Tips & Tricks: Perfect router-cut dadoes

Ryan Reese, New York, New York - 05-18-2017

Hardwood plywood usually doesn’t match its nominal thickness; it’s typically undersized between 1/64" and 1/32". Therefore, when routing dadoes, a single pass with a single bit is unlikely to yield a perfect fit. (Even “undersized” panel bits sold for the purpose may not exactly suit the thi...

Tips & Tricks: Dovetailing platform

Tim Snyder, editor - 05-18-2017

When making hand-cut dovetail joints, it’s common to use a completed tail board as a template to lay out the pins. However, I’ve found it difficult to keep the tail board and pin board accurately and securely aligned for the process, especially while bending uncomfortably low over my workbench. ...

Tips & Tricks: Featherboard riser

Dan Martin, Galena, Ohio - 05-18-2017

A featherboard is great for controlling feed at the table saw, bandsaw, or router table, preventing kickback and keeping a workpiece firmly pressed against a fence for both safety and accuracy of cut. But there are times when a featherboard is best raised up off the table. For example, when rabbetin...

Tips & Tricks: Tape Rule Gauge

Paul Anthony, senior editor - 03-14-2017

For accurate work, you need accurate measuring tools, and that includes your tape rule. Unfortunately, the sliding tang on a tape rule—which allows for taking inside and outside measurements—is often the tool’s Achilles’ heel. Inexpensive tape rules are particularly prone to inaccurate measu...

Tips & Tricks: Book-matching legs

Geoffrey Noden, Trenton, New Jersey - 03-14-2017

When making a project with four square legs, such as the jewelry chest on page 36, a nice visual touch is to configure the legs to display book-matched grain when viewed from any side of the piece. Here’s how to do it: Begin with a square piece of riftsawn stock the length of the legs. It should b...

Tips & Tricks: Leveling A Drill Press Table

John Worst, Orlando, Florida - 03-14-2017

When leveling my drill press table, I’ve tried the old trick of mounting a bent coat hanger in the chuck and rotating it as a reference. However, I found that the hanger flexed too much for reliability. Instead, I use a sturdier gauge made from a 3/4 × 3/4" stick and two 16d common nails. Make th...

Tips & Tricks: Curved Tapers on the Jointer

Russ Svendsen, Olean, New York - 01-16-2017

I recently had to replace a broken leg on a Duncan Phyfe style candlestand table. These legs are curved, so you can’t taper them on the tablesaw. They are also tapered fully end-to-end, so you can’t shape them on the jointer the way you can a stop-tapered leg. So here’s how to pull off the j...

Tips & Tricks: Self-Positioning Assembly Braces

Joe Hurst, senior editor - 01-16-2017

Squaring braces can be very helpful for assembling cases and drawers. Expensive commercial versions are available, but simple plywood triangles with notches or holes serving for clamp purchase work pretty well. However, I decided to upgrade to the shop-made fenced versions shown for a recent large c...

Tips & Tricks: Tape rule trammel

Walt Summers, Miami, Florida - 01-16-2017

Trammel heads—the kind that clamp onto a strip of wood—are the tool of choice when laying out circles and arcs. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, and require a suitable strip of wood for the job, which may not be available when you need it. A handier alternative may be sitting in your kitc...

Tips & Tricks: Glue cleanup detailing

Frank Ellis, St. Louis, Missouri - 11-02-2016

It can be difficult to clean up glue in tight recessed spots like in beads and other small profiles, but here’s a good approach. Begin by using a damp, short-bristled brush, pushing it forward to scoop up the majority of the glue. Keep the brush clean by washing it in clean water as you work. When...

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