Tips & Tricks: Issue 8

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This article is from Issue 8 of Woodcraft Magazine.

A True Ringer for the Bandsaw 

Some of the segmented bowls  I make sometimes have veneer accent layers that need to be cut and glued up with several segmented rings that make up the bowl. Since the veneer rings I use are frequently about 1/16" thick, it can be difficult to get tight glue joints because there is very little to clamp against.

My solution was to make segmented rings out of ¾" dimensioned stock, and then use my bandsaw to cut the veneer as a completed ring. However, it can be dangerous to crosscut large-diameter round pieces on the bandsaw, because most of the cut is unsupported and can twist on the blade. So, I created a vertical sledding jig specifically for cutting these rings safely and efficiently. 

My sled is made of ¾" plywood and measures about 8" tall by 12" long, but the size of your jig should be determined by the size of the rings you want to cut. It should be tall enough to hold the ring stable so it doesn’t “roll” into the blade. A matching 3" x 12" base is screwed to the bottom of the sled to create a right angle. (You can use triangular braces on the back of the sled, as I did, to ensure that squareness is maintained.) 

I attach the ring to a vertical sled with double-sided woodturner’s tape and adjust the bandsaw’s fence for drift, then use the sled to slide the ring along the fence to create several thin veneer rings After that, I run the rings through a drum sander to smooth them out in preparation for a faster, more accurate glueup. As a bonus, the jig doubles as an auxiliary fence for the bandsaw by simply clamping it to the saw table.

— Larry Marley, Mission Viejo, Calif.

Sticking To It

When I need to temporarily adhere a pattern to a piece of wood to cut on a scroll saw or bandsaw, I attach it with adhesive from a removable glue stick that you rub onto the back of the pattern. There are several brands, including Avery’s, Scotch and Elmer’s, and they all hold patterns to the wood well and peel off easily, just as a Post-it note peels off of a piece of paper. It’s easy to use and not as messy as a spray-on adhesive. It only needs to be applied to the edges of small patterns, and on the edges and maybe several places in the center of a larger pattern. 

— Randy L. Wolfe, Owensboro, Ky.

Corner Clamping Aid  

When gluing up boxes using band clamps, I like to put blocks that help align the sides and spread the clamping force at each corner. Lacking enough hands to hold all the blocks in place, while at the same time tightening the band clamp, drove me to devise this simple solution. Using some scrap ¾" plywood and ½" hardwood dowels, I made a set of four self-standing adjustable corner blocks.

Start by cutting four 10" lengths of dowel. Cut the plywood into a dozen 3" squares, then cut a 1" square notch out of each corner. Drill a ½" hole in the opposite corner from the notch. It’s helpful to stack and clamp each set of three blocks when cutting the notch and drilling the hole, to ensure that each corner block is perfectly aligned.

Glue a dowel into the bottom square of each set, leaving the other two squares unglued and free to slide up and down the dowel as needed.

Because the base square is glued into place, the corner block set will stand in place, allowing me to concentrate on positioning and tightening the band clamps. 

— R.B. Himes, Vienna, Ohio

Chisel Champ 

One of my favorite tools is one that protects several of my other tools. It’s a very cheap chisel. You know the kind: They’re often found dumped in a cardboard bin by the checkout counter at the hardware store. Buy one and hang it so that it’s closer and easier to reach than your good tools. Then when you need to scrape glue off the floor, paint off tile, or open a can of wood putty or any of the scores of other tasks for which you really don’t want to use a good tool, you’ll have a quick and easy answer right at hand. And, if you do end up damaging it beyond repair, it’s no big no loss – just throw it away and replace it with another. Your good tools will thank you for it. 

— C. Alec MacLean, Fremont, Calif.

Bottle Up 

Having tired of constantly cleaning the nozzles and searching for lost caps on various glue bottles, I came up with the idea of using a self-cleaning plugged nozzle to solve the problem. Many food bottles, such as mustard and other condiments, use the self-cleaning plugged nozzle. I simply wash the bottles and make sure that they are thoroughly dry. I then pour my glue of choice into the bottle, and the problem is solved. This has proven to be a great time-saver in the shop and eliminates wasted and spilled glue which is all too common. I keep a separate bottle for each type of glue. 

— Tom Hill, Van Buren, Ark.


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