Saturday, November 21, 2020

How to clean a saw blade on the cheap!

We've been doing some serious cutting at the shop lately, and one of our favorite blades was thoroughly trashed.  The gum and pitch that built up on the blade was causing some pretty gnarly burning with every cut, and to tell you the truth -  I think it would have been disrespectful to take it to the sharpener without cleaning it. 

There are quite a few "gum and pitch remover" products out there, like this one that I've bought in the past. 

But one of the best products that we use is a household product that you might already have in your kitchen. 

And it's reasonably priced, too.

Yup - oven cleaner.

The blade was gummed up with hardened bits that almost seemed "fused" to the metal. 

But - spraying the blade and letting it sit on the metal for a few minutes will dissolve most of it.

A scotchbrite pad will help with the really stubborn bits.

When wiped clean, the blade almost looks new! It still needs to be sharpened, but at least I won't be embarrassed when I drop it off at Nevada Carbide!  

Support your local businesses - Nevada Carbide has been servicing our blades, router bits and making bandsaw blades for us for years. They're the best!

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

How To Joint Wood Without A Jointer

 My buddy Adam sent me this cool video about jointing wood without a jointer... it's great! For any of you struggling to get straight edges on your boards, check this out!

 (Thanks Adam!)

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Another hidden gem of woodworking in Las Vegas

Just a few minutes from my shop is Transition Services, a nonprofit organization that provides meaningful work for people with developmental disabilities. 

I've driven past it hundreds of times, but until I met one of its employees, I barely noticed it.

 Recently, a few families donated the contents of their woodshops to me, and I found myself with mountains of tools and building materials. I knew exactly where I wanted to donate the things I didn't need. So when I delivered the donations, I had a chance to tour the facility.  You'll barely notice the building, it's deceptively small looking from the street, but once you enter and get your temperature checked, you'll find yourself in their gift shop, where they sell a huge variety of crafts that they create. 

I'll let you in on a (not-so-dirty) secret - I am a sucker for handmade soap. I  couldn't pass up their selections - very reasonably priced, and great smelling!  I highly recommend the Lemongrass bars, BTW. 

But that's just the beginning of their offerings - they make (and sell) everything from pet toys... 

to handmade cards (another one of my weaknesses), 


to keychains, 


All of these gems are created in their giant crafting area, which is BRIMMING with creativity.  Yes, Covid has changed they way they work, but it hasn't dimmed their enthusiasm.

Did I mention they have a cat adoption service and boarding area, with a cat trees that - YES - they make themselves. 

I love this sign, BTW.

But their connection with animals isn't limited to cats - they have terrariums with a variety of frogs on display.  

These amphibians seem to enjoy the attention - like this Yellow-banded poison dart frog, or bumble bee frog.

In better (healthier) times - they offer a doggie day care service

and will hopefully resume when things get back to normal. They have a wonderful doggie room, with a secure dedicated outdoor play area. Seriously, this place offers so many services that your head will spin. 

I didn't realize that the Property Brothers, Jonathan and Drew Scott, had a connection with Transition Services - you can read about it here. 

They raised nearly $90,000 which was donated to help this wonderful organization. 

Again, in better times, their outdoor area is the site of fundraisers and galas, and I'll tell you - seeing it empty was startling. And sad.

This pandemic has changed so much in our lives, but the people who are served here are really hurting. They've had to cancel a variety of scheduled events that bring in a much needed funds to keep this site going. 

Which brings me back to their woodworking program, which is what brought me here in the first place. Although they have a small woodshop inside their facility, where many of their works are crafted, this outdoor area is where much of the heavier work is produced. They wheel out their tools, and under supervision, cut and mill lumber. 

Again - Covid has severely impacted them - their woodshop coordinator had to leave his position, so they're in need of some help. (Any volunteers out there?) But even more so - many of their tools are in need of servicing.  And they have a huge need for some specific tools - a planer, for instance. 

So I'm making it my mission to figure out a way to get them a planer. I'm not sure how, but I'm exploring ways - from a fund raiser to a raffle. Or through another donation.  

If anyone has a planer they'd like to donate, let me know - this donation would be tax deductible, and would go a long way is helping these talented artists. 

Any suggestions out there?