Woodworking Tools Videos

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.

Setting Up and Using a Router Table

router tableWorking with routers and router tables is often one of the most frightening tools for new users and often one of the most mis-understood by more seasoned woodworkers. Part of the reason for the fear and misunderstanding is that this tool is pretty unique ... the router spins at speeds that makes one think it could easily lift-off the workroom floor and if you are not careful, it can ruin a piece of wood on you pretty quickly or fling it out of your hand before you know what happened.

The truth is, working with routers and router tables is not really not that daunting when you have a baisic knowledge of the tool and an understanding on some of it's principals of operation. The first thing that anyone using a router will do is to decide on what bit they want to use. Many of todays routers like Bosche, DeWalt, Makita and Freud will use both 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch shank router bits and will include both 1/4 inch and 1/2 in collets with the tool. The collet is the name for the chuck or bit holder for the router. When installing any bit in a router, it is important that it be seated properly. This means pushing bit all the way into the collet as far is it will go, then drawing back out about 1/32 of an inch. This draw back is to allow for heat expansion. Router bits can heat up pretty quickly while cutting through wood and they need a small bit of area to expand into at the bottom of the collet. Next the bit needs to be tightened firmly. This does not mean you need to crank the nut so tightly you damage the machine, but it does need to be tight enough that the bit will not spin inside the collet or have any chance of coming out.

Once the bit is installed and the router is seated in the router table, the next thing to look at is the fence ...

Making Raised Panels

raised panel bitsHalf the fun of making doors is deciding what kind of panel to use with them, and the list is endless. Once you have conquered making door frames or more specifically, cabinet door frames making the panels to go in them is often far less challenging. In our video we show how to make raised panels but this is only one of many possibilities. I have seen fabric panels, mirror panels, clear glass panels, stained glass panels and many varieties of simply plain panels of different specialty woods.

Making raised panels appeals to a large number of people because they are one of the "traditional" panels that are used in furniture and cabinet making, particularly kitchen cabinets. By mixing and matching wood some very striking alternatives are possible.

Making raised panels on a router is not difficult but there are some basic rules and techniques to follow. First and most importantly be sure to invest in a good quality panel cutting bit. Of course it will need to be carbide tipped but should also have the blade at a shear angle to make a better cut of the wood and to save wear and tear on your router. Freud bits are an excellent selection for raised panel bits.

Once you have decided on the type of wood you are going to use for the raised panels you will need to know 2 things, 1) what is the moisture content of the wood? and 2) what is the "wood movement" or wood expansion going to be for the wood and the environment that the cabinet will be in.

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