LaymarCrafts Woodturning Hints & Tips

Mop for applying  Melamine and Oil

I use two basic finishes for my work, Melamine and Oil, the Melamine is used 1:1 with Thinners and applied with a Brush, the Oil I like to use is Liquid Paraffin again applied with a Brush.

Ideally I should use a Mop but these are so expensive that I looked for an alternative that would be an acceptable solution to suit my requirements. I soon found that the Blusher Brushes from the Ladies Cosmetics Stand in a Local Store were of the right softness and size and something like a of the price one would pay for a Small Mop from a Craft Supplier.

However there are two things you need to be aware of, these Brushes can come with either (1) a Painted Wooden Handle or (2) a Plastic one, for the Oil Finish this is not a problem but for the Melamine + Thinners Mixture (or any Finish with a Solvent Base) you will either end up with a Coloured Mix when the Paint is removed from the Wooden Handle or in the case of the Plastic Handle a gooey mess.

The solution is either scrape of the Paint before you use it or if you have the Plastic Handled Brush, carefully remove the handle and replace it with your own turned design (this can be re-used when the Brush is replaced) glued into the Brush ferrule.

My "Mops" are in constant use and on average last me well over 12 months, although you may well lose some of the bristles on the way this is not a major problem and I find them an acceptable alternative to the more expensive "Real Thing" that cost something like five times the amount of my solution.
Storage of Finishes & Mop

I have two Jars placed on a shelf, to which I have fixed two short lengths of Plastic Pipe (Using Hot Melt Glue) for the Jars to sit in, as a precaution, to prevent them from getting knocked over. This shelf is adjacent to my Lathe and both the Mops are easily reached without having to move from the Lathe.

In the end of the Mop's Handle I have screwed an "Eye Screw" and above each of the Jars I have fixed a Cup Hook at a height to ensure that with the Mop hanging on it the Brush Head will be 1 cm from the bottom of the Jar.

This ensures the Brush Head keeps it's shape and does not "Curl" as it would if the Brush were just stood in the Jar and it also avoids the "Debris" that will collect in the bottom of the Jar being picked up on the Mop and therefore possibly transferred to the Workpiece.

I leave the Mops immersed in the solution and providing they are hung so as not to rest on the bottom of the container they will hold there shape and providing the Bristle part is always fully immersed  you will not have to worry about them going hard or having to clean them after every use.

When not in use I cover the Top of each Jar with a disc of Plastic (any suitable material will do) that has a slot cut out to accommodate the Handle of the Mop, the Disc also has a small hole drilled in it, so it can be hung, on the Hook for the Mop, when the relevant finish is in use.

This Cover keeps Wood Dust out and also helps prevent evaporation of the Thinners mixed with the Melamine to a minimum.



A Set of Lathe Tidies  

I have made a number of what I call "Lathe Tidies", these are a simple platform, tray or support that sit neatly on the Bed Bars [Ways] of the Lathe. Whereas my Lathe has Rectangular (Box Section) bars the principle will be the same for a Lathe with Round bars. If you have a Single Bar Lathe then this idea would not work without some form of clamping being employed.

There are a number of situations during your time at the Lathe when Tools, Finishes  etc. need to be at hand or the Lathe Bed Bars  require protection.

For supporting Jars of Liquid [Dye, Oil etc.] I have a simple Platform made from two pieces of Wood, the  Top which can be to a size of your choice fixed to  the Retainer which sits between the Lathe Bed Bars the sketch below is self explanatory as to the concept I use.

Made long enough this can act as a Lathe Bed Protector supporting the Liquid at one end while the other end sits below the Piece that the Liquid is being applied to and therefore stops any "Gunge" getting onto the Lathe Bed.

A second version of this item is made from wood with a Ribbed Rubber Mat attached, this I use to stand items on, such as Tins of Polish, and Glue etc. etc. or even a Cup of Tea.

The third type is what I call a Tool Tidy, often when turning you need to have to hand various Tools, such as a Gouge, Skew Chisel or Parting Tool for example, with this item they can be accommodated in a "carrier" resting on the Bed Bars in a similar fashion as for the previous items.

Again this is made from off cuts of Wood with the basic platform as described above but with the addition of two parallel cradles with "V" grooves to hold the Turning Tools required for the current project. My particular system holds 5 Tools and the only real determining factor as to dimensions are the number of Tools you wish to hold and the distance between the cradles to give stable support for the various Tools you intend to use it for.

The Tool Holder in Use.

In all I have 5 Tidies in use, as and when a need arises for another variant, it's into the off cuts bin and in a few minutes you have a solution that saves time and prevents damage to Tools or loss of valuable items.

A hole in one corner and a 6" Nail in a convenient place is all that is required to store these items away when not in use, although the "Gunge" protector usually finds it's way into the Shavings to drain off.

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Last update 19 July 2007
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