Dark Thoughts and Bright Ideas

Dark Thoughts

“Most woods can be darkened with a solution of vinegar and 0000 steel wool. I soak the steel wool for one hour in white vinegar, remove steel wool, and paint the wood with the vinegar. It’s not as hazardous as lye.” – Willis Martin

“I have successfully darkened (ebonized) mahogany, oak and cherry using iron (steel wool pad) dissolved in vinegar. It’s an easy process and the grain shows nicely.” – Alan Kaufman

John Lease described fuming. “I read an article some years ago about using ammonia to darken certain woods, such as cherry and oak. The object is to use industrial strength, and not the kind you buy in a grocery store. The technique is to place an airtight tent around the article to be darkened and place a pan of ammonia inside the tent and leave it for at least eight hours or maybe longer.”

(Interested in more information on fuming? Check out the March/April 2005 print version of Woodworker’s Journal, available on newsstands at the end of February.)

Bright Ideas

John Albright commented on band saw problems, and talked about his fix.

“I have a small benchtop band saw. It has never made satisfactory cuts. I was absolutely ready to scrap it and buy another, when I happened on a comment on the web from someone that had the same saw and similar problems. He was told to buy TimberWolf blades for the saw, and related that it corrected the problems. The blades have made the saw operate better than I could have hoped for. I would not have believed what a difference they have made, and I am now perfectly happy with what I thought was a “hopeless case” of a band saw.”

Hot Times

“Having been in the HVAC realm for a number of years, I can shed some light. Hydronic heating is clearly the best, as it will also keep the concrete floor at a constant temperature. The disadvantage to this system is the boiler itself. Most are not sealed combustion, which is an absolute must. Units that are sealed combustion, whether forced air or hydronic, can be located right in the shop. Just make sure you blow the control board and internal components off every once in a while.” – Michael Mularski

“A central heating unit in a multi-room shop that is simultaneously doing woodworking and finishing doesn’t make for a good situation. It would be almost impossible to do an adequate job of controlling dust in the finishing area with a central heating unit for the shop. Currently available filtering that is good enough to do the job is relatively expensive and also quite time-consuming to keep sufficiently clean. The filtering and cleaning costs would pretty quickly eat up any cost advantage from the central heating unit.” – Jim Seelye

“If the shop is well insulated, as all shops should be, you might try electric wall panel heaters. These heaters are economical at about 4-5 cents per hour cost. One heater is good for 200 sq. ft. There are no exposed elements, mount with four screws, can be wired to a thermostat or use the in-line switch on the cord. They are 110 v. and are safe to use anywhere, including the nursery. They radiate a constant temperature of 165 degrees so they will not start any fires from contact with sawdust, and they can even be painted to match any d├ęcor. How much does this wonderful heater cost? Less than $100.00 including installation. It is the best, cheapest heat I have ever used.” – Monty Peck

Sharp Comments

“Offering lithium ion batteries for cordless tools is indeed a welcome innovation. LiIon is a very mature technology and has been used for years in portable computers. I would be interested to know what on earth was in development at Milwaukee for nine years.” – Glen Miranker

“It appears that all Milwaukee did with the V28 power system was reinvent the wheel. I have Sony products dating back eight years that offer the same features as you describe. My question is why it took so long for tool makers to “discover” lithium batteries. I also noticed there were no prices listed. The 16v replacement battery for my laptop is $200. I hope Milwaukee’s new drill battery will carry a more reasonable price tag. Oh, by the way, one negative to Li-Ion batteries is that they work at 100% through the battery’s life, then suddenly die without warning.” – Rob Boyan

Kind Words

“I have just read your latest eZine. You have a really well-written eZine. I really enjoy the useful articles . Thanks bunches.” – Paul

On Titebond III: “Great article and very helpful. Thanks.” – B R. McMullen

Helpful Hints

“I was looking at your free plans for the Salt Box Wall Hung Planter [which appeared in Issue 115], and I noticed a mistake in the grid. Where is says that 1 square = 1″ if you work that out the pattern would be 13-1/2″ when the total height for the back piece is only 10-1/2″. It should read 1 square = 1/2″ . I really enjoy receiving these free plans and I hope you do not mind me writing you if I notice something wrong. Thank You.” – Lorna Domanusz

Not only do we not mind, we quite appreciate it. Thank YOU! – Editor

Poetic Justice

“For this old writer
The flow of prose
Has never been too easy.
But reading through
Your contest poems
Made my stomach queasy” – Roy Schodtler

“At last, poetry that has a real message. My collegiate poetry teacher would flip in her grave if she read these poems. I shall print out those poetic words of wisdom and pain and post them on the wall by my computer and in my shop. Thank you one and all.” – Robert Finley

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