Tips & Tricks: Issue 14

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This article is from Issue 14 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Angle Clamping Jig

AS I WAS making a corner cabinet out of birch plywood with cherry facings and five-sided shelves, I encountered a problem. My design called for gluing cherry facing strips to the front edges, which I would then shape. However, the long front edge of the shelf had no opposing parallel edge to use for clamping. I developed this jig so I could clamp the facings to the front edge of the plywood.

I made the three-part jig (tongue and two cheeks) from scrap plywood. The tongue is about 7" long and 1½" to 1¾" wide and should be made from the same thickness of plywood as the workpiece to which you will be clamping the facing. Cut the tongue to give a 45° end. The final length should be about twice as long as that of the cheeks, so that a bar clamp and a C-clamp do not interfere with each other. Make the two cheek pieces from scrap the same width as the tongue and about twice as long as the width (3-3½"). Screw and/or glue the cheeks to the tongue with a mitered edge facing away (sort of like a miter saw gone awry) to form a cradle.

To use the jigs, slide one onto the workpiece and move it up or down the long edge until the mitered edge is directly opposite the desired clamp point. Use a C-clamp to clamp the cradle tightly to the workpiece. A long bar clamp will then span the two parallel clamping surfaces. I used one of the jigs near the back corner and positioned two down the length, giving three points for clamping.       

—Willard Anderson, Chapel Hill, N.C.

Perfect Circles

whenever i have a project that calls for a number of arced cuts on either a bandsaw or scroll saw, I use a circle template to match up any circular cuts. Then I use the appropriate size Forstner bit to make that arc. This process avoids the need for sanding, improves accuracy and gives a more aesthically pleasing appearance. 

It’s wonderful for something like a Chippendale mirror that has many small arcs.

—Kevin Martin, Cincinnati

Drill Press Step Switch 

I read with interest Abe Litman’s solution to insuring removal of the drill press key in the July 2006 issue and decided to share a solution I have used for some time.

I have a switch on the side of the drill press cabinet that turns the motor on and off. With the switch off, I plug in a step switch in the outlet under the switch which allows me to turn the motor on or off by stepping on it. It works very well when using large drill bits. 

I hope this is helpful to other readers.                 

—Robert H. Hays, Chicago

Computer-Magnet Featherboard Holder

I found a simple solution to the problem of clamping a featherboard to my table saw  in an unlikely place – inside a malfunctioning computer. When I disposed of the computer, I first removed the hard drive for security purposes. Inside the hard drive container I found two extremely powerful magnets.

After making all the necessary cuts to the featherboard, I cut out the profile of the magnets using a 3/8"  Forstner bit deep enough so the magnet was flush with the featherboard. The magnets hold the featherboard with more force and less clutter than a number of clamps.

—Jerald E. Larson, Irmo, S.C.

Yardstick Compass for Tabletops 

My experience with building furniture items that require round tabletops yielded an idea that enables me to easily make tops of various sizes. 

Take a wood yardstick and drill a nail hole at the 1" mark, making sure it is located in the center of the rule. Then, if you prefer a 6" radius, drill a larger hole (to accommodate a pencil) at the 7" mark, again centering the hole on the ruler. Next you can tap the nail into the center of your board blank (preferably into the underside of what will be the top) and push the pencil to form the 12" circle.

You can use the same ruler for any radius up to 34". If you have too many holes in the ruler or if they are too close together, simply use a new ruler. They are available at most home supply centers for just pennies.  The only trick is to make sure the pencil fits tightly in the hole and is held straight when making the circle. After that, it is a simple matter of bandsawing the blank and sanding down to the pencil mark for a perfect edge.

 —Jim Wolff, Berlin, Wis.

Blackboard Eraser Sanding Block 

Sanding blocks can be just plain blocks of wood, blocks padded with cork, felt or whatever. I have used all of the above but I have found that a blackboard eraser with sandpaper wrapped around it works the best for fine sanding and sanding before recoating.

—Alex K. Nadler, Swansea, Ill.


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