What’s the best way to cool down a power tool that has overheated?
It is very easy. Run the tool at full speed and under no load – ie, clear of the workpiece – for about 30 seconds or so; the cooling fan will drive air over the motor and cool it. Incidentally, it is a good idea to run a vacuum over the cooling vents of the tool after every extended usage to help remove any debris that might have collected in the body, and also remove any deposits on the fan itself as they will affect its efficiency.
What is the best ‘inexpensive’ power-saw to buy for cutting melamine, chipboard, supawood and wooden shelving? Which blades should I buy?
Cutting melamine or chipboard with a jigsaw is difficult to achieve a straight edge until you acquire the necessary skill; it is also difficult to achieve without at least some chipping of the melamine, or the veneer, if you use veneered board. However, as most cuts when working on cupboard require straight cuts, I suggest a circular saw fitted with an 80-tooth triple chip blade, which should give you a very good finish, though there are likely to be some tiny chips on the bottom face of the cut. You could also use a 60-tooth negative rake blade which some authorities say will give you a perfect finish on both sides of the board. As regards the make of circular saw, my personal preference would be for either a Bosch or Skil model, but any of the brands stocked by Mica should give you a good result.
I’m about to use a planer on a surface but I am a little worried about the tips of any panel pins driven in from underneath damaging the planer’s blades. How can I avoid this?
The quickest and easiest way is to pull a spatula across the surface to be planed. If any panel pin tip is protruding – even a very small distance – the spatula blade will stick, alerting you. You can then use a punch to drive the tip of the pin below the surface and then plane as normal. Any hole that remains where you used the punch is simply filled with matching wood filler and then sanded flat, once the filler has dried.