Last weekend, I published some tips I’d screen-captured from Jimmy DiResta videos. Anyone who’s seen Jimmy working, in person or in videos, can’t help but notice the many clever shop tricks and short-cuts he employs. I found so many, in fact, that I decided to do another post. I also asked Jimmy himself to point out a few. Here’s what we came up with.
Power Drill as a Cutting Aid
After cutting a bunch of hing barrels by hand for his hinge video (where Jimmy custom-made marine hinges for a boat), he used a power drill to help him straight-cut the tubing on the band saw. (Notice the metal L-shaped stop block that Jimmy temporarily glued to the saw table, covered in Part 1.)
Super Glue is So Metal!
When it came to gluing the trunnions on the 30 lb brass cannon that Jimmy turned in this video, he used CA glue to avoid bringing the entire cannon up to heat to solder them on. Jimmy says that the glue worked perfectly and that soldering would’ve discolored the whole thing with heat.
Lift the Work to Lengthen the Cut
Also in the hinge-making video, Jimmy demonstrates how he gets a little extra length out of his band saw cuts by riding the work piece up the blade. I can’t imagine this kind of move is sanctioned by the Pope, but Jimmy frequently breaks ranks with the Church.
Add a Dust Collector to Your Tool
This is something that many people with a shop vac or dust collection system already know, but in case you don’t, you can get the nozzle up close and personal with the action by holding it and your work tool together.
Gang Sanding Multiples
In the hinges video, Jimmy needed to sand all of the hinge barrels for two large hinges. Hand-sanding each one would’ve taken a lot longer than what he ended up doing, which was loading them all onto a rod and then spinning the rod across a belt sander.
Jimmy recently did a collaboration video with Alex Gabriel from French Guy Cooking. While Alex was visiting NYC, he stopped by Jimmy’s shop, and together they made a pizza cutter from two old hand saws. To scribe a graceful curve for cutting the edge on the mutant pie-slicer, Jimmy clamped a long metal ruler to a steel brick (lower right in pic). In a number of posts about DiResta’s work, I’ve mentioned his frequent uses of metal disks, bricks, and other shop weights. This is a perfect example of the handiness of having lots of these shop aids around.
Cutting Out the Insides of a Template
In his anvil stand video, Jimmy cuts through his MDF template to be able to cut out the internal waste sections. After the cut, he reassembles everything with yellow glue.
Using a Drill and a Band Saw to Make a Crude Lathe
This is another bit of shop shenanigans that would likely get Jimmy ex-communicated. In his steel hatchet video, he chucks the steel rod he’s going to use for the handle pins into a power drill and uses the band saw as the cutting head to lathe the pins to the correct diameter. In response to the question of whether this is safe, Jimmy answers: “If you keep your distance… Maybe.” So, we’ll put this one in the “don’t try this at home,” assess your own risk-tolerance/skill level, etc. category.