Answers to Your Tools Questions - Part 2 Answers to Your Tools Questions - Part 2

Q. I am currently trying to finish up some projects I was left with. I will be installing my laminate floor soon, and I have a question: Other then a chop saw, what else can be used to cut the strips with?

A. Any saw, with a minimum 60-tooth blade. Use a chop saw for speed on the end cuts and a table saw for speed on the rip and corner cutouts.

Q. In the trunk floor of my car there is a threaded hole for a bolt. Only the top part is accessible, with the end being underneath the car. I accidentally screwed it in too tight and the head of the bolt tore off. So now, the threaded part of the bolt is in the hole, with no head to unscrew it out. Is there anyway to get it out of there?

A. Yes, there is a tool called an Easy Out. It's like a drill bit, only pointier and has reverse threads on it. First, you drill a hole into the bolt. Then tap the Easy Out into the hole until it gets stuck. Then twist the whole thing out. They come in different sizes, but tell or show the hardware store what size your bolt is and they should set you up with the right one and handle and a matching bit. Also ask if they have reverse thread bits - sometimes that alone works, and it can't hurt. If some of it is sticking up, you can hacksaw (or Dremmel) a slot into it and turn it with a screwdriver.

Q. I need to drill two 4-inch holes through my foundation wall. I'd like to avoid jack hammering and use some kind of drill or coring tool that will leave a respectable looking hole, so what's out there?

A. Your best bet is to go to your local rental store. They will have several options. There is an electric drill that is perfect for what you need to do - it's not exactly a drill, but is made to hammer or drill through concrete. A core drill with a 4-inch bit would give the best looking hole.
To use one, you would drill one or two 1/2 inches holes, depending on the unit. With these you would securely bolt the base plate for the core drill and then assemble the drill. A water line connects to the drill to flush the waste concrete away and cool the bit. An easier way would be to rent a rotary hammer drill with a 3/4 inches carbide concrete bit and a small chisel. You could drill a series of small holes and then clean up the edges with the chisel.

Q. I am finishing our basement and I need to buy a saw. Which would be best? Plus does it have to be a 12-inch saw?

A. Finishing a basement is a project that requires basic knowledge, especially if you're putting up stud walls - things like laying out a wall, framing around obstacles, building drops, and making your walls straight and square. The miter saw would be a fine addition if you were going to trim the basement out. As a second luxury tool, a 10-inch, regular, powered miter saw would save time in cutting your framing. It can cut a 2x4 at 90 degrees and at 45 degrees, but will not do totally 90 degrees cut a 2x6 and cannot at 45 degrees cut a 2x6. Of course, as with any tool, as you use it more you can find different ways to use it.

A compound cutting, 12-inch size or even sliding miter is not necessary for building a recreation room. But, will need it to be able to do 90 degree cuts on a 2x6. For anything more, you would need a sliding miter. You can do more with a compound saw, and even more if it has radial action.

A circular saw would be the first thing to get. A circular saw is the most basic of woodworking tools. You can cut anything. If you're cutting 4 feet x 8 feet material, you can attach a straight edge as a guide to get a square cut. You would be able to trim dimensional lumber for studs or strapping, plus be able to cut sheet goods such as plywood and paneling.

If you invest it a quality tool, you'll have it forever. The bigger the saw blade the more you can do.

Q. I have an old filleting knife that I've had for 25 years. The blade is still excellent, but the wooden handles are falling apart. They are held in place by three brass rivets that extend through the extension of the blade. I can make new handles, but don't know how to firmly attach them to the blade. Any ideas?

A. Good epoxy glue is all you need to hold the handle on; the rivets are more for decoration than strength. Try to use longer setting glue (not the 5 minute formula) - you should be able to find 90 minute epoxy at most hardware stores. Most people use clear epoxy. Some people use JB Weld, but it leaves a black line.

Sand the tang of the knife blade to remove old glue and oxidation, but try not to scratch the blade where it will be visible in front of your new handle. Alternatively, you can "hand-polish" the main part of the blade with sandpaper for a beautiful satin finish. Start with 220 grit, go down to 320, then finer maybe to 800 or 1000 grit. Get all the scratches out from the previous grit before moving to finer. Cut the handle material oversize. Use the blade as a template, but leave at least 1/8 inch extra for movement and alignment.

Sand the inside of handle material flat, but drill or grind some shallow indents to hold pockets of epoxy glue on the inner sides. Temporarily put one side of the handle on the blade (tape or drop of glue), and then drill through the rivet holes into the first sidepiece. Use a drill press or carefully drill vertical to the blade. Attach the second side of handle, flip it over and drill (vertically) through the holes you previously made. This should give you vertically aligned holes through both sides of the handle and blade tang. Remove the handle sides from the blade (heat will soften glue). Use the blade as a template and draw an outline on both handle pieces.

You might consider using colored liners. These add "pinstripes" along the blade and handle joint. Rough up the material and glue it to the inner sides of the handles. You can order this from knife making suppliers, or cut the flat sides of colored plastic containers, such as blue or red antifreeze gallon jugs.

You should be able to pin the two sides together with a metal rod the diameter of your holes (1/8 or 1/4 inch?) without the blade. Cut oversize lengths of rod for this step, plus an extra set for final assembly. Now finish shaping and fine sanding the handle at the ricasso area, where the blade will exit the handle. You can't sand this area later without scratching the blade.

When the handle sides and blade are ready for final gluing, wipe everything with acetone to remove any oils, sweat, or dust. Acetone will also remove fresh epoxy glue from your hands, tools, or table. Do this work over waxed paper for easier cleanup. Glue one side to the handle, and push the rod material into the drilled holes, push the other side onto the pins. Spread glue on both mating sides, not just one, or you will get gaps. Squeeze everything together so there are no visible gaps. Let it set for a while before using acetone and a soft scraper to remove glue from the ricasso area. The handle should now be a little oversize everywhere except where the blade comes out. After the epoxy glue is dry, do final shaping of the handle down to the knife tang, and any finger grooves or tapering. Sand and finish with a protective clear coat.

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