If you make furniture for people who have wood floors, I think you should adhere pads to the feet. Adhesive pads prevent the furniture from scratching the floor. The pads make less of a noise when the furniture is pushed forward or back. And they add a note of professionalism to your work. Customers notice.
Hardware store pads are terrible. The adhesive lasts about 20 minutes or two meals, whichever comes first. To get around this problem, I’d taken to adhering my pads with epoxy, which greatly improved their life.
Recently Tom Bonamici, the clothing designer at Lost Art Press, mentioned that he used the wool-blend furniture feet from Lee Valley Tools and that they were excellent. I have never encountered a pad that was acceptable, much less excellent. Challenge accepted.
I bought a bunch of the pads and have been using them on the furniture pieces that we abuse the most: our kitchen and dining room chairs. Our floor is old heart pine and is uneven and imperfect. And so these pads get a workout. After months of abuse, all the pads are intact.
These are the same price as the junk at the hardware store. You stick them on and forget them. Like life should be.
I bought my first Lufkin tape measure more than 20 years ago, and it’s still going strong. During those last 20 years, I have tried out many of the other expensive, gimmicky or innovative tapes that have come along.
And I keep going back to my Lufkin.
This year I noticed that all the plastic “chrome” was wearing off my Lufkin, and I worried what would happen if I lost it or it self-destructed. So I bought two backups. I couldn’t find them in the original plastic chrome, but I did find two identical ones in red/orange (Lufkin HV1312).
When they showed up, the seller had substituted a newer Lufkin, the PHV1312D. I was grumpy, but I’ve been using the new ones and they are fine.
Drama about product numbers aside, here’s why I like (both of) the Lufkins.
They aren’t too big. So many tape measures these days are like massive truck nuts. They pull your pants down, and they barely fit in your palm. I’d be OK with that if I needed to measure 50’. But for woodworking….
Standout. Who the fricking heck cares? Most metallic tapes are too concave, which allows you to play “who has the longest wiener game?” on the jobsite, but is terrible for real work. The sharply curved tapes are difficult to use. You have to roll the whole tape forward or back to make a half-decent mark on your work. No thanks. The Lufkins are designed for woodworking. The tape is 12’ long and is only a little concave.
Easy-to-read markings. The Lufkins were designed by someone who uses a tape. You don’t have a lot of silly marks (10ths of a foot?). And the graduations are different lengths (like the Starrett rule featured earlier in this series).
The lock is simple. Press the lock forward and it locks. Press it back and it unlocks.
Minimal stupidity. There are no bubble levels, magnets or places to write your grocery list on these tapes. They do one thing, and they do it well.
Price-wise, the Lufkins are hard to beat, about $16 to $18 at your local hardware store. If you hurry, you might find the old Lufkin HV1312 still in stock.
I wrote about Huck towels earlier this year, so I don’t have much to add to my plea here for the Anarchist’s Gift Guide. Perhaps you were under a rock in July 2020 and missed the blog entry. Perhaps you were all ragged up at that time.
In any case, these Huck towels are my favorite rags. And now I am even more excited about them because you can buy them in different colors through Arkwright Supply. If medium blue is too boring, get some in hot pink or hunter orange – you’ll never misplace your rag again.
If you want to dive deeper into the world of Huck towels, why not visit TowelReviewer.com and find out the pros and cons of some of the different brands? (I know it’s an affiliate site – I just wish I could buy a TowelReviewer.com thong or something.)
I am a connoisseur of bit extenders. I have spent – easily – a couple hundred dollars on a wide variety of them, new and vintage.
Most bit extenders suffer from one of the following maladies:
They don’t hold the bit and it falls out in use.
They hold the bit but it wobbles in the extender, making a dog’s dinner of your work.
The diameter of the extender (or its chuck) is so large that it’s ridiculous and unwieldy.
They are not straight, and so the whole shebang wobbles like a one-legged pigeon on a bender.
I have not found the Bit Extender of the Gods as of yet. But I have found one that I like. The Bosch Daredevil DSBE1012 suffers from only one of the above defects. And it has a mild case of it.
First the good news. It’s cheap – about $7 – and is available at most good hardware stores and home centers. You won’t struggle to find one or to feed your family post-purchase.
It holds hex-shank tooling like the dickens, thanks to the two set screws in the chuck. The set screws are tightened and loosened with an Allen wrench (included and losable), which I keep rubber-banded to the tool when it’s put away. I have never had a bit fall out of the Bosch extender during the last few years I’ve had it.
The chuck is only .520” in diameter, making it the smallest I have used.
The bad news: The shaft is never straight enough for my taste. To be fair, the tool recommends you not exceed 600 rpm in use. And if you do obey that speed limit, the wobble is minimal. I’d rather use a faster rpm to help keep my holes cleaner, both going in and out. (So many jokes.)
I’d pay $14 (twice the price of the current tool) for a little more straightness, which I know I’ll never get.
It’s a good, simple and cheap tool in a world of garbage. Just don’t expect the world of it, and you’ll be happy.
I use flush-cut saws every day. We have a big Ryoba that I’ve removed the set from to handle big jobs. Plus a variety of middle-weight saws for flushing up wedged tenons and other joinery work. But I’ve never been happy using the bigger saws on curved work, such as a chair seat. The blades aren’t flexible enough, so they tend to gnaw into the surrounding wood.
I once tried a bunch of really high-end flush-cut saws from Japan. Those were too expensive and too handmade for my Foghorn Leghorn hands.
A few years ago I got this little Gyokucho Razorsaw No. 1150 from Lee Valley and have been quite pleased with it. The blade is only 4-1/4” long and is only 0.011” thick. That makes it flexible enough to lay flat on curved surface without much pressure.
Like all the Razorsaws, the quality is fantastic. The teeth are keen and well set. And the tool has an exquisite balance for such an inexpensive item (about $20 to $22).
The only downside is it’s a throwaway tool. The teeth are too tiny to resharpen (for me, anyway). And the blade is not replaceable. It is riveted to the beech handle. So when the tool becomes too dull or kinked, I’ll see if I can make the blade into a fine marking knife.
The saw is available from a variety of suppliers. I like to support family businesses, so I buy mine from Lee Valley Tools.