Category Archives: Tools

Floor Mats

I have a concrete floor in my studio.  I also have flat feet, thus I need really good floor mats in my studio.  Over the years I have tried lots of different options for floor mats.

I tried the cheap ones from Home Depot, etc. When they were not soft enough, I tried stacking up the cheap ones, etc.  I even let someone at a AAW symposium talk me into a really expensive $200 mat. A sucker is born every minute! I hate that mat with a passion!  It will not stay put!  It is always sliding out of position!  Err!!!

A few years ago I decided to change all of my mats to the expensive kitchen mats with holes from Rubber-Cal.  If they are good enough for chiefs who stand on them all day in the kitchen then they are good enough for me.

I like the “Rubber-Cal Dura-Chef Interlock Anti-Fatigue Rubber Matting, 5/8″ x 36″ x 36”.

It has to be the 5/8″ thick mat!   The 1/2″ and 3/8″ thick ones are not soft enough.  The 3/8″ thick one is a complete and total waste.  It is like standing on concrete.

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Often there are similar looking mats at Home Depot, etc.  At first I was buying my mats their.  Then they changed brands.  The new brand really sucked!  The rubber was to hard!  Not enough cushioning for my flat feet.

Then I discovered I could get the mats on Amazon and the shipping was FREE with my Amazon Prime membership!  Otherwise, the shipping will kill you!  The mats are really heavy.

Do NOT purchase directly from Rubber-Cal. The shipping will kill you!  Free shipping from Amazon with Prime membership is like the best deal on the face of the earth!

The mats from “Rubber-Cal” come and go on Amazon.  With a price around $25 each.  Right now (12/18/2019) they are on Amazon for $30 each.  A good price!   Beware!  Some times the price goes up to $50 each or more.  Wait a while and the price will go back down.

Well, maybe $30 is not such a good price. But, I have flat feet. It is worth it for me. Similar mats at Home Depot, etc. have gone up in price over the years. They are getting close to $25.

Also beware of Amazon’s dynamic pricing.  If you purchase something today .  Then go back to purchase more in a few days then Amazon with jack up the price.  You can sometimes avoid this by looking up your old order.  Then going to old order.  Then go to the item from the old order.  Now the price is the same? Continue reading Floor Mats

Klingspor Sandpaper Rolls

I am now using sandpaper rolls from Klingspor for all of my hand sanding. Rather than “Porter Cable Stikit Sandpaper”. I still like the Stikit paper but it is to hard to get.

• I like “Klingspor Abrasives 4.5″x 10 Meter (33′) Pressure Sensitive Adhesive, Paperbacked Roll, xxx Grit, Stearated Aluminum Oxide”. Item # AR330xx. AR33008 for 80 grit, etc. Around $18 per roll on 12/2019.

I purchased several different rolls of stuff from Klingspor. I decided I liked the above the best. It is very similar to the “Porter Cable Stikit Sandpaper” that use to be my favorite.

“Klingspor Abrasives Stearated Silicon Carbide, 4-1/2″x 10 Meter (33′) PSA Roll, 180 Grit, Porter Cable Stickit” is ok. Item #AR136xx. It is cheaper at $14 per roll. But, I don’t like it as much. The paper seems to be a little stiffer.

• I have 80, 120, 180, and 220 grits.

I get it from “Klingspor’s Woodworking Shop”.

I generally do not sand beyond 220 grit. If I do sand beyond 220 then I use 6″ Abralon pads by Mirka.

For more info see my “Great Polyurethane Finishes” handout at

• I like to cut up the sandpaper into small sheets in advance and store it in “Large Binder Clips” (aka large paper clips). For more info see “Spindle Turning Sandpaper” section in my “Handy Sandpaper” blog entry.

1. I use to use “Porter Cable Stikit Sandpaper”. My old “Stikit Sandpaper” blog entry is now obsolete. It is replaced by this new blog entry.
2. I use Blue Flex disks for all of my power sanding.  See my Blue Flex Sanding Disks blog entry.
3. I have eliminated 150 grit from my sanding. I decided it is to close to 120 grit. Just a waste of time. I sand 80, 120, 180, then 220.

Mounting Plates and Shallow Bowls

I have found that using a 2-1/2″ diameter hole that is 1/4″ deep is a good way to mount blanks for plates and shallow bowls on the lathe. It is easy and very secure.

It’s a lot better than using a chuck screw. Because chuck screws and shallow holes don’t mix well.

I drill a 2-1/2″ diameter hole that is 1/4″ deep with a Forstner bit. Then expand my 4 jaw chuck into the hole.

You need to be careful when drilling a big hole. You ABSOLUTELY need to use a drill press. Using a hand held drill would be a receipt for disaster.

You also need to clamp the blank down to the drill press table. A big drill bit can easily catch and rip the blank out of and/or thru your hand. Any sharp edges or corners on the blank will shred your hand.

The cheap “Steelex” brand Forstner bits currently available on Amazon for $2x work ok. The Amazon reviews vary quite a bit. Getting a good one is a crap shoot. I have gotten 2 winners recently.

Note: Amazon dynamically prices everything. I purchased a new 2-1/2″ Forstner bit last week for $20. Today the lowest price it will show me is $28.91. If I wait a few more weeks then the price will probably go back down to $20.