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Youn SxlLLs.


Youn Snop

ldeisffiil, Furniture 2OOT
Station Sharpening
Hand-GraftedGoffee l?able


Build theUltimate


#131.OCTOBER 2007



Furniture Society 2007

The annual conference has a Northwest flavor.


43 ToolTest Benchtop Planers

Digital readout finally arrives.

2OTried andTrue ClampingTips

The pressure's on: do it right!

52 CurvyCoffeeTable
Tapered Sliding Dovetails
Sounds comolicated. but they're r-eallynot.

How do you make an entire table from one plank?

Bow 5B BuildA Recurue

Complete step-by-step for a popular kit.

Station 70 UltimateSharpening
Grind and hone at one dedicated spot.




B Mailbox 10Ouestion& Answer
Editor flamed as "idiot" and more.


Make flat raised-panels,understand a vise's toe-in, build a plane-iron chisel and install a coping saw blade in the right direction.

WorkshopTips ld ^ ^ for the Tool Giveawayinclude

Winners 2007 a support arm for a crosscut sled, a method to enlarge holes with a rabbeting bit, a universal featherboard. a router table microadjust, a jug for cleaning an H\rLP sprayer and rare-earth magnets used to align a tablesaw fence.


Grandfather's Delta machines launched a small businessselling vintage tools.


Shop 20 Well-Equipped

Grizzly 25-in. planer, Pinnacle honing guide, CMT dado set, Lee Valley bench clamp, louver-door templates for the Leigh FMT and Snappy pocket-hole bits and driver.

28 SchoolNews
MIT HobbyShop
Even brainy engineers benefit from hands-on woodworking.


Yxf,l]:L"" inasoace that r rove.,,

Brusha Tabletop
A pro shares his hard-won secrets.

Skills 82 BuildYour

BB P*gliu. -uor..r,.a,

American Woodworker

OCToBER 2oo7

Birth of aWoodworker
I visited dozens of woodworkers acrossthe U.S. and Canada over the past severalmonths. For some, woodworking is a livelihood; for others, a pastime.Meeting so many creativeand talented people, I was reminded how versatile wood can be. It's pretty amazing stuff. Wood can be shaped, carved and joined with relative ease,producing a product that is strong, beautiful and useful. If properly cared for, our wooden creations will last for many generations. In Boston, I visited the legendaryNorth Bennet StreetSchool, where students master both hand and power tools while building Queen Anne, Chippendale and.other traditional stylesof furniture. Across the Charles River in Cambridge, I visited the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)Hobby Shop (seepage 28). In this combination wood and metal shop, studentsbuild projects that range from wood-strip canoes to high-end audio speakersto competition robots. On the other side of the country and north acrossthe border in British Columbia, Canada, I spent a couple very enjoyable days attending the Furniture Society's annual conference (seepage 36). This gathering of woodworkers from acrossNorth America and abroad really demonstrated that our craft is alive and active. I met many college-agestudents who were there to learn more about furniture building, which was extremely encouraging. Wandering through the conference's many exhibits, I saw everything from futuristic furniture to native northwestern woodcarving, such as the eagle pictured below. Go to,/FS2007 to view more photos from Furniture 2007. Back home in Minnesota, I made my annual visit to our county fair, where I cheered on my son Zack, as he herded his 3001b.pig around the arena, and my daughter Clara, who enjoys goats as much as I enjoy woodworking. Later in the day,we strolled around the rest of the fair and stopped at a working sawmill display.It was an old, very basic mill, and a bit scary as we watched an unguarded 4foot diameter blade buzz it's way through the logs. The two men operating the mill seemed unfazed by the open belts and gears rotating only inches from their legs. The crowd, however,was mesmerized by the slabsof wood as they were sliced off the log. Over the noise of the saw,a man next to me loudly remarked "WoW that's beautiful wood! Do you know what kind it is?"'Yes,it's red oak," I replied. "That's beautiful wood," he said again, only more quietly, to himself. Yep, I thought, next week he'll be buyrng a tablesaw, andjoining the rest of us.

aeS*-RandyJohnson Editor

6 American Woodworker ocroBEFt 2oo7

Until next time.


Us WHnr You Rrnlly THTNK

Here is a picture of my pal and I reading the latest issues of American Woodworker during a recent vacation to Perdido. Florida. That's a real testament considering the distractionscruising up and down the beach! Mark Ratlry and Manny Heafner

Kuoos FRoMDownr Uruoen

I live in New Zealand and am retired with a good workshop. I wasquite impressedbyyour article about Lindsey Dill and her high school woodworking classproject on picture frames (AW#129,July 2007). Mr. Bockman, her teacher, and Prescott High School must be very proud of her. Lindsey's approach, innovative thinking and final solution would be brilliant in a qualified tradesman. I am so impressedthat I am going to start making a line of her frames in my workshop. I am sure that she will succeed atarry careet she chooses. Pleasegive her my congratulations and best wishesfor her future. Bill Long

Secoruo Lrre
I work at Clark Granite and Marble in Chino Valley,Arizona. Our company donates all our plywood scraps to Prescott High School (AW#129, July 2007). We're proud to support our local school and pleasedthat thesenatural resources don't go to our city's landfill. It's a win-win. Consider making it happen in your community! BettyBngthold

takes a vintage sweetheart-era StanleyNo. 3 and cuts off its side? The article by Tom Caspar All the years of woodworking wis"Troubleshoot Your Plane" in the dom on your staffand you couldn't luly 2007 issue suggeststhat self- find a way to demonstrate these aligning tabs for plane frogs were problems without destroying an only put on Stanleyplanes in what antique?What a waste. he calls the Sweetheart Era, 1920 l.M. to 1935. I have two newer planes,a for writing. l'm the guy No. 3 and a No. 5 1,/2,which have Thanks for cutting up that No.3. selfaligning tabs.I bought the 3 in responsible (lt was a mid-fifties plane, by the way. the late 1960's or early 1970's.I For the photos, I substituted a acquired the 5-7/2 secondhand Sweetheart blade andfrog.)The side but I know that it was new around of this planehadbeenbadly cracked 1950. Both planes are marked longago,so it was a totallossuntilI the "Made In England." Perhaps the cut off its side.l'vebeenusing cut-away bodyfor yearsto demonSweetheart Era lasted a little stratehow a plane worksin my hand longer over here. tool classes, andlotsof beginner stuRoland Green. dentshaveappreciated seeing it's Butthanks foryourconcern. County Corh,Ireland, innards. TomCaspar



Owlv Aru loror

I'm writing about"Troubleshoot Well, after I remove my foot Your Plane" (AW#127, July 2007). from my mouth, all I can do is
The headline reads "Practical Solutions to 6 Common Problems," but you need to add a 7th problem - what do you do with an idiot who


No problem. Sometimes I openmine wide enough to get in bothfeet!-Iorn

American Woodworker

ocroBEFt 2oo7

Scenv PHoro
Accidents at the table saw hap pen very quickly. I know, asI cut off my thumb at the first joint several years ago. I read and reread each issueof AW, but one recent photo frightensme eachtime I come to it (AW #l 29,July 2007,"No-Math Saw Se ttrp", p. 90). This cut is very danger()us, especially with the hardwoods and exotic woods we woodtlrrners use. And there's no need for it. Anyone who has used a lathe for even a short period of time can rough down a cylinder in lesstime than it takesto set up the tablesaw. George Quay (one-and-a-half thumbsuNtis thebest I can do)

Slrp BluEs
I found a mistake, the hard way, in the directions for building a crosscutsled (AW#l28, April/May 2007). In step #7, you saythat the first test cut should split the basein half. \Ahen I made that cut, my runners no longer fit tight because they only bore against one side of the saw'smiter slot, per your plans. This situation is easy to avoid, however.You should stop the test cut short, so it doesn't cut all the way through and split the base.All you have to do is cut through your test piecesand into the fence a little bit, leaving 2 in. or so of the base uncut. Adjust the fence to make a perfect 90degree cut, then cut all the way through. Tb@Morgan


the full sizeof the miterslot,but not the way we designed them.We actuallymadeoursledthewayyousuggest,but forgotto sayso in the directions.

American Woodworker welcomesyour lettersand e-mailsaboutour articles, website,and all thingswoodworking. Published lettersmay by editedfor style and lengthand becomethe propertyof American Woodworker. Send e-mailsto aweditor@americanwoodworkercom.Send Dostalmail to Woodworker AW Mailbox,American Magazine, 1285Corporate CenterDrive, MN 55121. Suite180,Eagan, American Woodworker ocToBER zoou 9

right,George, mostturners You're wouldn't with thetablesaw to bother blank. knock the corners off a square if youuse Thecut is safe, though, yourblade guard, as shownin the picallthe way ture,andyouonlyusethistechnique Goodcatch!Cutting wouldworkfine if the runin the through squares, as mentioned on large wav. nerswere madethe traditional text.

F n Rarsro Pnrurls
Makingflat raisedpanelswith my dadoset leaves an uneven surface. ls there some betterway?
Use a router table and a mortising bit (see Source, below). . You'll get very flat surfaces that only need a little sanding. If you use a down-shear mortising bit, the edge of the raised section will be crisp and clean, without any splintering (see photo, below left). A bit's shear angle is


the angle of the cutting edge relative ro the shaft. The slanted cutting edge of a down-shear bit (see photo, at right) forces chips to travel towards the bit's tip. On a router table, the shear angle forces chips up, away from the raised edge. Mortising bits are alailable in a wide vari-



rc 'h' ":i-l-* r,

ety of diameters, from l/2 in. to 7-l/2 in. They're also arailable with or without bearings. You don't need a bearing to make raised panels, but bis with bearings are more versatile. Bearings are useful for tracing around hinge mortise and other templates. (800) Source : Freud, 472-7 307, www.f

WuRr's Wnoruc WlrH Mv Vrsr?

jaws of my new vise aren'tparallel, t I The top to bottom. ls this OK? V ^v

/-f J-

Your vise is.just fine. This design ensures that a board doesn't wiggle when you righten the vise. The lean in your vise'souterjaw is called toe-in. Toein corrects for upanddown play in the guide bars. I As you tighten a vise, the guide bars tend to angle down, so they're lower in front than in back. This makes the outerjaw lean away from the innerjaw. Toe-in compensates for that lean. When you tighten a vise with toe-in, the outer jaw becomes parallel to the innerjaw. It puts even pressure along the entire surface of your workpiece, which is exactly what you want. If your vise doesn't have toe-in, or the toe-in is inadequate, plane the outerjaw's wooden face so it's thicker at the top than at the bottom. That creates the lean you'll need to hold work more securely.




Pnne THrru Doverets

A while back,you ran a story on making precise half-blinddovetails by smallerpins, narrowingdown to lessthan 1/8 in., but I can't find a chiselthin enoughto pare into this smaller opening. Canyou makea recommendation?

Make your own chisel from a standard-thickness plane blade. This is a very cool tool!You'll find many other applications for it. The dovetail-paring story appeared in AW #119, Jan. 2006, p. 62 ("Precise Hand-Cut Dovetails"). With this plane-blade chisel, you can pare drawer dovetails that are | / 4 in. wide at the gauge line and have a 1-in-8 slope, as shown in the photo. Sharpen the plane blade straight acrossto enable it to pare into a corner. Make the handle from l/2-in. thick wood. Round the sides and top edge and chamfer the bottom edge. Fasten the sides with l-in. longl/420 machine screws and square nuts. The handle is easily removable for sharpening the blade, which can go back in the plane when needed.


WnrcH Wnv Do THe Teern Go?

Should the teeth of a coping saw blade point toward the handle or awayfrom the handle?

When the work is supportedfrom below, on the handle side,the teeth should face down. You cut on the pull stroke.

The blade can go either way, but you'll get the best results when its teeth face towards the object that supports the workpiece. This way, the workpiece won't rattle or vibrate when you saw If your workpiece is supported flat on your workbench, and you pull from below, face the teeth towards the handle (top photo). If your workpiece is supported in a vise, and the line you're cutting is close to the vise'sjaws,the teeth can go either way. Ifyou raise the workpiece in a vise to get a better view it's a good idea to steady it with a support block clamped from behind and out of your line of sight (bottom photo). Install the blade with the teeth pointing away fiom the handle. Cut on the push stroke.
Ifyou have a question you'd like answered, send it to u at epestion & Answe4 American Woodworker, 1285 Corporate Cnter Drive, Suite 180, Eagan, MN 55121, or e-rnail o Sorry, but the volume oi mail prevents us fiom answeringeach question individually.

When the work is supportedfrom behind,the teeth should face away from the handle. You cut on the push stroke.


American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo7

Fnov Oun RTnDERS

Tool Glveaway
contribway tothe ontheir FeStOOlDOminO JOinefS are
of these utors tOp thfee of from thehundreds tipS, chosen
pages, on the following tips appear Morewinning we received. entries And toolsfor all our winners, fabulous for providing to Festool Thanks tips manymoreof thegreat We'llshare whoentered. to everyone thanks so staytuned! in futureissues, we received

Support Arni for



I got tired of trying to keep my crosscr-lt sled flat on the table when I ctrt wide panels. At the beginning of each cut, I had to support the sled's back end to keep the front end from lifting-sometimes the runners would lift right out o1'the top's grooves. My solution was to fasten this hinged support arm to my saw's cabinet. It also stores my rip fence and other accessories. To use the support, I simply unfold the arm and flip up the hinged block. The block has a strip of ultrahigh-molecular-weight plastic (UHMW) fastened on top, so the sled slides smoothly. Miles Clat



American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo7



For more information about the Festool D o m i n oo r a n y o f t h e o t h e r great Festoolproductsplease visit





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Bi.q - Floles
Recently, I needed to drill urcouple of 2-1/4-it't.clia. holes. Btrt instezrd of buying iur expensive bit that I wotrld rzrlely use, I cleatecl tl.reseholes witl-r a 1-l/2-in' Forsttrer bit zrrld iVIyf'catherboard rvon't slip. It's easy to set up and adjust, because the brace flts into a round socket ctrt in the featl'rerboard. Becauseofthe socketedjoint, the br-ace can securely hold the f'eatherboard frorn virtually any angle. That means tl-re brace and featherboard catr be clamped on n'herevel the table allows, regardless of its size or shape. This system rvorks eqtrally rvell on rnl bandsaw tablesaw and router- table. IIark 7-hiel

a 3/8-in. r'zrbbeting bit tl'rat I ah-eady own. L,ay otrt the hole locations ot-t your workpiece. i Usir-rg the Forstner bit, drill holes in the rvolkpiece zurd in a ternplate. Attach the templzrte to tl-rervorkpiece rvith scl-e\{sor double-sided tape. Make sure the holes are aligned. Then use tl're rabbeting bit to rout the workpiece to the larger diarneter-. Make several passes, raising the bit after each pass. The ternplate allows you to cornplete the cnt. To create different-sized holes, start rvith a different Forstner bit or install larger or smaller bearings on the r()uter bit. Smunt Plruksauan

,\rnericirn \{irotl$rrrkcr

ocToBER 2ooT


Precise fence adjustments are a sure bet when I clamp this shopmade device on my router table. I simply drilled and tapped a hole for a I/4"-20 machine screw through the center of a 3/ I-7/2-in. by 3-in. piece of hardwood. I covered the tip that contacts the fence with a cap nut. My "hi-tech" adjustment For contributing this great tip, Serge receivesa Festool OF

1400EO Router.
mechanism consists of two square nuts squeezed tight together. I've blackened them with a permanent marker and painted on white dots to clearly identifr each of the 4 sides. I also added a third square nut, so I can lock the device for repetitive cuts. With the l/4"-20 screw I used, one full turn of the nuts corresponds to a travel of .05-in. If you prefer working with fractions, switch to a 3/8"-76 screw. Then, one full turn moves the tip 1/1Gin. A half turn moves it 1/32in. and a quarter turn moves it l/64" in. You can even make one-eighth turn adjustments. Simply position the nuts on edge, as in the photo. SergeDuclos

Sp*y Gun CleaningJug

Forcontributing this great tip, Todd receivesa Festool G12 Cordless Drill.

\{hen I clean my H\|LP spray gun, this shopmade container captures the liquid solvent and fumes. When the gun is clean. I simply pour the wasreinto a storagecontainer for disposal. Drill a 3-in.hole in the backof a paint thinnerjug. Cut a &in. circle from an activated carbon filter pad (availableat pet shopswith aquarium products) and place it in a }in. ventilation louver (from the home center). Insert the louver into the hole in thejug, making sure the fins face down. The activated carbon captures fumes while allowing the pressurizedair to escape.Finally, drill a hole in the jug's cap, slightly larger than your gun's air cap but smaller than is sleevenut. This way the rip of
the gun forms a tight seal when pressed against thejug's cap. I used al-l/4


To clean your gun, simply hold the jug in one hand and press the spraygun's tip into the cap' Tbd.d, LaFa,te

ocToBER 2007

LevitatedAlignment Guide
By holding a straightedge parallel to the blade, rare-earth magnets make it easy to align your table saw fence. Using digital calipers, find two l/2-in.-dia. rare earth magnets of exactly the same thickness. Crank the blade to maximum height and place the magnets toward the outer edge of the blade, about 3/{in. above the table's surface. Place the straightedge-I use an 18-in. rule from a combination square-on edge against the rare earth magnets. The magnets' thickness positions the straightedge beyond the blade's teeth. Align the fence parallel with the straightedge.

Well give l,ou $100 and a gneatkcoking shirt br lour WbrfcshopTip!

Send your original tip to us with a sketch or photo. If we print it, you'll be woodworking in style. E-mail vour tio to worlsrhoptips@amerim woodr,r' or send it to Workshop Tips, Arnericm Woodn'or*er, 1285 Corporate Center Drive, Suite 180, Eagaa, MN 55121. Submissionscan't be retumed and become our Property uPon accepance and payment. We may edit submissions and use them in all print and electronic media. Oneshinpercotrtributor, lal ofiergoodonlywhilesupplies

Jim Dailq


Forcontributing this greattip, Jim recetves a Festool CT MlDl Dust Extractor.

American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo7


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My passion for fineoldtoolsgoesback to my youth, when I helped out in my grandfathers basement shop.I fondly remember the idle moments when I wouldkick the sawdust around hisUnisaw brush the shavings off hislathe, spinthe wheelof hisdiscsander andfiddlewith the pivoting light on hisdrillpress. My grandfather believed '40s, in gettingthe best,and in the 1930's and that meantDelta powertools Today, his toolsare in my shop.He taughtme to treatthem with respect, andthey're stillin excellent condition. I usethem for all my woodworking projects. Thatdrillpress,for example (seephotoat right), worksas goodas the day it was madein Milwaukee. lt'sallmadefromsteelor castiron- eventhe cowlingcovering the beltandfrontpulley. My grandfather alsohada few goodhandtoolswhich I put to use when I startedrestoring old furniture manyyearsago. I got hooked on thosetools,andwantedmore.Most of the vintage toolsI just likemy furniture. foundneeded restoration, As my collection and skillsgrew,I began to restore toolsfor otherfolks.l'veturnedthis hobby intoa part-time business, andnow sellclassic hand toolsin { a local antique mall. Artisan-made place woodenplanes holda special for me.When I pickone up, I feellikel'm shaking hands with a highly skilled woodworker of daysgoneby.Thejackplanewith the carveo $il front handle(top left) was well-loved bv the fellowwho made it. lts sole has clearlv beenworn down and releveled manv times. (bottom) The smallrounding plane was shapedto perfectly fit somebodys hand. lts blade is bedded at a verv steep angle for planingfigured wood. The fore plane (middle) came from a shop in Stavanger, Norway.lts made from a verv rare wood,Cubanmahogany, and showsan attention to detailthat must haveinsoired rtsmaker goodworkeach to do equally time he usedit. I knowthatits maoic worksfor me! AllenSnyder

yog a Tool Nut, too? you'll get the new Leatherman 4f" Charge AL aerospace.aluminum multi-tool-if we publish your story. Send your tale to toolnut@americanwoodworker.-com, or'mail it to American Woodworker, 1285 Corporate Center Drive. Suite lg0.

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f.i.:: r:!.r. -n :!ryil1ti$]!Ilr ':!:i!4li+;t r:l ij i!tf.,-A&:rli::i


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If you're convinced that bigger is better, this is the planer for you. With 25-in. width capacity, 9-in. thickness capacity, a 15-hp, 3-phase motor and weighing in at a whopping 1906 pounds, the G0603X ($7,995) is the biggest planer Grizzly sells. This big boy features carbide insert cutters mounted in a spiral cutterhead. Insert cutters have 4 sharp edges, so they can be rotated, rather than replaced, when one edge gets dull. Carbide inserts staysharp longer than tool steel knives, and they can even stand up to abrasive materials such as teak, glue or mdf. The G0603X is equipped with three feed rate speeds(20, 30 and 40 ft. per minute) and electronically controlled table eler,ation.The elevation readsout on an LCD screen,which can toggle between inch and metric measurements. It even "remembers" commonly-usedelevationsso you can quickly and easilysend the table to that planing height.
Source Grizzly lndustrial 52s4777 {,00) G0603Xplaner $7995

E U E l


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6 F E l


F o u n - S r n n H o N t N GG u l o e


The new Pinnacle Honing Guide ($99.99) consistently provides excellent sharpening results with both chisels and plane irons. The guide consistsof a sled that travelson a pair of rails. Lock nuts within the rails allow mounting the guide on

almost any sharpening stone. The sled has pre-set angles of 15, 20, 25, Z0, Zb and 40 degrees. Each angle also has a pre-set +2degree micro-bevel position. Once the angle is set and the chisel or plane iron is locked in the sled, there's simply no wayyou can rock the tool and mess up the sharpening angle. The system is rock-solid and virtually foolproof. The stone's entire width can be used for sharpening, becauseboth the iron's position in the sled and the stone'sposition within the guides can be varied. The sled,which holds irons up to 4in.-wide, can also
be removed and used on other surfaces, such as <D



granite or glass.
Source WoodcraftSupply (800) 225-1153 Pinnacle Honing Guide, #147763, $99.99

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20 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo7

Nrcery-PRtcED Dapo Heno

CMT's new Dado Pro (9f49) is a dado head that stacksup prettywell. It does an excellentjob in solid woods and works reasonably well in plywood. To produce tearoutfree dadoes in plywood with this dado head, you have to feed the material at a slow rate. This limitation is common with dado heads in this price range. The Dado Pro cuts grooves and dadoes from I/Lin.-wid,e to l3llGin.-wide in l/lGin. increments. It consistentlyproduces dadoes with perfectly flat bottoms. The set includes two rim blades, four l,/&in. chippers, one l,/lGin. chipper and a set of seven steel shims. Use the shims for "in between" cuts. Like most dado heads in this price range, the Dado Pro lacks a 3/32-in. chipper, which can be useful for fine-tuning dadoes for plywood.

The Dado Pro comes in a durable storage case. Being able to easily and safely store this dado head will extend its life by preventing the teeth from banging against each other.
Source CMTU.S.A, .888t 268-2487 Dado Pro,#230.012.08, S14g


Americm Woodworker ocroBER 2oo7

Nationally and regionally accredited PennFosterCareer Schoolprovides professionaLquality toolsand the uauring to usethem. You choose the time and olaceto study,and you decidehow quickly to completeyour counework. All leamingmaterials are sentdirectly to your door.Study online, in print, or a combination ofboth. Youstudyindependently, but not alone,Expertirutructon anda helpflrlsupport staffarejust a phone call or an email away,

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The new Veritas Surface Clamp ($59.50) provides a way to secllre a workpiece almost anlwhere that yotr can drill a 3/ 4-in.-dia. hole. It even works on vertical surfaces. Most ber-rch clamps require through holes. This Veritas clamp also anchors in blind holes, as long as they're at least 5/8-in.-deep.

us, Too.
The Wood Toot Sharpsner

qry/ \ ru,

CuttingEdgeTechnology for Woodworkers

Takea look at our latest proiect.ltb the result of yearsof work, listeningto woodworkerslike you, and then building the wood tool sharpener that you wanted.Takea tour of the featuies and seewhat you think:
580rpm wheelspeedtuwerful 1/5HPMotor lsonm Tempered cln3r crinding tvherl-provides an always flat andtrue, maintenance.ftee grinding surface on which to adhere PSAAbrasives

The locking mechanisln is based on slidir-rg rvcdses that expand as you tishren the brass knob on top of the clarnp. The clanrp alrn tilts on the post to acljrrst up and down. Thr: arrr-r enf{ltges al 9()-rl1'q1 s1' p,,a1l i o l r s a r r d l o c k s s e tr r l e l y i r r place. Maxirnurn thickness capacity is 3-3l4-in. Throat capacity is 2-ll8-in.

Sharpenlng Port Lapping Surfa(F "plunge.pull" sharpening technique and Sharpening Port abrasive increases burr removal and speeds shalpening

Sharpening Portenables orecise and repeatable angles of 20', 25', 30'. and35' for chisels andplane ironsup to 2" wide


Dry CoolingSystem- louted airflowandheatsinksystem keeps toolscoolwithoutthe mess of a wet system

Askfor it at Rockler, Woodcraft, andwherever youbuyyourtools.

InnovativeEdge-Vision'" SlottedWheellets you seethe (utting edge as yousharpen!

Source LeeValley& Veritas (800) 8 7 1 - 85 18 www.leevalley. com Veritas Surface Clamp# , 05G19.01 $59 50


,{nrcrican \,\loochvorkcr ocroBER 2oo7

Fasren Pocrrr Hole Jotruenv

Thanks to the folks at SnappyTools, pocket hole joinery is easierthan ever.Their Pocket Hole Adaptor Set ($20) makes changing from drilling to driving a snap. If you're a one-drill-shop,using pocket hole joinery means chucking the drill bit, drilling the holes, removing the bit, chucking the driver, and on and on. The core ofthe Snappy chuck for the 3/8-in. pocket hole drill systemis a collet-style bit and a quick-change adaptor for the drill. Simply lock your pocket hole drill bit in the collet and chuck the adaptor in your drill. Then use the adaptor's quickrelease collar to swap the drill and driver bits. The Pocket Hole Adaptor set includes the collet-style chuck, quick-change adaptor, and #2 driver. It does not include the drill bit.

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MIT Hoaey SHop

who wishesto take advantageof the facility. Students can pursue any project, whether for a classor personal use (see "The Challenge", page 30). Hobby Shop students have produced everything from cedar-stripcanoesto dorm furniture to robots. The instructors play an important role. MIT alumnus Ken Stone, the current Shop Director, is an Under the basketball court, in the basement of accomplished furniture designer and builder the 80 year old Armory building on the (photo, above). Hayami Arakawa is an expert wood Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) cam- turner who also loves imaginative woodworking pus, is a wood and metal working shop known as the (bottom photo, page 32). Ken and Hayami offer stuMIT Hobby Shop. It's humble location belies the dents formal classes in machine use and building as shop's important mission: To provide MIT's science well as individual instruction. and engineering students-some of the world's best MIT has endorsed and supported the Hobby young minds-a place to work with their hands and Shop for 70 years, an indication of the value this learn by doing. Learning by doing is a fundamental venerable institution places on hands-on learning, principle of MIT's educational approach and the and that working with your hands is also good for Hobby Shop helps carry out this mission by provid- your mind. Read more about the MIT Hobby Shop ing space,machines and instruction to any student at www.americanwoodworker. com,/MIThobbyshop.

Proof thatworking with your handsis good foryour mind


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Burlo A HARPSIcHoRD wtrH No PRIOR WOODWORKING EXPERIENCE. ZachBjornson assigned himselfthis challenge when he startedat MIT in the fall of 2006.Zach, who has played the pianosincehe was six years old, initally tried the harpsichord when he was looking for anotherinstrument to play. The majordifference betweenthe two instruments is that a harF sichord's stringsare plucked, ratherthan struck, as they are in a piano.Zachquickly becameintrigued with the ideaof building his own. Zachhas spent about 300 hours researching this projectand expectsto spend about 1000 hours buildingit. One of the challenges he faces is locatingsome of the specialwoods a harpsichord requires. This recent e-mailshows Zach's persistence is payingoff: "l spent a few hours last night trying to find one of the rarewoods I mentioned,and finally did. lt's quartersawn Piceaabies (Norway spruce), with a ring densityof up to 40 per inch, just beforethe new moon at a certain harvested hour oJ the day duringwinter by a husbandand wife in Switzerland, air dried,selectedfor best tone quality,and perfectfor the soundboard !" To see more picturesof Zachs harpsichord Biologicalengineeringmajor Zach Bjornsonis building a harpsichord proiector to follow his progresslog on to in his corner of the MIT Hobby shop. Not one to shy away from a w,rnry. america nwoodworker. com/zachsharosichord. challenge,the harpsichord is Zach'sfirst woodworking project.

Shop Master,started during World War II, and left at the end of the war. Then Bob McCadden. still in his early twenties,took over and remained Shop Master Directmand,instructor fu Ken Stone, until he retired in 1972. Under his leadership the shop expanded severaltimes before moving to its curDuring the 1937-38school year,a group of sixreen rent location. Membership expanded to include facMIT students acquired some abandoned equipment ulty, staff, alumni and their spouses.Other hobbies and got permissionfrom the administration to set up were added as well- electronics,photography,printa lGft by 22-ft wood- and metal-working shop in an ing, and pottery to name a few. unused basement room in the main complex(top When Ijoined the MIT Hobby Shop as a student in photo, page 32). The name "Hobby Shop" reflected 1968, many of the formalities were gone. There was their belief that to be well-rounded individuals. stu- no student shop foreman and member classifications dents needed to pursue interestsoutside their profes- were no longer given. Several activities had also' sion-hobbies. For MIT stuThe Hobby dents, these interests often Shop proinvolved building things. vides a The shop's original consti placefor tution stated that it was only students to p u r s u ea l l to be used by students for kinds of non-academic work. projects Until the 1950s, the shop u n d e rt h e was run as a club, with a stuguidanceof full-time dent foreman. Members instructors. started as apprentices and progressed to journel'rnan and master craftsman. Joe Macalister, the first paid



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Startedin 1938as a placefor studentsto broadentheir interests, the MIT Hobby Shop still providesa valuableservice to studentsby carryingout one of MIT'scenteralmissions-learning by doing. moved to other locations. Eventually, only the wood metal shop remained. However the shop remained a busy place. George Pishenin, a technician in Material Science and long time shop member took over as Shop Master in 1972. When George retired in 1991 I took over as only the fourth Shop Master, and the first who was also an MIT graduate. During my time as director I've seen an increased need for the Hobby Shop. MIT had many shops when I was a student, including a student shop in all engiand neering and many science departments. Most of these shops have been closed and the ones that remain are primarily used for specific classes.At the same time, fewer students come to MIT with shop experience. The Hobby Shop provides a place for MIT srudents to work with a wide range of well-maintained machines and tools. Their projects can be academic or personal, serious or just for fun. We provide individual instruction, practical design and building advice. We also offer classesand collaborate with professors and instructors in manv departments.

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HayamiArakawa,MIT Hobby Shop instructor, is availablefull-timeto assiststudentswith their projects.In his spare time, Hayami designsfurniture and enjoys creativewoodturning, such as these ball-and-claw bats.

Tellus about a dynamicwoodwo*ing schoolor vibrant teachingprogram.what makes it work?Point out notable teaching strategies andstudent accompilshments. Explain howthe program excites students about woodworking andtell us how it helps themdevelop woodworking skills. whetherthe program operates in a public school, community center or a private workshop, we wantto hear aboutits success. yourstoryto E-mail


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Tfee-H.tgTng Shop
After- <lesisl)ingancl brrilcling custon) ltrr-nitulc in southeln (lali{irlnia firr'2.1 vcals, I firrall,v got to builrl rnv clr-carn rvolkslrop. Inspilccl ltv thc (llirlisutan str4eanrl the clesigns ()t-ecn,rtty slrolt <'r'acllcs o1'tlte br-otht:r's a I(X!r'cirr.olcl crrr':rl1'ptrrs tr-eein orrr backv:u'rl. The spacc is !)(, with l2Jt ccilinss ar tht: ltcak. Pltotovoltaic panr:lsirrstallt'cl on tlre loof gerrer':rtc a ltor.tion

ol nlv clcctlicitr'. Solatrrlteskylights anrl r-cccsserlIlrrolcscents ltlor,irle the lislttine. I sounrlploof ccl t'ith tlipleglazecl t'irrckrrvs, ckrrrble+hick insulation ancl rh'ytvall, ancl nrass-fillecl vinyl on tlre tu'<r g:lragc cloors. I pull rnv tltrck all thc wzrv thr()ugh the sholt :rncl park in ltettvcr:n the trur builclings; rn1, n'iI'e palks in the shop at niqht. I lcft the beanrs exposcd ar-rd paintecl the cltrcnrrilk, rvalls attcl ceilings to $'arrn up

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the space. I made paneling using leftover bamboo flooring, maple plywood and Craftsman-style wallpaper. I feel at home surrounded by these traditional details, even though my furniture designs are contemporary. My workbench doubles as my saw's outfeed table. Its top is criss-crossed with T:track for hold-downs and it features replaceable MDF sections. I especially like the shopmade tool rack that I've stationed above the bench. It keeps my often-used tools close at hand and off the work surface. I am very blessed. Now I get to do what I love in a space that I love. Milcs Clal Santa Monica, CA



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Tell us about your shop!

ofwhat makesyour shop interesting. Tellus what you make in it and what makes Send us photosofyour shop,a layout drawing and a description your shop importantto you. lf "My Shop" featuresyourshop, you'll receive$100. with digital photos attached. E-mailyour entry to myshop@americanwoodwor* Or mail your descriptionwith prints or digital photos on a disc to My Shop, AmedcanWoodworfter. 1285 Coporate Center Drive,Suite 180,Eagan,MN 55121.Pleaseinclude your phone number.Submissionscannot be returnedand becomeour properg,on acceptance and payment.We may edit submissionsand use them in all orint and electronicmedia, ocroBER zooz 35

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Four inspiring daysof listening, learnirg,and talking shop with fellow furniture makers
ictoria, British Columbia, is one of the most beautiful places in North America. Located at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, on the Strait ofJuan de Fuca and facing Olympic National Park in Washington state, Victoria was this year's host to one of custom woodworking's best events, the Furniture Society'sannual conference, heldJune 20-23. I put this trip on my calendar months in advance, anticipating four engaging days of rubbing elbows with fellow woodworkers and studying outstanding new examples of fine craftsmanship. It proved to be that and much more.

In case you haven't heard ofthis group before, the Furniture Society is really worth getting to know. It's an international non-profi t organization. founded in 1996.

whose mission is "to advance the art of furniture making by inspiring creativity, promoting excellence, and fostering an understanding of this art and its place in society." Society members, who number about 1600, come from across North America and abroad. They're furniture makers, designers and teachers. It's not an exclusiveclub though; membership is open to anyone interested in the craft. Over 400 members attended this year's conference, the llth annual gathering. Each conference has a unique theme. Acknowledging the special location of this year's gathering, the theme for 2007 was "Cultural Mosaic: Reflections from the Coastal Rain Forest." Victoria sits at the heart of one of North America's most highly developed woodworking traditions by Native Americans, or First Nations people, as they're called in Canada. Northwest Coastal carving is known worldwide for exquisite masks,figures, panels, bentwood boxes, boats, and, of course, totem poles. It's a craft that's still alive and well, and this conference was a special opportunity to hear presentations and attend demonstrations by Northwest Coastal artisans. But that wasjust a jumping-off point for los more woodworking. tr

Noted furniture maker Michael Fortune explainssteam bendingto a packedroom of woodworkersat this year's FurnitureSociety conference, held in Victoria,BritishColumbia.
35 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo7




Ceremonial Chair Maltwood Museum, Victoria, British Columbia John Livingston, ProjectCoordinator John Livingston: frontTlingit style carving ArtThompson: backcarving Calvin Hunt: "Eagle"armrests DonYeoman: sidesand lower f ront facia NormanTait: "Eagle"figure surround Ann Smith: " Raven's Tail" woven cushion Cheryl Samual: Chilkatwoven backrestpanel Western red cedar

Bubinga & Maple Credenza Hikmet Sakman, Victoria, British Columbia Westerncurlymaple, Eastern hardmaple, Bubinga, quiltedmaple,burl maple

Simple Chair#1 M ark Koons, Wheatland, Wyom i ng Beech,epoxy,milk paint

AmericanWoodworker ocroBER zooz 37


Every Furnirure

Society conference has a rich array ofeducational opportunities. You're sure to learn new methods of work or pick up clever building tips from the pros. "Free-Form Steam Bending" drew an overflow crowd (photo, page 36). This demonstration was led by Michael Fortune, one of Canada's premier furniture builders. Michael was the winner of this year's Furniture Society Award of Distinction for his outstanding body of work and inspiring leadership. You can view some of Michael's superb bentwood furniture at Many other demonstrations offered a first-hand look at how a master craftsman thinks and Bentwood box maker John Martson demonstrates tradiworks.John Levine led tional First Nation tools and a workshop on techniques. The theme of this year's conferencewas "Cultural Japanese and Chinese joinery. Kim Kelzer disMosaic: Reflectionsfrom the CoastalRain Foresti' cussedthe use ofcolor in finishing.John Livingston andJohn Marston, First Nations carvers, spoke about Northwest masks, figures, and panels. Richard Oedel covered bent tapered lamination techniques. And there was more - something for everybody.



rhe conference

included several gallery exhibits that were a feast for the eyes.On display were dozens of pieces of custom furniture, ranging from the formal to the fantastic. Each gallery represented a different group of artists. The "Cultural Mosaic" exhibit included work from First Nations, Asian, and European cultures. Its centerpiece was a stunning First Nations Ceremonial Chair, a collaborative effort of five artisans (see photo, page 37). Balancing this exuberant work was a serene linenfold carvedoak armchair, made in lTth century England. Fumiture Society members entered work that ranged from the functional to the futuristic in the "Members' Show." Mark Koons shared }:'is Simpk Chair #1, but there's really nothing simple

Bent on Maple Julian Laffin Camosun College Class of 2005 Westernmaple, handmade hardware


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BlanketChest Philip R. Smith Shawnigan Lake, British Columbia maple,curlymaple, Padauk, bird's-eye ebonydetails chenyand juniperlining,


And Climbed Up BesideHer MurrayTomkins Camosun College Class of 2001 Planchonia, ebonyplugs, tile, cowhide

WishboneTable Josh Gillis Victori a, B ritish Colu m bi a Belmont Secondary School. 11th grade Walnut.maole Clock Grandfather Cam Russell Victo ri a. British Col um bi a yew aspen, Fir,cedar, copper
American Woodworker ocToBER 2oo7

about its fluid design (see photo, lower left, page 37). Clearly, this chair required some sophisticated joinery and confident handwork. Mike Wolos exhibited his Brokcn Masterpizcecoffee table (photo at right), complere with a solid bird'seye top, two hidden compartments, and a high gloss, hand-polished polyurethane fi nish. The "Cascadia Exhibition" highlighted some extraordinary talent from British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Hikmet Sakman's Bubinga and Maplz Credznzais a beautiful blend of Arts and Crafts and Oriental design (see phoro top left, page 37). Vancouver furniture maker Cam Russell built an impressive Grandfather Cloc&inspired by the work of Arts and Crafts designers Greene and Greene (see photo, bottom right, page 39). While most Greene and Greene furniture was made from imported mahogany, Cam tapped local woods such as fir, cedar, yew and aspen. Camosun College, located in Victoria, presented student works from the college's Fine Furniture Program's 2007 graduating class.This exhibit's theme was "Look What We Made For Dinner," which inspired sixteen young furniture makers to get creative designing dining chairs that were as different as scmmbled eggs and steak. One of those chairs, SushiAnyone?by FelicityJones, has a clear Asian influence and is an excellent example of the thoughtful craftsmanship that Camosun students put into their work. The "Camosun College 20-YearRetrospective" exhibit was an eclectic collection from Camosun alumni. Examples includeJulian Laffrn's Bmt on Mapkrecliner (see photo, bottom of page 38) and Murray Tomkins' Anrt ClimbedIJp Besidc Her (see photo, center, page 39), which included a ceramic back panel depicting the fabled eensy weensy spider and its web.

A Broken Masterpiece MikeWolos Vancouve r, Briti sh CoIu m bi a Bird's-eye maple,burl maple, yellowcedar, ebonyinlay

Afffn HOUnS Beyond demonstrations,panel discussions and gallery shows, the Furniture Society conference offered numerous opportunities for woodworkers to informally exchange ideas. Chance meetings included lunch, dinner, dances and auctions of woodworking tools and products. Proceeds from the auctions benefit the Furniture Society and its educational scholarship program. Next year's conference will be heldJune l8-21, 2008, at Purchase College, which is located 30 miles north of New York City, in Westchester County. For more information about the Furniture Society or to register for Furniture 2008, go to SushiAnyone? Felicity Jones Camosun College Class of 2007 Westernmaple, rosewwooooye and walnutstain

Owlrrue Slroesuow
To view more great work from Furniture 2007 visit: www.americanwoodworker,com / F!'2007 .


American Woodworker



0 Blanket Ghest - joinery detail, Philip R. Smith, Shawnigan Lake, B.C. b CoffeeTable- leg detail. Michaet Moore, Duncan, B.C. C Consofe - handle detail, Hikmet C. Sakman, Victoria, B.C. Cf BelvedereHallTable - inlay detail, Philip R. Smith, Camosun College, Classof 1999. Whiskey Cabinet - door and leg detail, Joe Gelinas, Camosun College, Classof 1995.

American Woodworker

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AMERICntr w00D\40RKER.
Inviteslbu to Share)burTalent
You know the rewardsand frustrations of designing, building your chance and finishing a project. Here's to helpothers buildtheirskills. Tellus what you'velearned and we'll put it in print(someconditions apply). For more information on your stories submitting for publication, emailus at

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r WoodworkingTips,Tricks andJigs
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o ProjectandTechnique Stories
Shareyour skillswith fellow readers.

Photos of YourWork
proudof? Havea projectyou'reparticularly Show it off in our Woodworkers' Showcase


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Show othershow you makethingswork in a bigor smallspace.

Visit for moregreat tips,techniques and project stories. Whilethere,signup for our FREE American Woodworker Extra e-newsletter.


Tool Test:

These little machines are at the top of their game.
planer is a must-have tool in a wellshop. It perfbrms one basic equipped A L It rt, making a board thinner. This tiees you from the tyranny of using only dimensional lumber and savesyou money. With a planer, you can turn 3/{in. stock into l,/2-in. stock for a lighter, more / refined looking drawer sides.Add ajointer to the equation and you can square and surface less expensrve rough lumber.

Bcnchtop planers have irnproved steadilyover the years. Clone are tl're claysof'nasty snipe, aggravating blade chanses, hit-and-rniss settings and chips irll over the floor. Since our last benchtop planer test (AW #100, May 2003) most planers have features that clirectly addrcss these problems. The new breed is a far cry from tl-reir trotrbled firsteneration ancestors.If you'r-ein the rnat'ketfor a benchtop planer, this may be the best time ever to bny ir new one.

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Drcrrnl Reaoour
A planer with digital readout was inevitable given that everything in this world seems to be going digital. The Craftsman 21759 is the first portable planer to incorporate this technology (Photo 1). The Craftsman's system has two small problems, however. First, it only reads in thousandths of an inch, rather tlan fractions. (A handy conversion chart is printed below the scale.) Second, if you inadvertently turn the depth-of-cut handle when the readout is turned off, you'll have to recalibrate the scale. That's pretty easy to do, though. The digital readout needs to be calibrated before it can be put to use. After this first calibration you will be able to control the thickness of the board to within .008-in.. although I found height adjustment less than .050-in. to be next to impossible.

FouR Lrrrruc Scnews

The better machines use four lifting screws to raise and lower the cutterhead (Photo 2). The four-screw system greatly reduces snipe and eliminates the need for a headlock. Simply crank the carriage to the desired position and nrn the board through. Older designs have two lift screwsand four guideposts. The downside to this sptem is it allovn the carriage to rock slightly as a board enters and exits the pressure rollers. The rocking motion creates a slightly deeper cut, or snipe, at either end of the board. A headlock helps prevent this rocking morion but requiresyou to releaseand re-engage itwith every adjustment.

THnee-KrutFE CurrER HEAD

With three knives instead of two, each blade takes a smaller cut. The result is a smoother finish and more time between blade changes.

I The Craftsman | 21759planer is the first with digital tells you how thick the board will be in thousandthsof an inch, and how deeo the knivesare cutting.


A dust-port blower helps remove shavings from the planer.

Some planers have four lift screws, one at each corner, while others have only two. Planerswith four screws don't requirea headlock to reducesnioe.

A deoth-of-cut indicatoris a mechanical device that tells you approximatelyhow deep the kniveswill cut before you feed the board through the planer.

. A two-speed ' feed rate is a great feature.A fast feed rate results in a low CPI (cuts per inch)and is used for quick stock removal. A slowfeed rate resultsin a high CPI for a smooth finish on the final pass.

On some plan: ers, one turn of the cutterhead adjustmentcrank raisesor lowers the carriage exactly 1 / 1 6i n . T h i sa l l o w s precise adjustments to the cutterhead without guess work.


American Woodworker

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Portable planers are powered by high-RPM universal motors. A planer with a two-blade cutter head and a 10'000 RPM motor makes 20,000 cuts per minute (CPM)' Adding a third knife boosts that number to 30,000 CPM.

if you use an under(Photo 4). This is helpful, especially vacuum. powered dust collector,like a shop
This device gives you a quick read on how much wood you're about to take offa board (Photo 5). To use it, you insert the front end of a board under the gauge' Crank the cutterhead down until the gauge reads the amount of wood you want to remove, then send the board through.

DrprH-or-Cur lruotcanon



Some planers have a switch that changes the speed at which a board travels through the machine (Photo 3). A fast feed rate is good for quick stock removal and is standard on most planers. TWespeed planers offer an additional slow feed rate that effectively increases the cuts per inch (CPI)' which results in a smoother surface. A slow feed rate also reduces tearout in figured wood. You'll get the best results when this feature is combined with a three-knife cutterhead'

Fnru-AsstsrEDCHIP Revoval
Some planers add a fan to the backside of the drive motor to help draw more air through the cutterhead

On most machines, one turn of the cutterhead heightadjustment crank removes l/L6 in. of material (Photo 6). This makes it easy to track your Progress without having to continually consult the planer's scale or your taPe measure. On a few models, the crank's lead screw is metric. You remove 2 mm (about 5/64in.) with each turn. It's harder to use these cranks to calculate how much wood you're removing with each cut.

ONe Tunr uRer voves1/16 |r u.

DeprH Srops
Depth stops set ' the cutterhead at commonly-used thicknesses.lf you're planing a lot of boards, and forget one or two, you can use the depth stop to repeat the same thickness. " Most planers have depth stops that allow you to accurately repeat a common thickness (Photo 7) ' Using a depth stop means that you don't have to rely on hit-and-miss to duplicate a particular thickness. A depth stop is very helpful when you have to go back and plane a forgotten piece' There are two types of stoPs. One is adjustable and allows you to lock in any dimension. This is great for odd sizes,but cannot easily be repeated if the stop has moved. The second type of stop has Presets at common thicknesses (l/*in., 3/Uin., etc).

Lorlc TeaLes
Long supporttables reducesnipe when you're planing boards over 4-ft. long. Long infeed and oudeed tables help reduce snipe, particularly on big boards (Photo 8). AII tables are hinged or removable to make the planer more comPact for storage. The downside to this design is that the tables deflect slightly under a heavy load. You can eliminate this problem by supporting the end of each table with a block of wood'

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Indexed knives remove most of the tedium associated with changing blades (Photo 9). They just drop in

Most olanershave double-sided, indexed knives.They'revery easy to install;all you do is lockthem in place.These knivescannot be resharpened,however. A few planershave knivesthat but can be resharpened, they're not indexed. NONINDEXED KNIFE INDEXED / -/ KNIFE

frustrating. Indexed knives are also double-sided. When one edge gets dull, you just flip it over' On the downside, indexed knives cannot be resharp ened, You must buy a new set when both sides get dull. Nonindexed knives can be resharpened, although it's very diffrcult to do yourself. In the long run, there's not a big cost difference between the two types of knives' Most replacement sets of indexed knives cost about the same as sharpening two sets of standard knives.

AmericanWoodworker oc.roeea zooz 45


$+oo - $soo

RtuGrD R4330. $350

planer This13-in. includesfeatures foundonlyon more expensiveplaners. ln addition,it comes with Ridgid'slifetime warranty. Feature
Four LiftinoScrews TwoSoeed Feed Rate X eoth StoDS IndexedKnives 'l Hotatron ot Height 3rank Eorralsl/16-in Blower -ono Tables(over33'' X

S T E E L C | T Y 4 C - 2 0 C ^ ,$ 4 5 0
Yes N o The 13-in.Steel City planer comes with a has the best. most complete list of features in its price range. Feature
Three-Knife Cutterhead Four Lrttrnq Screws
Two-Soeed Feed Rate X

Yes N o

Three-Knife Cutterhead X

Deoth-of-Cut lndicator Deoth StoDS ndexed Knives 1 Hotatron ot Height C r a n kF o r a l s l / 1 6i n )wer

Lono lables {over:.1:i

Craftsman Craftsman Delta DeWalt DeWalt Grizzlv Jet Makita Ridsid Bidoid Ryobi SteelCiw Sunhill Sunhill Woodtek

Model 21758 2l759


Max width

Weight (LBS) 60
89.5 85.5 76.5 83.5 68.5 79 61.5 85.5

$530 22-580 $400 0W734 $400 DW735 $550 G0505 $240 JWP.l3DX $480 201 2NB $470

$350 $200 $450


40200 sM-344 sM-346



s31 0

12-112', 13' 13' 12-1tz', 13' 12-1t2', 13" 12' 13" 13' 13" 13" 12-1t2" 13" 13"

Number of Knives 2 3

Number GutsPer Indexed of Speeds Inch knives 1 60 2 t7 Y 2 60/90 Y




2 2

96/r 79 52
51174 5l 66 86 64



51.5 70.5 67 77.5 77

2 3 2 3

1 1

85/r 30
51 51


2 2



* 0ptional accessory ** Withoptional tableextensions * * * B l a d e zero I n d i c a t o rf F l i p open dust h o o dt N oE x t e n s i o Tn able Available AmericanWoodworker ocToBER2007

We tested fifteen portable planers, falling into four price ranges. All the models in the $200 to $300 range worked well, but lacked some of the features that improve quality of cut and easeof set-up. Ifyou're planning on spending $300 to $400, our pick is the Ridgid R4330. It packs in a lot of features at a great price. For a hundred bucks more, the Steel

City 40200 is a real steal. It has all the best features excePt a blower which you can live without. The top price category (over $500) has two standout planers: the Craftsman 21759 and the DeWalt DW735. Missing from our test are Hitachi, Metabo and Shop Fox all of whom are coming out with new models that were not available for this test.

ovER $5()()

This is the first bencht o p p l a n e rw i t h d i g i t a l readout,but it also has a standard analog scale.lts beds are l o n g e rt h a n a l l o t h e r olanerswe tested.

21759, $53O
Three-Knife Cutterhead


DW735. $550
Three-Kni{e Cutterhead Four Lrftrno Screws Two-Soeed Feed Rate )eoth-of-Cut Indrcator )epth Sloos

Yes N o
Feed Rate

Forrr Liftino Screws


DeDth{f-Cut lndicator Deoth Stoos lndexedKnrves 1 Hotatron ot Herghl C r a n kF o u a l s l / 1 6 - i n . ower ono Tables(over33")


T h i s p l a n e rh a s a very low profile. the knives Changing easy. is particularly Foldinginfeed and outfeedtables are as an available accessory($60).

Yes N o

I Hotatron 01 He gnl
^renlz trn,,elc1/1A,in


(over33 )* LonoTables * accessorV

Max Height

Bed Length with Extension Tables

Number of Lifting Screws

Headlock N N

Depthof-Cut lndicator

Depth Stops
N Y {6{ixed} Y(adi.) Y (4-fixed) Y (6-fixedl N Y(6{ixed}

OneTum Removes

Dust Hood

Port Diameter


23-1t2" 39"





33" 37-314'** 27" 37" 30' 34' 34' 14"+ 34-112', 23" 37" 37"




2-114" 4',&2-114', 4',&2-U4',


1/1 6" 2mm 1/16', 2mm t/16"



6' 6-1/4"

2 2 2



6-114', 6' 6-1/8' 6'




Y (8{ixed) Y (8{ixed} N Y (8-fixed) N Y (6-fixed)) Y (6-fixedl


1/r 6"
l/1 6'


4',&2-114', 4',&2-1t4"


Arrerican \4bodworker ocToBER zooz 47


2mm 1/1 6'






Oxalicacid makesblack marks disappear.



Curued caulsapply even pressure across wide joints.

I U l N

Nastystainscanoccurduring glue-up if steelclampbeamsare left In contact with wood dampened by glue squeeze-out or by scrubbing off the glue. Removing them requires sanding or scraping...or brushing on a solution of oxalic acid(twoheaping tablespoons of crystals djssolved in a pintof hot water). Let the surface dry.Applya secondcoat,if necessarv. When the stainsarecompletely gone,floodthe surface wrth waterto remove anyacidthat remains. Oxalic acidis available at paintand hardware stores. The crystals are poisonous, so weargloves when you handle the solution anda maskafterwards, when vou sand.

Makecaulsfrom boards cut to the width of the joint.Planeor sanda '1116-in. crown on eachcaul.Clamping both endsautomatically puts pressure on the middle of the joint.


Box beams guarantee flat glue ups.

Madeby gluing rails of equal width between two faces,box beams work likethick caulsto evenlydistributeclamppresgreat sure.They're for gluing panelsor veneered torsionboxes.

z z
E @ I

Maskingtape clamps edgebanding.

Thinstockdoesn'trequire lots of clamping pressure. Simply drawthe tapeacross the edgeband andfirmly down both sidesof the panel.
l N



Arnerican Wooclworkcr

ocroBER 2oo7

frame. a crooked Square

measurements" diagonal Expertsrecommend"checking Sowhat do framesaresquare. to makesureyourglued-up don'tmatch?Reposition vou do when the measurements the clampsto apply unevenpressureacrossthe joints. as you of one diagonal Watch the changein dimension The goal is to split the differtightenthe angledclamps. Forexammeasurements. encebetweenthe two original ple,diagonals lf the require a 1/16-in. change. off by 1/B-in. grows when you apply pressure dimensional difference the wrongway. instead the clamps areangled of shrinking,

Create parallel clamping shoulders for curved shapes.

Makecustom clamping blocks by tracingand
.r ritinn fhA

z z
E U @ I U

curvedprofiles. Thenmarkand cut cramprng paralshoulders lel to the joints. Be proactive: Self-hanging clampblocks free both hands for clamping.

panels flat. Driveglued-up

oftencausespanels to lift Applying clamppressure off the bar and creepup the clamphead.Cuppedor flat by twisted panels are the result.Keeppanels rapping them backonto the barwith a dead-blow reduces mallet.Eachrap usually the clamp'spresto tightenthe clamp. sure,so be prepared

pl' ventS black marks from clamps.
when Black stainsresult ferrousmetal,moistureand wood come together. lf your clampshave untreated steel bars pipes, or black makeit a habitto covertheir surfaces you glue. before
Tho lano incr rlatoc

5 z
a U


l u'

clamp. Checkedgejoints with one centered

highlights Likedry-fitting a joint beforeyou glue,this technique jointedboards imperfectly that may otherwisebe hardto see. gap. Even Here,one slightly crownededge causesa noticeable if no gapsappear, test all the jointsby liftingone boardwhile lowering the the other.lf the boardsmovewithout resistance, is too loose.Re-joint and try again. one or both boards .ioint


the metalfrom moisture in the glueand

damn 2raaa nn tha

wood's surface.
American Woodworker ocToBER zooz 49


Miter joint clamp

jig holdspartssquareand flat, allowsadjusting Thisshop-made eachpieceindependently glue squeeze-out. and accommodates Use it to makepicture frameswith openings 4-in.-square or larger. Makethe cornerblockby gluingtogethertwo piecesof 314-in. plywood.lts corneTS must be perfectly square. Drill a 2-in.-dia. holein the middle. Cut a diagonal slot halfway plywoodbasebeforegluingon the cornerblock. throughthe 3/4-in.

Papertowel pads keep comer joints clean.

Here's a trickfor managing glue squeeze-out when you clampdovetails or box joints Faceyour clamppadswith papertowels. Theyabsorb glue so it doesn'tsoakdeeply into the wood. Afterthe glue hasdried,the papered blocks knockoff easily. Dampenany paper that remains on the ioint.Afterabouta minuteit'll scrubrightoff.

z z
E U o


Make short clamps go long.

Youdon't needsuper-long clampsto clamp glue-ups. super-long Just gangyour regular
^lamnc t^^6fh6r




90-degree brackets simplifycomplex jobs. clamping

Clamping together a cabinetwith numerousshelves and rails can be a real pain.Shopmade 90-degree brackets allow assembling the cabinet one joint at a time and keep the jointssquare whileyou clamp the cabinet together.

Blocks center clamping pressure.

Uneven clampIng pressure
uor I vdJily

draw offsetjoints,such as the one shown here, out of square. A block aligned with the joint properly directsthe clamp'spressure. BLOCK

Wide cauls requirefewer clamps.

.,lJil+a; ";?

clamp distribute Cauls pressure, whichradiates from the jaws up to 45

do v vn vr , aoc uvr frnm nonfor

the When you locate clamps, simplymake from surethe pressure clampsoveradjacent glue lapsat the outside joints. Thewiderthe the fewerthe cauls, you'll need. clamps Wide caulsare especially usefulwhen you glue numerous thin boardstops,for butcherblock example.

Clampedcaulsassureflat panels.
bottomcaulssupport a breeze.The Thisset-upmakesgluinglargepanels pressure on lt.Theclampsareeasy the panelandcenterthe jaws'clamping paneldoesn'treston them. Notches allow because the elevated to position, so the jointsstay clamping the panelbetweenthe top and bottomcauls, flushandthe panelstavsflat when the pipeclampsaretightened.

ToggleclampsrFastand versatile
for areinvaluable andsizes, toggleclamps Available in allshapes jigsandfixtures. difficult workpieces during By firmlyholding saferand moreenjoyable. they makewoodworking operations, Source: (800) action Ouick Supply, 225-1153, Woodcraft each. of styles, available in a variety $8-$15 toggle clamps

Spring clamps keep boardsaligned.

z E z

"4 \fr
Refrigerator magnets make instant clamp pads.
a snap They're readily available, insulate and they effectively to install clamooressurel
American \4bodworker ocToBER zoot 51

glue-up f lushduring Keeping the joints boards because canbe challengrng, when you can slideeverydirection Spring clamppressure. startapplying boards clampshelpto keepadjacent from creeping up or down.

plastic laminate sides, on wide cabinet Whenshimmed undercauls clamped pressure piecesact as deep+each in the mlddleof the joint clamps,providing

American Woodworker



been hoarding some huge, air-dried walnut

boards for over twenty years, waiting for the right projects to come around. This small coffee table was the perfect opportunity to finally cut one open and get my hands on the rich figure inside.
{rTom Caspar


o z o U

2 o
F E F l f

I ntt ttre pieces of this coffee table I came from one 2-112-in. thick,6-ft. long walnut board. Beforerunning the board through a planer or cutting it into smaller pieces,I used a No. 40 scrub plane to uncover knots, checks and sapwood.

QResaw the board to make the top. 4 l e g s a n d r a i l s .M a k i n gt h e t a b l e from one board ensuresthat all its pieceswill be similar in color and texture.Theywon't have to be stainedto match.

Q Use a sturdy sled to plane boards !rthat are wider than your jointer.Put shims under the board'shigh spots,so the board won't rock as it passes through the planer.This board will become part of the table's top.

American Woodworker




the top's underside.Clamp the top to ensurethat it's flat, then use a jig and templateguide (see inset)to make grooveswith parallelsides.

( fUate cleatsto fit the grooves.This r:rtable's top is only 1/2 in. thick;the cleatskeep it flat.Thetop would crack if the cleatswere glued or screwedin place,so they slide in dovetailed grooves instead.

fiStiAe the cleat in the groove to test Lrits fit. Fitting can be very fussy, but it's worth spendingthe time to get it right.Youshould be able to slide the cleat all the way acrossthe top by hand.

includes tenons, whichare 7/8,'long. !f] t-gngtl'r (B)Makeone or two extrapieces to test routeisetup. (C)Cuttrom 12"longblank.
54 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo7

F/Tra"e a pattern on two adjacent J sides of each leg blank.On one side, draw lines to indicate where to stop the saw when cutting the leg's first side. Stoppingthe saw createssmall bridges that allow the waste piecesto remain to the blank. connected There's something that pleases a woodworker's soul when you make a whole project from just one board. It's really satisffing to study a big plank with all its problems, such as knots, sapwood and runout grain, and figure out how you're going to cut it into smaller pieces (Photo 1). Thick, large boards are a luxury though. You can certainly make this table from separate boards instead, using standard 1 and 2in. thick wood.

Q tuate mortiseswhile the legs are (Jstill square.To start, rout tvvo stopped grooves in each leg. Clamp a stoo block to the router table's fence to limit the groove'slength.

flComplete the mortiseswith a morgrooves made Jtising machine.The on the router table guide the chisel.The result is a orecisehaunchedmortise with absolutelystraightsides.

ideal. Make one or two extra pieces to test your router-table settings. 4) Shape the cleat's dovetailed key on the router table (Photo 5). Set the height ofthe router bit so that the key is a paper-thickness shallower than the grooves in the tabletop. ou don't want the cleat to drag against the bottom of these grooves when you insert it.) Adjust the router table's fence until the cleat fits right (Photo 6). Remove the cleats from the table. 5) Finish the top by shaping a shallow curve on both of its long sides (Fig. D). Bend a 3-ft. long stick to form the curve. Cut the curve using ajigsaw or bandsaw. Round over the bottom edge of the top using a router (Fig. B). Use a smaller roundover bit on the top's upper edge. Use a file to soften the top's four corners.

Marr rHE ToP

1) Resawboards for the top (A, Fig. A, Photo 2). Cut them 3/4 in. thick, then joint and plane the boards l,/2 in. thick (Photo 3). Glue the top together and cut it to exact size. 2) Rout two dovetailed grooves across the bottom of the top (Fig. B and Photo 4). First, install a l/2-in. wide dovetail bit and a 1/2-in. dia. template guide in your router. Next, build ajig, composed of four pieces, to guide the router. Use 1,/2-in. thick material. Assemble the jig using two 5 / 8-in. thick spacers to fix the distance between the rails. The router's bit and template guide setup makes a groove that's exactly the same width as the distance between the jig's rails.

fleanOsaw the leg. For the first I \,f cuts, saw up to the stop marks, then back out. Rotatethe leg 90 degrees,as shown here, and saw the full length of the leg'scurve.



6) Make a pattern for the legs (D) from 1/4in. thickwood (Fig. G). Mill leg blanks and trace around the pattern on two adjoining sides (Photo 7). 7) Mill mortises before bandsawing the legs. Begin by routing grooves for the tenon's haunch (Fig. E, Photo 8). Deepen the mortises with a mortising machine (Photo 9). 8) Cut the legs on the bandsaw (Photo 10). Saw one side first, then turn the leg 90 degrees. Lay the pattern on the leg and mark the portion etanethe top 6 in. of the leg's I I outer faces,which are rough createsa guide from the bandsaw.This surfacefor planingthe rails later on. -l -l

Cleans DoverarLED
3) Make cleas (E) fiom a stiff hardwood that resists splitting. Maple is

American Woodworker

ocToBER zooz


QSpoteshave the leg's concave I 4r lower half. lt's easiestto shave the outer edges first, then the middle. I use an old convex-bottomed scrapershave to smooth the lowest section of this curve, where a flat-bottomed spokeshavecan't reach.


subbase to follow the leg's contour (see inset). The subbasewill work fine on the leg's flat section, ioo, becausethe subbase's curve is so slight.

I 3 1",m"": ;il",es,s out- I side corner.Make a rounded

7rl RssemUleone side of the table -fwithout glue, then plane the rail approximately flush with the leg.You must remove a fairly large wedgeshaped section from the rail to follow the leg's taper, so start out with a heavy cut.


Fre. B TopDerRrs
1/8" R

Fre. E Jorrueny AND SLorDerRrs



Fre. G ClenrDerars

Fre. D PmuVrew oFTop Fr e. F RatDer nr s
56 American Woodworker ocroBER 2oo7

(Atter gluing, finish making the I r., joint flush with a No. 80 scraper. Mark both sides of the joint, then scrapeuntil the marks are gone.This ensuresthat the joint is even.


piecesto clamp fitnstatt hold-down I \-tthe base to the too. Slide each hold-downinto a groove in the rail,then pushes screwthe pieceto the cleat.This the railsdown tight to the tabletop.


small keys into the exposed 1 nnp I J ends of the dovetailedgrooves. Make them from an exotic dark wood to accentyour table.

of the curve that was removed by sawing. Saw the other side. 9) Hold the leg between dogs on a workbench in order to smooth the bandsawn surfaces. Begin by planing 4 6 in. of the upper end of each leg's outer face (Photo 11) . File or cut a I /8in. wide chamfer all around the leg's foot as you work on each face. 10) Smooth the lower half of the leg's outside face using a spokeshave (Photo 12). You won't be able to get down into the lowest section of the curve, however. I use a scraper-shaveto smooth this area, but you could use a file or coarse sandpaper wrapped around a convex block. 11) Smooth the leg's inside faces. Mark the point where the curve starts (Fig. G). Begin forming the convex surface below this point with a smoothing plane. Don't plane the upper part of the leg, where the mortise is. That section must remain flat and square to make a tight joint with the rail. Use a spokeshaveon the leg's lower section. 12) Round over the legs'outside corners using a router (Fig. E, Photo 13).


13) Mill the rails (C and D) as square stock. You'll taper their front edges later on. Cut the rails' tenons using the tablesaw and a dado set. Hold the rails against a sutrfence attached to a miter gauge. Clamp a stop block to the miter gauge to set the tenon's length. Note that the tenons are offset, relative to the rail's thickness (Fig. E). Raise the dado set to cut all the tenons' outside faces first. then lower the blade to cut the inside faces. 14) Cut haunches on the tenons with a bandsaw using a fence and miter gauge. Use the same method to rip the lower half of the tenon. Crosscut this piece with the bandsaw, too, but cut l/32 in. away from the tenon's shoulder. Use a chisel to pare the shoulder. 15) Thper the outside faces of all four rails (Photo 14). Assemble two legs and a rail without glue. Plane the rail more or less flush with the legs. 16) Round over the lower edge ofall the rails (Fig. F). l7) Layout and cut decorative notches and holes in the long rails (Fig. F).

Rout slots for the tabletop holddowns (F) inside the long rails (Fig. E) using a plunge router and a fence.

18) Glue the short rails to the legs. Lay the assembly on your bench and scrape and sand the rails until they're flush with the legs (Photo 15). Glue the rest of the table together and scrape and sand the long rails flush. 19) Make corner blocks (H) and glue them into each corner of the base. There's no need for clamps;just apply a thin film of glue to each block and rub it up and down in position until it sticks. 20) Fasten the top to the base. Make holddowns (F) and drill and countersink screw holes in them. Turn the top upside down and slide in the cleats. Place the base on the top and fasten the holddowns to the cleats (Photo 16). 21) Make keys (G) to fit the grooves (Photo 18). Use the same router table setup you used to make the cleats. Glue the keys in the grooves. The front edge of each key should be even with the table's edge. There should be a 1,/&in. gap between the key and the rail so the top can contract in a dry season. 22) Disassemble the table to finish it. Sand all the parts to 150 grit and brush on three coats of satin varnish.
American Woodworker octoeen zooz 57

Fre. G Lrc PnrmnN

&yDavid Radtke

got my first bow for my fourth birthduy. It was plastic and thank heavens the arrows had rubber tips because everything within a 30-ft. was fair game. These days I exercisebetter judgement and only shoot at designated archery targets, but my fascination with this ancient technology is as strong as ever.
Several years ago I built my own wood and fiberglass recurve bow from a kit. The "recurye" refers to the way the bow curves away from the shooter at the tips. This gives the bow more snap when the arrow is released. Building the bow was almost as exciting as shooting it. Since then I've built several bows, each with a feel and character ofits own. They're beautiful to look at and fun ro use. There aren't too many woodworking projecs you can play with outdoors! A bow may look complex, but the kit I used makes it pretty srraight forward (See "Bow Kits," p.60). In this story I'll show you how ro make a bow from one of these kits. No specialized tools are required, but you will need a bandsaw and an oscillating spindle sander to shape the bow. A drum sander in a drill press can substitute for the spindle sander. The bow is laminated with thin strips of wood and fiberglass (Fig. A, p.60). They're bent and glued together with epoxy using a plywood form. You don't need a zillion clamps to squeeze the forms together, however. The kit's manufacturer has a better idea: to apply clamping pressure, you inflate a fire hose with a bicycle pump. Then, you


American Woodworker

ocToBER 2oo7

place the assembly in a shopmade plywood box equipped with incandescent light bulbs. The bulbs provide the heat necessary to cure the epoxy. The result is a one-piece recurve bow with incredible strength and fl exibility. 1. Use the full-size paper patterns from the kit to lay out, cut and smooth one layer of plyruood to use as a template for the upper and lower halves of the form (Fig. B, p.60). 2. Rough cut the other plywood layers about 1,/8-in oversize. 3. Glue the layers together using 1-3,/4inscrews as clamps (Photo 1) . Use a wet rag to clean away a\y squeeze out on the template edge. You will need a smooth surface for the bit bearing to ride on in the next step. 4. Once the glue is dry use a router with a flushtrim bit to trim the other pieces even with the templates (Photo 2). 5. Drill aI/4lin. hole in the center of the lower form and drive in the steel riser index pin (Fig. B) ' 6. Glue the reverse taper strips (Fig. B) onto the lower form. Butt the skinny end of each striP against the index pin. The taPer on these strips is just the opposite of the taper on the bow lamination strips and creates a better matched clamping surface. Use contact cement for an instant bond without clamps. Then, add strips of plastic laminate to create a smooth surface (Photo 3). The edge of the upper form does not contact the bow laminations, so it needs no special treatment. 7. Install the locking hardware on the form (Fig. B). Add spacers under the hardware to allow room for the deflated hose. 8. Build the laminating oven using 1/2-in. plywood with 2x2 corner cleats (Fig. C, p.60). Assemble the box as one big unit, then cut the lid free with a circular saw. 9. Wire in the porcelain light bulb sockets and the thermostat (Fig. D, p. 61). I lined the box with thin-foiled insulation, but that's optional. 1 fne first step in bow building is to make the form for gluing form is composedof four layersof I the bow laminations.The 1/2-in.plywood glued together.One layer is a template cut to the exact shape.Theother piecesare cut oversizeand trimmed to match later.A notchedtrowel makesa great glue spreader'

Burlo rHE FoRMS

E U I 0


e I

z tr
E F q l

E z
l u

e o

o U

C) ftusn trim all the form layerswith the template layer.The top half of the form is built in the same manner. l

AmericanWoodworker oc.roaeazooz 59


B o w L n v r r u A T t o N S BO.TUFF


Bow Klrs
I usedkitsfrom Bingham (see"Buyer's Projects Guide," p.64).You canselect froma widevariety of woodspecies andBo-Tuff colorsfor yourDow. Thekitsinclude: e Bo-Tuff - fiberglass strips that givethe bow strength. r Fourwood strips - two have a slight taper. Thefat end goesto the middle. r Tip ovedays - micarta plastic used to reinforce the bowtios. e Riserblod<and ovedays blocks of woodthatformthe handle and arrowrest. . Peperpattems- for bow and formshapes. r Steelhardwarcfor the forms. o Prssure hosewith fittings. . Metal plssutstrip - distributeshosepressure evenly. r Indexpin - keeps the riser block anchored in the form. o PlasticLaminate. provides a smooth, non-stick surface. o ReverseTaper Strips - oppositeof the bow striptaper. . Themostat - limitsthe temperature in the heatbox. r Slow-set epory. allows for unfrenzied assembly. . High temperaturemasking tape - protects the Bo-Tuff. rconstruction video






LocKlNG HARDWARE W2' L/ i\ a-z \

\b b




American Woodworker



Pnrp rne LnvlNATtoNS

10. Cut the riser block to length. Find the center of the bottom of the riser block and drill a 5,/lGin' hole' 1/2-in. deep to fit over the index pin on the lower form. Tiace the shape of the riser using the pattern in *re kit and cut the shape using your bandsaw. Sand with a drum sander (Photo 4). 11.Tiim the wood laminations to 32-in. Then, cook the riser and wood laminations in the heat box for about 30 minutes to chase off any surface moisture that might interfere with the epoxy set. 12. Cutboth bottom pieces of Bo-Tufffiberglass to 32-in. and the top piece to 64in. ADremel cut-offdisc works great on the Bo-Tuff, but a pair of metal cutting shears will do. Wear gloves when handling the BoTuff. Fiberglass slivers are a real drag. 13. The Bo-Tuff has a smooth and a rough side. The smooth side is the finished surface while the rough side gets the epoxy. Apply heat-resistant masking tape to the smooth side of the Bo-Tuff. The masking tape keeps epoxy off the surface and avoids unnecessary cleaning and sanding 14. It's imperative to have everything (including a helper) ready before applyrng epoxy to the bow laminations. I like to set the form between blocks clamped to a pair of sawhorses. This provides clearance around the entire form so I can wrap filament tape around the form and pull the laminations down tight to the form. Test the pressure hose fittings for leaks in a pail of waterjust as you would with a bicycle inner tube. Also, rub a thin layer of paste wax onto the plastic laminate and both sides of the metal pres sure strip (Fig. B) to keep oozing epoxy from sticking to their surfaces. 15. Roll out an ample length of plastic wrap over the lower form onto the plastic laminate to further protect it from epoxy squeeze out.

Q Ctr" the reverse taper strips to the lower form with contact Jcement. Make sure the thin end goes againstthe index pin' Add plasticlaminatestrips on top of the reversetaper stripsto createa smooth surfaceon the form.The steel index pin is used to anchorthe riser block in the form.

7,1tne oow's

Ihandle is shapedfrom a large block of solid wood calleda "riser blocki' Sand the riser with an oscillatingspind l e s a n d e ro r a drum sander.A backer board allows you to feather the riser's tapered edges to a paper-thinthickness.

DtRcnRvt Frc. D Wtntruc

strips of (fn" bow is composedof three types of laminations: r-f solid wood of uniform thickness,strips of solid wood that taper from end to end, and strips of Bo-Tufffiberglass. Coat all of these pieces with slow-setting epoxy.
AmericanWoodworker ocToBERzooz 61


fiAutt the bottom pair of laminationsagainstthe index pin on the form. Set the riser block over these laminationsso the \-thole drilled in the backfits over the index pin.The top laminationswill lay over the riser.Plasticwrap protectsthe form from epoxy squeezeout. Wrap filament tape around the laminationsto keep them from sliding around on the bottom form. '- ^ Yump atr Into the / I pressurehose to apply clamping pressureto the laminations. The pressure hose is set on too of the laminatedbow in the form.The two halvesof the form are held in place with metal straps and bolts that come with the kit.

16. Lay all the lamination pieces onto a papered surface in pairs. Mix about 4 oz. of epoxy in a small can. Coat the rough side of the Bo-Tuffwith epoxy and both sides of the wood laminations. Set the wood laminations onto the rough surface of the Bo-Ti,rff. 77. Lay the lower Bo-Tirff and tapered laminations onto the lower form and butt them up against the riser index pin. Make sure the thick part of the wood laminations are against the pin. 18. Coat the riser with epoxy. Set the riser on top of the lower laminations and push it into the index pin (Photo 6) . Set the top pair of laminarions onro the top of the riser. Make sure the center of the BoTuff rests directly over the center of the block. Place the metal pressure strip over the top of the bow assembly. 19. Wrap filament tape around the form and the pressure strip to pull the laminations tight to the form. 20. Lay the deflated hose over the pressure strip and bolt the upper form in place. Make sure all the lamiriations are aligned with each other and no shifting has occurred. Pump 60 psi inro the hose (Photo 7). Place the form into the oven (Photo 8). 21. When the curing is done and the form has cooled, remove it from the oven. Unbolt and remove the top half of the form, hose, filament tape and the pressure strip. Pull the bow from the form. Be sure to wear gloves as the hardened epoxy may have sharp edges.

1 b.'l\"_.

Q s"t the form in a \Jshop-made plywood oven for a fourhour bake.Theoven is heatedby incandescentlights.Heat is neededto cure the slow-set epoxy. Removethe form after it's cooled overnight.

q Sandoff the
a-, exCeSS epOxy. Wear leathergloves because the epoxy can have sharp edges.Keepthe protective maskingtape on the surface of the l i m b sa s l o n g a s p o s sible to prevent scratches.

Snnpe rHE Bow

22. Sand the bows edges to remove excessepoxy (Photo 9). Keep rhe rape on the limbs to protecr the surface from scratches. Always wear safety glass-


American Woodworker

ocroBEFt 2oo7


fl Use a bridge shapedtemplateto mark the I \,f length of each limb (top of the bridge)and to positionthe groovesfor the string (underside of the bridge). es and a dust mask. 23. Draw a centerline along the length of the bow. Mark the limb cut-off point and the string groove location (Photo 10). Cut the limbs to length on the bandsaw. Fiberglass is hard on blades, so use an old one. If you plan to make a lot of bows, consider buying a carbide blade. 24. Mark the limb tip shape (Photo 11). 25. Rough<ut the shape of the bow limbs on the bandsaw. Use a drum sander to finish the shape. 26. Start the string groove cut with a triangular file. Follow up with aratl^1lfile (Photo 12) and a fine chain-saw sharpening file. Be sure each string groove is cut at the same angle and depth. The exact angle is a bit arbirary but should be around T0degrees to the tabletop. 27. Reinforce the tips with a tip overlay (Fig. A). Cut and shape the part of the tip overlay that lays directly on the bow surface. Let the outside edges overhang the bow limb for now. 28. Remove the tape at the tip and lightly sand the area with 120-grit sandpaper. Use regular epoxy to glue the tip overlays to the limbs. Lightly clamp in place and let the epoxy cure overnight. File the tip overlay flush with the bow edges and string grooves. 29. Remove the tape on the bottom center portion of the bow. Scuff sand the area and epoxy the riser overlays to the bow, leaving a l/2-in. gap between them. 30. Check the bow for uniform limb stiffness (Photo 13) . It's best if both limbs are the same stiF ness. 31. To limber up a stiff limb, remove the string and lightly sand the fiberglass surface on each side of with 120-grit sandpaper. tf you still end up with -l ntign a paper patternwith the limb's centerlineand the string I I groove mark. Cut the shape on a bandsawand finish shaping the edgeswith a drum sander. -l -l -l Q rite the string I ! grooves with a rat-tailfile.The angle should be approximateto the ly 70-degrees tabletop.Checkthe backsideof the bow often to make sure each side is symmetrical.

Q Oue to variations I r-fin shapingand sanding,one limb may be stifferthan another. To test, string the bow and measurefrom the end of each riser overlay to the string.A stiffer limb will measureshort-


7l CnecUfor twist in -Ittre limbs. Make I a tiller stickto pull the string and flex the l i m b s .l f o n e l i m b i s twisted, mark the side that is high. Sandthe high edge to remove enough materialto correct the twist.


American Woodworker









I r-.f arrow notch andthe hand-grip p r o f i l e su s i n gt h e two patternsprovided in the kit. cut the profile for the top first as shown and then laythe bow on its side to further cut the hand-grip area.

I k\uraw tne

one lirnb slightly stiffer rhan the other, that's OK-.just make sure the stiffer limb is at the bottom of the bow. 32. The ltext step in tunine your bow is called "tillering". Cut an 18-in. tiller stick and use ir ro stretch the string and mirnic bow pull (Photo 14). Sight down the surface of each limb and look for nvist. Mark the side of the limb wherever it risesfiom tl-rehorizontal. Then, sand that edge to correct twist. 33. Use paper patterns to trace tl're bow srip and arrow notch oltto the riser block. Revcrse the arrow notch template for a left-hand borv. 34. Rough out the grip shape on a bandsawwith a 3/8-in., 4-TPI skip-toothed blacle (Photo 15). Clamp your bow in a vise and rasp the riser-to fit your- hzrncl (Pl.rotol6). I useclrnany shaping rools, f)orn por-table drum sandersto files, r-asps and sanding blocks. 35. Finish sand all the bow surfaces.Start rvith I 2(l grit and rvork your way up to 400-grit t() rclllo\.(' scr-atch patterns fl-onr the fiberelass. Spray the bow with sevcral coaLsol gloss varnish, let clry - then give your borv a tra.

I \-fnation of r a s p sa n d s m a l l drum sanders to custom-fitthe bow t o y o u r h a n d .O n c e you get it right, start s a n d i n gt h e w o o d areaswith 80-grit s a n d p a p e rD . on't s a n dt h e f i b e r g l a s s surfaceswith anyt h i n g l e s st h a n 1 2 0 g r i t s a n d p a p eo rr y o u ' l l l e a v ed e e p scratches that are hard to remove.

I fiuse a combi-

B u Y E R ' sG u r o r




I ]rinisr' yort I / uow by susp e n d i n gi t f r o m a wire attached to the string grooves.Spray severalcoats of gloss varnishto protectthe b o w a n d b r i n go u t the wood's beauty.


Bingham Projects,(801 )-399-3470, www. bi ng ham . 302 - Recurve Laminating PressKit with Videochoosebow lengthand limbwidth (includes 3-01 Instructional materials, f ull-size blueprints & video) o 2TC-Thermostat Control for laminating oven . 6300- Recurve Limb Lamination Kit - choosebow length,limbwidth (1 314" or 2"),drawweight,draw lengthand glasscolor - Recurve r 403LVC - choosecolor Riser - Epoxyglue- 314pt o 406'1 . 4028f - Bow tip overlavs - choosecolor c 1707- Bow string- 2 recommended o 415- 314" Filament taoe o 415 - HighTemperature masking tape - 2" . 58" or 60" Recurve Limb Lamination Kit - includes Bo-Tuff E glassand wood strip laminations. Total Bow SuppliesApprox. $250 (Additional BowsApprox. $120) Home Genters . 4 sheets 112" CDXplywood .1-2x2x8'pine o 5 - 4-in.x 1-112" octagonsteeljunction boxes .8 - 112"EMT set screw connectors and lock-nuts . l0' of 112"EMT conduit . 1 - 112"metallic chordconnector with strainreliefgrip '10'of . ' 1 0 ' o fb l a c k and w h i t e ,1 6 g a .s t r a n d e d high temp. insulated wire (1bo'C) o B - Wire nuts sizedfor 3 -169a. conductors . 1 - box coverwith centerknock-out . 114"#10-32 greengroundscrew . 4 - porcelain keyless lampholders '16gauge . 1- Portable heatercord set, 3 conductor, grounding type HPDor HPN ('105"C or more) Total MaterialsApprox. $150


Arnerican rr4roodrvorker

ocToBER 2oo7

Create perfectlyfitting joints that don't need to be clamped.

/,,1 Tirrr.fohnson In a tapered s l i d i n gd o v e t a i l j o i n t ,t h e d o v e t a i l and socketboth gradually taper from backto front.The parts fit looselyat first, because the dovetail'snarrow front end enters at the socket's wide back.



',: '' ,, '::' li.. ,, .- :i

( ) t ! r v < l t r l r lr r > r r likc' to itssc'rnltlc it r ock-

s r , l i r l r ' r r l l i r r t . tr r i l l r o r r l r r s i r r r l clarnps ol flstcrrcls? That's thc prrlrrist' ofli'r'ccllrv tapclcrl sliclitt.1rl,rrtt:ril i.irrts. Tlrr. joirrt (()llsists ol a taltclcrl sockct crrt into tlrt' litct' ol onr' picce anrl a talx'r'('(l <lovctail ( ut ()n tllc ('r)(l

;i--" '



r > l l h t ' o t l r t ' r ' . T l r c p i c ' r ' t ' ss i r n l t l v slirlc togt,tlrcr' (plrotos :rt lcli). L i k e a c l a c l o . j o i n t sl ' i t h a t t i t u c l ( ' , tal)crc(l sliclinq (l()\'ctails lot:k rtrcchanicallv to {il'nr ligicl {X)rlcgr-ec.joints. Be{'olc lelialtle slrrcs ()l' ('('()I m E I

o (

As the dovetail s l i d e sf o r w a r d in the socket, the fit graduall y t i g h t e n sT . he r e s u l ti s a s n u g clamp-free joint.

r-torlical lhstcners rvc.r'e arailablc. cabinctmnkcls lelicrl on tht'sc sturdy.ioiltls to c()lltcct

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c @

c()mpoltel)Ls. The tapc:recl ltarts lnust lit preciselY to ('l ('irte a lvobblc-li-ee .joint, so crrttinstl'rcse joints bl hancl is a r-eal n'oodrvorkinq tour cle force. Folttrnatelr,, a doyctail bit, a xrutcr' ftrble zrrtrl a sinrple shopnraclc .iipr rllake LiPc|erl sliclins clovct:rils much easicl to master.


I d

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Anrt'r ican \\irorlrror.kt'r

ocroBER 2oo7

You use the jig (Fig. A, right) to make the sockets and the router table to make the dovetails. Shims make it easy to create the tapers.

TnpEn DrvEtrtstoNS
The dovetails and sockets increase in width at the rate of every 12 inches. (Both l/lGin. sides of each dovetail and socket are tapered, so each side increases by I/32-in.) Shims milled to I/32in.-thickness create perfect uPers on the l2-in.-wide workpieces shown here. To maintain the taper angle on assemblies wider or narrower than 12-in., simply adjust the shims' thickness.

Frc. ,A
This jig consistsof two p a r a l l er l a i l sa n d t w o g u i d e i n s i d ee d g eo f e a c hg u i d e boards.The board tapers outward at the rate of 1/32-in'per board,this jig createsa 12-in.length.On a 12-in.-wide in width by 1/16-in'overall' socketthat increases

Use a sled to make the jig's tapered guide boards (Photo 1). The sled and both guide board blanks must be squarely cut. Mark the taper's l2-in. run on the sled. Position the sled flush against a block and a stop. Thpe a shim on the block, above the mark you've just made on the sled. The shim's l/32-in. thickness constitutes the taper's rise. Butt the guide board blank against the stop and the shim and nail it to the sled. Mark the tapered edge and the direction of is slope. Then cut the taper (Photo 2). Assemble the jig (Photo 3). It should fit snugly over the cabinet sides. Make sure the tapered guide boards angle outward from front to back. The distance between the guide boards at the front of the jig

Mnrce rHE Jtc AND Rour rHE SocKETS

the jig's guide boardsto a sled for tapering,using a block,a stop and a I Fasten tape on the I shim for positioning.Buttthe sled to the stop and the block.Then and locationdeterminethe taper'sslope. Butt the guide board to shim. lt's thickness t h e s t o o a n d t h e s h i m . T h e nn a i l i t t o t h e s l e d '

determines the narrow width of the dovetail socket. For example, to make a 5,28-in.-wide socket using a l,/2-in. dovetail bit, the distance between the faces would measure the diameter of your router's base plus 1,/8-in.This socketwould swell to 11,/1Gin. at the back of a 12-in.wide workpiece. Tapered sockets (and dovetails) of this width are perfect for the 3,/4in.-thick stock shown here.

C)taper the skewededge of each guide l b o a r d . H o l d i n gt h e s l e d a g a i n s t h e rip fence skews the guide board'sback end toward the blade.Thetaper is very slight, so indicatethe taperededge and the taoer's direction.

QAssemble the jig around the cabinet Jside. Butt everythingagainsta block to guaranteethe jig goes together squarelyand the guide board tapers run true. Spacerselevatethe railsfor fasteni n g t h e g u i d eb o a r d s .
American Woodworker ocToBER zoot 67

Rout the sockets (Photo 4). The sockcts' cleptl-r can varv. hr 3/{in.thick stock, 5/1Gin.-clcepsocketsar.c icleal.

Rour rur

Frr ruE Jorrurs

Ir-rstall the clove tail bit in yotrr. router table. Then attach shiursto alr extr-al()ng shelf (Photo 5). Use the shelf's extla leneth lol' lcst cuts while you acljust the bit's height and thc: .joint's lit. TI'rc shinrs holcl thc bac:k crtd o{' the shcll l/l\2-in. arvaylirrrr the f'enccwhcu yorr rrrut (Photo 6). Tcst thc clovctail's fit in a sockct. II' tl-re dovetail is too wide, thc .ioint rvon't go togcthcr'.Il it's too slc'nclcr., thc sl-rclfwill slicle past thc t.ubinet 'l'ht'sc siclc'sfiont. I rvor-r't lit:. .joirrts arc Iinicky. Tb clial irr a pcr-{cct fit, vou'll hil'e to bc ablc to rlakc p:rpcrtl'rin adjtrstrnents.So rvhcn vorr g-c't close, orrtlit v()ut' r()utcr taltlc rvith a sirnplc rnicr-o-arljust systcrntltat's rrlt to thc r:hallcrruc(l'hotos 7 ancl tl). Slirling ckxctail .joints rlorr't havc to ber sluecl: Thcy'r'e the prcctcccssols <>f knock-down harclrvarc. Ilrrl gluinu nrakcs tltr:rrrstr'onscl firr- tht: lonq Iraul. Apply glrrc to the bcvclcd ( To createthe tapereddovetails, attach u,t shims at the backedge of eachshelf. Theseshims must be the samethickness as the shim usedto skew the guide boards. l use a tail tence to rout the tapered \-f dovetails. The dovetailsgradually decreasein width from backto front, because t h e s h i m s h o l d t h e b a c ke n d o J the shelf awav from the fence.
a\ ,,


Ttaout the taperedsocketsby bearingagainsteach guide board. orient the iig's r tront with the cabinetside'sfront, so the socketsgrow wider from front to back.

siclcs ol thc sockcts. Slicle in thc dovetails :rncltap thcrl Irornc (l)hot<r !)). Oivc vt>trr c l ; r r r r pu s lcst.

't - ^A s t o p a n d p a p e r s h i m si n s t a l l e d / I b e h i n dt h e f e n c ea l l o w m i c r o adjustingthe fence to dial in the perfect fit.

68 ,,\rnericarr\4ixr<hrcrkcr ocroBER 2oo7

Qffre shelf fits perfectlywhen it can be ( J p u s h e dt o w i t h i n 1 - i n c h of the end bv hand.Tap i t h o m ew i t h a m a l l e t .

is easy.The QCtuing tapereddovetails J glue doesn'tget forcedout because the joints stay looseuntil the last inch.Once you tap them home,they'rerock-solid.

tai ron


D1Brad Holden f your sharpening sr.rpplies are scattered all over yolrr shop, l-rere'sa project designed to keep thern irr one place. This station holds everything you need for grinding, lapping and honing, with room to spare for storing tools. Picttrre this: you're grincling at the perfect he ight fbr precisiort rvork. When you're done, you push the grinder back out of the way and vacuunr or wipe off grinding dust frorn the cat> inet's plastic laminate suliace. You pull a mbber mat from its storage pocket, retrieve yollr stones frorn one of the dra'wels,and you're ready to hone. That rnat is really terrific. It's rnade fronr flexible but firm solid nrbber'. Water can't soak in; it just makes puddles. Better yet, stones stay ptrt, as if they were locked in place. alter the plans so the workit-tg surfaces are at more cornfortable heights. Experiment before 1'ou build. First, figure out the height at rvhich you're cornfortable hor-rir-rg(don't forget to add the thickness of the rubber mat ar-rd stones). For mosr folks, this is roughly equal to the height of their

I t

IxprRrvrrur wrTHHrrcplrs
This project is designed fol a 5'6" to 5'10" tall woodworker. If you're shorter or taller than this, you may want to

wrists when the ir arms are hangir-rg at their sides. Use tl.ris measllrement to deter-mir-rethe height of the cabinet.


Anrerican \'\bodworker

ocroBER 2oo7

Second, figure out the height at which you're comfortable grinding. Many woodworkers prefer elevating a grinder so its tool rests are about elbowhigh. This height will vary between Gin. and 8-in. grinders (we used an 8-in. grinder for our station). Use this measurement to determine the height of the shelf above the cabinet.

Moveable Grinder The grinder sits on a tall shelf that slides on twoT-tracks,Pull the shelf forward for grinding; push it back to make room for sharpening.


Use basic plylvood-construction techniques to build the base cabinet and drawers. The cabinet is very simiIar to our Tool Chest in AW#96, October 2002, page 60. You'll find complete step-by-stepinstructions and many how-to photos in that article. You can also view or download this story at our web site.,/toolcabinet. See Fig. C for the location of the dadoes and rabbets in the cabinet's sides and Fig. B for drawer details.

Honing Mat Placeyour waterstoneson this solid rubber mat.They'll stay put on its nonskid surface.

Marcr rHE ToP

To ensure a flat top, use MDF for the substrate (Bl, Fig. A). Edgeband it with solid birch (B2 and B3), mitered at the front corners. Use an 80-grit sanding block, a plane, or a router and flushtrim bit to level the edging (Photo 1) . Apply the laminate (B4). Use a chamfer bit to trim the laminate and create the finished edge in one step (Photo 2). Rout two grooves for the T:track (B5 and Fig. D). Seal the grooves with slow curing epoxy to keep water from soaking into the MDF. \4/hile the epoxy is still tacky, apply a second, thicker coat and glue in the T:track (Photo 3). Drill two holes in the top for registration pins. These keep the rubber mat from sliding back and forth. Attach the top to the cabinet. Position it flush with the back and offset on the right side, to allow for the pocket.

Protected Storage Slide the mat into this side pocket to protect it from grinding dust, which you don't want on your stones.

T O o c I E

4 The station'stop is I designedto survive water, grit, oil and shop d i n g s .B e g i nb u i l d i n g the top by gluingthick, solid edgingto an MDF substrate.Levelthe edgingwith coarse sandpaper, then glue on an oversizedpiece of plasticlaminate.


z tr
E l J


/)Trim the laminate Zflush to the edging by routing a large chamfer.

E d @ a

Aon rHE PocKET

The pocket fastens to both the top and the cabinet. Cut two pieces of aluminum angle (D2). Drill and counter-


P o

American Woodworker

ocToBER zooz





o r.lJ o

1/'T.20 THREADED KNOB #8 x U8" F.H. 1 BGr

X L! I


if D

1 t 4-2o x 1-1t2"r-BoLr


Fre. B Dnawen

#8X2-1t4', PANHD.




American Woodworker

ocroBER 2oo7

sink holes in one piece for fastening it to the top. Drill the remaining holes for fastening both pieces to the pocket's side (D4). Fasten the top angle to the cabinet top, then install the side, spacer (D3), stop (D5) and bottom angle.

r) GlueT-track into \-rthe slots with epoxy. Add screws to clamp theTtrack in olace.

The rubber mat (Dl) comes in a 2 ft. x 3 ft. piece (see Sources, below). Use a straightedge and a utility knife to cut it to size.It will take a few passesto cut entirely through the n-rbber. Drill registration holes in the mat to correspond to the holes in the cabinet top. Use a utility knife to cut a recessedfingerhold on one side of the mat. A fingerhold makes it easier to pull the mat out of the pocket. Sources: (800) RubberCal, 370-91 52, Rubber mat 314" x2'x 3',$30. SharkTooth (888) 512-9069, Might-T-Track, #1 Mini-T-Track 022, 48" long, includes 2 knobs and2 bolts, $18.


Frc, G Sroe DaooLRvour

Fre. D TopLavour

Notes ro a n ds i d e s . gnt { l ) A d dU 4 'e d g e b a n d ifn onfront. {2)AddU4' edgebanding nlg la r o u n d . { 3 )A d dU 4 'e d g e b a n d ia

* cabinet is 33-1/2"H

American Woodworker ocToBERzooz 73

10 Sharp*ninffi Essentimls
All the basics that you needfor grinding and honingwill fit intothe sharpening station, with plentyof room for tools.We recomgrinder mend usinga slow-speed for planelrons,chisels and turning tools.(SeeAW#l 24, October2006,page62, for a reviewof allthe latestmodelsand must-have upgrades.) We alsorecommend waterstones for honing.Waterstones workfastandproduce an incredibly keenedge.Formoreinformation, page seeAW#116, September2005, you'llalsowant: 30. In addition to a grinder, 1) Honing Guide.This device holds chisels andplane irons at a setangle, Manytypesare available, butwe prefer this (see model from LeeValley Sources, below). 2) Prctractor. Thisclever tool is invaluable for checking bevel (see angles Sources, below). 3) Speed Square,This carpenters toolis optional, but it's handy for checking the squarenessor camber of a plane iron (formoreon cambers, see AW#129, July 2007, "Troubleshoot page Your Planei 64).



4) Angle Guide. Part of the honingguide, thisdevice haspreset stopsfor sharpening your toolat 12different angles. 5) Grinding Guide.This tool holder fitsintoa sloton the Veritas tool rest,shownwith the grinder on page 70 (see youto Sources, below). lt helps grind a straight andsquare edge, butit isn't absolutely necessary, 6) Dresser. Thisdiamond-tipped toolis essential for keeping grinding wheels round and (seeSources, clean below), 7) Marker. Color anoldbevel yougrind before or hone. This makes it easier to seewhere you're removing steel. 8) Double Square.Thistools head slides likea combination square. lt'sperfect for checking the squareness of a chisel's oevet. 9) Angle Guide. Used for setting a grinder's toolrest,two cornersof thisshoqmade block arecut at the two mostcommonly usedbevel 25 angles, and30 degrees. 10) Lapping Plate. Used for flattening the backs of chisels and plane plate irons, a lapping is a piece glass, of plate at least1/4 in.thick, with sandpaper adhered to it,


Sources (800) LeeValley, grinder 871158,, Verjtas tool rest,#051V23.01, $43. jig, #05M06.01, grinding Veritas guide,#05M09.01, Mk. ll Honing $23.Veritas $53. (800)225-1153, WoodcraftSupply, Diamond-tip wheel dresser, #124670,$15. (800)5234777, Grizzly, Protractor, #H5401,$6.


American Woodworker



aybe I'm crazy, but I like to brush polyurethane. I've built more than 50 dining room tables, and I've brush-finished every one, using a simple system that consistently provides great results. I'm not a purist. I use tools that you can get at any paint store and I don't rub out the final coat. My tabletop finishes look good and feel smooth. They're durable...and do-able.
A tabletop requires multiple coats, of course, but each one is applied the same way. I use flat, satin or semi-gloss polyurethane, depending on the look I want and the wood. A lower sheen helps to disguise finish imperfections, but it can make dark woods such as walnut look a bit hazy. You can practice my methods by finishing the bottom of your tabletop. It should have at least one coat offinish any\{?y, to stabilize the top for seasonal changes in humidity.

Ttp-Brushing Trio
My brusharsenal for tabletops includes a 2-112-in. bristle brushfor the top'swide, flat surface, a 2-in.foam brushfor its long edgesanda 3-in.trim roller for the ends. Choose a natural-bristle brushfor oilbasedpolvurethane. lts business end should appear wedge-shaped or tapered when viewedfrom the side. Most natural bristle brushes are madewith Chinese hog bristles. China bristles, as they'recalled, are relatively large. I preferbrushes that combine china bristles and ox hair. Ox hair (andmoreexoenis finerthanchina bristle sive),so it's less likelyto leavemarks. The (split tips of china bristles are oftenflagged into multiple fibers) to imitate ox hair. I like long,flat wooden handles. They'recomfortableto holdand offergood balance. A stainless-steel ferulewon't rust-a must you planto keeplong-term. for any brush The "Demon"flat sashbrushfrom BesttLiebcoand the Purdy"Ox-O-Thin" are good,reasonably-priced brushes for oilbasedpolyurethane. Expectto payabout $20 for a 2-112-in. brush.

Srr UP FoRSuccrss
I always sand with 280-grit paper between frnish coats,and I let the polyr.rrethane dry thoroughly before sanding. I wipe the top twice to remove the sanding dust, first with a slightly damp lint-free cloth, then with a fresh tack cloth. After final sanding, I vacuum the top thoroughly before moving it into my finishing area. I like to apply finishes early in the morning, when the air is still and airborne debris has had all night to settle.


American Woodworker

OCToBER 2oo7

I alwaysslope tabletops for finishing (Photo l). Thking this step helps me think positivelyabout the job ahead, becauseit makes me feel like I'm doing everythingpossibleto insure a good outcome. A low-angle light creates shadows that make it easyto see imperfections in the finish (seePhoto 2 and "Removing Debris", page 90). I use this light immediately,to check for debris missedby the tack rag (Photo 3).
t Use gravity to help fight brush marks.A single spacer y o u r t o p a t a s l i g h ta n g l e ,t o h e l p a l l o w sp o s i t i o n i n g the polyurethane flow.

Pnlvr AND Sln

Natural bristle brushes work best when the bristles are saturated with solvent (Photo 4). Saturated bristles release the polyurethane efficiently and make the brush easier to clean. Thoroughly stir rhe polyurethane. Then pour enough to complete the job into a separate container (Photo 5). I always open a new can of polyurethane for the final coat. My secret weapon against brush marks is Penetrol (Photo 6). Penetrol makes brushing easier, whether it's hot, humid, cold or dry. (Polyurethane is usually formulated to perform best at 70-degrees F. and 50-percent relative humidity-when do you ever finish in those conditions?) Adding mineral spirits also makes polyurethane easier to brush, but it thins the finish, so you might have to apply more coats. Adding Penetrol doesn't thin the finish. I usually start by adding two capfuls per pint of polyurethane. Like mineral spirits, Penetrol slows the drying time, which increases the chances of accumulating dust in the finish.

I itSet up a low-anglelight to highlight imperfections. , Use it's sharp contrastto spot wayward brush strokes, loose bristlesand other debris that appearsin the finish.

Bnusu AND Roll

Before I brush rhe top, I prime the end grain (Photo 7) . This method prevenrs ugly drip marks that can result when you brush the top first, because drips that soakinto unfinished end grain createpermanent marks. Rather than brushing the top's entire surface, I divide it into sectionsthat are easierto manage.For each section,brushing on the polyurethane is a twostep process. First I flow it on (Photo 8). Then I brush it out (Photo 9). I load the brush by dipping it 7/Z of the way into the poy'urethane.Then, starting on the top's low side,I go directly to the surface,wirhout tapping the brush on the sides of the measuring cup. Just dip and go, man. I apply the poly'urethaneliberally and reload my brush often. While coating this first secrion of the top, I also include it's adjacent long edge.

Wipe the surfacewith a tack rag after vacuuming.I never vacuum in my finishing area,though, because the vac'sexhauststirs up the air. I P r i m ey o u r b r u s h I i b y s o a k i n gi t i n solventfor a few minutes.Thesolvent saturatesthe porous natural bristles,so they d o n ' t s o a ku p t h e polyurethane and becometacky. Suspendthe brush so it's bristles don't rest on the bottom of the glass.



American Woodworker



About the only mistake you can make during this step is being too stingy with the poly'urethane. Covering the surface quickly and uniformly is most important. Brushing direction doesn't matter, except at the ends. There I brush parallel to *re edges, to apply the polyurethane evenly and minimize drips. After using the low-angle light to make sure the section is completely covered, I level the poly'urethane with end-to-end strokes. The brush wicks up excess finish during this process, so before each stroke, I unload the brush by gently pressing it inside the measuring cup's rim. I use an especially light touch at the beginning of each stroke, to avoid leaving a pool of varnish. I don't brush out the last couple inches of the section, because I'll be brushing back into this portion later. \A/hen the raking light shows that all the brush marks run with the grain, I switch to a dry foam brush to clean the adjacent long edge (Photo 10). Most bristle brushes deposit too much polyurethane for this job, creating as many drips and sags as they remove. I move to the other side of the table to brush the next section, so I'm not leaning over the wet finish (Photo 11). I cut back into the wet polyr,rrethane as soon as possible. The longer it sets up, the more likely it is to show brush marks. I check my work in the raking light before moving on to the last section, and then again when that section-including its adjacent long edge-is completed. \Arhen the top looks good in raking light, I complete the job by cleaning the ends with the roller and dry foam brush (Photo 12). Then I walk away. Experience has taught me to leave tiny imperfections. They look bad when the varnish is wet, but they virtually disappear when the varnish is dry.

*o P o u re n o u g h , .rpslyurethane to completethe job intoa clean container.I use a plasticmeasuring cup. lt's light in weight, easy to hold and it's wide opening allows plenty of room for the brush. . Make 4 'i rpolyurethane easierto brush by . a d d i n gP e n e t r o la conditionerfor paint oil-based andvarnish. Penetrolextends t h e o p e nt i m e , increases flowa b l i l t ya n d i m p r o v e sl e v e l i n g , a l l w i t h o u tt h i n n i n gt h e f i n i s h .

S t a r tf i n i s h i n g the top by p r i m i n gt h e e n d g r a i n .s o d r i p s from brushing the top won't leave permanent marks.A trim r o l l e rq u i c k l y applies an even, drip-freecoat of polyurethane.








Inevitably, dust,hair, bristles or bugswill lodgein the wet finish. I usethe edgeof the brush to lift them off the surface as soonas I seethem-it's too lateif the polyhasstarted to set up.Afterremoving the offender, I brush lightly end-to-end to eliminate pockmarksleftby the process.

the top t( Finish \. nin stages. Brush on the polyurethane in sectionsthat are about12-in.-wide. Your goals are to cover each section quickly and uniformly, using a m i n i m u mn u m b e r of brush stokes. Brushing diagonally across the grain helps to evenly spreadthe polyurethane.


American \{oodworker

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to levelthe finish and align the f)Brush end-to-end .,t brush marks with the grain. Make as few strokesas possible.Over-brushing leavesvisible brush marks.

to clean the front I f lSwitcnto a dry foam brush ,l \,f edge. lt soaks up dripsandsagsand leaves a thin, evencoat.Clean the edgeof the bottom. too.

() nemove the adjacentsectionwith polyurethane. Brush dripsfromthe ends.The rollerre-wets the | | Couer. I l. backinto the wet area you've just completedto tie L ,( polyurethane andamalgamates the drips. Follow the two sectionstogether.Followwith light end-to-end withthefoambrush to level thefinish. strokes as before. Repeatthe processto finish the top.
American Woodworker octoeen zoo't 87


l[ Gallfor Entries!
Reader's Showcase
Hereis your chanceto shareyour best work with fellowwoodworkers across the countryand aroundthe world.
As woodworkers, we love to build things, butwe also love to share ourworkandtheideas behind them. American Woodworker Magazine is debuting a new department called "Reader's Showcase." We're looking projects practical, pieces for thatrange from everyday to one-of-a-kind artistic masteroieces.
Here's how to submit your work! We ask that the pieceyou submitbe made primarily of wood by your own two hands,Onlyhighqualityphotoswillbe selected for publication so makesureyou put sometime and effortintoyour photograph. Checkout our web page ( for tips on photographs takinggood photographs. Digital are prefened but slidesand color negatives are alsoacceptable. lf you want your slidesor negatives back,you must include a stamped,self-addressed envelope with your submission. Sendyour pictures alongwith a description of the piecethat includes the wood(s), joinery and finishthat you seemslikeeverypiecehas a storybehindit pleasefeel free to shareyours. We look forward to hearingfrom you. Send entries to: or mailto: AmericanWoodoworkerMagazine,1285 CorporateCenterDrive, S u i t e1 8 0 ,E a g a nM , N 55121,

RegencyChair by RichardCiupka Or-rebec, Canerda


BYr-Bye Brnos-Eye
An Army buddy from northern Michigan stopped when he came upon a truck that had overturned and scattered is load of lumber. The tmcker, who was unhurt, told my friend to take all the boards he wanted, because the load would be considered a total loss. While loading his pickup, my friend realized that the lumber was h ighly-figured bird-eye maple. He raced to his father's house and stacked thc boards behind the garage. Then he returned to the wreck-twice-to salvage more of the spectacular wood. Shortly thereafter, rny friend's Army unit was deployed overseas. He returned a year later, only to discover that his dream lumber stash had disappeared. Thinking the boards were only szrlvage, his father had given the entire stack to


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a r r e i { h b o r w h o r v a sp l a n n i n g t o builcl a shecl. Hoping to retrieve the precious bircls-eye, my friend visited the neighbor. Br-rt all he found was a peculiarJooking shed, sheathed with bird's-eye and partially cov-

ered with tarpaper. When he asked what it hacl been like to hammer in the roofing nails that attached the tarpaper, the neighbor rolled his eyes and said, "I finally ezu'e r,rp. That's the worst lumbet everl" Pltil Hobson


PoncuPrNE CnerNrr

To save a little money on the bathroom cabinet I was building, I decided to use l/2-in. cherry pl;,wood. I cut grooves in each side to house the metal tracks for the adjustable shelves. Then I assembled the cabinet, glued on the face frame, installed the molding and applied the finish. I cut the metal tracks to length and installed them in the grooves, using the flat head nails that came with the track. Then I stepped back to admire my handiwork. Ack! Every nail had broken through, tearing our chunks of the plywood's cherry face veneer. I had used those shelving tracks for years-but always with 3/4-lin. plywood. Repairs would have been diffrcult, so I opted to build a new cabinet-using 3/Lin. plpvood. Alan Blanchard

Make your woodworking mistakespay! Send us yorlr most memorable "What was I thinking?" blunders. You'll receive $25 for each one we print. Email to or send to AW Oops!, American Woodworker, 1285 Corporate Center Drive, Suitel80, Eagan,MN 55121,Strbmissions can't be retumed and become our' property upon acceptanceand parmenl We may edit submissior-rs il-rd ue them in all print and electronic media.



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Anerican \4roodworker ocroBER 2oo7