Batch-Cut Buttons

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This article is from Issue 84 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Turn scraps into sturdy tabletop fasteners, and save a trip to the hardware store.

Store-bought tabletop fasteners are convenient, but costly in money and time. Thrifty woodworkers short on both have discovered that shop-made buttons are fast and easy to make by the bunch. All you need are a few scraps of 3/4"-thick hardwood at least 6" wide.

To start, outfit your table saw with a dado blade, or your table router with a straight bit, and rabbet both ends to create 3/8 × 1/2"–long tongues. Next, move to your mitersaw. Mark two lines in a wood auxiliary fence, 1" and 1-1/2" to the right of the kerf you make with the blade. Use the outer line to cut the button strips to length. Drill the screw hole, and then use the inner line to cut the button to width.

Exercise common sense. When the piece gets too small to handle safely, toss it in the trash.

Rabbet the ends. Set your dado cutter to make a 3⁄8"-wide tongue. The sacrificial auxiliary fence buries part of the cutter, making it easy to set cutting width.

Follow the lines. Draw a pair of lines on your mitersaw’s auxiliary fence. Position the rabbeted end against your outer stop line and cut off a strip. The plywood fence prevents the offcut from getting snagged by the blade.

Drill and chop. After drilling a countersunk clearance hole, return to your mitersaw, set the strip to the 1" line and cut the button. Ease the edges by dragging them across a piece of sandpaper.


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