Trick Woodworking

Tricks of the Trade

Every woodworker employs certain

"tricks of the trade" to make life easier. Woodworker's Journal readers share their techniques — and we share other readers' reactions.

The Trick:

Knee-Activated Safety Switch

This simple addition to my table saw required under $6 in materials and took about 30 minutes to complete. It allows me to safely and conveniently hit the off switch with my knee or shin while my hands are holding the stock. A light tap anywhere on the 1/2" PVC frame does the trick and the large open frame does not obstruct access to the on switch or the blade height crank. My saw is a Grizzly Cabinetmaker; however, most any make can be accommodated with slight alterations to the basic scheme.

J.I). Carlson Cary, North Carolina

The Reaction

Switch Concerns

There is a picture of a mess of pipes which the owner said helps him to control his saw. Never would I add such a rig of pipes to my saw or other machine.

I guess he never thought that his jacket button or string could cause the saw to start when not wanted. This is my thought about the rigging: no thanks.

Theo Ninneman Sheboygan, Wisconsin

WJ Responds: Theo, J.D. Carlson's rigging only makes contact with the "off' button.

The Trick The Reaction

Jig for Mitered Corners A Bevel or a Miter?

Fence

Shim Cutting Jig

Miter slot key

Miter slot key

My old contractor's saw needed help cutting accurate miters, so I designed this jig. Start with a keyed plywood base of 3/4" thick stock. Lower the blade below the table top and make sure the plywood slides smoothly. Raise the blade and cut the side absolutely parallel to the blade. Cut two matching sides to about 48° and glue these to the base, holding their tips to the saw-cut parallel edge. With a steel square, mark a line on the jig at 90° to the blade and add a fence for registering the edges of your stock. Now till the blade just a bit until you have a perfect 45° angle for your cuts. Remember to reset the blade to vertical after using the jig.

Carl Allen Oswego, New York

Fence

The "Jig for Mitered Corners" is worded wrong: it should be called the "Jig for Beveled Corners." Everywhere he mentions a miter, it is actually a bevel cut. It does look like the jig would be helpful to use for 45° bevels. I like the issues of y'all's magazine. Most of them have some good stories or furniture plans.

Bernie Campbell Madison Heights, Virginia

WJ Responds: OK, the cuts he's making are bevels — since a bevel is an angle that isn't a right angle. But, since the picture showed Carl Allen's jig cutting a 45' bevel, it's still a jig for mitered joints. Really. Edge joints at any angle besides 45 are beveled joints, but when you put 45° joints together to make a joint, it's mitered. (You can look this up in Ernest Joyce's Encyclopedia of Furniture Making.,) Who said language had to make sense? If it's any comfort to you, we're pretty sure mitered corners do receive a special blessing: why else would the pope use the name for his hat ?

The Trick

The Reaction

The Trick

Stationary Tool Safety Switch

Don't discard that old pole lamp with the push-button switch on the base. With simple modifications, this fixture will free your hands from reaching under a router table or saw to turn the machine on and off. Mount a two-gang receptacle on the base, wiring it to the switch and adding a power cord with a plug to reach an outlet. Insert the plug into a hot outlet and plug your machine's cord into the receptacle mounted on the lamp shroud. With a slight tap of the foot on the base-mounted switch, you'll start the machine.

Robert O. Wendel Marlboro, New Jersey

The Reaction

Fire!

This is a very dangerous practice. Some shop equipment draws 20 amps or more to start and runs at 10 to 20 amps. Most of the old switches are not rated for this much current and are not spark proof. You know how sawdust builds up everywhere. Replace the switch with a newer switch rated for the amperage and seal it so it won't start a fire, and then this is not such a bad idea.

Robert Hawkins Denver, Colorado

The Trick

The Reaction

Thanks!

I have enclosed a picture of my tool stand. Please send my thanks to Wendell Smith of Oregon, Wisconsin. I've found mine to be very useful so far. And by the way, your magazine has been very inspiring.

John C. Nunn Olympia, Washington

A Place for Everything

My tool stand is the handiest item in my shop: there's always a place to lay the tool I'm using. Each shelf has 1M" edges all around it to hold items in place. The bottom has three sides with 4" walls. 'Hie shelves on the inside of the upright (not shown) have a good amount of storage space for belts and discs.

A 12-foot electric cord on the back can reach any plug in the shop and can hang in the back when not in use. Casters make the rack very moveable.

Wendell Smith Oregon, Wisconsin

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Notch 2x2 for axle

8" bicycle wheel 2 x 4 cut

Pivoting hook cut from 2x4

Notch ends of 2 x 4 to fit base

Notch 2x2 for axle

Notch ends of 2 x 4 to fit base

8" bicycle wheel 2 x 4 cut

Pivoting hook cut from 2x4

The Trick

Mobile Saw Base

With this mobile base I can easily move my contractor's table saw around — even down steps or over door thresholds. I use the table saw fence rails wheelbarrow-style so I don't have to bend down. The wheel and axle are from a child's bicycle and the remainder shop scrap. Be sure to engage the wooden "hook" before moving the saw.

Paul McKibben Norcross, Georgia

The Reaction

Against the Ralls

First, let me say I love your magazine and read it cover to cover each time. I have found it very helpful many times. Paul McKibben said to use fence rails to lift the saw. My Craftsman table saw has a large sticker on the fence rails that states, "Do not lift by the fence rails." I'm sure many other saws state that. We have purchased a wheel kit to move our saw around and push it by its base, not the fence rails.

Bev Polmanteer

The Trick

Durable Push Stick

I like to make push sticks that not only do their job but also feel comfortable to the hand. This takes a little time and then, sooner or later, you cut the step or notch away and have to make a new one. My new model push stick has a short piece of hardwood dowel with a flattened aspect on its forward surface, as shown below. When it wears down, I just drill out the old dowel and replace it with a new one — a couple of minutes' work.

Ken Collier Spring Valley, California

The Reaction

A Better Pusher

Just read my first copy of the magazine. Ken Collier's push stick can be improved simply by drilling a 1/4" diameter hole all the way through from the 1/2" hole. Mien the dowel needs replacement, knock it out with a punch or nail. Repealed drilling will ruin the hole.

John Truskowski Plymouth, Michigan

Woodworking Secrets

Form a flat surface on one side of the dowel.

Form a flat surface on one side of the dowel.

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Wood Working for Amateur Craftsman

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