Amateur Machinists' Tools, Techniques and Materials

Basement Shop Guy

Posted by hammerscale on February 26, 2015

Another Youtube channel I enjoy. Brad offers down-to-earth advice, tips, and projects with videos that are well crafted and fast moving.

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This tactic works for cleaning up

Posted by hammerscale on February 25, 2015

I find the following routine works for keeping a shop tidy, or even de-cluttering a messy shop.

First, on entering the shop is to put 10 things back where they belong. Ten little things – example: 2 wrenches, 3 screwdrivers and 5 pieces of sandpaper are ten things.

Second, clean a small area of the shop. Example: table saw top has stuff on it, clean it up; or a drawer is messy, spend a couple minutes cleaning and sorting.

Last, third, after the day is done, again put 10 items back where they belong.

Repeat this every time you go in the shop. After a short time you’ll find it harder and harder to locate those first ten items, and you’ll have large flat surfaces empty of clutter. Cleaning small areas will then become more an issue of re-arranging and organizing. And having everything in it’s place is a huge boost to speed and efficiency, as opposed to spending 20 minutes looking for that particular tool you knew you were using only yesterday !

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Soak it ! Soak it ! Soak it !

Posted by hammerscale on January 26, 2015

I often receive phone calls from clients, or potential clients, if I have any replacement spindles for their drill press.

Why ? Because they’ve been pounding on it forever trying to remove the chuck ( just as they were advised to do on the internet ) and now the spindle is bent.
My advise in these situations is that they would have been better off calling me before grabbing the nearest baby sledge hammer. Just a solvent soak, married with some patience, can eliminate the need for brute force
in most of these cases.

I’m amazed at how effective just soaking stubborn parts in solvent works. By soak, I mean immersed for a week, or better, two weeks. Using the solvent of your choice. There’s a lot of nonsense in the web concerning what product is better – Kroil, PB blaster, WD40, even the latest concoction composed of acetone and auto trans fluid. I find it doesn’t matter what, but rather how long.

Example; I recently encountered a Morse taper cup center stuck in a wood lathe quill. Pound, pound, pound,…… no go, of course. After a heavy spray in the threaded hole of the quill I set it aside. A few days later, I took a look and solvent was weeping thru the Morse taper at the end of the quill. Three quick raps with a pin punch and the Morse taper shot right out.

I typically use odorless mineral spirits, or whatever is in a spray can if I need to flood a hole or opening. Immerse the part(s) and let it soak. Try it after a few days. If you don’t feel something move after just a few strikes of the hammer, …. STOP ! and let it soak some more. Effective with stuck drill chucks, threads, bearings, etc., etc.

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Cold Air Guns

Posted by hammerscale on January 11, 2015

These are cool, (no-pun intended) and start at about $300 range from McMaster-Carr and other sources.

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Real Tool Reviews

Posted by hammerscale on January 1, 2015

I enjoy Youtube and love tool reviews the most. Here’s a product I was unaware of, but have several Wera tools and I like the quality of them.

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Robocopy for Windows

Posted by hammerscale on November 8, 2014

ROBOCOPY sounds like a silly name, a little too influenced by Robocop movies, perhaps, but what it is actually is is the latest evolution of XCOPY command that dates back to Microsoft DOS.

I was tasked with creating an automatic backup for my wife’s computer recently and though normally I’d just set her up with a Dropbox account, her computer is provided by her company and I’m sure their panties would get all tied up in a bunch concerning their proprietary information.

C:\Windows\system32\robocopy C:\Users\Gary\Documents E:\Users\Gary\Backup /MIR

The above is the basic script to first launch Robocopy, then specify source folder and then destination. The “/MIR” will create a mirror image of the directory tree.

To see all the options available for Robocopy, first, from the Windows globe button in the lower left hand corner, type CMD, hit enter, and the command prompt box will pop up.

At the command prompt, simply type robocopy /? and hit enter.

Now, I wanted this to run automatically on my wife’s computer daily. To do so, launch the Windows Task Scheduler, for more details check out this on the Windows 7 Forum. At the point it asks for file or script, just type or paste the code in, click next. It will ask if you mean to add the arguments to your script, click, yes.

Naturally, you will need to specify the source and destination folders applicable to your situation. We did purchase a backup drive for my wife, but of course the software that comes with it is seriously bloated with unneeded features and an overly complicated interface. I played with it for the better part of an hour and couldn’t get it to do what I wanted.

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Vicious Brass

Posted by hammerscale on October 11, 2014

A word of caution, regard brass with as much or more respect than any other material in the workshop. For some reason, the interface between soft 360 free machining brass and an exiting HSS drill bit is something akin to the adage of an immoveable mass meeting an irresistible force.

To deduce I was witness to such an event and there was blood would be correct.

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Chapman Tools

Posted by hammerscale on September 29, 2014

I don’t think I’ve ever owned Chapman products, but Jay Leno’s always entertaining;

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Atlas Drill Press

Posted by hammerscale on September 28, 2014

The most recent addition to the shop is this Atlas 15″ drill press, here seen as I received this fine machine, sporting no motor and safety yellow livery.


Here is it after new bearings, new paint, and some measure of love. The original Jacobs chuck was a little bell mouthed in the jaws, so I upgraded to a keyless Rohm chuck. I had an old motor from an Atlas lathe that suits very well, and replaced or made new hardware where needed. I may resurface the table in the future.


I think I’ll leave it set on a higher speed for woodworking. Right now I have three more drill press projects in the pipeline.


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Huot Storage

Posted by hammerscale on August 31, 2014

I’ve got a few of the small Huot storage boxes, pro’s are they’re well laid out for your tooling needs and they’re fairly well constructed considering the cost. Con’s are the drawers are a bit herky-jerky and the storage for the reamer cabinet is just too small to hold the larger tools.

Following product is a step up, and every fulfills every organization fantasy of my autistic nature.

BTW, I always thought it was pronounced “hote”, not “hew-ot” as I discovered first time watching the video.

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