Woodworking Techniques and Advice
Friday, 31 October 2008 13:36The benefits of interlocking, sliding dovetail construction have been well-known for a long time. They are self-squaring, self-aligning and self-locking, joining two cabinet components in a way that is very strong and that shouts “quality” to even the most casual viewer. But of even greater value to small- and medium-production shops is the fact that they allow all the components in a piece to be fully finished in the flat before the piece is assembled.
They’re noisy and bulky and a bit intimidating, but air compressors are unbelievably useful in the woodshop. They can be used to run nail- and staple guns, spray finishes, operate pneumatic clamps and jigs, create vacuum seals, even top up the tires on a delivery truck. A single air compressor can provide cheaper, safer and more easily controlled power than a shop full of tools that are equipped with individual electric motors. And, for most woodworkers, using compressed air is as simple as turning on a machine and running a hose.
Manufacturers are constantly introducing new tools, but most of the time it’s just design and packaging updates rather than technological breakthroughs. And while the evolution of design constantly improves the way tools feel and fit our hands and job sites, what we’re really after is performance. That begins with the power source. And batteries can be confusing.
Friday, 18 July 2008 13:09
Experienced shop managers know that productivity is harmed not by catastrophe, but often by common errors. For example, a worker who bears down on a sander is not only working himself too hard, he may very well be damaging the equipment. Fortunately, breakdowns and inferior results can be avoided — and profits can be increased — if everyone in the shop heeds the five rules for saving men and machines.
Whether repairing antiques, building one-of-a-kind furniture or laminating curves on cabinets, most woodworkers eventually discover veneer. One’s first instinct is to think of it as simply a way to get the most out of rare cuts or species. But veneer serves many functions beyond thrift. It makes life easier when dealing with curves, gives a woodworker access to some very dramatic grains and colors and can be applied to a stable substrate to create wide panels or complex patterns.
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