master colors are great for dabbing in a quick spot of paint, when and where you need it. The problem is, paint that accumulates on the little cardboard seal and the rim of the bottle will very often become a very strong glue that locks the cap permanently on the bottle. Unsticking these lids often results in damaging the lid, the bottle, and your emotions in the process.

I usually make an effort to wipe the parts clean before screwing the cap back on the bottle, but that doesn't always work.

Considering that these little bottles typically cost more than a couple bucks each, throwing them out in frustration is nonsense.

Solution: A light smear of Vaseline on the rim and threads of the bottle prevents the two surfaces from bonding. Voila!

And although I haven't really been able to document this, the Vaseline may also serve as an air tight seal, preventing those expensive bottles from drying up over time, which will happen when dried paint inhibits a good seal.

This will also work on those screw cap tubes of glue that manage to glue themselves shut.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 16, 2012 11:48AM)
Ok, here's an example of how different saw blades can make better or worse cuts:

I have an older Craftsman 8" direct drive table saw, so my blade choices are somewhat limited. I have to use 7 1/4" blades, usually designed for hand-held circular saws.

The photo below shows two saw cuts across the grain of a piece of 1/4" Baltic Birch plywood (same sheet).

One of these cuts was made using a new Irwin plywood blade, hollow ground, 140 teeth. The other cut was made using a very worn Black & Decker Piranha 40 tooth carbide-tipped blade.

Obviously, it pays to use a good blade, right?

Not necessarily. The ragged-ass cut with all the tear-out was made by the new Irwin blade. Similar bad cut results happened with a Vermont American plywood blade, too. Ya never know...

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/sawcuts.jpg[/img]

For what it's worth, the B&D blade comes as a dual pack set at Wal Mart for cheap. The other blade included is a plywood blade, which cuts real good, but they burn up pretty fast.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 16, 2012 01:27PM)
I'm starting on a new project, so I indulged and bought a Freud Premier Fusion thin-kerf 10" blade. The name sounds like one of those new-fangled Gillette shavers (and I was wondering if it had a USB port), but it cuts beautifully. 1/2" hardwood ply, rip and cross-cut, the edges feel like they were sanded. And this is on an inexpensive Jet contractor-style saw which hasn't been made for like ten years. It also seems quieter than my old generic carbide blade; it's hard to tell, but it doesn't have that same "grinding in your ears" noise.

And I got it on sale at Woodcraft!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 16, 2012 01:40PM)
Yeah, that goes to the heart of my problem. It's easy to find really good blades for a 10" saw... but not an 8". I guess I should buy a new table saw, but I'd have to put it in my bedroom. No more room in the garage. Ha!

Fortunately, I have to route rabbets along those cut edges, so I can cover most of the sins that way.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 16, 2012 06:05PM)
Have you looked at amazon.com? They have several Diablo and Freud 7.25" blades:

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dtools&field-keywords=7.25%22+blades
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 16, 2012 11:28PM)
Wow! No I haven't. I was always thinking I was at the mercy of what I was able to find in the stores. Great prices, too. Thanks, George!
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Apr 16, 2012 11:53PM)
You're more than welcome.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Apr 17, 2012 07:23AM)
Lucky to have a blade sharpening shop here in town. They carry about any kind of blade you can think of. They turned me on to a thin kerf Freud blade that has no label on it. Fantastic performance at half the cost. The quality of the blades lets you resharpen several times so in the long run its a lot cheaper than throw away blades.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 17, 2012 09:05AM)
You know, I actually get so much good use from those cheapo B&D blades that I don't mind tossing them when they need to be. It IS irritating though, to turn a fairly new blade into an impromptu ninja star. Ha!

But, I can't wait to get my hands on one of these good ones. Honestly, I didn't think I had this good of a choice. But the irony that exists in my life will mean that as soon as I buy one, my saw will crap out! LOL
Message: Posted by: Flip Disc (Apr 17, 2012 11:41AM)
I believe in the old saying "you get what you pay for". Especially when it comes to saw blades. Higher end blades have a better carbide and better grade steel. This increases blade life, safety and decreases warping which makes for a better cut. I recently purchased another cabinet saw and went with a 12" 5hp saw. Stock blades would warp easily because of the speed and power of the saw. A saw is only as good as it's weakest link which includes the blade, motor, bearings, table, fence and operator.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Apr 17, 2012 04:26PM)
If you are having a tearout problem as shown in Michael's picture above, try taping the cutline before you cut the wood. The tape will hold the fibers in place while the cut is being made. If you are not using a zero clearance blade insert that will help too. As others have stated above good blades will help. Construction grade plywood blades are not the answer. Freud, Woodworker II and others make great plywood/melamine blades that cut with little or no tearout.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 17, 2012 04:52PM)
I normally use tape for cross grain cuts (along with zero clearance sleds), but I was so PO'ed by the crappy results from this blade that I decided to show the difference between the two with a wider clearance insert and no tape. Both cuts were made the same way, just different blades as noted. I found it remarkable how a blade not normally used to make such cuts did a far better job than one supposedly designed for finer cuts.

There is no way I could make some of the stuff I do if all the cuts were as bad as that one showed! Ha!

I actually did not know about the better 7 1/4" blades, as every decent blade I'd seen in both general handyman stores, as well as places like Woodcraft, all had great blades, but for 10" saws. I just hadn't dug deep enough, I guess.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Apr 19, 2012 03:33PM)
Michael, your post was very enlightening...Mine was for the general audience. I know you know these tricks!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 20, 2012 09:22PM)
Hmmm..... Apparently, the bad cuts I showed aren't the only ones possible by Irwin blades. (thankfully, no injuries reported)

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/19/4427083/irwin-recalls-10-inch-circular.html
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (May 2, 2012 11:28PM)
Bad packaging...
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (May 22, 2012 07:50AM)
Scratched a prop while at a show this weekend. It was on the inside of the item but still wanted to fix it so it would look nice for the rest of the show. I took a cocktail peanut and used it like an eraser to remove the scratch in the natural finish. After the scratch had vanished it was polished with a cotton cloth and gave perfect results.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 7, 2012 12:08AM)
I wanted to turn you guys on to a GREAT product...

Timber Mate wood filler. Yes, I have used it, and love it. Very easy to use and does exactly what it says it will. Check these review videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tX0iYF56nNo

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueCs5FKT1f0&feature=related

I found it at a Rockler-stocked woodworking shop here, even though Rockler does not show it on their website. Woodcraft does, though. It is also available online (Amazon, etc.)
Message: Posted by: Pzak97 (Sep 11, 2012 01:05PM)
So many great tips here. Thank you, everyone.
I'll add one for thought

[quote]
On 2012-04-05 12:36, Michael Baker wrote:
Maybe you're like me? I keep a number of small bottles of touch-up paints around here....[/quote]

I saved all the baby jars from when my kids were little, washed them and use them as paint jars. I have also approched friends with new borns and asked them to just save the jars and lids for me and I send them through a dish washer cycle, remove the lable and the work great.
Message: Posted by: blamobox (Dec 2, 2012 09:13AM)
Hi Guys and thanks Mr Baker for a great thread idea!

How annoying is it when you measuring to mark and you can't find your pencil? Or you put it in your back pocket, forget and it ends up snapped?
You reach behind your ear and it's vanished? Well try this......

Cut a small groove across the width of your carpenters pencil and combine it with half a wooden clothes peg, I call it the 'Pegsil'

All the best
Alex
PS Don't tell the Misses!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Dec 2, 2012 09:25AM)
Great ideas to both the above posts! My Dad used to save baby food jars to keep small hardware. Clear glass makes it a snap to see the contents. In fact, he would mount the lids to the underside of a shelf, and the jars could just be removed or screwed back on quickly, keeping everything well organized.

I have somewhat adapted the practice, although I try to find small plastic jars to prevent breakage. (Are baby food jars still glass??)

The Pegsil is cool! I tend to drop pencils in my pocket, point up, to keep them from breaking. But I can't count the number of times I've reached in for it (or something else) only to stab my finger.
Message: Posted by: glowball (Mar 28, 2013 12:50PM)
Table saw safety tip: always use a fence or guide bar or something to make a straight feed thru the blade. Kick backs are a b**ch (I know from experience especially if the stock hits you in the gut or on the thumb, oh mama)! If, heaven forbid, you have a large flat piece that won't allow the use of a fence or guide then mark the piece with a dark straight line and move the piece through the saw very, very slowly evenly with both hands watching the cut and praying at the same time! On second thought never freehand a on a table saw, use a circular saw or sabre saw instead!
Message: Posted by: EsnRedshirt (Mar 28, 2013 01:03PM)
Excellent advice. Additionally, you don't have to freehand with a circular saw- they make aluminum guides you can clamp onto the work piece that will run the entire length of a 4'x8' sheet of plywood, plus a few inches. These help prevent you from twisting the blade during the cut, which can cause it to bind.

Anti-bone head tip: when using a circular saw, look [i]under[/i] the workpiece along the cut line before starting, to make sure everything's clear of the path. This will prevent you from accidentally cutting through your sawhorse, collapsing both the workpiece and its former support onto your toes.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Mar 28, 2013 02:33PM)
Never use a tablesaw fence to cross cut narrow parts to length. This WILL result in kickback and injury.Its tempting when trying to make multiple cuts the same length, but don't do it. The safe way to cut to precise lengths is to use a stop block on the fence. Place the stop block between the fence and the blade and set the fence to the proper length of cut. Now move the stop block clear back from the blade and clamp it to the fence. Now use the cross cut atachment to hold the piece stable while cutting.Just slide each piece to the stop block and move the crosscut guide forward to cut to even lengths with no kickback.

I saw this exact dagerous practice being taught on the cable show "American restoration" one of the workers was showing the owners son how to cut 4x4s to equal lengths. It worked on the show, but as they say "don't try this at home"

And NEVER cut freehand on a tablesaw.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (Apr 11, 2013 08:00PM)
99% of my crosscuts are done using a sled. The cuts are more accurate and much safer. Always use a splitter when ripping wood to avoid kickbacks, and as Gimpy said "NEVER CUT FREEHAND ON A TABLESAW". Please be safe. We want you around for a long time.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Apr 18, 2013 09:45AM)
Sleds are a must for miter cornner boxes. Not only will a sled yield perfect matched cuts but it keeps the sharp point on the second cut from sliping under the fence and kicking back. I sometimes hear of kick back as if it was just something that will happen on its own. If you have kick back its because you are doing something wrong.
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Apr 23, 2013 12:05AM)
Acrylic Update

I have been unhappy with "acrylic glue" since day one, and now I know why.

There are two kinds of acrylic glue they normally try to sell you. There is one with extremely low viscosity which can be applied with a hypodermic needle, and another that also includes suspended acrylic particles in a tube that can be applied like model glue. Both of them stink. If you make any mistakes they will spread across the wrong area and quickly scar the acrylic or pick up a fingerprint. They require clamping. They aren't very strong. They aren't waterproof. They don't help reinforce acrylic joints, which can be brittle. Even if you apply them perfectly, the joints have visible differences in diffraction and appearance.

There is a much better glue. Devcon makes a 2 ton crystal clear epoxy designed for (among other things) acrylic. You can find it at Ace Hardware. This glue has to be mixed in two parts and dries overnight. After application you can wipe the glue clean from the surface and the acrylic is beautiful. You can polish errant fingerprints away the next day as needed. Clamping is fine but not necessary. The 2 ton strength is incredible. The glue dries crystal clear and matches the acrylic index of refraction. It seeps into the micro cracks in the cut and completely seals the joint. The seal is totally waterproof, and the joints are beautiful.

OK I'm a little obsessed with glue. But wait until you see the results I'm getting with this epoxy.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 23, 2013 01:55AM)
Thanks, Bill. I'm always interested in learning about new stuff like this. I'm assuming you have to apply the glue to the surface and then press the parts together, and that it won't work by clamping up the parts and letting the glue enter the joint via capillary action?

Also, when you mentioned the clean-up, did you mean that you can wipe away wet glue squeeze out without any residue left on the surface?
Message: Posted by: billappleton (Apr 23, 2013 09:21AM)
The low viscosity acrylic glue will work with capillary action. What I don't like there is you can often see the glue in the joint, it looks like a drop of water between two sheets of plastic.

The epoxy is much thicker, and you can apply and clamp, but it is so strong that clamping is not always necessary. The glue settles into natural fillets and beads at the joint. And the big plus is that you can wipe the surface clean after applying the glue. Make a big mess, clamp in place, and wipe down for a perfect finish with no residue on the surface. Almost looks like cast acrylic.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 23, 2013 10:13AM)
Thanks, Bill! I've not really played much with acrylic, but when I worked with a shop in Birmingham, we farmed out a few things to a guy who did excellent work (Crystal Caskets, and such...). I would like to learn some more about the processes of working with plastics.
Message: Posted by: hugmagic (Apr 24, 2013 08:23PM)
My grandad was big time woodworker. He made an octogon drum that was supported by stand feet or could be hung between the joists in the basement shop. He mounted the babyjar lids on the sides. It would rotate and he could access all eight side. He made one for Grandma to keep her buttons and sewing things in.

US Plastics in Lima, Ohio is a good source for some information on working with plastics. They have plastic welders among other things.

Richard
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Apr 25, 2013 10:25AM)
Question - I had a piece of plywood that was a bit too long (maybe 1/8 inch). So how can you shave off such a small piece? Is it possible without a table saw? (Heck...is it possible WITH one?!)

I suppose you could rig up something and use a router...I ended up using a multi-tool and freehanded it. Um, it's the side of something that doesn't matter too much (can you tell I'm trying to justify it now? lol)

Anyway, tips?
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Apr 25, 2013 11:18AM)
Lots of ways to trim a small amount off a piece of plywood, heres two ways.

With a skill saw.

Clamp a straight edge to the plywood the propper distance for the guide to run along the edge. tape along the cut is a good idea and scribe along the inside of the cut to cut down on splinters.

With a tablesaw.

Make a wood sacrafice fence board and clamp it to the fence. Then lower the blade all the way down. Move the fence over until the edge of the wood fence is above the blade, turn the saw on and raise the blade higher than the thickness of the cut to create a pocket for the blade to turn freely in. Affix an 1/8" strip of wood along the bottom back of the end of the fence so it will recieve the cut and keep the board paralel to the fence as the material is removed. adjust the fence so it lines up with the outside of the blade on the back and make the cut. That was harder to explain than I thought it would be, hope that makes sense. If the piece is small just use a sled.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Apr 25, 2013 02:01PM)
[quote]
On 2013-04-25 12:18, gimpy2 wrote:
Lots of ways to trim a small amount off a piece of plywood, heres two ways.

With a skill saw.

Clamp a straight edge to the plywood the propper distance for the guide to run along the edge. tape along the cut is a good idea and scribe along the inside of the cut to cut down on splinters.
[/quote]

Ok, what's that mean - "tape along the cut" ? Do I put tape on the SIDE of where I want to cut? So on the inside of the 1/8 inch piece? Then when I cut I'll be cutting flush against the tape edge?

Or did you mean to put tape on the whole thing, make a 1/8 inch line along the top of the tape and cut the tape (and board) itself?

Got no clue here...brand new to this stuff.

And what do you mean by "scribe along the inside of the cut" ?

Thanks for the help.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Apr 25, 2013 02:50PM)
You will want the masking tape on the surface and under both sides of the cut, in this case even or flush to the end. So you are going to be cutting the tape and the wood both. If the cut were further in you would want the tape centered close to where the cut would be. Now that the tape is in place you are ready to mark the cut, you want a very sharp pencil and a dark but very narrow line. Now you scribe or cut on the line with a razor knife. You can do this with a straight edge as a guide.You don't have to cut real deep maybe say 1/32" or less.

Think of every saw cut as having two sides determined by the sides of the cut of the blade. If you take a close look at the blade on a circular saw you will notice that the points on the teeth point one right and then left right left ect. the width between the points of the blade determine the width of the cut. So you are in this case wanting the tips of one side of the blade to just graze the side of the scribed line. In other words the cut is right next to the line or outside your mark. The scribe keeps the wood from splintering as it rotates from the bottom to the top of the cut.
Message: Posted by: Matt Adams (Apr 25, 2013 03:58PM)
[quote]
On 2013-04-25 15:50, gimpy2 wrote:
You will want the masking tape on the surface and under both sides of the cut, in this case even or flush to the end. So you are going to be cutting the tape and the wood both. If the cut were further in you would want the tape centered close to where the cut would be. Now that the tape is in place you are ready to mark the cut, you want a very sharp pencil and a dark but very narrow line. Now you scribe or cut on the line with a razor knife. You can do this with a straight edge as a guide.You don't have to cut real deep maybe say 1/32" or less.

Think of every saw cut as having two sides determined by the sides of the cut of the blade. If you take a close look at the blade on a circular saw you will notice that the points on the teeth point one right and then left right left ect. the width between the points of the blade determine the width of the cut. So you are in this case wanting the tips of one side of the blade to just graze the side of the scribed line. In other words the cut is right next to the line or outside your mark. The scribe keeps the wood from splintering as it rotates from the bottom to the top of the cut.
[/quote]

Got ALL that. Excellent info and well-explained for this noob. Thanks a ton! :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 30, 2013 09:48PM)
AGMagic (Tim Silver) posted this on another thread, but it is applicable for this section on Workshop Tips, and I thought it needed to be in an area that won't eventually find itself buried after time.

http://view.woodworking-hub.com/?j=fecb127170670478&m=fe9815707463077576&ls=fe611578776004797311&l=ff6111717d&s=fe9917737065017e77&jb=ffcf14&ju=fe501576726503747d1c&et_mid=615305&rid=3351532&r=0
Message: Posted by: ringmaster (May 23, 2013 03:33PM)
L'd add, if I may: http://news.thefinishingstore.com/?author=12
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 28, 2013 03:59PM)
Nice find. Thanks for sharing!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 8, 2013 03:28PM)
Magnets...

I use a lot of them in my projects. I use them for hidden gimmicks, as well as door closures. The size range I use is as large as 1/2" diameter x 1/8" thick. But I also use them as small as 1/8" x 1/16".

I have been ordering for years from an Ebay seller, Emovendo. Recently, they did not show the size I needed, so I went online to find another source to fill the immediate need. I found Apex Magnets http://apexmagnets.com/ and much to my surprise, they are a division of Emovendo. They did have what I needed, so I figured the Ebay site omission was just an oversight. Anyway, same super service (obviously).

But the main reason for my post is to pass along a little discovery that I made. Typically, when I install magnets, they are done as a pair, although there are times when I'll install a magnet to attract to a steel shim or plate, or to some magic-associated gimmick.

But, this is about installing pairs... one magnet in each of two parts that will at times be connected.

With setting magnets in pairs, there is a polarity issue. Install them the wrong way, and you can't make them like each other at gunpoint. My usual method consisted of setting one magnet, and placing the counter magnet on it. Then, I would mark the exposed side of the magnet with a Sharpie, so I would know which side should be facing outward when this magnet was installed in the companion part.

This method works well enough with the larger sizes (3/8" or 1/2"). It is easy to see the mark (they don't show up great on shiny silver magnets, and it rubs off easily), and the larger sizes are much easier to manipulate when setting them into the small holes drilled to receive them.

I most often embed these magnets with CA glue. I fill the hole and push the magnet into the hole. Excess glue squeezes out, which I wipe away before giving everything a quick shot of Insta-set accelerator ( http://www.bsi-inc.com/ ) to quickly set everything. Works great!

OK... if you are trying to work with these real tiny magnets, things can get sloppy quickly, and in the fight to set the magnet, sometimes the mark gets rubbed off and then it's 50/50 as to which is the good side. Since you don't want to embed these things incorrectly, you decide it's better to re-check everything. Well, by this point you have a hole filled with glue that is quickly setting up, not to mention that you have probably glued a couple of your fingers together and probably glued a magnet to yourself, as well.

My first thought was to take a small piece of steel scrap, and stick the magnet to it first, then use it as a tool to guide the magnet into the hole with the correct orientation. This works great until you end up gluing the steel scrap to your project, along with the magnet. Dang... things are getting complicated here.

So here's the idea that I hit upon... tape.

After magnet #1 has been glued into place, I take a short length of painter's tape, and place it on top of that magnet, with the sticky side away from that magnet. Then, I drop the companion magnet on the tape and it will automatically orient itself for polarity, but it will also stay stuck to the tape when you lift it away from magnet #1.

Now, you put glue in the hole for magnet #2 and using the tape, push this magnet into the hole. The tape is on your side, sticky side away from you, the magnet goes in properly, and the tape keeps the glue squeeze out off your fingers! It is very easy to pull the tape away from the glue, wipe away any excess and hit everything with a shot of Insta-set accelerator.

There you have it... a lot of words to describe something very simple!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Sep 7, 2013 05:09PM)
Here's a tip from the "save yourself some time" department...

If you use drill or router bits that are 1/16" or smaller, buy more than one when you do. It saves you some time if you break one.

Off to the store... Duh... :(
Message: Posted by: Mark Ross (Sep 7, 2013 07:19PM)
Not if, but when.
Message: Posted by: Scotty Walsh (Oct 30, 2013 02:39AM)
Michael--

I don't know if you've already posted this elsewhere. If so, I'm sorry for asking again, but I am wondering how you do that amazing, detailed, oriental style design work on your props? Are those decals? Or painted by hand using a projector? Or something else?

I just looked at your Okito Tea Canister and was blown away? Do you fabricate the tubes as well? Are they metal?

Keep up the great work! I'd like to order something from you someday. Such an artist!

Scotty
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Oct 30, 2013 08:30AM)
Hi Scotty,

Glad you like the "stuff". The designs are a combination of paint and decals... and in rare occasions, stencils. I make my own decals. The images are generally taken from old artwork. It is rare though if I use something as is. I manipulate the images to suit my needs, by combining images from various paintings, eliminating things I don't want, enhancing color, etc. Whatever works to make them unique. Of course I save these and will sometimes use the same images for different projects, or alter them further to better suit the project. A lot of my techniques were learned over time, with a lot of experimenting.

The tea canister tubes are made from thin gauge steel, and the canister shell is made from aluminum. I do make those, as well. My metal work is limited though. I do have a simple brake, a small guillotine cutter and a slip roll(er).
Message: Posted by: Scotty Walsh (Oct 30, 2013 12:50PM)
Thank you for the answer. Lovely stuff.
Message: Posted by: MikeHolbrook (Nov 18, 2013 10:46PM)
I have a Craftsman (Sears) rotary tool. Recently the chuck stopped turning even though the motor was running. The link between the motor and chuck is plastic. I ordered a replacement part and it's one of those cases of shipping is more than the part. The replacement part lasted 2 weeks. I looked around the shop and found some plastic tubing that looked like it would work. It did and it has lasted longer than the replacement part I ordered. I wish I could tell you the diameter of the tubing but the piece I used was a scrap with no printing on it. I'm sure Lowes or Home Depot has something that will work. Hope this saves someone saome money.

Mike
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Nov 19, 2013 03:14PM)
[quote]
On 2013-11-18 23:46, MikeHolbrook wrote:
I have a Craftsman (Sears) rotary tool. Recently the chuck stopped turning even though the motor was running. The link between the motor and chuck is plastic. I ordered a replacement part and it's one of those cases of shipping is more than the part. The replacement part lasted 2 weeks. I looked around the shop and found some plastic tubing that looked like it would work. It did and it has lasted longer than the replacement part I ordered. I wish I could tell you the diameter of the tubing but the piece I used was a scrap with no printing on it. I'm sure Lowes or Home Depot has something that will work. Hope this saves someone saome money.

Mike
[/quote]

Interesting to hear this. I also have the Craftsman rotary tool (I like them better than Dremel). Here's the sick part... the last one I bought, I had to get at K-Mart... Sears only carried Dremel. WTF???

I use mine constantly. I have also gone through a handful of them over the years. I had gone the route of replacement parts, servicing, etc. Not any more. I chuck 'em and buy a new one. Far less aggravation and far less down time. Not saying your tip isn't useful, because it is sure to save someone's tool from the trash can. Thanks!
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Jan 28, 2014 11:10AM)
This one is probably so obvious it's funny, but playing cards are fantastic for use as shims. They are very thin and hold up well.

For instance, when I made the Okito-Berg tipover chests for Joe Stevens, I wanted to make sure the inserts were perfectly centered in the outer boxes before I intalled the hinge. So I lined up the insert, then put an equal number of cards on each side between the insert and the box. Because the boxes were hand-made, there were very minor variations in size, but all I had to do was remove a card here and add it there until everything was balanced. The number of cards didn't make any difference as long as it was the same on each side.

Now I'm making another prop for Joe, wich involves blocks inside a box. So I lined up the blocks on a wood blank, put a few cards at the end to allow for clearance, and there was my inside dimension. No measuring, and it was totally re-settable.

I've also used them along the rip saw fence and on the cross-cut sled to add a bit of length to a cut. And I'm still finding uses for them. Of course, the cards go back inside the box after use, just like any other precision tool. When they get bent or damaged and can't be used as shims, they make great glue spreaders. And, in a pinch, they make good inside try squares.

Who woulda thunk?
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jan 28, 2014 11:38AM)
Great tip, George! Thanks! I have found many uses for playing cards, too. In addition to glue spreaders, they also work well to clean up squeeze-out from inside corners. Folded, they hold a nice crisp corner that works well... similar to the drinking straw idea mentioned here previously.

I will sometimes use playing cards as spacers when installing hinges on doors, etc. Just a bit of clearance between the two parts being joined usually insures that the parts don't bind, even if the screw snugs the parts a little too close together. It's better than trying to adjust the screws, and far better than springing the hinge a bit to get a door to close correctly.
Message: Posted by: George Ledo (Jan 28, 2014 11:53AM)
And one of these days I'm going to realize that, while glue is drying or I need a quick break, I can use them to practice the ol' front-and-back palm. A very versatile tool indeed! :)
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Feb 13, 2014 07:31PM)
Stop work pieces from sliding around on your bench. Buy a roll of mesh shelf liner, such as sold at Wal Mart. Cut a suitable section and lay it on the bench as your work surface. This good when you are using a palm sander on harder to secure pieces. It will prevent them from slipping around. When it gets too dusty to grip well, it is easy to wash... too old, chunk it and cut a new piece. You'll find this stuff comes in handy in a number of ways.
Message: Posted by: blamobox (Jun 29, 2014 07:27PM)
[quote]On Feb 13, 2014, Michael Baker wrote:
Stop work pieces from sliding around on your bench. Buy a roll of mesh shelf liner, such as sold at Wal Mart. Cut a suitable section and lay it on the bench as your work surface. This good when you are using a palm sander on harder to secure pieces. It will prevent them from slipping around. When it gets too dusty to grip well, it is easy to wash... too old, chunk it and cut a new piece. You'll find this stuff comes in handy in a number of ways. [/quote]

Good one!
I have a roll of rubber carpet underlay I can roll out on the work surface.
Double backed carpet tape is also handy for 'hard to clamp' material.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Jul 24, 2014 01:00PM)
I have found that those hotel door keys like a credit card are great little tools in the shop. They come in all different thicknesses that can be used for different needs. The thin ones are great for spreading glue I love the thick ones to put decals on with. to many uses to list them all.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 27, 2014 11:22PM)
Some time ago, I mentioned a great product called Timber Mate water-based wood filler. I find it at a local Rockler store, but it is also available at Woodcraft, and probably some other places, too.

I am in the process of a refinish project and after stripping and sanding to the bare wood, noticed that the wood is heavily grained with lots of deep pores. These needed to be filled in order to give a good substrate for the primer and paint.

Timber mate comes in a variety of wood tones, but for a painted project, it hardly matters what color you select.

As it comes from the container, it is about the consistency of most other wood fillers, something like thick peanut butter. I have found that I get the best results by thinning the product somewhat with water, so that it spreads much easier without "pulling" up.

The first photo shows the beginning process of spreading the filler over the wood. You don't need to be concerned with using too much. It actually helps insure that all voids are filled, and you cannot waste the product. Just spread it on like you are frosting a cake. I use a non-serrated butter knife for this. Don't worry... your wife won't kill you because this stuff is very easy to clean up.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/grainfill01.jpg[/img]

The next photo shows the surface completely covered.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/grainfill02.jpg[/img]

Finally, the excess has been drawn off using a wide blade putty knife. Mine is 4" wide. In order to do this, draw across the grain, not with the grain. In my project, the grain runs the length of the piece (left to right in the photos). When I scraped, I drew the blade from top to bottom, as the photo would show. If you draw with the grain, it tends to pull the filler out of the long channels of the grain. Drawing across the grain does not do this.

Be sure to scrape off the excess from the blade after each pull. Just scrape it back into the container.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/grainfill03.jpg[/img]

When the filler has dried completely (this won't take too long, but will depend on the depth of the fill), sand with a fine grade paper. I use 400 or 600 grit. Don't use a too heavy a grit as this can easily dig the filler back out.

Prime and paint as usual.

It shouldn't be necessary to mention this, but be sure to use paint and primer that is NOT water-based. Water-based products will dissolve the filler and it will wash right out. Enamel, lacquer, oil, etc. OK.

Clean up is a snap, and even if the product has dried completely or gotten too thick over time, just reconstitute it with a little water and it's good as new again.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Sep 24, 2014 09:07AM)
Michael,

I have a couple of questions about the Timber Mate.

About how many of the props shown above would you say you could cover from a single can of the Timber Mate like the one your showing on the table?

After the prop is covered how well does the paint stick in the terms of coats and blemishes. What I would like to know is does the paint merly rest on the top layer of the surface or does it soak in to the Timber Mate? Also when appling paint to the Timber Mate have you had any issues with blemishes do to the Timber Mate as some wood fillers seem to cause more problems when painting than they are worth, while they did fill the gaps and big hole it seems some of these fillers cause the paint to absorb in a rather unusual way.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Sep 24, 2014 11:21AM)
Hi Bill,

I could not really estimate how many items the product would cover because it would depend on the size of the object and the depth of the voids to be filled. The container itself is 2" diameter X 3" height, if that helps. 8 oz (250 gram) container.

If you paint directly on this, there is going to be a bit of absorption. You'll notice the patched area to be less glossy than surrounding areas. You can fix this with multiple coats, but... I prefer to correct the substrate and properly prep it for paint first. Using a primer is a must, but I do that with all painted items anyway. I typically apply more than one coat of primer to any project, and with this, you can tell when the patch has been sufficiently blocked and color coats can be applied. (It's not that bad anyway.)

Sanding sealer is also a must do, if you really want to get a primo paint finish. If you patch, then use sanding sealer before primer, you won't have any soak-in to speak of. BTW - the best sanding sealer I have found is Ace brand oil-based. Much better than water-based and fumes are not nearly as noxious as lacquer-based. If the stores don't have it in stock, they will order it.
Message: Posted by: MentalistCreationLab (Sep 24, 2014 01:19PM)
Thanks Michael, that's what I wanted to know. I working on a project right now that may need a skim coat timder mate before painting as the woods grain is a bit more open than normal.
Message: Posted by: DaleTrueman (Jan 9, 2015 12:32AM)
[quote]On Dec 2, 2012, blamobox wrote:
Hi Guys and thanks Mr Baker for a great thread idea!

How annoying is it when you measuring to mark and you can't find your pencil? Or you put it in your back pocket, forget and it ends up snapped?
You reach behind your ear and it's vanished? Well try this......

Cut a small groove across the width of your carpenters pencil and combine it with half a wooden clothes peg, I call it the 'Pegsil'

All the best
Alex
PS Don't tell the Misses! [/quote]

That is so awesome. You don't know how much this will help me! Thank you.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (Apr 23, 2015 09:47PM)
Tip for the day from a personal experiance not ten minutes ago....

It is unwise to get superglue on your tongue.

Don't ask.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 24, 2015 08:49AM)
[quote]On Apr 23, 2015, jay leslie wrote:
Tip for the day from a personal experiance not ten minutes ago....

It is unwise to get superglue on your tongue.

Don't ask. [/quote]

I'm speechless... and I'm not the one with super glue on my tongue.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (May 13, 2015 08:00PM)
So you think you're frugal? This will save you money if you have flying insects and dirty windows:

Wait till dusk, turn off your lights so the bugs migrate onto the window glass... get real close and spray the bugs... then wipe the glass clean with a paper towel.

No sense wasting money on bug spray & glass cleaner when they do double duty.
Message: Posted by: JCorry (Jun 18, 2016 09:12AM)
Although I am new to the forum I have some tips that I hope will help.
The first one is for super glue- the gloves that they use at places like Subway restaurant to pick up the sandwich ingredients will not stick to super glue
as oposed to every thing else :)
This makes it much easier to for example hold an item together while glueing it.
The second tip I'll share is to store your realy runny super glue in a pipette- it does not dry out and you can put as much as you want where you want it.
Thanks to all who make this thread and the forum awesome!
Jackson.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 18, 2016 09:54AM)
Thanks, Jackson! Good tips!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jul 3, 2016 09:26PM)
Here's a solution to a problem...

I wanted to drill a hole through a ball. The problem was that the ball was only 1 1/4" diameter and I needed a 3/4" diameter hole. Obviously, you can't hold the ball while doing this, and conventional clamps and vices would scar the wood.

So, I created a ball-drilling jig. I drilled a 1 1/4" hole through a piece of wood. The ball fit perfectly into this. Then I cut that piece of wood in half, the kerf running right through the center of the hole. The resulting gap allowed this to now be clamped in a standard drill press vice, securing the ball completely, without any damage to the ball. Having the jig completely surround the ball likely also prevented the sides of the ball from blowing out during the drilling process.

This would work for any size ball, although you'd want the thickness of the stock for the jig to exceed the radius of the ball, so it clamps at the equator.

[img]http://themagiccompany.com/balldrillingjig.jpg[/img]
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Aug 3, 2016 09:49AM)
I often need plywood in very precise thickness. I don't have a drum sander and don't like running plywood thru one to start with. Found baltic birch came in thickness of down to 1/64" also bought 1/32" and 1/16". By gluing pieces on one or both of the sides of say 1/8" plywood you can make up any thickness you want and have a good paintable surface on both sides. I use contact cement to bond the layers.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 3, 2016 07:18PM)
Good tip, Gimpy. I have also used that really thin stuff to "skin" a piece that may have surface issues. It's like adding veneer. Even though that thin Baltic Birch can be pretty expensive, sometimes it's better than rebuilding a project.

In a related topic to the thickness issue... I saw a tip on The Woodsmith Shop recently regarding the thicknesses of plywood. Sometimes the actual thicknesses are not accurate. So, if cutting a dado that the plywood must fit, and assuming the plywood is too thick, rather than resetting the dado blade or rip fence, use masking tape on the rip fence as a shim. Keep adding tape if needed to sneak up on the cut for a perfect fit.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Aug 4, 2016 06:53AM)
Yes Michael the thin 1/64" in a 12"x 24" runs $20 the thicker is half that. The parts I make with the thin stuff are very small so one sheet goes a long way. I also make a practice of hitting a glued up sheet of thicker stuff with a light over spray of paint so it dosent get mixed in with the regular falls.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Aug 25, 2016 08:51PM)
The thin stuff is also great as shim material, when you need to tighten the fit, build up under a piece of hardware, or when you need to develop angles. You can build up layers to achieve the desired result, even with micro stair steps, then "skin" it over to get an unblemished surface.
Message: Posted by: Ray Tupper. (Sep 30, 2016 09:56AM)
Michael mentioned "Timber mate", on the previous page, as a good water based grain filler.
Water based fillers can be "fanneyed about with", as we say in the trade, to give a harder, less porous, and all round better
finish, giving you the opportunity to use a water based paint/ sealer straight onto it.
If you add "Cascamite", which is a powdered resin glue, to the filler and mix well, adding a drop of water, you'll
have a very workable outstanding filler.
I tend to mix it about two parts filler, to one part Cascamite. The working time is about twenty minutes, then it
starts to become a bit too stiff. Obviously, the mix hardens. So only mix what you need.
As a side note, there are also resin impregnated papers, which can be glued to grainy timbers, that give a great base for painting.
"Swedotec" is one that I've used. After application of the paper, just hit it with 240 grit paper and a good flat sanding block.
I apply the paper to the substrate, with PVA and a veneer iron.
I'm sure all these products will be available in the States, but probably under a different trade name.
Cheers, Ray.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Sep 30, 2016 11:46AM)
Thanks, Ray. That gives me some more options.
Message: Posted by: sammagic (Sep 30, 2016 07:15PM)
Before I start I am not advertising any company.

Michael I work for a company that supplies timber mate, not the one that you use but we manufacture it ourselves. Brilliant stuff if you use it for the right application.

Im willing to offer advice for anyone that needs it, as a screw is not just a screw and a glue is not just a glue, there are so many different types out there and some are ideal for what we do. Im not here to adverise the company as we only supply commercial businesses but we do some good stuff.

Examples are screws where you can screw it in within millimeters of a corner joint where the wood will not split, wood screws where you don't need to pre drill, fexible glues after they have set in different colours, a screw that has been manufactured for screwing two boards together, so no sepration and spinning of one part when you are trying to connect them.

If anyone is UK based I can get things for you cost price, and by that I mean really cheap and it is top quality stuff (and no I wont charge extra, I'll just order it on my personal account, but I will have to charge you postage though)

We area global company so if there are US or people from any other countries that may be interested I can put you in touch with people, and if you mention my name they will probably allow you to purchase stuff.

As mentioned above if anyone want advice on anything regarding fixings etc, I'll try and help if I can.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Oct 14, 2016 08:39AM)
Heres a tip I saw on the today show and thought it was worth trying. I use a lot of duct tape and sometimes want to cut it in perfect shapes. This is made easy by first sticking the tape to parchment paper. Then you can draw your pattern on the parchment and cut without the tape getting stuck to your scissors. Just tried it and it works great. This works just as well with masking tape would be e great way to make detailed stencils or decals.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Oct 14, 2016 01:39PM)
Gimpy, I can think of some good applications for this. Thanks.
Message: Posted by: malaki (Jun 5, 2017 12:55PM)
[quote]On Jan 2, 2012, mvmagic wrote:
Certainly!

Lets say you need to make a frame of certain size. Just place your wood on the sheet metal and put magnets around the pieces (I usually use two magnets on both sides of the wood) to keep them in place while gluing. If your magnets are square and large enough, you can use them at the corners as well.

You can customize your sheet by drawing straight lines at intervals of your liking (use a straight edge) to have guides on it.

Instead of just magnets, you can get varying lengths of steel or aluminum angle (I have 2" by 2" angle) to make yourself jig pieces. Get some round magnets, drill corresponding size holes on the angle, make sure the magnets are flush with the bottom surface of the angle and from the top, glue them into place with a generous amount of epoxy (or whatever you like).

You can also take two identical pieces of steel plate and put a few magnets between them to make an instant jig piece which will stick to the "main plate" as well.

Really your imagination is the limit here! You really can create jigs for almost any need with a system like this. You can add magnets to existing clamps to further expand the possibilities.

I got the inspiration years ago from this product:

http://www.micromark.com/magnetic-gluing-jig-10-1and4-inch-square,7038.html (Cut and paste, the comma breaks the link) [/quote]


An even better idea is to use switchable magnets. These are now available through Woodcraft and other dealers. It is a magnet in a housing that will not be magnetic until a switch is turned 180 degrees, at which point it becomes a VERY strong magnet! These magnets have mounting holes that can be attached to extruded aluminum and used as a fence. I have attached two to a cross slide. With the cross slide attached, I can pick up the 1/2" thick steel plate that I use as a working surface for my fluting jig. Highly recommended for jigs in the shop!
Message: Posted by: malaki (Jun 9, 2017 09:19AM)
Try this:

Take an old hack saw blade and attach it to the front face of your bench (teeth down) with some washers and dry wall screws. Use the washers to shim the blade away from the bench.

When the need arises to cut down a sheet of sandpaper, fold it (grit outwards), then feed one side up through the blade so that the fold is against the teeth of the saw blade. The paper will tear perfectly along the fold, if you start at one end. This prevents waste due to mis-cut/torn paper, allowing you to use all four sheets on your 1/4 sheet sander.

I also keep an old letter rack (intended for snail mail) on the wall behind my lathe. This allows me to keep my sandpaper organized according to grit, and well within reach.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Jun 10, 2017 01:05AM)
Good tips, Malaki. I have an 8x12 steel square that I use as an edge to tear sandpaper sheets. Lay the sandpaper flat on a table. Place the square on it where you want the tear, hold it down and pull up from one free end of the paper.

Speaking of sandpaper and lathes... Take an old, worn sanding belt, and cut it into long strips of varying widths. These are good for sanding the tight inside corners and the cloth backing makes them extremely durable.
Message: Posted by: gimpy2 (Sep 28, 2017 03:21PM)
Small spring hinges are impossible to find and a pain to make. In some applications like the one I'm working on now a spring hinge can be substituted with a spring toggle off a wall anchor. Come in several sizes and spring strength. Works as the hinge and spring.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Sep 30, 2017 02:43PM)
I've seen those used on Botanias. Next time I make a Card Star, I might try those.
Message: Posted by: David_N (Apr 13, 2018 09:39AM)
When preparing aluminium trim for a prop I prefer the brushed metal look. I have found an easily available device at my local DIY/home improvement store which produces excellent results. It is called a polycarbide abrasive disc. It is 4" across with a stem to put in your pistol drill. It is far less aggressive than a wire brush and produces a great brushed metal effect; just clamp the flatbar or angle to your workbench and keep the disc in constant motion up and down the length of the metal. I found it works best in a more powerful corded drill and don't set the speed too high or you end up getting hot spots on the workpiece.
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (Apr 22, 2018 09:08PM)
Thank you for the tip, David_N!
Message: Posted by: Blackington (May 8, 2018 09:02PM)
LOL...Michael you do wonderful work. From my artist's perspective, I can appreciate that you're doing so much in a confined space. One's powers of concentration can indeed become very focused in a small work space. Speaking from my own experience in Art school, the small space has it's drawbacks. However, at the same time, it can aid in pushing a project toward completion -- in other words, 'small' is workable, and it's a very special space!

Aside from that -- I wish I'd payed more attention to building boxes etc. I love the discussion-- and it's constructively endearing to hear that you're doing so much by trial and error. That particular form of "discovery" (and the inherent learning that taking place) can be a method that actually keeps the creative pulse alive. In other words, the "doing" is everything.

I know that I'm not adding anything to the discussion of building magical props per se (believe me, I wish I was doing the building myself). Even so, I point out that the visual appeal of magical props actually looking "MAGICAL" is (for the audience) a very important component, and it adds greatly to the feeling of 'awe' that the audience experiences. It's as if something magical HAS TO HAPPEN with such beautiful, and intriguing, props. Thank you, please keep making!
Message: Posted by: Michael Baker (May 10, 2018 03:52PM)
Thank you, Blackington.

Yes, a small space has its advantages. Having enough space sometimes is not one of those, however! LOL

Building magic is always trial and error the first time. But, I suppose most things are like that. Building something a second, third, and fourth time is much the same, if modifications or improvements are part of the equation. I'm such that when something can be done by rote, I get bored and move on.

It seems to be a divided issue among magicians on the value of using props. I think everything is contextual. As one who is also in favor of props (judiciously and skillfully used), I can only say to those definitively against them... "Don't stop thinking too soon."

I will add that there are times when a lack of props (or the appearance thereof) is the better path. As I said, it's all in the context.
Message: Posted by: David_N (Jul 4, 2018 12:54AM)
While building an 'Assistant's Revenge' illusion I pondered for a while what would be the best covering for the top of the base. Ideally of course you want something hard wearing and non slip. Eventually I found what I was looking for, it is called 'Doorstep Paint'. It comes in only a few colours (I chose black to match the rest of the prop), and as the title suggests it was designed specifically for painting steps. It is actually a tough outdoor paint with large particles of grit added so that when it dries you are left with a hard wearing, slightly rough texture which gives you the perfect surface to stand on. Top Tip: The grit sinks to the bottom so the paint must be stirred very thoroughly; I use a paint paddle that fits into a corded drill for the best results.
Message: Posted by: David_N (Jul 15, 2018 02:00AM)
Sometimes we come across a device which makes life so much easier and we wonder how we did without it. One such thing for me was a Drywall Square. This is basically an oversize T square where the main blade is 4 feet long. It makes marking out large plywood sheets accurately a breeze.
Message: Posted by: lnlver (Sep 17, 2018 09:05PM)
When applying oil or finish to a project, place the bottle inside a clamp. This keeps it from being knocked over and spilling. Yes, I learned this the hard way.
Message: Posted by: Wravyn (Oct 14, 2018 07:30AM)
[quote]On Sep 17, 2018, lnlver wrote:
When applying oil or finish to a project, place the bottle inside a clamp. This keeps it from being knocked over and spilling. Yes, I learned this the hard way. [/quote]

Wish I would have read this a few weeks ago...
Message: Posted by: majik_1 (Dec 17, 2018 07:38PM)
That clamp idea works for glue bottles as well.
Message: Posted by: lnlver (Jan 25, 2019 08:08AM)
When wanting to make a 90 degree cut to a piece of wood, I get a block that has a 90 degree angle and put it against the fence. Then I clamp or grip the piece tightly against the wood block as I run it through the saw blade. I get a perfectly clean cut.

If I need to trim the wood to a specific dimension, I adjust the fence to the approximate spot, then use cardboard shims to trim it successively until it's the correct size.

I like this better than using a miter gauge, since this gets out of whack and also because the piece can slide during its run through the saw. You do have to be careful with your hands using my method.