If this doesn’t convince you that I’m half a bubble off plumb then nothing else that I write will. Here goes!

I can’t do anything in the shop without masking tape. If you take my rolls of tape away from me I’d have to go sit down because there’s not much that I can accomplish.

Then too, I practice what I preach. I admit I hate sanding. But I preach that white wood sanding is not negotiable. It has to happen but it needs to get done quickly so I can go on to more enjoyable things. So I don’t want to spend a lot of time cleaning up after puttying my joinery.

Take this week’s home project, for example. We were forced into a rather extensive remodel of our home last summer by a 70 gallon aquarium that decided to spring a leak one night. By the time we awoke the next morning, there was nothing in the tank except my new dead fish collection. Bummer!

I won’t go into the laundry list of things that we had to do to correct the damage that water caused. But by the end, we had spent a bit of coin at the local millwork supply for new base molding throughout the first floor.

And while we were there, we decided to buy new material for handrails for the stairwell to the second floor. Nice red oak material.

Those two sticks have been sitting in the garage and I have had it on my honey-do list to get that done. Well, this week was finally the time. Take a look at the pictures that I took of the joinery I used at the ends to make the railings turn into the wall.

If you are going to crosscut red oak and not suffer splintering, you need to use masking tape where you cut so that doesn’t happen. If the rails need to be like these, you better start your layout from the center of the stick. I use tape to mark that point.

Then, you work from that mark back towards the ends of the stick with your layout and cutting. There are a total of five cuts per end to create the pieces needed for this rail. Leave the masking tape wraps on the pieces after you cut them. This will shield the wood from any excess glue when you get to the glue-up phase. I also grab my Sharpie and mark the parts on that tape as I cut so that I keep them in sequence.

In the next part I will be discussing the benefits of filament strapping tape and the importance of water-based putty.

Until next time...spray on!

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