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Winter 2013-2014

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  • Freshness Date for Finish

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    I never thought about the risks of using finish from an old, previously opened can until I had to entirely strip a project because the ancient varnish I used didn’t dry properly. Now I play it safe. I date every can when I first open it, so I know...
  • Smooth-As-Silk Countersink

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Countersink first, drill the pilot hole second. That may sound backward, but it’s the easiest way to ensure a perfectly smooth countersink. I used to drill the pilot hole first on the drill press, but if that hole was relatively large or the wood...
  • Tape Simplifies Gluing Miter Joints

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Let’s face it: Gluing mitered frames is a hassle. You need four, five or even six hands—or the time-honored shop staple, masking tape. I like the good, strong blue kind. You’ll need one piece for each corner. Lay the masking tape face...
  • Minimize Router Burns

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    End grain burns easily on maple and cherry, and those burns are hard to remove. After sanding my fingers to the bone following one particularly unfortunate routing pass, I came up with an easy solution that removes those unsightly burns without requiring...
  • Glue Squeegee

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    I stack-laminate boards to create turning blanks. Each blank contains numerous laminations, so I have to work fast during assembly. To spread glue quickly and evenly, I use a squeegee designed for silk-screening. You can buy one at an art supply store...
  • Shallow Cut Eliminates Tear-Out

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    When I crosscut hardwood plywood, I use an old technique to minimize tear-out on the bottom face. I simply make two passes with my general-purpose blade. After setting the rip fence, I cut a shallow groove, no more than 1/32 in. deep. Then I raise the...
  • Better Winding Sticks

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Winding sticks are very useful for gauging twist in a board, but they’re difficult to read. My improved version of these time-tested helpers makes the twist stand out. I start with a pair of straight, flat 2-in.-wide sticks made from 3/4-in.-thick...
  • Plastic Stickers Don't Stain

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    I use plastic conduit to make stickers for stacking and drying my wood. These stickers provide consistent spacing and excellent air circulation with minimal contact. I’ve never had problems with insects, mold or staining, which can occur around...
  • Rollers Ease Plywood Storage

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Rollers Ease Plywood Storage Before I installed these rollers, sliding plywood in and out of my storage rack used to wear me out. It also damaged the edges of the sheets. Now plywood sheets glide in and out.I cut the 2-1/2-in.-dia. rollers from 3/4-in...
  • Tips for Mastering the Miter Saw

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Tips for Mastering the Miter Saw 14 Ways to Make Safe, Accurate Cuts with No Tear-Out by Tom Caspar At first glance, using a miter saw appears quite simple. But to get good results—that’s another story! Here are a handful of techniques and...
  • Faster Sharpening

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 8, 2009
    One of my favorite sharpening tools is a diamond paddle. I use it for router bits, knives and, most importantly, scrapers. The problem is that it cuts so fast the tiny spaces between the diamonds quickly fill with metal particles, called swarf, which...
  • Scratch-Free Flush Cuts

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 8, 2009
    No matter how carefully I cut with my economy-model flush-cutting saw, it always left scratch marks on the wood’s surface. To solve the problem, I attached a playing card with double-faced tape. Now I don’t have to worry about scratches, because...
  • Rip Fence for Plastic Laminate

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 8, 2009
    I used to work in a cabinet shop that churned out countertops by the truckload. We used this simple jig to keep plastic laminate from lifting during the cut or from slipping under the saw’s rip fence, since most fences rest slightly above the saw’s...
  • Ponytail Cord Holders

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 2, 2009
    Dangling power-tool cords were sure to trip me or knock something over if I didn’t weave them around the tool before transporting it. And my cord weaving always seemed to unravel after about 10 paces. My daughters gave me the idea to use elastic...
  • Sanding Guard for Inside Corners

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 2, 2009
    Sanding inside corners used to leave nasty buzz marks from my sander banging into the adjacent face. I still haven’t tamed my sander, but now I get buzz-free results by protecting the adjacent face with a painter’s edging guide. It costs less...