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General rules



General Introduction

    Don't let the word "rules" throw you. What do I know about rules? Mostly this section is about ideas you might consider and try.

    Let me tell you a little story: Once when I was very young I worked busting tires at a Sears store. My foreman, who had his right arm missing from the elbow down, instructed me on how to replace a slit-rim truck tire. He informed me that it was because he went against the rules that he lost his arm. This young, rebellious youth (meaning me) paid very close attention to what he was showing me.

    I don't have any missing body parts as yet. If someone tells you something contrary to what I suggest, listen to him. I don't know what I'm talking about. I'm just a newbie trying out my aged wings, winging it as they say, and sharing what I've come up with so far.


    Read the above.


    Rule 1. Keep fingers, toes and other body parts out of saw blades. Think of this: Pain hurts.

    Rule 2. You're a man (I'm assuming here). Men don't like to have others have to care for them. So keep your hands and other body parts out of saw blades.

    Rule 3. Cedar smells good (sometimes), but in the lungs it ain't good for you. That applies to other woods as well (including plastic), so wear a mask. This is especially important when making fine sawdust with sanders and such. That stuff goes everywhere. I find it layered on the back of my clothes, in the front of the house when I'm working in the back of the house, everywhere. Don't let your nose be one of those places. It's hard to sweep out, I know, I tried.

    Rule 4. Keep your mind on what you're doing instead of that pretty girl on the tele. That little pinky finger doesn't stay where you want it. While you drag that project over the table saw or through the band saw, it's just liable to try to test the sharpness of the blade. (Refer to rules one and two above).

    That's all I have for now. If I end up with some missing body parts I'll add to this list of do's and don'ts (unless it's my typing finger I lose).



    Idea 1. SURFACE DISORDERS: See those abrasions and scratches on the project you're working on? How about the bare spots on the veneer of your office? Can't afford the stuff they sell to make those spots go away? Try this, take some of Junior's colored pencils and attempt to duplicate the parts around the bald spot. You might be surprised with what you come up with (a coat of varnish over the top of the pencil alterations might work. I don't know, I haven't tried that yet. Colored pencil is wax, so the varnish might not stick). You say Junior's colored pencils are in school with him? If you can remember the number of his classroom, sneak in and borrow them when he's not looking. Be careful that you don't wake the teacher, remember what happened the last time you woke her.

    Idea 2. FRAMING AND MOLDING: Knowing you're an excellent picture framer guy, I suspect even you sometimes come up with corners on your frame (or molding, or whatever) that don't quite come together. That goop they sell at the store for five bucks a pop, and that's for only one color, and not the color you need, is out of the question. Try this, go to Junior and see if you can beg, borrow or steal his crayons (if he's finished his latest masterpiece on your living room wall). If he balks and refuses to let you use his crayons, tell him that if you break one you'll buy him another one when he turns forty. Probably won't work, but it's worth a shot. The stuff they sell in the store isn't much different than the wax they use in crayons. You want something a little softer that blends easier, but still comes in lots of colors? Try Craypas (registered trademark), obtainable in any store where they sell art supplies (I hope). It's softer and goes into those cracks a bit better.

    A thought, I haven't tried this yet. If crayons are to hard to work with, remember they're nothing but a stick of colored wax. Try heating them, but not in the microwave or with a propane torch. Then again, that might work as well. What do I know? I never tried it.

    Idea 3. MORE OF SAME: More on molding and disobedient frames. If the crack or separation is small, or needs to be smaller to be filled, here's an old framer's secret trick. Take a wood dowel about the size of a pencil, sharpen it like a pencil. Use the edge of the sharpened part of the dowel and carefully roll the edges of the frame toward each other. If the separation isn't too large this could well make your frame appear as if it had been professionally assembled. Don't try this on those plastic covered frames as they are very brittle and will crack unmercifully. The wood dowel you hold in your bandaged hand also serves as an excellent tool for applying the stuff you decide to use for filling the corners of your project.

    Idea 4. DIMPLED WOOD: You have a dimple in your wood project that insists on remaining in spite of all your efforts to be rid of it? You could try sanding off the valuable finish that encases the dimple, but your wife would kill you if you ruined her great-grandmother's valuable center piece. Here's an old woodworker's trick for bringing that dimple to the surface. Place a wet rag or sponge on the spot and allow to sit for several hours or longer. If that doesn't work (and probably won't if the wood is coated), all is not lost -- yet. With a hypodermic needle, inject a small amount of water into the dimple. The moisture will cause the grain of the wood to rise while not effecting the rest of the piece. Warning however, try this on one of those frames you ruined before attempting to repair that valuable antique wall cabinet.

    A note on antiques: Any repair you make to an antique will destroy its value. It's better to try and make an antique look older rather than newer (a word of advise from someone who knows nothing whatever about antiques).



    Idea 1. PHOTO PHOEY'S: I don't know if this will work on the new digital photographs, but the old, traditional way of developing photos was to soak them in water, sometimes for hours. Old photos love the water. However, photos also go contrary when a little moisture is applied to them, such as when they're stored in a humid area or when they're stacked a bit damp. These photos that were so cooperative in the past become glued to one another tighter than Aunt Bessie's corset. What to do? First rule, never try to pull them apart. The emulsion will only tear away from the cardboard base it's attached to. Do this, soak the pictures as a unit in a tub of water. Let then set for days if needs be. This should cause the pictures to cease acting like Siamese twins and be as good as new. This trick can often be used to dislodge other substances such as glue and the like. If this doesn't work, you might try applying a rag soaked in alcohol to the back of the pictures. And if that doesn't work, don't tell your wife I told you to do it. I've got enough problems of my own without having to deal with the problems I make for you.



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