General Woodworking

Refurbishing a Random Orbital Sander

bosh random orbital sanderEvery good woodworker knows that keeping your tools in good shape is paramount to good turning out good results. That is why we keep bits and blades sharp, why we make sure parts are installed correctly and why we do routine maintenance from time to time. And if you are like most other woodworkers, you will be doing most of that work yourself.
The latest tool to fail on me was my Bosch Random Orbital Sander. I love this little sander, it's quick, easy to use and it does a good job. I also happen to like the dust catcher actually works, despite the fact that I do almost all of my sanding out-of-doors to help cut down on the fine dust in my workshop.

It seems that in time, all tools will fail, wear out or cease to work, and in my case the hook and loop base of the sander all of a sudden stopped holding sanding discs. I knew right away what the problem was, the little plastic hooks that form the bottom of the base had become brittle over time and and many had probably broken off to the point that there were not enough working hooks to hold the loops in the sandpaper discs.

This sander is about 7 years old now and other than changing sanding discs and cleaning out the dust catcher from time to time, it has given me hundreds of hours of use, so it was time to do a bit of a re-furb on it ...

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Ipe Wood for Eye Catching and Long Lasting Projects

everlasting hardwoodsIt's exciting to work with new kinds of woods. It seems we are always looking for the “ultimate” wood. One that is stable, easy to work with, long lasting, and something that is versatile and that looks great without having to be a professional “finisher”. Well ... we may have found one of those woods, AND the company that provides it ... and much more.

First of all lets talk about the wood. Ipe is actually a South American hardwood and is sometimes called Madera, Brazilian Walnut and Greenheart. Ipe is hard and dense wood which means your projects will be able to handle more wear and tear and be more resilient. The wood it'self is virtually free of knots and tends to maintain it's straight grain without too much wood movement.

Ipe is also extremely weather resistant which makes it ideal for out door projects like decking, furniture, gazebos and pergolas. Outside, Ipe stands up very well to ultraviolet light, resists rot and insects, and provides durable long lasting structures. Ipe is often slightly reddish brown in color and provides a most pleasing, rich color, which is one of it's most desirable aspects. It's truly an attractive, eye catching wood.

everlasting woods decking

The company that provides Ipe lumber, Everlasting Hardwoods, has been in business for over 40 years and are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful. They can be reached toll free at 1-800-999-7616 or at

Working with Ipe requires the same techniques as with many other dense hardwoods. Tools need to be sharp in order maintain good clean, nicely finished edges. As with ALL woods avoid dust exposure when cutting and ensure you good eye protection. All screws used for fastening parts should be pre-drilled to prevent wood cracking, and for out door use stainless steel is recommended. As with all projects for outdoor use, your joints should be snug to help minimize wood movement between the huge swings in temperature and humidity. In terms of finishing, there are a number of options, or you can simply leave the wood natural, which, if left out of doors, will allow the wood to gradually turn a very pleasing grey tone over time, and which can be later lightly sanded to restore the original wood color.

But ... there is even more ...

Read more: Ipe Wood for Eye Catching and Long Lasting Projects

Hand Crafted Bowneck Slide Wood Guitars

Bowneck Slide Wood Guitars

Michael Walworth from Johns Island, South Carolina has invented an incredible C-shape style electric guitar. Taking two years of research and development to create this six string slide guitar, Walworth hopes to start selling his custom creations soon.

His top model sells for $3000, which is a steal of a deal considering each guitar uses $500 worth of material and a month of time to create.

For more information on the Bowneck Slide Guitar, you can visit Michael Walworth's site at "WALWORTH GUITARS" at:

Resawing on The Bandsaw

One of the main reasons many woodworkers purchase bandsaws is because of their ability to re-saw wood. This might mean re-sawing logs to make boards (usually short boards) or re-sawing existing boards to make thinner boards for projects like small boxes where you might want a 3/8" or 1/2" board. Planing down a 3/4" board to 3/8" is a waste of good lumber and a waste of time if you have a bandsaw.

The most common bandsaw is 14 inch. With some brands you can also purchase  a height adjustment block which raises the top wheel of the bandsaw higher and therefore allows for wider cuts. If you are planning on doing a LOT of re-sawing you might want to look seriously at 16" or even 18" or larger bandsaws.

Re-sawing on a bandsaw is not difficult but it may take some practice and a bit of extra work. If your bandsaw does not have a high fence, you may want to make one out of MDF or plywood to help you in the re-sawing process. It will be important to select a proper re-sawing blade. For most saws this will be a blade with fewer teeth, of the called a "skip tooth blade".  Most re-saw blades are wide, typically, the wider the better when it comes to re-sawing. You will also need to know the length of your saw blades. There are a few different sizes and every "14" bandsaw" does NOT take the same size blade. 

During the re-saw process, you will want to have the board you are re-sawing to have a 90 degree angle on at least one edge and at least both sides to be flat and smooth. If you are making thinner boards or veneers it is often best to have the off-cut piece coming off the stock piece on the non blade-fence side. In other words the off-cut piece after it is cut should be able to fall free off the saw because it is not running between the blade and the fence.

After you have cut off the thin board or veneer you need, you will now want to run that whole stock board back through the planer to true up the face sides again. You won't need to take much off, just a skim to get the just-sawn face cleaned up. If you are making veneers and want book matching piece you will need to make sure your off-cuts or on the same side of the stock piece each time. Marking one end with a felt pen will help solve that.

Copyright - Colin Knecht