Chris Schwarz's Blog

Blue Tape Fixes Twisty Boards

While teaching a recent class, I nicked my thumb on something sharp, and the shop’s first aid kit was locked up for some reason. No matter – I closed up the wound with cyanoacrylate (Super Glue) and bandaged it with toilet paper and blue painter’s tape.

While I won’t win any MacGyver awards (that requires using both a tube sock and a turkey baster), it did remind me of how much I rely on blue tape.

Today during my class at The Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, one of the students found a new use for the blue stuff. As we trued up the boards for the small dovetailed chest we’re building, the class ran short of winding sticks. I showed them how to use some plywood scraps off the floor, but Rob, a Brooklyn firefighter, outdid me.

He took some blue tape and applied two pieces to one of the scrap sticks – imitating the fancy maple inlay I have on one of my walnut winding sticks. All of the students followed suit. It was a brilliant stroke. Like the inlay, the tape makes it much easier to see twist in a board or an assembly.

Try it. I think you’ll like it.

Other highlights of the day:

1. We built shooting boards that double as bench hooks for sawing. This dirt-simple design is my favorite. The real trick to making them: Glue them up and don’t worry too much about the squareness of the fence. Then, after the glue has cured, true up the fence with a shoulder plane until the shooting board is dead-on. The shooting boards I’ve made with adjustable fences have been – at times – too adjustable for me.

2. We surfaced all the stock for the schoolbox chest we are building from the book “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker.” We’re using Eastern white pine, which almost conceals my gorilla-like scent.

3. We practiced cutting rabbets and laying out dovetails. On Wednesday the heavy-duty dovetailing begins.

4. A reader brought Rice Krispie treats and beer.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Read yesterday’s blog entry on the class here. And the music in the video is by Trampled by Turtles.

4 thoughts on “Blue Tape Fixes Twisty Boards

  1. Bill Lattanzio

    I hate to point this out because I honestly love watching these videos, but there is another guy sawing who looks like he is afraid to hurt the board.

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