Basic Carpentry Tips and Advice

by Glenn Maze

Hacksaw Blades Detail Dovetail

You can use old hacksaw blades to remove waste wood when cutting dovetails. Glue together hacksaw blades (used or broken ones work fine) with the teeth on each blade pointing in the opposite direction of those adjacent to it. Cut the side of the pins and tails to the scribed depth. Remove as much waste as possible using a chisel or a flat-bottomed drill bit. Then use the glued-up blades to remove the remaining waste. The larger the dovetail, the more blades you'll need to glue together. This tool leaves a fine and square cut at the bottoms of the tails and pins.

Remove Paint from Intricate Surfaces

Stripping paint off carved furniture, fancy moldings and picture frames can be done easier with a little sawdust. Flood the area to be stripped with a thin paint stripper, not a gel type. Let it sit for a few minutes. then cover it with about an inch of sawdust. Work the sawdust into all the cracks and crevices with a stiff bristle or brass brush. The sawdust absorbs the paint as it is loosened and helps keep the paint remover from evaporating. lf things get too gooey, just add more sawdust.

Installing Deck Boards Deck

Boards that cup up and thus hold water, will rot faster than those that lay flat or those where the edges turn down. To minimize cupping, whenever possible. install deck boards with the bark side up. The grain pattern on the ends of the boards will tell you which side should be up. The grain should look like a mountain (where water runs from), not a valley (where water runs to).

Silicone Caulk for Screwing into Hardwood

Silicone caulk is a better lubricant than wax for driving screws into hardwood. An additional benefit is when it sets, it also acts as an adhesive. When you're unable to squeeze anything more out of a tube of caulk with a caulk gun, there is plenty of caulk for a few dozen screws. To make the tube easier to handle, cut off excess cardboard behind the plunger and remove the nozzle at the front of the tube. A piece of duct tape will seal the nozzle end.

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