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2005 #117. ocToBER

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I U Router-Table EdgeJointing
How do I use a router table as ajointer?


T'ips Special 1 A Workshop

r-r Working Alone

job 15 waysto managea two-Person by yourself.



Inexpensiveproducts tame the unruly messbehind your electronicgear. YourSkills A A Build



++ Tapered Dovetails Sliding

Master this advanced joint with a router and n'vo basic jigs.

Wood Edgingon LaminatedToPs 69 \rLr top

5 steps to make a plastic-laminate look like a million bucks.

Circles Tablesawn A4 L' t'

Cut a round tabletop on a contractor's saw.

qA Oops! 'r \r

An out-of-control fire extinguisher makes a big mess!

Shop C)C) Well-Equipped


Clamp Bencl'r-Mount

The quick-acting Versa Clamp doubles as a bench vise.

4L Hilli".a tators I catcu A

If fractions drive you batty,

check out these 7 digital problem-solvers. ToolTest

Go dust-free with a vacuum (or rwo) tailored to your shop and tools.

SoupUp 1L 'r YourShopVacuum

5 accessoriesfor eliminating dust from portable power tools.
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ShopStool Rq Double-Duty on a handy seat

Do your figuring made from a half sheet of plywood. r

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o 2 American Woodworker ocToBER 2oo5

Editor Managing Editor Senior Editor Associate Editors Tools and Products Editor Editorial Intern Design Director Art Director Graphic Design Intern Copy Editor

Ken Collier RandyJohnson Tom Caspar TimJohsm Dave Mrmkittrick George Vondriska Luke Hartle Sara Koehler VernJohnson Ryan Nelson

Jean Cook Fact Checking Specialists Jennifer Febt Nina ChildsJohnson Production Offrce Administrative Manager Artist Manager Production Judy Rodriguez Lisa PahI Knecht Alice Garrett Shannon Hooge Roxie Filipkowski ShellyJacobsen

Technical Manager Reader Service Specialist Administrative Assistant

General Manager and Group Publisher Associate Publisher, Director ofSales Associate Publisher, Director of Integrated Sales& Marketing National Sales Manager Business Manager Promotion Manager Promotion Coordinator Marketing Coordinator Advertising Coordinator Research Manager

Tom Ott Rick Straface Bianchi James Ford Mike Frantino Andrea Vecchio Joanne No6 DerrickPhillip Barbara Berezowski Georgia Sorensen lGrry


Desk System K9 Modular fit any room

Build a desk to using these sleek components. Top, shelves and sides are all joined with a hallmark of classic woodworking: the tapered sliding dovetail.


ADVERTISING SALES 260 Madison Ave., NewYork, NY 10016; (212) 8*7226 CHIC,AGO Carl Benson (312) 54M802, Brian Condron (312) 5404805 James Ford (312) 54M804 Sherry Mallit (sales assistant) (312, 5404824 Oda (206) 2824002 WESTCOASTBonnie NEW YORK Tlrck Sifers (212) 850-7197 Classified Advertising, The McNeill Group, Inc. Classified Manager, Don Serfass, (215) 321-9662, ext. 30 PUBLTSHED BY HOME SERVICE PUBLICATIONS, INC., A SUBSIDIARY OF THE READER'S DIGEST ASSOCIATION, INC. President, U.S. Magazines President. Consumer Marketing, North America Circulation Marketing Director Bennis $26har

Dawn Zer Lou Sassano

Vice President, CFO North America Global Editor-in-Chief. President. North America Chairman. Chief Executive Officer

Stephen W' Simon Eric Schrier Thomas O. Ryder

Issue #117. American Woodworker@, ISSN 107+9152, USPS ?3&710 Published bimonthly, except monthly October and November by Home Service Publications, Inc., 260 Madison Avenue,5th Floor, NewYork, NY 10016. Periodicals postage paid at New York, NY and additional mailing offices. Postmilter: Send change of address notice to American Woodworker@, P.O. Box 8148, Red Oak, LA 51591-1f48. Subscription rates: U.S. one-year, $24.98. Singlecopy, $5.99. Canada one-year, $29.98 (U.S. Funds); GST # R122988611. Foreign surface one-yeat $29.98 (U.S. Funds). U.S. newsstand distribution by Heant Distribution Group, NewYork, NY f0019. In Canada: Postage paid at Gateway, Mississauga,Ontario; CPM# 1447866. Send returns and addres changes to American Woodworker@, P.O. Box 8148, Red Oak, LA, USA 51591-1148. Printed in USA. O 2005 Home Seruice Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Reader's Digest may share information about you with reputable companies in order for them to offer you products and services of interst to vou. If you would mther we not share infiormation, please write to u at Reader's Digest Asociation, Americm Woodworker, Customer Senice Depanment, P.O. Box 81t8, Red Oak, IA 51591. Pleaseinclude a copy ofyour addres labe.. Subscriben: If the Post Office alerts us that your magazine is undeliverable, we have no further obligation unles we receive a corrected address within one year.

American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo5

joiner plate Yourfirst maynotbea Lamello, but we're certainyour last one will. lt people makes sense thatthe whoinvented joining thetechnique would of biscuit build the world's finestplate joiner. These precision Swissmade, crafted tools are the mostaccurate, repeatable, rugged, reliable machines ontheplanet justafewofthereasons Here are thatmake joiner you'll them thelastplate everneed: r Allslides andcontact surfaces are machined thandrawn or cast)to {rather precision ensure absolute and flatness r All guide surfaces arecoated to ensure fluidmotion andmaximum life r Every machine is inspected for dimensional accuracy andgroove tolerance of .001" r Guaranteed parts availability of spare for 10years r Consistently rated theuhimate biscuit joiner journals bytrade And,Lamello makes more thanjustgreat Plate Lipping Planers Joiners, ourCantex andLamina Laminate Trimmers are must havetoolsfor the serious woodworker looking fortheultimate in quality.

Colonial SawGompany, Inc.

EAST 1-888-777-2729 wEsT1-800-252-6355 l,ltww.csaw.c0m/01


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I don't own a jointer. l've heard about using a router table as a jointer. How is this done? All that's required is a simple shop-made f'ence and a flush-trirn router bit. The fence has an offset created by addir-rga strip of plastic laminate to the fence's outfeed face (see photo, bottom left). The offset equals the amount of stock removed for each pass (see inset photo). To use the fence, set up your router table with a flush-trirn bit. The fence must be set so the oufeed sicleis dead-on flush with the router bit's cutting arc (seephoto, bottom right). Make a few test culs. If you get some snipe at the end of the cut, the fbnce needs to move forward. If the stock bangs into the laminate edge, the fence needs to be moved back a touch. The easiestway to fine-tune the fence is by loosening one clamp and tapping the fence in or out. Source MLCS. (800) 533-9298,
wvwv. m lcswoodworkinq. com

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3/4-i n.-dia., two-fIute, f lushcarbide-tipped, trim bit,#7808, $15.

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PLASTIC LAMINATE To build the fence, face-

glue two 314-in. x 4-112-in. x 4 9 - i n .p i e c e s of MDFandtrim t h e m t o 4 i n . x 4 8 i n . D r i l la 1 - 1 1 2 - i n . dia. hole centered1-114 in. backfrom the f r o n t e d g e . F i n i s ht h e U - s h a p e d bit channel te w i t h a j i g s a w .G l u ea p l a s t i c - l a m i n a s t r i po n t h e fence'soutfeededge. Finally, add a polycarbonate guard for safety.

Set the fence flush with the router bit bearing by holding a straightedgeagainst the outfeed side. Position the fence so the straightedge contacts the router bit bearing and clamp the fence down.


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American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oos


I keep popping a circuit breakerwith my contractor's saw, and it's driving me nuts. Would changing to a 240-volt circuit solve t he pr oblem ? In a perfect world, a 120-voltcircuit should handle the 7-l/2-hp motor on your contractor's sawwithout tripping the breaker. In reality,your

circuit may not be delivering the full 120 volts to your saw. This is commonly referred to as voltage drop. Your saw's motor is rated for 120 volts. If ir's getting less than that, it will pull more current to make up the difference and that will cause the breaker to trip. Here's what you can do: First make sure there is no other electrical draw on the circuit. Then, look at how far the outlet is from the service panel. If your panel is in the garage and your shop is on the opposite side of the house in the basement, you're essentially running your saw on a very long "extension cord." The longer the distance, the greater the voltage drop. To measure the actual voltage being delivered to your saw, have a friend cut some wood on your saw while you take a reading with a voltmeter (available at hardware stores for around $20). A voltage drop in excess of 5 percent can lead to breaker trips. Running the saw on 240 volts would solve this problem. That's because a24o.volt circuit will have onequarter the voltage drop over a given distance than a l2Gvolt circuit will have. (This difference is what leads people to swear ttrey get more power from 240 volts than 120 volts.) Instead of about a lGvolt drop (13 percent) shown on the voltmeter in the photo, you would have a 4volt (2 percent) drop in a 24Gvolt circuit.


American Woodlvorker

ocroBER 2oo5

I leave my shop u n h e a t e dw h e n l ' m not us ing it . A t ti me s i t g e ts well below freezing.Will t his s hor t e n th e l i fe o f my rechargeablebattery packs?

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Rechareeable batteries should be treated like pets. Give them A waml place to stay in the winter and cool shelter in the hot surrmer rnonths. Nickel cadrnitrm (NiCad) and nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries do not like extremes in temperatrlre. Nearfreezing temperatrlres call shorten the life of recl-rargeable batteries. If yotrr shop is turheated, it's best to keep the batteries \vann ir-rsicle your hotse rvhen llot in the shop. ,vou'fe Excessiveheat can also damage your batteries. Storine batteries for extended periods of time in telnperatures l-righer than 95 degrees can actualll, break down the cl-remicalsand insulatior-r used in rechargeable batteries. If yotrr shop rturs hot in the stunmer rnonths, tr1, to find a cool place to store the batteries, for inst.lrce, a lou'er cabinet near the floor. Ard never leave a rechargeable batter1, ir-t a car or trtrck, n,here interior temperatrlres cAn exceed 100 degrees.
If vou havc a qtrcsti<trt vorr'd like ansrvered,serrclit to Llsar & Answer, American Question Woodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121 or e.mail to Sorn,, ltut thc rrrltunc of'rnail prevcltLsus fi'ottr zrnsl'er-ins cach question individtr:rllr:

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;5hbP'Ysio Brand l&et IW Ut i I i tyr'.Va cs can clgai up the toighest nrsses, Wet or dty, indoors or out. So bring on the mess and watch us clean it up!
@2005 Shop-Vac Corporation Williamsport,PA
Shop-Vac@ is a regigtered trademark of the Shoo-Va< Corooration.

Anrcrican \{irodrvorkcr

ocroBER 2oo5


Solitary Strategies for Three-Handed Tasks
ne of woodworking's major attractions is being able to say, "I built that myself." On the surface, this statement is about mastering skills and techniques. But on another level, it's about independence-the satisfaction that comes from discovering methods that allow working successfully by oneself. Woodworking is loaded with situations, large and small, in which a little ingenuity can replace a call for help. So put down the phone and read on!


Kerp lr TocETHER
Keeping large or complex assemblies square during glueup can be a real headache. Heck, when you're alone, just assembling all the pieces can be a pain in the neck.Youwon't need aspirin or an assistant if you use 9Gdegree brackets. They'll hold thinp in position during assembly and keep the assembly square when you glue and clamp it together.


Without help, it's tough to hold a long, heavy pipe clamp level while you draw it tight. By supporting one end, a spring clamp eliminates the need for help from extra hands.


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo5

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chipping out.

Dy TimJohnson

Managing the space in your shop can be a real chore during a kitchen cabinet project. Nailing skids on the bottoms makes cabinets easy to move and also keeps their veneered plywood sides from


There's no rule that saln you have to glue together a tabletop or a cabinet all in one shot. When you work alone, it's easier-and a lot smarter-to glue in stages, tackling only as manyjoints as you can safely manage. (Here, for example, the left sidejoints are being glued first.) Then you won't risk having the glue dry before you can assemble and clamp the joints. To ensure everything stays square and properly aligned when you use this method, always clamp the entire assembly together, even though you're only gluing a portion of it.

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I've tried all kinds of carriers and lifting strategies to move heavy sheet stock, like MDR but this method is my all-time favorite. Stand the sheet on edge, grab the sides, lean forward and go. Ninety pounds never felt lighter. Of course, this method is incompatible with low ceilings inside and windy days outside, unless you enjoy MDF sailing.

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ins brads ancl ch"ivine theur, this air-porverecl hatnurer A t\\roallolvs vou to perfot'tn

handed job rvith oue hatrd. T h a t m e a n s y o r . ru ' o u ' t t t e e c l a thircl I'rand to holcl the workpiece. A brad nailer is great for sectrring tacking rniterecl clrarver or fzrstetr-

Sronr Lurvern
When you're alone, it's a real chore to unearth boards from the bottom of a horizontal stack. Boards stored upright against brackets are easy to see and sort. Just flip through the boards and tip out the ones you want. You don't have to lift anything.

corners, fronts

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ing cleliczrte mcllclittgs. Face f l ' a r n e s s e c r r r e c [n i t h a c o t r p l e brads \\rol]'t slide cnrt of place rvhen 1,ott zrpplv clantps cltrring glue-up. Tl-re tinv nail l-roles are ezlsyto disgrtise. Vrtt can buv a bracl n:tiler atrd a sn-rall collpressor fbr as little


Nothing helps a solo woodworker move materials and machinery like a good set of wheels. Size matters: Buy casters that can handle hear.yloads, at a minimum, a 125-lb. capacityper caster.Large wheels, at least 3 in. in diameter, provide clearance on uneven floors and are less likely to stall on cracks or power cords. Rubber tires ride more smoothly and quietly than solid plastic wheels. They're also more skidresistant when the casters are locked. Four swivel casters provide the best maneuverability; pairs of swivel and fixed casters make a cvrt easier to steer. Ball bearings LOCKLEVER and wheel locks are essential. Swivel casters should have dual-action locks, so they won't roll or swivel.
Hardware, Source Highland (8001 241-6748, 3 - i n .l o c k i n g swivelcasterwith plate,150-lb. #084050, capacity, $8 ea.;3-in. w i t h p l a t e ,1 5 0 - l b . f i x e dc a s t e r #184050, capacity, $4 ea. Tlrirrg l() ril) sheet stoc'k

u'hilc standsingle-l-ran<lecllv A of horses the pair no picnic. ing 8 ft. behind the san is
sa[re height as \/oul' sarv table carrv the loacl artd lezn'e a path so you can easilv gtricle the sheet fl-ont start to firtisl'r. Used beside the san,, san.height horses provicle the satne stabilizing suppol-t frrr crosscttttinc sheet stock.




Like helping hands, slippery surfaces make heavy stock slide easily and seem lighter. Reduce drag on your steel machine tables by coating them with paste wax or a drylubricant spray.Use melamine, which is MDF with resin-impregnated paper faces, for support tables. In addition to reducing muscle strain, melamine brightens your shop, is easy to keep clean and costs only one-third more than plain MDF.

Errro GlurNGTrvrr Tnrals

Yellow wood glues tlpically have about five minutes of open time-that's how long you have to assemble the joint after you've applied glue. Five minutes is sufficient for simple glueups, but this short window puts a real squeeze on a solo woodworker facing an assemblywith numerous joints. One way to beat the clock is to buy wood glue with a longer open time, from a couple extra minutes to half an hour, depending on the formulation. The only trade-off is longer clamp time, because these slow-setting formulations longer to dry. Another clock-beating method is to spread glue with a trim roller. It's amazingly fast and the roller leaves a nice even layer of glue. Trim rollers, packaged in a small plastic tray, cost about $4 in a home center's paint department. The rollers are reusable;just rinse them out. Short-nap rollers produce the best results. (800) WoodworkinS, 279-4441, Sources Rockler lltebond Extend woodglue with7-to 8-minute open time,#24623, a $6.50 pint.r Garrett wade,(800]'221-2942, Slo-Set Glue with30-minute #62J04.01, open time, $7 a pint. take

SHonr oF HnruDS? Usr FeEr

To hold a workpiece on its edge for mounting hinges, gluing on edge banding and similar tasks, simply clamp handscrews to the bottom.

American Woodworker

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Use FrnrHERS, Nor FrrucERS
Featherboards make it easy to process long pieces. Like extra hands-only better, because they keep fingers out of harm's way-featherboards firmly hold long pieces in position at the start and finish of a cut. Using them, you'll get smooth results from end to end.

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Activate your dust collector fi'om urny,rvhere ir-r system. 1'otrr shop by ir-rstallil)g a remote-colttrol You'll save steps e\erv tinre vou turn it on or off. Even in zr one-perscln shop, savecl steps lnean less rvasted effort ancl gr-eater procltrctir,'itt,, sct l'emote and relay box cost filter bae. If you \,ou c:rn ir-rstall controls are as ber-reficial as alt extra pair of l-rands. Basic systems u,ith a transmitter no rrlore than a premitun-quality don't want to carry a transmitter,




srvitch-equippecl blast p;ates, so ]-our dust collector starts and stops whenever a gate is opened or closed. Upper-end appropriate ir-r tool. (800) Source PennStateIndustries, 377-l2gl, Lm o n gR a n g eR r F R e m o t eL : R110-( 31 1 0 V ) , transmitte rn d 1 - 1 l 2 - h r ( 2 2 0 V )t,r a n s a pe l a y / r e c e i v$ e6 r ,0 ;L R 2 2 0 - 3 mitter and 3-hp relay/receiver, $70. systems activate the dtrst collector and blast sate rvhen you trlrn on any wired-

Ifyou've created a great way to save time or effort while working alone, send it to us with a sketch or photo. If we print it, you'll get gl00! Send to Workshop Tips, American Woodworker. 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121 or e-mail to workshoptips@ Submissions can't be returned and become our Property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissions and use them in all print and electronic media.

UruHrrvcr Hor-r-ow-ConrDoons
Economical and light in weigl'rt, hollow-core doors make great temporary work surfaces, because they're so easyto maneuver. Used with sawhorsesand a couple 2x4s for support, they can handle a strrprising amount of rveight.Workshop doors don't have to be goodJooking, so bargain-shop at salvage yards or scratch-and-den t bins.


American Woodworker

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BrNCH-MouNT Clavrp
The new Versa Clarnp, $35, from TS Tool Co., is a quick-actine clamp that doubles as a holding device on your workbench. It comes with two mounting brackets that you can permanently mount to your bench. The clamp easily slips ir-rand otrt of the brackets. The Versa Clamp has one slidingjaw and one fixed jaw to provide a 20-in. maximum capacity. Both jaws are padded. The clamp tightens with a cam action on the fixed jaw. Simply slide the loose jaw against your work and pivot the handle on the fixed ju* to apply pressure ancl lock everything in place. Compared with many other quick-acting clamps, the Versa Clamp exerts quite a bit more pressrlre but is more expensive and doesn't act as a spreader. In practice, I found the Versa Clamp very handy. It has enough grab to act like a vise on a bench and, when trsed like a conventional clamp, it can pull unwielcly joints closed. Versa Clamp is available clirecdy from the manufacturer.


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TS ToolCo.,(812)933-5421, Versa Clamp, $35.






American \\Ioocirvorker ocroBER 2oos

It 5/8"i&mi ,,' MYK2

GlowrNG Glur
Oh, it's a sneaky devil. That little bit of squeezeout that was left behind when you glued up your project. It hides, unseen until you get the first coat of finish on. There, glaring at you, is a spot that won't take finish. You can shed some light on this problern -black light, that is-by using Titebond Ruorescent Glue, $9 a quart, to assemble your projects. The glue glows under a black light, showing you any smears left on your project, so you can remove the residue before Titebond Fluorescent is

you apply a finish. the same formula as Titebond Original, so it has the same working characteristics, plus the fluorescent additive, for about $2 more a quart. The fluorescent glue glows under black light whether the glue is wet or dry, but it's easiest to do your cleanup while the glue is still wet. Black-light bulbs are available at home centers for


put your perfect project. you You alotinto work. After all,it takes hours countless tocomplete the And when have you right precision the tools right and the wood, right need the saw blade. One that's balanced forhighly accurate cuts. With large, micro-grain carbide teeth forexceptionally smooth finishes. Ultra-sharp cutting edges toreduce splintering. And inavariety one that comes oJ tooth counts and configurations. DTWALT@ Woodworking Blades. put get We more into them, soyou can more out ofthem.
Formoreinf0rmation, catl |.8OO-.-IEWIN or visit our website at wur,Dlwfff .com

about $10 each. Titebond Fluorescent is available ir-r lquart and 5-gallon buckets.

DtlfAtI The yellow @2005 following atetndemalks l0rone 0r more DEWALT Power Tools and Accessories: The and grill;lhearray black color scheme; the'D"-shaped airintake ol pyramids 0nthehand0rip; thekitbox configuration; and the array otlozenge-shaped humps 0nlhesurface 0lthe to0l. CircleNo. 9

Franklin Source International, ( 8 0 0 ) 8 7 7 - 4 5 8 3 ,w w w . t i t e b o n d . c o m l r t e b o n d F l u o r e s c e n t ,$ 9 a q u a r t .


Americiur \"\bodn'orker

ocroBER 2oos



Krrp CoRDS
Have you ever been your driving router along when suddenly you run out of merrily power? The extension cord gets hung up on something, and suddenly you're disconnected. I know, the time-tested solution is to tie a knot in the cord that captures the plug and extension cord. (\t\4rat is the right Scout knot for cords?) For a mere $5 you could try a Cord Snake instead, and never again worry about getting disconnected, or tying the right knot. The Cord Snake is a simple device that acts like a bridge between the extenIt sion cord and tool. works on cords from 10 to 18 gauge. It's easy to leave it pennanently looped on the end of an extension cord so it's available to grab the cord of any power tool you're using.


H a r t r i c hE n t e r p r i s e s ,

\888) 246-1337, K E .COM WWW.COTOS N A Cord Snake,$5.

2oo5 Anrcricirrt \4kroclrvorker OCTOBER


No.45 Circle

Feet-lnch-Fraclion oml ileffic Cskalolor You willgetprofessional woodworking results problems when solving measurement withthis easy-to-use tool.Work in andconvert between dimensional formats including Feet-lnchFractions, Decimal Feet-lnch-Fractions, Yards, Meters, Centimeters andMillimeters aswellas Area andVolumes. lhe Measure Master Prois ideal forfast, accurate Board Feet estimates. perVolume, Solve forWeight Circles, Circumference andArcs.Model4020


Advonced Feet-lnch-F raclin Const ru clion-Itolh Calulslor TheConstmction Master Prosets theindustry standard foradvanced construction-math calcupowerful lators. lt provides built-in solutions for Framing, Stairs, Paneling, Circles, Arcs, Segments, Compound Miters, Polygons andmuch more. Setpreferences for Fractions, Risers andOn-cenplans, terspacing. lt'sperfect forcompleting layyoutime, outs, bids andestimates to save money, material andfrustration. lrtodel4065

lrurxprNstvE BrrucH HoLD-Dowru

The last thing I want to do is chase my material around the workbench so I can work on it. Holddown clamps excel when you need pressure in the middle of a bench where other clamps can't reach. The Jorgensen Hold-Down Clamp for workbenches, $15 for two, is like getting two extra hands at a price that's hard to beat. The clamp is easyto mount in your bench, and it's got plenty of grab. The hold-downs have a 4L/2-in. capacity, minus the thickness of your workbench. They require a 3/Lin. hole. A large nut with a quick release grabs the holddown under the bench. The quick release lets you make rapid adjustments without screwing or unscrewing the nut. A cam lever locks the clamp onto your material. The Jorgensen Hold-Downs have soft jaws, so you don't need any clamp pads.
Source Adjustable ClampCo..(312)666-0640, Holddown clamp for workbenches, #1652,$15 for two.

Feet-lmh-Froctin Pro,iecl Colcuhtor
Work in Yards, Feet-lnch-Fractions andMeters to calculate andconvert Linear, Area and Volume measurements. Use built-in functions that'quickly findtheamount of material required projects forcommon home andbuilding Painting, Wall-covering, Tile, Concrete, Roof Bundles, Block, Bricks andmuch more. Design, yourprojects build, install and finish withprecision andconfidence. Model8525


American Woodworker

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Cords draped over the back ofa desk are an unsightly mess and make cleaning a real chore. It's much neater to run them as bundle through a grommet. Grommets come in many sizes and generally snap into a standard-size hole. The best tool for drilling these oversize holes is a hole saw. (877) Source Cable Inc., 5474580, Grommet, #GR-2375, ea. $4.50

Mouse Tnnp
One cord in particular always seems to tangle: the tail of a computer's mouse. Two wire clips are the answer. Mount one at the back of your keyboard tray, the other at the back of the desk. The mouse won't slide off the tray, and the cord won't wrap around your legs. Source Wireclips areavailable at home cenrers andhardware stores.

Here's a slick way to organize and conceal extra wire. The WireMate has three sets of cleats for separating and looping slack wire. Each cleat is split in the middle, which makes it even easier to wrap upjust the right amount of wire. A cover snaps on to hide the stuff inside. (212], Source, 867-6020, (gray), TheWireMate, #WMG #WMB (black), #WMW(white), $30ea.

Sptnal Wnap
This simple, inexpensive prod.uct binds wires together. You can pull them in or let them out anywhere along the length of the bundle. Spiral Wrap is simply a tube cut in a helical pattern. To install it, pull your wires in a taut line and wind the wrap around them. It only takesa few minutes. Spiral Wrap comesin various diameters to accommodate as manv / wires as you have.

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32 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oos

No, it's not a set of bones; it's a series of plastic clips in a plastic channel. But it resembles a spine so much that it's dubbed The Vertebrae. You can run wires in and out as needed between each clip. That's perfect for a stacked set of components, but you can position it horizontally, too. Run a couple of screws through the plastic channel to fasten it in place wherever you need it. As you organize and loop your wires, just snap each vertebra shut. There's plenty of room inside for lots of slack. 523-1269, & Co.lnc.,(800) Mockett Source Doug #WM15A, $13. TheVertebrae,

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HovrvADE Clenrs
This cord-wrapping device is just a set of wooden knobs bought at the hardware store. Drill a screw hole through the center of each knob to make mounting easier. Mount them as far apart as you want to minimize the number of loops. Then use hook-and-loop wire wraps to secure the wires (see page 38). Coat hooks and clothesline cleals also work well. No doubt there's something in yourjunk drawer that'll do the job, too.

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34 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo5

THE Powrn Sounce CrNrrnaLrzE

Plug all your gear into a single power center and label each component. Mount the power center on the back of your desk or cabinet, out of sight. After you've taken the slack out of your wires, direct all of them to this central hub. If you're hooking up computer equipment, buy a power center that has a surge protector with receptacles for both the computer's power cord and the telephone line for its modem. This model even has coaxial cable connections. When shopping for a surge protector, keep a few basics in mind. It should have a UL rating and be listed as a transient voltage surge suppressor. The voltage at which it kicks in should be low, 330 volts or less. It should have an indicator light to let you know that it is notjust functioning as an extension cord. It should have high energy absorption, at least 200 to 400 joules, and a response time of less than I nanosecond. The labels we used have hook-and-loop fasteners, so all you need to do is pinch them in place. They'rejust as easy to remove and reuse. (877) 547-4580, Inc., Sources Pinch labels, OP001-4, Ouick $6 for eight. . Power at electronics withsurge suppressors areavailable centers centers. stores andhome
36 American Woodworker ocToBER 2oo5

Engrqving & CuttingSystems EpilogLqser

from Find out whatyou cando with a lasersystem startfrom only Epilog.Easyandfiln to use,lasers a to receive Call us toll free 888-437-4564 $9,995. kit. cd demoandsample freebrochrnle,


TableMtn Pkwy 16371 CO 80403 Golden, -4564 toll free 888-437


Wrnr Wnnps
Hook-and-loop wire wraps are so easy to use that you can tie up your slack in seconds. Of course, they're also very inexpensive. Wraps are available in many sizes to handle any situation. (877) Inc., 541-4580, Source
Wire wraps,#VWOW-PK, $2.50for five.


Who thinks of this clever stufP Here's a split hollow ball with a spool inside for wrapping smalldiameter wire. Pop open the Cable Tlrrtle to turn both halves inside out, wrap your wire around the middle and snap the halves shut. Easy! It's ideal for speaker and telephone wire and it looks cool enough to sit on your desktop. Inc., Source -4580, (81 www. cableorgan 7\ 541 #CT-LG. Turtle. Cable S8.


American \Voodu'orker

oCTOBER 2oo5


, 've been woodworking for more than 20 years calculator. After a few minA .1x8 sheet stock calculator simply divides the total square feet of sheet stockyour project requires by 32 sq. ft to calculate how many 4x8 sheets you need. It doesn't take grain direction into account, so it's only usefirl for nonveneered stock, such as MDF or melamine. A function called paperless tape les you review your entries for an equation, but doesn't allow you to change them. If you find a mistake, you will have to start over from the beginning. The fixed fraction allows you to set the degree of

without a fractional ,.;,1i ,.., utes with one, I became acutely aware of what an opportunity I'd been missing. Checking cutting liss and figuring face-frame openings, chair-back spindle

spacing and board-foot calculations-all these tasks are at your fingertips with a fractional calculator. And luckily, the least-expensive models are all most woodworkers need. The high-end models have features professional builders use to lay out stairs, figure angles on complex roof framing or estimate cubic yards of concrete. I found most of the calculators to be very userfriendly. They work like the common calculators we're all used to, with the ability to handle fractions thrown in. There's no need to find common denominators; the calculator does that for you. Just enter the numbers as they come, for example,
z o

you don't want to messwith 1/6+in. units, you can set this function to round offto l/32-in. units. Thiangle and circle firnctions maybe useful to some woodworkers in unusual cases.They figure circumference, length of an arc or rise and run of a triangle for roof and


2Y5/8" + T3/32" and the calculator will indicate the sum 2G23/32".

stair framing.

o-) z (E

Basicmath kgrs include *, -, x, +rxzrr1r...l found on ,VorX,+,are most of the calculators. Pneset fraction kela, /2, /4, /8, /16, /32,arrd /64,help reduce
the number of keptrokes required to



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enter a problem-and fewer keptrokes mean fewer chancesfor error. To enter a fraction,just punch in the numerator and then the appropriate denominator key.
A board-foot key yields a board-foot measurement based on a board's thickness in inches, width in inches and length in feet.

F ul E.




Pno.lrcrCalc P r - u s ,$ 2 O
FEATURES Basic math keys keys Fractional Board-foot key 4x8 sheet stock key Paperlesstape mode Fixed-fraction Trianglekeys Circle/arckeys
* does not have Xfuncrron

MrnsuRr MasrrR Clnssrc, $44
FEATURES Basicmath keys Fractional keys key Board-foot 4x8 sheetstockkey Paperless tape mode Fixed-fraction keys Triangle keys Circle/arc








rnrE strtrtrF 9trFtrF


/ ,/ ,/

ndustries. S o u r c e C a l c u l a t eId (800)854-8075, #8525,

Supply, Source Woodworker's (800)645-9292, www.woodworker. com. #10 4-642

has all a woodworker reallyneeds at a very This calculator affordableprice.The hard plasticcase has a protective user'sguide printedon the cover with a quick-reference homeowndo-it-yourself also has preprogrammed er keys designedto estimate everythingfrom roof shingles is easy to use and its to garden mulch. The ProjectCalc largekeys are hard to miss.

can figurearc lengths, The MeasureMasterClassic plusweight and circlecircumference, or can also convertfractionsto decimalequivalents These are extrafeatures to metric measurements. that typicalwoodworkerswon't use. The vinyl lt case uses a magnetto hold the calculator. writ includesa pocketfor keepingthe thoroughly at all times. ten manualwith the calculator

CalcuLAToR, $2O ,/. ,/ ,/ FEATURES Basicmath keys keys Fractional key Board-foot 4x8 sheetstockkey Paperless tape mode Fixed-fraction Triangle keys keys Circle/arc
* does not haveX function (800)377-1414, Source Sears, #397 49

Cnlcu LAToR, $5O / ,/ ,/ / / FEATURES Basicmath keys Fractional keys key Board-foot 4x8 sheetstockkey Paperless tape mode Fixed-fraction keys Triangle keys Circle/arc

(800)377-1414, Source Sears, #39785

This is the same calculator as the ProjectCalc I n d u s t r i e sl.t h a s a l l t h e s a m e from Calculated great features,including the large,easy-to-use keys. Pick the color,price and supplieryou like best.

Calculator. I like the largekeys of the CraftsmanConstruction entries. They are easy to use and less prone to inadvertent and a hardplasticlid the calculator The rubbercase surrounds guide printed protectsthe has a quick-reference written insidethe lid and onboardstoragefor the thoroughly This calculator also has stairand raftersolution user'smanual. key. Plus,it can convert keys and a weighVvolumecalculation and metric measurements. between English


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo5

lrucriMlarE+" $ZZ
FEATURES Basic math keys Fractiona kl e y s Board-footkey 4x8 sheet stock key Paperless tape Fixed-fraction mode Triangle keys keys Circle/arc
* does not haveX, o/o or + functions ** does not have132o1164 Source Woodworker's Supply, (800)645-9292,, #949-81 1



lrucul\fr,ry[Pfto, $ZS
FEATURES Basic math keys Fractional keys Board-footkey 4x8 sheet stock key Paperless tape Fixed-fraction mode Triangle keys keys Circle/arc ,/ / / / / / /

,/* ,/** S l*J!""!.!"er l ffi


FR^CTIOIIS . OF . Ar{ .l}rCH

'ffi tr ffi,fn'tr ffinH,n*





L e e V a l l e ya n d Source Veritas, (800) 871 -81 58 w w w . l e e v a l l e y . c o m ,# 8 6 K 7 8 . 0 7

The InchMate+ automatically displays feet and inch unitson the screen.I found this featuremore hasslethan helo.Woooworkers typically work in inches,not feet and inches.To use you to enter 0 feet or selectthe inchesinchesonly requires fractionmode with the second-function key.The presetfracThat'sOK for most situations are limitedto 1/16-in. accuracy. tions, but I preferto work to 1132-in. accuracy and, on rareoccasions,I mav want 1/64in. Youcan'tdo that with this calculator.

The InchMatePro has the most featuresfor the m o n e y .U n l i k ei t s c o u s i n , , ith t h e I n c h M a t e +w t h e I n c h M a t eP r o ,i t ' s e a s yt o w o r k i n i n c h e s . The hard plasticcase featuresa permanentwhite pad on back for pencilnotes, but there's no onboard storages , o g o o d l u c kf i n d i n gy o u r m a n u a lw h e n y o u n e e d i t . I a l s ow i s h i t h a d b i g g e rk e y s .


lr'.r*-rfVnrr 2OOO, $4C


f L-5OOLB ScrrNrFrc Fnp,crrcrv CnlcuLATOR,$t O
Source,, #EL-500LB



tffi ffi ffi

,ffi 4ffi

Basicmath keys Fractional keys Board-footkey 4x8 sheet stock key Paperless tape Fixed-fraction mode Triangle keys Circle/arc keys

/ / / / ,/ / /

0eece oeeE6 iDeloE


Source L e e V a l l e ya n d V e r i t a s ,( 8 0 0 ) 8 7 1 - 8 15 8 www.,#86K78. 10

This calculator is designedfor math geeks, but it does have one reallycool feature: the ability to scrollthroughand change numbersin a problem. Typical calculators only show the numberyou are entering. With the SharpEL-5001B, everynumberand math functionis just like word processing displayed, on a computer. lt can handleup to 159 characters. You are free to scrollthroughthe problemat any time and change, add or deletea numberor a function. I wish I couldrecommend for woodworking, this calculator but I can' does a beautifuljob of addingand subtracting fractions and maybe even calculating a rockettrajectory to Mars, but when it multipliesor divideswith fractions,it doesn't round them to the nearest woodworker-friendly 1/16in. or 1l32in. you can end up with weird numbers,like 5-5/23in. Try Instead, findingthat on your tape measure. Still,I wish all the woodworking calculators had this scroll-edit function.

This is the calculator for frequent-flyer woodworkers who visit Europeor Canada a lot. Not only will it convertFahrenheit to celsiustemoeratures at the push of a button,but it can also convertmiles to kilometers so you won't get a speedingticket. I t a l s oh a s s t a i r - b u i l d i n fu gn c t i o n sl,i q u i dm e a s u r e and volume measure. The tiny functionkeys are easv to mrss.


ocToBER 2oo5


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo5

Burlo rHE

Tnt Jrc
l. Make a taper template for routing the tails. First, draw a rectangle (shown in red in Photo 1) the same size as the end of the board that receives the tail. Next, draw two lines (shown in black) inside the rectangle indicating the amount the dovetail will taper (FiS.A, page 50). Each side of this taper has a l/&in. rise over thejoint's 1lin. length, or run. A l/&in. rise works equally well if the joint is a few inches shorter or longer. Rough-cut the template l/16 in. outside the I Draw an end view of the tail's taper. Rough I cut this piecejust outsidethe blacklines,to make a taper template. Q nout the taper template using a board as a ^( guide.This guaranteesthe template will have absolutelystraightedges.

, a .t3

lineswith yourbandilX"
2. Cut to the black lines on the router table (Photo 2), using a topbearing straight bit (see Source, page 50). Fasten the template to the guide board with screws so the template doesn't flex. 3. Screw the template to a test board (Photo 3). Align the red lines with the board's edges. Position the template so it's exactly centered from side to side, clamp it in place and drive in the screws. 4. Assemble the rest of thejig on the test board so it fits tightly (Photo 4). Clamp the braces (C) in place first; then add the ends (B, Fig. B, page 50). 5. Add tr,vooutriggers (D, Photo 5). Stand the jig on a flat surface to ensure these boards are level with the template. 6. Rout a test dovetail with a bearingguided router bit (Photo 6; see Source). Lower the bit so it cuts l/2 in. into the test piece. Unscrew the template and remove thejig. I nOOtwo outrigger guide boardsto the jig. J Thesepieceswill help you balancea router on the taper template.

Fastenthe taper templateto the end of a short test board.

A -f

Builda jig for routingthe tails.Assembleit on the test board,with the taper template,

Followthe taper temfi nout the dovetail. \-f platewith a dovetail bit that hasa bearing (see inset). above the cutter


American Woodworker



Burlo rHE SocKET J rc

7. Build this jig around a second test board (Photo 7). To position the fixed guide board, use the same l/&in. taper you used to make the tail jig. Draw an alignment mark (shown in red) on the guide board perpendicular to the test board's edge. Lay the fixed guide board exactly on the line at one end and offset it by 1/8 in. at the other end. Fasten the guide board to the braces (G). The spacer enables this jig to fit the 12-in. top of the "Dovetailed Bookcase" project (seepage 70). Add 8. the adjustable guide board (Photo 8). Butt it tight to the taper template and a spacer.The spacer makes up for the difference in diameter between the bearing and the dovetail cutter l/2in. up from the bottom (the depth of the and socket). Align the template's red line with the alignment mark on the fixed guide board. 9. Rout a test socket (Photo 9). Remove most of the wastewith a second router so you don't have to alter the dovetail bit's depth setting or prematurely dull this special bit. Use a 5/&in.dia. template guide and 3/8-in. straight bit. File the template guide to 7/16 in. long, so it's shorter than the thickness of the template material. Make the cut 7/16in. deep, which is 7/16 in. shy of the socket's final depth. 10. Rout the socket with the bearing-guided dovetail ' : .. Rout a test socket. Remove most of the waste with a straight bit (see inset),using a second router with a template guide. Finish the socket with the bearing-guided dovetail bit.


Build the socket jig. Offset a fixed guide / board by 1/8 in., the same amount as each side of the templateis tapered(seeinset).


q nOOa second,adjustable guide board.Use {-l the taper templateand a spacerto position this board.Align the red marks.


Assemble the joint. lt will be very looseuntil you get near the end, becauseboth parts are tapered.Youmay have to adjustthe width of the socketto make it flush and tight with the tail. :

I q Adjust the socket'swidth by altering the | 1 g a p i n t h e j i g . S l i d et h e t a p e r t e m p l a t e 114 in. in or out to micro-adjust the gap'swidth. Rout a new socketand try the joint again.


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oos

bit (Photo l0). The socketn'ill be l/2-in. cleep-ex:rctlv the s2uneclepth as the tail. Rernove the.jie fronr the test piece.

11. Test the joint's fit (Photo 11). If the tail \von't so horne clr slides too fhr, adjtrst the socket jig ( P h o t o 1 2 ) . U s i n g t h e r e d l i n e s a s a r e f ' e r e n c e ,s h i f t tl'rc tcnrplate 1/ 4 in. and rotrt another test socket. Slicle tl-reterr-rplatein for a looserjoint and out fbr a tigl-rterjoint. Yotr mav hzrve to cut a couple of test sockcts to get the right fit, but once votr do, replace the template in the tail jig ancl vou're all set to cut t h e r e a l t a i l s a n d s o c k e t s( P h o t o 1 3 ) . A perfect fit shouldonly requirea few lighttaps to assemjoint shouldbe tight when its two partsare flush. ble.The

Part Tail jis A B C D E F G

Name Template End Brace Outrigger Fixedside Adjustable side Brace S p a c e r1 Spacer2

Otv. 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 1 1

Materials MDF Hardwood Hardwood MDF MDF MDF Hardwood Hardwood Hardwood

Dimensions 112x " 7 / 8 "x 1 5 " * 1-118" x 2" x 3-112" 1-118" x 2" x 15" 1 1 2x " 4" x 15" 112" x 16" x 5-112" 112" x 5 - 1 1 2x " 16" 1-118" x 1-112" x 12" 112" x 7 1 3 2 "x 1 7 " 1"x1-114"x16"

Socket jig



H J x P i e c e st a p e r s 1 / 4 " t o t a l o v e r 1 1 " l e n g t h , 1 / B " o n e a c h s i d e

1/2"x5"x15" MDF

--- #6 x 1-114" ,.".scREW(rYP.) / /

- A



#8 x 1-114" WASHERH E A DS C R E W

Source A m a n a T o o l , ( 8 0 0 ) 4 4 5 - 0 0 7 7 ,w w w . a m a n a t o o l . c o m 1 / 2 - i n .t o p - b e a r i n gd o v e t a i l b i t , # 4 5 8 5 0 , $ 3 4 . 1 1 2 - t nt.o p - b e a r i n gf l u s h t r i m b i t , # 4 5 4 6 0 , $ 2 9 3 / 8 - r n .s t r a i g h t b t | , # 4 5 4 1 4 , $ 2 3 .

Mix-and-match components make a desk that fits your needs.

his computer-desk system has more going for it than great looks. The systemis based on modular components that can be assembled in a variety of ways to make the "perfect" desk, whether small, giant-size,or somewhere in between. Making the components is as easyas it gets-no complexjoinery just screwsand biscuits. I designed two different drawer configurations. The two-drawer unit has one drawer sized to accept hanging files and the other sizedfor CDs (seeinset photo, page 53). The four-drawer unit features two pencil drawers, a letter drawer and a CD drawer. The drawers are built around a European undermount slide system that greatly simplifies drawer construction. An easy-access wire track neatly takes care of wire management. The channel also supports the top and provides an attachment point for the modesty panels.
Standard Corner



PmruYoun DEsr
Decide which configuration you want to build. Every configuration requires a different amount of material, so you'll need to figure the sizesand quantities of wood, sheet stock and laminate needed to build vour desk. /
52 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oob


Mix-and-match componentscrgatea deskthat fills your giant cornerdesk needsand fits your space.This usesevery componentexcept a door unit.





Basic Make Components a Module

Endpanels arethe maincomponents of the desk system. They're builtso a lip is created all around the veneered end panel. Thislip is wherethe drawer/door unit and modes! panelrest.Trimis addedto the outside end panels to givethem a finished look.

Materiafs: Sins and quantities are hasedon yourconfiguration; see "Simple page 60. ModularConstuction,"above, andtheCuttingList, 414,514 andA4 mahogany 4l4poplar 3/zt-in.-thicklacewood-veneered panels (one-sided or two-sided, depending upon location) 3/zl-in.-thick shop-grade birch plywood 3/tt-in.-thickMDF 1/2-in.-thick MDF 112-in. x 5-ft. x S-ft. Baltic birch plywood 7/8-in.-widemahogany edge banding Plasticlaminate Contact cement No. 0 and No. 20 biscuits D a n i s ho i l f i n i s h Tools: Biscuit jointer, cordless drill/driver, edge-banding tools, tablesaw with dado blade, router, drill press, laminate trimmer, flush-trim bit, finish sander, 18-gaugebrad nailer, bar and pipe clamps, 2-3l8-in.-dia. hole saw, No. 2 x 6-in. square-drive screwdriver bit and magnetic holder Hardvnare: Drawer slides, drawer handles, 35-mm concealed hinges, wire grommets, CD storage track, hanging file rails, pull-out keyboard tray (optional), assorted screws Estimated Gost: Lacewood student desk, $700 ($aOO, if all bircfr), Lacewood giant corner desk, $1,400 ($gOO, if all birch).


American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oos

Burlo EruoPeruels
l. Cut the pieces Al through All to size. Be precise when you cut these pieces. They all have to fit togettrer well when the end panel is assembled (Fig. A, righ0. 2. Drill the screw holes in the panel top and bottom edging (A3, A6) and the base cap (A5, Fig. L, page 6l). 3. Cut biscuit slots for attaching the front and back edging (A7, Photo l). Cut biscuit slots in the feet (A2) and rail (A4). Use a 5/&in.-thick spacer to center the rail on the feet. 4. Glue and screw the bottom edging (A6) to the panel (Al, Photo 2). Glue and biscuit the front and back edging (A7) to the panel. Center the top edging on the panel; then glue and screw it in place.

#8x1-1fr2" F.H. SCREW (rYPJ-I

End panels used for drawer/door units have lacewood veneer on the outside only. End panels that are used by themselves (see student desk) have lacewood veneer on both sides. Trim is only added to end panels that face outward.

I elign the panel's front and back edging I with biscuits.Tocenter the edging, place a 314-in.spacer on top of the panel and adjust your biscuit jointer's fence to center the grooves on the panel.Then cut the biscuit slots in the edging without using the spacer.


#o Btscutr/


Qfasten the top edging with screws. Supthe panel on top of two 314-in. 4porl spacers.That centers the bottom edging with the panel.Use a small amount of glue so squeeze-outis minimal. Predrillcountersunk pilot holes before you insert the screws (Fig. L, page 61).

Mid panels are used as supports under joined tops.They are narrower than end panelsand allow a chair to move unobstructed around the desk opening.


American Woodworker




Drawer and door units are essentially the same, exceptthat a door unit has a shelf (C4)and a door (D6) insteadof space r s ( C 7 )a n d d r a w e r s .l f y o u p l a n t o p l a c ey o u r d e s ka g a i n s t a w a l l , t h e n m a k e t h e b a c k( C 1 )f r o m s h o p - g r a d e b i r c hp l y wood insteadof lacewood-veneered MDE
#8 x 1-'112"--.-r F.H. r I

5. Glue and biscuit the feet to the rail and screw on the base cap to create the base assembly. 6. Glue the laminate edging (Al1) to the spacer (A10) using contact cement (see 'lV'orking with Plastic [,aminate," A\,V #702, Sept. 2003, page 43). Apply two coats of Danish oil finish to the panel and base assembly. 7. Use a nail gun to tack the laminateedged spacer to the base cap. Then drill holes through the spacer using the predrilled holes in the base cap as guides. Screw the base assembly to the panel. Add the panel trim (A8, A9) to any end panels that face out on the assembled desk.


*8x1-114" F.H. SCREW

Butlo Mro PeruEls

Mid panels are builtjust like end panels. Attach the brace (B3) after the top edging (B4). Drill a2-3/8-rn.dia. hole at the upper back end of the panel for passing wires (Fig. B, page 55).


Butlo A DRAWER Ururr

8. To make a drawer unit, glue and screw the sides (C2), top and bottom (C3) together. Screw the back (Cl) to the box to square it up (Fig. C, above left). 9. Glue on the stiles flush with the outside edges (C5); then cut the rails (C6) to fit and

The file drawer face (D1) and CD drawer face ( D 2 )a r e t a l l e n o u g hs o t h e h a n d l e - m o u n t i n g screwsclearthe drawer box. Drill accessholes through the other drawer box fronts to mount the handles.

glue them in place. 10. Screw the drawer-slide spacers (C7) in the box (Fig. M, page 61). Mount the drawer slides flush with the top of the spacers. 11. Drill holes through the box sides for attaching the box to the end panels.

Butlo A DooR Ururr

A door unit is made the same as a drawer unit without the slide spacers (C7). Drill holes in the sides for the adjustable shelf pins before you assemble the box. Make a shelf (C4) and apply iron-on mahogany edge banding to the front edge (see "Ironon Edge Banding," AW #f 13, March 2005, page 26). Note: The hinge-mounting plates are attached to the stile, centered 3 in. up from the bottom of the unit and 3-3/8 in. down from the top.


Burlo Dnewrns ANDDoons

12. Cut the drawer parts (Dl through D15) and rabbet the ends of the drawer sides (D7, D9, D11, Dl3) (Fig. D, left). Glue

\r" ,roo (*r.)

and nail the drawer box together. 13. Use mahogany edge banding to cover the edges of the drawer faces.


American Woodworker

OcToBER 2oob

14. Drill holes for the drawer handles in the drawer faces (D1 through D5). Drill oversize holes through the drawer fronts (D8, D10, D12, D14) ro fine-rune rhe drawer faces' positior-rand attach them. 15. To make a door (D6), cover the edges of the door rvith mahogany edge banding. Drill holes for the door handles and the hinge cup holes (Fig. E, cenrer right).

Marcr rHE DESKTops

Building the straight desk rops is fairly easy (Fig. F, lower right), but the corner unit offers some challenges, so, that's the focus here. 16. Cut the shape of the corner unit rop (El0, Fig. G, belon,). Drill the wire grommet hole, or holes, using a2-3/8-in.-dia. hole saw. You want to drill these holes now, becausethe laminate would ruin a hole saw. 17. Adhere the decorative laminate and cabinet liner (E15, E20) with conracr cement. Trim awaythe overhanging laminate edges using a flush-trim bit. 18. Locate the center of the wire grommet hole under the laminate by tapping the surfaceuntil yoll hear a hollow sound. Drill a hole through the laminare that is large enough to fit your flush-trim bit, and trim the laminate. 19. Cut and fit rhe corner unit side edgrng pieces (E3, Fig. H, page 58). One end of each edging piece is 45 degrees and the other is 90 degrees.Make sure their lengths are perfect.

Undermount drawer slides rnake drawer constructiona cakewalk, because they wrap aroundthe bottom edge of the drawer box. This allowsyou to apply the drawer bottom rather than buildit into groovesin the drawerparts.The drawerslides cover the 1/2-in.plywoodedge f.ora good-looking drawer that's as strongas it is easyto build.

L--"o L

Concealeh dinges with face-frame hinge-mounting p l a t e sa r e s i m p l e t o a d j u s t .C a m action screws allowyou to move the door in or out, u p o r d o w n ,a n d s i d et o s i d e w i t h o u t l o c k i n ga n d unlocking screws.

The two 26-9116-in. edges must be cut accurately f o r t h e c o r n e ru n i t t o m a t c hu p p e r f e c t l y with the square e n d so f t h e s t a n d a r d d e s kt o p . T h e wire grommetholeis positioned over t h e w i r e c h a n n eu l n d e rt h e t o p .

Tops are 314-in. M D Fs a n d w i c h e d betweena decor a t i v el a m i n a t e on top and a cabinetl i n e rb a c k e r lamin a t eo n t h e u n d e r s i d e ,D o n ' t s k i p applying the backer. Without it, #20 BISCUIT t h e t o p w i l l n o t b e (rYP.) a s s t r o n ga n d w i l l h a v ea g r e a t e r t e n d e n c yt o s a g overtime.

7" l-+ \


^4-112" 2-3l8'-DtA. WIRE GROMMET HOLE


,:7 /

wtRE cR?l,JMEr

2 6-9t1 6 "


Anrelicarr \Abodrvorker

ocToBER 2oos


zl Sand the 'tfront edging flush with the s i d ee d g i n g u s i n ga l o n g sanding block. PSA sandpaper and an 8- to 10-in.blockof MDF work great.Thelong block is guided by the side edging to ensurea perfectly flush joint. f,Assembling r,-,/the corner unit is a twopersonjob, becausethe unit is large and heavy.The wire track and cleatssupport the corner unit top. Note:The wire track is screwed to the modesty panel fi rst.

glue-ups can be tricky. Use a wide piece of 3/4-in.plyQAngled r.,lwood to create an edge parallelto the front. Crankthe clamps that hold the plywood to the top, and use moderate pressureon the clampsthat hold the edging.Otherwise, the plywood may slip.


American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oob

You don't want to have to trim them anymore after they're glued on. 20. Cut biscuit slots to join the top and edging pieces (see "Wood Edging on Laminated Tops," page 62). Glue and clamp the side edging pieces (E3) to the top. 21. Attach the corner unit's front edging piece (E2, Photo 3) and the back two edging pieces (El). Note: The rear corner edgingjoint is mitered. 22. When the glue is dry sand the edging joints flush (Photo 4).

Wire tracksdo more than just hold wires.Theysupport the tops and join tops to modesty panels,stiffeningthe entire desk.

Buto MooesrY PANELS,

23. Cut the modesty panels to size (Fl, F2) and drill three holes (no countersink) on each side (Fig. H, left) for the pan-head screws that attach the panel to a component. 24. To make wire tracks, drill countersunk holes in the channel pieces (G1, G3) for the screws that attach the wire tracks to the modesty panels and the tops. fusembly the wire tracks as shown in Fig. J, above right. 25. Don't glue the fill strips (G5, G6) onto the wire tracks yet. You may need to tweak their thicknesses slightly during the desk assembly so the tops of the wire tracks are flush with the tops of the end panels and corner post. 26. If you want a wire grommet hole closer to the front of the corner unit desk top, then make a short section of wire track to carry wires from that hole to the wire tracks in back.

HB &

nt x 1-1t4" F.H. SCREW (rYP.)

AssErvBLE A SraruoaRo Desr Conruen

31. Apply Danish oil to any unfinished parts. Screw the drawer units to the end panels. They rest on the end-panel lower lips and are set tight to the rear lips. A slight gap between the front-panel edging and the front of the drawer box is OK 32. Attach handles to the drawer faces, and then the drawer faces to the drawers. The oversize holes allow you to fine-tune the drawer front position for even margins. 33. Attach the drawer module tops. Atigr the tops so they're tight to the front of the panel top edging pieces. 34. Screw the left modesty panel to the corner post and the end panel of the left drawer unit. Attach the right modesty panel the same way. 35. Screw the cleats (E9) to the undersides of the drawer unit tops (Fig. H) and screw the wire tracks to the modesty panels. Attach the corner module top (Photo 5). 36. Screw the corner module top edges to the drawer unit top edges (Fig. H). Then screw the cleats to the underside of the corner unit top edging and the wire tracks to the top. 37. Add the file drawer hanging file rails, the CD drawer storage tracks, computer and peripherals. Nowyou're ready to get some real work done-right.

The corner post has two 3/4-in.deep lip recesses at 90 degrees to each other.The recessesprovide attachmentpoints for the modesty panels.Laminatestrips set in the foot mimic the spacers on the panels.

Buup n ConruER Posr

27. Miter one edge of each leg blank (H3, Fig. K, right). Glue the mitered edges together. Wrap masking tape tightly around the pieces to hold them together as the glue dries. 28. Glue and clamp the foot and corner block (Hl, H4) in place. 29. Use a tablesaw with a dado blade to cut l/8-in.-deep grooves in the legs and foot for the laminate (H5). 30. Attach the cap (H2), glue the dado laminate pieces in the grooves and finish the corner post with Danish oil.

American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oos



Giant Corner Desk 28"W xl06l/2"L

x 30"H + 28'W x72-l/4"L x 30"H

OrHrn CoNprcunerrox DINasNsloN-s: Standard Corner Desk: 28"Wx72-l/4"Lx30"H each wing Executive Desk: 28"Wx7+3/4"Lx30"H; Student Desk: 28"Wx57"Lx30"H Credenza: 28'Wx40-l/2"Lx30"H

3/4' lacewood MDF panel B/4 mahogany 4/4 mahogany

1/2" }/l'DF P l a s t i cl a m i n a t e

,A1 AZ A3 A4 A5 AG A7 AB Ag 41 0 A11

Panel - heet Top edging Rai! Base cap ' Bottom edging Front and back edging H o r i z o n t a lp a n e l t r i m V e r t i c a lp a n e l t n m Spacer S p a c e re d g i n g

1 1 1 1
a z

2 1

3/4" x 23-1/2" x 21-1/2" 1-1 /2" x 2" x 5" 3/4" x3" x25" 3 / 4 "x 2 - 1 / 2 " x 2 1 - 3 / 4 " 3/4"x2-1/4"x25" 3 / 4 " x 2 - 1 / 4 "x 2 3 - 1 / 2 " 3/4"x2-1/4"x22-1/4" 3/8"x2-1/8"x20-1/2" 3 / 8 " x 1- 1 / 2 "x 2 1 - 1 / 2 " 1 / 2 "x 2 " x 2 4 - 3 1 4 " C u t o v e r s i z e ,a p p l y a n d t r i m . 3/4' x 14-1/2" x 21 1/2" 1-1 / 2 "x 2 " x 5 " 3/4'x 5"x 5'' 3/4'x 3" x 25" 3/4' x2-1/2" x 12-3/4" 3/4' x 2-1/4v x 22-1/4" 3/4' x 2-1/4" x 16" 3 / 4 " x 2 - 1 / 4 "x 1 4 - 1 / 2 " 1/2:: x 2" x 15 314v C u t o v e r s r z e ,a p p l y a n d t r i m . 3/4" x 17' x 21-3/8" 3 / 4 "x 2 1 - 1 5 1 1 6'x 19-7/A' 3/4"x21-15/16"x17" 314"x21-7lA"x15-7/16 3/4" x 1-1/2" x 21-3/8" 3/4"x3/4"x14" 3/4" x2-3/8" x21-3/4" 3/4" x 14-15/16" x 12-5116" 3/4" x 14-15/16" x B-7l16" 3 / 4 " x 1 4 - 1 5 / 1 6 "x 7 - 1 5 / 1 6 " 3 / 4 " x 1 4 - 1 5 / 1 6 "x 3 - 9 / 16 "

3/4" lacewood




8/4 mahogany 4/4 mahogany

uJ 84 85 BO 87 BB rJY 810

brace Panel top edging Rail Panel front and back edging Base cap Panel bottom edging Spacer Spaceredging

1/2'l. 'DF Plastic laminate


1 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 4

3/4'lacewood MDF 3/4" birch plywood


SrOeS Tnn and hnttnm

2 1 2 2 2 1 1 1 1

4/4 mahogany
L5 Lb

; Shelf (per door unit)


41+ poplar

C7 D1 D2 D3 D4 , D5



Spacers(per drawer) File drawer face CD drawer face (two-drawerconfiguration) C D O r a * e r f a c e t f o u r - O i a w e rc o n f i g u r a t i o n ) Letter drawer face P e n c i ld r a w e r f a c e

3/4" lacewood MDF panel

prywood 1/2,, Batticbirch

, 39
DB D9 D10 'l Dl

t' 3iJ:Sfl"?""?J,T

2 , 2 2 2 ' 2 1

x,2o-15/16' ',r,;;[-^;)3/16'
1/2"x a/r' x 1 1 2 'x 1 2' x B - 7 / 8 "x 5-3/4" x 5 3/4" x 4-3/8" x 12-1 /2" 22" 12-1/2' 22"

Filedrawer front and back CD dlawer sides CD drqwel frolt g1d back Lellel drgwer gldes

P e n c i ld r a w e l s l d e s D 13 D 1 4 ' , P e n c i ld r a w e r f r o n t a n d b a c k D15 Bottom (per drawer) 5/4 mahogany E1 E2 E3 tr4 E5 E6 E7 EB Eg E10

E l l

1 2 ' x 2 1 / 4 "x 1 2 - 1 / 2 " 1 / 2 " x 2 - 1/ 4 " x 2 2 " 1/2' x 13"x 22" 1"x1-3/4"x49-1/2" 1 " x 1 - 3 / 4 "x 3 2 - 3 / 8 " 1"x1-3/4"x26-9/16" 1"x13/4"x74"3/4| 1"x1.314"x57" 1 " x 1 3 1 4 " x 4 O -/ 12 " 1"x1-3/4"x22-3/4" 1"x1-3/4"x26" 314"x2"x12" 3/4" x 47-1/2" x 47-1/2" 3/4" x26" x72-3/4" 3p"x26]x55" 3/4" x 26" x 3B-1/2" 3/4" x26" x20-3/4' 4B-1/2" x 4B-1/2" 27" x 73-3/4" 27" x 56" 2i' ) 39-1/2' 27" x 21-3/4" 4 a - 1 / 2 "x 4 8 - 1 / 2 " 27" x 73-3/4" 2f" x 56" 27" x 39 1/2" 27" x 21-3/4" 1/2"x12"x18" 3/4" x 48-1 lB" x 21-1/4" 3/4" x33-1/2" x21-1/4"

4/4 mahogany 3/4' MDF

Corner module back edging Corner module front edging Corner mo-dgtes-ldeedglfg ExepgJlvedegk fron! edging Student desk front edging C r e d e n z af r o n t e d g i n g Drawer/door modu!e front edging End edging (per top) Cleats Corner module top E x e c u t i v ed e s k t o p
Qtr rdont doclz tnn

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P t a i r i Ct ; m i n a i e


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(-rodonzr tnn


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prvwooo tD'eAtticoircrr
3/4" lacewood MDF oanel


Drawer module top Corner modu]e top underside E x e c u t i v ed e s k t o p u n d e r s i d e Student desk top qnderqlde Credenz-alop unders,ideDrawer module top qlderside K e y b o a r dm o u n t i n g p l a t e ( o p t i o n a l )

2 2 ,! 1 1 1 I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1

F2 3/4'MDF

Corner module Desk (per opening)


G2 qi4 ioptar G4
b5 UO


C h a n n e !( c o r n e rm o d u l e f Lip (cornermodule) C h a n n e !( p e r d e s k o p e n l n g ) Lip (per desk opening) Fill gtrip (corner module) Fillstrip (per desk opening) Foot Cap Leg blank I Corner block , Laminate

62 3 1 2 1 1 1 2 :l 4

, 3/4" x 2-1/2" x 41-1/2' 3 1 4 "x 1" 1 1 2 |x 4 1. 1 / 2 " x 3l:: 314' 7 _2-1/2" 3/4" 1. 1-1/2| x 31" 1/4" x 314"x 41 _1 ^2| 1/4" x 3/4" x 31" 1 - 1 / 2 "x 1 - 1 / 2 " x 7" lalx4-114"x41/4" 3p| x 21/4" x 2aJ/,2" 3-lalx3,141x211/2" Cut to f it.

Bl4 mahogafry 4/4 mahogany

Piiiiic taminiie 60 American llbodrvorker

H] 112 H3 A4 H5

ocroBER 2oos
















-'| 11"

ffi l"----'?---UNDERSIDE OF B8


N o t e :P r e d r i la l nd countersink a l l t h e h o l e so n t h e d r i l l p r e s s .

(800)875-7084, Sources Wood RiverVeneer, Lacewood-veneered MDF panels, custom-made, checkcurrentprice. . Woodworker's (800)383-01 Hardware, 30, B l u mc r e a m - c o l o r e 2d 2-inf .ull-extensio dn r a w e rs l i d e s # , 8 4 3 0 E2 2 C M , , 8071T9580 ee l f - c l o s i nc g l i ph i n g e s # $ 2 3 e a . B l u m9 S - d e g r es $,4 e a . pg l a t e s# , 8175H6030, B l u m3 - m m c a m - a d j u s fa einge-mountin t ce-framh p o l v u r e t h a nb eu m p e r s 1 , / 1 6 - i nx . 5 / 1 6 - i nd . i a . ,# 3 M S J 5 3 0 2 , $ 1 e a .C l e a r .i a . , #H821C25, s p o o ns h e l fs u p p o r t s1 , 14-in d $ 6 f o r a c a r do f 1 4 4 .B r a s s green30-NFwater-based contactadhesive, $2 for a bag of 20. Fastbond pe a n - h e as dc r e w s ,N o . 6 3 M 2 1 1 8 5$ , 1 7 a q u a r t .F i n e - t h r e a sd quare-driv i n . ,# K T S P S x1-114 F125, d quare-driv fl e at-head $ 3 f o r 1 0 0 .D e e p - t h r e as '100. ,S C S 8 X l 1 4 F s c r e w s ,N o . 8 x 1 - 1 1 4 i n . # D e e p - t h r e as dq u a r e $,4 f o r d r i v ef l a t - h e a d s c r e w s ,N o . 8 x 1 - 1 1 2 i n . # , S C S 8 X 1 1 2$ F5 , f o r 1 0 0 .D e e p f lat-head in.,#SCS8X134F, threadsquare-drive screws,No. 8 x 1-314 $S f o r 1 0 0 .C D s t o r a g e t r a c k ,1 1 - 5 l 1 6 in.x2-9116 i n . ,T 4 2 3 8L A , $ 2 e a . B l a c k i n . d i a . ,# C P F2 6 0 0 ,$ 3 e a . H o l es a w , 2 - 3 l B i n .d i a . , c a b l eg r o m m e I , 2 - 3 l B P 4 7 2 2 7$ , 11 . H o l es a w a r b o rf o r a 3 / 8 - i nc , 8 . P V Ch a n g i n g . h u c k ,P 4 5 3 1 9$ f i l e r a i lf o r 1 1 2 i n . d r a w e r s# dr m a n d , C P F3 2 5 0 02 - f t . ,$ 1 e a . K e v b o a r a ( o p t i o n a l1 ) ,0 - 1 1 i2 m o u s et r a y p a c k a g e n . x 2 1 - i n .# , 9 1 .o L e e , W W K 5 9 3 0$ ( 8 0 0 ) Valley a n dV e r i t a s , 8 7 1 - 8 1 5 8w , 9 6 - m ms t a i n l e s s s t e e lb a r h a n d l e s , 0 1 W 7 6 . 1$ 05 , e a . . W o o d w o r k e r 'S s o u r c e( ,8 0 0 ) 4 2 3 2450,www.woodworkerssource. net Iron-on mahogany edgetape,7/8-in. (800) x25-t1.,20012030, 6384380, $8 a roll.o Nevamar, Plastic laminate, 4-ft. x 8Jt. sheet,#A12004, liner/backer $80 ea. Cabinet (800)443-7931, for top undersides, 4Jt. x 8-ft. sheet,$40 ea. . McFeely's, www.McFeelys.comMagzilla magneticbit holder, #MH-9900, $8. Squared r i v eb i t , N o . 2 x 6 i n . ,# H X - 0 2 6 5 ,1 . o L o c a l u m b e r y a r d shop-grade $ birchplywood,3/4 in. x 4 ft. x 8 ft., $35 a sheet.Balticbirchplywood, 112 i n .x 5 f t . x 5 f t . , $ 2 3 a s h e e t .M D F ,3 / 4 i n . x 4 9 i n .x 9 7 i n . ,$ 3 0 a s h e e t . MDF,112 i n . x 4 9 i n . x 9 7 i n . ,$ 2 5 a s h e e t .M a h o g a n y 4,1 4 , S 5 a b d .f t . Mahogany, 5/4, $6 a bd. ft. Mahogany, 814, $7 a bd. ft. Poplal 414,$3 a ed anish oilfinish, b d . f t . . L o c a lp a i n ts t o r e ,N a t u r a l - c o l o r D $10a quart.

3-3/4" I






American Woodworker



()st \\'ood\vorkf { efs crringe ?rt

t l r t ' t l r o r r q l r to l applvina nood eclsinc to 2l

plasticJarninzrtecl top. Unlike u'oocl veneel- strrf?rces.l'otr can't s:rncl this edeine flush rvithout

scr:rtching the larninzrte. Over the vezlrs, I'r'e cliscoverecl zr f-erv tr-icks clf the tr:rcle tl-rat nill help xrtr :noid nress\, glue-ups zurd rnisaliqnecl edging. Even after' \'ou'\'e successftrllv applied tl-re 1r-inr, \'()u still f:rce a rvoodlorkins conundrtrrn: applvine finish to the rvood edge but lrot the larninate. I {irtrncl :r speci:rl autol}lotive trlaskitls tzrPe t[a.t lrorks better than l colld inraqinc. Applving:urv tvpe of finish is norr first ancl


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tu:-:-il.r* THI Mrrnns

T h e f i r - s th u r c l l e i s t < ' r cut vour-edgine pieces' rnitered corners to fit ex:ictlr'-r'ou czur't get a\\'uvrvith beins a hair short o r l o n g . S t a r t r r i t h t h e t r r , cllo r - r qt r i n r p i e c e s . L i s e a s h o r t p i e c e o f edging u'itl-r:r miterecl encl to test-fit the lonq pieces. Leave the end pieces zrbotrt 1/16 in. lons; ther"ll be trirnmecl to fit later. Finish-sancl the top ecluesof'the eclginu pieces befrlre vorr slue them o n . Y o r r c l o n ' t \ \ , : u r t t ( ) s a n c l t h e t o p o f ' t h e t r i r n a f t e r i t ' s a p p l i e c l a r - r dr i s k s c r : r t c h i n g t h e l : r r r r i n : r t e .A 1 t e r rt h e l o n g n u r s 2 r r e g l t r e c l i r r p l : r c e , \ ' o u c r u l ctrt :urcl fit thc cncl pieces firl air-tight rniter-s. (8009 ) 52-7424 Packagin Source Hillas Ig nc., w ,w w . h i l l a s . c o m 3M Scotch Frne L i n eT a p e # 2 1 8G r e e n , 3 1 4 - x # 3 M 2 1 8 3 1 4 X6 0 , $ 7 a r o i l t n6 0 - y d r o l l ,
62 ,\rner-icun\\trorltolkt'r' oCToBER 2oo5

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Use biscuitsto avoid alignment nightmares.You'll never have a wood edge dip below the laminate surface if you cut the slots so the wood edge sets just a smidgen above the laminatedtop.To do this, cut the slots in the wood edging first.Then use the same settingwith a sheetof paper under the fence to cut the slots in the laminatedtop. Use No. 20 biscuitsand set the slots 4 in. to 6 in. apart.

Glue on one piece of edging at a tame.Glue-up disastersoften result from attempts to glue everything at once. Staft with the long edging pieces.After they're set, trim the mitered end pieces for an exact fit (see Photo 3).To eliminate squeeze-outon the laminate surface,apply glue only to the inside of the biscuitslots and a bead along the edge below the biscuits.

The end pieces are cut slightly oversizeand then trimmed to create a tight joint.To trim off a whisket try this: With the miter saw off, drop the blade down and push the mitered end of the edging up againstthe teeth with enough pressureto ever so slightly deflect the blade. With a tight hold on the edging, raisethe blade back up.Turnthe saw on and slowly make the cut. This will take the lightest shaving off the end and allow you to work your way to the perfect fit.

G e t a c l e a nc r i s p f i n i s h l i n e u s i n g 3 M ' s Scotch Fine LineTape(see Source, page 62). T h i s i s t r u l y a " m a g i c " m a s k i n gt a p e ! O r i g i nally designed for auto bodywork, it makes a n a i r t i g h ts e a l t h a t n o f i n i s h c a n s n e a k under.Apply the tape to the laminate with your fingers first.Then, to make a tight seal, use a putty knife to slowly, gently press down the tape.

Wipe on two or three coats of Danish oil or brush on varnish or lacquer,you name it-this tape will keep a perfect seal. Overlap a row of 2-in. blue maskingtape on the Fine Line tape for an extra layer of protection,or if you're finishing with lacquer,make the overlap using green masking tape formulated for lacquer.Remove the tape afterthe finish dries.You'll find a sharp finish line and perfectlyclean laminate.

ftol Test



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, .' '

. ocroBER 2oo5

f you haven't test-driven a shop vacuum in a while, get ready to be impressed. These aren't Grandpa's machines. Their filtration is better, their motors are quieter and their power is outstanding. Choosing the right vacuum for your shop is not easy,though. There are so many models! We'll cover some broad categories of vacuums so you'll get an idea of whatyour budget will buy. We'll also take a closer look at a few selected vacuums that you may find useful in your shop.


These days, workshop vacuums have two main uses:general cleanup and dust collection from small tools. The latest sanders, routers, plate joiners and router tables have dust ports for hooking up to a vacuum. Teamed with a dust collector for your tablesaw, planer and jointer, a good vacuum should capture most of the small, unhealthy dust particles these tools make before the dust becomes airborne. Both uses impose different requirements on a vacuum. For cleanup (or for a router table), you need lots of air flow for gobbling up a large pile of wood chips and lots of suction for picking up heavy chunks of wood and other debris, like nails and screws.A large, 2-l/Lin. hose is ideal. For dust collection from a portable power tool, you don't need as much air flow or suction, but you do need a smaller diameter, flexible hose and a switch that automaticallv turns on the vacuum when vou turn on the tool. Most vacuums are better ^t one job than another, so when you look over the field, ask yourself whether you want a vacuum just for cleanup, just for tools or for both. Which vacuum is the most powerful? This is a complicated question. Vacuuming power is a combination of tr,vo forces: suction and air flow. We conducted a real-world test on the vacuums profiled here by measuring their ability to pick up roofing nails and sawdust. The more nails a vacuum could pick up in a given amount of time, the better its suction power. The more sawdust it could pick up, the higher its air flow.

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Hook up a shop vacuum to a portablepower tool and you may never have to breathedust again.Some vacuums have hoses and switches specificallydesigned for this setup, but even an ordinary vacuum can be outfitted with the right equipment to collectvirtually all the dust from a sander,plate joiner or router.
American Woodworker ocroBER 2oos 65

Thesevacuumsare fantastic for cleaning up the shop,but their large,stiff hosesare much too unwieldyfor power tools.General-purpose connecting to portable vacuumstypically come with a kit that includes a floor wand and other cleaning tools.Spendanother$70 for a tool-actuated switch and a smallhose,though,and you'vegot a " page74l'. machine that couldboth cleanthe floor and hook up to a tool (see "Soup Up YourShopVacuum, General-purpose vacuumscome in a wide rangeof sizes.Increased horsepower and capacity go handin hand.We've somewhatarbitrarily usually divided them into three groupsl

SmdlVacuums I to 2 peakhp, 6 to 8 amps, 2 gallons, $30to $70

Theqemachines are shortand lightweight. Youcan easilytuck one undera benchor carryit outsideto cleanthe car.They're inexpensive, so you can affordto dedicate one to a specific tool that createssmall amountsof dust, likea miter saw.These are the leasteffectivegeneral-purpose machines for cleaning a very messyshop, however. Theydon't havethe highair flow of their larger cousins, andthe smalltub fills quickly. Unfortunately, most of them are louderthan othervacuumsin our test and easier to tip over.

MidsizeVacuums 3 to 5 peakhp, 8 to l0 amps, 7 to 9 gallons, $75to $ 100

Midsizevacuumsarejust fine for collecting the smallvolumeof dust a portable power tool makes.They've got plenty of power for this job. Forgeneralcleanup, they'll hold much more sawdustand debris thana smallvacuum, so you don't haveto empty as often. However,as with a smallvacuum, the midsize machine's filter hangsinside a relatively smalltuband can quicklybecomesurrounded by debris. The filter usually clogsup fasterthan one would in a largemachine.

LargeVacuums 6 to 6.5 peakhp, l0 to 12amps, l0 to 18gallons, to $ 180 $ 120

lf you've got the spaceto store it, and you're only going to own one, look for a vacuumin this class.Thesevacuums have lots of power and capacityfor tacklingeven the largestpiles of wood shavingsand cut-offs.No other vacuum is as versatile. Equipped with an additionalsmallhose and a tool-actuated switch,thesevacuumscan easilyhandle portable powertools,a disc sanderand most operations on a routertable.

Tool-Actuated Vacuums
Thesevacuumsare generally more expensive than general-purpose machines, but they're a real pleasure to use. They have plenty of air flow for pickingup dust from a portablepower tool. When attachedto your sanderor router,the vacuum automaticallystarts up when you turn on the tool and shuts down a few secondsafter you switch off the tool. Sweet! There'sone limitation, though.The combined amperage of the vacuumand tool must be within the wall outlet'samperage limit. Tool-actuated vacuumshavemore greatfeatures, too. They'remuch quieterthan general-purpose vacuums. Theytypically come with a long,super-flexible, smalldiameter hose,perfectfor connectingto portablepower tools. Some come with a staticdischarge you from gettinga nastystaticshock.Some modelshavebuilt-in hose,which prevents mechanisms for shaking dust off the filter;so you don't haveto removethe filteras often for cleaning. All modelshavea twGstagemotorwith an air bypass that helpsextenda prefilters. motor'slife (see "Air Bypass,"page67). Most modelsacceptpaperbag lf your woodworkinghabitsleaveyou with big pilesof debrisin the shop,you'llfind that tool-actuated vacuumsaren'tas effectiveat shop cleanup as the largestgeneralpurposevacuumsare, unlessyou sweep first. The tool-actuated modelshave less suction powerfor picking up chunksof wood. In addition, theirsmallhosescan plugwith small piecesof wood (thoughsome vacuumshaveoptionallargehoses). Tool-actuated vacuumsusuallydon't come with floor+leaning accessories, such as a sweep or brush.A typicalaccessory kit costs about$60.

9 to 12amps, 9 to l5 gallons, $300to 9400

Amperage represents the amount of electrical current used by a vacuum's motor. It's a rough indication of a vacuum's ability to pick up dust and debris. Vacuums with 8-amp motors or greater are more than adequate for collecting dust from a sander; ll- to 12-amp vacuums perform much better at collecting dust from a router table or gulping big piles of sawdust from the floor.

Pleatedpaper filters are standard on most vacuums.Pleating adds surface area, which increasesthe filter's effectiveness.You've got to keep the filter clean, though, or the vacuum will lose power.

The bigger the tub, the less often you'll have the unpleasant chore of emptying it. A big tub also helps keep your filter clean. That's important, because a clogged filter leads to a loss in vacuuming power. Mostfilters hang inside the tub, right under the motor. If the tub is small, the filter can quickly become surrounded by and packed with dust and debris. If the tub is large, the filter stays out of the dust longer. A paper bag prefilter insideyour shop vacuum keeps your regular filter from filling up in a hurry. It also makes emptying the tub a lot easier.Bags are an option on many vacuums. Some have caps to cover the opening after you remove the bag.

The vacuum you choose should have, at minimum, a pleated HEPA-rated filter (photo, top). HEPA stands for high-efificiency particulate air. A HEPA filter should remove 99.97 percent of the particles 0.3 microns and larger, but few if any filters are independently certified to meet this standard. Nevertheless, it's the best filter for your vacuum and lungs, because the smallest dust particles are the most hazardous to your health. We like a vacuum that can accept a paper bag prefilter (photo, center). The paper bag fits inside the tub. Once full, the entire bag is discarded. With a paper bag prefilter, you won't be banging your filter and releasing giant clouds of dust every time you empty the vacuum.

Easv-To-Enapw Tue
It's easy to dump debris out of a tub that has a smooth wall (photo, below). It's harder with a tub that has a lip at the top, because you must tilt the tub much higher.

Admit it. You know you're going to use the hose like a leash to tug the vacuum around your shop's obstacle course. We prefer four casters that can roll in any direction rather than two fixed wheels and tr,voswiveling casters. Emptying a vacuum is a lot easier when its tub has a smooth rim. Some vacuums are more difficult to empty because their rims are stepped inward, like a picklejar.To empty a steppedrim vacuum, you must turn the tub completely over and shake it.

The greatest enemy to a motor's life is excessive heat. The air that passesthrough a vacuum's fan also cools the motor. If the hose gets clogged, air doesn't move and the motor heats up. Some vacuums have a bypass air inlet that allows air to flow over the motor no matter what. If a vacuum has a two-stage motor (meaning, it has tr,vo in-line fans) it usually has this bpass, also.

American Woodworker




Craftsman 17066
$120, 6.5 hp, 12 amps, 16 gallons This one has power, in spades. Of the three large vacuums we tested, this machine performed the best at picking up heavy debris. It accepts a dust prefilter. This vacuum is one of the easiest models to empty, because there's no lip on the tub. It also has multidirectional casters,making it easyto pull any,vhere around the shop. It's the loudest large vacuum we tested, at about 78 dBA. The head of this machine can be detached and used as a leaf blower. (800) Sears, 349-4358,

Ridgid 1850
$150, 6.5 hp, 12 amps, 16 gallons This machine did a great job gobbling dust and debris. It's the only vacuum with a filter performance sensor, which shows you when the filter is clogged without requiring you to open the tub. Paper bag prefilters are available. A lip on the tub makes completley emptying the tub difficult. It's a moderately loud machine, coming in at about 74 dBA. Ridgid, 474-3443, 1800l'

ShopVac 9621900
$160, 6.5 hp, 12 amps, 18 gallons This vacuum has lots of power, particularly in picking up heavy debris. But it has less power than the Craftsman 17066 and Ridgid 1850 models. With the largest tub of the three. this vacuum can hold lots of trash. A lip on the tub makes completely emptying difficult, however. This vacuum accepts paper bag prefilters. It's moderately loud at about 74 dBA. (570) Shop Vac, 326-3557,

General-Purposeor Tool-Actuated?
We like both types of machine, but for differentreasons. Here'show they stackup: r Price.Largegeneral-purpose vacuumscost abouthalfas much as tool-actuated vacuums. The equation stays the same when you add helpfulaccessories to both types:$70 for a smallhoseand tool-switch for a generalpurposemachine, kit for a tool-actuated machine, $60 for a floor-cleaning r Versatility.Largegeneral-purpose job cleaning vacuumsdo a bang-up a messyfloor that is full of wood chips power tools.With a tool-actuated and debris.But you must purchase kit for use with portable an accessory you shouldsweep up big chipsand cut-offsbeforevacuuming; machine, however, the vacuumis alwaysready to go with a portablepower tool. r Noise.Tool-actuated quieterthan largegeneral-purpose vacuumsare noticeably machines. r Filtration. Largegeneral-purpose vacuumshavefiltersthat can easilyclog because they hangdown in the tub. You must bangthe filterto cleanit. Somefilterson tool-actuated vacuumssit abovethe tub and can be cleaned without openingthe tub. And some modelshavea built-in filter shaker.

ANote on NoiseTesting: To test these vacuums'noiselevels, we measured sound-pressure levelsin decibels on the A scaleof a soundlevel ( d B )a s d B A y e a r db y t h e h u m a ne a r .L e v e l s meter. T h i ss c a l em e a s u r e s o n l yt h e f r e q u e n c i eg se n e r a l l h obtained u s i n gt h i s s c a l ed e n o t ed e c i b e l s units, w h i c h i s h o w v o u ' l ls e e t h e m l i s t e di n m o s t s h o ov a c u u ms o e c s . 68 AmericanWoodworker ocToBER2oos

Bosch 3931
$400, ll.1 amps, l3 gallons This vacuum has slightly more suction and greater air flow than the Fein Tirrbo III or PorterCable 7814, but not nearly as much as the 6.Fhp general-puqpose vacuums. Turning on its Pulse{lean switch automatically shakes the dust out of the filter. The filter is mounted horizontally inside the head above the dust in the tub. The filter can be removed, cleaned and replaced without opening the tub. This vacuum comes with a staticdis charge hose and has optional dust prefilters. The tool-actuated plug maxes out at 7.2 amps, an amperage rating lower than that of most routers. This machine is relatively quiet at 69 dBA. -2499, (8771 Bosch, 267 www.boschtools. com

Fein Turbo III

$350, l0 amps, 14.5 gallons Lots of woodworkers love their Fein vacuums because they're exceptionally quiet-about 58 dBA. Fein offers two tool-actuated models: the Turbo III (shown), and the Turbo II (g.b amps, 9 gal., $300). Both have 19-amp ratings on their tool-actuated switches, the highest in the field. Both have multidirectional casters for maximum mobility. The Turbo III comes standard with a largediameter, nonstatic discharge hose. You'll need a smalldiameter hose ($52) for connecting to portable power tools. The Turbo II comes with the smalldiameter hose only. -987 (800) Fein. 441 8,

Porter-Cable 78L4
$340, 9 amps, 15 gallons This compact vacuum has a manual filter shaker. The filter is housed horizontally in the head and can be removed, cleaned and replaced without opening the tub. The maximum amperage rating for the tool-actuated switch is 6 amps, which is quite small. At about 70 dBA, this vacuum is a bit louder than the Bosch and Fein, but still very quiet. Porter-Cable also makes a smaller, lO-gallon version of this vacuum (#7812,9 amps, $270) with the same features. It's short enough to tuck under a low workbench. (800) Portertable, 321-9443, \ lln ^/

The Bosch 3931 is the only vacuum with a power filter shaker.A flick of this red switch knocks most of the dust from the filter.

Fein'sbasket-shapedS-micron cloth filter is very easy to remove and clean.Youmay upgradeto a 3-micron pleated filter ($28)or a HEPA fitter (g9S).

Porter-Cable's vacuum has a builtin filter cleaner.Pulling the external handle rakes a series of small fingers across the filter's bottom.
Arnerican Woodworker ocroBER 2oos 69

I Cut the shelves,sides and top to length using a crosscut I sled.Theends must be absolutelystraightand squareto make tight-fitting dovetail joints. Clamp a long stop arm to the sled to ensuresimilar piecesare cut to the same length.
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Glue up and mill the shelves (A), sides (B) and top (C) to final width and length (Fig. A, Photo 1). All the pieces are equal to or less than 12 in. wide, so you can nrn them through a planer to even up thejoints. To succeed with the dovetail joinery it's essential that all these parts are dead flat. Use a crosscut sled to ensure the ends are square (see "A Simple Crosscut Sled," AW #87,June 2001, page 43).

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Use my shopmade dovetailjig to make perfectly tapered dovetails on the shelvesand sides (Photo 2; Fig. B,page72). You'll find complete information on how to build and use myjigs in "Thpered Sliding Dovetails," page 44. Note that a joint's wide end goes on the front of a sheHbut on the back of the side (Fig. A, page 72). The shelves slide in from the front. so the exposed dovetails are the wide end. The top slides in from the front because the joint is stopped. Rout both ends of each shelf and the top end of each side. Q nout tapereddovetailson the ends of the shelvesand sides. joint Ql've deviseda shop-madejig that makesthis complicated viftuafly foolproof (see"TaperedSliding Dovetailsj' pageMl.

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Lay the nvo sides together, like an open book, and mark the centerlines of the shelf sockets (Fig. A). Align the socketjig with these marks and rout all six sockets using my shopmade tailjig (Photo 3).

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jig has a tapered opening Q nout sockets in the sides.This r-f that exactly mirrors the dovetail'staper. Line up the jig's alignment mark with each shelf's centerline (see inset).

American Woodworker



Materials: 30 bd. ft. of 514(1-1l4-in.) hardmaple

Tools: jointel router Planeltablesaw, Cost: $160

42"H x 42'W x 12"D OvERAI Dnvm,wstoNs:

Part A B C Name Shelf Side Top Oty. 3 2 1 Dimensions (Th x W x L) 1-118" x 11"x 34-314" 1-118" x 11"x 41-318" 1-118"x 12" x 42"


American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo5

t h e s h e l v e sa n d s i d e s .G l u e a l l t h r e e s h e l v e s to 'Z t l Assemble o n e s i d e ;t h e n a d d t h e o t h e r s i d e b e f o r et h e g l u e s e t s . Tapered s l i d i n gd o v e t a i l s d o n ' t b e c o m et i g h t u n t i l t h e y ' r e pace. a l m o s th o m e , s o y o u c a n w o r k a t a c o m f o r t a b l e

jig f, nout stopped socketsin the top. Placea block in the vt to stop the cut.Thesesocketsdon't go all the way across, becausethe top's front overhangsthe sides.Here,the dovet a i l j o i n t i s " b l i n d i 'o r h i d d e n .

This is much fi fri- the front end of eachside'sdovetail. \.f easier to do with a handsaw than by machine.The shoulder you createwill sit under the uncut portion of the top's socket.

S t i O "t h e t o p i n t o p l a c e .D o v e t a ijlo i n e r y m a k e st h i s I bookcase e x t r e m e l yr i g i d ,e v e n w i t h o u t a b a c kp a n e l . Y o u can load it with heavy books and never worry about it sagg i n g o r f a l l i n ga p a r t . f


Sand the shelves and sides; then glue them together (Photo a). Apply a thin layer of glue to either the socket or the dovetail-it's not necessaryto spread glue on both pars. It's easyto slide the joint most of the way home by hand, but keep a mallet or pipe clamp handy for the final push. dovetails on the sides. Turn the glued case upside down and place it on the top. Tiansfer the centerlines of the dovetails to the top (Fig. C. page72). Line up the socketjig on thesemarks (Photo 5). Note that the jig's narrow side facesthe top's front.

Rour rHE Top SocKETS

Be fussy when lapng out the sockets in the top, because there's little or no room for error. Mark the center of the top

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Trim the side's dovetails (Photo 6, Fig. A). Sand the top and glue it on (Photo 7). Round over all the edges of the top, sides and shelveswith sandpaper.
American Woodworker ocroBER 2oos 73

Had enough dust? Hook up to any portable po\ruer tool rruith this set of accessories.
ost shop vacuums are big and powerful, like SLIVs. These vacuums have tons of suction power for cleaning the mess on your floor, but their standard hoses and fittings are way too big to use with portable power tools. There's no way you're going to attach a stiff, heavy, 2-l/Lin. hose to a random-orbit sander! You need accessoriesthat are small, lighnveight and nimble, like a sports car. With this set of options, you can hook up nearly any workshop vacuum to any portable power tool. What a difference! No more choking sawdust-it's definitely the way to go.



Super-flexible, long, lighnveight and small in diameter-that's whatyou're looking for in a hose. This hose from Shop Vac weighs less than 2lbs., runs 18 ft. long and bends easily.The

end that fits into your vacuum'stub is a standardz-l/+n. straightsleeve.

Source ShopVac,(570)32G3557, 1-1|#in.x 1&ft. hose, #903-24-00, $51.

Toor--AcruATED SwrrcH
This convenient gadget will _really turn you on. Acrually, it's your vacuum that automatically turns on whenever you fire up a power tool. Plug the Craftsman Automatic Power Switch into an outlet; then plug the tool and vacuum into the switch. It works just like the toolactuated switch on a high-end vacuum. The vacuum starts up with the tool and runs an additional 2 to 3 seconds to clear the hose after you've turned off the tool. The switch is rated to handle a total of 15 amps for the vacuum plus a tool.
Source Sears,(800)3494358, www, CraftsmanAutomatic Power Switch, #24031. S2O.




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The smallest dust particles are the largest health hazard. To best capture sanding dust, switch from a standard filter to a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter. This CleanStream HEPA-grade fabric filter doesn't clog as easily as a paper HEPA filter and can be cleaned with water. These filters are machine-specific, so you'll need to buy one that fits your vacuum's make and model.
(800)758-6755, Source CleanStream, CleanStream Filters, about size. $30, but pricedependson your vacuum's

Hosr AnaprERS

Chances zrre every power tool in your shop has a different size of dust port, right? It's time to buy a set of hose adapters. These two from Fein should be good for most situations. r Cut the step adapter to custom-fit the inside or outside diameter of a dust port. The large end fits on the hose; the small end has a 7/&in. inside diameter and l-lllGin. outside diameter at the taper's end. r The flexible rubber sleeve connects to a dust port that has approximately the same outside diameter as the end of the hose-about l-1/4in.
Source Fein, (800) 441-9878, StepAdapter, #921072K13, #921 06941 3, $1.50. $3.70.Rubber-sleeve,




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Hosr Clrps
These from handy clips together your Fein bind tool's power cord and a l-l/4-lin. vacuum hose. Five clips are usually enough for an 18-ft. hose. (800) Source Fein, 441-9878, Hose/cord clips, #921063K$ 11 3e , a.

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American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oos



American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo5

This telgscoptrg

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ManrRrALS AND Tools

Cut all the parts of the stool from one half-sheet (4 ft. x 4 ft.) of 3/ Lin. birch plywood (about $2S1. Birch plywood makes the best-looking stool for the least amount of money. Its faces are free of ugly knots and its edges are virtually free of voids. But you're free to choose any kind of 3/ 4-lin. plywood without voids, such as Baltic birch, marine-grade plywood or AB fir plywood. Use plywood-cutting blades in your circular saw and jigsaw to avoid splintering.

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l. Cut the plywood into two large rectangular pieces (Fig. B, above). Draw a centerline on the smaller piece for laying out two sets of nesting circles. Use a trammel (Fig. D, below) to draw two footress (C, D) and two top pieces (G, H, Photo 1). Drill start holes to fit your jigsaw blade. Cut all the circles using a jigsaw. 2. Lay out the tr,vo base pieces (A, B, Fig. C, center). Use the outside edge of the smaller footrest (C) to draw the curved sections of the legs-it's simpler than setting up the trammel. Leave a l/2-in. separation between the two base pieces. Cut the center notches and the sides of the bases using a circular saw (Photo 2). The accuracy of these cuts isn't critical, so you don't need a guide. Cut the legs and inside corners of the notches using the jigsaw.



3. Test-fit the two base pieces (Photo 3). Trim the notches as needed so the parts fit easily.


AmericaD Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo5

Ora* two pairs of circleson a sheet of plywood.The I outer circlesare parts of the footres! the inner circlesare parts of the seat. For drawing circlesthis large,use a shopmade trammel-a thin strip of wood with a nail for a centerpoint. Cut the circlesusing a jigsaw.


jigsaw. Q Cut out both base piecesusing a circularsaw and lr Support the pieces on sacrificial2x4s. Lower the blade of the circularsaw 1l4in. below the plywood and cut right through the top of the 2x4s.

the base piecestogether.Don't worry-the fit doesn't Q StiOe Additional parts of the stool will lock r-l have to be precise. thesetwo piecesinto one solid unit.

4. Sand the edges of the seat and base pieces. Round the corners with router bit. a l/Lin.-radius 5. Slide the two base pieces together. Place the smaller footrest on the base. Predrill and countersink screw holes through the footrest and into the base (Fig. A, page 84). Screw and glue the bottom footrest to the base. 6. Check the fit of the top footrest

(D) on the base. It will be tighttrim as needed. Position the top footrest so its face grain runs the opposite way from the grain of the footrest below. Glue and clamp the top footrest to the bottom footrest (Photo 4). 7. Rip the corner braces (E, Photo 5). Flip the plywood sheet over for each succeeding 45-degree cut (Fig. E, page 90). Cut the corner

braces to length. Glue the corner braces on opposite sides of the base (Fig. A). Fasten these pieces using a brad nailer, or predrill and countersink holes for 7-l/Gin. screws. 8. Cut and miter two clamping hole in blocks (F). Dritl a 7/lGin the center of each block and hammer in a T:nut on the inside. Mark the location of the ends of the clamp ing blocks on the base pieces (Fig.


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo5


7l -f

dttacnthe footrests in three steps. First, adjust the base pieces so they're square to each other. Second, a t t a c ht h e b o t t o m r i n g w i t h s c r e w s . T h i r d ,g l u e a n d c l a m p the top ring.

avoid K *'O two beveledcorner braceson the tablesaw.To r.f kickbacks,tilt the blade away from the fence. On a righttilt saw, shown here,that means placingthe fence on the /eft side of the blade,oppositeof where it normally goes.

C). Then glue and screw the clamping blocks to the base (Photo 6).

straight bit in your router. 10. Drill and countersink


lrusrall THE TrlrscoPrNG SupPoRT

9. Rip the work support legs (K). Cut them to length and sand their edges. Cut a groove down the center of each leg (Fig. A). Use a dado set on the tablesaw or a 3/4in.

holes at the top and bottom of nvo pieces of 1,2&in. x 3/4;n. flat mild steel. Fasten the steel (L) to the work support legs. (You don't need screws if you use epoxy or polyurethane glue.) The eye bolts that clamp the work support bear against this steel. Without the steel, the bolts will dig into the wood.

ll. Cut the work support subbase (J). Assemble the work support column by gluing and nailing the legs to the subbase.When you glue, be sure the legs are square to the subbase. Cut a rectangle in the middle of the subseat(G) using ajigsaw (Fig B). Test the fit of the work support column in this opening. Slide the work suppflrt down the base and leave it in position.


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oos

an eve bolt
A Install a clamping block with a T-nut opposite each corner brace. l-. Temporarily tack the blocksin place using brads;then predrill pilot holes for screws.Thescrewsgo in squareto the blocks.

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work support.

locks the

?Ctue and nail the subseatto the base.After the subseatis Q Round the edge of the top after it's glued and nailed in the joint with screws. A rectangular LJ place.A large radius makesthe seat quite comfortable. / tackedin place,reinforce guidesthe adjustable work supportcolumn. hole in the subseat

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12. Cut two semicircles in the subseat (G, Fig. B). These cutouts make it easier to grip and raise the seat. Flip the subseat upside down and place it on the base. Tiace the outline of the base on the subseat. Turh the subseat right-side up and place it on the base. Make sure the

work support slides freely up and Fasten the subseat to the base (Photo 7). Use the tracing marks as a guide for the nails and screws. 13. Cut the seat (H) into three pieces using a jigsaw (FiS. B). Center the middle piece on the work support column and glue and down.

nail it with brads. Place the outer pieces in position, leaving l/8-in. gaps next to the center piece. Glue and nail the outer pieces to the subseat. 14. Round the seat's edge (Photo 8). Fill all exposed nail holes and sand off the pencil marks. Apply any finish vou want. or none at all.


American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo5

Sarry round tabletops rryith a simple shop-made jig

It's easy to cut perfectly round tabletops of almost any size on your tablesaw.All it takes is a simplejig (Fig. A., page 95) and careful setup. With this method, you can safely cut diameters from 12 in. to within an inch of your saw's rip-fence capacity. Why use a tablesaw?It's better than bandsawing or routing, especially for large-diameter circles. Unlike bandsawing, when you're working on the tablesaw, the blank is fully supported, so it's easyto control. Unlike routing, you stay in one place while making the cut and you don't have to , deal with a tangle-prone cord. Thblesawn results are better, too. The circular blade leaves a cleaner i/ edge than a bandsaw blade does and it won't tear out the end grain, the way a router bit can. blade. Unlike the bandsaw method, however, you must start with a blank that's already roughsawn. Cutting the circle to final size takes several steps. Like turning a rough blank into a round on a lathe, you gradually cut down the high spots until the blank is perfectly round. Here's how to do it: 1. Draw the circle on the bottom of the blank, using a compass or trammel. 2. Use a jigsaw to rough-saw the blank l/4 in. to l/2 in. larger than the final diameter. Starting on the bottom face, draw a diameter line that continues all the way around the blank. 3. Enlarge the center hole that remains from drawing the circle to fit the jig's center pin. Mount the blank (Photo 1). Then install the retainers. 4. Before you position the jig, unplug your saw and install an alternate tooth bevel (ATB) blade with at least 40 teeth. Raise the blade fully. Set the rip fence so there'sjust enough room for thejig and blank to slide past the blade. Align the blank's centerline with the reference line you've drawn on the clamp rail (Fig. A). 5. Hold thejig against the fence, slide it forward into position and clamp it securely (Photo 2). 6. Lower the blade fully to locate the jig for the first cut. Spin the roughsawn blank to find is widest spot. Then reset the fence so the blade will remove about I/L6 in. from

This tablesaw technique is similar to the approach used for cutting circles on a bandsaw Using a clamped-on jig with a center pin, you make the cut by rotating the blank into the




b1TimJohnso this point. A more aggressivecut wouldn't work; it would cause binding between the blank and the blade. 7. Start the cut by raising the blade (Photo 3). Then rorare the blank clockwise (Photo 4). Shut off the saw and lower the blade. 8. Reset the fence and repeat the cutting process, as needed, removing about 7/76 in. from the edge of the blank each time. Removing l/76 in. reduces the blank's overall diameter by 1/8 in. Your last fence adjustment, to dial in the final diameter, will probably be lessthan 1/16 in. 9. Remove saw marks on the edge by sanding or by routing a profile. This techniqueuas dnelopedfrom a tip supplied by Paul Lee. The jig's base is slightlywider than the diameterof the circleyou plan to cut and deep enough to fully suppo.rt the blank.The1/8-in.-dia. steelcenter pin (A) protrudesat least 1/4 in. lt's locatedon a line perpendicular to the edge and centered front to back.This reference line continues onto the clamp rail. Position the pin so the blank slightlyoverhangsthe base.Theretainerrisersare the same thickness as the blank.Heavypaper shims provide clearance under the risers'tops so the blank can rotate.

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I M o u n t t h e r o u g h s a w nb l a n ko n t h e j i g . l t r o t a t e so n t h e I* center pin. Align the blank'scenterlinewith the reference lineon the jig'srail.

jig to the rip fence at the point where the tip of Q Clamp the {rthe fully raisedblade,the top edge of the blank and the centerlinemeet. Lower the blade completely.Then position the blank for the first cut by adjustingthe fence.

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flStart the cut by raisingthe blade into the blank after sett-fting the fence to remove only 1/16in. from the edge. Hold t h e b l a n k f i r m l y ,s o i t c a n ' t m o v e . T u r n on the saw and slowly r a i s et h e b l a d et o f u l l h e i g h t .

After f Completethe cut by rotatingthe blank clockwise. llone full rotation,shut off the saw and lower the blade completely.Resetthe fence about 1/16in. closerto the blade for the next pass.Repeatthe cutting processuntil the blank reachesits final diameter.
American Woodworker OCTOBER2oo5 95






While a large board maneuvering in my small shop, I inadvertently whacked my old fire extinguisher and knocked it off its bracket. The chemical healy, d.yextinguisher pinwheeled to the concrete floor and crashed The down. top-side

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impact broke the plastic valve assembly, causing a major, unstoppable eruption of fire suppres-


sant. Almost instantly, my shop disappeared in a billowing yellow cloud. Holding my breath, I dropped the board and headed for the door. The excitement lasted less than a minute, but cleaning up took days. After the blast, everyhing in my shop was covered with a layer of powdery like yelresidue-almost low volcanic ash. Bruce Kielfer



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My husband was working quietly in his basement shop when I heard a muffled "ugh!" followed by sounds of gagging and footsteps racing up the stairs. I ran to the kitchen, where I found him rinsing his mouth under the gushing faucet. After allowing a minute for him to towel off and regain his composure, I asked what had happened. He opened his mouth and pointed to the back of his throat, where I saw a small puncture wound. Sheepishly, he croaked out the story. While cutting long, slender inlay pieces for a box, he'd put one of them in his mouth like a straw so he could use both hands to adjust the rip fence on his tablesaw. Unfortunately, when he leaned forward to eyeball the scale, he forgot about the piece in his mouth, which hit the saw table and then speared his throat. Luckily the injury was more embarrassing than serious. I bet he'll never do that again!


If you have a woodworking blunder that you're willing to share. send it to us. You'll receive $100 for each one we print. Send it to AW Oops!, American Woodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121, or e-mail to oops@readersdigest. com. Submissionscan't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and pvyment. We may edit submissions and use them in all print and electronic media.


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96 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo5