LumberJocks

Hints and Tips

  • Advertise with us
Blog series by Dave Rutan updated 02-16-2017 04:14 PM 27 parts 60902 reads 154 comments total

Part 1: Finding nails in re-used wood

11-05-2014 08:16 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

[Legebla ankaĆ­ en Esperanto] When I first started collecting free wood from along the street, it occurred to me to protect my power tools by making sure as possible that all the nails were out of the boards. If memory serves, Norm Abram placed this idea in my head. I bought a down and dirty wand style metal detector to check out the wood as I clean it up. The one pictured cost less than $20, maybe about $10 really. I’m not sure. I bought it several years ago from that auction w...

Read this entry »


Part 2: Let Your Jigsaw Blow the Dust!

11-15-2014 10:58 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

[Above] Behold a common jigsaw. This is actually MY jigsaw. I have 3, but one was my Dad’s, one I got from a friend. None of them are the good kind with a bearing supporting the back of the blade, but that’s OK. It works. I sometimes grab it for down and dirty work. What annoyed me was the way the sawdust would always obscure any line I was trying to follow. This meant that I’d have to play the Big Bad Wolf and keep blowing the dust away from the blade. Then I got an ...

Read this entry »


Part 3: Paint 'Pyramids'

12-18-2014 11:42 PM by Dave Rutan | 11 comments »

I can’t claim this as my original idea. I saw it somewhere sometime in the past. [EDIT] I found where I got this idea. It was in this video tip by Chad Stanton. It’s a great idea though and uses up some small scraps of plywood. You can buy paint pyramids, but I like the free option. All I did was take pieces of 1/2 inch plywood and cut them into approximately 2×2 inch squares. Then I drilled a pilot hole and made a countersink for a deck screw so they would sit le...

Read this entry »


Part 4: How To Embed a YouTube Video into Your Blog on Lumberjocks (Jan 2014)

01-25-2015 12:24 AM by Dave Rutan | 22 comments »

[UPDATED 2 November 2015] WARNING: SELF-PLAYING VIDEOS BELOW! A lot of us have had trouble embedding our videos into our blogs on Lumberjocks. After putting out a call for help, I was told how to do it. This method works now. I can’t guarantee it will always work since YouTube tends to give us more features as time goes on. View on YouTube Here’s how to do it: Method 1 Step 1: Find the YouTube video you want to imbed. Step 2: Go up to the URL bar in your brows...

Read this entry »


Part 5: A 'Quick' Way to Store Nails, Screws, Etc.

02-05-2015 04:26 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

I’m always trying to figure out how to use the many things we throw out in our day to day lives. In no way can I be considered a fanatic about this, but I try to consider any containers we put out for recycling. I use our Nestle Quick canisters to store the standard screws and finish nails in my shop. They are a good size, they are sturdy plastic and they are oblong, which allows the smaller of the two available sizes to be carried in a normal cloth nail apron! Originally the ...

Read this entry »


Part 6: A Place for my Pencil!

07-15-2015 09:34 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

I thought it was a great idea to keep a handy shop pencil in the miter slot of my router table or table saw, but it would often threaten to roll away, or just got in the way of one activity or another and I’d end up moving it around. I finally came up with a simple solution that works for me. I took a hunk of 2×3 and drilled 1/2 inch holes in it, nearly all the way through. I then cut the 2×3 to give me a 1-1/2 in x 1-1/2 in block with a hole in it. These I attached...

Read this entry »


Part 7: Jointing on my Table Saw

07-17-2015 04:14 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

I’m making a project that involves edge gluing some 2×4’s. They were rescued from a pallet and needed smoothing before I could glue them together. At first I tried my trusty jointing/tapering jig (above), but apparently either my saw blade is too dull, the clamps don’t hold well enough or the runner slops in the miter slot.I kept seeing light between the edges. So I gave it some thought. I have an old metal level that was left behind when we had our driveway pave...

Read this entry »


Part 8: Pencil Extender

07-24-2015 11:31 AM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

In a YouTube video by Phillip Stephens I noticed he had a short pencil stuck into a small length of wood in order to make it longer. Phillip Stephens is from New Zealand, but the video was made while he was living in Columbia in South America. Based on his videos there, he has to make do and mend as a matter of course. Even though we have plenty of pencils around the house and in my shop, I liked the idea of this simple little widget. I liked the idea of an extender, but wanted to m...

Read this entry »


Part 9: Occasional Pocket Hole Joinery

08-27-2015 01:11 AM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

While I cannot be called a die hard fan of pocket hole joinery, I’ll admit it has some uses. Such a use came about today as I was completing a project (to be posted in a day or two). This method of making pocket holes without an expensive jig I saw in a video by Steve Carmichael. (the link starts the video right at the part I’m talking about). [Above] These are the tools I used to do this procedure. Your choices may vary. I’m using a 3/8 inch spade bit, 1/8 in. twis...

Read this entry »


Part 10: Template Sawing on the Table Saw

09-03-2015 05:50 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

If you remember my Tip #7, I showed how I jointed one edge of a board by taping a straight edge to a board and running it along the fence of a table saw. Well, sometimes I think I’m just stupid! There’s an easier way to do this and I already had the jig for it made. My wife asked me for a piece of wood to shore up one side of an electronic keyboard at her school. I had a piece in mind, but wanted to square it up and paint it black. After I did all of this, using the method des...

Read this entry »


Part 11: Get a Grip on Your Spray Cans!

09-16-2015 01:04 AM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

Some of us use spray cans of finishing products to protect our projects. Using a spray can while holding down the button with an achy finger was challenging at best. Then I saw these grips for spray cans in the paint section and bought one. I can’t describe what a difference the grip makes. It makes a can of spray behave like a spray gun. You get great control over aiming and starting/stopping the spray. There seem to be grips made by many spray paint brands as well as a few generic...

Read this entry »


Part 12: DIY Bench Cookies

09-21-2015 07:24 PM by Dave Rutan | 10 comments »

Somewhere recently I was watching a video where Bench Cookies were mentioned. I then ran down into my shop and poured out the contents of my ‘wood wheels’ which are mainly the plugs I save from my hole saw. I had 4 plugs about 2 inches in diameter and close to 1 inch thick. I pulled out a place mat that I saved from the trash. It’s made from shelf liner material. I glued the plugs onto the placemat with contact cement and trimmed them out. Now I have 4 bench cookies...

Read this entry »


Part 13: Spalted Log Breakdown

09-30-2015 07:34 PM by Dave Rutan | 9 comments »

This is a 2 foot section of a 12 foot long branch which I dragged off our bank this week. I speculated that if it wasn’t too rotten that it would have some spalted wood in it. After cutting it in half on my band saw, I discovered I was right. [Below] I screwed the half log onto a board with an edge overhanging the board. More imortantly one edge of the board was clear of the log as well. This is so that the board will be flat to the table saw and the edge of the board will r...

Read this entry »


Part 14: KISS System Dust Collector

10-02-2015 05:07 PM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

I don’t like the idea of breathing in dust while running my machinery any more than the next guy (er, woodworker.) A few years ago, when we finally stopped using our last box fan, I hid it away, having an idea to re-purpose it down the road. So a few weeks ago, I decided to take another step towards a safer shop. I dug out the fan and cleaned it up. After checking that it still ran OK, I went out and bought one of those filters for forced hot air heating systems and installed it on...

Read this entry »


Part 15: Another Way to Break Down a Log

10-28-2015 05:21 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

[Above] This was my last log of elm in which I hoped to find some more spalted wood. The first thing I did was to grab my Australian Bowie knife and strip off the bark. It came off very easily as the log (2 feet long, 4 inch diameter ) had been sitting on the ground under leaves for several years. [Above] Then I put the log in its most stable position on its side and attached a 1×4 to each flank, making sure it was fairly stable and trying to have the boards parallel to the b...

Read this entry »


Part 16: Flattening a Box

11-07-2015 02:46 AM by Dave Rutan | 6 comments »

I’ve been making a few boxes lately and have at least one more to go. I saw this technique for fine tuning the bottom or top edges of a box on a YouTube video about guitar making. In the video the luthier had a large sheet of sandpaper glued to a piece of plywood. After creating the sides of the guitar body, he would rub the edges of the body (sans bottom or top) on the sandpaper to even out the edges completely. Since my joinery is far from perfect, I’ve been using this m...

Read this entry »


Part 17: DIY Small Sanding Spindle

11-20-2015 02:32 PM by Dave Rutan | 7 comments »

I needed a small sanding spindle to sand the small corners of a project I’m working on. My store bought sanding spindle is too big and I didn’t want to go out and buy one, plus even the smallest one in the store is too big. [Above] I found a 4 inch long piece of aluminum rod. It’s a little bigger in diameter than 1/4 inch. I used a hack saw to cut a slot down its lengthy about 1-1/2 inches long. [Above] I cut a piece of sandpaper about 2 inches long to fit ...

Read this entry »


Part 18: Sanding Small Parts

12-15-2015 08:19 PM by Dave Rutan | 4 comments »

Recently i found a need to sand some small parts of a project with my Random Orbit Sander. They were too small to clamp down and my sander would just throw them out from under it. I just clamped the ROS upside down in my leg vise and held the small piece on the rotating pad. This doesn’t work as aggressively as usual because your hand cannot hold the piece as firmly as it would be if it were clamped or had more mass.

Read this entry »


Part 19: Specialized Tiny Sander

12-22-2015 04:08 PM by Dave Rutan | 2 comments »

While making some bottle openers, I needed a way to get into a small area and sand, so I cut a piece of thick dowel, cut a neck into it to help me get past an installed and glued-on washer, glued on a piece of sandpaper with contact cement, trimmed it and sanded away. It was a simple fix to an odd problem, but I’m not positive everyone would have considered such a low tech approach.

Read this entry »


Part 20: Card of Tacks for Spraying Smaller Items

01-14-2016 10:04 PM by Dave Rutan | 8 comments »

Painting pyramids work well for larger projects, but when you have smaller items to spray, something on a smaller scale is needed. I took a piece of corrugated cardboard and inserted tacks in it from the bottom. I spaced them about an inch apart and covered the flat sides with tape to help hold them in. The item you want to spray is held up by the points of the ‘thumb’ tacks so that it won’t stick to whatever it’s resting on. [EDIT] I just found a few mo...

Read this entry »


Part 21: Cork Feet

02-02-2016 11:40 PM by Dave Rutan | 1 comment »

Have you ever had a project the needs little feet to get it off the table, but you only have wine corks? This happened to me recently, so I cut the corks into about 1/2 inch slices with my mini miter box and glued one in each corner of the project. To be sure they were level I rubbed the installed feet on a sheet of course sandpaper fixed to my flat work bench. Instant cork feet.

Read this entry »


Part 22: Wandering Bandsaw

02-05-2016 02:10 AM by Dave Rutan | 0 comments »

The last time I used my band saw it started acting up. I had a hard time steering the cut, but I got through it. It was just a band saw box. Today I discovered what the problem was. For whatever reason, perhaps my wheel tilting adjustment is loose, the blade was not between the guide blocks. It’s just a, 1/8 inch blade, so there’s not much fudge room. It wasn’t the saw, it was my set up! So if your band saw blade is wandering around, check your guide blocks! [Fun ...

Read this entry »


Part 23: Uses for Those Plastic Cards

03-06-2016 01:11 AM by Dave Rutan | 9 comments »

We seem to get a lot of those plastic cards that just get thrown away after they’ve been used. Whether it’s old gift cards or those ‘fake’ credit cards that American Express sends out, I’ve been looking for ways to at least use them for something before chucking them in the trash. With 3 of us using tracfones, we get a steady diet of the refill cards as well. [Below] Mainly I use mine to mix epoxy on or to hold a small pool of wood glue for those surgical ...

Read this entry »


Part 24: Another use for those plastic cards

07-08-2016 11:21 PM by Dave Rutan | 5 comments »

Ever need a square and you don’t have one? If you don’t need extreme precision, this will at least allow you to strike a line straighter than freehand. I was doing a project and being intentionally minimalist. I wanted to strike lines across a 1×2 to guide my eye for hand sawing. I grabbed one of my glue cards, folded in in half and presto, I had something like a square.

Read this entry »


Part 25: Old trick for an open miter

07-29-2016 05:53 PM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

[Below] Ever have one miter that doesn’t quite close? Here’s a trick I got from somewhere at some time. [Below] Dab some wood glue on the open miter and work it in to the joint. Wipe off any excess, but don’t use water. [Below] Go over the joint with your sander. A random orbit sander works best. The saw dust from the sanding fills the joint. Note: this won’t work on wide gaps unless you’re painting the piece.

Read this entry »


Part 26: To the last drop

01-08-2017 03:03 AM by Dave Rutan | 3 comments »

This is a tip that I got from the pooroldchap YouTube channel [link]. He posts what he terms Workshop Waffles where he talks about things in his workshop. If you use WD-40 or a similar aerosol propelled lubrication oil this may help you save a few cents. I took an old metal oil can that once contained sewing machine oil. I’m not sure if anything like this can still be purchased or if they’ve all gone over to plastic. A plastic bottle may be usable, but you’ll need a t...

Read this entry »


Part 27: One key to file cleaning

02-16-2017 04:14 PM by Dave Rutan | 8 comments »

I’ve seen a few things telling of how to clean out the teeth of a file. One old-timey way, the source of which I cannot find was to hammer the end of a large nail flat and run that over the file groove-wise. The teeth of the file will cut the nail into a sort of rake which will force out any aluminum or other soft metal bits, even sawdust! This video says pretty much the same thing: View on YouTube So I don’t yet own a file card brush, but I had a few old keys to a pad...

Read this entry »



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

HomeRefurbers.com