There are many good woodworking tips and it's sometimes hard for us to remember them, but we really don't have to. Our brain will often pop that image back into our mind's eye when we encounter some sort of challenge in the workshop, and instantly, we have a solution.

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Such is the case with Timothy's idea of using the blocks and a simple ratcheting tie-downs for clamping picture frames. I have used a ratcheting tie-downs in the past, but only with special cut corner brackets .. and yes they work fine, but just using the tie-downs with wooden blocks works just as well and is quicker and easier ... 

And here you can see in the picture that the tie-down isn't even snug yet, but when it is. Because all the sides are cut equally, that is, both the horizontal lengths are exactly the same length, and the vertical pieces are also exactly the same length, when you apply pressure on the ratchet, it pulls the whole frame together equally and square. Thanks for this tip Timothy

 Picture frame Ratchet Clamp

Mama C has sent in a few tips and here is yet another. This time she is wanting to cut some thin plastic and one of the safest ways to do this is when the plastic is lying flat, but how do you clamp flat to flat ... well you use washer headed screws also known as pocket hole screws. I use these screws for many, many things but had not thought to use them as clamps ... and they work great, thanks for another great tip Mama C.

Woodworking screw hold downs

Andrew came up with a neat idea for cutting dowels to length by using his sliding miter saw, and a chop saw would also work for this. He started off by making a "V" groove on both the top and bottom of a couple of off-cuts of plywood. He cut his using his table saw and making a couple of 45-degree cuts, I made mine on my router table with a Vee Groove bit I have ...either way works fine. Then you align the grooves so that you can attach a hinge to the back of the jig so that it's easier to insert the bland doweling material. Align the end of the jig with the sliding mitre fence and for proper length, the easiest way is to install a "stop" on the fence that the dowel cutting jig can align to so that all the cuts are equal.
After that it's just a matter of pushing the doweling material through the jig, making a cut, then pushing more doweling through to the edge of the jig  ... and so on.
Thanks, Andrew, this jig is perfect for making lots of equal length dowel pieces. 

Dowel clamp cutting Jig

Gerald sent in this tip of making a "saddle" stop for his table saw sled. I had not thought of this idea, instead I always just used a square piece of wood and a clamp, the only problem with that is the dust build-up after a few cuts, means you need to try and dig that saw dust out because otherwise, your cuts are not exactly the same as the sawdust prevents your wood from butting right up against the wood ... this saddle stop is perfect because it's vertical, but you can stim off the bottom so sawdust doesn't collect which means perfect cut-offs every time ...thanks Gerald ... great tip!

Table Saw Sled Jig

Mike sent it this tip about using the rod and clamps from the bottom of some coat hangers, then drilling a hole through one of your shop vacuum attachments or dust collector attachments, and then the unit can be clamped to the table of your drill press giving you a quick easy solution for dust collection. I know not everyone can use this method so I devised another simple kind of holing idea using Magswitches to accomplish the same idea as what Mike had in mind ... both work great and Mike's idea is a quick easy way of making a port for dust collection on the drill press. 

Drill Press vacuum mount
Here's Colin's adaption of Mike's original idea 

Woodworking dust collector clamp

Graem from Zurich sent this tip for mixing small amounts of fluid, like when I am mixing wood dyes together to come up with the perfect color I want for a project. Graem suggests using a drinking straw or other similar tube, dip it into the liquid then use your finger to trap the liquid in the tube as you transfer it to another location. This works perfect for mixing wood dyes and I'm going to try it for a small amount of finish material too, but this time I will use a disposable drinking straw ...thanks Graem for sending this in. 

Mixing Wood Dyes

Thanks to everyone who sends in tips ... these are a great way we can all learn new ideas and tricks together. Keep them coming!!!

Copyright Colin Knecht


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