Woodworking Tools Videos

Building a Sliding Mitre Stand

Smaller workshops are always looking for space saving ideas and projects, and this project, no matter how large your workshop is, can benefit a variety of storage constraints. Many modestly outfitted workshops these day either have a sliding mitre saw in them. These a great, handy saws, but all of the stands that are available for them are designed around the idea that the saw and stand need to be portable. If you are a carpenter, that may be true, but if you are a woodworker you may seldom if ever, have a need to move your saw. Of course the problem with all metal stands for these saws is when they are set up, they take up a lot of room with little useable storage underneath unless it is wood, which is still hard to get at.

I recently upgraded my compressor to one of the quieter models, and I love the compressor, but it's always in the way sitting on the floor of the workshop. I thought that if I could build a nice stand for my mitre saw and use the space underneath the saw to store my compressor I could solve 2 problems.

Like many woodworkers, I HATE throwing out wood, even small chunks, and my neighbors know this so a couple of years ago when one of them did a basement reno, they gave me a number of very good sheets of 1/4"  plywood that could easily be used for backing on cabinets and so on. But I had other ideas for it ...

Sharpening Plane Blades and Chisels

Working with sharp tool blades is a MUST in the workshop. Not only is is safer, it is much easier on the woodworker who not only doesn't have to work so hard, but it also makes woodworking much more fun. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to plane a board, or carve out a mortise when you have a dull tool.
Sometimes we think our tool or blade is sharp but really it isn't. When you take a blade that you thought was sharp, then really sharpen it, you will not believe the difference in how easy it cuts and how much less work it is. For years I struggled with what I thought were plane blades that were - sharp enough - . I knew they weren't the sharpest, but I never bothered to take the time to sharpen them properly and always assumed that they were ok.

One day, while visiting another woodworker, who had just sharpened his plane blade, I asked him if I could try it out. I was completely astounded what a difference a really sharp blade was like. It wasn't long after I encountered a more mature woodworker, who I knew was an expert in sharpening, and asked him if he would sharpen my blades for me ... and I would pay him. A week later he called to have me come and pick up the blades and while I was at his shop, I asked if he would give be a lesson in how I could get good results, with the least fuss, and this is what this video is about.

What he showed me is the same thing I am going to show here, what I think is one of the easiest and cost effective ways of sharpening chisel and plane blades and similar blades. This is the best way that works for me, but other people will have many other ways that are also just as good and maybe even easier and I am confident they will all be sharing their expertise with us. There are MANY MANY different ways to sharpen chisels and plane blades, and some people make a real art out of sharpening. It becomes - their thing - in woodworking, and so this article details what I learned that afternoon. The first thing you need to do is ...

Horizontal Sander and Portable Belt Sanders

When you need material taken off ... in a hurry, nothing works like a belt sander. They can be rough and often hard to control but do a great job of taking the rough spots off so you can start getting down to the finer work.

Portable belt sanders have been around for many years and come in a variety of sizes. Some of the smaller ones look deceivingly like you can operate them with one hand, and maybe some of you can, but even these smaller units pack a lot of power so using 2 hands is far safer and much more accurate.

Many of the portable belt sanders have attachment or receiving nuts embedded in the top of the unit. Often one in the front and rear of the machine. The purpose of these receiving nuts is that these belt sanders can be adapted to many different uses. The first time I ever saw someone using this feature was at a shipyard. Some poor sole had the dubious job of scraping and sanding a hull of what looked like about a 40 foot boat which had recently come out of the ocean and was nicely encrusted with lots of, now, dried on marine life. He had innovated a belt sander to long wooden board and was using it run the belt sander up and down the underside of the hull. It was tough work, but he seemed to handling it.

 

Some years later when I happened upon a used belt sander at a swap meet or garage sale somewhere, I noticed it too hand these receiving bolts on the top. This meant that when I got home I could actually mount the belt sander on it's side and use it as a stationary sander ... and did it work great ...

Make it Accurate with the Right Square

Have you ever cut all the pieces for a woodworking project then tried to put them together and found that they just don't fit together nicely? Could it be that the one tool you rely on most, your square is not giving you a proper angle reading ?

One of the most frustrating things about woodworking, especially for new woodworkers, is when you are working away on your project and it comes to starting to put it together and it just doesn't fit nicely. There are gaps in the joints, some of the angles seem to be off a bit, it just isn't coming to gether nicely.

When this happens, you get out your square and start double checking your cuts  and if your square is off to begin with, measured one way, your cuts will be perfect, but reverse the square and if the joint is WAY OFF when reversed, then your square is the problem, not your woodworking ability. In many cases when this happens, you cannot go back and re-set up the machinery and re-cut the wood because it will be too small, so now you have a very expesive stack of firewood, or more wood for your cut-off pile that hopefully you will have a use for one day.

One of the tools we use continuely  in our work, often with out even thinking about it is the square. The lowly square has been around for ever and has remainend basically unchanged in thousands of years. Today, we can purchase all sorts of different variations of the square, large squares, small squares, adjustable squares  ....

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