Woodworking Jig Upgrades: Table Saw Miter Jig & Drill Press Fence

Jigs in woodworking can help us accomplish a lot of different things but some jigs can be improved upon, but the improvements aren't alway obvious unless you have used the jig for a time and I am going to tackle 2 of those jigs in this episode.

Drill Press Magswitch Fence Modification
The first and one of the handiest jigs I have is the Magswitch fence for my drill press. This is easily the best fence system I have ever made for my drill press, it's quick, easy and not complicated and can be taken of in a heart beat. I can't say enough about this jig.

Watch it on Youtube: https://youtu.be/4krLJWELogQ

The first version of this jig works well, but I didn't think about one thing, and that was that I really like to use a 3/4 inch thick backer board on my drill press which in this case also happens to be the height of the magswich fence so doesn't work the way it could. I like to use the 3/4 inch backer board to help prevent the drill bits from bumping into the metal base and making them duller quicker, and because using a backer board helps to reduce tear-out on boards being drill ... well, sometimes it does ... 

Fact or Fiction: Zero Clearance Table Saw Inserts Make Better Cuts

For many, many years there has been a long-held belief that Zero Clearance Table Saw Throat Plates give better quality cuts on the underside of the material being cut than non-zero clearance throat plates, and I too, have been a perpetrator of this theory. Many Years ago, before carbide tipped tables became popular and we were still using steel blades, I tested this theory and  ... yes, zero clearance inserts did improve the cut. 
For some reason, lately, I wondered that with the much better quality of saw blades if this theory is still true or not so I decided to try out a few of the blades I have and see if do cut better with zero clearance or not.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/h7PpHpZyhKA

I started off by trying some of my crosscut blades on some very dry, fine grain fir. I Set up my table saw first with a Freud 90 tooth cross cut blade and with the zero clearance insert I had made and made my first cut .. they replace the zero clearance insert with the factory non-zero clearance insert and made the second cut ... 

Making Table Saw Inserts / Throat Plates (Dado & Zero Clearance Inserts) HD

Alas ... there is no standard in table saw throat plates. There are some manufacturers that are similar but it seems most all make their own versions. While there are many different throat plates or inserts as they are also called, there are also a variety of ways to make replacement ones. In trying to keep things as simple as possible, I will be showing how to make throat plates in a pretty simple way that will hopefully give others some ideas on how they might best tackle this table saw feature for their own saws.

To clear up some confusions on throat plates, shop made throat plates often have their relief cut made by the blade they will be used with making a very close tolerance between the blade and the throat plate, hence the name "zero clearance", but they can also have a wider tolerance in which case they would simply be called "inserts" or "throat plates". All the term "zero clearance" refers to is the distance between the throat plate and the blade.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/5XQj_AUiYmQ

The main reason to ensure you have and use table saw throat plates is a safety feature. Of course, we need access to the blades for changing them, and sometimes when cutting dado or making sider cuts with dado blades, wobble wheels etc, we need to use a throat plate with a wider space to accommodate the blade.

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Make a Dremel Drill Press / Dremel Workstation

Dremel tools are not always thought of a traditional woodworking tools but I am astounded how many woodworkers one one of these and for me, I am always digging mine out of the cupboard for one reason or another. What I like about them is the portability and how they can do small things with such ease that most other tools are either too big or too cumbersome to use. The one thing I use mine for all - the - time, is trimming screw and nail tips that have protruded through the wood when making things like jigs. I like it when screws protrude through the wood because I know I have a "good bite" on the wood, but having a small sharp tip poking out is a hazard so I always cut them off flush and the Dremel tool is perfect for that.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/yjtDYWJrOGY

More recently I found myself needed a multitude of small, even holes that could be done with the drill press, but I have always wanted a mini drill press for my Dremel tool, so now was a good time to see if I could figure something out for this ...

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Jig for Drilling Shelf Pin Holes / Shelf Pin Jig

Adjustable shelves have become a standard, even inexpensive furniture, you often see some sort of adjustable shelving options in use. One of the easiest ways of doing this is to make a series of matching holes on either side of where the shelves will sit and use small shelving pins to balance the shelves on with. This system works well but does have a few drawbacks depending on the type of wood you select and the kind of shelving pins you select .. of which there is an ever-widening selection to choose from.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/HrP9chOFeh4

There are many different ways of making the holes for the shelving pins, using a router, cordless drill or even a drill press, and what I am showing here is just one version that is quick, easy and effective for smaller jobs. The one thing that is common among all of these is that the holes need to be precision on both sides of where the shelves will sit, otherwise the shelves will wobble ... and sometimes they will anyway, and here's why ...
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Make Coping Sled Jig for the Router Table

Wood Routers used in conjunction with Router Tables open up a whole new world of uses and one of those uses is cabinet door making. There are many different kinds of bits available from numerous manufacturers for making all sorts of different styles of doors ... and it is super easy to make them. Like all tools, setup is important in order to get good consistent results and one of the ways to help achieve this is using jigs. You can make doors several different ways, but using jigs can help give you repeatable, quality results, and one of the jigs to do this is Coping Sled. Basically, all a coping does is help to hold the wood for you as it passes past the router bit on the router table. This may sound easy, but when you car crosscutting wood on a router table and looking for very fine results to get nice tight joint connections, a copying jig is one way of helping to achieve this.

Watch it on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/embed/I4pH2o40CNE

To make my more basic Coping Sled I rummaged around my pile of used plywood and came up with a couple of ideal pieces ...
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