In addition to my regular schedule of classes in my shop this summer, I’m really looking forward to a couple of events on my calendar. First, I’ve got two presentations (on July 20th and 21st) in Las Vegas at the AWFS Convention: a talk on furniture design, and one on designing and making chairs. A week and a half later, I’ll be teaching mortise and tenon joinery with hand tools at Lie-Nielsen Toolworks in Warren, Maine. We’ll cover everything from the basics of chopping mortises and sawing tenons by hand, through more complex joinery involving haunched tenons, joinery with curved parts, twin mortise and tenon joints, etc. I’ve got some very interesting jigs I’ve recently developed that can make all of these joints quickly and accurately, without a power cord in sight.
The other day, after I found myself reaching for my roll of blue masking tape for the fourth or fifth time, I realized just how useful and versatile the stuff is.
One of a couple of rolls of blue masking tape I have in the shop
The realization came as I was putting a little piece of tape on my mortise chisel to ‘set’ the depth of cut – I continue chopping until the tape is at the surface, do a final clean out, and I’m done. A had used the tape as a drill bit depth ‘stop’ as well. Earlier I had used the tape as a shim (this tape is about .005”, the clear plastic packing tape I also use on occasion is about .001”) for micro-adjusting the position of a stop on a jig. This is by far the most common use I have for these tapes. A variation on that uses it to rout a groove that’s a little bit out of parallel with an edge. I’ll build up a tapered reference edge, by putting a series of incremental lengths of tape along a straight edge (for example, a 1” strip, a 3” strip, a 5”, 7” etc.) all starting at the same point, The result is a carefully defined tapered edge to run along the router or tablesaw fence or to hold a router fence against. Sure, I tape things together too. I commonly glue down splintered edges with the tape. I didn’t use the blue tape for initial taping up of veneer segments today, but only because I’m not doing any veneer work. I’ve even used pretty much for its intended purpose: to mask off joints when pre-finishing parts.