Tag Archives: eagle america

UCWW #19 Tool Tour Eagle America Spline Jig Pro

I’ve built spline jigs before. Quick and dirty ones. It was time for me to get a more permanent, better built spline jig. Eagle America came out with the Spline Jig Pro a while back, and when it went on sale, I bought it.

Assembly took about 30 minutes, that included futzing with the camera and fitting the miter bar to my miter slot. The parts are well machined for the most part, with any problems being cosmetic and not impacting the accuracy of the jig.

Eagle America has assembly and usage videos on their site.

Assembly Tips

  1. Read all the instructions before starting assembly
  2. Don’t fully tighten screws until you’re done with a sub-assembly
  3. Be careful using a screw gun, you’re tightening screws into an insert in MDF
  4. Be careful adjusting the bar to your miter slot – it’s hard to adjust the bar after it’s been installed on the jig
  5. The short screws (there are only two) are used to attach the miter bar to the sled
  6. Well placed holes through the cradle and sled would make miter bar adjustability easier

Usage Tips

  1. Make sure your miter slot is parallel to your blade
  2. Carefully set the angle and height of the blade before making your first cut
  3. The stop push the stop blocks into the base of the cradle to square them up when adjusting

Organized Finishing Shelf

Winter Shop Cleanup: Finishing Products I Keep On Hand

During #Woodchat Wednesday last week we talked a lot about what you can do with just a little shop time. Sometimes you get just a little shop time after dinner, or sometimes you’re in the shop all day waiting for glue or finish to dry and you have a short amount of time where you could be productive instead of sitting on your thumbs.

Saturday I had some time while waiting for a finish to dry so I organized my shelf of finishes.

Organized Finishing Shelf

Organized Finishing Shelf

Finishing Products I Keep On Hand

(Please note that links in this section are affiliate links, when you click and buy you support the blog. Thank you.)

On the far left in the back I have gallons of Denatured Alcohol and Mineral Spirits. In front of those I have my Enduro Var. In the center back, I have a collection of General Finishes Water Borne Dye Stain which is now my favorite way to add color to wood. With a fine mist you can tint, tone, and because these are compatible with Transtint Dyes you can make your own custom color.

In front of those you can see the finishing bottles I bought from Eagle America. These are great for keeping shop chemicals handy when using them in small amounts. They help a clumsy guy like me prevent spills too so I have some extras on hand in the back. They keep me from dunking dirty rags into full cans, and from the lids of my cans getting ratty.

Furniture wax and Renaissance Wax which is a microcrystalline polishing wax and is great for tools and furniture. I’ve used this with a power buffer before to bring up a shine on a glossy desktop.

I have a few Transtint Dyes which I keep on hand and really like because they are completely compatible with the General Finishes Water Borne Dye Stain. I mix these into alcohol when I’m using them solo.

On the far right I have rattle cans of Shellac and Lacquer, and quarts of Danish Oil, Boiled Linseed Oil, and Minwax Wipe On Poly which is a good wiping varnish right out of the can. You can make your own wiping varnish, but why bother when  Fine Woodworking rated the Minwax very highly.

Considerations When Organizing Your Finishes and Chemicals

  1. Safety: wear gloves and eye protection.
  2. Expiration: Many products have a shelf life, if your finish is past its shelf life, don’t use it.
  3. Mixing: don’t mix a product from one can into the other. The formulation may have changed, or the expiration dates may vary.
  4. Disposal: if you’re going to dispose of any finishes or chemicals, do so responsibly.
  5. Replacement: because of expiration dates don’t replace a supply unless you’ll need it in the near future.
  6. Storage: ideally my chemicals would be stored in a metal locker that is more suitable.

Other Finishing Supplies I Keep on Hand

This just covers the items that are on my chemical shelf, and doesn’t cover the Preval gun or the Timbermate wood filler. I keep a lot of other supplies in the shop that are related to finishing:

  • Wooden stir sticks bought at a craft store. These are essentially tongue depressors but are great for stirring chemicals or mixing up epoxy.
  • Small paper cups bought at a grocery store. These are wax free cups and are great for removing small amounts of chemicals from a can, or for mixing up epoxy.
  • Rags from the paint store. These are essential for any wipe on finish like the Minwax Wipe On Poly, and are also used for buffing wax. They can also be used for shellac, dye, and stain.
  • Respirator stored in a gallon zip bag to keep it clean. I wear this consistently (now) and I’m glad I do.
  • Spray gun tips, cleaning supplies, extra cups and finish filters.
  • Paper towels to clean up spills. Dispose of all rags properly.
  • Gloves to keep hands clean and protected.

Tip: when putting the lid back on a can, cover with a paper towel before tapping closed, this will catch any splatters.

Organizing the shelf took longer than writing this blog post. I’m really glad I took the time to go through the supplies on my shelf and get things organized. This freed up half a shelf which I now use to store my spray gun and related accessories in a sealed bin. I hope you see that in little bits of time you can get things accomplished and be productive in the shop.

After seeing my clean shelf and all the great products on hand I was inspired to do some finishing on a small gift project.

Questions for General Finishes

I’ve really been into learning a lot about finishing lately, and I’m sure I’ve been annoying my woodworking friends on twitter with all of my finishing related tweets. Finishing is important though, it can make your hard work shine and shimmer even more than great craftsmanship. I believe to get great results, you need to understand what the professionals do, and then approximate that as well as you can in your shop. General Finishes is a company that has a line of Professional Finishes and Retail Finishes, and they have great products and sell to small woodworking shops and home woodworkers through retailers we’re all familiar with like Rockler, Woodcraft, and Eagle America.

In my quest for more finishing knowledge, and to share that with y’all, I’ve been discussing finishing with Tom at General Finishes off-and-on since May 2010. He’s agreed to answer our questions about finishing and General Finishes products, so, what are your questions? Leave a comment, and I’ll include them in my interview with Tom.

Update March 8th, 2011: Comments are now closed. Stay tuned for your answers in a new blog post.