No One Will See It

It’s such a common response from woodworkers that it might even be universal: You have just given someone a shop-made gift, or are showing off the latest piece of furniture that you worked on for weeks. They are properly impressed with your work and say something nice about your efforts. What do you do? Immediately point out your woodworking errors — regardless of how microscopic or unimportant.

As I stated, this is so common that I am no longer surprised when I see it happen … but let me tell you a secret. Whatever blemish you somehow created in your work — that you see from across the room as if a spotlight were illuminating it to the whole world — others will never see it. Sometimes, even after you point it out, folks will still not see it (nodding politely as to not seem dumb).

So, here is some advice that you did not ask for: keep your mouth closed, zip your lips, say nothing, mum’s the word, keep your pie hole closed. I think you get the idea.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

Make a Holiday Gift at Rockler

Make a Holiday Gift at Rockler

Remember when that special loved one in your life always seemed to prefer the gifts you made over those you bought at a store? It seems that some things don’t change: in a recent nationwide survey of 500 people, Rockler found that over half of the respondents preferred handmade over store-bought. Fifty-four percent of adults in the polling group would rather receive a crafted gift, and of them, 61 percent were women. The study also indicated that adults 35 years of age and up preferred “made” gifts more than purchased gifts.

That’s why for “National Make a Gift Day,” which is this Saturday, Dec. 1, Rockler’s 37 retail stores are hosting Handmade Gift Classes. Participants will use a lathe and other tools to create a unique handle for their choice of a bottle opener, ice cream scoop or a pizza cutter, resulting in a one-of-a-kind handmade gift.

The classes will be offered at four times, with start times of 9:30 and 11:30 am and then 1:30 and 3:30 pm. Because handle turning is relatively simple, it’s ideal for anyone who wishes to participate, including those with little or no prior woodworking experience. Store staff will be on hand to answer questions and offer assistance. Each participant will leave with a completed utensil.

Class size will be limited to six participants per session, in order to accommodate one-on-one assistance. Attendees under the age of 18 will need to be accompanied by an adult. The class will last approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Total cost of the class ranges from $35 to $45, depending on which utensil you choose to make.

To sign up for a Handmade Gift Class at a store near you, click here. For additional handmade gift ideas, free project plans and video tutorials, visit

Should I Stick with Distilled Water?

Should I Stick with Distilled Water?

I painted my cabin with a sprayer. Now I plan to paint my house. My formula for viscosity and easy mixing is 40 oz. acrylic latex paint, 5 oz. Floetrol® and 5 oz. distilled water. The distilled water was used in lieu of well water, which is filtered for iron removal. Is distilled water the better choice here? – Tim Barrett

Tim Inman: Distilled water is a known quantity. “Ordinary” water should work just as well, but why push it? Distilled water is cheap, and if it is working for you, why pinch pennies and risk costing you dollars later on? The pH of the water would be the biggest offender, more than likely. Distilled water is neutral, by definition.

Chris Marshall: I agree with Tim — if it ain’t broke, why fix it? Distilled water worked for your paint solution for the cabin, so it should work just as well on your house. When it comes to the alchemy of finishing — be it paint or otherwise — I tend to go with what has proven to work for me in order to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Larger ProLift Router Lift

Larger ProLift Router Lift

Rockler has expanded the range of router tables that will fit its award winning ProLift Router Lift by now offering a second version with a larger 9-1/4-in. x 11-3/4-in. plate size. It will fit router tables from Kreg®, JessEm, Woodpeckers® and Peachtree.

The lift’s 3/8-in.-thick machined aluminum plate and heavy-duty guide posts are designed for demanding daily use. An anti-backlash mechanism keeps the router from creeping downward, and a lock knob underneath provides further insurance when running very large jobs.

Two patent-pending features make Rockler’s ProLift easy to use: ultra-fast ”Quick-Gear” height adjustments and ”Snap-Lock” tool-free insert ring changes. Push a button in the plate to release the insert ring, then wind the Quick-Gear to raise the bit above the table rapidly. Once the bit is installed, lower it with the included hex wrench, click in the insert ring and use the fine adjustment gear to set the final height to within 0.001 in. The process is quick, efficient and intuitive.

Snap-in insert rings also means no tools are required and there are no tiny screws to lose. One insert ring with a 1-1/2-in. opening is included, and rings with other bit openings can be purchased separately.

Two expansion bars beneath the plate are adjustable for leveling it with the tabletop. Index marks on the fine adjustment screw enable you to raise the bit by specific increments more easily, too.

This Pro Lift accepts router motors with 4.2-in. diameters (13.85 in. circumference), such as the Porter-Cable 7518 and 7519. Optional adapters are available to mount routers with smaller motors, including Bosch 1617, Porter-Cable 690 and 890 series, the Makita RF1101 and DeWALT’s 616 and 618 models. These adapters have an expansion gap, so they will accept motors measuring 1/8 in. larger or smaller in diameter than the listed spec.

Note: If you have a Rockler or Bench Dog router table, the correct ProLift model with a smaller top plate is item 52429.

Rockler’s larger ProLift (item 55803) is available now and sells for $369.99.

Making a Sturdier Shop Vacuum System

Making a Sturdier Shop Vacuum System

My Oneida Dust Deputy shop vac accessory keeps the vac filter from clogging up, but I never liked the way it would tip over on its casters when I rolled the shop vac around. To fix the problem, I built a framework from scrap plywood and mounted it to the base of the vacuum.

After removing the caster wheels on the Deputy, I fastened its outer bucket to the frame above the shop vac. Now, the vac and the Deputy are one unit instead of two. I’ve also outfitted the frame with various scrap-wood studs so I can store the vac’s wands, tools and the working end of the hose when I’m through. No more tip-overs!

– Tom Nicosia
Lake Orion, Michigan

Keeping Arbor Nuts At-the-ready

Keeping Arbor Nuts At-the-ready

My table saw comes with two arbor nuts — one with a flange washer attached for use with a standard blade and the other without a flange washer for dado blade setups. I switch from one blade style to the other pretty often in my projects, and those arbor nuts are easy to knock off the saw. So, I attach the nut I’m not using to the side of my table with a 3/4″ rare-earth magnet. It holds the nut securely and I always know where the spare nut is attached. This would work equally as well for stowing the flange washer of a standard arbor nut.

– Liam Moriarty
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

GluBoost Adhesive Products

GluBoost Adhesive Products

People often use cyanoacrylate adhesive for bonding parts, filling voids, repairing finish and even as a finish on raw wood — typically on pens and other small objects because it cures so fast. Most folks insist various brands of cyanoacrylates, often called “super glue,” are more alike than not, and there’s some truth to that.

However, GluBoost® products are different indeed and open up a whole new world of options for us woodworkers.

Finishing a turning project with Gluboost Fill n' Finish
You can apply GluBoost’s Fill n’ Finish to small turnings as a finish while they are still on the lathe.

Most notable in their line is Fill n’ Finish™, a flexible, clear cyanoacrylate that stays liquid until you spray it with GluBoost accelerator, after which it solidifies instantly and cures clear. It seems hard to believe, but it’s true.

Spraying on a smooth finish on a woodturning project
Fill n’ Finish stays liquid after application until you spray it with GluBoost accelerator, allowing time to smooth out a finish.

That means you can apply it to wood as a finish or pore filler, take your sweet time about getting it smooth and uniform, then spray it, and it cures almost instantly, ready to sand or recoat in just seconds. Among other uses, it is perfect for finishing turnings, right on the lathe. It cures clear, with no bubbles, pitting, hazing, crazing, blooming, yellowing or white spots.

Fast drying finish on a turning project
The finish solidifies instantly after applying the accelerator: you can easily handle your turning or other project with no stickiness or mess.

Because it stays liquid indefinitely, you can even color it by mixing their Master-Tint™ line of colorants right into the cyanoacrylate, and it still won’t cure until it is sprayed with accelerator. Add a small amount of powder for a translucent color, more for solid colors. It’s a boon for filling dings in every type of clear, tinted, or solid color finishes, including notoriously hard-to-repair epoxies and polyesters.

Repairing a dent in wood
Repairing dings and dents is another use for GluBoost Fill n’ Finish. GluBoost offers a line of MasterTint stains for color matching.

Once Fill n’ Finish does cure, it is flexible. We don’t often think of them that way, but all wood finishes must be somewhat flexible to tolerate wood movement without cracking.

Matching color to repair a dent in finished wood
The patent-pending line of colorants is formulated specifically for use with GluBoost products, and it will not weaken the polymeric bond of the adhesive.

That flexibility is essential as a finish and also to create repairs in cracked or dinged finishes that don’t pop out or crack over time. As an adhesive, a flexible glue line is more shock-resistant than a rigid one.

Filling wood chip with Gluboost adhesive
Applying Fill n’ Finish Thin into a chipped-out area seals up the fibers of the ding preparing for the next step.

The GluDry™ accelerator itself is also very slow drying, which is quite handy if you plan to use either Fill n’ Finish or their more typical adhesive, MasterGlu, as traditional adhesive. Spray one side of a bond with accelerator and put the cyanoacrylate on the other. Once they come in contact, cure comes in seconds.

Filling gaps with Fill n' Finish Pro Formula adhesive
Next, fill the majority of the void with the slightly thicker Fill n’ Finish Pro Formula to take up space.

Both the slow-drying, long open time Fill n’ Finish and the more typical self-curing MasterGlu come in both regular and super thin versions, the latter ideal for penetrating dense woods. Both are great for solidifying spalted or punky wood.

Coloring adhesive with a MasterTint color stain
A little color goes a long way when mixing the MasterTint color stains with the Fill n’ Finish.

If you’re wondering why you’ve not heard of Glu-Boost before, in part it is because the products were first introduced to luthiers (guitarmakers) and mostly sold through luthiery supply companies.

GluBoost Fill n’ Finish CA glue is a very durable finishing option for small woodturnings, like this pizza cutter.

You can find out more through their website at, where the 2 oz. bottles of Fill n’ Finish sell for $15 and the 4 oz. GluDry is priced at $12.

Thank You

As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who have been reading the Woodworker’s Journal Weekly this past year. (And many who have been with us for much, much longer.) I want to assure you that we don’t take your support for granted, and that we understand it is your interest that makes it possible for us to have what might be the best jobs in the entire country.

Please allow me personally to say that I am thankful for so many things: my family, my country, my coworkers and all you readers out there.

Here is to a lovely holiday — may it be all you wish for.

Rob Johnstone, Woodworker’s Journal

New Metabo HPT Launches MultiVolt

New Metabo HPT Launches MultiVolt

What’s in a name? Well, for power tool users who rely on those products to make a living, or who are invested deeply in both the tools and their consumable accessories–like batteries and chargers–a brand name means quite a lot. It represents reliability, performance and value over time. It also equates to a significant financial commitment.

That’s why, for all that goes into branding power tools, its rare that a tool company changes its name. This past spring, however, Hitachi announced that it would be doing that very thing, leaving “Hitachi” behind and becoming Metabo HPT. On October 17, the company’s name change became official for the North American market.

But, if you’re a loyal and invested Hitachi user, have no fear, reassures Joe Leffler, senior vice president of sales, marketing and general management of the new Metabo HPT. “Our name, whether Hitachi or Metabo HPT, still represents the same people, the look, the performance, the feel and the experience provided to the end user. All these will go unchanged, and all you will see is simply our name change.”

Here’s the short explanation for why a name change was necessary: Leffler explains that when Hitachi Koki Co. Ltd. partnered with KKR, a leading global investment firm, in April 2017, it was determined that the power tool division would no longer be part of Hitachi Ltd.

“Transitioning to Metabo HPT, we now have complete control to determine our direction in the market and the freedom to move faster,” Leffler says. “Within North America, we did extensive research and testing. We determined that building off an established brand like our sister company, Metabo, by renaming to Metabo HPT, would allow us to equally drive value to the different customer segments we both resonate in.”

Metabo HPT tools will be available in North America, wherever Hitachi power tools are sold. The transition has already begun, and it will continue to roll out in 2019. Current Hitachi-branded tools will be sold alongside Metabo HPT tools for the same model until supplies are gone, and some products may even be labeled with both names. Then, at some point next year, those tools will continue forward only as Metabo HPT.

“The tools will carry the same model numbers, same design, same warranties and same battery compatibility,” Leffler says. “The only thing changing as we transition will be our name to Metabo HPT.”

Outside of North America, other power tool markets have known the brand as Hitachi Koki Power Tools. So, instead of Metabo HPT, the tools will be called HiKoki elsewhere, where the “Koki” reference has an established familiarity and understanding, Leffler explains.

While Hitachi’s current product line continues under the new moniker, Metabo HPT is also launching a brand-new 36-volt platform of products called MultiVolt to celebrate the transition. The heart of MultiVolt is a 4.0 Ah lithium-ion battery that powers its new 36-volt offerings, which so far include a brushless 10-in. miter saw, 7-1/4-in. circular saw, a reciprocating saw, 1/2-in. hammer drill, triple impact driver, SDS rotary hammer, two 4-1/2-in. angle grinders and 1/2- and 3/4-in. high-torque impact wrenches. More MultiVolt tool options are forthcoming.

As the name suggests, one thing that makes MultiVolt unique is that the battery not only powers 36-volt tools but also is backwards-compatible to Hitachi/Metabo HPT 18-volt cordless tools. In these applications, it generates 8.0 Ah instead of 4.0 Ah, giving 18-volt tools extended runtime.

Another standout development of MultiVolt is an AC Adapter (model ET36A), which retails for $149. It looks like a slide-style tool battery with a 20-ft. power cord attached to it. Clip the AC adapter onto any MultiVolt 36-volt tool, and it can be plugged into 120-volt outlets for “corded” use, when that’s most convenient. Then, when situations take you away from outlet power, switch to a MultVolt battery instead, to use the tool “cordless.”

But, while MultiVolt batteries are backwards-compatible to 18-volt tools, the new AC Adapter isn’t: it works only on 36-volt MultiVolt tools.

The company considers MultiVolt to be game-changing in the industry, because it gives you the ability to choose either cordless or corded operation without sacrificing portability or performance. Metabo HPT also points out that the ultra-efficient brushless motors in MultiVolt tools enable the adapter to be used with long extension cords or from a generator with no power loss to the tool.

Currently, only the new 10-in. miter saw has a packaging option that includes the AC adapter. Most of the other tool offerings are sold bare or with two batteries and a charger. But, there’s an incentive to get onboard with MultiVolt: if you buy a bare tool, Metabo HPT gives you the option to pick either the AC Adapter or a MultiVolt battery and charger kit for free with your tool purchase. And, through the end of December, if you buy a MultiVolt tool and register it online, you can get an additional battery for free (a $99 value) by filling out and submitting a rebate form.

Leffler says, so far customers are responding positively to the new name as well as the MultiVolt battery, adapter and tool family.

“As we change our name to Metabo HPT we are launching technology that changes how power tools will be used on the jobsite,” Leffler says. “This new platform of MultiVolt tools resonates across every trade professional in the industry. We’re changing what’s expected of power tools. It’s an exciting time … Expect nothing but incredible innovation with durability at its core as we emerge as Metabo HPT.”

Learn more about Metabo HPT and MultiVolt by clicking here.