Notes From the Workshop: 20101109

End Grain Burn

Even though, the mahogany fuzzed quite a bit when machining, at least it didn't burn, that is until I tried routing the end grain.  Yeah you can burn just about any wood, but some woods are more prone than others.  Evidently end grain mahogany falls into the former category.  I ended up turning down the router speed to about 1/3 of full.   In the above picture, the block on the left was run though at full speed and the block on the right at the reduced speed.  There's still a bit of burn, but at least it's something that a light tough of sanding should take care of.

Useful Clamps

A while ago I bought a pair of Irwin Handi-Clamps when they were on special for a $1 after rebate at Menards (I think they have the same deal going on right now).  I hadn't found a use for them until I had to figure out how to chamfer the narrowest edge of the marble track.  Pressing two pieces of track together with the Handi-Clamp was just wide enough to bridge the gap in the fence over the router bit.

Unlike spring clamps, the Handi-Clamps applied enough pressure to keep acting like one for routing.  They were also much smaller, lighter, and compact than quick clamps which made maneuvering the piece easier. 

Test Finish

I've been experimenting with some finishes on some test scraps of mahogany and bloodwood.  I like the idea of using a food safe finish, since if it's food safe, it's probably pretty kid safe.  I've also liked the way tung oil has worked with some small oak projects I've done recently, but I'm still a little leery about it's long term protection.  I have some trim in my house that I tried using tung oil to finish, rather than stain and polyurethane.  The finish hasn't held up well; some spots look OK, but other spots look like bare wood.  Still that was almost 10 years ago and I've learn a lot about preparing and finishing wood since then.

Air Compressor Shopping

Since I've been a little under the weather, I've spent less time in my shop than I would like, but I've compensated by researching air compressors.  I've been able to subsist on a little Porter Cable pancake compressor for longer than I should.  The thing is loud.  You can't use it in an enclosed space without hearing protection, and even in the garage with the door open you have to yell to be heard.  It works OK for inflating tires and for my nail guns, but I'd like something that I could use a blowgun for more than 30 seconds straight or actually power some air tools or even a sprayer.  I'd be nice if it was portable, but I realize that that can limit your tank size.

Since I'd like to be in my garage when the compressor is working and I'd like to buy something that will last, I'm looking at an oil-lubricated compressor.  My requirements unfortunately put me in the $500 range (I really don't want to spend much more), so I'm looking at something like the Sears Professional 25 gallon model or Ingersol Rand's Garage Mate.  If anybody has any advice I'd love to hear it.  

Tags: burning, end grain, Irwin, notes

Tools: Handi-Clamp, router

Materials: bloodwood, mahogany, tung oil


Joe's picture

Only having a pancake compressor myself, the only advice I have for larger compressors is to rig up an automatic condensate drain.