Helping Each Other Out

CAD Programs on the Cheap

A question on where to find cheap CAD programs elicited a lot of helpful suggestions. – Editor

“I have found that DeltaCAD is a very good, inexpensive CAD program. A demo version is available for free at: It is only good for 45 days, but the permanent version is only $40. It doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles of the $400+ CAD programs, but it is more than sufficient for most woodworkers and, more importantly, it is very easy to learn.” – Jim Quarles

“You should mention that if you are a student learning a CAD program, there is a good chance you can buy a student copy of the program at a sharply reduced rate. These are generally full-blown versions, but maybe one version older than the current version. That shouldn’t make much difference to the casual user.” – Harvey Ridgeway

“I use one called CAD Standard. There is both a free version and a pro version ($25.00). It doesn’t do 3D modeling but, for the price, it will affordably do plans for just about any DIY project. Did I mention it’s easy to learn? Check it out at” – Frank McCourry

“I use Smart Draw. It’s not a full-blown CAD program per se, but it’s mouse-driven and very easy to learn. The basic program is downloaded free from, but once you are hooked on it you may purchase the full version 7 for $99.00.” – Charlie Schuler

“We have been using TurboCAD for over 10 years. It is cheaper and a lot easier to use than most, and has more features than most others. The Deluxe version is available at $130 from” – John Freeman

“Another one to research is solid edge at They used to have a free version of their 2D draft program.” – Larrry Nunn

System Three

Last issue, we visited System Three Resins, and learned a good bit about epoxy, much to the delight of some readers. – Editor

“Thank you. Very informative article and I think it is going to be very helpful to me. I love the eZine!” – Dan Brunet

“A very good article and one I will save. All I need now is a place to purchase their products.” – Tom Allen

If you go to their web site, (there’s a link in the second paragraph of our article), you will find a “Retail distributor locator” button at the upper left corner of the home page. – Editor

“You’ve introduced me to a new product, and a store. I didn’t know there was a Rockler in Pasadena, dangerously near me. My wife Sandy is bitter, of course, because of its distressing proximity. Yours may be the best online publication, but I’m still searching for that kerfless saw blade.” – Pierrino Mascarino

Cleaning Bits

Readers sent more opinions on the best way to clean router bits. Many of them should come with safety warnings, so let’s get that out of the way first. If you are using any flammable or dangerous solvent, or any caustic, acidic or reactive chemical, take all necessary safety precautions and wear appropriate safety gear. OK, now you can read them. – Editor

“I use Oxy-Clean in warm water. About one scoop in a pint of warm water and when the bubbles are gone, so is the resin and pine tar.” – Mike Barry

“With all the stuff mentioned for cleaning bits and blades, I was surprised that no one mentioned common ammonia. It will color some metals, but it’s also cheap and works very well.” – Bob Reid

“I have used Easy-Off ® Oven Cleaner. This stuff worked great to clean saw blades and router bits.” – Frank Bjorkman

“We use a teaspoon of Drano® (lye) and let blades soak overnight. The next morning, we rinse the blades and they are as good as new.” – Carmine Ferrari

“I find that diesel fuel oil is pretty good at cleaning residues from blades. It is available worldwide and is cheaper than any commercial blade and bit cleaners. Here in the U.K., many of the sawmills use nothing else.” – Ron Fernie

A Blessing, and a Curse

After much ado about Norm’s use of personal pronouns for his tools, one person wrote in with an interesting explanation. – Editor

“I was annoyed by his use of the first person all the time as well. Recently, I read an interview with Norm that changed my attitude. To paraphrase, Norm states that he always says ‘I will cut the board using my tool’ to convey the idea that, while he does it this way, there are many more ways to perform the same task. I have a new respect for this approach now.” – Bob Vallero

Another added a very different, but common, personal pronoun substitute. – Editor

“You forgot one that we all use when referring to a hammer. Should we miss the nail and strike our thumb, the hammer immediately becomes that $%^and*and## hammer.” – Jim Thomas


After Sgian’s comment on the Web Surfer’s Review that a dihedral angle is formed by the intersection of two planes, one wag wrote in with tongue firmly in cheek. – Editor

“I thought the intersection of two planes was called a plane wreck.” – Mark Wile

The Typo Corner

We continue our quest for genuine, entertaining typos. – Editor

“I have a dresser with five draws; three draws below and two draws on top.”

Those “draws” must make it very picturesque. – Editor

(Of course, the picture they draw is one of a dialectically “speaking” writer, who is shortening the real word “drawer” into “draw” — as do many, many more people than these editors are comfortable with. Ack! It’s like fingers on a chalkboard. Apparently, they’re checking out the only dictionary I found where this is acceptable, Webster’s Third New International of 1986, where “something that draws or serves as a means of drawing: as (by shortening) dial: drawer” shows up belatedly after several other definitions of a draw, including the one made famous in Wild West movies, and the one that refers to a competition focusing on the pulling ability of draft animals. – Joanna (Dictionary Girl) Werch Takes)

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