NOV/DEC 2005
Volume 48
Issue 6
Project Articles
Pendulum Cradle
Candle Stand
Pull-Along Dog / Salt and Pepper Shakers
Ask Smitty
Owner’s Gallery
Letters from Owners
Academy Notes
Turning Laminate Bowls
Service Pointers
Troubleshooting Table
What's New
Shopsmith Router Arm
Find A Shopsmith Woodworking Academy Near You
National Woodworking Academy in Dayton, OH
Online Accessory Catalog
Request Printed Accessory Catalog
Links Worth Visiting
Free Woodworking Tips
Contacting Shopsmith
Copyright 2005
Shopsmith, Inc.
All Rights Reserved
Hands On

No woodworker (except SMITTY, of course) has ALL the answers. From time-to-time, everyone hits a snag, trying to figure out some sort of in-shop problem.

Don't worry, SMITTY can help. Just use the special e-mail link to send your questions to SMITTY. He’ll do his best to get back to you soon, with the answers to those questions.

Here are the questions…and SMITTY's answers for this issue…

Hanging Porch Swings

From Ed S.
(e-mail question -- city/state unknown)

I saw your website porch swing plans and really enjoyed them. I have a question. What’s the recommended method for hanging a porch swing from an exposed rafter? With a lag bolt? Do you have a drawing that shows how to do this?

That depends on how much weight it’s going to be expected to support. I would assume that the normal two-person porch swing – with normal-sized humans – would be expected to support 300# to 400# maximum. For this, you could probably safely use a 3/8” diameter by 3” long screw eye, screwed up into the bottom (all the way to the loop) of your 2” joist.
If you think you’ll be supporting more weight than this (or just to play it safe), you could also use a bolt-type screw eye, passed sideways through your 2” joist. Be sure to bore your hole 2” to 3” above the bottom edge of your joist.
For optimum strength, look for cast or forged screw eyes with continuous loops (no breaks). They will surely be stronger.

Using Shopsmith’s Speed Reducer with our Special Purpose Tools

From C.A.G.
(e-mail question -- city/state unknown)

My question has to do with Shopsmith’s Speed Reducer and whether or not it can be adapted for use with the Shopsmith Bandsaw. I have a source for 72” metal-cutting Bandsaw blades but the Shopsmith Bandsaw runs too fast for them. Can the Speed Reducer be used to slow down the Shopsmith Bandsaw?

I’m sorry to report that the Speed Reducer cannot be used with any of Shopsmith’s Special Purpose Tools. That’s because the Reducer is engineered to run in only one direction…and using it on the auxiliary spindle of your MARK V will cause it to run in the wrong direction.

Shortening a bathroom vanity

From Beth B.
(e-mail question -- city/state unknown)

Can a standard height bathroom vanity with a toe kick be shortened by cutting off the toe kick with a jigsaw? I would then like to add trim and legs to restore its height to 34” to 36”.
I’ve looked all over for a reasonably priced box that’s already made this way, but have been unable to find one. I could really use your advice.

I see no reason why you couldn’t do this. However, in order to maintain the squareness of the cabinet, if your vanity is reinforced with corner blocks in the toe kick area, you will have to move these blocks up or insert similar blocks prior to cutting off the toe kick.

Larry, Moe and Curly deck boards !

From Linda J.
(e-mail question -- city/state unknown)

We just hired someone to build a deck…and now, several of the boards are curling, Should I ask to have them replaced or is this normal?

There are three possible causes of this:

1: Usually, curling is the result of installing the deck boards upside-down. When building a deck, the surface (decking) boards should ALWAYS be installed with the annual rings on the ends of the boards curving DOWN (like an upside-down “U”). If they curve UP, they will almost always curl after a few rains.

2: Another possible cause of this is building the deck with very wet boards that have been stored outside uncovered. As they dry out, they will shrink, twist and curl.

3: The third possible cause is not having enough screws holding the deck boards to the joists. There should be a minimum of two screws everywhere a deck board crosses a joist. If there’s just one screw per “crossing” in the center…or the deck boards aren’t screwed to EVERY joist crossing…the edges of the boards will curl up.

In either of these cases, your problem is more than likely caused by wet boards or improper installation. If you bought the lumber (rather than the installer providing it) and it was wet, it could be your problem. If you bought the lumber and it was dry, more than likely, it was improper installation….and that would be the installer’s problem.

7.2, 9.6, 12, 14.4, 15.6, 18, 19.2 –
Which of these is the best number for you ?

From Dwight
(e-mail question -- city/state unknown)

The shift is in for converting from NI-CAD to the new style battery. Like a lot of others I am well stocked in Versa Pak for my woodworking tools. However, the batteries only last about a year and are expensive to replace. I am considering a full scale conversion. What do you recommend?

Ni Cad batteries are among the original rechargeable batteries. They usually take longer to charge than NiMH (Nickel metal-hydride) and have a “memory”…which begins to eventually limit their performance and their ability to hold a charge if they’re not drained completely prior to recharging.

NiMH (Nickel metal hydride) batteries have no “memory” and typically recharge more quickly. They can also store up to 50% more energy than a comparable NiCad battery

Lithium Ion batteries are the newest technology. They have a very high energy-holding potential, do not suffer from “memory” problems and are considerably lighter than the previous two options….although they are the most costly of the available options.

What voltage should you buy?

For home shop work (and occasional rounds of heavy usage), I’d recommend getting a 12V or 14.4V system. These offer more than enough power for all but the toughest jobs, coupled with relatively light weight and good “feel” and balance.

And although the higher voltage models usually offer more torque, they are also much heavier (with the accompanying “balance” problems) and offer a shorter charge duration.

And finally, you’re better off paying a little more for high quality tools that you buy only once…than you would be if you bought the “low priced spread” and had to replace it (them) quickly due to poor quality. Look for nationally-recognized brands with solid warranties.

Those are my opinions.

Have a Question? E-Mail Smitty Today. . .