Academy Notes and Tips

Hands On

NOV/DEC 2002
Volume 45/Issue 6

Project Articles
The Pembroke Table
The Cheval Mirror
The Child's Sled & Climbing Bear

Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Scrap Wood Secrets
Service Pointers
RUST - The degeneration of tools & how to deal with it
Safety Tips
Horizontal Boring Machine Set-Up & Safety

What's New
Dial Indicator Gauge and Adjustable Stop Collar

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Copyright 2002.
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

From the Shopsmith Woodworking Academy
Tips & Secrets From Shopsmith Customers About Getting The Most Out Of Your Scrap Wood
Printer friendly PDF copy of article

Part of the hull of an old boat left rotting in a storage yard finds its way into a beautiful mahogany coffee table. A dilapidated, overstuffed sofa chair gets torn down to its basic framework and used to build a graceful oak end table. Some jetsam from a ship resting in a Washington state harbor floats to shore and gets used to craft a melodious dulcimer. Send old pallets and wooden packing crates to the dump? NEVER!

These are just a few of the great stories our Shopsmith customers have shared with us about making the best use of “found” scrap wood. From the odds-and-ends box in the corner of your shop, to the old barn that stands creaking on the outskirts of town - usable scrap wood can be found everywhere. But be careful...because the joys of finding and using these “treasures” can quickly evaporate when your best sawblade is ruined cutting through a rusty nail or screw - or you notice that the china hutch you built from salvaged barn lumber has opened the doors and invited a nest of termites to set up housekeeping in your house!

Cutting into scrap wood
One of the best (and least expensive) “secrets” to minimizing the hazards of working with scrap wood is to buy a stud finder and use it to avoid those ear-splitting meetings of saw blades (or planer knives) with hidden nails and screws. What may appear to be nothing more than an empty hole in a piece of scrap wood could be the mark of a lingering nail or screw shank that's rusted off below the surface. These finders are available for $20 to $70 (depending on quality & sensitivity) and are well worth the investment. Just pass the device carefully over any salvaged wood before using it.

If you're milling logs, remember that many fence-line posts were once living trees that could easily have pieces of wire fencing or staples embedded within the wood. Here's another tip. If you use your bandsaw to do the initial milling work on a piece of found wood, hitting a nail and breaking a blade will cost you about $15 - instead of the $50 or more it would cost you for hitting that same nail with a carbide tipped circular saw blade! Losing just a single tooth on a carbide blade can easily cost you $30 or more to repair - not to mention the fact that pieces of flying carbide are dangerous projectiles that can easily cause serious injuries.

If you're using old wood from concrete forms, or wood that's been painted, it should be scraped clean prior to use. Failure to do so will cause your saw blades and planer/jointer knives to dull very quickly.

Keep the bugs out!
Wood attracts a variety of diseases and insects that you just don't want in your home. Termites, powder post beetles, other woodboring insects and carpenter ants are a few examples. While you're looking for nails, screws and other objects, be sure to keep an eye out for troublesome insects, as well. If your scrap wood is riddled with small holes or visible “curlycue trails”, don't use it. These are the telltale signs of beetles, ants, termites, etc. And although there are a host of pesticides available to kill these insects, using wood that has been soaked with these pesticides is not a good idea. The best rule is...if the wood looks suspicious, don't use it!

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