Category Archives: Great Ideas

Get A Grip

Here is my “Get A Grip” tip that appeared in the “Tips” section on page 18 of the AAW August 2018 “American Woodturner” Journal.

Adding a layer of elastic mesh sleeve is a cheap and easy way to get a better grip on your woodturning tools. My friends and students like it. You can purchase mesh sleeve from (I purchased item #5969K23). It is made of 1⁄16″- (1.5mm-) thick polyethylene plastic and comes in different sizes and colors. The mesh I bought would cover handles with an outside diameter (OD) of 1″ to 1½” (25mm to 38mm).

Workshop Blower for Cleanup

One of my students showed up one day with a little battery powered workshop blower. I tried it and I was sold. I had to have one.

I put it on my Christmas list last year and it is the best Christmas present ever!

These little blowers are light weight and just the right size for quick clean up. I just blow all the saw dust and shavings off of my lathes onto the floor and then sweep or vacuum them up.

I have a big air compressor and air hose. But, my little blower is a lot more fun. There is no hose to drag around. I don’t have to waste money at the end of the day running my air compressor. My blower has 3 speeds. Low speed puts a lot less dust in the air then my air hose.

My blower is a Bosch model GBL18V-71. I just needed the blower because I already had a battery for my other Bosch tools. All the other manufacturers (Makita, Dewalt, Milwaukee, etc) make similar blowers. So, if you already have a battery you should be able to pick up a blower. The bare blowers (no battery) sell for around $80.

The blower also works great for cleaning my car out. Open all the doors and blow the dirt out. Blow out the dirt and bark after I haul logs around.

Note: These blowers are smaller than the ones they sell for leaf blowers. The air speed is also lower, so they create less dust and are easier to control.

Hang Up your Power Sanding Drills

Photo: Hang Up Your Power Sanders

I like to keep my Power Sanding Drills handy by hanging them on the front of my lathe.

My friends and students have copied this idea.  Thus it must be a good one?

Photo: Hang Up Your Power Sanders

Here is how I do it.  I turn a simple knob out of scrap wood and mount it on the front of my lathe.  I drill and tap a hole for a 1/4″ bolt. See photo.

It looks like I goofed. Both sanders in the photo appear to have a 2" mandrel on them. Normally I keep a 2" mandrel on one of them and a 3" mandrel on the other.

Photo: Hang Up Your Power Sanders

Then I carefully drill a hole in the case of my drill and run a piece of flexible electrical wire thru the hole. I drill the hole in a corner where they is really nothing inside of the case.  In the photo you can see some scrap number 18 gray wire with a green stripe.  One half of a chuck of brown lamp cord (zip cord) would work just as good.  Stranded wire is more flexible than solid wire.

Note: I like to use a 55 Degree Close Quarters Drill for power sanding. I get my drills from the Sanding Glove ( because they test their drills before selling them and they have metal gears. All of the ones on Amazon, etc get lousy reviews due to plastic gears or bearings that don’t last long!