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And For Our Next Trick, We'll Turn a Jigsaw Into a Sander

November 26, 1994|From Associated Press

Often the sign of a good do-it-yourselfer is the ability to improvise in situations and develop various "tricks" or techniques for making a job easier. Here are four techniques we've found that will come in handy when working in your home shop:

* You can turn a bench-type jigsaw into a power sander by screwing a hanger bolt into one end of a sanding block and mounting it in the lower chuck of the saw. This easy-to-make attachment consists of a block of soft wood measuring 3/4-by-1 1/2-by-3 inches with the wood screw threads of the hanger bolt screwed into the center of the end grain. Bore a hole in the block so that the 1/4-by-2-inch hanger bolt won't split the block. Then, using rubber cement, glue coarse abrasive paper to one side and fine to the other. Or, use adhesive-backed paper like 3M's Press 'n Sand.

Clamp the protruding machine screw threads of the hanger bolt into the lower chuck of the saw. Different shaped blocks can be made to smooth specific work pieces. Turning on the saw will move the sanding block rapidly up and down to smooth the edges of a work piece held on the saw table.

* You can prevent hammer dimples, often called owl's eyes, when nailing on soft wood by making a protective shield from 1/16th-inch thick plastic laminate. Cut the spoon-shaped shield so it has a 6-inch-long by 3/4-inch-wide handle with a 1 1/2-inch diameter "bowl" on the end. Bore a 1/8-inch hole in the center of this round "bowl" of the spoon.

To use the shield, start the nail and then place the shield over the head of the nail. Hold the shield flat against the surface of the wood with your fingers out of the way of the hammer. Drive the nail in until it's flush with the surface of the laminate shield. Then remove the shield and drive the projecting nailhead flush with or below the surface with a nail set.

* To make one wide board by edge-gluing two narrow ones, the mating edges must be perfectly true. Dressed lumber rarely has edges accurate enough for joining. However, using a portable circular saw, you can make the edges fit precisely.

Clamp both boards with their edges slightly butted together to the top of a pair of sawhorses. Clamp a metal straightedge as a guide so the saw kerf falls exactly on the joint between the two boards. Make the cut. If the edges still do not match precisely, adjust the boards in their clamps and make a second or third cut to close the gap. The result will be two straight and true mating edges that will produce a virtually invisible joint.

* Mounting a piano-type hinge on the edge of a piece of plywood can be tricky because the drill bit for the mounting screw holes can easily be deflected by a glue joint or a tough knot. Solve this problem by nailing a 1/8-inch thick pine reinforcement strip to the edge of the plywood. Punch the center marks and bore the holes through the strip. It will support the drill bit and keep it straight. Remove the guide strip before installing the hinge. This technique also works for installing hinges on other delicate surfaces where a slip might mar the finish.

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