Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Cleaning up the shop

Classes don't start until next week, but I've been doing a good deal of maintenance and cleaning of the school during this break. I've even rearranged some tools, for a better work flow. Every woodworker I know does that fairly often, until they get that "perfect" set-up.

So today was "clean out the tablesaw cabinet" day, which I always dislike. There's something about being on your hands and knees, with your head in a box full of sawdust, that just bugs me. The bad news is - as soon as I cleaned it out, I remembered that I had to rip a buttload of wood down. So I should have waited.

I also tweaked the dust collector system, checking each joint for air leaks, and tightened all the clamps. How do those work themselves loose? I know I have a woodshop ghost, but surely that can't be something she's interested in.... right?

Next up - filling all the glue bottles. Those five gallon buckets of Titebond are a PITA to pour from - they're heavy and hard to handle, and every now and then, they "burp" out a huge glug of glue. Usually it end up all over my hands and the bottles I'm filling.

The easiest way to pour glue from one of those buckets is to lay it on it's side, with the spigot on top, and verrrrry slowly rotate the bucket, so that the glue can pour in a controlled manner. Well, that's the plan, at least.

I use two kinds of glue - dark wood glue, when joining darker woods, like Walnut or Cherry.

And regular yellow glue when working with... you guessed it, lighter woods.

That way, if you don't have a nice, straight edge on your boards, at least you won't see a visible glue line.

I got a little tired of holding the big bucket, so I gambled and let it drain on it's own.

Luckily, I remembered to go back and check on this, just as that bottle on the floor was filling up to the top.

Here's a tip for anyone who buys glue in gallons, and needs some smaller glue bottles to hold the glue. Go to a restaurant supply store, where they sell plastic bottles in a variety of sizes - cups, pints, quarts - you name it. They're extremely inexpensive at these stores. I just bought some nice quart bottles for 55¢ a piece. Can't beat that!

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