Tips & Tricks: Issue 3

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This article is from Issue 3 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Rock-Steady Flush Trim Support

for years, i have been trying to balance my router on  its edge to trim the hardwood edge banding attached to plywood. I’ve also tried using the router in a table, but found it difficult to hold the board vertical. To solve the problem, I simply attached a guide to the top of my fence. 

Make the guide from any shop scrap, cut to a size that’s easily mountable to the top of your router table’s fence. Cut the guide on one side so it comes to a slightly rounded point. Attach it to the fence with screws, and adjust the fence so the pointed tip of the guide block aligns exactly with the bearing on a flush-trim bit mounted in your router. (Use a square to be certain the bearing and guide block are aligned vertically.)

Hold the workpiece to be trimmed against the cutter bearing and fence guide, and you’ll get a perfect trim every time. For additional control and support, start the trim cut with the trailing edge of the workpiece against the infeed side of the router fence for three-point support, then as you pass the center, angle the workpiece so that the leading edge is against the outfeed side of the fence.  

— Vell H. Holcombe, Milton, Pa.

A Golden Rule

Whenever i needed a piece of sandpaper of a specific size, I used to simply tear it on the edge of my workbench. But as the edge of the bench became worn and rounded over the years, I couldn’t tear the sandpaper cleanly. I screwed an old metal bench rule to the front of my workbench, and whenever I need to tear sandpaper I just slip the sheet behind the rule and give a sharp tug on the sandpaper to tear the sheet to size with a clean-cut edge. As an extra benefit, I’m never at a loss when it comes to measuring short workpieces – I just hold them up to the rule attached to the front of the bench. 

— Rick Blaine, Cincinnati

A Positive Note 

For years, whenever I needed to mix up a small amount of epoxy, I’d use a piece of scrap wood or cardboard as a mixing surface. Afterward, I’d decide if I could reuse the wood/cardboard or throw it away. I recently found that all I have to do is mix it on the top sheet of one of those little “Post-It” notepads, and then tear it off and trash it when done. It works great and saves both time and cleaning up a small mess. I wish I had thought of this years ago. 

— Jack C. Clark, Tucson, Ariz.

No-Tip Cup Holder

I use disposable paper cups to  hold glue, filler and finishes. They’re inexpensive, readily available and easy to dispose of. Their only drawback is that they are very lightweight and prone to tipping, especially when drawing a brush over the rim of the cup to remove excess material. I’ve made several no-tip cup holders that work well in my shop. 

Start with a 1½" x 4" x 4" wood block – a scrap of 2x4 will also work fine – and cut a hole in the center sized to accommodate the cup of your choice. You can cut the hole with a hole saw, Forstner bit or scroll saw, or just cut it out on the bandsaw. (If you use the bandsaw or scroll saw, you can adjust the saw table to angle the sides of the hole to match the shape of the cup.) Then hold the block upright and cut out a V-shaped groove along one edge of the top to use as a brush holder. 

— Frank LaRoque, The Dalles, Ore.

A Perfect Angle 

I’ve often found it difficult to adjust the fence on my jointer to achieve exact angles of 90 and 45 degrees. To make adjustment easier and faster, I took a 6" length of 4x4 stock and cut it lengthwise from corner to corner to make an equilateral prism shape that gave a perfect 90-degree angle on one side, and 45-degree angles on the other two. (I measured the block carefully to be sure the angles were exact.) Now whenever I need to adjust the fence, I just loosen it, place the side of the block against the fence at either 90 or 45 degrees, then lock the fence down. 

— Arthur Tappem, Jacksonville, Fla.


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