Woodworking Tools Videos

Horizontal Sander and Portable Belt Sanders

When you need material taken off ... in a hurry, nothing works like a belt sander. They can be rough and often hard to control but do a great job of taking the rough spots off so you can start getting down to the finer work.

Portable belt sanders have been around for many years and come in a variety of sizes. Some of the smaller ones look deceivingly like you can operate them with one hand, and maybe some of you can, but even these smaller units pack a lot of power so using 2 hands is far safer and much more accurate.

Many of the portable belt sanders have attachment or receiving nuts embedded in the top of the unit. Often one in the front and rear of the machine. The purpose of these receiving nuts is that these belt sanders can be adapted to many different uses. The first time I ever saw someone using this feature was at a shipyard. Some poor sole had the dubious job of scraping and sanding a hull of what looked like about a 40 foot boat which had recently come out of the ocean and was nicely encrusted with lots of, now, dried on marine life. He had innovated a belt sander to long wooden board and was using it run the belt sander up and down the underside of the hull. It was tough work, but he seemed to handling it.


Some years later when I happened upon a used belt sander at a swap meet or garage sale somewhere, I noticed it too hand these receiving bolts on the top. This meant that when I got home I could actually mount the belt sander on it's side and use it as a stationary sander ... and did it work great ...

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

One 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 will look like your board has "sagged" along the edge that was just jointed. The lower the knives are from the out feed table the more exaggerated the arching or sagging will be. This of course makes it impossible to glue boards together, or in many case to even connect your wood together.

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 steel 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 setting will joint or plane the board while leaving a very shallow amount of snipe at the back end of the board being jointed. (snipe is that small depression that jointers and planers can leave a the very end of boards).