Reader Tales of Reviving Batteries

Bang a Peg Toy Plan

“When I looked at this plan, I began to smile. Some time ago I made one of these toys to entertain my grandchildren. When they left, the toy ended up in a cupboard in the basement. I asked my wife why, and she told me she couldn’t stand the racket of the kids hammering. A few months ago, a couple with a little boy came for supper. The toy was produced for him, and he was enjoying it. My wife gently asked if he would like to have it, and he nodded in affirmation. Off it went with the lad. My wife had a very satisfied look on her face as she waved them goodbye.” – Redmond Blair.

Reviving Batteries

“In Woodworker’s Journal eZine Issue 148, a question was asked about reviving batteries. There is a solution that works most of the time. I have found that if you can remove the battery and place it in the freezer for approximately 12 hours, and then allow it to defrost fully before recharging, it will accept a full charge and be useable as if new. I have done this on many occasions and have managed to extend the battery life up to five times longer than that recommended by the manufacturer. This process works especially well with batteries that have developed a charge memory problem (will only partially recharge).” – Vic Walker

That letter surprised us, but Vic was not the only one to suggest this technique, or a slight variation of it. – Editor

“This method is only for NiCad batteries, and I can vouch that it works. Remove the battery from the tool and observe the voltage rating. Connect an appropriate voltage lamp to the battery and let the battery discharge until the lamp no longer glows. Remove the lamp and place the battery in the household freezer for a minimum of six hours, preferably overnight. Remove the battery from the freezer and permit it to warm up to room temperature, usually about five to six hours minimum. Recharge the battery and note the improvement. The procedure removes the battery’s memory.” – Donald Bilicki

“Reviving a battery doesn’t always work, but there is very little to lose from trying. When it does work, it saves quite a bit of money. Here are some ideas. You can stick the batteries in a freezer for a day or so, thaw them and try charging again; repeat if necessary. Likewise, dropping them a foot or two onto a cement floor or such sometimes works. Sometimes zapping them briefly with a higher than regular voltage works. I don’t think freezing can hurt them, but the other two methods I would use with caution. Some of the multi-voltage chargers won’t recognize a pack properly if it is over discharged. Sometimes you can get around that by putting it right back on the charger several times. In one case, I gave one a partial charge with a correct voltage loose wire charger, then put it on the charger, and it charged properly. This is also a good time to remind people that batteries, especially rechargeables, should not be thrown in the trash. Many municipalities will accept them, and Radio Shack stores will accept them for proper recycling.” – Larry Montgomery

Thanks for both your tips and the reminder about proper disposal, Larry. – Editor

“On reviving old batteries, as a chemist I can assure you that it usually can’t be done. The reason those rechargeable batteries die is the formation of chemicals inside the battery that prevent the current from being generated. The best way to prevent the formation of those chemicals (for a while, at least – they will eventually form no matter what you do) is to completely discharge the batteries before charging them up again.” – Alan Eastman

Now we’ve heard from both sides. Frankly, we don’t know where the truth lies, but we’re curious. Have you tried this? If so, let us know if it worked or not, what tool the battery was linked to, and what process you used. We’ll collate the answers and pass the information on. – Editor

Layne Halliday’s Small Wonders

“I’m a beginner, at the age of 62, and I get discouraged once in a while because I started so late. What an encouraging and inspirational story Ms Halliday’s is. Her devotion to detail, ingenuity, work ethic and love of what she does shines in this well-presented article. I can’t thank Woodworker’s Journal and Michael Dresdner enough for making this wonderful story available. I will never be discouraged again, and I will redouble my efforts to learn and enjoy the skills and beauty of woodworking.” – Charlie Lau

On Floor Mats

“We appreciate you fellows ‘going to the mat’ for us.” – Jack H. Varney

Pachobel’s Canon

“Thanks for the link. It was awesome!” – Ray Small

We thought so, too. – Editor

“The OT morsel was delicious. Being a classical and rock fan, I particularly enjoyed the video clip. That young person is talented. If you come across something else entertaining, please share it.” Vaughn Martens

“Bravo, encore! Impressive, to say the very least. I shared this with my 14-year-old son and one of his buddies, and they described it as ‘very cool.’ They listened to it off and on all afternoon. Thanks for inspiring the younger kids as well as us older ones.” – George Knutson

Hole Sizes for Screws

“Someone asked about the proper size pilot holes for screws in your last issue. Here are some online locations with that information.” – David Clements

“Here is a web site with pilot hole size charts.” – William Bougourd

Loves the Magazine; Hates the Term

“I love your eZine; however, if I see ‘pre-drilling’ again, I may scream. What exactly is ‘pre-drilling?’ Is it having a cup of tea prior to drilling a pilot hole for a screw? Obviously you are not pre-drilling anything: you are either drilling, or you are not. Roy Underhill has managed to stop using the term; hopefully, so will your eZine.” – Rod Sheridan

Probably not, Rod. It is actually shorthand for the far too cumbersome ‘pre-screw-insertion drilling’ and, like other contractions, makes more sense (and is less irksome) once you see what’s been left out. – Editor

Fly Cutter from a Metal Point of View

There was some confusion concerning a question about a type of circle cutter often called a fly cutter. We cleared it up in the last issue and even included a picture. However, this reader pointed out that machinists use such terms differently. – Editor

“To a machinist, a fly-cutter is an inexpensive substitute for a milling cutter and is used to surface stock, usually something easy to cut like brass or aluminum. The process you describe, cutting surface grooves concentric to a pilot hole or boring a through-hole, is called trepanning.” – Jeff Combs

Of course, that’s hardly the only term whose meaning changes with different trades. Ask a machinist what a “finished surface” means, and we’ll bet he or she won’t even mention polyurethane. – Editor

“I have a circle cutter that has a cutter on both ends. Is that common?” – Jim Collins

It is not uncommon, though it is less common than the one-cutter variety. – Editor

Typo Corner
Here’s another amusing “slip of the keys” from our ever-popular typo corner. – Editor

“Really enjoyed your super article. All very interrupting stuff.”

Hopefully, we didn’t interrupt anything critical. – Editor

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