Tag Archives: rust

Screw Stripping

IMG_0729When I teach seminars or do presentations, it’s a two-way street. While I’m the one standing in front of the room sharing my knowledge with attendees, I am also the one that picks up a new tip or technique from someone in attendance. That is one of the things about woodworking that I enjoy so much. Not any one woodworker knows it all. Every day there is something to learn.

These past couple weeks, at least around my woodworking world, there have been talks about how to remove plating from hardware. Since day one I’ve been turning store-bought hardware from shiny to dull black using gun bluing. My hardware store use to carry the product, but that is no longer the case. These days I travel to one of the bigger outfitter-type stores, trudge to the gun area and pick up four or five small bottles at a time. Those days my be over, too.

IMG_0742For the first time in nearly twenty years, I heard – it’s possible that I heard this before, but did not pay attention – that many woodworkers dull their hardware using regular household white vinegar. Yeah, right. I had to give it a try, so yesterday morning I pored vinegar over some of my plated screws. I established the time because I thought it might take days to get the plating off. A hour later, I had bare screws. See the results in the photo, just above.

I dumped the screws from the vinegar, patted them dry then laid them out on my bench. The plating was off, sure enough. But the look wasn’t exactly what I expected – where was that black appearance? Funny thing, though. As the screws sat exposed to the air, a small amount of rust appeared. That added to the look.

In the photo below I have two sets of stripped screws. The black screws, of course, are those that took a gun-bluing bath. On the right are screws stripped using vinegar. I am still torn between black and rusty. Which screws do you think better represent antique screws? Which are better to use when building reproduction furniture?

Build Something Great!


If you’re interested in reproduction furniture, I have three project DVDs available (click here for information). All three use slot-head screws somewhere during the build.



Filed under Hardware, Shop Tips

Southern Yellow Pine: A Quick Fix

With the book Furniture in the Southern Style out, my desire to build more than a few pieces from the book’s collection skyrocketed. Add in the fact that my customer has quite a few pieces on the list that are adapted from south of the Mason-Dixon line, and you can see that I have the need for a couple hundred board feet of southern yellow pine (SYP) for secondary wood if I intended to stay true to the original designs. I needed rear drawer dividers and drawer runners quickly, so I turned to my local home-center store.

Any SYP you get at these stores – if your store carries SYP at all – is most likely going to be construction lumber, and it’s going to be at too high a moisture content for furniture. Don’t let that stop you. You can take a couple boards, mill them oversize and allow them to dry, then bring the pieces down to finial dimensions. As you can see in the top photo, a silk purse can be made from a sow’s ear. Or for you highfaluting woodworkers,  you can get nice lumber from construction-grade yellow pine.

It goes without saying that quartersawn lumber is the most stable, so that’s what to look for in your quest. Take a look at the rack of yellow pine at the store shown in the photo above left. You can see that most boards could yield rift sawn lumber, but if you take a close look at the bottom board (of course it’s the bottom board!) you can see how it is cut right at the center of the tree. See the pith? If you cut away the pith you have a width of quartersawn lumber left over.

I snagged a few 8′-0″ 2 x 12s and ripped out a nice selection of yellow pine to use. I let it sit in my shop for about a week, before putting some of it to use. (If you stand the boards vertical to dry it seems to increase the drying rate slightly.) Here’s a close-up look at my stock prior to final milling. Growth rings are tight and the majority of the lumber is quartered with the balance rift -cut.

Keep in mind that I only grabbed enough to get me started on a project. In the long run, I ordered and received a nice supply of rough-cut SYP from a local source here in downtown Cincinnati, Shiel’s Lumber. I highly recommend them if you’re in the area and need southern yellow pine.

There is one thing that I do want to warn you about if you choose construction-grade lumber. Higher moisture content means more wetness. More wetness means there is a possibility of rust on your tools. I stacked lumber on my table saw for only a few minutes, and there was enough water purged to get the rust gods working.

Build Something Great!



Filed under Shop Tips