Tips for your shop - part 2

Applying finishes smoothly
Uniform coats are the exception rather than the rule with some finishes. To apply lacquers and Polyurethane finishes smoothly, fill a pan with hot tap water, and set the can of finish in it for a few minutes before use. Raising the material's temperature by only a few degrees—and choosing a poly- urethane foam brush as an applicator—will help avoid an uneven look when the finish dries.

Handy tape dispenser
In many shops, finding the right tape at the right time can be a problem. Once located, it's often covered with sawdust and wood shavings. To keep various types and sizes of tape in one handy location, use scrap wood and a piece of dowel or broomstick to make a tape dispenser. An old hacksaw blade reinforced with a wooden strip makes a good cutter.

Rx for difficult gluing
Getting the right amount of glue into hard-to-reach spots is a messy operation. To inject glue with "pin-point" accuracy, use a medical syringe with an 18- or 22-gauge needle. Keep the apparatus from seizing up after use by flushing the syringe and needle with warm water and storing them in a closed container of water.

Working with dowels
A dowel's shape is both a blessing—it makes the material a remarkably versatile woodwork¬ing resource—and a curse: work-ing a cylindrical object can be frustrating. This handy jig, a scrap 2X4 with a hole the diam¬eter of the dowel bored through it, makes dadoing, trimming to length, or decreasing the diameter of a dowel a safe and simple procedure on your radial-arm or table saw. Drive a finish nail through the 2X4 and just far enough into the dowel to prevent it from turning.

Paint brush maintenance
Your paint brush is clean but not dry. What's a good way to remove excess water or paint thinner? Hold the brush between your palms and spin it back and forth vigorously. Centrifugal force will spin away excess moisture and fluff out the bristles—which helps prevent the brush from drying into an unmanageable lump.

Sharpening with a drill press
Putting the proper bevel on chisels and plane blades isn't an easy freehand skill. Use a drill press and drum-sander attachment with appropriate grit sleeves to grind blades. Clamp the blade or chisel in a drill-press vise with the blade perpendicular to the table and parallel to the quill. Position and secure the vise to the table with a C-clamp. With the sander turning slowly, raise and lower the quill to sharpen the blade. To move the blade closer to the drum, tap the vise with a mallet. Work slowly to prevent excessive heat buildup.