Tips & Tricks: Issue 24

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This article is from Issue 24 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Tail-cutting bandsaw fence

Using my bandsaw and a tapered sliding fence, I can saw variably-spaced tails that look hand cut more consistently than I can with my dovetail saw, and in about the same time that it would take to set up a router jig. To make this tail-cutting jig, saw a 7-9° taper along one edge of a 6×24" board and attach a stop to the back end.

After laying out and marking the tail board, position it against the tapered fence, line the blade up with your cut line, and saw up to your shoulder line. Flip your board to cut the opposing angle. To minimize chisel work, you can also use the bandsaw to nibble out the remaining waste between the tails.

–Buzz Kelly, Indian Springs, Alabama

Baby the surface of your table saw

When pushing heavy sheet goods across your table saw, it helps to have a top that’s super slick. Wax is good, but talc, a.k.a. baby powder, is even better. Sprinkle on a light dusting and brush off most of the excess. Unlike some other solutions, talc not cause any finishing problems but also seems to help protect the metal surface against rust.

–Mack Stolarski, Williamburg, Virginia

Nuke your tape

Masking tape dries out as it gets old. If you’re stuck with a roll that shreds instead of unrolls (like it should), try giving it a 10-second zap in the microwave.

–Jarrod Gentry, Raleigh, North Carolina

Dust filter detector

Taking a cue from the fan display at my hardware store, I attached a 24" long ribbon strip to the exhaust grill of my ceiling-mounted dust filter. The ribbon provides an at-a-glance indication that the machine is running (this can be tough to tell when using other machines). The ribbon also serves as a handy airflow gauge. When the strip starts to sag, I know it’s time to pull out the ladder and install a fresh filter.

–Steve Bruns, Lafayette, Colorado

Mag-assisted resawing

The magnetic base that comes with most dial indicators is good for a lot more than just setting jointer knives and table saws. Used with a metal socket, it can be used as a clamp-free point fence for bandsaw resawing. When switched to “on,” the base grabs hold of the base and socket, providing you with a reliable guide that also allows the flexibility to shift the stock to account for blade drift. To reposition or remove the base, simply flick the switch to “off.” Should your base require extra grip, affix a small sandpaper patch to the base’s bottom.

–David Arnold, New Albany, Indiana

Scrollsaw vac attachment

While many scrollsaws have accessories that blow dust away from the cut, doing so only means future cleanup. My solution solves the sawdust problem. I positioned the end of an extra crevice tool for my shop vac as close as possible to the throat opening (the end of the nozzle may be modified to suit the purpose if necessary) and attached it to the trunnion of the saw with a ¼ -20 “U” bolt, washers and two 4-prong plastic knobs. It does not interfere with blade changing or minor tilting of the table, and gets 99% of the dust. (This setup works perfectly with my DeWalt DW788. Other saws may require slightly different hardware.)

–Craig W. Bentzley, Chalfont, Pennsylvania

Shellac and linseed good finish combo for turners

To achieve an instant finish on your woodturnings that is hard, smooth, and beautiful, mix a solution of 50% shellac and 50% linseed oil. Soak the end of a cloth, turn on your lathe, and while the piece is turning, “burn it in.” As the finish heats up, it will harden and dry for an instant and awesome finish!

–James J. Olszewski, Tigard, Oregon

Wipe away pencil lines

Pencil lines are easy to sand or plane away, but there are times when you might miss a mark halfway into the assembly or finishing process. Instead of reaching for an eraser, try denatured alcohol. Unlike erasing, an alcohol wipe down won’t leave crumbs or any rubbery residue, or even raise the grain.

–Dan Nonte, Midlothian, Virginia


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