– Ben Martens

Woodworking Tips

I mentioned Tuesday that the videos on various YouTube channels are great educational experiences even if you don’t build the projects. Here are some of the things I’ve learned in the past couple months. Feel free to laugh at me if these are basic things you’ve known for a long time!

  • Sandpaper gets clogged up well before the grit is actually gone. This is especially true for power sanders. Instead of throwing the sandpaper away before it’s used up, get a sandpaper eraser. It looks like magic the first time you use it! I recorded a quick video showing it in action.
  • Bending wood or even something stiff like a very thick extension cord is a good way to draw curves. But holding the curve in place while you’re drawing the curve requires a third hand and you can’t always clamp it in place while you draw. It turns out there is a great tool just for this and it’s called a drawing bow.
  • I don’t have a good photo of this, but I found myself needing to make a lot of repeat cuts at the same length using the chop saw. I had a 1×1 piece of oak that I cut around 4 feet long and then drilled two holes so it attached to my chop saw with some bolts. That sticks out the end and I can put a clamp on that at whatever distance I need, place my that I’m cutting up against that, and then get a repeatable cut every time. Until I have a table like this, the extension is a good solution that can be easily stored away.
  • My last couple projects like the desk left my garage covered in sawdust. It was everywhere! Since then, I’ve been trying to collect more of it with the shop vac. The router table and belt/disc sander both have 2.5” ports that hook up easily to the shop vac. Others like the chop saw had an odder sized hole but this universal adapter worked great. One of my next projects is going to be building a box underneath the table saw with a hole for a shop vac hose at the bottom. That should help collect most of the dust from the saw. It will never be as good as a real dust collection system, but it’s much better than nothing. I might invest in a cyclone at some point too which helps pull most of the dust out before it reaches your shop vac. It’s a lot easier to empty a 5 gallon bucket than the shop vac and it keeps the filter clean.

Usually things like this aren’t the main point of the video or might not even be mentioned, but I regular spot solutions to problems that I have. You can learn a lot just by watching someone who knows what they are doing. You’ll either learn a new tip or find some new gadget to buy!