Tools and Glue
Dremel: If you visit their web site http://www.dremel.com/html/home_fr.html you will find a wealth of information there. If you go to the Customer Service page, Literature request, you can order a product catalog and a copy of Projects for the Imagination Uses Guide for Rotary Tools for free. They also have an owners' club and hundreds of projects on their Project Finder page, complete with photo instructions and a list of everything you need to do the project. It is probably one of the best web sites I have ever run across
Dremel: I could not work without my Dremel - I use it for practically everything. If I could only have one bit I think a fiber cut off wheel might be the choice because I could use it to saw and sand. Of course I wouldn't give up any of my bits and I have tons - from diamond to router bits - - I NEED them all. if you are chipping wood or gouging it, you may be putting too much pressure. I was taught a long time ago to always use gentle pressure with any cutting tool (Sanders included) to allow the tool to do the work. Otherwise you will wear out the tool and the bits rather than sand or cut your work piece. Don't give up on that tool though - it is probably the most valuable one you have!
Jacqui in Hilo, Goddess of Chaos
The bucking Dremel (not a Western tale): Any rotating bit will buck when it is applied to a surface when it rotating at too high a speed. If you are going to use the rotating bit at a high speed to start with (you will have to let me know which bit it was) then you must very slowly apply it to the surface it is going to work on. Occasionally I also will have a bit buck on me and I immediately move it off the surface it is bucking on and gently place it back on the surface I also may slow down the speed. Sanding drums will hardly buck, the bits hat mostly will buck are the ones that bite into the wood. The are the ones that work by removing very small chunks of the wood while a sanding wheel or drum abrades the wood. If you are using a side cutting bit and this is the one that is bucking or stuttering (that is the phrase used) sometimes you just have to hold the drill tighter and put more pressure onto the bit until it is removing those tiny chunks of wood. The wood that is being worked on has to be firmly held in place. This loose wood will also cause the stuttering (sorry but it is also referred to as chattering. [ both stuttering and chattering are very descriptive words for what we are discussing.)
The loose stock is also a good example of why the wood in a scroll saw has to be firmly held against the table of the saw. The teeth of the saw blade in the scroll saw must always face down so they are pulling the wood to be cut down against the table. If the wood is not held firmly, it will be lifted up by the up stroke of the blade and slammed down on the down stroke, considering the speed of the scroll saw the wood chatters. Like every thing else; experience and hands on practice smooth out the problems attendant with any new procedure or tool experience.
Dremel: Scorching occurs when the teeth, grit or cutters fill up and can't get rid of the chips or saw dust fast enough then they act as a friction wheel, sort of like when you sand or saw too fast and burn the wood. If the teeth aren't cutting then they must be sliding, which creates heat. Slow it down or move the wood past the cutter, faster. I have had Dremels for many years and have just picked up a never used, still in the original box, a UNiMAT Lathe & Mill, with tools. I plan to do some serious turning this summer. I control my Dremels' and other motor tool speed with an old sewing machine, foot pedal, speed control unit. AC motor speed is control two ways, which we have like control of, by varying the current (not the voltage) to the motor or varying the number of motor field windings which use a switch to select different speeds. For those who care, the formula is: RPM= 120 x freq./no. of poles. When drilling, the speed should vary in different metal and wood. Some exotic wood have to be drilled with metal cutting bits while others can be drilled with regular wood bits. I ask my dentist for his "throw away bits" when he's through with them, they'll still work on wood and are great for drilling pilot holes for nails or screws. It take a lot of practice to control a Dremel in one hand and apiece of wood in the other. I usually anchor one or the other down. I find it easier if I strap the Dremel down and move the wood past the cutter. I do the reverse for drilling. Others will have different methods, but these are mine.
Dan in IL
Dremels: I couldn't live without my Dremel. I bought the flexible shaft for my Dremel, it makes it much easier to use, it's like holding a pen and it's much easier to control. I saw that someone else is having a problem with scorching, I think that your rotary tool may be too fast. My Dremel has 5 speeds and if I am shaping or sanding a piece with the speed too high the wood scorches
The Dremel: This is a high speed low torque motor. By that expression of "low torque" means that it has not got brute power and if you apply too much pressure to the accessory in the tool you can stall the motor. The Dremel is made to get its work done by the use of the high speed capabilities. Light touch and high speed gets the job done. Caress the work with the drill functioning at the best speed for the job being done. Sanding can be high speed and light touch. Drilling if too slow a speed will stall the motor, too high a speed and you may burn the wood and lose the temper of the steel in the drill bit. Just like driving a car or cooking, the more experience the better you get, hopefully.
DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.
I have used the Dremel metal circular saw blade and it has a problem in that it is so thin that it meanders all over the place and follows the wood grain instead of the cut line. Dremel has two new wood cutting circular blades. One is thin and rigid with diamond dust on it. It does a good job. The other is a much thicker kerf but rips and cross cuts like a gem The wide kerf mandates cutting on the waste side of the cut line. For cleaning out sanding drums and files. I use the metal wire wheel that is a metal brush. I hold it in my fat little hand while the sanding drum is rotated and it does a fairly good unclogging job. Same for files. I use the wire brush in the Dremel for files. I have yet in all my years used the dressing stone. May be its just old habits die hard.
DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.
Dremel: I use it to drill holes to start screws, to lightly sand the "feathers" from my Dremel jig-saw. I have been making the 1/4" Debbie Young stores and use the cutting wheel to cut out the doors and windows. Much easier than trying to use and X-Acto knife. I buy the sanding discs from MicroMark because I can buy the peel and stick. In fact, you had better move when I have the little Dremel in my hand because you either get sanded, or holed.
Workshop tools: No, the scroll saw is not a Dremel attachment, it is another machine that has a small vertical saw blade. I use it to cut miniature lumber for furniture, window openings in dollhouse plywood, plastic for windows and fixtures, etc, etc. It has a relatively docile cutting action that works at a speed that you can easily cut nice corners and even reasonable straight lines in small pieces of basswood and thin plywood. Dremel does make one under its brand name, but it is not an attachment for the small Dremel tool.
The sander is a small Delta machine that costs under a hundred bucks from any large home improvement center. It has a small one inch belt sander and a second four inch disc sander. This two-in-one electric sander will sand many of the small surfaces on doll house trim and furniture. I use the 'disc' sander part of this machine to create angle cuts for small mouldings. I just set the fence (or guide) at the angle I need, and sand to that point. I use the small 'belt' sander portion to sand edges of everything: newly cut Plexiglas shelves (china shop fixture), wood mouldings, bricks for dollhouse exteriors, etc etc. It even hooks up to a shop vacuum so the dust is minimal. I use this tool all the time. The large Dremel attachments I have are a router, a shaper table, and a drill press, and then many of the smaller attachments. These tools form the basis of my workshop and I can get most things done with them. Of course I also use larger scale tools, for example, I use a table saw to cut the plywood for dollhouse shells.
Glues: I really like using Weldbond glue. It's available at hardware stores. It sets up quickly, requires minimal clamping, and has a slight amount of 'give' to it, which can be helpful at times. As for applying the glue, I have access to small, used syringes that my wife uses for treatment of her diabetes (the needle ends are snipped off, so they're not a hazard). I pull out the syringe, and force a little of the Weldbond into the syringe. I can lay down a continuous bead of glue that's about 1/64 to 1/32 inch wide. It's great for working on mini furniture. One drawback - you can't re-use the syringe, but if you let a bead of the glue sit on the tip and then cover the tip with the syringe's orange plastic protector, it will last a day or two. Then you have to draw up a new supply of glue in another syringe.
Geo. Held - Cedar Rapids, IA
More Glue Tips: When applying glue with a toothpick or the like, do not be stingy, use a new one often! As I tell my students when I teach...always better to have to add glue than use too much!
Also, for those of you who use the brush on Super Glue (which I get in the hardware dept. of WalMart and which I love) That tiny bottle tips over awfully easily! I attached mine at the base to a 2"; by 2";square of cardboard with some sticky wax..makes it much more stable, and less chance of spillage!
Thinning Tacky: I thin my Tacky glue with water almost daily, as it is open for hours while I work! It will not separate, just make sure you stir the water in well, with a tongue depressor or something!
Glue: The glue I have found to replace most others is Ultimate Glue. Can be gotten at some craft shops and here, course. I was first introduced to it by Charita Moncure to use for flowers. Not being a flower person but a glue person (Now you know how I look) I had to have some and now I sell it. I used it for everything. It will even work where there is old glue. It works well on natural fabrics, haven't tried synthetics as yet. I also tried it on a hard plastic cabinet kit I sell as a desperate measure (I didn't have my super glue or plastic glue with me) and it passed the test like trouper
Deanna from beautiful downtown Thiensville
Gluing Felt: If you are working with felt you can glue it with rubber cement or what I did when working with felt, not in miniatures, is to soak and saturate the felt with latex (neoprene-synthetic) and squeeze out the excess and then shape the felt and let it dry. When it is dry it can be handled like wood. Sanded, painted etc.
DrBob...Delray Beach, FL.
Gluing Felt: I am assuming that the felt you want to glue is the usual craft felt, made of polyester. The only glue I have found to use successfully on it is Fabritac...available in mini stores, craft stores and WalMarts craft dept.
Dremel Tools: Here is my recommendation for the Dremels you need. I suggest you obtain both a corded model such as the model 3962 variable speed Multipro Tool kit. This comes with a case an 72 of the accessories (bits) that will get you started. This set costs $64.00 at Lowe's' stores in this area. I also suggest the model 750 Minimite cordless. It comes with a few accessories, and charger. The accessories you get with the 3962 will fit the Minimite. This small tool is valuable when you want to work inside the dollhouse. You aren't dragging that cord in with it. It costs about $30.00. They come with a catalog so you can see the other goodies that are available.
Uses for sawdust: make beads using saw dust, white glue and acrylic paint for coloring. You could even press this mixture in a miniature mold rubber and let it dry. You can make interesting textured paint by mixing in saw dust. Saw dust colored various colors is wonderful as a landscaping material too. Use it just as you would ground up foam. You can color it by mixing it with watered down paint and letting it dry. Colored saw dust can look like potpourri in a small jar or bowl too.
Easy Flow: For all of you looking for a way to keep your caulk or glue flowing. I use scrap polymer clay and press around the hole or top of tube or bottle that I don't want to dry up. Then all you do is pull the clay off and your ready to use the flowing easily medium of choice!
Cleaning plastic windows: I think rubbing alcohol works to clean off plastic, I use it all the time.
Kaye in L.A.
Storing Wood: The grocery stores will give boxes. I saw a Wesson Oil box which has 24 slots, and the back slots can be folded to accommodate larger wood pieces. I made a printed chart (in duplicate) of each size and wood type available so I also have a copy on my desk.
Marian in New Bern, NC
Scroll Saw: I spent a bit of dough and am very glad I did. I bought the 20 inch; DeWalt scroll saw. All of the adjustments on this great tool are easy, everything is right in front of you and at your fingertips (speed and blade tension). Vibration is practically non-existent. And of course it comes with the standard dust blower. Easy to use? Ask any of my students from Castine a couple of years ago...they all loved using it. And unlike the older model of Dremel, it will cut through an inch of material with ease...the old one balked at 1/4 inch. That's a real plus if you wish to stack several pieces in order to cut them all out at once, so they are all the same shape and size.
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