Tips & Tricks: Issue 77

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Top Tip

Featherboard riser

 A featherboard is great for controlling feed at the table saw, bandsaw, or router table, preventing kickback and keeping a workpiece firmly pressed against a fence for both safety and accuracy of cut. But there are times when a featherboard is best raised up off the table. For example, when rabbeting at the table saw, a table-mounted featherboard will press against the freed off cut, causing it to eject violently. Raising the featherboard prevents this. A raised featherboard also keeps tall panels and other workpieces perfectly vertical, which helps when resawing against a tall fence, among other operations. This simple riser jig works with commercial featherboards, most of which include hardware that locks the unit in your machine table slots. Make the jig base from 3/4 "-thick plywood, about 3" wide and a few inches longer than your featherboard width. Glue on a hardwood mounting bar, the width of which raises your featherboard to the desired height. Install the featherboard locking hardware in the jig base, and then mount the featherboard to the mounting bar with hanger bolts from the hardware store and female jig knobs.

—Dan Martin, Galena, Ohio

Dovetailing platform

When making hand-cut dovetail joints, it’s common to use a completed tail board as a template to lay out the pins. However, I’ve found it difficult to keep the tail board and pin board accurately and securely aligned for the process, especially while bending uncomfortably low over my workbench. This small clamping platform solves the problem nicely (as seen on page 21.) The simple open-sided box is made from five pieces of 3/4" plywood, which I cut to length from a single 6"-wide ripping. Just glue and screw the pieces together, taking particular care to align the front panel with the front edges of the top and bottom. In addition to having a fast, foolproof way to keep boards aligned for joint layout, you can clamp a tail board against the front panel for cutting the tails. Just extend the top end up above the platform.

—Tim Snyder, editor



Illustrations: Christopher Mills

Perfect router-cut dadoes

Hardwood plywood usually doesn’t match its nominal thickness; it’s typically undersized between 1⁄64" and ⅓ 2". Therefore, when routing dadoes, a single pass with a single bit is unlikely to yield a perfect fit. (Even “undersized” panel bits sold for the purpose may not exactly suit the thickness of your particular stock.) To solve the problem, I’ve come up with a two-spacer trick to rout perfectly sized dadoes. All you need is a bit that’s at least half as wide as your dado, but smaller than the final cut; a couple of scraps of wood; and a straightedge fence.

First, make a spacer that’s exactly the same thickness as your bit diameter. To set up the cut, sandwich the spacer between the fence and router base, and align the bit with the dado layout line that is nearest the fence. Secure the fence and rout your first pass. Next, replace the spacer with a scrap strip of your plywood stock, standing it on edge. Then make a second pass with the same bit to create a dado of perfect width. ­

—Ryan Reese, New York, New York

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