It seems to me that bench hold-fasts are a lot less common these days than they used to be. That’s too bad – they’re really a great way to secure boards to a workbench. But don’t take my word for it. If your bench has holes for bench dogs, you can build one for yourself. All you need is a common bar clamp, a scrap piece of bar stock, and a few minutes. Continue reading “Bench Hold-fast” »
Whenever I clamp a wide panel or long board to my workbench on edge for sanding or planing, I need a way to support the other end. So I built this simple bench vise helper, as shown in the photos to the right. It’s easy to make and allows me to support panels up to three feet wide. To make the vise helper, start by ripping two 36?-long uprights to width from ¾?-thick hardwood. Then I glued two narrow spacers between them to create a consistent 5/16?-wide slot, as you can see in detail ‘b.’.
Whenever I use pipe clamps, I like to place a block of wood between the clamp and my workpiece. This clamping pad helps prevent damaging the surface of the wood. The problem is trying to hold the block in place as you tighten the clamp.
There are times when you just don’t have enough clamps. But don’t worry – you don’t have to blow your budget on new ones. Here’s an easy-to-build clamp that will work great for most projects.
Thin strips should be cut on a table saw with the wide board against the fence and the fence moved in for each cut, however it is difficult to accurately adjust the fence for each strip to be the same thickness. This gauge allows you to simply slide the fence over until the stock hits the guide. Because there are so many different types of table saws I have not given any measurements for the lengths of the parts, this should be obvious when the strip is in the miter slot.
Cut a stip that fits snugly in the miter slot of the table, with a 5/8″ spade bit drill a pocket for the bolt head about 1/8″ deep, then drill 1/4″ hole for bolt. Cut a slot in a piece 1″ wide hardwood that is long enough to extend to line up with the saw blade, round the outer end. Fasten the two pieces together with a 1/4″ carriage bolt, washer and thumb screw.
Setting bit height is either a hit-or-miss proposition based on eyeballing or a simple measuring task featuring a depth gauge jig. The latter approach is faster and more accurate. Plus, it saves aging knees by eliminating that awkward hunkering-down motion to reach bit level. With a depth gauge, you simply set the desired bit height and then raise the bit until it hits the bottom of the slide bar. With a piloted bit, make sure the slide clears the bearing and touches the cutter.
Using a splitter is a good idea any time you need to rip a board on the table saw, see photo. The splitter helps prevent the kerf from closing on the back of the blade as you rip long workpieces. Many saws now come with manufactured splitters (or they’re available as an accessory).