As I struggle to get my dungeon workshop together before the cold weather makes it impossible to work outdoors, I’m slowly finding inexpensive resources and coming across cheap fixes. I was in our local hardware box store yesterday to pick up some rope caulk for our 100-year-old windows—this is an annual event—and decided to see if I could get a granite floor tile for sanding chisels on. In our fair little ‘city’ it’s impossible to buy just one tile and no samples were to be had. With a little help from the help, I came across a box of Polished Italian Venatino marble pieces just large enough to handle my sharpening needs:
There are enough slabs to be useful in some projects I have in mind:
The box sold for $5.95 USD. Not bad. I hope the marble will be as tough as granite would have been. I’ll report back later, once I get a chance to do some chisel sharpening.
Along with getting a few boxes of rope caulk, I picked up a hose clamp large enough to fix a damaged adjustable trim router I had laying around for well over ten years. It looks just like one of the HF models. I purchased it about ten years ago from a roving surplus tool outfit that hits our area once in a great while. I’m sure this came off the same manufacturer’s assembly line.
When I got it home, I made the mistake of not opening the box to inspect what I bought. It was a few days later when I did, long after the roving surplus event had left. What I found was a long crack in the clear plastic base, which had spread through both sides of the clamping area. This had to be caused from the shipping process or manhandling from the sales personnel while setting up each event. For years it sat in the box, until I cared enough to see if there was a fix.
A couple of years ago I attempted to repair the cracked area using a plastic and vinyl solvent called Tenax 7R. After several days of drying time, I applied spacers to either side of the adjustment cog in the hope of relieving enough pressure on the cracked area when clamping down the setting. The spacers were a good idea, but they didn’t stop the crack from breaking open under clamping pressure. Once again, I put it aside and forgot about it.
The first chance I’ve had to use it since then was the other day. No amount of clamping pressure that was safe for the damaged clear plastic base would keep the router secured. There had to be a way to fix this problem, so I wouldn’t have to throw away a working power tool. After some thunkery it occurred to me that the simplest, cheapest way to get around the limitations imposed by the cracked base was to add a clamp that compressed the top half of the base around the router. A 2-14” – 3” hose clamp was the right height and circumference to do the job. In fact, it works a little too well. I have to loosen its grip completely to allow the router to move at all. Tightening up the clamp is easily done with one hand holding the set router while the other screws in the clamp head. The clamp bites into the clear plastic, keeping it from moving while you tighten the clamp. You don’t need much tension to keep the router in place. Here is what the router looks like now, after the fix:
One more tool has been saved from the trash bin. My frugal heart is happy.
-- -- Paul Bucalo, Upstate NY USA