Edge Laps

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The edge-lap is formed by notching two boards halfway across their faces, then slipping them together. It's the joint used to create egg-crate-likc drawer dividers, for example. Depending upon the girth of the stock, this can be dealt with using a router.

On the router table, the edge-lap notch can be cut as though it were a box-joint notch. (See the chapter "Box Joint.") In this approach you use a bit that matches the stock thickness. Set the bit height to half that of the stock being notched. Stand



Dividers Using Lap Joints

the stock on edge and. using a sled, guide the stock into the bit.

Obviously, you are limited in what you can edge-lap in this fashion on the router table. The typical straight bit has a cutting length of about V-» to 1 inch, though you can find straights with up to 2Yi inches of cutting length (but that extreme only in the Winch diameter). Nonetheless, where the parameters of the job permit this approach, it works well, yielding a clean, precisely sized notch. No additional handwork is required.

If you can remove the key from a box-jointing jig, you can use it to guide the cut. If not. make a sledlike jig, patterned after the box-jointing jig. Here's how:

Cut a base from Winch plywood or hardboard, and cut a handle, suppon, and back from Winch stock (plywood is great). Dimensions arc suggested in Edge-Lapping Sled.

Glue the support flat to the base, then add the back, driving screws through the base into the back and through the back into the support. Add the handle to ensure that the back and base are at right angles to one another.

Put the bit selected for the job in the router. Set the sled on the router table and trap it between two fences made of the same thickness of hardboard or plywood used for the base. Switch on the router and feed the sled into the bit. cutting a notch through the base and into the back. (In subsequent uses, you can position the sled and set the fences using the notch.)

To cut the work, lay out the required notches (or at least one edge of each). Stand the workpiccc on edge in the sled, and line up the marks with the edges of the slot in the base. Make the cut.

With a hand-held router, you cut the notches as if they were deep, stopped dadoes. (Sec the chapter

"Dadoing and Grooving" for details.) The advantage to this approach is that you can deal with long cuts.

Lay out she position and length of the notch, set a fence with a stop, and make the cut with a straight bit. Because you are cutting completely through the workpiece, either you need to position it on an expendable work surface or you need to cantilever it oil'the edge of the router bench. A plunge router facilitates making the total cut in bites of manageable depth. Unlike the router table approach, there's a final bit of handwork to do. The end of the cut is rounded, and you need to square the corners.

Making drawer dividers— for a kitchen cabinet's utensil drawers, for example—is a duck-soup operation on the router table. Taping identical i»arts together keeps them from getting mixed up. but it also aligns them for edge-lapping. The edge-lapping sled, trapped between two fences, guides the cut. Position the work in the sled by the eyeball method.



You can expedite the work if you stand all the pieces to In-lapped on edge, gang them together, and clamp them with scraps on the outsides. Cut th rough the lot of them in one swipe. Here, a T-square guides the cut.


Dovetails. The very word elicits a sense of wonder.

Any piece of woodwork that contains them is somehow special. In a way. we've come to worship this particular joint, and with good reason. But it wasn't always so. In fact, up until a relatively few years ago, dovetails were hidden when used in fine furniture.

The dovetail joint was developed (before reliable glues and cheap fasteners were available) as a very utilitarian means of holding pieces of wood together. In this it has some major advantages. The dovetail allows expansion and contraction of the wood without losing any of its struc tural integrity. This Is extremely desirable when joining large pieces of wood, such as cabinet cases or chest sides. The joint's strength is not dependent on glue or mechanical fasteners, so it can be used to good advantage in4 natural wood" projects.

The big disadvantage in the dovetail joint has always been that it requires not only a lot of time but a lot of skill to make. Of course, that's a large pan of the reason it has become so popular. In order to be considered a real woodworker, you have to cut dovetails.

Enter the router. The router doesn't eliminate the need for skill or time in cutting dovetails. But it docs change the focus of skill and time you invest. Set up your router carefully, and you can cut hundreds of dovetails quickly and accurately. Just like a factor)'.

Wanna see how? You have to use jigs.

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Wood Working 101

Wood Working 101

Have you ever wanted to begin woodworking at home? Woodworking can be a fun, yet dangerous experience if not performed properly. In The Art of Woodworking Beginners Guide, we will show you how to choose everything from saws to hand tools and how to use them properly to avoid ending up in the ER.

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