Tips & Tricks: Issue 37

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This article is from Issue 37 of Woodcraft Magazine.

Circle-sanding jig

I cobbled up this disc sander jig to clean up the edges of small circular workpieces. It consists of a sled that rides on a base fixed to the table. To build the jig, first make the base and sled from 3⁄4"-thick plywood about 5" wide. To determine the length for both pieces, measure the distance between your sanding disc and the front edge of the tool’s table, and add an inch or so. Saw a dado lengthwise down the center of each piece. Size a 1⁄2"-thick runner to fit the dado, terminating it 2" from the outer end of the base, and then glue it in place where shown. Glue a 2"-long stop into the outermost end of the sled dado. Size a “registration bar” to fit your table slot, and glue and screw it to the underside of the base, so that the base and sled both rest against the sander disc.

To use the jig, drive a 4d finish nail into the sled at the centerline, setting it back from the inner edge of the sled a distance equal to the desired circle radius. Clip off the head of the nail. Drill a 5⁄64"-diameter hole in the backside of your workpiece, and set it on the nail. Place the sled on the jig base, and slowly push it inward while rotating the workpiece. Continue until the stop hits the end of the sled runner, creating a smooth-edged, perfect circle.

—Bil Mitchell, Hellertown, Pennsylvania

Turning with a block plane

As far as turning goes, I’m closer to terrible than terrific. Trying to make eight identical, rather thin, spindles for a Shaker stool, I found that I just couldn’t get the surface finish and precise diameters that I wanted without resorting to a lot of tedious hand-sanding. About halfway through, I tried using my block plane. With the lathe spinning slowly, I rested the skewed plane on the rough-turned spindle, and moved the tool slowly forward. After a few bumpy passes, it began producing wispy shavings. The resulting finish was super-smooth, and the control afforded by the plane enabled me to turn the spindle diameters that I wanted.

—Bob Joseph, Birmingham, Alabama

Stand-up rule jig

I find that the best tool for adjusting the bit height on a table router is a 6" steel rule with fractional increments on its end. The only problem is holding the rule on edge, since my hands are both occupied adjusting the router. To create a “third hand,” I kerfed a block of wood to squeeze the blade and hold it on edge while I adjust the bit height to the end increments. (I made the cut with a hacksaw, but any saw whose kerf equals the rule’s thickness will do.) Use the same trick to stand straightedges for adjusting jointer knives and aligning surfaces.

—Serge Duclos, Delson, Québec

Chamfering on the planer

I needed to make 10'-long tent poles for our Boy Scout troop, and decided to chamfer square stock to create octagonal posts. To do this, I devised this planer jig for the job. It’s just a 2 × 4" board with a V-notch to carry the workpiece at 45° to the planer bed. I made the board a bit longer than my planer bed and screwed a stopblock to the trailing end to resist feed roller pull. Waxing the notch ensures smooth workpiece travel, and shallow kerfs at the bottom serve for dust clearance. The jig is also useful for “octoplaning” parts for all sorts of projects, including shelf clocks, trophy stands, and candlesticks.

—Ernie Conover, Parkman, Ohio


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