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The Ultimage Router Jig for Dados & Slots

When I look around at the jigs I have been amassing it's a bit frightening. So much so that I recently discovered that I have made 2 jigs that do exactly the same thing. One of them I made about 15 - 20 years ago, and for the life of me, I do not know where it went for most of it's life and I needed the same functionality about a year ago, so made that same jig again and soon after found the original ...

Maybe if I had made a dual purpose jig back then ... a jig that did more than one job I might got a bit more use from it and maybe used it a few time over the years instead of squirrliling it away in my wood storage room where is eventually got forgotten about. Well, time to make another jig, this time a dual purpose, and maybe I can even get it to do more?? Wouldn't that be nice, a multi purpose jig ... I must work on trying to make more of my jig do more kinds of things.

This router jig for cutting dados is something I have been meaning to make for a long time. I often need to cut one or two quick dados and setting up my dado blade on my table saw, making test cuts etc. Is a lot of time for what should be a short process. The other thing that I need that is along the same vein is a jig that I can use to cut slots ... in even more jigs I want to make, so why not make a jig that does both?

Make a Wooden Dog Bed

Sometimes things that seem simple, turn out to be more of a challenge that we expected, and such was the case with Dash's new bed. Dash is  an 8 week old beagle puppy who is growing up in an urban environment and his owners are doing their utmost to provide him with all the things a puppy needs to have and learn as they grow, and one important item is a bed, a place that a dog knows is secure. A place they can go and retreat to.

I checked out sizing for Beagles and settled on a size that looked suitable. I checked the internet for designs and was completely awestruck by the numbers and varieties of dog beds. Check it out for a moment, it's crazy. What I did not see was a design that I had in my head ... many similar but nothing the same, so this would be another "scratch build". It needed to have an upper frame to hold a cushion or some sort of bedding, and I wanted the whole bed to be off the floor to make it easier to clean around. It also needed to sturdy enough for an adult to sand on because I just know, someone ... somewhere well end up using it as step to get something out of reach, or change a light bulb, so it needs to be sturdy, strong and safe.

I started off making the base which is not unlike what you would have in your kitchen with a toe kick under the cabinets. The purpose of this was, to help make cleaning easier, but also to give the bed at least some elements of design without going overboard. I also wanted to have a place where the dog could enter and leave, like a doorway, but it would need to have rounded corners to help discourage any gnawing the puppies often do, and to make it a bit safer with no sharp upper corners.

Making and Using A Lumber Rule

Back in the day ... before mobile phones, tablets, computers and even hand calculators people invented amazing devices to aid in mathematics and calculations. In fact, many of these devices are still in use in some industries today because they are still as fast and as accurate and anything invented since then.
One of the items that fits this category is something called the Lumber Rule. They are still being manufactured today, though in much smaller quantities. The only real disadvantage of a lumber rule is that anyone who uses one is probably also carrying around a smart phone, which ... will do the same thing, kind-of, though often slower, and the smartphone still needs a tape measure to go with it.
I have seen these Lumber Rules listed on a different auction sites, for some pretty serious money, I guess anything that is perceived to be "old" must be expensive (???)  So I decided to make my own version of a lumber rule to help me quickly figure out the board feet contained in a board so that I can know how much that board is worth.

If you are at the lumber store and are only buying one of 2 boards, or some small quantity, who cares? ... a smartphone, or even just a tape measure will work fine. IF - however you are buying a quantity of boards, or you are wanting to compare prices of different species in the lumber store, and do it quickly - nothing will beat a Lumber Rule for accuracy and speed.

Kicking Horse River Bridge

The days of Timber Frame Construction are being kept alive and well by members of the Timber Framers Guild, a world wide organization dedicated to keeping this form of woodworking combined with carpentry, alive and active. And thankfully someone does because without some of these massive and impressive hand build structures like houses, barns, bridges and lodges, we would see this art from fade away.
One of the more more recent and certainly impressive project this group engaged in was building the impressive Foot Bridge over the Kicking Horse River in Golden British Columbia, Canada. The Kicking Horse River was so named because in 1858, Sir James Hector, who was exploring the area, was kicked in the chest by his horse while in the vicinity of the river, and so came the name, Kicking Horse River.
Although the bridge was completed in 2001, it was 5 years in the planning and the raising of funds to build it.The townspeople of Golden worked hard and making this bridge become a reality by ensuring the skilled workers would be on hand, along with a team of apprentice Timber Framers who go on-the-job training, and all of whom needed living quarters and meals provided because most of the workers on this bridge did so with out pay, and many even paid their own way from all corners of the world, just to get to Golden and the opportunity to work on this timber frame bridge.

Towards the end of summer in 2001 the bridge was nearing completion. This was also the time of the tragic events unfolding in New York City on September 11, 2001 and what come be be known as "911".  Despite this world changing event, the townspeople and Timber Framers worked hard into the fall to finalize the competion and placement of the bridge. Having been build on the banks of the Kicking Horse River, a glacier fed river, upon completion the entire bridge needed to be hoisted and positioned across the river.

This was done using 2 enormous cranes and the process lasted 4 heart-stopping days. After the bridge was placed the final component, the roof was added and thus was the completion of the Kicking Horse Foot Bridge.
anyone who has any love of woodworking, carpentry and timber framing will be in awe of this bridge as it sits over the the turquoise river ... and during the right seasons, you can watch the boat loads of rubber rafters who come to challenge these white water rapids, making one of the most picturesque and awe inspiring locations you will ever get to visit.


Making a Circle Jig for a Bandsaw

circle jig on bandsawI don't seem to need to cut circles very often, but when I do, I often resort to drawing them out on the wood I am cutting then cutting them out by hand with my Jigsaw. This method is ok, but the jigsaw always leaves a rough edge that is uneven, so after cutting I usually spend as much (or more) time cleaning up the cut with my belt sander. For one-ups, this is ok, but I know there are better ways ... like using my router and the circle jig I made for that quite some time ago, but there is still another way, using the bandsaw, and that's what I am doing today.

As we all do, I checked out the Internet to see what was available and there are a number of designs and all that I could find were designs that made fixed sizes. What if I want a circle made that is between those sizes? I need a variable distance circle jig, and that's what I made.


 I decided the best way to make a variable jig was to create a sliding center, which means 2 pieces of wood, fastened together in a manner that lets the slide move uninhibited.

Cyclone Dust Collection Upgrade

dust collector systemCollecting Dust or at least preventing the distribution of dust in the workshop has been an active topic among woodworkers for a long, long time and I expect it will continue to be as new information, changes in the industry and new methods continue to evolve.
The one thing that hasn't changed is that we all pretty confident that wood dust is not good for us to inhale. We seem to be at odds about how much is safe and which dusts are worse than others, but the safe rule of thumb is NO dust is good and ALL dust should not be inhaled. I think every woodworking shop I have been in has some amount of dust in the air, what we all do is strive to reduce this dust as best we can. One way of reducing dust is with dust collectors.


For smaller shops like mine, a typical dust collector is often a 1.5 and up to a 3 horsepower electric fan that draws dust from our machinery and deposits the dust it into a plastic bag while using an upper cloth bag or composite canister to filter the small particles of dust and return fresh air to the room. These are often not the best, but for many of us they are best we can afford and install, and in recent years they are actually doing a pretty good job. These units with collect and expel dust in one unit are called Single Stage Dust Collectors ...