|Forum topic by Betsy||posted 03-11-2012 04:42 AM||2189 views||0 times favorited||23 replies|
03-11-2012 04:42 AM
First off you all know when you read in the various magazines the reader’s tips that you sometimes say, yeah, I suppose that’s pretty good, but can’t see myself using it, so you just glance over it. Then there are those tips that just make no sense at all and you wonder why did they print that? Then there are those tips that say hey “try me out.” This is one of those “hey try me out” tips.
As always, give credit where credit is due. Here is a shout out and congrats for getting your tip published in Fine Woodworking to Tom Carpenter of Vernon, British Columbia, Canada. Tom’s tip was published in the April 2012 (yeah I know – it’s not April yet) issue on page 16.
I wanted to try this tip because I’ve never really been satisfied with my different methods of holding up my work pieces.
Tom’s tip is to use golf ball markers to hold your project up off of the work surface while applying a finish. I had never heard of these little things, I’m not a golf watcher, so I’m not 100% sure what these things are used for in the game of golf. Tom’s markers are 1” wide by 1/2” tall. I could not find this size marker at my local sports store. My markers are 1” wide but only have a 1/4” spike. Regardless, these are the markers I’m going to use.
To test Tom’s method I decided to run a very scientific test. Okay, not “very” scientific – but a test nonetheless.
Here are the competitors.
I was disappointed in the markers I bought but only because they cheated me out of one marker. There were supposed to be 12 and there were only 11 and not only that, but they cheated me out of my favorite color – red! Geez the injustice of it. :-)
Here’s a little close up of the golf marker. You can see that the top of the “spike” is flat. Tom’s markers also have a rounded tip not a flat tip like mine. So that may make my test not completely accurate.
Next competitor is just some small finish nails hammered into some small plywood pieces. I’ve used these a lot over the years, but never with 100% satisfaction.
The nails, of course, are very hard. But they are also very flat on the top. So with that, they are actually very similar to the golf markers. You can see that I have two nails in every ply piece. That helps me not to have to balance my piece on one nail. I found that if I used only one nail in each piece that I have a hard time keeping things balanced. Not sure if I’m explaining that very well.
One problem I had with the nails is that I always have to be very careful when I pick my work piece up to pick it straight up in one quick motion. If I happen to slide or push the work piece a little one way or the other I would actually create a scratch in the work piece – and that my friends leads to a very unhappy camper.
Okay the final competitor in my very scientific test are the paint triangles that you can buy at Rocker, Woodcraft and I believe I’ve even seen them at one of the big box stores (but don’t hold me to that). You can see that mine have been well used.
The problem I’ve always have had with these little triangles are that they come to a very sharp point. The point in rounded, but it is still what I would call sharp. That sharp point actually makes a small pock mark in the work piece. And that, my friends, is why I want to try Tom’s tip.
If the golf markers will keep from scratching the work piece and not gouge or pock mark the piece, then they will win.
So how to test the tip. I decided that I would use three pieces of pine. All three pieces are the same width, length and thickness. I placed the various competitors at approximately the same location on each board (or at least I tried – I didn’t get out my calipers – that’s why this is not really a very scientific test – I use that term lightly.) Since most finishing projects are left to dry overnight I’ve marked the time I set the boards on the competitors (not sure why I did that – but thought it would give my test more gusto if I could say how long they sat under the boards).
One thought I have with the golf markers I found is that they are plastic and that may put them in the same category of the plastic triangles – but not really sure that thought will pan out. We’ll see.
I’ll post my “results” tomorrow. I know you are all already excited to see my results, but please try not to let the pending results make you lose any sleep.
One final note, I was not sure if this topic should be under “finishing” or “Jigs and Fixtures” I flipped a coin and Jigs and fixtures won.
-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine