Go/No-Go Gauges

Check parts for size, fit or alignment with shop-made, go/no-go gauges. The principle is that a pan will either fit the gauge or it won't—hence the name. When the part fits in the gauge, it is the correct size (unless you goof and get it too small!).

Go/no-go gauges are common in lathe work and chairmaking to check the size of round tenons (sec photo). Cabinetmakers use these gauges to check frame and panel door components to make sure the panel's tongue fits the frames groove, and that cope and stick profiles align flush. Any operation that requires parts to mate can benefit from using go/no-go gauges.

Template Cutting on the Tablesaw

Pneumatic Clamps

Air-powered clamps are the ultimate in speedy clamping. Obviously they're best suited for operations where the cutting itself is fast, but the clamping can take a long time. Pneumatic clamps come in different shapes and sizes, costing between $75 and $150 (see Sources, p. 49). They perform the same tasks as toggle clamps, except they're automated. A foot pedal controls the air supply and even a small air compressor can run them.

A pneumatic clamp holds down door rails for machining the ends. The pad on the clamp spans across both rail pieces to hold them quickly and securely. It can also hold one rail and a backer piece to reduce tear-out.

If you have a lot of parts with cuts at odd angles, template cutting on the tablesaw can make fast work of them. Add an extension fence (sec photo) to your tablesaw fence and set it so the edge Ls flush with the outside edge of the blade and slightly higher than the thickness of your workpieces. Make a template of the shape you want and attach it to your blanks with double-sided tape, hot-melt glue or a couple small screws. You can also simply glue coarse sandpaper to the bottom of the template so it grabs the blank well. For added safety, attach a handle to the top of the template. Now run the template against the fence, swiveling it to do all sides, and your piece is cut. Be careful about the cutofT pieces that will accumulate under the extension guide. Poke them through with the saw turned off.

46 American Woodworker 0£c£m8£ft 1999

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Duplicate Spindles with a Semaphore Jig

A semaphore jig performs the same task as a story stick and caliper (p. 48) but it is more automated. With this jig you don't need to place pencil lines on the blank, nor do you need to have a caliper. Each arm of the semaphore jig rides on the surface of the rough spindle. When you part down to the correct diameter at each location, the arm swings all the way through. An adjustable semaphore jig can be reused for other turnings, so spending a little extra time making one can pay off in the long haul.

I built this adjustable semaphore jig in about 3 hours and all of the parts were available from my local hardware store for less than S20. The number of arms you make depends on the complexity of your turnings—make as many as you need. To make this jig, first I took a piece of 2-in. wide by lte-in.-thick maple and dadoed a ft-in. wide by ^b-in.-deep groove down the middle. 1 cut this board into 3-in. lengths. Then I glued the 8-in.-long arms into the dadoes. After the glue was dry, I drilled l-in.-dia. holes through the blocks for the l-in.-dia. dowel. Each thumbscrew is screwed into a threaded insert and acts as a clamp against the 1-in. dowel. The fingers are made from in. by V4-in.-aluminum bar stock, and held onto the arms with No. 8 machine screws, nuts and washers.

Gang Planing

A great way to get lots of boards to exactly the same width is to run them through the planer together, on edge. You might do this for face frame material, for example, or the stile on a set of doors. Rip the boards, then joint one edge on each. Take four or five boards and stack them together so the grain direction on each board is sloping the right direction for clamp-free cuts (the cutters spin "uphill" on the grain). Then run them through the planer as a group. Keep the boards from stalling by squeezing them together tightly, but watch your hands; its tempting to hold on too close to the machine. If in doubt, use clamps to hold the stack together.

There's Danger in Numbers

Repetitive work is deceptively dangerous. You're cutting part after part after part after part and your mind starts to drift off, then POW— something goes wrong. Because of this repetition, making multiples is more dangerous than normal woodworking. Make a point of safety:

Use guards and good clamps that keep your hands awav from blades and cutters, lake frequent breaks to relieve the tedium. And avoid the temptation to work too fast when a jig or fixture seems to make the operation foolproof.

Template Sanding

A guide bushing on a drum sander transforms it into a template sander. It allows you to create numerous curved parts with sanded edges and is especially useful for softwoods or figured woods that splinter or chip when cut with a router. You don't need to follow a pencil line and the drum sander doesn't leave the annoying ripples that are so common when you're freehand drum-sanding. You can buy drum sanding attachments for a drill press that have built-in guide bushings (see Sources, p. 49), which we show in the photo, or you can make your own. To make one, cut a circular disk out of plywood the same diameter as your drum and secure it with screws to a piece of plywood. Attach the plywood to your drill press table so the disc is directly under the sanding drum.


Turning Duplicates With a Story Stick

The most common way to make duplicate turned spindles is to use a story stick and calipers. The story stick has marks to indicate where transition points are, such as the valley of a curve, or a shoulder between two shapes. With the lathe spinning, transfer these marks to the rough spindle with a pencil. Then cut down to the correct diameter for that location with your parting tool. Once you have all of your transition points parted to diameter, shape the profiles in between.

Eccentric Cam Clamp

Use an eccentric cam clamp when you need a fast acting, dual-action clamp. It holds the workpiece down and pushes it forward slightly at the same time. This is advantageous when you need to draw a piece tight to a stop block or another piece. Best of all, these shop-made clamps are free—just make them out of scrap plywood.

THE VACUUM QUICK-CLAMP from Her-Saf allows you to make a customized top which serves as both a vacuum clamp and a template.

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