Category Archives: Shop Tricks

Quick Fix for a Damaged Table Saw Ripping Fence

By Tom Pawlak

25 years of use (some might say abuse) had taken its toll on the heavy aluminum rip fence on our Delta Rockwell 12″–14″ Tilting Arbor Saw. Deep saw kerf grooves on the face of the fence had become a hazard because wood occasionally got hung up on it when ripping stock.Over a few months, each time I used the saw I thought about how it could be repaired. While the plan was still developing in my head, more than once I clamped a flat piece of plywood to the ripping fence face to temporarily create the smooth surface that I needed. Continue reading

A G/flex Modified Snow Shovel

By Tom Pawlak

This winter (2011) in Bay City, Michigan, we’ve seen a couple big snow falls and lots of small ones with 1″ to 2″ of accumulation. Not enough snow to bother breaking out the snow blower, so I usually shovel it by hand. About 10 years ago I fell in love with the plastic snow shovels that are lightweight and the snow slides off of them easily compared to the metal snow shovels that are heavy and snow clings to stubbornly.

My problem with plastic shovels is they wear out after one or two seasons at best because my driveway is made of fiber reinforced concrete. It is like a huge piece of 80-grit sandpaper waiting to devour my plastic shovels. Continue reading

Build What You Can’t Buy

By J.R. Watson

Do you sometimes need a replacement part for your boat, home or recreational vehicle and find out its no longer available? Discontinued. Source unknown. Can’t be found. Maybe the price borders on insanity or, you need a part that simply does not exist and never did.

“Okay,” you say, “I need it, can’t get it, my only option is to make it.”

As soon as you reach this decision, two thoughts pass through your mind. “How will I make it?” and “What materials shall I use?” You may have a third question like, “Am I the only one that has these problems?” Continue reading

Project X Fairing Technique

By John M. Thomas

Almost 40 years ago Meade and Jan Gougeon opened their doors to a fastener-less method of boat construction using epoxy and various clamping methods. Jan’s newest boat is in the home stretch to completion, and he is addressing the fine tweaks of coaming and fairing. Continue reading

Using Google SketchUp to Design a New Cooler

By Jeff Wright

My personal boat is a 1986 Formula 242 LS.With a soft riding deep V hull, good performance and a small but well appointed cuddy cabin, it is a great boat for me, my wife and our dog to use for a whole weekend. One shortcoming, besides not having standing headroom in the cabin, is the built-in cooler located in the cuddy cabin. The cooler had a side door and was styled to look like a refrigerator. This may have looked “cool” in the mid 1980s but was impractical. We couldn’t put ice in the cooler without having the water leak out through the door. For any trip longer than one night I had to use a standard cooler strapped to the swim platform. This was inconvenient and limited the use of the platform at the beach. Continue reading

Marquetry Made Easy

By Al Witham

There is a simple way for those of us who may be “artistically challenged” to produce inlaid furniture, jewelry boxes, canoe decks, trays, etc. with a modest investment in equipment and materials, in a reasonable period of time, and with eye-pleasing results. I have no formal training in making inlays, but have found a method which works for me. I showed this method to a friend who is a shop teacher; he now has students as young as ten incorporating it into their school projects with excellent results. My method is adaptable, user-friendly within limits and forgiving of minor cutting errors. Even novices can produce great looking marquetry. Continue reading

Building Composite Tubes

With WEST SYSTEM and braided fibers

By Captain J.R. Watson

Tubes are used on boats for hard tops, T-tops, Biminis, dodgers, bows, bow and stern pulpits, rails, canoe and kayak paddle shafts, boat hooks, and so on. Composite tubes built with epoxy and reinforcing fibers offer advantages over metal in terms of light weight, custom shapes and sizes, and corrosion resistance. Composite tubes can be faired and painted to produce a seamless appearance to match the boat, or left to show the carbon fiber. I’ve been experimenting with approaches to building a variety of composite tubes. Following are some things I’ve tried (some that worked and some that did not) that you may find of value if you want to produce composite tubes yourself. Continue reading

How to Build a Set of Planer Boards

By J.R. Watson

Planer boards allow for more fishing lines to be trolled simultaneously and are used to spread lures and harnesses away from the boat when trolling at low speeds (below 2 knots). They are commonly used when fishing for walleye. You can achieve a greater dimensional spread with planer boards than with outriggers. Continue reading

Improved Mold Strongbacks

By Tom Pawlak

Back in the 1980s, Gougeon Brothers was one of the largest producers of wind turbine blades in the US. The blades were built of wood veneer and epoxy, and varied in length from 10′ to 70′. They were built in halves and vacuum laminated in female molds built with WEST SYSTEM® Brand Epoxy. Tolerances were tight, and every aspect of the tooling was critical, from molding to assembly. If something wasn’t right when the two halves were glued together, there wasn’t much you could do to make it right later. Continue reading

Staudacher Strongbacks

By Brian Knight

Jon Staudacher, of Staudacher Hydroplanes and Aircraft, has been using a long, very flat, work table/strongback that is mounted on casters. The table was originally 32′ long, but because of space considerations, Jon has since shortened it to 20′ (Photo 1). Four rubber casters support it, one at each corner (Photo 2). Continue reading