Popsicle Sticks and Toothpicks
The “serious” fine-woodworker often has a huge array of high-end tools and other expensive toys to get the job done. And while these things are wonderful to have, it’s often the simplest of tools that get the job done best.
Enter the humble Popsicle stick (or “craft stick”). Prior to my career in woodworking, I bought a box of craft sticks at a second-hand store on a whim. Since I’ve been woodworking, I’ve found many uses for them as tools.
- Stickers, which are basically spacers used between stacks of wood as it waits to be used. Stickers allow air to flow around all the surfaces of the lumber so that it dries evenly.
- Sanding sticks. A little spray adhesive and a piece of sandpaper cut to the width of your craft stick and you have a custom sanding stick to get in to those tight spaces.
- Glue spreaders. Easy to use to get glue where you need it. Square off the end with a chisel to get a skinny flat surface for spreading.
- Glue scrapers. Put an angle on the end of the stick with a chisel to make a point which is great for scraping off glue squeeze-out.
- Stirrers. Good for mixing small quantities of finish, epoxy, etc.
- Shims. In addition to craft sticks, consider paper, business cards, gift cards, etc. when looking for shims of a specific thickness. Mix and match!
I’m sure there are uses I’ve forgotten to mention and many more that I haven’t thought of yet. Now think of what you could do with the lowly toothpick!