Gareth's Tips

Preserving Wood with Fire

Gar's Tips & Tools - Issue #152

Gar’s Tips, Tools, and Shop Tales is published by Cool Tools Lab. To receive the newsletter a week early, sign up here.

  • Send me a tip or tool recommendation.
  • Buy my books (Tips and Tales from the Workshop Vol. 1Vol. 2).
  • Advertise your product, service, newsletter, app, book, tool, or anything you’d like to share with GT&T readers.

Preserving Wood with Fire

From Bird’s Eye Builds on Instagram:

Shou sugi ban treatment for these cedar panels that will become an exterior door. The wood is burned until the surface is charred, resulting in a pest, rot, and fire resistant finish as well as becoming a natural water repellent and sun shield. And it looks amazing!⁠”

Know Your Foam Feet

Two-part spray foam kits (both insulation and sealant) are usually labeled/measured in the board feet that the foam will cover. So, for instance, a 210 insulation kit will cover 210 sq ft. at 1” thick, a 600 kit, 600 sq. ft. at 1”, etc. [Via Family Handyman]

Tips on Working with Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)

James of Stumpy Nubs has a wonderful basic guide to MDF. He talks through when to use it (and when not to), how to properly join/fasten MDF, working with it safely in your shop, avoiding cutting it with expensive blades and bits, and more. He also talks about preparing the edges of MDF using drywall joint compound to seal off the otherwise rough and thirsty edge. By applying the compound and then sanding, you can get a primable/paintable edge that’s at least as smooth as the material’s surfaces.

Reading “Tools”

Gareth shares fascinating and fun entries as he reads through Tools and How to Use Them by Albert Jackson and David Day. This week: Leather creasing tools: Single creaseradjustable double creaser.

Maker Slang

Slang, jargon, and technical terms for the many realms of making things

Aztecing — A model painting technique that involves applying a series of small, intricate patterns and textures to the surface of a model to create a sense of depth and complexity, as well as to simulate the appearance of overlapping panels, mechanical components, or weathering effects.

Dashboard — Originally, the term dashboard referred to a barrier at the front of a horse-drawn carriage that prevented mud from getting on the passengers as the horses dashed down the lane.

GPT (as in ChatGTP and GTP-4) — Stands for Generative Pre-trained Transformer, “a type of deep learning algorithm that uses a transformer architecture to generate human-like natural language text. The GPT models are pre-trained on large amounts of text data, which allows them to learn the patterns and structure of language, and then fine-tuned on specific tasks such as text classification, language translation, or question answering.” [Or, at least, that’s what ChatGPT told me.]

Uppercase/lowercase — While we’re on the subject of word origins. Have you ever wondered about uppercase and lowercase? The above picture should clear it up nicely — letterpress type cases with capital letters on top and smaller letters in the bottom case.

Vial — The bubble assembly on a spirit level tool is referred to a vial or spirit level vial.

Shop Talk

In response to my EDC piece in issue #150, Joz Jonlin writes:

I always struggle with the EDC category. As a tech guy, I have a large backpack with every cable, dongle, adapter, you might want or need for computer related activities. I also have non-computer items I carry in the bag, such as wetwipes, a fire starting kit, a lifestraw, and other various survival tools. It’s all very compact and light weight. On the other hand, I also have a separate EDC category of things belonging in my pockets. I carry 5 small items, with the first being a small cloth for cleaning eyeglasses, which also works well for computer screens. Then, in no particular order. I carry: Olight flashlightGerber ShardGerber DimeGerber Fastball. (I promise, I’m not sponsored by Gerber.) I have several Leatherman multi-tools but my goal is small and light for my pockets. After decades of mixing it up, this is what I’ve settled on for several years now and I use these items, usually, several times a day for something.

Mistakes Were Made

In the write-up to Grampa Amu pot-repair video last week, I lamented that the finished pot wasn’t shown with water in it. Someone on Cool Tools pointed out that, in fact, it did show the pot filled with water and on the boil in the last few seconds of the video. I must’ve clicked off when he puts the pot down and walked away and the other vids were teased. So glad to see it in actual use!


© 2022