Sunday, October 18, 2009

New goodies in the shop

Once a year, I visit Ohio to see family and celebrate my mom's birthday. So if you've been wondering why I haven't posted in a while, that's the reason.

Traveling is a hassle, no doubt. The long lines, the crowds, the security checks - it's all an inconvenience. But the worst part? Being around so many people during the start of flu season. It didn't help that the ditz on the plane next to me kept sneezing in my direction. I guess she thought it was rude to sneeze on her boyfriend, so I was a better target. Now I'm fighting a cold, and starting a pot of chicken soup.

But I'm ready to hop back into some woodworking, and I couldn't think of a better place to start than with a new tool I just bought.

(FYI - I bought this tool, I wasn't given one to review by the manufacturer.)

(I wish!)

When I'm building a piece of furniture, I almost always hide my fasteners by pre-drilling some countersunk holes. Once the screw is in place, I'll fill the hole with a plug that I make of the same wood, which more of less makes that screw disappear.

But when I heard about this new tool by FastCap, I thought it might work for something I've been wanting to do - utilize square holes, more commonly called mortises.

This tool is designed to cut small (5/16") mortises by striking the end of the tool so that the chisel

can cut a perfect mortise for one of these,

which are little plastic decorative buttons.

Now I would never dream of using something as cheesy as these little plastic buttons, But I love the idea of striking a small chisel in order to cut my mortise. That means I'm not limited to only cutting these with my stationary mortiser.

Very cool.

To test it, I chose a piece of soft wood first.

One or two strikes of my hammer cut this.

The plastic button popped in place perfectly.

Now if I want to install a screw in one of these, I'll still have to drill a pilot hole. Not a big deal.

It would be easy to cut a long "dowel" that is 5/16" square, and use those to fill the holes. But that would leave me with end grain showing, which I don't really want.
So I'm working out a way to mass produce some flat grained, 5/16" square plugs.

While I'm trying to figure it out, I'll just have a bowl of "penicillin" and play with a couple of ideas I have. There are many ways I could make the buttons, but I want to come up with a SIMPLE method. Simple, as in - something I can make in five minutes or less.

If anyone has any suggestions, please feel free to let me know.

1 comment:

Jay Amundson said...

I agree with you, plastic is out! But wooden plugs would be great for Mission/Arts and Crafts style furniture. You could also use your mortising machine and do the same thing.