Jan 292015
 

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift.  Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip.  It’s OK if you call me “cheap.”

I hope “those” people never come to visit. Which is probably not a worry, because I live a pretty isolated life:  Work, woodshop, church, sleep.  Ok, and throw in a little fishing here and there.  Entertaining in our home?  It’s limited to throwing the raccoon for Willie the poodle and encouraging Maxx the cat to attack him.  Willie, that is. Maxx is not interested in the raccoon.

Willie has at least a half-dozen of these “Rocky the Raccoons.”  We get them at WalMart.  For Christmas Brenda ordered him one from Amazon.  He wouldn’t touch it.  He wouldn’t even look at it!  To him, it’s just not a Rocky!

Willie has at least a half-dozen of these “Rocky the Raccoons.” We get them at WalMart. For Christmas Brenda ordered him one from Amazon. He wouldn’t touch it. He wouldn’t even look at it! To him, it’s just not a Rocky

Willie’s favorite toy, however, is his twin brother, Maxx.  They’re fraternal twins, which explains their appearance differences.

Willie’s favorite toy, however, is his twin brother, Maxx. They’re fraternal twins, which explains their appearance differences.

You want work lights cheap? They don’t come any cheaper than “trash night shopping.” Now that gas is down around $2 per gallon even the driving around is affordable. And, who doesn’t need a night out of the house? Notice the emphasis on “night.” You really do have to watch out for your reputation.

With only our animal entertainment to offer at our house, it’s unlikely that a visitor will show up to identify the two gooseneck lamps I got from their trash one Thursday night.  I’m sure they threw them out because they had tightened the thumbscrews as tight as they could and the geese’s “necks” continued to flop around.  And, when they did that, they were on the right path, they just didn’t go far enough.

You can tighten this wing nut until your fingers turn white and the lamp will continue to flop if the whole bracket isn’t tight.

You can tighten this wing nut until your fingers turn white and the lamp will continue to flop if the whole bracket isn’t tight.

The whole idea behind the design of the lamp is friction.  Not too much, not too little.  Just like the Little Bear’s soup.  All it took to make these lights functional for the bandsaw and grinder station is to snug up the other two nuts at each joint.  No more flopping around!

A nut driver is perfect for getting just the right amount of tightness on these nuts because it limits the amount of torque you can apply.  No danger of stripping threads.

A nut driver is perfect for getting just the right amount of tightness on these nuts because it limits the amount of torque you can apply. No danger of stripping threads.

Sometimes when you find gooseneck lamps in discard piles you won’t find the little plastic base that supports the metal pin.  No problem!  On the grinder station I just drilled an appropriately-sized hole between the grinders.  Now the lamp can turn 360 degrees to illuminate either work area.

A hole drilled between the grinders works as well or better than the purpose-designed plastic mounting block.

A hole drilled between the grinders works as well or better than the purpose-designed plastic mounting block.

Good luck finding the plastic bracket in the trash with the discarded lamp, but they can be handy sometimes.

Good luck finding the plastic bracket in the trash with the discarded lamp, but they can be handy sometimes.

Not wanting to drill a hole in the bandsaw’s table, mounting the lamp in the windowsill works great.

Not wanting to drill a hole in the bandsaw’s table, I mounted the lamp in the windowsill and it works great.

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Jan 282015
 

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist, not a professional, someone who loves woodworking, just like you do. I have found some better ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop and look forward to sharing those with you each month, as well as hearing your problem-solving ideas.

Near my drill press I keep a list of repetitively-drilled holes and their sizes:

tips1

It’s a natural location for drill hole sizes, right next to the drill press. No one’s memory is going to recall hole sizes drilled only once each year.

For example, a certain piece of work that my artist wife makes called “Katrina Survivors,” requires a series of holes along its length that are 3/32″.  Rather than try to remember that size, or rediscover it by time-consuming trial and error, I keep it on the list, along with 5/32″ for the holes I drill in calendars every December so that they fit over the screw heads I install them onto.  And 7/64″ for suturing lanyards to my glasses.

Post-It-Notes are nearby to make temporary additions to the list until there are enough changes to reprint.

This year I had something of an epiphany when the time came to drill my calendars.

Sure, you can buy Three-Months-At-A-Glance calendars, but I have a natural aversion to “buy.”  Our regional bank produces these calendars with professional photography and great stories and, best of all (wait for it!) they’re free!

Sure, you can buy Three-Months-At-A-Glance calendars, but I have a natural aversion to “buy.” Our regional bank produces these calendars with professional photography and great stories and, best of all (wait for it!) they’re free!

It occurred to me that a Forstner Bit might be a better paper-hole-puncher than a twist drill.  Think about it:  Forstner bits come from the factory really sharp and the flat cutting surface cuts the entire circumference at once, instead of the paring/coring action of a twist drill.  To try out the theory I got a wide, flat board to hold the calendar flat and simultaneously act as the backer-board.

 Good support, a sharp Forstner bit and a firm backer-board is the formula for a nice-looking hole in multiple layers of paper.

Good support, a sharp Forstner bit and a firm backer-board is the formula for a nice-looking hole in multiple layers of paper.

When the Forstner bit pops through the last of the paper, the hole is nice and clean.

Feel the need for speed.  You want that Forstner bit flying when cutting paper.  A slow-moving bit won’t make a clean cut.  Here, I have chosen a pulley combination for the fastest spindle speed.

Feel the need for speed. You want that Forstner bit flying when cutting paper. A slow-moving bit won’t make a clean cut. Here, I have chosen a pulley combination for the fastest spindle speed.

Why not use a hole punch, you ask?  Granted, the hole is already the right size, but cutting more than two or three pages at a time puts a real strain on a hole punch.  Three pages divided by twelve months is 4 punchings per calendar and I do 7 calendars each year…

And another bonus for drilled holes? They are guaranteed to line up perfectly!

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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Jan 232015
 
Pinterest at Last

Ok Luddites, here is a new one for you and if you don’t at least try it, you are missing out on something pretty good. If you are like me, on these cold winter days when you don’t want to walk to a freezing shop and wait for the heat to come up, you drop [...]

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Jan 212015
 
Take a look at our January 2015 issue of The Highland Woodturner

Take a look at this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner. Here is what’s inside: Turning a Pepper Mill- Curtis Turner discusses his process and techniques for turning a pepper mill, a great project that you can use everyday when eating your favorite meals. Turning New Porch Columns- Temple Blackwood recently took on a large [...]

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Jan 082015
 
The first 2015 issue of Wood News Online

2015 is well underway here at Highland Woodworking and we’ve got a great new issue of Wood News Online. This month’s issue includes: Project Idea: Tippmann Boss Wooden Table- A Tippmann Boss Sewing Machine requires a very sturdy surface, so Arthur Stevenson decided to build his own table specifically for his Tippmann Boss. Building an [...]

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