Posts Tagged ‘Tools’


Table Saw Jig for 45 Degree Mitre

February 5, 2017

I used a few pieces of scrap wood today to make a simple table saw jig to cut 45 degree angles for mitred corners. My push guide was not all that accurate, so this will help me cut better fitting corners for frames.


It’s made of two pieces of 1 x 2″ strips screwed together at 90 degree angles with the their ends cut at 45 degrees. I added to smaller strips of wood to the edges: one long one in the front to support tall wood pieces that might be cut, and a small strip to attach the jig to the push guide. The guide has two grooves in it for blots to attach the jig, but I didn’t have the right size bolts handy. In the meantime I can just use a clamp.

Still to do: If I add a piece of wood extension to the back of the jig where the push guide is, I can attach a wood strip on the bottom that fits into the table groove so I won’t have to use the push guide at all.


Framing Tip: Cutting Acrylic on a Tablesaw

May 8, 2016

One of the unique tricks to building a frame for a drawing is cutting the acrylic glazing sheet. The tool most often recommended for this procedure is a special hooked knife designed just for this, but I can’t comfortably tell you the number of times that has gone wrong for me. You have to score the acrylic in several passes, it’s hard to keep a straight line on the smooth sheet, and it almost never snaps cleanly. Fortunately, I’ve discovered it’s much easier to do this with a tablesaw. Acrylic will not cut like wood, however. If you try to cut all the way through, the blade will just destroy the sheet. Here’s how I do it.


First, I’ve cut some cardboard to the size of the frame interior to use as a guide, taping it to the edges of the acrylic. I’ve also taped some newspaper to the front to protect the acrylic from getting scratched while pushing it on the table.


Set the blade depth to cut no more than halfway through the acrylic. Just like using a knife, you only want to score the sheet, not cut all the way through in one pass.


The acrylic snaps off easily. There will be a few rough burs along the edge, but that will scrape off easily with a utility knife, and get smooth with some sand paper. You can also flip the sheet over, and carefully saw off any excess on that side.


Here the sheet is placed in the back of the frame. By the way, that’s my new frame I bought the other day all glued together. I just need to insert the artwork and fix the backing.


Moving In

September 21, 2012

Yes, I’m still alive and well; although, very tired. I’ve finally moved all the big stuff into the new home, and trying to figure out where to put it all. I should get back to drawing and painting soon, and I greatly appreciate those of you who have stuck around over the last few days.

On another note, I recently upgraded my old router to a newer model with a table. Right now all I can say is it turns off and on, so I still have to see how it groves. I’ll just add that to the list of things to do.


Antique Wood Planers

December 20, 2011

The holiday has been keeping me hopping and distracted lately, but here’s a post to hopefully tide you over for a little while until I can back to the drawing board. These are two antique wood planers of my father’s. The blades need sharpening but they both are in excellent shape otherwise. Thanks, Dad. I’ll take good care of them.


Painting Brushes: Long Hair Is Softer

April 8, 2010

Brushes with long hairs will hold more paint but that also makes them softer. In the picture below you see examples of brushes with hair about 1 inch or longer. At the top is a Bill Alexander liner (a.k.a. script) brush that is like a long hair round made of red sable. Below that are two brushes from Andrew Mack. This brand is typically sold to sign painters, so you’ll have to look around for them in specialty shops or online. The short handled one is a quill brush, and the other a one-stroke. One-strokes are also sometimes called lettering or show-card brushes. The bottom two are from Loew-Cornell. The LC American Painter (gray handle) is labeled a “flat” but has a longer hair length than what is typical. The bottom LC brush is a “7100 Stroke” size ½. These LC brushes have taklon (polyester) hairs. The Mack one-stroke is squirrel and ox hair, and the quill is all squirrel.

These brushes are particularly useful with gouache paint, since it has a fairly weak binder, so the longer hairs will be softer and the narrow width makes them lighter. Those features make them less likely to disturb the paint underneath for over painting or glazing. You’ll still need a light touch, but they handle better in that application. Round hair watercolor brushes may be soft also, but the width of their belly makes them heavier.

They also work well with watercolor, casein, or egg tempera. You’ll get best results with paint that is fairly fluid. I find these extremely useful for layering casein. For a long time I had heard to not use natural hair brushes with casein since the alkali might frizz them out, but I’ve never noticed that problem. I’d be more worried about using acrylics with these, except for maybe the taklon. Mack makes brushes that are blends of taklon and squirrel hair that would work better for acrylics, and oils too I’d imagine, but I typically don’t need extra soft brushes for those mediums anyway. There is also a type of brush called an “egbert” that has a “c” shaped tip like a “filbert” but with longer hair. Where did they get those names I wonder?

One Stroke brush

Round brush

By manipulating the angle you can get a variety of lines, and their length adds more flexibility. In the example above you can see a comparison between marks made with the Mack one-stroke and a Winsor & Newton Cotman round #4 brush that has about the same width. The image on the left above shows blue gouache made with the one-stroke, and after that dried was painted a fairly wet transparent yellow. Notice how the blue is not disturbed. Compare that to the image on the right where the same yellow was applied with the Cotman watercolor brush. The shape of the round brush causes the paint to plow up on the outer edges and the belly to drag into the paint below. The point of the round can be useful, but the shape can cause problems in this application.

Alexander Brushes
Mack Brushes


Used Tablesaw Acquired

August 8, 2008

Found this little tablesaw yesterday at a local garage sale. The table top needs cleaning, and the steel blade guard is beat up, but otherwise it was in good working order, so I talked him down to $45, and took it home. I’ve already found a new blade for it. Should be able to cut some nice panels with it.