Tips & Tricks: Issue 25

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This article is from Issue 25 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Self-gripping springboard

This magnet-assisted spring-loaded jig holds sawing stock in place, but is a lot easier to use. Instead of fussing with clamps, all I need to do is flick a switch. Because it’s conveniently sized and comes with its own built-in clamping mechanism, I find myself using it more often, resulting in cleaner cuts and less risk of kickback. 

As shown in the drawing at right, the jig is a simple, two-piece project sized to fit a pair of 20mm MagJigs (you can adjust the design to fit larger MagJigs, but you usually don’t need that much holding force). I cut the parts as shown, drilled the spring holes, then hinged the two pieces together using a strip of plastic cut from a milk jug and a few short screws.

To use this jig, simply position it about 1" in front of the blade, press the jig so that the curved nose is tensioned against the edge of the board, then switch on the magnets. As the board passes the jig, the curved trailing end gradually reduces pressure so that the jig doesn’t snap back or spin the board at the end of the cut.

—Tom Roessler, Appleton, Wisconsin

Drywall screw fixes wooden plug coverup

Sometimes the best tricks come from the most frustrating situations. One of my passions is refinishing old furniture and that means sometimes dealing with someone else’s “quick fixes.” One day while trying to refinish a dresser for my sister, I came across a stubborn wooden plug that covered a screw head.  Completely fed up, I drilled a 1/8"   pilot hole through the center of the plug and then drilled a drywall screw through the hole.  The drywall screw bottomed on the hidden screw head and forced the plug up and out of the hole.  A well-bonded plug may need to be drilled out.

—Linda Rowe,Washington, West Virginia

Buy short for big savings

You already know that woodworking is an exercise in turning long boards into short ones, but you may not realize that you can save money by letting someone else do that work for you. The next time you’re at your mill or lumberyard, ask about the availability of  “shorts.” While lengths may vary, the term refers to boards shorter than 8 ft. (In my last purchase, the short boards were mostly 6-footers and a handful of 5-footers.) While the quality of the wood was the same as 8-ft. long FAS (first and seconds), the shorts cost 30% less per board foot.

—Robert J. Settich, Gladstone, Missouri

Precision alignment for table saw crosscuts

I always get frustrated when I am trying to crosscut a board or plank on my table saw. In order to get a perfect cut I have to mark it on the front and look over the board to see my mark. I came up with this idea which I think is an easy solution. I take a piece of scrap board and lay it alongside my blade and line it up with the mark on the board I want to crosscut. I get a perfect cut every time. The scrap board and the crosscut board have to be the same thickness. I put a few pieces of various sizes of scrap board by my saw, and I became a happier hobbyist. 

—Bob Pavek, Montgomery, Minnesota


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