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Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring #7: Marble Pieces for Scary Sharp Sharpening & Cheap Trim Router Fix

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Blog entry by Paul Bucalo posted 10-08-2014 04:04 PM 2638 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 6: Refinishing a Skilsaw 3410-02 Table Saw Top Part 7 of Woodworking on a Half-Shoestring series Part 8: The Dungeon: Before Construction of a Woodworking Shop »

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, Norwich NY USA



8 comments so far

View luv2learn's profile

luv2learn

2461 posts in 1765 days


#1 posted 10-08-2014 05:02 PM

Love the way you think buddy. Your frugal heart must all a flutter right now…LOL!! Great save on the trim router.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 821 days


#2 posted 10-08-2014 05:12 PM



Love the way you think buddy. Your frugal heart must all a flutter right now…LOL!! Great save on the trim router.

- luv2learn

lol. Thanks. I grew up in an ethnic, lower-middle class family environment. Frugal was a way of life, imposed by my parents and my wallet, alike. I enjoy fixing things more than I do using them, so I am trying to change that by getting back to making things again. But, yeah, I could have afforded a new trim router. Banging my head on behalf of my frugal heart is much more fun and rewarding. ;)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View shipwright's profile

shipwright

7167 posts in 2260 days


#3 posted 10-08-2014 07:18 PM

It doesn’t help you right now, I know, but there is a fix for those routers before they break. I have several of the HF ones and they are exactly like that one as you say. The barrel breaks when too much pressure is put on the clamp. .......... but ….. If you put a small rubber “O” ring between the adjusting gear and the tab on the barrel, you won’t break it because it doesn’t need as much pressure. (You are jamming the gear, not squeezing the barrel.)
Mine never slip and I have only broken one ( before I discovered the fix)

Given that the barrel is already broken, yours is a great fix.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees. http://thecanadianschooloffrenchmarquetry.com/

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 821 days


#4 posted 10-08-2014 07:25 PM



It doesn t help you right now, I know, but there is a fix for those routers before they break. I have several of the HF ones and they are exactly like that one as you say. The barrel breaks when too much pressure is put on the clamp. .......... but ….. If you put a small rubber “O” ring between the adjusting gear and the tab on the barrel, you won t break it because it doesn t need as much pressure. (You are jamming the gear, not squeezing the barrel.)
Mine never slip and I have only broken one ( before I discovered the fix)

Given that the barrel is already broken, yours is a great fix.

- shipwright

Great tip! I suspected as much when I first looked at this. I didn’t have any nylon washers thin enough or or-rings around. But you are right, it’s the gear that needs to be clamped down, not the barrel.

I have wondered if I could get a replacement. The documentation has long since been lost and the label with the name on it, too. Even if I could, HF sells these for so little it would be better to start over with a new one. We’ll see how long this lasts. I just hate throwing away a working tool, or in this case, partially working. I suppose I could make a small out of it. :)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View LJackson's profile

LJackson

295 posts in 1056 days


#5 posted 10-08-2014 08:38 PM

Is granite or marble flat enough for the scary sharp method? I thought this method used pane glass, becuase of the way it is made (floating in a bath of something, tin comes to mind, but I don’t think so) ensures it is “scary flat.” In actuality, it’s only curvature is that of the planet!

In other news about being a tightwad, I got six ten-inch saw blades for$40. I’ll put up a review once I use one. If they’re any good, they’re the cheapest thing you can buy. I’ll much sooner toss them than resharpen them.

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 821 days


#6 posted 10-08-2014 08:53 PM



Is granite or marble flat enough for the scary sharp method? I thought this method used pane glass, becuase of the way it is made (floating in a bath of something, tin comes to mind, but I don t think so) ensures it is “scary flat.” In actuality, it s only curvature is that of the planet!

In other news about being a tightwad, I got six ten-inch saw blades for$40. I ll put up a review once I use one. If they re any good, they re the cheapest thing you can buy. I ll much sooner toss them than resharpen them.

- LJackson

Well…it only has to be flat enough. Maybe I will end up with ‘Almost Scary Sharp’ or ‘Scary Sharp In Another Universe’. Until I can get some diamond stones, this will have to do. As for using glass, I think the problem with glass is that not all panes are necessarily flat. Getting a thick tempered pane would cost me more than the effort is worth, I think. I’ll see how this works by the weekend. If it doesn’t, I have projects in mind that can use the stones as inlays. Nothing goes to waste. :)

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

View handsawgeek's profile

handsawgeek

591 posts in 857 days


#7 posted 10-09-2014 02:25 PM

I use 12” long pieces of 1/4” plate glass for my scary sharp. These were tempered glass shelves that I got for a buck apiece from a large department store that was closing down and liquidating all of its store fixtures. They have served just fine for sharpening purposes. I get my chisel blades and plane irons ‘arm shaving’ sharp with them, and have noticed no curvature. I would be wary of using any of the thinner glass plates available at the BORG. These may have uneven surfaces and sags.

Tightwads and scroungers…unite!

-- Ed

View Paul Bucalo's profile

Paul Bucalo

623 posts in 821 days


#8 posted 10-09-2014 02:50 PM



I use 12” long pieces of 1/4” plate glass for my scary sharp. These were tempered glass shelves that I got for a buck apiece from a large department store that was closing down and liquidating all of its store fixtures. They have served just fine for sharpening purposes. I get my chisel blades and plane irons arm shaving sharp with them, and have noticed no curvature. I would be wary of using any of the thinner glass plates available at the BORG. These may have uneven surfaces and sags.

If this marble doesn’t work, I will most likely take a trip to the glass company outside of town and see if I can acquire (free, or at least dirt cheap) a small piece of tempered glass to use instead. The only reason I ddn’t go there first is we bought a 32” x 32” tempered glass top from them a short time ago at just under $90. I thought that was expensive. Beyond that, their service was terrible and the order was mislaid for a time. Living in a cow town means few choices and most inbred or act like they are.


Tightwads and scroungers…unite!

- handsawgeek

Amen, brother!

-- -- Paul Bucalo, Norwich NY USA

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