Cam Clamp Detail

I like the tablesaw for cutting tenons.

With a 40-tooth alternate top bevel (ATB) blade and a properly tuned saw, I can make accurate tenons quickly. There's no fussy setup to slow me down, especially when I use my tenoning jig for sawing the cheeks.

With my jig placed over the table-saw's rip fence, I simply set the fence for the tenon's thickness, and I adjust the blade height for the tenon's length.

Position the jig's cam clamp to accommodate the correct stock thickness and the length of the tenon you wish to make. (See drawing.) Rip all the cheeks first, then reset the fence and the blade height and rip the haunched part of the cheeks by turning the stock 90°.

Now lift off the tenoning jig and use the miter gauge to crosscut the shoulders. Clamp a gauge block to the rip fence, making sure it's well forward of the blade. (See inset photo.) Set the fence the correct distance from the blade, then use the block to gauge the length of the tenons by butting the stock against the block. As you cut the shoulders, keep any offcuts well clear of the blade to avoid debris flying back at you. —F.K.

Saw the cheeks. Klausz's jig rides over the tablesaw's fence tor accurate cheek cuts. A cam-operated clamp makes setup fast and sec ure.

Workbench workout. With the right hand ¿¡nd body position and a sharp chisel, you can pare your way to perfect-fitting joints, elegant decorative edges, and more.

The chisel is one of the most basic woodworking tools, and paring is one of the most basic chiseling techniques. By taking small shavings with a chisel, but without a hammer or mallet, you can fine-tune your joints for a perfect fit. And you can pare simple decorative edge treatments in less rime than it takes to say "power tool." In this article I'll show you how to get control over the chisel, for perfect cuts every time. We ll review some basic rules that apply to all paring operations, then I'll demonstrate the best hand and body positions for horizontal, vertical, and angled paring.

General Paring Guidelines

Hand and body positions arc necessary for good paring, but they're not sufficient. Before we discuss the proper posture, here are four general guidelines for more precise paring:

Lay out first. You need reference lines to pare accurately. For rabbets, mortises and tenons, and other square shapes, lay out with a knife. By tapping lightly along the knife line, you can form a little shelf to support the chisel and keep it from jumping out of the cut. (See top photos, opposite.) For curves or bevels, lay out with a pcncil, not a knife—the cutlincs will show in the finished surface.

Face the chisci in the right direction. It s usually best to face the bevel up away from the work. In this position, the bevel helps force the back of the chisel against the wood as you cut. (Sec bottom left photo, opposite.) Occasionally, when you pare in a tight spot such as a mortise, the back of the chisci can't reach the work surface. In this case, face the bevel down. (See bottom right photo, opposite.)

Pare across the grain when you can. When you pare along the grain, you have to light the interlocked wood fibers. You also risk tearout. Cross-grain paring decreases the risk of tearout. Paring cross-grain is easy if you rcmcmlxrr this rule:

Take light cuts. This is one of the most overlooked—and important—rules of chisel work. Light cuts give the smoothest results with the most precision. The heavier the cut, the harder the bevel will push against the back of the chisci, encouraging it to dive into the wood. If the chisel tends to slip on light cuts, you can press down on its face with your thumb or fingers.

Poised for Success

When you pare wood, the cutting force comes from the motion of your body, and it's channeled through your hands. Your ideal hand and body position depends on whether you're paring horizontally, vertically, or at an angle. The


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When paring straight, square cuts such as rabbets or tenons, you can widen your layout line into a "shelf" that guides and supports the chisel.

Step 2: Pare at 45 * to form a V-shaped shelf across the top of the workpiece. This shelf will guide your chisel neatly along the shoulder

Step 3: Pare down to the tenon cheek. An identical V-shaped cut along the side of the work will help guide your final paring cuts.

Step 1: Lay out your lines with a sharp knife or gauge. Chisel into the line at exactly 90° to the work surface, tapping lightly with a mallet.

drawings on the next two pages show each hand and body position in detail. But here are a few posture guidelines for all paring situations:

Always hold the chisel with both hands. You won't believe the difFercncc two hands make. The action of one hand opposes and limits the action of the other—giving you much more control over the cut. Use your rear hand to transmit power and steer the chisel, and use your front hand to apply pressure to the cutting edge, so it moves through the wood in a controlled manner.

Keep your hands behind the cutting edge at all times. You might be inclined to wrap your fingers around the work-piece to get leverage and support. But one slip of the chisel, and your finger can get stabbed. It's better to clamp the work-piece in a vise or between bench dogs.

Push with your body, not your arms. Think of your body as a motor that powers the chisel; think of your arms and hands as micro-adjustable fixtures that hold the chisel in place. This gives you the ultimate combination of power and precision. Lock your elbows—this helps transmit power from your legs, hips, and torso to your hands. You can swing your arms from the shoulder if you need to.

Put your best foot forward. If your left hand is forward on the chisel, your left foot should be forward too—and vice versa. You provide the power and range of motion for each cut by shifting your weight onto your forward foot and driving the chisel from your hips.

Use your eyes. Look at your work-piece, but watch adjacent flat surfaces to gauge squareness. For vertical paring, keep your chisel square to the bench. Set a try square on your bench for reference. For horizontal paring, as on a tenon cheek, keep your chisel square to a vertical surface such as an adjacent shoulder.

Practice Makes Perfect

Now that you've learned basic paring techniques, all you need is practice. Following these rules and paying attention to hand and body position will lead you to paring proficiency. ^

ROBERT FERENCSIK is a graduate of the North Bennet St. School. He works tuood in Massachusetts.

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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