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Bench Cookies

Rockler CookiesI'm always amazed in this world of high technology and all it's whizz bangs, that someone ... somewhere never forgets about the simple things in life. The small things that often frustrate us to death but that we never seem to overcome. Enter the new "Bench Cookies from Rockler. These are simple little discs with non skid material applied that not only allows them to stand off the workbench, thus giving the worker some room underneath the project ... these little things stick like crazy, even when grit and sawdust tries to confound them.

At first I wondered how many times I would really need to lift my work piece off the workbech top, but I soon discovered that was not the real issue, the real issue was all the stuff that always seemed to accumulate under my work piece, like nails, screws, bits of wood, tools, pencils ... the list goes on and and on. The real problem with thes is that in some cases I don't want the back to get scratched and marred, I want it to be clean, which doesn happen when a screw rolls under and all of a sudden your piece now has a dint or scratch in it.

I also like the fact that I can use them for painting and staining, simply by moving them in from the side of the piece. To me, the that is the best part of these accessories, when you want to paint, stain or varnish all sides of a piece, when it is small it often moves around on you ... but not with these little items. If I only used them for finishing they would be worth EVERY PENNY.


Plywood Router Bits

 For those of you ... who like me, don't always like working with plywood because of it's sizing issues, there now it hope.

To refresh your memory, as you know none of the plywood you purchase is dimensionally the the thickness size you purchase. For example 3/4 inch plywood is almost never 3/4 inch thick. The reason for this is the standards adhered to by the plywood manufacturers industry states, in essence, that a 3/4 inch thick plywood can NEVER exceed 3/4 inch thickness. Since all plywood is manufactured green (i.e. it still contains a lot or water and will shrink as it dries) this means that the dimensional thickness will be less that the generic name it is given. That is that 1/4", 3/8", 1/2" 3/4" will all be somewhat LESS thick that what they are called. This means, working with plywood can be a challenge, despite all the other benefits that plywood has, like strength, flexibility lamination of hardwoods such as Oak, Rosewood, Maple, Cherry etc. all have a thin veneer of that hardwood laminated to an otherwise softwood plywood base.

So ... if you are wanting to make a nice Oak Book Case, and Oak Plywood is on special at your local lumber store, you run on out, pick up a few sheets and get ready to start making some cuts. Then you realize that none of the 3/4" Oak Plywood sheets are actually 3/4" thick, but are somewhat less ... now what ...

Steam Bending Wood

 My recent project of building a banjo has made it necessary for me to learn the art of bending wood. I searched the Internet and my local woodworkers guild library for information. There were bits and pieces of what I needed to know and some suggestions on how to get started. One of my sources suggested using a NEW gas can on a Coleman stove. The idea being that a new gas can would not explode if it happened to run dry. An important consideration I thought.

Microwave Wood Drying

 Disclaimer: Please be aware that this is the method I have developed for my own wood drying. Some species of wood may give off toxic fumes. Anyone who attempts to dry wood by this method is accepting the risk of fire associated with micro waving wood. Anyone who follows these recommendations accepts all responsibility for their actions.

Drying wood for small projects in a microwave is an effective means of reducing moisture content and preventing post-assembly shrinkage and gap widening in your intarsia projects. Air dried wood will shrink in a dry indoor environment and gaps will widen. A piece you thought was perfectly tight will reveal gaps over time.

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