Tips & Tricks: Issue 6

Rapid Repeatability

I recently had to make several curved glue-ups from 1/8" slats. I could have used my bandsaw to resaw the stock, but because the slats were cut from 2x4s I figured my table saw would be faster and would make a smoother cut. However, moving the rip fence exactly the right distance after each rip operation would not only be very time consuming, but difficult to measure exactly right each time it was moved. Instead, I created this setup that required the exact measurement to be made only once. 

Set up the rip fence so that the resulting slat is the exact size you want. Before cutting, clamp a stop block to the saw table at the left edge of the workpiece. After each rip operation, simply place the workpiece against the stop block and slide the rip fence left to meet the stock and lock it down. The stop block, which is offset from the saw kerf by the distance of the first slat, will automatically set the workpiece – and the rip fence – at the exact spot each time.

— Lewis Kauffman, Chambersburg, Pa.

Secure Clamping at the Bandsaw

When I tried to clamp a resaw fence to my bandsaw, I found it very difficult to find a flat section to apply the clamp jaw on the underside of the table because the table has a series of cast iron ribs on the underside for stiffness. To solve the problem, I cut several pieces of scrap lumber of the appropriate size and thickness to fit between the ribs on the underside. A bit of hot-melt glue easily keeps the wood parts adhered in place. Now, there are sufficient “flat” areas for the clamp jaw to rest against when mounting my guide to the top of the table.  The same process works equally well for drill press tables.                                                                

— Marty Tusim, Midland, Mich.

Quick I.D. for Parts Bins 

How many times have you gone through every drawer in one of your parts bins looking for a single item? 

For a fast, positive I.D. of a drawer’s contents, take one of each like part from each drawer and use a dab of hot-melt glue to attach the part to the front. Now, one quick glance at the front of the drawer and you can instantly see what parts are inside. 

If you ever decide to change the contents of a drawer, the hot-glued part pops right off the front of the smooth plastic drawer front with just a bit of prying with a screwdriver or chisel.                            

— Stan Zolenski, Plymouth, Mass.

Woodshop Card Trick

Tired of discarding those reader-response and subscription cards from your magazines? Save them and use them in your shop (after using at least one to re-subscribe, of course). I use them as follows:

• scratch pad – make notes and calculations
• mixing pad – mix up epoxy or shop-made wood filler from sawdust and glue
• card stock – the cards make good templates and patterns for small projects
• story stick – quickly mark the edge for repeated measurements
• shims – 14 stacked cards equals approximately 1/8"
• surface protection – catch dripping glue from glue-ups
• glue spreader – use to insert glue into thin spaces
• coaster – for my cold drinks

Keep a stack in your shop and you will probably come up with more uses.

— Ben Pilcher, Georgetown, Texas

Making a Perfect Match

I turn a lot of pens as gifts for family and friends, and use a lot of nicely grained woods such as olive and zebraood. To me, it shows far better craftsmanship if the woodgrain matches on each pen piece. Before I cut the blank in half, I will always mark the center of the blank with a pair of numbers or letters, then cut right between the marks. That way, it’s easy to keep the two matched pieces of blanks together until they’re securely mounted on the lathe. After turning, the two halves will meet in the middle and match with a perfect grain pattern.                  

— Tom Hill, Van Buren, Ark.

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