An insider on the Editing Staff of Popular Woodworking told me the following item was said recently, “Sure, we can let this Skiver guy freelance his crappy drivel as our back page feature, but I think we can all agree it will be a cold day in hell before he comes up with any useful woodworking advice.” Well, to quote the maxim at the bottom of Bazooka Joe comics, “Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
ITEM 1: Here is my advice for making glue clean up easier….disposable plastic table covers. I went to the restaurant supply store (GFS is our
ITEM 2: 50 Cent Chisels… Somehow I keep ending up with crummy chisels to compliment my extensive collection of Lie-Nielsen and Blue Spruce cutlery. Finally, I realized two things that could best be accomplished with worthless chisels:
(2a) Concrete clean up. In case you failed to cover your concrete floor with plastic table cover (see Item 1 above) a sharp chisel is ideal for cleaning up the dried glue blobs, but DON’T use a decent chisel for this task. Use an Uncle Bud (“Hey!!!!!!! Your dad says you’ve gone and taken up woodworkin’….I got a nice set of chisels for you!!!”) hand-me-down chisel like the pictured one bearing the “Popular Mechanics” brand.
(2b) The other legitimate use for 50 cent chisels is to experiment with sharpening techniques. Why try out that brand new slow speed grinder, Wolverine jig, or Japanese Water Stone on a tool you care about when you can experiment with a worthless piece of steel? When I first got my Veritas MK II Sharpening Machine (which, by the way, is FANTABULOUS) I tried out the gnarliest grit of paper and ground up a cheap chisel. Steel was being shed faster than refractory ceramic tiles on the Space Shuttle. (The aggressive paper is approximately a 3 grit; not 36…but 3… maybe -3... Picture river rock epoxied to poster board. We’re talking aggressive.)
ITEM 3: Building my workbench has reminded me of a universal truth that I would like to officially label S.T.O.P.S. (Skiver’s Theorem On Preparing Stock). It’s very simple… You can NEVER have too much wax on your Jointer tables. Take two identical rough sawn boards and a typical jointer that has already been used for 20 minutes. If the first board requires 20 pounds of force to move across the cutter, then rewaxing the tops will drop the required force to 3.8 pounds. Honestly, the other night as I felt my abdominal muscles tear and my internal organs breeched the gap, I paused from the struggle of jointing hard maple and rewaxed the jointer tables. (I even turned the jointer off while I did it). When I fired it back up, the task became so easy that I let my four year old neighbor do the next 150 lineal feet. Timmy is a tough little kid, but there’s no way he could have jointed all of that maple if I hadn’t waxed the tables.
There… just when you thought this blog had no redeeming social value we throw in some useful tidbits. I can just picture Attila the Hun, the Reverend Jim Jones, and Josef Stalin holding hands as they join in song, “The weather outside is frightful…but the fires are so delightful…and since we’ve no place to go….”