Good Cheap Masking Tape

Meta Description: Carl recommends Blick brand masking tape from Dick Blick on the web. It is a bit on the thin side but it works good and the price is reasonable.

I use a lot of masking tape in my studio. I use it to masking off things when painting. I also use it to protect delicate edges on hollow from rims, etc when sanding.

It is hard to find good masking tape locally at a reasonable price. I started using Blick brand masking tape from Dick Blick on the web (www.dickblick.com) last year.

I like it. The price is reasonable. Yea, it is a bit thin and feels cheap. But, it works good. The glue is good. I often leave it on pieces for days or even weeks and have not run into any problems removing it. I find myself using this tape more and more often rather than purple or blue masking tape.
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Linear Actuator Blast Gate (12v DC)

Meta Description: Looking for a cheaper alternative to iVAC Blast Gates? Simple, reliable, easy to install, lowcost? 12 volt DC Linear Actuators are the answer!

Photo: Linear Actuator Blast Gate (blast_gate_linear_00)

Linear Actuator Blast Gate

Looking for a cheaper alternative to iVAC Blast Gates? Simple, reliable, easy to install, low cost? 12 volt DC Linear Actuators are the answer!

Here is my sad story about how I found Linear Actuators the hard way. I tried iVAC Pro Blast Gates and Servo Blast Gates. They cost to much and were not reliable. Then I found 12 volt DC Linear Actuators and used them to automate my existing blast gates. They are low cost, 100% reliable, and easy to install. They are the answer!

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A Modern Lamp for any Table

Meta Description: Link to Carl's "A Modern Lamp for any Table" AAW magazine article PDF. How to turn a wooden lamp that looks great! A skill building project.

Modern Table Lamp
Here is a pointer to my “A Modern Lamp for any Table” article that appeared on page 18 of the AAW June 2021 “American Woodturner” Journal.
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Better Blast Gate Micro Switch

Meta Description: Carl has replaced the micro switches on his dust gates with better micro switches from Digi-Key part number LS0851506F045S1A-ND.

Photo: Better Blast Gate Micro Switch (dust_gate_switch_00)

Better Blast Gate Micro Switch

I have a big 2 HP dust collector in my studio. It is turned on/off by little micro switches on each blast gate. See red circle in above photo.

The micro switches are part of an old "Penn State Industries Long Ranger" system. The micro switches trigger a relay that triggers a magnetic motor starter.

Over time the micro switches have failed and given me trouble. I have replaced them with better micro switches that I have purchased from Digi-Key (www.digikey.com) part number LS0851506F045S1A-ND. The Digi-Key switches are bigger and more rugged. Continue reading Better Blast Gate Micro Switch

Better Floor Sweep

Meta Description: Carl likes the Powertec model #70282 floor sweep. Because the handle is EASILY adjustable! No more disagreements with tall students.


Last year I went out and looked for a better floor sweep. I actually found one that I really like. It is made by “Powertec” model #70282. Around $50 on Amazon on 5/2021.

Why is it better? Because the handle is adjustable! You can EASILY rotate the handle up/down and you can EASILY slide it up or down the clear tube.

Short people can move the handle down. Tall people can move it up. No more disagreements with my vertically challenged tall students.
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Carl’s “MM to Inches” for Woodturners

Meta Description: Carl often see Woodturners get all twisted up by 1" = 25.4mm. His advice is to forget about the 0.4mm! Carl does the MM to inches conversion in his head using this method.

Photo: Carl’s “MM to Inches” for Woodturners 1

Woodturners in the US often have to deal with Millimetres. Bowl gouges made in Europe are often 12mm
rather than 1/2″. Etc.

I often see Woodturners get all twisted up by 1″ = 25.4mm.   My advice is to forget about the 0.4mm!
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Life's Too Short To Use Crappy Tools!