Gareth's Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales - Issue #12
Using the Back of a Razor Knife
Andy Birkey, who does a lot of Gothic and church restoration and repair, shared this great tip on his Instagram Stories. He uses the back edge of an X-acto knife or scalpel to burnish the edges of masking tape when painting. Sealing the tape prevents paint from seeping underneath and ruining a painter's edge.
Fixing Your Rotary Tool
Sadly, many rotary tool (aka Dremel) owners don’t seen to know that when a tool becomes sluggish or stops working, it is likely only worn-out motor brushes. These are easily and cheaply replaced via two screws usually found on the sides of the tool. The carbon brushes can be bought for under US$10 and they literally take seconds to replace. [This tip is taken from my piece, "Taking Your Rotary Tool to the Next Level," found in the latest issue of HackSpace magazine (free PDF).]
No-Roll Shop Pencils
Via Family Handyman comes this "Now, why didn't I think of that?" There are a number of marking tool designs and tool modifications to address the problem of pencils, pens, markers, and scribing tools rolling off of workbenches. And then there's a little flag of masking tape.
Birkey's Instagram Story (see above) reminded me that I needed to buy a box of disposable scalpels. I bought these small-bladed disposables (a very narrow, pointy #11) for under $10. They are especially perfect for the type of miniature modeling that I do and they are sharp as sin; sharper than a regular X-Acto.
Amazing String Tricks
I can think of few channels more essential to general makers than the Essential Craftsman. In this incredibly useful video, Scott details how to use construction string. Besides his extremely clear and useful lessons in string-fu, we also learn such wonderful knot-tying terms as "rendering down," "the bitter end," and "the bite." Scott also shares such pearls of wisdom as: "Details layer. The more accurate you can get in your details, even with something as mundane as how you tie your knot -- it all accumulates to acceptable accuracy." This is a maker's truth.
Other Approaches to "Retrobrite"
I wrote about using Retrobrite in my "50 Top Maker Tips" piece in HackSpace 20. In this video, The 8-Bit Guy runs through a number of different formulations (beyond the common hydrogen peroxide, laundry booster, and UV light). The surprises here are ozone and UV light and Hydrogen Peroxide and heat. For retrobriting large objects, pumping in ozone and sunlight seems like a smart approach.
Shop Tales: What Knives Want
A friend of mine who collects knives and edged weapons once told me: "A good knife, it wants to cut you." When he said it, I thought it was kind of a funny, inscrutable statement. I was working for National Geographic Adventure at the time, editing a column on adventuring gear. For that column, I'd requested a hand-made titanium flick knife, called a Sebenza, for review from celebrated South African knife-maker Chris Reeve. This gorgeous knife arrived, I took it out of its box, and within seconds, I was generously bleeding. I gashed my thumb trying to one-handedly flick the stiff blade open and closed. Remembering the animistic wisdom my friend had recently shared, I had to laugh. A good knife, it wants to cut you.