Woodworking Tools Videos

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  ....

Making Mitre Slot Blanks

Making jigs is one of the most common tasks for most woodworkers. Sometimes they are simple, sometimes not, sometimes they are used once but often they are used over and over again. Some of the most common jigs are associated with out stationary tools, like bandsaws, table saws, lathes, drill presses and so on. Many of the stationary tools that we use have mitre slots the are used for a few things, like mitre gauges, feather boards and other accessories that utilize this convenient slot.

Table saws are often picked on for making jigs where the mitre slots is used and when making jigs, it's ideal to be able to have some mitre gauge blanks on hand, rather than having to stop and make these as well as the jig.

Revisiting Setting Jointer Knives

milling2One of the great things about woodworking is that there are often more than one way to accomplish things. This fact is true with setting jointer knives. There is really only one rule in setting jointer knives and that is NEVER let the knives fall below the height of the out feed table.

When this happens, when you joint wood, instead of your wood being nice and straight and flat, it will be flat but will come out "arced", and the lower the knives are from the out feed table the more exaggerated the arcing will be. This of course makes it impossible to glue boards together, or in many case to even connect your wood together because is will leave gaps.

One of the tried and true methods I was taught many, many years ago was that when setting jointer knives the correct height is when you lay a ruler on the out feed table and slowly turn the jointer knives by hand, the knives will grab the ruler lift is slightly and move it ahead by about 1/8". This leave a very time amount of snipe in the board (snipe is that small depression that jointers and planers can leave a the very end of boards).

Pattern Making with the Router

flush trim bitLearning the tricks of how to use tools can make your woodworing life so - much - easier. The router is one of the perfect tools for making multiple, identical parts or components. Of course, you normally would need a router table with this as well, but depending on the part and the size, these can be done free hand, as long as the parts are held down firmly, and it's a great opportunity to use a "starter pin" to ease the wood into so that it makes a smoother transition.

In terms of a bit, a flush trim bit all that is needed. There are a few versions of these bits in both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks. You can get bits with bearing at the top of the bit, or at the bottom of the bit and you can even get some with bears at both top and bottom. The bits with the two bears are best because it gives you more options.

The actual template material that works best is 1/4" hardboard which is readily available at most hardware and wood supply stores. Although there is also a 1/8" version, which is also painted white on one side and is very nice for drawing your template outline on, the thinner version means more risk of running off the template which can ruin it, and your work piece.


The finished wood products from using this pattern making method are smooth well shaped products that are ready for the next step in the production of the finished product.  Pattern making can be used for a variety of woodworking projects but one of the best uses is in making "blanK" inserts for your table saw.

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