Sandwich Sheet Metal Sawing
Ever gouged up your hand while plowing through sheet metal with a pair of snips? Or been dissatisfied with an uneven, crinkled edge? Next time, try readers James Nelson’s sacrificial plywood sandwich technique. You’ll bid farewell to wavy edges and undeleted expletives, and cut a dead-straight line every time. Here’s how:
Clamp the metal between pieces of 1/2-in. or 3/4-in. scrap plywood and clamp on a straightedge to guide a circular saw. Now just saw through the sandwich using a carbide blade. This tip is for cutting thin sheet metal only, not thicker plate steel. P.S. This sandwich technique also produces great results when you’re drilling holes through sheet metal.
Flashing Shield for Sanding
Careful! When you’re sanding in the corner of that next masterpiece, your vibrating or random orbital sander can dig some nasty scratches or dents with the sander body and the sandpaper on adjoining surfaces. And they’re nearly impossible to fix.
Try this bulletproof tip from Leo Tellgren. Hold a small sheet of metal flashing or plastic laminate between the sander and the surface you don’t want dinged up, and then sand as close as you want with no worries. Scratches go on the metal, not on the wood.
Technology hasn’t taken over everything. Turn back the clock and sand by hand but do it better.
Double-Duty Sanding Drum
If you sand a lot of thin wood on your drum sander, you’ll wear out only the bottom part of the drums. Flipping them over allows you to use the top, but the middle remains unused. Here’s a frugal solution, courtesy of reader Robert Allen: Cut the sanding drum in half and flip the parts end for end.