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...

Tips & Tricks: Handscrew headstand

Marge Fillmore, San Diego, California - 11-02-2016

Standing short pieces at the drill press can be challenging if you don’t have the right kind of vise. But there’s a perfectly good way to get by with no vise at all by using a notched handscrew. For safety and accuracy when holding both round and square pieces, the notches must be cut at 90°,...

Tips & Tricks: Planing boards short and sweet

Adam Swinton, Baltimore, Maryland - 11-02-2016

When I saw Paul Anthony’s method of snipe-free planing in issue #73’s Tricks column, I thought I’d share a somewhat similar technique that I use for safe planing of short boards. As any thickness planer manual notes, it’s unsafe to feed boards shorter than about 12" through the machine. Bu...

Tips & Tricks: Dead-Simple Mortising Setup

Andy Rae, Asheville, North Carolina - 11-02-2016

Loose-tenon joinery is a great way to join pieces. For ease, efficiency, and dead-on accuracy, making the joint requires using a jig that secures the workpiece on end while guiding the router. However, in a pinch, you can get away with using just your workbench, its end vise, and a simple plywood or...

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