Tips & Tricks: Issue 22

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This article is from Issue 22 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Equip your mitersaw for “no fuzz” cuts

The mitersaw can do a great job of precision cutting, but the blade can tear out wood fibers where it exits the wood. This often gives a fuzzy appearance to the stock face resting on the table and the edge on the fence. Fortunately, you can solve this problem by attaching an auxiliary fence and table surface with double-sided tape.

Make the auxiliary fence from a piece of ½"-thick scrap plywood. It can be longer than your saw’s metal fence, but make sure that its height doesn’t interfere with your saw’s blade or guard. Use a piece of ¼" plywood or hardboard for the table.

After you’ve attached the fence and table, your first saw cut makes a kerf that keeps your workpiece supported right up to the cut line, minimizing tear-out. As an added benefit, the kerf shows the cut line exactly, enabling you to quickly position your stock for line-splitting accuracy.

—David Smithson, Syracuse, New York

Anti-Gravity boots for your shop

Ok, so they aren’t really anti-gravity, but these mini-carts come close. According to Don Hamrick of the Woodcraft store in Parkersburg, West Virginia, this shop helper is the most-used jig in the store and shop. Made from scrap plywood and inexpensive twin-wheeled casters, these handy movers can be used individually for scooting heavy sheets of plywood or MDF, or as a set for moving machinery or cabinets. Larger objects can be placed on top, or set into the mitered notches in the top rail to ensure that the cart doesn’t unexpectedly kick out in use. They’re also good for schlepping furniture around the house. 

Making a set of four is an easy afternoon production run. Start by cutting the 11¼ x 11¼ x 15½" triangular bases from any scrap-pile piece of ¾"-thick plywood. Next, attach the 1"-wide top rails with glue and 1¼" finish nails. To make the notches, attach one rail, insert a 1"-thick spacer, then tack on the second rail. (Trim the matching rail to match the base after assembly.) Ease the pointed corners with a sander, then attach the wheels with ¾"-long screws.

Two ways to spread glue fast

If you ever build projects with laminated components, you know how difficult it can be to lay glue over a large surface quickly and evenly. Here are two strategies that will give you great results. 

When you’re spreading glue on really large surfaces, pour glue directly out of the bottle and spread it on the surface with a plastic trowel having 1/8" notches. Next, smooth out the application with a small-diameter foam paint roller. If you’re working with narrow strips, squeeze most of the glue out of the roller. Wash out the remainder with soap and water, and you can re-use the cover on your next laminating job.

—Kate Logan, San Diego, California

Make a reversible, dual table saw fence 

Half-length table saw fences are common in Europe; they allow room for the movement of stressed lumber when ripping. I tried one and really liked it for ripping lumber but didn’t care for it when cutting sheet goods so I made a snug-fitting fence cover that I could reverse, thus presenting a choice of a half length or a full length sacrificial fence facing the blade. You’ll need to adjust or modify the measuring pointer on the fence rail to compensate for the thickness of the new fence cover. 

—Dick Ayers, Barron, Wisconsin

Outdoor safety strips prevent slips 

I recently started a project that required mortise-and-tenon joints. I decided to make the tenons on the table saw using the miter gauge with an extension and a stopblock. To keep workpieces from slipping, I used PSA sanding disks on the miter gauge. However, no matter how well I cleaned and prepared the surface on the miter gauge and extension, the discs always popped loose.

Finally, I found a solution at the local hardware store: outdoor safety strips, the kind used on stairs and ladders to prevent slipping. The adhesive is much more robust than the PSA sanding disks, and their size worked perfectly on the miter gauge.

—Lewis Kauffman, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania


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