Sunday, October 27, 2013


   Square, straight, true, flat and parallel, these are all things that are important when creating projects in the workshop.  As the quality of your tools improve many of these characteristics become easier to achieve.  There is no doubt that you can get a bit crazy about accuracy when working to create flat, square, etc. and that is when the work gets in the way of the project.  However then is certainly a degree of accuracy that is a must if your work is going to be top quality.

   Recently I have been making small things, toys, boxes etc. and these projects seem to draw a person's eye to any inaccuracy. So flat, square etc become a higher priority than of larger projects like toy boxes and shelving units.  

 This is a dry vase that I am making to sell in the craft store. It has a wood burned rose that has been painted with transparent paint that will finally be varnished.  The vase needs a flat base upon which to sit and so the bottom needed to be flat, very flat so that there will be no tell tale shadow around the joint.  Commonly wood workers check for flatness by placing things our their table saw or joiner table.  Those things are at the other end of the shop from my work bench, what I have is a granite slab to put on my bench.

   It is not that I am so lazy that I can't be bothered walking the 25 feet to my table saw, it is that the work bench has better light. It can also be right at hand, I can check flat or straight after ever pass with the plane or rasp.  I have also used the granite pieces for "scray sharp" treatment of some tools.  

  In our area there are several counter top places and they each have bins out back that are filled with little pieces of off cut or broken granite. I went into one and spoke to a working guy there, asked if I could buy a couple of pieces from the trash bin and he said just take a couple.  He did say that they sell the marble and it is recycled some how and they do get paid, I think it was his way of making it clear I was not to take a half ton truck load of bits. Which I didn't, for all that I would have paid the money for the marble if he had asked since I find it so useful.

   Another thing I use the marble for is a weight, sometimes a clamp wouldn't do the job and I need a to weigh something down for the glue to set.

   The other tool I use for making things flat is home made.
you can see the edges needed to be reduce a little bit more than the middle to get the vase to sit dead flat.
  It is my flat sanding belt.  I have 60 grit on one side and  120 grit on the other. I cut  3 x 24 inch sanding belts and attach them to the plywood board with tacks.  The belts are kept clean with a crepe block and so last a long long time.

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