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A big tipper

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Several years ago Woodshop News had a Shop Tips department. Many magazines today also have such a department, and they’re one of my favorite features.

I’d like to share a couple of my own tips that I came up with. When I’m done, it’s your turn. You may have seen one of these before, as I’ve run all of them in at least two magazines I’ve edited. At least one of them recently popped up in another magazine; I came up with it about five or six years ago, but you know what they say, no new ideas.

Ready? Let’s go.

My workbench has two accessories I wouldn’t be without, and they take about five seconds to make. I take a PSA sanding disk for my 9” Delta disk sander, peel off the backing paper, and fold it in half so the sticky sides join to create a very rigid half circle with abrasive on each side. This is the perfect utility sander for edges, rough corners or any area you might use a sanding block for. It’s stiff enough that you can reach into odd spots, and still bendable enough to shape around curved workpieces. Because they’re flat, you can slip them into a pocket if you want, something you wouldn’t do with a sanding block. One of them is rough 60-grit, the other 120. If you want, cut one of each disk in half and stick it to the other to have a different grit on each side.

Speaking of sanding, have any emery boards? They’re perfect for sanding inside mortises and between dovetails and box joints. They’re dirt cheap from your local drugstore (and free if you steal them from your wife, like I do). Slip them into a shirt pocket. As a bonus, you can trim your fingernails with them should you desire to do so.

You know how when you open a magazine and about a dozen subscription cards fall out? Collect ’em all and keep them in your shop. Slip them into an envelope and hang the envelope on your pegboard with your other tools. They can be used as shims, spacers, to mix up small amounts of epoxy, to shield workpiece components while staining, “clean pads” around furniture feet when finishing, and a hundred other things. (If one of them is for Woodshop News, be sure to send that one in of course.)

Those thin Velcro strips that some grocery stores use to bundle fresh produce like celery make great cable and electric cord ties.

When you’re stealing emery boards from your wife, steal some Q-Tips, too. They’re great for staining touchups. Dip one end in the stain, dab it in the desired location, wait a moment then flip the Q-Tip around and use the dry end to wipe off the excess. I guess this is a Q-Tip tip.

OK, your turn. What are some of your tips?

Till next time,


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