Tips & Tricks: Issue 73

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This article is from Issue 73 of Woodcraft Magazine.

tips & tricks


A simple spreader

Like many furnituremakers, I do my fair share of repair work, often involving disassembly of chairs and other pieces. I have a reversible-jaw pipe clamp that can be used as a spreader clamp, but the jaws aren’t very long. Plus, I often need more than one spreader in play, so I devised this wooden spreader jig, based on something similar I saw once. The jig is simply a long hardwood bar with a fixed crossbar at one end, and a pivoting bar at the other, with a bar clamp wired to the fixed and pivoting bars as shown. Tightening the clamp creates a strong, controlled spreading action on the opposite side of the spreader. Size the jig to suit the job, and drill extra holes in the long bar when necessary

Martin Grasse, Denver, Colorado

Squaring sticks upgrade

I liked Paul Anthony’s squaring sticks in issue #70’s Tips & Tricks column. They work great for comparing diagonal distances to ensure that cabinets and other cases are truly square. However, I found that using a spring clamp to hold the sticks together in use was a bit clumsy. Instead, I made a hardwood collar to do the job, drilling and tapping the face grain edge with a #7 drill and 1⁄4-20 tap to accept a thumbscrew. I also decided to downsize the sticks from 3⁄4" to 5⁄8" square to make them somewhat easier to handle. Finally, I marked increments on one of the sticks, which provides easy reference for adjusting them in use.

Bruce Robertson, Raleigh, North Carolina

tips & tricks

Snipe-free planing

Planer snipe is hard to avoid. Sure, you can cut away the sniped ends, but that’s not a good approach with expensive woods. Or you can precede and follow the board with scrap of the same thickness, but that can make for clumsy feeding. Here’s a better approach: Joint one face and both edges of the board, and make up four lengths of straight scrap about 10" long and just a bit taller than the desired finished thickness of the board. Working on a dead-flat surface, attach the strips to the edges of the board at both ends using double-faced tape, extending the scraps about 4". (Clamp them for a few moments to ensure a good bond.) Now when you feed the board through the planer, the scrap will take the snipe instead of your stock.

Paul Anthony, senior editor

tips & tricks

Cantilevered clamping

The next time you need to clamp an area that’s out of the reach of your clamp jaws, such as gluing a patch in a tabletop, try this: Place a dowel or triangular strip of wood near the edge of the workpiece to serve as a fulcrum, and place a protective clamping pad over the area to be clamped. Straddle the two with a stout beam, and then put clamp pressure on the stick on the inward side of the fulcrum as shown.

Natalie Simmons, San Diego, California


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