Woodworking can be one expensive hobby. High-quality blades, sanding belts and router bits are costly—and worth every penny. Here are three great ways to make these items last.
A sharp blade that's coated with gunk will cut like a dull blade. A quick cleaning is a lot cheaper
than a new blade.
1. Revive a "dull" blade
Before you give up on
that expensive blade, give it a good cleaning. It may still be sharp, but if
it's coated with wood pitch, it will cut like a dull blade. Some woodworkers
use special blade cleaning potions; others just use oven cleaner. Either way,
the key is patience: If you give the chemicals enough time to work, the gunk will
be easy to scrub off with a toothbrush.
A sanding belt that's coated with paint or wood pitch can't bite into wood. A belt cleaner grinds the
gunk off without harming the grit.
2. Extend the life of
Most sanding belts get
chucked in the trash not because they're worn out, but because the grit is
plugged with paint or wood pitch. So if you have a belt sander, a belt cleaner
is mandatory. Twenty years ago, I bought one for $8 and figure it's rescued a
hundred bucks' worth of belts. It also works on sanding discs, though not as
well. Sanding belt cleaners aren't sold at most home centers, but there are
lots available online.
If you router bit isn't cutting as cleanly as it used to, this video is for you. You don't need to go buy a new one because The Family Handyman Senior Editor, Gary Wentz, will show you sharpen your dull router bit.
3. Tune up aging router
When a bit is losing its
edge, I give it a few swipes with my diamond paddle (mine cost about $25). That
won't restore a really dull edge or match the original factory sharpness. But it
does give me a bit that's almost as
good as new. And considering the cost of router bits, that's good enough.
— Gary Wentz, Senior
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