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Thread: Your Best Nifty Shop Tip?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Colby, Washington. Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, near Blake Island.
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    Your Best Nifty Shop Tip?

    It's the small things that often make the biggest difference. I've found that the crafty veterans seem to know a little trick here or there that make turning better, safer, faster, or easier. So I'm throwing out a challenge: give us your best "nifty" and when this thread is done, it will make a great starting point for noobs.

    What I'm suggesting/requesting here are the simple, everyday practices; things that don't require major investment of time or energy.
    Last edited by Russell Neyman; 10-27-2011 at 3:04 AM.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Colby, Washington. Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, near Blake Island.
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    Obviously, I've gotta go first:

    THE TASK AT HAND: Taking a half-cut tree round and efficiently cutting a round bowl blank, which isn't easy with the irregular bark or burl shape.

    THE NIFTY TIP: Take a round piece of masonite or plywood, place it on top of the irregular surface, then sprinkle line string chalk (flour will do) marking the round blank where it falls vertically. If there's any danger of the chalk falling off during the ensuing bandsaw cutting, spray it with whatever finish (or hairspray) to lock it in place.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Colby, Washington. Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, near Blake Island.
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    And, to keep it rolling, another one:

    THE TASK: When sharpening a gouge, how do you avoid the bother of re-aligning the Wolverine (or similar) guide every time?

    THE TIP: I mark the 'depth' setting on the gouge shaft with a permanent marker, so re-sharpening is a snap. Just set the guide a hair further down, remarking it as I go.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

  4. #4
    To tell if you are grinding where you Want to grind on your tools, mark the surface to be ground with a felt marker. It won't clog your grinding wheel and makes it easy to see where you are removing material.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Grand Rapids, MI
    Posts
    739
    GET A BIG COAL SHOVEL!!! As you swirl further down the vortex and do more turning you will need it. I am working on my shop this morning getting ready for a Creeker visit (Paul Merrill). I realize that the mamby-pamby shovel I have is worthless. Hmmmm. My neighbor has a biggin.

    A friend once told me that what I ought to do is first order of business when entering my shop in the morning is to take 10 things off the bench and put them away. Of course if you use 20 items during the day.........well you get the idea.
    Last edited by Dick Wilson; 10-27-2011 at 6:30 PM.
    I turn, therefore I am

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Goodland, Kansas
    Posts
    22,605
    I went down to the local hardware store and got a dishwasher box. I cut templates for cutting round blanks from 4" up to 16" (the size of my lathe). I use a screw in the center to mount it on the blank then cut. Cheap and easy.
    Bernie

    Never put off until tomorrow what you can do the day after tomorrow.

    To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone and a funnybone.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Fresno, Ca
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    4,032
    I stapled a piece of hook Velcro about 3' long to the front edge of my bench. Sanding pads (assuming of course they are Velcro backed pads) stick nicely in order and in easy reach while I go through the grits.
    Your Respiratory Therapist wears combat boots

  8. #8
    PVC toilet flanges, pipes, and random fittings make decent jam chucks.
    PVC pipes make great tool holders.
    $7 clip on utility light from Wal-mart can be repositioned easily on the stand for good lighting on either side of the vessel
    Box fan with 20" pleated filter makes an ok ambient dust collector during sanding.
    Buy the vari-grind, but make the v-arm.

  9. #9
    Use sandpaper like someone else is paying for it. Trying to use worn out stuff just causes frustration. And I don't subscribe to the idea that worn out 120 grit is my new 180....

  10. #10
    There is no such thing as a tool that it TOO sharp!

    When hollowing out bowls and open forms, make one solid pass from the rim to the center or vice versa. Breaking up your cuts will likely result in tool marks that you'll have to sand out.

    For hollow forms, drill a hole (preferably with a Forestner bit) to ALMOST the desired depth and hollow out afterwards, from the hole to the side of the vessel. That will allow for side grain cutting on an end grain vessel. And clear your shavings every 2-3 passes.

    Spend the extra time and get all tool/sanding marks out of your piece. Even if that means that you must work for another hour on it. The quality of your pieces will greatly improve.

    Natural sunlight will reveal scratches and tool marks better than your shop light.

    Use a contrasting piece of flat cardboard, plastic, paneling ect... to hold under your piece while shaping. This contrast will allow you to see the curve....EXACTLY. Without the solid background, the curve can blend into the lathe ways, floor, ect.
    -------
    No, it's not thin enough yet.
    -------

    President, South Kansas Woodturners (Wichita Kansas)

  11. #11
    I made a series of plywood strips about 20 inches long, and in widths from 1 to 8 inches in 1/2 inch increments. When cutting a log, I mark a plumb line front and back, and use the plywood strips to mark a parallel line for the other side of the slab. Much more accurate than eyeballing, and can lay out several bowl blanks depending on how big the log section is.

    robo hippy

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Kapolei Hawaii
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    2,574
    After I reverse my bowl, (or anything you turned with a tenon) I use a thin 1/16" parting tool and try my best to get the tenon off the bowl in 1 piece. Sand it down flat, and PRESTO! a glue block. AND it already fits your chuck. And its FREE.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    Sanford, North Carolina
    Posts
    50
    When turning square bowls, or any shape that is not round, I place a white paper towel on the bed, under the piece so I can see the shadow of the edges better.
    Dislocated New Mexican.
    Critiques always welcome.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Eureka, Mo.
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    2,363
    DO: Keep a used up bar of soap with your faceplate mounting screws. One or two quick rubs across the threads and no more broken screws.

    DON'T: Turn on the shop fan right after putting on that final coat of high gloss wop.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
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    Colby, Washington. Just across the Puget Sound from Seattle, near Blake Island.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Heely View Post
    Use sandpaper like someone else is paying for it....
    Gotta duck this in here: I heard that pearl of wisdom years ago from an old-timer at a woodworking show and quote it often. It's very good advice, actually. So, last year I had a student woodworker in my shop, and offered that comment. A week later, he complained that he was having trouble removing a small nick, and, seeing that the sandpaper he was using was worn out, I asked, "-- Remember what I said about using sandpaper...?"

    He thought for two seconds, then replied "Oh, yeah. Use somebody else's sandpaper!" I laughed so hard I nearly choked.
    Last edited by Russell Neyman; 10-27-2011 at 3:33 PM.
    Russell Neyman.

    Writer - Woodworker - Historian
    Past President, Olympic Peninsula Woodturners
    West Puget Sound, Washington State


    "Outside of a dog, there's nothing better than a good book; inside of a dog it's too dark to read."

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