THE TRADITIONAL WAY TO MAKE a square finial on a bandsaw is to mark and cut the pattern on one side of the blank, then tape the offcut back on to the blank in order to guide the cuts on the adjacent side. This is difficult to do with an intricate pattern because it's hard to keep the offcut in one piece.
I use a sled with a handle for steering it. First, I screw the finial blank to the sled (Photo 1). Next, I screw a pattern to the top edge of the sled and follow the pattern to cut the first side of the finial (Photo 2). Then I unscrew the finial, rotate it 90°, screw it back on the sled, and cut the next side (Photo 3). The sled's side supports are an important safety feature-they keep the finial from being pulled down by the saw's blade during the second cut.
IF YOUR SHOP IS INSIDE or attached to your house, you know that migrating sawdust is a problem, especially if you do a lot of power carving. To minimize dust, I cut out one side of a 65-quart plastic storage box ($12), and taped the box upside down to a down-draft table. I taped paper over the holes not covered by the box for better suction inside the box.
Used in conjunction with my shop's dust collection system, my suction box helps keep the house dust free.
Workshop Tips continued
I DEVISED A NEW WAY tofita shelf into a dado. I use my router to make a tiny adjustment to the shelf s thickness instead of fine-tuning my dado set with shims to match the plywood's thickness.This may be standard practice for some woodworkers, but it's new to me.
For 1/4" deep dadoes, I use a 1/4" rabbeting bit with a bearing. I set the bit's depth-of-cut to the absolute minimum, and experiment. Once I've got a perfect fit, I
shave all of the shelves.
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