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Building these handy accessories can help you get more from your band saw. k

1 Re saw Fence

Resawing on the band saw is a great way to get the most from a valuable piece of wood. To cut accurate slices on my saw, I made a tall fence specifically for the job like the one in the drawings above and at right.

This fence provides a lot of support for almost any width of workpiece. A few supports behind the fence keep it flat and square to the table. There's a notch in the top edge of the fence to accommodate the upper blade guides when sawing narrower boards.

The fence is held in place with a pair of clamps. I use a combination square to set up the fence on the table. If the blade I'm using has any drift, I can easily adjust the fence to that drift angle.

Braces keep fence square Wo table

Position notch to align with upper blade guides

Use clamps to secure base to saw table

NOTE: Fence parts made from plywood

Handle glued into groove in push block

This lets you apply pressure to the side of the workpiece, too. Now, it will stay tight against the fence without fear tha t the board will drift away and spoil the cut.

I made this push block from two small pieces of hardwood. A handle is glued into a groove in the base, as you can see in the drawing at left. Rounding over the ends of the handle makes it more comfortable to hold on to. The final piece is a narrow strip of hardboard. And like I mentioned before, it's glued to the back edge to act as the heel.

* If you decide to try your hand at resawing, I recommend that you make a push block like the one you see here, in addition to the tall resaw fence shown above.

Here's why it comes in so handy. As you reach the end of a cut, you need a way to continue to push the board while keeping your fingers safely out of the way of the blade. To do this, there's a thin heel on the back of the push block to drive the piece through the blade.

There's another advantage to this push block. It has a long nose.

NOTE: Base and handle made from -thick hardwood

Hardboard heel catches work- piece to guide it through the blade

Align pivot point with front of blade

Modular Workbench Pivot Storage

Adjustable arm sets size of circle

Groove for miter gauge

Bandsaw Circle Cutting Jig Plans

Adjustable arm sets size of circle

3 Circle-Cutting Jig

With a narrow blade on the band saw, you can cut curves with ease. And with this simple jig, cutting perfect circles is a snap. An adjustable arm can be positioned so you can cut circles of almost any size.

Making this jig is pretty simple. It consists of a base that's made up of two pieces of 3A" plywood. The facing edges of each piece are beveled to form an angled slot for the arm. These two base pieces are screwed to a plywood backer on the bottom. Then, I screwed a pair of cleats on the other side to hold it in place on the saw table.

The hardwood arm can then be cut to fit the slot with a cut-off nail acting as a pivot. Finally, I used a Thumbscrew thumbscrew to fix the arm in place. secures arm in

Align pivot point with front of blade

Groove for miter gauge

Screw cleats to saw table

NOTE: Table made from 3/n" plywood

NOTE: Table made from 3/n" plywood

Rigid Caster Pivoting Bookcase
Front cleat keeps table flat and rigid

4 Larger Table

When I'm working with large pieces, the average band saw table can feel a little puny. To give the work-piece more support, I made a large, auxiliary table that 1 can quickly attach for a smooth, flat surface.

To keep things simple, 1 designed the U-shaped table to wrap around the existing table (drawing at left). To support this new top, I screwed a set of cleats to the edge of the existing table. (You may need to drill some holes in the table to do this.) The long cleats also keep the expanded table top flat and rigid. 1 made the table from a piece of %" plywood with a cutout in one side so the table can slide onto the cleats. And a groove in it allows me to use the mi ter gauge.


There's one final accessory that I reach for frequently. And that's a featherboard, as you can see in the drawing at right. I first built it to use when I'm resawing. But I've found that this featherboard works great anytime I rip a workpiece on the band saw. While resawing, the single, wide "feather" keeps a tall workpiece firmly against the fence and prevents it from tipping away from the blade and fence.

Instead of cutting individual "feathers" into a board, I used a piece of thin (Vs") hardboard. The flexible edge provides firm pressure against the workpiece without adding too much drag.

The hardboard is glued to a mounting block. This assembly is screwed to an angled base that gets clamped to the saw table. To set it up, clamp the assembly in place so that the tip of the feather is just in front of the blade. This way, the featherboard will provide support without pinching the blade. ESS

■Sand roundover on front of featherboard

Router Featherboard

A thin oil finish soaks in easily for the best protection.

apply Outdoor Finish

Keep your outdoor projects looking great year after year with an all-in-one, water-repellent finish.

A thin oil finish soaks in easily for the best protection.

It never fails. Every time I build an outdoor project, one of the first questions friends ask is "What finish did I use?" The truth is, there's no perfect outdoor finish. All of them will break down over time and need to be renewed. But there are several, good options to choose from.

PAINT. The first is to use paint. Paint protects wood with a thick barrier that blocks out light and water. It's just that after going through a lot of work to build a project with nice wood, it's a shame to cover it up.

VARNISH. Another option is to use spar varnish. This finish forms a tough film over the wood. The downside is that the varnish flakes and peels as it ages. And refinish-ing it can be a long, tedious job.

OIL There's one choice that I turn to when I want protection from sun and rain without a lot of fuss. And that's a penetrating oil finish.

This finish was made to protect decks and wood siding. It works by penetrating into the wood, without leaving a film. This makes it easy to apply multiple coats. The end result is a water-repellent, fade-proof finish.

To handle extreme weather, the finish is made up of a combination of ingredients. It all starts with a light oil base. The thin consistency allows it to penetrate deeply. And it's what stops rain and snow from soaking in and leading to rot (main photo on the opposite page).

The most common oil used for the base is tung oil. But some brands use other oils. Penqfin, for one, uses Brazilian rosewood oil as the base. Another finish, Cabot's Australian Timber Oil contains a combination of tung oil, linseed oil, and long-oil alkyds meant for projects made from tropical hardwoods. (See sources on page 49.)

MILDEW. Drenching rains aren't the only problems outdoor projects face. Damp conditions can breed mildew which can spoil a project quickly. So, semi-transparent stains include a mildew inhibitor to keep it from getting a foothold.

UV BLOCKERS. To Stand up to the sun, the stains contains an ultraviolet light (UV) blocker. This light is what breaks down and bleaches the wood fibers to a silvery gray.

IT'S A STAIH, TOO. There's one final ingredient. These finishes often include stain pigments. These colors even out variations in materials and tint sun-bleached wood without concealing the grain, as shown in the examples at right. Because of this feature, they are sometimes called "semi-transparent stains."


Like I said before, one of the biggest advantages to penetrating oils is just how easy it is to apply — all you need is a brush. But things can get a little messy. So I like to do my finishing outside. A large, plastic tarp will protect surfaces from drips.

A HEAVY FIRST COAT. I find that a brush works well for most projects. But you can spray on the finish, as shown in the box below.

The goal here is to apply a good, wet coat to all parts of the project. Then, after letting it soak in for 20-30 minutes, wipe off the excess.

You'll notice that endgrain will suck up the oil like a sponge. So 1 check back every few minutes to brush on additional finish.

Depending on the finish, you may need to apply a second coat. The second coat goes on like the first. Then I let the project dry at least overnight before using it.

REFINISHING. No finish will last forever outside. So, chances are, you'U need to reapply the finish every year or two. The nice thing about a penetrating oil is that renewing it is a pretty simple process.

To do this, I like to clean the project first and sand out any scratches or dings. Then, just lay down a new coat like the original application. After letting it dry overnight, it's back in business. ES

Cedar with "Transparent Cedar" finish

Unfinished White Oak

Oak with 'Transparent Natural" finish

How-To: Save Time Spraying

You can make applying a penetrating oil finish go a lot quicker if you spray it on. But that doesn't mean you need to invest in expensive spray equipment.

GARDEN SPRAYER. In fact, I've found that an ordinary garden sprayer works perfectly for the job. You can find one at any hardware store or home center.

SPRAYING IT ON. An outdoor oil finish is light enough that you

Hnn'f J.Vi.n I111.1 fr\ tl11r1 if KtfifriT'o filling the sprayer and applying it. You'll notice that the sprayer will lay down a pretty heavy coat (photo at right). But that will guarantee that you get good penetration of the stain before wiping off the excess.

When you're done, pour leftover stain back in the can. Then clean out the sprayer with paint thinner. This way, you won't gum up the nozzle. 1 label my sprayer cn il-iAfnn't rtof 1i CiH.l in fka n-arXnn

Unfinished White Oak

Oak with 'Transparent Natural" finish

Woodwork Jigs

in the mailbox

Typically, the steel in bench chisels is between Rc58 and Rc62. This is hard enough to hold a sharp edge, but still soft enough to sharpen easily.

<' The steel in the bodies of both the saw blade and router bit tests at Rc45, but the carbide cutters measure over Rc90.

Woodwork Jigs

Questions & Answers steel, the longer it should hold an edge between sharpenings. So it's tempting to think that a higher number automatically translates to a better product.

THE TRADEOFFS. But, in practical terms, harder isn't always better. The problem is that the harder the steel, the more brittle it becomes. You're probably familiar with the downside of this tradeoff. If you've ever dropped a router bit on a cement floor and discovered a chip in the carbide, or lost a carbide tooth by banging a table saw blade against the cast iron table, you understand.

In other words, a bench chisel that tested at Rc90 wouldn't be the best choice, since it would probably chip with the strike of a mallet.

Sharpening is another consideration. As steel gets beyond the Rc66-68 range, it becomes more difficult to grind without chipping. It would also be pretty hard on your waterstones.

FINDING A BALANCE. For tool-makers, it's always a question of balancing what a particular tool or application requires. Edge tools, like chisels and plane irons, need to hold an edge, but still be soft enough to sharpen with conventional shop methods.

Most bench chisels fall in the Rc58-62 range. That's hard enough to hold an edge without the risk of chipping when struck by a mallet. Lathe tools, usually made from high-speed steel, fall in the same range.

Router bit bodies and table saw blades are machined from steel in the Rc44-48 range. The carbide cutting tips, on the other hand, can easily be as high as Rc94. The carbide edge holds up well in wood, and the impact is transferred to the softer steel body — the perfect marriage.

The bottom tine is, hardness is certainly important, but the real key is matching the steel to the job it will be required to perform. OS

Do you have any questions for us?

If you have a question related to woodworking techniques, tools, finishing, or hardware, we'd like to hear from you.

Just write down your question and mail it to us: Woodsmith, Q&A, 2200 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50312. Or you can email us the question at: wood-[email protected].

Please include your full name, address, and daytime telephone number in case we have questions.

The Rockwell

Hardness Scale

Ql've noticed that tool-makers measure the hardness of steel on the Rockwell scale. What does it mean for my tools?

Al Sroufe Rolfe, krxva

A In 1919, Stanley Rockwell, a metallurgist in a ball-bearing plant, devised a quick and reliable method of testing steel hardness. His solution was a very simple machine that placed a penetrating tip on the steel and then applied a carefully measured force. The depth of the indentation indicated the hardness of the steel.

ROCKWELL C SCALE. Today's test uses the same principle. The steel in woodworking tools is measured on the Rockwell "C" scale. That's why you'll see the value expressed as "Re" and a number. For the test, a cone-shaped diamond tip is used. The deeper the penetration, the lower the hardness number.

For woodworkers, these measurements provide a way to compare which steel is right for which application. For instance, when buying plane irons, chisels, or other cutting tools, the harder the

<' The steel in the bodies of both the saw blade and router bit tests at Rc45, but the carbide cutters measure over Rc90.

Most high-speed steel turning tools test at Rc58-60. Some toolmakers are using manufacturing techniques to raise the hardness up to Rc68.

Typically, the steel in bench chisels is between Rc58 and Rc62. This is hard enough to hold a sharp edge, but still soft enough to sharpen easily.

hardware & supplies



The 12-drawer storage cabinet on page 32 doesn't require much hardware. The screws to fasten the top, bottom, and back can be found in any hardware store.

I used General Finishes' Java Gel Stain for the dark finish. At the Woodsmith Store, I found the Berenson Hardware knobs {9880-1RB-B) for the cabinet. See their website (in margin at right) to find a dealer near you.

Dado shims can be especially useful for cutting dadoes to fit plywood. I found the set pictured on page 34 at the Woodsmith Store, but they're also available through many of the mail-order suppliers,


To get the patio cart on page 20 ready for barbecue season, you'll need some hardware. I ordered the 5"-dia. total-lock casters (31845), table top fasteners (34215), and ^U" shelf supports (33894), from Rockier. They also carry 3V2" connector bolts (31864), 1 1/b" connector bolts (31831), cross dowels (31823), and hinges (29157).


it would be a lot tougher to build long-lasting outdoor projects if it wasn't for modern waterproof adhesives. You'll find most of the waterproof glues we looked at on page 8 at your local hardware store. We were impressed with Bolder Bond, a low-foaming polyurethane glue. It's a new product, so it's not widely distributed. But it is currently in stock at the Woodsmith Store.


Knowing the moisture content of wood helps with your projects even if you only use kiln-dried stock. Moisture meters come in all price ranges, with a variety of features. On page 10, we looked at a selection from the Woodsmith Sfore, Lee Valley, Rockier, and Woodcraft. I liked the Electrophysics model. There are many models available from this manufacturer. Contact information is in the right margin.


When you have a lot of tenons to cut, there's no substitute for a good tenoning jig for your table saw. The General, Delta, and Jet jigs featured on page 14 are available from The Woodsmith Store. You'll also find them at Rockier and Woodcraft. I was also impressed by the simplicity and the unique design of the tenoning jig from Woodhaven (4556K),


It's tough to beat the sandpaper method of sharpening, shown on page 12, for convenience and ease. It's also a pretty inexpensive way to keep your tools honed. Check with your local glass dealer to find a good piece of1/-)" plate {or float) glass. Also, if you can't find all the grits of the wet/dry silicon-carbide sandpaper in your hardware store, go to an auto parts store — they'll usually have a good supply.


Walk into just about any home center or hardware store and you'll probably find a full line of outdoor finishes. The finishes from Penofin and Cabot, discussed on page 46, are available through authorized distributors. You can check their website for a local dealer. You'll find contact information for both manufacturers in the right margin. E9

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Similar project supplies may be ordered from the following companies:

Woodsmitfi Store 800-444-7527

Moisture, Meters, Waterproof Glues (including Bolder Bond), Tewming Jigs, Outdoor Finishes

Rockier 800-279-4441

Shelf Supports, Total-Luck Casters, Table. Top Fasteners, Tenoning Jigs, Moisture Meters, Hinges. Connector Bolts Valley 800-871-8158

Moisture ¿Meiers

Woodhaven 800-'¡44-6657

Htnonituj Jigs

Woodcraft 800-225-1153

Tbnoning Jigs, Moisture Meters

Electrophysics 800-244-9908 electrophysics .on .ca

Moisture Meters

Cabot 800-877-8246

Outdoor Finishes



Outdoor Finishes

Berenson Hardware 716-833-3100

berensonhardwarc .com

Dra wer Pulls

General Finishes 800-783-6050 generalfm

Gel Stain, Outdoor Finishes

Call us at 1-800-444-7527 or online at

Plywood Drawer Joints

Drawer back can be set in a simple dado

Drawer Back

Vt plywood drawer bottom can be glued in place to add strength and rigidity

Drawer sides are made from Vi"-thick stock. Use a secondary wood to provide contrast and save money

Drawer Bottom

Groove for drawer bottom cut with dado blade

Drawer Front details of craftsmanship

Joint at drawer front takes the most stress. Three easy-to-cut table -saw joints are shown on the opposite page

Note: Use table saw to size parts and cut ail the joinery to save time and hassle

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