Hi there

Well this is the week, Makers Central is upon us and I’ll be heading up to the NEC today to set the stand up, ready for tomorrow. If you’re not attending then I’m sorry for going on about it; it’s a big event though, only in its second year and already a challenger for the busiest show that we attend. If you are coming we’ll be just inside the main entrance, do come and say hello!
I’ve been asked a few times recently about how long products last.
Firstly, how long does a NyWeb pad last? Of course, as with most things it’s impossible to put a time limit on something like this, but how does one know when it’s worn out? It can be hard to tell; sometimes the pad will just get thin and flimsy and that’s a sign that it has reached the end of its useful life. The best indicator though is when you stop seeing sanding dust when you are using it; if it’s no longer cutting then it’s not doing its job.

And what about Tack Cloth? Stored properly – in an airtight can/jar – they will stay usable for a very long time, but are they still working? Again, it’s not easy to tell, but it will soon become apparent. Tack Cloths have a fairly unique feel to them, they’re – there’s no other word for it – tacky. If it doesn’t feel tacky when you touch it then the special resin on it has dried out – or more likely it’s done its job and is ‘full’. And that’s another indicator that the cloth isn’t doing what it should, it will be discoloured from being clogged with sanding dust.

And here’s one where prevention is better than cure…someone contacted us recently having got a Buffing Wheel stuck into the Large Mandrel. They’d left the wheel mounted in the mandrel for several days and it wouldn’t budge. This is a hard one to solve and there’s no absolute correct answer, but in desperation we suggested trying a squirt of WD40 (where would we be without it?) to see if that would free it up. We heard back recently that it did the job, so disaster averted.
For best practice, always put the wheels away and the mandrel in a dry place. They’re zinc plated to resist corrosion, but being a blind hole it’s impossible to fully protect the internal thread so it’s best to look after them as best you can. An occasional squirt of WD40 (or similar) into the hole will also help. And of course, NEVER screw the wheels in by starting the lathe. This will cause the mandrel to grab the wheel and can lock it very tight. If you can’t break yourself of this habit make a cardboard washer to go on the wheel and this will save the day.

I’m off to the Isle of Wight for a two day show at Mulberry Tree Wood Turnery with our good friend Andy Fortune RPT. If you’re on the island already or heading over there give us a look. We’re still adding details to the Woodturning Weekender website about what’s going on over the two days. Our overseas visitors list has grown now to include Ireland, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands. Maybe you as well?

If I don’t see you at Makers Central this weekend I’ll see you back here next week.

All the best