Earlier this month, Matt DiResta (Jimmy’s nephew and a fellow maker/woodworker) teamed up with Jimmy and Linn from Darbin Orvar to create a series of tips videos. Each of them did a video and each contributed a tip (or two) to the other videos. So, they ended up with three videos loaded with really great shop tips from all three of these accomplished makers.
Here are the three videos they produced, followed by breakouts of some of my favorite tips from the series. The tips are presented here in the order they appeared in the videos.
Using Leather Pads for More Forgiving Clamps
Linn buys scrap pieces of leather to use to create pads on various clamps and tool jaws where the metal of the tool might mar the workpiece.
Making a Keychain Strop
To create a keychain strop for sharpening blades on the go, Linn attached a small strip of leather to her keychain. She smears some honing compound on it so it’s ready to add an edge to any blade that might get dull in the field.
Use “Furni Pads” to Level Furniture
Matt swears by always carrying some furniture pad material in your toolbox. This way, if you’re installing a piece of furniture on an uneven surface, you can cut some of this material to size to level your piece out.
Hands-Free in Your Headphones
When Jimmy gets a call while he has his shop headphones on, he just shoves the phone under one of the cups for hands-free talking.
Holding Up Your Cut Piece
When you’re cutting a big piece of wood, before you come to the end of your cut, place something underneath the beginning of the cut (a ruler, square, another piece of wood), so that end stays up as you cut through on the other end.
Use a Magnet and a Rag to Clean Up Metal Filings
When Jimmy has a lot of metal filings, he attaches a magnet to a tool, covers the magnet with a cloth, and then rubs the cloth/magnet over all of the metal shavings. Then, by simply inverting the rag, he has all of the filings collected and ready for the trash.
Moving the Work Over the Sandpaper
Sometimes, it actually makes more sense to move the workpiece over the sandpaper rather than the sandpaper over the work. When sanding, don’t forget to consider this as an option.
Lazy Person’s Dado Blade
Sometimes, Jimmy is lazy and doesn’t want to go through the trouble of installing the dado stack into his table saw. To create a quick and dirty dado joint, he simply sets the depth and height he needs the dado to be and then cuts in his joint by pushing the workpiece into the blade, taking tiny bites each time, until he reaches the desired depth.
Making a Hinge-Mounting Template
How do you install hinges and perfectly match them to the cabinet, door jam, etc.? Jimmy takes a sacrificial strip of wood, drills large circular holes into it, mounts the hinges through those holes, and then mounts the hinges to the cabinet. Then, he uses the piece with the holes as a template for drilling the holes inside of the door. By using this template, he knows that the hinges are in exactly the same place on both the door and the jam.
Sanding Razor Knife Tips
If a tip to a razor knife breaks off, but the blade is still viable, you can simply sand a leading edge back onto the blade.
Blade Angle Sharpening Jig
To make it easier to find the right angle on her honing die when sharpening plane and chisel blades, Linn created a simple jig with stop blocks set at the distances of blades as they are set in the honing block. This way, you don’t have to measure that angle every time you want to set up your honing die for sharpening. Once you know that distance-to-angle, and have attached a stop block there, you can write on the jig which stop block is for which blade(s).
Painting Outdoor Shop Furniture
Part of Linn’s shop is in a semi-open carport in the Pacific Northwest. To help protect all of here machine tables, benches, and other shop furniture from the elements, she makes sure that everything in well-sealed with suitable paint.
Wax-Polishing Outdoor Shop Metal
To protect the metal parts of her outdoor shop tools, Linn makes sure to regularly coat her machines with wax polish to prevent rusting.
Paint and Stain Effects on Cheap Pine
Matt shows you how easy it is to create cool effects on basic pine by using a combination of painting, sanding, and staining. In this example, he uses some purple spray paint, red cherry stain, and a golden oak stain, with sanding in-between each finish, to create an interesting finish effect on a cheap piece of Home Depot pine. In his video above, he also shows you how to get another distressed effect using a wire wheel.
Glue Gun, Always at the Ready
Jimmy swears by always keeping a glue gun at the ready. He has a habit of plugging in his gun when he gets into the shop in the morning and unplugging it on his way out. This way, it’s always ready to go any time he needs it.