What’s It #22?

I doubt very much anyone will get this as it is an obscure item. I will say it weighs about 11 pounds.

what is it

what is it

Material handling in a one-man shop

I’m not a big fan of unitaskers but when it comes to protecting my health in the shop, I’m not opposed to having the right tool for the job, even if it only has one purpose. That is the case for the Gorilla Gripper.

the Gorilla Gripper grasps the top center of a plywood sheet
the Gorilla Gripper grasps the top center of a plywood sheet

It has the clever ability to hold a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood without unnatural stretching or reaching.

I’ve tried rolling handles and other means of moving large awkward sheet stock and nothing has been as consistently easy (and small).

So there you have it. A unitasker I’m not ashamed of having in my shop.

BTW: the other unitasker I have is a fire extinguisher!

Sanding “makes sawdust”

Question: “whatcha makin’ in the shop?”
Answer: “sawdust”

This has been a frequent exchange over the past few weeks. While it may sound like I’m avoiding the question, the truth is in the answer.

sand planing at 60, then orbit sanding at 60, 80, 150, and 180

sand planing at 60, then orbit sanding at 60, 80, 150, and 180

The first task this morning was sanding down two 21″x16 glue-ups.

90 minutes of work and a pile of sawdust.

Cutting a 2 degree taper

Most cabinet work is square but often furniture has tapers. If you cut tapers often then you likely have a tapering jig. I created a small one but nothing that can handle a 4ft long piece of wood.

taper guide taped to the finish wood
taper guide taped to the finish wood

One trick is to cut the taper – in this case 1.5 inches over a 46 inch length – in a piece of scrap. The starting width can be anything as long as the width is 1.5 inches more after 46 inches. I used an old piece of plywood and screwed a straight edge guide into it, following the needed taper. Then I cut along the guide with a portable circular saw.

Once I hade the taper, I taped it to my finish wood. I marked the narrow width on the finish wood and then set my table saw fence so the blade would match the starting mark. The result is a perfect taper – and it is reusable.

Upgrading the tailwheel spring retaining clip with a D-shackle

The rudder of a tailwheel airplane typically connects to the tailwheel with a combination of chains and springs. At each end, there is a teardrop clip. These clips will fail sooner or later – and usually at a very inconvenient tile. As was the case for me. One clip failed during a recent landing. Thankfully the landing was back at my home field.

Since others had experience with this situation I investigated their solution. Was there a better option? Yes!

A 3/16″ stainless steel D shackle fits nicely. A little safety wire insures the pun (oops, that should probably be ‘pin’) can not rotate and fall out.

retaining clip vs D-shackle

retaining clip vs D-shackle

In the picture, the top shows a standard retaining clip and then the D shaped shackle.

Now it’s back to flying!

Hinges, routers, and jigs

Pocket hinges or invisible hinges are a specialty item but some projects really call for them. Installing them requires very specific holes.

There are two methods for cutting the hole for the hinge – drill out most of the material with a series of holes cut with a forstner bit followed by a chisel; or cut out the material with a router using a guide. The first method is fine for a pair of hinges but when doing several, the router is faster and more accurate if you have a jig.

invisible hinge routing jig
invisible hinge routing jig

I don’t know how often I’ll be using invisible hinges but decided a jig would be a worthwhile use of a few hours.

The jig assumes the router has a 3/4″ collar and a 3/8″ straight bit. The end result needs to be 1/2″ wide slot with rounded ends and at two depths.

The jig I created has two ends – one end cuts out the large shallow area while the other end cuts the deep pocket for the hinge body. It fits snugly over true 3/4″ finish material.

Since it could be easy to forget how the jig is setup, all the instructions are written on it to indicate depth, orientation, and placement of the material.

I needed a couple test runs to insure it will work properly as evident by the hole on the right.

It is not be quite as clean as a commercial jig but this one is setup for the projects I complete and is less prone to error.