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Glue and nails

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It’s always good to back up one method of fastening with another, like using both glue and nails. In this case, though, the nails aren’t what you think.

I turned a couple of small bowls over the weekend, and while mounting one to the lathe I grazed a thumbnail over a screw holding the faceplate to the stock. It was one of those just-right things, and I split my thumbnail nicely right up the middle and to the quick. You’d think that’s gotta hurt, but the break was just shy of that kind of depth.

Still, the break in my nail was too deep to cleanly trim off with clippers, meaning I could look forward to it snagging on everything – and possibly tearing deeper – until it grows out some more. Fortunately, I was wearing my thinking cap. You always wear a thinking cap when doing lathe work, right?

The turning blanks I was using were nice burls with lots of interesting voids, and I had been strengthening a few of them with thick cyanoacrylate glue. The little bottle was still right at the lathe, so I squeezed a drop into my broken thumbnail. Just like with filling voids in a turning blank, the glue wicked right into the break, welding it nicely. A few seconds with a fingernail file (actually, a piece of sandpaper since my beauty and grooming supplies are kept elsewhere) smoothed it out, and you can barely tell there’s even a break there.

It was a quick fix that should hold for a few days, but that’s all I need. My thumbnail will have grown out by then and I can trim it properly.

Oddly, this is the kind of “shop tip” you never find in the woodworking magazines.



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