Tips & Tricks: Issue 76

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This article is from Issue 76 of Woodcraft Magazine.

book-matching legs

Book-matching legs

When making a project with four square legs, such as the jewelry chest on page 36, a nice visual touch is to configure the legs to display book-matched grain when viewed from any side of the piece. Here’s how to do it: Begin with a square piece of riftsawn stock the length of the legs. It should be twice the thickness of a finished leg, plus about 1/4". Draw a triangle on one end, and then rip the piece into quarters to make four individual leg blanks. Using the triangle as a reference, reconstitute the pieces back into their original order, and number the ends as shown. Then switch the position of two diagonally placed legs, and rotate the remaining two legs 180°. Maintaining this relationship of the legs on the project will create book-matched leg grain on each face of the piece.

—Geoffrey Noden, Trenton, New Jersey

tape rule gauge

Tape rule gauge

For accurate work, you need accurate measuring tools, and that includes your tape rule. Unfortunately, the sliding tang on a tape rule—which allows for taking inside and outside measurements—is often the tool’s Achilles’ heel. Inexpensive tape rules are particularly prone to inaccurate measurements taken from the end of the tape.

When buying a new tape rule, make sure that both the inside and outside measurements made using the tang are accurate. To check this, I bring to the store a very accurate gauge block I made for the purpose. To avoid parallax when gauging the tape, roll it over slightly so the edge of the tape actually lays on the workpiece. The gauge is also useful for checking the accuracy of your tape rule after dropping it and possibly bending the tang. A bent tang can easily be corrected with a pair of pliers.

—Paul Anthony, senior editor


Go to and click on the videos tab to see this tip in action.

leveling a drill press table

Leveling a drill press table

When leveling my drill press table, I’ve tried the old trick of mounting a bent coat hanger in the chuck and rotating it as a reference. However, I found that the hanger flexed too much for reliability. Instead, I use a sturdier gauge made from a ¾ × ¾ " stick and two 16d common nails. Make the stick long enough to reach from the chuck to the edge of the table, and drill slightly undersized pilot holes to firmly hold the nails without splitting the wood. Install the nails as shown, mount the gauge in the chuck, and adjust your table to barely graze the head of the nail when rotating the chuck by hand.

—John Worst, Orlando, Florida


Go to and click on the videos tab to see this tip in action.


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