Saturday, November 12, 2011

Four Uncommon Woodworking Products

This post is about four products I find indispensable for my shop that you will never find at Woodcraft or Rockler. 

First up is “Wurth Brake and Parts Cleaner”.  I’m sure we have all had our battles with the packing grease or cosmoline that is slathered on all those new tools when they arrive in our shops.  Wurth Brake and Parts Cleaner cuts through and dissolves that gunky mess like butter on a hot skillet.  But unlike other brands of Brake and Parts Cleaners, this formulation by Wurth will not eat through paint.  I use this stuff on almost every new cast-iron/metal tool that comes through my shop.  The only downside is that unless you live in California, I doubt you will find it at you local auto parts dealer.  I discovered this product a few years ago from a mechanic friend of mine and quickly put in an on-line order for a case of it.

Next up is an oil-painting palette knife.  I use this for cleaning up glue squeeze-out, mixing up and applying wood filler.  I find the palette knife much better and easier than using a chisel to clean-up glue squeeze-out. 

It also excels at mixing and applying wood filler.  I’m sure most of you have never had to use the stuff on your projects.  But for mere mortals like myself - when I do use wood filler, I prefer Timber Mate. I have three different colors and a number of Transtint dyes.  When I’m done milling my stock for a project, I take one of the cut-off pieces, put some gouges in it, and mix a three to four different “colorations” of the Timber Mate using precise and repeatable measurements.  I then finish the piece using the same finish I will be using for the project.  I can then see which coloration matches best (usually its best to go a little darker).  So if I end up needing to use some filler, I know exactly which mix is going to give me the best results.

Palette knifes are available at any arts supply or craft store and are very inexpensive.  Lee Valley sells them too.

The next item is a coffee stirrer from the chocolate shop at the Bellagio Casino in Las Vegas.  This stirrer has a round paddle at the bottom and is great at stirring those quart and smaller sizes of finish containers.  I usually find myself in Vegas at least once per year for one reason or another.  When I’m there I make a point to go by the Bellagio Casino a couple of times, have a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, and stock up on a few stirrers.

Last, but by no means least, is my brass egg paperweight.  It’s is made of some sort of brass alloy and is unusually heavy for its size.  It has a flat-side on the bottom, a rounded one on the top, and fits my hand like a glove.  I use it exclusively as a small chisel mallet when making fine controlled cuts.  I have tried those small brass mallets you can really choke-up on.  While they work great, I still prefer my brass egg.  The big downside is that I do not know of a source for the paperweight.  I received it about 12 years ago when the company I work for was sending everyone to Covey Leadership Training.  This was part of the gift bag when you completed the course.  If anyone knows of a source, please let me know.

Please comment below if you have any questions or would like to share your uncommon woodworking products.

Thanks for stopping by,