Tips & Tricks: Issue 29

Two-piece drill press table setter

Using a bent piece of stiff wire (a piece of wire hanger works) to check that a drill press chuck is perpendicular to the table isn’t entirely new, but adding a business card to this familiar tip adds near micrometer-like precision without the hassle of squinting to read a dial. To quickly set the table, bend the wire so that its bottom end sits just above the surface. If the wire can push a business card across the top without skipping over the card or touching the table, it means that you’re only a few thousandths of an inch from perfect. (Most cards are printed on .010"-thick, 10 point stock.)

This go/no-go gauge may not be accurate enough for machining rocket parts, but I find it more than adequate for most woodworking applications and easy enough to repeat every time I adjust the height or tilt-angle on my table.

—Brian Anderson, McLean, Virginia



Roller stand wall rack

Folding roller stands see plenty of use at the table saw, drill press, thickness planer, etc., but they can be a nuisance when they’re not needed. To keep my roller out of traffic, I cobbled together a simple rack using nails, glue, and a few scraps of pine. The nails on the top of the braces keep the roller from flipping open or falling off.

—Mark Koritz, St. Louis, Missouri

(Mark attached his rack permanently to the wall, but you could also add a beveled cleat system, such as was used in “Super-Easy Workshop Cabinets” on page 28.)

Blade-friendly bench dogs

In our shop, bench dogs disappear almost as quickly as donuts. Our solution was to make a large batch of inexpensive dogs using dowels tipped with vinyl tubing cut with a utility knife (or a table saw or bandsaw after fitted onto the dowel). The soft vinyl-capped dowels will not damage plane blades, scrapers, or sandpaper and are more grippy than metal or wooden dogs. If a dog is slightly taller than the stock, simply touch the end against a belt sander or give it a few swats with a block plane. When working with super-thin stock on your benchtop, trim a narrower ring from the tubing and replace your standard-sized tip.

Find the dowels that fit your dog holes before you buy the vinyl. A foot of tubing (purchased at home centers) will make 6-8 dogs and provide extra material for replacement tips.

—Woodcraft Magazine Editors


Safer short-tailed tools

I think that one of the biggest enemies of shop safety is inconvenience. For example, everybody knows that machinery should be unplugged before doing any work “under the hood,” but when a plug’s at the other end of the shop, you may opt to risk it every now and then in order to save time. If this sounds familiar, you need this tip.

To eliminate the temptation—and potential injury—of working while a tool is plugged in, I’ve wired my workshop so that the electrical receptacles are within an arm’s reach of my major power tools and trimmed my machinery’s power cords accordingly. With this setup, unplugging my table saw and keeping the exposed plug in sight during any set-up operations is as convenient as reaching for a blade-changing wrench.

—Bill Sands, Lubeck, West Virginia

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