The American Garage

Posts from 2017-08-26

The American Garage Woodworking- How to use a Jointer

In this video, Steve show us how to use a jointer. A jointer  really has a limited purpose, but that purpose is so important to successful woodworking that every woodworker should know how to use one. Here is a note from Steve-

I learned to use a jointer in high school wood shop, and at first considered it a low priority tool- since I could not afford one in my own shop for the longest time. It was a luxury, and one that I worked without for many years. The end result was when I glued boards together, joints would not always match up. When I made boxes, I had the hardest time getting them to sit  flat. My solution was to either 1, ignore it, 2, sand the high spots until it sat flat, or 3- use clamps and pressure to try and bend the boards in place until they dried. These solutions never worked, and sometimes gave disastrous results. Being spoiled as school with a 10 inch jointer with an 8 foot bed, the small ones I saw at the store just did not begin to measure up. When I finally got my own jointer, it is a 6 inch jointer with a 4 foot bed- I realized that the smaller size can still produce very nice results. All of a sudden, I could straighten a board and the project went flawlessly. Risks of kickback diminished because the wood sits flat on the tablesaw. Edges come out straight as an arrow. The headaches I could have saved myself! Anyway, enjoy this episode, and happy woodworking! Be safe and follow all the safety procedures that come with your power tools. Don’t forget your safety glasses!

Replacing Timing Belt- Audi A6

Steve shows us how to replace a timing belt on the Audi A6. We covered this in less detail in the car repair episodes, but this is a more comprehensive look at the timing belt process. Here are some additional words from Steve-

Hey home mechanics- There are a couple of details I did not go over in the video, that you may want to be aware of. First of all, if you are going to replace the timing belt, it is wise to always replace the water pump at the same time. The water pump is behind the timing belt, so if you had to go in there, then the belt has to be removed. Plus, you really don’t want the water pump to go bad, as it will more than likely create an over-heat problem that may ruin the engine. So, just do them at the same time. In my case, that means that every time I took out the water pump, it was in operating condition. It may seem like a waste, but this is not a part you want to have fail. Also, some folks will only replace the belt, and not the tensioner, tensioner arm, tensioner pulley or idler pulley. Save yourself the grief and replace all of these every time. On my car, that is every 90,000 miles.

Now, the second thing I want to make clear is that in the video, I describe how to make sure the cams are in time with the engine. If you look at the cam shafts, they have a little flat side. Mine are shown facing out in the vertical position. At this position, the brackets with the two holes are horizontal. Now, whether the flat sides are facing in  or out does not make a difference when you are replacing the timing belt. When they are vertical, and the main crank lines up with the mark on the casing, then you are either in top dead center, or bottom dead center. This can also be identified by those brackets with the two holes on the sides. If my memory serves me, my engine was at bottom dead center with the big holes facing out. The way the engine is designed, those brackets are not lined up horizontally unless it is in either top dead center or bottom dead center. The store bought brackets will only fit in top dead center, I made mine opposite. Do yourself a favor, and don’t move the crank or cams once the timing belt is removed. If for some reason one of them does move while you are working- well, you made marks, didn’t you?- don’t worry. Invariably, one will not be at rest, and once you bump it it will snap to a position of rest. Just move it back carefully when you get it ready for the new belt. Also, I did not mention that the tensioner comes with a little wire pin in it to hold it closed until the assemble is complete. Make sure you take that thing out once everything is in place and torqued down.

HowTo Repair a Power Steering Pump



After scouring the web, Steve found a noted deficiency in  information about repairing a power steering pump. So, let’s dig in and find out what they are all about- and see if we can make them last a little longer.

How To Restring a Piano

Steve recaps the process of restringing a piano. To many, the piano is a mystery. Here, Steve will help de-mystify the working of a piano, and how it is assembled and worked on. If you own a piano, this is your opportunity to see what goes into restringing and repairing a piano.


Metal Casting!

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