Olly Writes

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Tag Archives: tip

Making Hoses Fit

If you’ve ever tried to connect a vacuum to your portable power tools, you’re likely to have come across one (if not several) where the supplied nozzle at the end of the hose doesn’t even come close to fitting snugly in to the tool’s outlet. Some people will resort to using masking tape or scraps of PVC pipe; worse still (and I’ve been guilty of this many times) is where people decide to neglect the use of dust extraction and then proceed to cut, plane, rout or sand away with fine particles filling their workshops!

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On Friday, while I was waiting for the glue to dry on a pair of chess boards (more on the perils of gluing end-grain to end-grain another time), I decided to have a go at making an attachment that would connect my vacuum to my random orbital sander. As you can see above; it works and I got the idea initially from (I think) Chris Pine over on Keek (@cpine).

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An additional tip for drilling small squares safely!

You basically take two small squares of plywood, drilling one hole in each. In one block, you have a hole sized to take the nozzle from the vacuum; the other is drilled to fit over your tool’s outlet or port. Then, these two blocks are carefully glued together and I rounded the corners off to make it aesthetically pleasing.

It’s a custom solution that doesn’t cost a lot but might ensure you never run out of masking tape. You may still need to manufacture one ‘fitting’ for each of your tools but, if it means you’re more likely to use dust extraction then it’s worth it.

Thanks for reading and I hope you’ve found this tip useful.

Getting a Grip

It must have been late-2009 when I made a plywood base cabinet to sit directly underneath my chip extractor (an Axminster ADE1200). Small workshops are all about making the most of whatever space you can find. As this extractor wasn’t very tall (no more than 5ft, to the top of the filter bag), I seized on the opportunity to increase its height by a good foot and to keep some of my ‘junk’ from off of the floor.

This extractor lives in a corner of the workshop, which makes it very difficult to access directly, when the time comes to change the bag. So, it’s often easiest for me to clear a space ahead and to roll the unit forwards. A problem occurs then because the weight of the unit is still on top, with the motor and so, attempting to drag of push the extractor out of or in to hiding often results in it tipping up. That’s why I decided to finally make and fit another handle lower down, which would allow me more direct control over the ‘weight-less’ half of the unit, directly supporting the upper load.

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Planer Fence Storage

This one actually popped up on YouTube in video form, several days. I’m also pleased to say that it’s had a few views already, with one person so inclined to add a comment as well, which is always welcomed.

One flaw in the ‘convenient’ design of many planer/thicknessers is that you have to remove (and store elsewhere) the fence before you can access the thicknesser. This isn’t usually a problem on larger, more expensive machines but, when you’re only prepared to pay less, you have to come up with your own solution for temporary storage of the fence, as I have done.

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Bench Repair (Part 2)

Over the weekend, I made further progress on the bench seat repair and started by preparing all my previously sawn stock down to finished dimensions.

When I’m working with timber that’s been at least partially sawn on a circular saw, which leaves a much cleaner finish than most bandsaw blades, I find it helpful to scribble over the sawn faces to void confusion later. Unless your planer knives are razor-sharp, it can sometimes be tricky to distinguish the prepared face and edge from the two other surfaces… On a few occasions, yes, I have made the mistake of referencing off the wrong face and edges when feeding stock through a thicknesser! 😳

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Something for Your Biscuits

Here’s a useful little workshop aid that I hadn’t seen before I re-enrolled at college, close to four-years ago now. I’ve bought biscuits from several different manufacturers. Lamello are my current favourites and I’ve also used Trend – the less said about Silverline, though, the better!! One problem I often run in to – and, I’m sure you’ve found the same for yourself – is that some biscuits will be significantly tighter than others. Where most will slip in and out of a slot with ease, there’s always one or two that need a hammer to drive them in. On the other side of the coin; getting them out again can be a burden in itself – I’ve had many biscuits ‘shatter’ whilst I’m trying to lever them out with a pair of pincers, leaving ‘fragments’ of compressed beech that are no easier to remove.

All you need here is a scrap of 18mm MDF (thinner stuff may also suffice). I’ve added a softwood ‘hook’ below the front edge so that I can safely hold this jig in my vice. On top, there are three shallow recesses; each one cut ‘freehand’ with a router to a depth of no more than 3mm. One size fits each of the three common sizes for biscuits (0, 10 and 20) and a small hole either side of the recess allows you to lever them out again safely. All you do is press the biscuit in to the correct recess and take a couple of thin shavings.

Before any says it, yes, I do store my biscuits in air-tight containers (pickled onion jars, etc,) that prevent moisture from getting in. Yet, I still suffer from swollen biscuits, which is why I’ve made this jig. I imagine that part of the problem though, is that I buy my biscuits in bulk boxes of one-thousand at a time (particularly for the no.20s, which I use all the time). Honestly, it is so much cheaper than buying them in bags of one-hundred, if you do a lot of biscuit-jointing, that is.

I’ve seen people achieve the same objective by resorting to the art of sanding – which most commonly involves inverting a wooden sanding block, covering it in a coarse sheet of abrasive paper and then running the biscuit back and forth over the top. Well, the jig I’ve made creates no dust and you’re not at risk of abrading the ends of your finger tips, considering that you’re working with a material that’s only 4mm thick.

I hope you’ve found this quick-tip to be useful.

Thanks for reading.

Need More Sash Cramps?

As woodworkers, we never seem to have enough cramps, particularly the longer ‘sash’ variety, when it comes to assembling almost any project. At the same time, most woodworkers don’t like to throw away even the thinnest of slivers when it comes to sorting through their offcuts (yes, I know I like to keep plenty of “dowel blanks“…).

Well, here’s a potential solution that’ll kill both problems with one stone, which I found over on the Frugal Woodworking blog:

[Click here to watch at Blip.tv.]

Such a simple solution and, for small scale edge jointing operations (perhaps only two or three boards at a time?), it seems to be effective. If you’re worried about the diagonal cramping and not getting pressure in all the right areas then, you could put another cramp on the underside, effectively creating an ‘X’-shape, if the timber boards were transparent. If you do make some of these cramps though, be sure to give all surfaces a good coating of wax – or else, you may find they end up sticking to your work as the glue cures!! 😉

Thanks for looking.

Routing In (Your) Convenience

Yes, it’s another one of those days where I’ve sent the last couple of hours scanning the internet for woodworking videos! 🙄 Anyone who follows my Twitter feed or YouTube page will know that I do this about once a week. My thanks, this week, go to 4five1’s blog, which provided me with the initial link for for this goldmine of woodworking information (that bookcase project in itself is also worth watching).

This time, I’d like to share with you a router table design that not only proves they do not need to be complicated or expensive to make; but that, you can easily build something that can easily be stored elsewhere, out of the way, when it’s not required. Though, I haven’t walked in to many workshops over here where you’d be able to accommodate a 48in-long top, though! 😉

I’m sure you could use the same adjustable-leg idea in other situations, such as on a fold-up outfeed table for your table saw.

Again, you’ll have to follow this link to see the video. I do apologise.

Thanks again to Fine Woodworking for making this one (and the others) free for all to view.

Hope you find it useful. 🙂

Router Table Extraction Mod.

Until recently, my router table regularly looked like this inside, on a regular basis:

If the insides of your table are constantly in a similar state (cutting grooves with a straight cutter being the main cause of all this mess) then, I’d recommend you take a look at Steve Maskery’s latest video, below; in which, Steve reveals his latest workshop tip for more efficient extraction when the waste cannot reach the extraction port in the rear of your fence.

If the video doesn’t load or work correctly for you on this site, please try this link to YouTube. While you’re opening a new tab or window, I’d also recommend a visit to Steve’s Workshop Essentials site, certainly if you haven’t visited before. This tip also features briefly on Steve’s latest DVD [Volume 6: The Ultimate Bandsaw Tenon Jig – also recommended!!]

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