HowTo Put a Straight Clean Edge on Rough Stock

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FIRST: Make a straight line on workpiece

SECOND:

Cut to within Vs" of line with a jig saw

One of the first tools you think of to put a straight edge on hardwood is a jointer. But if it's a long board or has a really rough edge, this can be a challenge. Hie good news is you can adapt the two-step technique mentioned above for use on hardwood boards (drawings at right).

To remove most of the rough edge, I like to use a jig saw. This way, I can cut away defects without any danger of kickback. Then you can attach a straightedge and rout the edge clean. This will give you one clean, square edge to run against the rip fence of the table saw.

that is important. At the very least, you want the straightedge to be as long as the workpiece. But I like to make it an inch or two longer on each end. This way, I have solid support at the start and end of the cut.

In the drawing above, you can see how I used carpet tape to attach the straightedge to the workpiece right along the layout line. (You could use clamps, but they may get in the way of the router.)

To get the best results, don't rout more than Ifc" from the edge of the workpiece, as shown in detail 'a' below. If you do need to remove more material, it works best to clean up the edge in several passes.

There's one last tiling I want to mention about locating the straightedge. It's taped to the "good" face of the plywood. This way, it backs

Use framing square to position straightedge on layout line

END VIEW

up the cut and prevents the veneer from tearing out.

MAKING THE CUT. With the workpiece and straightedge set up, you can flip the assembly over and clamp it to your workbench, as you can see in the drawing below. Now, you can adjust the bit depth, turn the router on, and make the cut.

You can see the routing direction is from left to right. Moving this direction, the rotation of the bit draws the router against the straightedge for a clean cut

At this point, the workpiece is sized and ready for cutting joinery or adding edging. Either way, you'll have a good start on getting a gap-free assembly.

You can even use this technique for cleaning up the edges of hardwood stock. To see how, take a look at the box below. OS

Cut to Rough Size. Start by marking a straight line on the workpiece away from any flaws. Then use a jig saw to cut away most of the waste. Stay about away from the line.

Flush Trim the Edge. Now, to guide the router bit, you can attach a straightedge with carpet tape. Then flip the board over and clamp it to the workbench and rout the edge.

you can use a framing square to mark the lines referenced off that edge. If not, you'll have to establish a baseline with a long ruler or metal straightedge and lay out the panel from that. You'll use these lines to position a straightedge that will guide the router bit.

When it comes to angled cuts, you'll need to do things a little differently. Here, it's just a matter of marking the start and end points of the cut and connecting the dots with a straight line.

STRAIGHTEDGE. In the photo on the opposite page you can see I used a piece of MDF for the straightedge. And the reason for using this material is simple. It's easy to get a smooth, void-free edge for the bit to ride along. Most of the time, there's a piece in my scrap bin that's just the size I need.

The width of the straightedge doesn't really matter, it's the length

SECOND:

Run clean edge against rip fence to create second parallel, square edge to right

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The first step in using the miter gauge is to calibrate it to your saw. An accurate framing square is alt you need.

A small button on the side of the gauge controls the functions of the electronic display.

The ProMiter-100 has a clean, modern look. There's no miter scale to indicate the angle. Instead, there's an easy-to-read digital display.

jigs & fixtures

The ProMiter-100 works like most other miter gauges — except it features a digital scale, making it a snap to cut perfect miters.

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jigs & fixtures high-tech upgrade

ProMiter-100

Eliminate the guesswork when making miter and bevel cuts. You can get digital accuracy every time with this new miter gauge,

A lot of manufacturers are trying hard to improve the basic miter gauge and its accuracy. But how much can you really improve such a simple device?

One company Salazar Solutions, thinks there's a lot of room for improvement. They've come out with a digital miter gauge (the ProMiter-100) that you can set to the nearest (see Sources on page 49). No more squinting at a scale to set the angle. And it's dead-on accurate every time.

iOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING. The first time I saw the ProMiter-100,1 have to admit 1 was a little surprised. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but when someone says "digital," you think of a bunch of fancy buttons and electronic displays. But the ProMiter-100 looks deceptively simple, as you can see in the main photo, left. There's no angle scale like you'd see on a traditional miter gauge — instead there's just a small digital LED display And the only button I could find was a tiny one on the side (photo below, right).

SETUP. There's not much to putting the gauge together — just install the fence and adjust the miter bar. The fence is a beefy aluminum extrusion that has eight T-slots built in to hold stop blocks and other accessories. Small set —Sk screws along the length of the bar let you get a perfect fit in the miter slot (left photo, opposite page).

CALIBRATION. Once you get the fence on and tightened, you're ready to calibrate or "zero" the unit to your saw. All you need for a starting point is an accurate framing square (lower left photo). Then you can make some test cuts and tweak the miter gauge to

The first step in using the miter gauge is to calibrate it to your saw. An accurate framing square is alt you need.

A small button on the side of the gauge controls the functions of the electronic display.

The ProMiter-100 works like most other miter gauges — except it features a digital scale, making it a snap to cut perfect miters.

The ProMiter-100 has a clean, modern look. There's no miter scale to indicate the angle. Instead, there's an easy-to-read digital display.

k Three set screws along the length of the miter bar adjust to fit your saw's miter slot.

To set the blade angle for a bevel cut, attach You can set the display to read upside the magnetic adapter. This holds the miter down to make it easier to adjust the bar to the blade to set the bevel angle. bevel angle of the blade.

make a square cut. You press and hold the small button for a few seconds to set the display to 0° before making your first cut.

EASY TO USE. Setting the angle on this digital gauge is easy to do. Just loosen the clamping knob and rotate the head. What's really nice is that as you rotate the head, there's an audible "click" for every whole degree. It's a nice touch to let you know it's working. Once the angle is set, tighten the knob and you're ready to make a cut. The display automatically shuts off after about 30 seconds or so.

PRECISE BEVa ANGLES. Having digital accuracy in a miter gauge is great, but this gauge has another useful feature. It can help set accurate bevel angles, too. It comes with an attachment for the miter bar that lets you set the angle of your saw k Three set screws along the length of the miter bar adjust to fit your saw's miter slot.

blade with Ho" accuracy. You can see this in the right photos below. The display can even be "flipped" so you can read it upside down. {See the box below for another option for setting the blade tilt angle.)

One more thing. When you first turn the display on, it shows you the temperature. The ProMiter-100's automatic temperature compensation circuitry will maintain its accuracy regardless of the temperature.

FINE POINTS. Overall, I think this miter gauge has potential as an upgrade for your saw. But there are a couple of things 1 noticed. First are the small knobs for attaching and locking the fence. They won't rotate 360° because they interfere with the body of the gauge. That makes installing the fence a tittle tricky.

And the large locking clamp took a little getting used to. It's spring-

loaded, so to turn it you have to pull up and rotate it at the same time. Plus, 1 prefer using a more traditional upright handle for pushing the miter gauge across the saw.

Finally, it can be tricky to set an angle to an exact Ho°. That's because any slight movement of the miter gauge head can make the display "flicker" between two numbers,

ACCESSORIES. Salazar Solutions has plans to manufacture several accessories like stop blocks. They'll also have a software upgrade that calculates compound miter cuts. Who would have thought that upgrading your miter gauge would be as simple as a software download?

While the ProMiter-WO's $439 price tag is not for everybody, I can see tools getting a lot "smarter" in the coming years as technology makes its way into the shop. ESI

To set the blade angle for a bevel cut, attach You can set the display to read upside the magnetic adapter. This holds the miter down to make it easier to adjust the bar to the blade to set the bevel angle. bevel angle of the blade.

Alternative Angle: Wixey Digital Angle Gauge

Sometimes great things come in small packages. Thaf s the case with this digital angle gauge by Wixey (see Sources, page 49). It's a simple device for setting up your shop tools that's easy to use. You can use it to set angles on your jointer, band saw, table saw, or miter saw—anywhere there's a magnetic surface.

To do this, the bottom of the 2" x 2" gauge has three magnets embedded in the plastic case. For example, to set the bevel angle of the blade on my table saw, I just set the gauge on the top of the saw. Then you turn the unit on using one of two small buttons on the front. Calibrating the gauge is just a matter of pressing the "zero" button. Instantly, the large LCD will show zero degrees.

Once the gauge is calibrated, you attach it to the side of the saw blade (with the saw off, of course). The degree of tilt is indicated in the display to the nearest V«0 {see photo).

It's an amazingly simple device that'll stand up to shop use. And for a little under $40, it's a deal. This pocket-sized gauge sure makes tool setup a lot easier.

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'eekend Project

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'eekend Project

Trying to keep thin gs organized near the phone or on my desk is always a challenge. It seems I'm always looking for a pen or pencil, some paper to write on, or an address or phone number. So I designed the message center you see in the photo above to help keep the things I use most often within easy reach.

This message center is compact. But don't let the size fool you. Just lift the lid and it's full of storage.

The inside compartments are designed to make it easy to find items you use every day. There's a card file to keep addresses and phone numbers at your finger tips. And a spring-loaded note dispenser lets you quickly grab a self-adhesive note whenever you need it.

The lid doubles as a writing surface when it's closed. And the back of the message center has a place to hold envelopes and mail. There's even a tray on top to keep a pen or pencil handy for quickly jotting down notes and messages.

This desktop organizer is small in size but big in function, its compact storage keeps your writing supplies in one convenient place.

The closed lid provides a writing surface and hides the items stored inside.

Thin Stock Ripping Jig

Hinged lid closes i hide case contents and doubles as a writing surface

OVERALL DIMENSIONS. 12"W x 9V2"D x S3/s"H

Letter trough holds envelopes arid mail

Shop-crafted ana painted lift adds a stylish look

Storage for additional writing supplies ■—

The letter and mail holder is created by — gluing spacer and trough back in place

Simple-to-build card file rack keeps addresses and phone numbers handy

Recessed

_- tray keeps pens & pencils in easy reach

Lid held in place by rare-earth magnet

Case front/back dadoes and grooves make assembly and squaring easy

Tongue & groove joinery is easy to make

Spring loaded dispenser places self-adhesive notes at your finger tips

Base sits on four hardwood feet

Pencil tray

Letter trough

SIDE SECTION VIEW

SIDE SECTION VIEW

Fixed lid Rare-earth magnet"

is glued —, V and washer hold in place | \ removable lid in place

OUTER CASE SIDE

NOTE: The top line of screws will hold the pencil tray in place and are installed later

OUTER CASE SIDE

NOTE: The top line of screws will hold the pencil tray in place and are installed later

CASE FRONT

OUTER

CASE SIDE

CASE FRONT

OUTER

CASE SIDE

building the

Base

BACK VIEW

BACK VIEW

Countersunk shank hole for «6 x r Fh brass woodscrews f—' '

Countersunk shank hole for «6 x r Fh brass woodscrews

To build the message center, i began by constructing the case. The reason I started here is simple — all the remaining pieces in the project are sized to fit the case.

If you look at the drawing above, you'll see there's not really much to the case. It's basically an inner frame

Shop Tip: Routing Shallow Dadoes

. To add a zero-clearance auxiliary top to your router table, simply drill a V hole through a piece of V hardboard, slip

the hole over the bit (detail 'a'), and damp the top in place. Then clamp a straightedge in position for the fence.

TOP VIEW

i

INNER

%

Vi

CASE SIDE

CASE \ A __ FRONT 1 i

Va

A V$

¥ f

Vh t

CASE DIVIDER

SIDE SECTION VIEW

Pre-drill for pencil tray to be installed later

Fh woodscrew with dividers surrounded by two larger case sides and a back.

CASE. I built the case by first planing and then cutting six pieces of %" stock to size. Then 1 used tongue and dado joints at each of the comers. These joints are easy to make and give the case some added strength.

Since the joints are visible, I used a straight bit in my router to cut the joinery. This way, each joint will have a flat bottom and nice appearance. But before you begin, you'll want your router table set up properly.

AUXILIARY TABLE TOP. Cutting 'the tongue and dado joints at the router table is easy. The only problem comes when routing the tongue on the side piece. Because this piece is narrow (only 1%" wide), it can tip into the wide openings in some router tables as it's passed across the bit.

To solve this problem, I made the auxiliary table top you see in the box at left. This way, 1 could rout these small pieces safely. Just remember that the auxiliary table raises the router table surface. So you'll need to adjust the height of the bit.

With your router table set up, you're now ready to cut the tongue and dado joints. This only takes a couple of simple steps.

TONGUE AND DADO. The first step is to cut a Vg" dado at each end of the case front and back as shown in detail 'a' on the opposite page. Using the same setup, you can move the fence and cut the dadoes for the two dividers (detail V opposite page).

Next, rout a rabbet at the ends of each side piece to create the tongue. I like to cut the rabbet in a couple of passes. This way, 1 can sneak up on the final thickness of the tongue to ensure it fits in the dadoes in the case ends. I also used a push block to help prevent chipout.

With the corner joints completed, you can assemble and glue the inner case pieces together.

OUTER SIDES AND BACK. There are a couple more things you'll need to do to complete the base. First, cut the two outer case sides to size. Then, round off the top front corner of each one. Finally, glue them flush at the back to the inner case to form the sides.

Next, you can cut the case false back to size. This piece forms the front of the letter trough and has a long arc across the top as shown in detail 'c' on the opposite page. It's attached with glue and screws to the case (detail'd' on opposite page).

ATTACH THE BASE. With the case built, you're now ready to mount it to the base. I used screws to attach the case to the base {detail 'a' above). This way, the wood can move.

FEET. All that's left is to add the feet. Each foot is a square piece of 14"-thick stock with a roundover at the bottom edge of all four sides (detail V above). The photo at right shows you how I added the round overs.

Your work on the base is now complete. The next thing you'll want to do isbuild the compartments that fit inside the case.

Materials, Supplies, & Cutting Diagram

A

Case Front/Back(2) %x Th

10%

1

Note Removable Lid (1)

-3%

* (2) V-dia. x 5" Wood Dowels

B

inner Case Sides (2)

% x 1J/s

-e y2

K

Note Lift Platform (1)

% x 3V16-

3V,g

• (1pr) 30 mm Brass Cabinet Hinges

C

Case Dividers (2)

6V2

L

Note Fixed Lid (1)

% x 3%

-1%

• (1) % "-long Compression Spring

D

Outer Case Sides (2)

5/ex 3'/j

-Vk

M

Pencil Tray (1)

%x 1%-

10%

• (1) V-dia. Rare-earth Magnet

E

Case False Back (1)

%x4-

11%

N

Lid Top (1)

3 ¡8 X 5 % -

105/s

• (1) V Steel washer

F

Based)

%x9 V2

-12

0

Lid Front (1)

3/ax

105/s

• (1) #4 x Screw

G

Foot Pad (4)

V4x1 %

-Vk

P

Lid Lift (1)

3/s*

V2-4

• (2) #4 x 5/s" Fh Brass Woodscrews

H

Card File Front/Back (2)

%xVk

-4 %

Q

Trough Spacer (1)

3/4x]'/4-

11 Y;

• (11) #6 x 1" Fh Bra55 Woodscrews

1

Note Dispenser Walls (3)

% x 7k

-3%

R

Trough Back (1)

%x4%-

11%

Wx SW- 72" Cherry (2.8 Bd. Ft.)

1---— ■ ' *

> / s /

'S/W/////;//,

O

m

M

- m

N

R

¡F

F

F

F

BACK SECTION VIEW

Letter trough area

#6x7" J Fh brass screw

Leave back edge square woodscrew

BOTTOM ^ VIEW

\ round

- radius

NOTE: To allow for wood movement do not glue sides or tray frame to base

NOTE:

Glue foot pads in place

woodscrew

BOTTOM ^ VIEW

\ round

- radius

Leave back edge square

NOTE: To allow for wood movement do not glue sides or tray frame to base

NOTE:

Glue foot pads in place

BASE

BACK SECTION VIEW

Letter trough area

#6x7" J Fh brass screw

grout float used as a push block lets you use your router to round the edges of the feet.

END VIEW

^ SIDE SECTION VIEW

dowel

NOTE FIXED LID

60' bevel

60°-bevel

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A Course In Wood Turning

A Course In Wood Turning

Ever wondered what wood turning is all about? Here are some invaluable information on how to make beautiful items out of wood! That one little strategy from A Course In Wood Turning that I implemented not only worked, but the results were completely astonishing. I had never seen anything like it! Now, keep in mind that I had tried a lot of other products up until this point. You name it, I probably tried it! That’s how desperate I was to improve my skills with wood turning.

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  • nile
    How to get a flat edge from rough stock?
    8 years ago

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