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Shop Tips & Tricks #1: Shop Tips

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Blog entry by GnarlyErik posted 583 days ago 2720 reads 30 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Shop Tips & Tricks series Part 2: Dividing a line or space into equal parts »

In the past, most old guys like me jealously protected their shortcuts and tricks to guard their job from competitors. I’ve seen many old fellows actually turn and place their bodies in front of their work to keep someone else from seeing how they did something, and they were not too bashful about doing so either. But, a lot of the old knowledge is disappearing now and some hard-learned things may disappear forever. I’ve learned a few tricks in my six decades of work related experience, and wish to pass a few tips along here, as I have time.

Tricks and shortcuts develop over time, depending on the trade. Some are to save time, make things easier, or more accurate. Some are time-tested and in general use, and others are peculiar to a particular shop or craft. I plan to present some I have used – and still do – hoping others may profit from them. Some you may already know, depending on your level of experience, and others may be new to you. In the end, my hope is overall, these little tips add to your knowledge and experience.

First, this one, which I call ‘Poor Man’s Scribe’, is simple and obvious. In many shops you use the same few settings to scribe lines in from the edge of your stock – say for a line of screws or nails, or to sand, tape, saw or chisel too. Of course most wood shop people will have a scribing tool with infinite settings which can be used. But, it is much handier to have a simple little jig, or ‘multi-tool’ for this purpose, which can often fit 75% or more of your scribe spacing needs. And, depending on how big you make it, will not ‘rock’ like a scribe tends to do.

The pictures explain this little tool, and it can be made to fit your four most commonly used scribe spacings. In my case it’s 1/4”, 3/8”, 1/2” and 3/4”, all labeled plainly. Put a hole in it for your finger and to hang it by, and PAINT IT RED (or other bright color) to keep it from getting lost in your bench clutter!

This will take mere minutes to make and save lots of time. Just some short thin battens, tacked/glued to a bit of ply. I have made some of these with bevels at the end to reach into corners, but they are then ‘handed’. Let your needs be your guide.

-- Candy is dandy and rum may be fun, but wood working is the best high for me!



13 comments so far

View HillbillyShooter's profile

HillbillyShooter

4249 posts in 875 days


#1 posted 583 days ago

Thanks for your generosity in sharing trade secrets. I can see where these are being lost and there are fewer and fewer new craftsman to pass them on to. Like I said in a comment: You, Sir, are a one man learning center, and a fountain of knowledge. Look forward to your posts and I plan to save each one in my favorites.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View idiotstick's profile

idiotstick

28 posts in 1275 days


#2 posted 583 days ago

Thanks for that, so obvious, why didn’t I think of making one of these!! It will be the first thing I make in the morning, and I think I will probably use it every day.
Pete.

View patron's profile

patron

12947 posts in 1924 days


#3 posted 583 days ago

great helper

here is what i came up with similar
but different too
mine is in 1/8” graduations
but can be made for special needs too

thanks for this post
i will keep my eyes open for the next

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View jap's profile

jap

1224 posts in 637 days


#4 posted 583 days ago

cool jig

-- Joel

View Dennisgrosen's profile

Dennisgrosen

10850 posts in 1698 days


#5 posted 583 days ago

thanks for sharing the secrets :-)

Dennis

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

178 posts in 717 days


#6 posted 583 days ago

Very nice patron!

-- Candy is dandy and rum may be fun, but wood working is the best high for me!

View Richard's profile

Richard

764 posts in 1273 days


#7 posted 583 days ago

Now both of those arevery good ideas for common task in the shop.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2160 days


#8 posted 583 days ago

Thanks Erik

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View magicmark's profile

magicmark

22 posts in 630 days


#9 posted 583 days ago

Great ideas…that’s why I love this place! Thanks!

-- Mark ~ Dixon, Kentucky "We're gonna get through this!"

View JoeinGa's profile

JoeinGa

3042 posts in 590 days


#10 posted 583 days ago

How simply marvelous. As said already… Why didnt I think of that! Thanks for the tip!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View eddie's profile

eddie

6850 posts in 1197 days


#11 posted 580 days ago

thanks ,learn something every day

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View BassHunter's profile

BassHunter

24 posts in 629 days


#12 posted 580 days ago

Just found your blog here – As a new woodworker very excited to learn the hobby and try to teach my kids a little too, I am thankful for your willingness to share. As a kid, I spent a little (far too little) time with my dad when he built things – I was amazed at how many ingenious solutions he had to accomplish various tasks. I hate to admit it, I did not retain them. I totally agree, much of this type of knowledge is being lost.

I have marked you as a “Buddy” so as to see all of your posts.

Thanks again!

Basshunter

-- If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice...

View GnarlyErik's profile

GnarlyErik

178 posts in 717 days


#13 posted 580 days ago

Thanks for all the kind words from everyone! I will try to continue to post things as I think of them and have time to write them up.

-- Candy is dandy and rum may be fun, but wood working is the best high for me!

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