Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gimlets Anyone? And I don't mean with Vodka!

As I've said before, in my woodworking I enjoy using hand tools even if a powered one can perform the task quicker.  Don't get me wrong, I'll use power tools  but sometimes there is a definite advantage to going with the hand tool way.  You've probably been receiving Christmas catalogs from tool suppliers and maybe you've noticed that several of them offer sets of gimlets like the ones shown in my photograph.  In the course of making the pistol cases I've been using hardware that has screws as small as a #2.  Drilling a pilot hole for something that small can be dangerous!  You have a large, powered drill turning a tiny bit of hardened steel into the wood.  Any slight twist or angle change can easily break the bit -- don't ask me how I know that one!  With a gimlet you have much more control.  If you've never used one the trick that I find works for me is be sure you're putting good pressure into the wood when you initially start the hole.  Once it starts it screws itself in nicely.  What I do is use a single edge razor blade as a scraper to smooth out the edge of the hole if necessary.   Then take the usual precautions that you'd use with tiny, brass screws which for me is using bee's wax as a lubricant.  Another way you can use with brass screws is to first use a steel screw to create the hole and then remove it and replace it with the brass.  Using a gimlet eliminates that step so they are a win/win option for using small brass screws.
The two pistol cases I'm working on are just about finished.  All that's left is to attach the snaps to the straps, two more coats of finish on the exterior, final assembly, and putting on all of the hardware.  I think my next project will be constructing a shed in the side yard, my shop seems to be getting smaller!

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