May 032016
 
In this month’s Tips column we talk about a project made from some really old pine. How old? At least 100 years.
Step one with these 100+-year-old baseboards was getting the years of finish off. There was the pink phase, the white phase and the original varnish phase.

Step one with these 100+-year-old baseboards was getting the years of finish off. There was the pink phase, the white phase and the original varnish phase.

After paint remover and scraping the varnish stood up and said, “I’m here to stay.” To which I replied, “Here planer, planer!”

After paint remover and scraping the varnish stood up and said, “I’m here to stay.” To which I replied, “Here planer, planer!”

One problem that arose was swirls in the wood after sanding. Dust extractor suction turned down? Check! Not pressing down on the sander? Check! Email to Steven Johnson, The Down to Earth Woodworker, for advice? Check!
Nasty, annoying swirls. And, no extra time for messing around to find a fix.

Nasty, annoying swirls. And, no extra time for messing around to find a fix.

Steve opined that the resin in the pine was causing the problem, resulting in tiny resin balls in the close-coated sandpaper. Resin balls too small to see with the naked eye, but big enough to make visible scratches.
Resin? We’ve got resin to spare!

Resin? We’ve got resin to spare!

I tried going over the already-sanded swirlies with a card scraper and that got rid of the curly-cues, but the wood wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. With a little time and 400 Brilliant sandpaper on the ETS 125, it was much better.
However, what really whipped it into shape was a few minutes with good ol’ 400-grit hand-sanding. Smooth. Scratch-free. Ready for finish.
I had a similar experience a few years ago when I was working with some very busy grain in quartersawn sycamore. Click here to read about it. The wood was beautiful, but it wasn’t going to become smooth with any sort of easy, low-effort technique like random-orbit sanding. Much of the wood was like sanding end grain, so it took a while. Fortunately, the project was small. And, I was in the mood. It was summer. The weather was nice and I was working outdoors. Our back yard is naturally beautiful all year long, so the view was pleasant, too. So, I fit some paper into a sanding block and spent hours just stroking and stroking.
It was very therapeutic. Problem is, with today’s busy lives, how often do we have the luxury of that much time?
Not on this project! It is a birthday present, and the birthday boy is celebrating 7 years on Saturday and today is Tuesday.
And, I’m expected at my “day job” every day this week.
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May 022016
 

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.”

When I first got my Festool Sander, an ETS 125, followed several months later by a 5″ Rotex RO 125 FEQ, I immediately noticed how much longer Festool Abrasives last, compared to other name brands I’ve used.  Because of their longevity, and the associated cost, I hoped to use some again.  However, I was flinging used disks with no particular pattern.

This random orbit disk random flinging technique wasn’t getting it. Some organization was needed.

This random orbit disk random flinging technique wasn’t getting it. Some organization was needed.

When working on a small project, like this stool, I usually sand all the panels with one grit before moving to a higher number.

When working on a small project, like this stool, I usually sand all the panels with one grit before moving to a higher number.

My new routine is to keep one of my sandpaper-slicing jigs handy and, as a disk dies, slap it scratchy-side-down onto the jig with the three middle holes lined up on a scoring groove.

Using the jig you use to cut sandpaper for your quarter-sheet sanding pad, just line it up and follow the dado. Haven’t made that jig yet? Click here to follow the steps.

Using the jig you use to cut sandpaper for your quarter-sheet sanding pad, just line it up and follow the dado. Haven’t made that jig yet? Click here to follow the steps.

Flip out the retractable knife and cut it in half, rotate 90̊, cut again and you have four little pieces of sandpaper that can be used for hand-sanding.

If one is too worn out, you’ll know quickly, and you can pitch it.  This technique eliminates using tired, old disks that might otherwise get into your “good, but used” stack.

If one of your cut-up sandpaper remnants doesn’t have the grit imprinted, take a few seconds to jot it on the back. You’ll be glad you did!

If one of your cut-up sandpaper remnants doesn’t have the grit imprinted, take a few seconds to jot it on the back. You’ll be glad you did!


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 written below in the comments section. 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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May 012016
 
Tips from Sticks in the Mud – May 2016 – Tip #1- Counting Sanding Passes

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. The building in which our […]

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Apr 272016
 
A Once-In- A-Lifetime Problem for Tool Owners

As I have said before, my wife is constantly insisting that I have three of every woodworking tool ever invented. Of course that’s not true. There are many of them that I only have two of. (However, at last count I had 37 different chisels, 28 pairs of pliers and 19 sharpening stones.) Now please understand; I’m not […]

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Apr 192016
 
The Festool Roadshow Visits Highland Woodworking

The Festool Roadshow came through Atlanta, GA last Friday, April 15th and setup in our parking lot at Highland Woodworking for a day full of Festool demonstrations, giveaways, education and more! Several members of the Festool show staff were on hand to give demonstrations of all of the different Festool tools, as well as answer […]

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Apr 082016
 
Making a Few Unique Walking Sticks

For the past several years I have been forced to start using a walking stick for better balance and stability. When people ask, I tell them that I get unsteady when I drink too much. That usually stops any further questioning. The first one that I made was a salvaged branch from our backyard apricot tree that finally […]

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Apr 042016
 
POLL: What's On Your "Workshop Playlist?"

The germ of this post comes from Steven Johnson.  You’ve heard of him.  If not, get to know him by clicking here to learn more about the Down To Earth Woodworker. Steve wanted to know what music you and I have on our “workshop playlists,” what music puts us in the mood for woodworking and […]

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