Thursday, June 27, 2013

Edge Finishing: No-Buff, High Polish Part 1

To really set your work apart, it comes down to the details.  One detail that will make your finished project pop is a glass-like, mirror polish on your edges.  If you need high-volume, you’ll need to invest in grinders, belt sanders and buffing wheels, motors and compounds (we’ll get to that later).  If you just want a professional look without an entire workbench dedicated to the endeavor, we’re going to tell you how to get it.

Tool list:
·         Dremel (or similar rotary tool) with 120 grit sanding drum head
·         Fine rat-tail file set
·         Foam Sanding Blocks (120, and 180+ grit)
·         Denim/Nylon/Nomex rag
·         Elbow Grease (found next to the board stretchers at the hardware store)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Molding: Clamps

While there are a lot of press designs out there, the most common are wood or metal presses that hinge or clam-shell open.  Once your material is in the press with the item you’ll be molding you need a fast and preferably one handed way to apply pressure to your press.  We’ve tried C-clamps and the quick adjust screw-down wood clamps, but the absolute best type of clamp we’ve found is the hand pump “quick-clamp” style.  These are available at most any hardware store these days, but not all are made equal.  The “Craftsman” brand seems beefy, but it wears out with heavy use.  The “Rigid” brand are inexpensive for this type of clamp, but they don’t give you the clamping power you need and you end up buying several clamps to get the job done.

The absolute best brand we’ve tried are the “Irwin” brand quick clamps.  You can find these online or at Lowe's.  Home Depot never seems to have them in stock. Get the heavy duty that has the torx head screws holding the head together.  These clamps are very powerful and give you great mechanical advantage so you can use one hand to clamp your press closed.