Frugal Woodworking

Woodworking Tips for Affordable Woodworking

Category : Protection

Affordable Eye Protection

I have been using Fastcap Safety glasses with 2.0 bifocal lenses in the shop.  They have served me well and more than ever I need the bi-focal boost to see the close-up stuff better.  Recently the nose piece on the Fastcap split and became un-repairable (I think this is no longer an issue on the newer version.)   But when I checked Amazon I also found these Crews Bearcat glasses with 2.o bifocal for half the price (under $5) as long I as I included them with some other purchase.  They are made by MCR Safety. I decided to give it a shot.

It turns out, for me they work out pretty nicely.  The earpiece length is not adjustable like the Fastcaps are, but they happen to fit me.  I am happy with the clarity of the lenses and how the bifocal lined up for me.  I’ve been using them for a couple of weeks now without complaint.  According to the wrapper, they meet ANSI Z87 and are 99.9% UV Protective.  Crews is a US company, but the glasses are made in Taiwan



Chisel Protectors

Here are three approaches to chisel protectors that work:

  1. Free – Bottle caps sliced on edge. See it on LumberJocks
    PROS: variety of widths, visible tips
    CONS: not very pretty, cumbersome
  2. Custom width edge protectors made with blue painters tape and plasti-dip.  See it on Popular Woodworking  A variation on this is to use mold-able silicon like Sugru.
    PROS: variety of widths, color codeable, secure fitting
    CONS: 1 can of Plasti Dip is more than you need for just chisel guards
  3. Purchase the set of plastic ones
    PROS:  No shop time required, they look good
    CONS: You are stuck with the size and shapes in the set.
  4. Use an assortment of vinyl tubing cut to length
    PROS: secure, protective
    CONS: not pretty, can allow sharp tip to protrude from end of tube or item to enter the tube
Sources for the products:

Here is the video of making the Plasti Dip Chisel Guards


Lifetime Guarantee Tools

Investing in tools that carry a lifetime warranty can be a good way to protect your investment and as a result, remain frugal.   The problem I have run into on occasion is that the brand name that carries the guarantee sometimes gets warn off or falls off the tool with use.  When this happens it becomes difficult to exchange it for a replacement tool if it breaks.

It becomes worthwhile to protect that label or other markings in order to protect your investment.

shellac over label

A couple of quick coats of shellac over the handle and label, protect the brand on the label and protect the warranty.

Here are some tips that I use to protect the branding of the tool in order to protect my investment:

  • Be proactive. Take a digital photo of the tool while it still has the branding on it.  Save it on your computer in a folder dedicated to your tools.  This also helps if you ever need to file an insurance claim.
  • If the brand name is printed or painted on a tool’s wooden handle, put a coat or two of polyurethane over it.  Use spar polyurethane if they are outdoor tools.  This will help keep the branding from getting warn off.  Shellac can be used for indoor tools if you prefer.
  • If the only branding is on a printed label, cover it with a few coats of poly or shellac.  You should spot test it first as the mineral spirits in the poly may damage the printing on some labels and the alcohol in shellac may damage others
  • If the branding is printed , but not etched, on a metal portion of the tool and is not on a functioning surface of the tool then a bit of boiled linseed oil can help protect it from wear and rust. (Don’t apply it too thick or it will become gummy.  Thin coats are better.)
  • If the name is etched into the metal, then just keep the area protected from rust.
  • A file folder in the workshop for receipts can also help.

Ounce of Prevention Beats a Pound of Replacement

One of the basic ideas behind being a frugal woodworker is to protect your investment in the tools you already have.  Oil on tools, paste wax on table saw tops, and now, plastic bags over calculators.

I have a calculator I keep in the shop and to keep sawdust and grimy hands from shortening its life, I follow this tip and put a small zip loc bag over it.  I can use it through the bag, but grime can’t get in to foul up the works.

Bag your shop calculator.