My woodworing ideas and tips #16: Keeping track of that pesky little part and a little sanding tip

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Betsy posted 03-03-2009 04:04 AM 1694 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 15: Box making tutorial continued - doing the bottom Part 16 of My woodworing ideas and tips series Part 17: Tearing it down to put it together... just a musing »

Sometimes I have to remind myself just how much common sense goes into making my woodworking enjoyable and less tedious.

As most of you know I’m making a small cabinet for a friend’s Wii/TV set up. Well, I’m going to finally use that set of CMT rasied panel cutters. That, of course, requires a 1/2” collett for my router table. The bits and the router table were quite easy to find (once you clear away the dust). That pesky 1/2” collet, however, was not. In fact, I spent the better part of an hour looking for the little thing. I very seldom use it, but when I do, it’s always the same thing – where is it? Where did I lay it down last time? So now, I’ve come up with a very simple, common sense solution that many of you probably already use. I used a bit of string and tied it into a loop, then ran the loop through the center of the collett – then ran the other end of the loop through the loop under the collett – tightened it and hung it on the s-hook I use to keep my other table tools handy. Problem solved.


Now onto that little sanding thing I finally figured out. I have to clean up all the parts for the door frames, panels, drawer front and base pieces. I’ve got them milled to thickness and am ready to cut to final width/length. But since I’m still not quite up to smoothing every piece with a hand plane (getting there though!) I need to use my sander. The thought of sanding all those small pieces to get out mill marks was daunting. Then it hit me, sand all the big pieces before you cut them into little pieces! GENIUS I KNOW! I know I’ll have to do a little finish work on the sanding once the parts are cut to size and routed, but it’s a lot less now that I’ve already sanded them through 150 grit. This is the pile I’m working with. Some very pretty cherry.


Well that’s all the immense wisdom I can impart to my web friends tonight. I wish someone had told me all this a long time ago!!!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

7 comments so far

View Woodshopfreak's profile


389 posts in 4103 days

#1 posted 03-03-2009 04:08 AM

It always seems like I misplace my router parts, mostly bits, becasue I lay them under my router table with the other 20 things I have down there, and then I can’t find them.

-- Tyler, Illinois

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4182 days

#2 posted 03-03-2009 04:20 AM

Betsy, I am sure a lot of us can empathize with you over losing small parts like this, not to mention pencils, tape measures etc. With the cabinet that I just finished I “happened” to lose a piece of the face frame after I had milled the all the parts and stacked them in a designated area. This was a stick of wood that was 40” long. I simply had it in my hand one minute and 5 minutes later could not find it despite spending over an hour looking for it all the while insisting that “it has to be in plain sight”. Sometimes I believe that maybe there are shop gremlins who “misplace” these things just to be mischievous. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4256 days

#3 posted 03-03-2009 04:37 AM

Tyler – I solved that problem when I got my Jessom table. It has no shelf!

Scott – gremlins are probably the best bet here. I’ve done the “I just had it” speech with myself many times. When I was remodeling my house I was always loosing tools – and I’d have to take a break. When I came back, the tools did too!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Bob Costello's profile

Bob Costello

68 posts in 4015 days

#4 posted 03-03-2009 04:55 AM

I use plastic zip lock type bags alot. All the router collets, wenches, collars and that plastic face with the straight edge (has it a technical name?) are in a bag in the side pocket of the router table. All those small sprayer parts are in another plastic bag in the sprayer box. I try to keep all like things with like things.

I still lose stuff. Alot. My wife once gave me a card with a guy looking in a refrigerator full of butter. Nothing but butter in the refrigerator. The caption was “Honey, where’s the butter?”

-- Bob Costello

View lew's profile


12736 posts in 4116 days

#5 posted 03-03-2009 05:47 AM

Great idea Betsy!!

I made a thin wall cabinet that holds all my router bits- on several “shelves”. The bottom shelf is dedicated to colletts, inserts, router base screw and the like. Up and down the 2 sides are 8d finish nails to hold the wrenches, inlay kits and extra plastic bases. It’s quite a menagerie but it works for me.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3335 posts in 4073 days

#6 posted 03-03-2009 07:20 AM


We all seem to have that same problem of misplacing things. I’ve been doing a thorough cleaning of the shop to make room for some additional equipment and am amazed at what I have found. But in the reorganization process, I wasted many hours looking for concrete screws and loads for driving the nails to put up some shelving. I did finally find them (while trying to productively use my time looking for them). I’d hate to think of how much money I would have lost if I were doing this for a living with all the time I spend looking for stuff. One day I do hope to be better organized!

Thanks for reminding us of some great tips!

-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View Rustic's profile


3256 posts in 3957 days

#7 posted 03-04-2009 06:01 AM

On the sho Renovation reality the other night. There was a guy who keptlosing his tape measure. He sent his wife out to buy some supplies. She bought 8 tape measures. By the end of the show he had lost all but 3. I have a dedicated spot for mine…Somewhere in the shop. :-)

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics