Feel free to send one of your own for inclusion. If you have a hint or tip
with a photo, we can link it to a separate page, from the appropriate area.
Hopefully, this area will grow as I have a bit of time here and there to
add to it. Check the links page for other sites with tips, hints, and such.
These are mostly from my own work, and my own shop.
Protect your workspace. Use newspaper, or preferably sheets of newsprint
(the business flip charts work very well and are reasonably priced). Do your
cutting on a self-healing mat. Use the inexpensive drop cloths to cover your
table or bench when painting or sanding. It makes clean up very, very quick,
and they can be re-used if you take care to keep them as clean as possible.
Paper drop cloths with a little padding are available at reasonable cost,
and are very good to work on when doing the rough-finishing of the shells.
Right Angle - it's basically a 2-inch square block, or corner shaped block
of steel, with right angles. It's used to align walls, either to each other,
to a floor or ceiling, or 2 walls at 90 degrees to the floor. INVALUABLE.
Miniature metalworkers squares -- used for drawing lines and aligning things
at 90 degrees. I have a 2" one that is perfect for this scale. The metal
need to be taken care of, but it's more accurate than wood or plastic ones.
Brass bar clamps - I first saw these at Micro Mark, and at the time I purchased
them, they only had 3 sizes, they now have 4 (hopefully the same quality).
These are square bars, with sliding blocks, so the blocks stay very, true
and very perpendicular to the bar. They are screw-tightened, so they can
be adjusted to just snug, or to squeeze.
Dremel tool - self explanatory. Several kits and collections are available,
and each has advantages. The corded one offers features the battery operated
ones don't, and the battery operated ones are smaller, without the tether
of a cord. If you can afford it, several tools are better than one. I have
one attached to the router table, to help with shaping and sanding.
Magnetic (Ship) building Jig (also available from Micro Mark), it's a square
metal plate about 10 or 12 inches, with powerful magnets which are used to
hold small pieces in place, while glue dries. They can hold the frame of
a piece of furniture together, or other small parts in place. Several attachments
were available, one was flagged for airplanes, which was a vise-like clamp
that attached to 4 magnets, and which would hold something down against the
plate such as the top of a wing, or the top of a cabinet. It's one of the
more invaluable things I ever purchased, and I wasn't sure how it would work.
I got two :)
Micro Mark also sells a small aluminum case with small round canisters in
it, with clear tops. It's SMALL, only about 4x6 inches, and each case is
only about 3/4 an inch in diameter. They are too tiny for the average work
bench, but absolutely perfect for miniature hardware, wiring brads, and other
pieces that are easily lost. (They are too small for bead work, not even
holding one of the small packages of beads -- I thought about that
<G>). I got 4 or 5 of them, they are a bit pricey now (almost $8 but
WELL worth it). - HINT: you can replace the top with the small fresnel lenses,
to help aid you in seeing what's in them, or keep one of the thin 3x5 lenses
in the box. This was an item looking for a use when I got it (I thought they
were cute, and were 2 for 1 or something like that) but as I started to use
the miniature hardware, hinges, etc, and to collect all sorts of odd parts,
they were UNIQUE in their size, and usefulness. *NOTHING* can get lost from
them, and you can see into each canister.
I often have to paint a bunch of small parts either for this, or one of my
other crafts. I found it was much faster to take a piece of scrap cardboard,
spray it with a repositionable adhesive, and use that to hold the parts down.
I can then paint, or spray them, from all sides. It was faster than using
a tacky stick on each piece.
Alternatively, you can use a piece of scrap wood the right proportions, and
blue tack or hot glue to hold parts up while painting them.