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#122, JULY 2006

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2 American'Woodworker JULY 2006

B Ouestion& Answer
Align your bandsaw'sguide post,joint fig-
ured wood with a glueJine rip blade and
use a workbench's tail vise.

M WorkshopTips
Rip plastic laminate with a special fence,
cut plywood on polystyrene insulation
board, improve your flush-cut saw'sper-
formance and lubricate diamond paddles
with oil.

2? Well-Equipped
Ridgicl multi-base router, safety glasses
that fit over prescription glasses,Oneida
cyclone vacuum attachment, Lee Valley
flexible curves and Rikon mini-lathe.

28 ModernCabinetmaker
Tipsfor BuildingCabinets
with Pocket-HoleJoinery
9 tips,jigs and techniques

2 Beams for faster assembly.

33 FlatteningWide
BuildYour Skills
4 ways to tame monster boards
using everyday tools.
the 37ToolTalk DetailSanders
These tools excel at smoothing
corners, edgesand moldings.

Store ply,vood on rollers, hang clamps
on a dog's leash and stack boards
using stickers made from conduit.

87 FreePlans Join our online panel to receive

5 favorite shop-project plans.

Aged Coffee
How old is thatjava
on yolrr workbench?
o 2 Beam Laser focuses cut line between
two beams
Subscriptions LIJ
RedOak,lA 51591-1148, )
o Powerful 13 amp,2.5 HP motor (800)66G3111.
e-mailAWWservice LU
. Grip-RightrM handle for ergonomic control ArticleIndex N
o Anti-snag lower guard reduces snags A completeindexis available onlineat J

when making narrow cuts Copiesof PastArticles
Photocopies areavailable for $3 each.Writeor call:American
Woodworker ReprintCenter. I
. Spindle lock secures spindle for easy o_
PO,Box83695,Stillwater, MN 55083-0695, 17151246-4521, 5 p.m.CSI Mon.through
blade changes Fri.Visa,MasterCard, DiscoverandAmericanExpressaccepted. E.
Someareavailable for $6 each.Orderfromthe ReprintCenterat the addressabove.
Comments& Suggestions o_
Writeto us at American Woodworker, 2915CommersDr.,Suite700,Eagan,MN 55121, E.
(651) 454-9200,fax (651) 994-2250,e-mai I LIJ

4 Amcric:rn \Alooclrvor-ker- JULY 2ooo

fficuffiilmmBusGoilil8mrc[ * *it)it)u)
wt Prc;lJiaii#iltii,ut|

ffi;igned theiraward-
Pro2000 2 &3hpCommercial
rra r.*q&q fl
systems l'.rlit,,r Ken Collicr

I powerful
ProSeries1500&2000! l.rt r trtilt' l.<litot RandvJohnson

St rriol l-rlitor Tonr Caspar

.\sror irrtt l-tlitors Tirn Jolrrmn

#:.'. - Dave Mrurkittrick

rc 'lools
oneltra Oneida' rrrrrlI'rorlrrr tr l.rlitol

l.rlit,,r i:rl lrrtt r rt

Ltrke Hartle

= |E {o-tSy-siimf l)trign I)irct t,'r

.\tt l)itt r t,,r'

Sara Koehler
Joc Gohrnan
'- (.opr l.rlitor (look
-s Jean
l"irct ( ilrt ckirrg Spct i:tlists Jennifcr F-eist
Nina ChildsJohnson

> llore CFM Itnrrlrrt tiorr \[irrrirgt r

I'rrrrlrrt lion .\r'tist

Jucll Rodriguez

Lisa Pahl }furcclrt

> Heavier Gauge Barrel ()lllrr' .\rlrrrirrisllirti\( \l;rnllg('r' Alicc Garrett

I"irlutt iitl .\ssistrtttt Steven Charbonlreatt

> FilterEfficiency
Gauge 'li
r'lrrricll \llttt:tgt'r Shannolr Hooqe

I{trrrltr St'rrict Sptrirrlist Roxie Filipkorvski

> Magnefrb Sfarfer .\rhnirtislnlirt .\ssistltttl ShellvJacobsen

> Sguare -to-Round

lnlet ( i r o r r l ;l ) i r c r t o r .
I l o u r t \ i ( l : i r r l Lr ( l t r r t t p Kerrv Bianchi

> Heavy-Duty WallBracket (irrrttp \lrtktting

I ' L r b l i s l r tl
Daxrr Eggerts

> 5-Yea r Warranty \ltiorlrl

Sirlt s \lrirlrqcr
\l:ulrLlt r
Janres Ford
Andrc:r Vecchi<r

\[rrlkcting .\s:or irtlt Jennil'cr Hill

OrderOn-Line! I'nlttoliott (.ootrlirlttot Joalrnc Noc

ffi Ihrsittcss \lrrttitgt'r VickiAdlcr

.\tlrt t tisirrg ( ]rotrlitt:ttot Barbara Bcrczoxski

I{t st:rrr lt \l:rtur,tt t Georgia Sorctrselr

I (X) | {i: (! I 2 ) liil lTll(

!{i( ) \lrrrlisorr .\x'.. \or \i rrk. \\' i
()lII(l\(i()James Ford (3I2) r - rl 0 - t f i 0 l
Sherrv Mallit ( s l l t ' s r r s s i s t : r r t t) ( : l l : . 1 )r - ) - 1 0l-l i : I
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(llassrlir'<l Il:tttagct. Don Serfass, (!1.-r) ii?l-1){i{j2. r'rt. lio



l'rtritltrtt. L .S. \lagazirtcs Bonnie Xilrtzer Bachar'

Yit t l'n'sirlt'rtt. (.ottstttttt r'

,"i' \l;rlkctirrg. L'.S. \l:rg:rzirtt's Cara L. Schlanger

Vict l ) n s i r l t ' r r t . ( l l ' - ()

$horwrwithoptional Nolllr .\ntt t icrt Stephelr W. Sirnotr
l'rt siclt'nt ltrtrl
55Gal.Drum. (llricl l:vcrrtivt'()llitt l Eric\{. Schricr

(.lrrilrrr:rrt ol lltt lJo;rtrl Thornas O. Rvder

I s s r r t# M . . \ r t t t t i t r t t \ \ i r r , < l u o tk < r l ! ; . I S S \ I { ) 7 l - 1 ) I : - r l .
I S l ' S 7 : t f ] 7 1 0 l ' r r l r l i s l r t r ll r i r r r o r r t l r l r t. x r r ' p l r r r , ' r r t l t l r
( ) r ' t o l x r ' : r r r r l\ o r t t n l r t t l l l l o t t t c S t ' t r i r t l ' t t l t l i tr t t i o t t r . l t t r .

American - Jan.2006
Woodworker ? ( i { ) \ l i r r l i r o r t . \ r t t t t t t ' . i t l r I ' - l o o t :\ t r r \ i r r k . \ \
I ' r ' r i o r l i t r t l sl ) ( ) \ t . l g ( l ) i t i ( l l r t \ t r r \ i r t k .
\\ lrrttl,rrlrlitioltltl

'?rs new GoriIIa line deliuers r L r i l i r r g O I I i I t s . l ) ( ) \ t r ) i r \ l (r : S t t t r l t l L l l t g t o l l t t l t l t l s s t l o t i t t

I o . \ r r r t r i t l u r \ \ ' r r r r r l t r r r t k t lt l . l ' . ( ) . l i r r f i l l l ' i . I l t c l ( ) t r k . l . \

topperformanceat a r o p r . 5 . i . ! ) ! ) . ( . r u l t r l l r o r t t ' r r ' ; t t . S : 1 ) . 1 ) s( t . S . I ' t l t ) ( l s ) :( ; S I l l

I t l : 1 1 ) l ' i i { l i l . l o I i g r s r r I l r r | r ' o r t r ' ' r t ' r r t . 5 : 1 ) . 1 )( fl i . S . I l l r ) ( l ' )
[ . S . r ] ( \ \ \ \ t i r n ( l r l i s n i l r t t t i o t t l ^ l l t l r tr t l ) i r t t i l r t t t i o t t ( , t o r r P .

competitiueprice." \ t r r \ i r I k . \ \ ' 1 O 0 l ! ) . l D ( . l r r r < l i : l ) ( ) \ ( i l g ( l ) r r i ( lr r l ( ' r t l c r i r .

\ l i s s i r l r r t ( ; t . ( ) t t t r t t i o : ( . 1 ' \ l # I I I T S { ; { ; .S t r r r l r c ' l t t t t t r ; t t r < l
l r r l r l l t . . r l l r t t g t s l ( ) . \ r l ( r i r l t t t \ \ ' r t o r l t r r r t kt ti . l ' . ( ) . I i r x S l l S .
Our3hpGorillatestedina classbyitselfwith l { r ' < l( ) r r k . L \ . t S . \ , - r l i r l l l I I l i i . I ' t i r r t r ' < li r I s . \ . , . ' l o o ( i
I l o r r r c S c n i r t l ' r r l r l i tr r t i o t t r . l r r t . . \ l l l i l - i r t . t r ' ' t t r t r l .
themostairflow Our2hpGorillatested l { t ; x k r ' s l ) i g t s t u l r s l l t t l i n l o t r l r l i o t t l t l r l t t l r r r t tr i t l r t t l r t t t l t l r l t

withmoreCFMthanthe3,2.5and2hp '+-ee.ld r o r u P l r r r i st i r t o t r k t l i r t l l r c n r t o o l l t t r o t t l l t r r r l t t tt s l r t t r ls t t r i t t :
o l i r t t t r t s l l o r r r r t . I l r o t t u r l t t l r l t ; t t l t tt r r t t t ( ) l \ l t l l t ( ' i t l l i r t l t t i t l i o t t .
competitors forone3hpunit. p l t ; r s tr l i t t t ( ) u \ l r l : l { ( i t ( l ( r ' s l ) i g t ' s t . \ s s t x i r t l i o t t . . \ t t t t ' t i r l t l t
\ \ i r r x l r r r r k t r : ( . t t s l o r t t ' t S t t r i t t l ) t l l t r t t t t t r r t . l ) . () . l i r r N I l S .
I l t r l ( ) r r k . L \ 5 l : - r ! ) 1 . l ) l c r t s ti t t t l u t l t i l ( o p r o l r r r t t t l t < l t l r l s r l r r l x l .
See GFfiltest results on our ureDslte.
f.- S r r l r s t r i l t tl s : I l t l r t . l , o s t ( ) l l i t t l r l t . r t su \ t l t i l t \ ( ) l l t r r l r l - l L z i u ti .
L r r r r l lti r t n l r l r ' . l t ' I t i r t t t t , r l i r r t l r t r , , l r l i { l r t i o t t t t t r l t s s r t '
o t t t c i r t l r c r r r ' r t t l t < l t < l < l t t r rsr i l l t i t t( ) r l ( \ ( l r r ' .
> hlagnetic Remote) Shownwith

> Heavy-DutyWaltBracket OptionalAngle .=


Frx n MrseltcNED BlnoE-Guloe Posr

t I Every time changethe

ne I change the A The problem is that your blade-guide post is not traveling paral-
;aJheight of the blade-guide L -Ltet withyourblade.fu youraiseandlowertheposr,itsposition
post on my bandsaw,I have to relative to the blade can change from front to back and from side to side.
readjustthe thrust bearingsand This requires readjustment of the thrust bearing and the guide blocks
the thereanyway with each setting.
to fix this? The condition can be remedied on a cast-iron saw by shimming the .
joint where the upper arrn connects to the base or riser block. Brass
shims are easy to use and come in a variety of thicknesses (see
Source, below). The process takes a little trial and error, but once
you've got the arm shimmed right, your saw is set for life.
l. Use a square to see whether the table is dead-square to the
side of your blade. Loosen the table trunnions to correct.
2. Put the square up to the back of the blade to see
whether it is square to the table. To correct it, adjust
the tracking to center the blade on the wheel.
3. Remove the guard and blade-guide
assembly from the blade-guide post.
Lower the post all the way and check
for square. Note the direction the
upper arm must tilt to become
square to the table.
4. Release the blade tension and
loosen the bolt that connects the
uPper arm to the base.
5. Shim thejoint to correct the out-
of-square guide post. You'll have to
estimate the size shim needed to align
the guide post.
6. Retighten the arm bolt and ten-
sion the blade.
7. Check the guide post again.
Repeat the procedure using different
shim combinations until the post is
dead-square front to back and side to
Source LeeValley andVeritas, (800)871-8158, g
a Brassshimstock,sampler
pack(one2-in.x 6-in.stripof 0.001in.,0.0015
in., -
0.002in.,0.003in.,0.005in.and0.01in.), E.
#27K07.50,$7. (9


If you have a question you'd like answered, o
send it to us at Question & Answer, American
Woodrro'rker, 2915 Commers lhiee, Suite 700, o
Eagan, MN 55121 or email to qmda@readers
dige$.com. Sorry, but the volume of mail prevents
us from answering each question individually. tr

8 American Woodworker JULv 2006

Glur-Ltrur Rtp Blaor

I use my jointer to clean up sawn edges

b e f o r eg l u e - u p . T h er e s u l t sa r e g r e a t e x c e p t
w h e n I t r y t o j o i n t f i g u r e dw o o d . A n y s u g g e s t i o n s ?

.fointinu hig-hlifisulecln'oocloftcn le:n'esnustvtc2u-{)ut.Ir',,i"$,like *resethat

blaclecallecl:r slrreline r-ipbladecolne in handv.A
a specializecl
:r tablesau'ancl
glueJine rip blacle procltrccs :r nrttch sttroother edge tlran evelt the
best -10-tooth cotnbitr:ttiott ltl:tcle czrtr.
(lltre-line rip blaclesare clcsigtredancl used diffbrently
th:ur stanclarcllip blacles.Oeneralpttqlose rip blades ar.e
nr:rclefirr {ast, rrnqh crrts. T\picalhi tl-reyhave 24 flat-
srrxrncltceth. A npical slrreline rip blade,on the other
hancl, h:is 30 teeth nith e\erry other tooth having a
"triple<'hip srirrd." The triple<hip tooth hogs oul most
of'the m:rteri:rl:urcl the flat tooth cleatrsup what's left.
This prochlces:ur ultr-zr-sutoothcrtt tha['s ready for glue-up.
Vrtr set rrp a glrreJinerip blade differently than yotr do
a n'pical bl:rclc(seephoto, lcf t). You'll get the best results
T h e g l u e - l i n er i p b l a d e
ll'f'eecline the stock :lt il skxr,,steadyrate.
should be set so no
more than one-quafter Sources Freud, (800)412-1307 1O-in.dta.
of the height the tooth is glue-linerip blade, #1U74R010, $60. r Amana Tool, (800) 445-0077,
above the wood. www 10-in -dia glue-linerippingblade, #610301, $80.

10 . . \ r t t t ' r ' i t ' i t r\t\ i r o r l r v o l k t ' r ' JULY 2006

V o t e d " B e s t N e w T o o l " f o r i t s t r e m e n d o u s l yi n n o v a t i v ea n d e a s y t o u s e f e a t u r e s ,t h e a l l - n e w J E T @P a r a l l e lC l a m p
simplifies clamping action with its exclusive Clutch Design and Slide-GliderMTrigger.See your next set of clamps in
a c t i o na t a q u a l i t yJ E T w o o d w o r k i n gd e a l e rn e a r e s ty o u o r a t j e t t o o l s . c o m / a w
Tnt Vtsr?

lam really
p u z z l e da s
t o how th e ta i l v i s e
ac t uallyw o rk s a s I 7/
have only used a L VISE
f r ont v is e . , Doc


l)()se is to hold:r
lro:rrcl fl:rt on the
bench for pl:urinu,
routir-rtt, szrnclinrr..
so ort. Tltt' t:rrl r ise
p t r s h e s u b o : r r - c lt i g h t -
l v a g a i n s t a l > e u c h d o g s o t h e b o : r r c l c a u ' t s r v i v e lo r t n < t v e . l-reacl of the clar-r-rp,and the clos in the tail vise is tl-re
T h e l r t ' n c h c l o p ;f i t s i n a s e r i e s o f ' l - r o l e s c t t t i t r t h e t o p t o c l z r r n p ' sa d j t r s t z r b l ee n d . B o t l ' r t h e b e n c h d o g a n d t h e v i s e
irc't'ornnroclate cli{I'erent sizes of boards. Think of vortr dos are acljtrstable in heip;ht so tl'rey' \v()n't stick above
lx'nch as a bis clarnp: The bench clos is the fixecl etrcl or the bozircl zrncl get it-t 1,ottr rvay.




STOP PEGS F r a m i n gb l o c k
w i t h d u a l s l o t sf o r
- N

A kickstand
at the

M a x i m i z e sc l a m p o
end of the bar s t a b i l i t y .c o n v e r t s t o fast 90 degree z
prevents clamp 1 1 / 1 6 "l e n g t ht o w o r k s e t up . c.)
tipping and bar flex with 3/4"material. ,=




14 American Woodworker JULv 2006

t I I
I r,lriloflti



W pff'u1"-
Lanello Top205

Y o u rf i r s tp l a t el o i n e rm a yn o tb e a L a m e l l o ,
b u t w e ' r e c e r t a i ny o u r l a s t o n e w i l l . l t
m a k e ss e n s et h a tt h e p e o p l ew h o i n v e n t e d
t h et e c h n i q u e o f b i s c u ijto i n i n gw o u l db u i l d
t h e w o r l d ' sf i n e s t p l a t e j o i n e r . T h e s e 2" POLYSTYRENE
S w i s s m a d e ,p r e c i s i o nc r a f t e dt o o l sa r e INSULATION
t h e m o s t a c c u r a t e r, e p e a t a b l er ,u g g e d ,
r e l i a b l em a c h i n e so n t h e p l a n e t .
Herearejusta few of the reasonsthatmake
t h e mt h e l a s tp l a t ej o i n e ry o u ' l e
l v e rn e e d :

o A l l s l i d e sa n d c o n t a c ts u r f a c e sa r e
machined(ratherthan drawnor cast)to
e n s u r ea b s o l u t eo r e c i s i o na n df l a t n e s s
o A l l g u i d es u r f a c e sa r e c o a t e dt o
e n s u r ef l u i dm o t i o na n dm a x i m u ml i f e
o E v e r Vm a c h i n ei s i n s p e c t e d for
d i m e n s i o naacl c u r a c ya n dg r o o v e
t o l e r a n c eo f . 0 0 1
o G u a r a n t e eadv a i l a b i l i toyf s p a r ep a r t s
f o r 1 0v e a r s
o C o n s i s t e n trl ya t e dt h e u l t i m a t eb i s c u i t
j o i n e rb yt r a d el o u r n a l s
The next tinre rrlrr use \'oul'sabc'rsarv,fcl'gct about l-raulingout the sau-
A n d ,L a m e l l om a k e sm o r et h a n j u s t g r e a t horscs or cantilei'er-inq a harcl-to-holcl n.orkpiece off votrr bench.
P l a t eJ o i n e r so. u r C a n t e xL i p p i n g Planers
a n d L a m i n aL a m i n a t eT r i m m e r sa r e n r u s t ltxtrtrcleclpolvsh't-cr-re itrstrlation boztrcl,tl-rerieicl pir-rksheetstrsed ir-rhorrs-
h a v e t o o l s f o r t h e s e r i o u sw o o d w o r k e r ittg cot'tstt'ttctiotr,nrakes saber-sau'in{r eas\;u'hether vou're cutting :r snr:rll
l o o k i n gf o r t h e u l t i m a t ei n q u a l i t y . clf har-cllrrocl ol a firll shcct of'1tlur.oocl. I)uring thc cut, the rrork-
lticce is all'avs ftrlh'srrpportecl, so vour s:rn'hars constaltt, stablersrqlpol't.
Inc. '['lte
2-in.-thit:kinstrlzttionhclrscssal)er.san'blaclcs as l<lngas 3-1/2 in. Thc
salno 1'ricc'e c:ur be' rrseclrcpeatecllr';one 4f t. x S-ft. sheet (:rltorrt lil7 at
lr3\.Cllll.Isjif )t$;ilij ANl,l ;ri!.il ylgn OJ
honrt' ccntcrs) tr-illttroltaltlvlast \'ou il lifetirric.
z I errt.lolt tt.sort
wEsT1-800-252-6355 E
16 \\irorluolkt'r' JULY 2006
ScnnrcH-FngeFlusu Curs
No matter how carefully I cut with my economy-model flush-
cutting saw,it ul*qo left scrarchmarks on the wood's surf,ace.To solvethe
problem, I attached a playing card with double-faced tape. Now I don't have to
worry about scratches, because my carded saw doesn't quite cut flush. Attaching ttre
card limia the saw'sdepth of cut, so I sawthe dowel halfway,then finish from the opposite side.
Sawndowelsstand awee bit proud, but they're easyto sand flush. Yaniu Matza
18 American Woodworker JULy 2006

b nm ffimdut cdl tm :l{-.i0aE u ennE

Wnrn woodworking isyourpassion,

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Call today for your free User Manualand ProductGuide
CircleNo. 165
One of myfavorite sharpening tools is a diamond paddle.
I use it for router bits, knives and, most importantly, scrap
ers. The problem is that it cuts so fast the tiny spacesbetween
the diamonds quickly fill with metal particles, called swarf
which slows or even stops the cutting action. Most instnrc-
tions suggest using water to wash away the swarf. Water
works well enough, but household oil works much faster.
I put a few drops of oil on the paddle and a few more on
arag. When the swarf builds up, I wipe the paddle on the
rag.In no time, the paddle is clean as awhistle.I oil the pad-
dle again and it's ready to go back to work.
Every sharpening tool, whether it's a file, waterstone,
sandpaper or this diamond paddle, cuts faster when it's fiee
of swarf buildup. Fast is good, because the fewer strokes you
take, the more accurate you'll be.
Tbm Caspar

Well giveyou $150, this great{ookingshirt and a drnable shop apron foryourWorlstrop T'p!
Sendyour original tip to us with a sketchor photo. If we print it, you'll be woodWorkingin style..
F-mail your tip to or send it to Workshop Tips, American
Woodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55f 21. Submissions can't be returned and
become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissions and use them in all
print and electronic media. and apron offer good only while supplies last.

20 American Woodworker JULv 2006


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Multi-base ed in a'router table, you can access the control from o_
routers, machines above the table usingthe includedT:wrench.You'll need z
with one motor to drill a hole in your router table to do this, drough. o
that fits multiple bases, The depth-of-cut scale on the plunge base could O
have been around for a while. have a finer pointer. The stoprod system includes an -
Ridgid hasjumped into the fray with its new R2930 excellent micro-adjust but lacks a rurret, which is Cf

$199. commonly used on plunge rolrters for stepping

''._" .router:,
One of the coolestfeatureson this machine is the depth of cut. (D
pair of LED lights built into the bottom of themotor. o
The motor specs on the R2930 are sim- DEPTH- -
,The lights come on automatically when you turn on ilar to those on other machines in this ADJUSTMENT
router. Boy, was this handy when I was mortising category: 2-1/4 hp, 12-amp, variable t
sith this machine. It really helped my tired old eyes speed (10,000 to 23,000 rpm) and o

seethe start and stop points of the mortises. o

soft start. The router u
Unlike some other multi-base routers, the R2g30 l/fiin. and l/Z-in. col
*i'..',..gorrtes with dust-collection attachments. Both are uses Porter-Cable-sryl
i: *{;i.?s/ to install. The above-the-base shroud works well, guide bushings, and
',' bu't the
below-the-baseshroud, used for edge routing, comeswith a softsided
,.,,r'.'colild be larger. ,, carrying case. The
An a{iustrnent knob'conrols d.pth of cut on the R2930 is available
'"t",; fixed base.Fine-nrning is easy.If the fixed baseis mount- through Home Depot.
''':Eowce FIXED :
Ridgid, lSaal474-3443,wunar.ridgid.comMulti-baserouter,#R2930,$199. BASE :*;r'#""'+i

22 '\nrcr-icurr \\irocholkr.r- JULy 2006

SaTETY G lassEs
FoRYoun Glessrs
Are you rnaking your prescription glasses double as safety
glasses in the shop? Unless you purchased prescription safety
glasses, vollr eyes aren't really protected. Regular eyeglasses
don't have the impact resistance of safety glasses.It creates a
dilemma: You need your glasseson to see, but fitting addition-
al safety glassesover prescription glassescan be really uncorl-
fortable. If you've got this problem, try EyeAnnor safety glasses,
$25. They're specifically made to fit over prescription glasses,
and they're com$ to wear.
Three sizes of EyeA.r-rnorglassesare available, depending on
the size of your prescription glasses.Medium will fit over glass-
es that measure l-5/8 in. high by 5-3/8 in. wide. Medium,/large
fits over glassesthat are I-5/8 in. high by 5-1/2 in.
wide. Large fits over glassesI-7 /B in. high
r** I
''*-r by 5-1/2 in. wide. Each pair cornes

% { with a head strap, which does a great

job of keeping the safelv glassesin
place on the bridge of your nose.
EyeArmor safety glasses are available in clear,
yellow and smoke colors.
- Source Live EyeWear,(800)834-2563,
E y e A r m osr a f e t yg l a s s e si n m e d i u m ,m e d i u m / l a r goer l a r g e $
, 2 5 ,a v a i l a b l e
from HeavyGlare,(888)548-0558,

CYcLoNE FoR Snop VacuuMS
I keep a sl-ropvacllum connected to my portable sanders and routers and love FROMTOOL
the rvay'it stops dust and chips from becoming airborne. Unfortunately, fine dust
quickly clogs the filter on my vacllllm, which means I have to frequently
stop to clean it, even though the canister isn't full. Oneida car' help you
short-circuit dust beforeit reaches yolrr vacuum. Yon just need to get
The Dust Deputy is an inline cyclonic unit that drops most of the
dust out of the airflow and into the canister before it reaches your vacu-
filter. It's designed specifically to be used with shop vacullms, not with dust
collectors. \Arhen I tried the Dust Deputy, I found very little per-
formance drop in the dust-collection power of my vacuum.
You can get deputized in your shop in one of two ways. A
complete unit including the cyclone and a 10-gal. drum costs
$199. You can also get just the cyclone with instructions for
rnounting it to your own 5-gal. pail for $96. Both unis use the
same cyclone. Drurn capacity, of course, is smaller on the build-
"\ unit. And you'll need to be careful to make all the con-
)/orlr-o\,\,Tr 9neida
nections airtight so you don't lose performance.
You'll need a Z-in. hose to go from your shop vacuum to the
Deputy. The Deputy's inlet port for connecting to your tools has a
l-t/Z in. diameter.
Source Oneida
drum,$199,withoutthedrum,$96. 1O.GAL.DRUM

24 Amclican \\/ooclrvorker- JULy 2006

* -.irytsn*

Eesv-To-Usr FLExrsLrCURVES
Generally, when I need to form a curve, I grab a What makes these curves work so well is their mul-
skinny piece of wood and bend it to the shape I tipleJayer composition. The layers are interlocked
need. Then I struggle, trying to hold the form of the along their length but fixed on one end. The layers
curve and trace it at the same time. Yeah, I've used a slide past each other while you're forming the curve.
piece of string to bow the stick. Yeah, I've used spring They take shape and form like a dream. And the best
clamps to hold it to the wood. But none of those part is that they hold that shape when you let go. The
shop solutions work as well as the Blending Curves 18-in. curve will form a minimum radius of 47/2-in.
from Lee Valley. They're available in trvo lengths-l8 The 3Gin. curve, which is slightly thicker and wider,
in. for $16 and 36 in. for $30-and you can easily will form a5-1/2-tn minimum radius.
bend them to your will.

Source L e e V a l l e y V e r i t a(s8, 0 0 ) 8 7 1 - 8 1 5 w
8 ,w w . l e e v a l l e y . c o m
B l e n d i n gC u r v e s 1
: 8 - i n .#, 0 7 K 0 1 . 1 0$,1 6 ;3 6 - i n .#, 0 7 K 0 1 . 1 5$,3 0 .

Rikon's new 70-100 mini-lathe.
$250, is pushing the envelope on
what we call a mini-lathe. With a
12-in. swing and 16 in. between
centers, this machine's capacity is
at the top of the chart in the mini-
lathe category. In addition to capaci-
ry Rikon turns in a good perform-
ance by including additional user-
friendly features.
If you're going to move this
machine to and from a bench, you'll
love the handle that's built into the
head-stock end, which makes carrying
the machine much easier. What you may
not like as much is the weight. At 89 pounds,
this is one of the heaviest mini-lathes on the mar- With the addition of a bed extension, $60, the spindle
ket. But weight is a good thing in a lathe, since it capacity increases to 40-3/4 in. Keep in mind that this
dampens vibration. machine, like most mini-lathes, is driven by a l/2-hp
The 8-in.-long tool rest is longer than what's stan- motor. Big spindles and large-diameter bowls can
dard on most mini-lathes, and the step pulley speed cause these relatively small motors to bog down if
range is greater, from 430 to 3,900 rpm. you're not careful with your cutting techniques.

Source RikonPowerTools,(8771884-5167,

26 American Woodworker JULy 2006

any production shops Nrw rools ,AND
use pocket-holejoin-
ery to build cabinets
because it's fast, easy and effi- POCKET-SCREW ASSEMBLY
cient. You don't need an arm-
load of pipe clamps. There are
no unsightly face-frame nail EVER.
holes to fill. And you don't
have to wait for glue to dry
before you move on to the
next step.
All these advantages
are a. boon to the small
home shop, too. In
addition, pocket-hole
joinery doesn't re-
quire large, stationary
machinery. Everything
you need can be
stored in a drawer.
Pocket holes are
amazingly simple
to make. All you
need is a drill, a drilling
jig and a" special
stepped drill bit.
Kt.g Tool Co., -kti
which specializes in t.
pocket-hole joinery
systems, has some ter-
rific new jigs and spe-
cialized clamps I'll
show you. I'll also share
some techniques that
make pocket-hole join-
ery easier than ever.

28 American Woodworker JULv 2006

WHnr ls A P o c K E T H o l r ?
A pocket hole runs at a l5degree angle. It's created so you don't have to drill another pilot hole into the
by a stepped drill bit guided by ajig (seeTip 1, below). mating piece. Screws with fine threads are designed
The bit's leading end makesa pilot hole; the rest of the for hardwoods. Screws with coarse threads are
bit enlarges the pilot hole to accept the screw'shead, designed for softwoods, plywood, particleboard and
forming a counterbore. MDF. A combination thread is also availablefor genenil-
Pocket-holejoinery usesspecializedscrews.They're purpose use. Pocket screws' heads have a large, flat
hardened to prevent the screwfrom snapping and the bottom to help pull the parts together.
head from stripping out. They have self-tapping ends, z


Dnur HoLESFasrEn
My favorite new pocket-hole jig has a slick attachment for a
vacuum hose. I can just hear you saying, "Who cares about a z

littte drilling dust?" Well, I was skeptical, too, until I tried it.
I can drill much faster with the vacuum attached because I uJ

don't have to remove the bit to clear chips. In addition, the bit o
never clogs, and there's no mess to clean up.
The vacuum attachment is part of the new K..g K3 Master
System (see Source, page 32). It's also available as an upgrade

kit to the Kreg Standard Pack. The Master System has a new
front-mounted toggle clamp that makes setting up a board for
drilling super easy. (The toggle clamp is mounted in the rear F
on older Kt.g models.) uJ

Usr A B r r u c H K l n u P
Here's a way to hold parts perfectly even and flat while you screw
them together. It's the Kreg Bench Klamp, a locking;iaw clamp that
fits into its own special plate (see Source, page 32). You can sur-
face-mount the plate on a benchtop or a separateboard. This
device provides that third
hand you've always
wished for when trfing
to hold pieces in
place and screw
them together at the
same time. The edges
of the plate help you keep the
pieces aligned as you screw them

30 American Woodworker JULY 2006

Clnvtp Nrnn rHE ScnEW
When parts have to frtjust so-for example, when you're
attaching a hardwood lip to a shelf, as shown here-it's best
to clamp as close to the screw as you can. In these situations,
I drill two holes side by side. I put a specialized Ikeg Right
Angle Clamp in one hole and drive the screw in the other.
This locking clamp has one round jaw that fits right into a
pocket hole (see Source, Page 32).

Diawer boxes are quickly and easily assem-
bled using pocket holes. Drill the holes on the
front and back pieces of the box. Then cover
the holes with an attached front.
Use l-in.-long pan-head screws fot L/2- to
5/8-in.-thick sides. These short screws have
small heads, which dig in an extra t/16 \n.
when you drive them. Set the drilling depth
l/16 in. shallower than you would for longer

AN Erulnr CaglNrr
You can use pocket screwswhen you fasten and glue all
the parts of a plywood cabinet, even the top rails. You don't
have to fumble with pipe clamps or protect the cabinet's
sides from clamp dents. The only trick is to figure out-in
advance-where the holes will go so they won't show.

ArracH A FncE Fnarvr

When you're using clamps, face frames are a
pain in the neck to glue on a cabinet-you'll wish
you had three arms! Pocket holes make the job a
lot easier, because the screws do the clamping.
For easier alignment, it sure helps to use a Right
Angle Clamp.
Becausethis side won't show when I install the
cabinet, I'm putting the pocketholes on the outside.
On afinished side,drill the holes inside the cabinet.

American Woodworker JULY 2ooo 31

Slanted corners look great on plywood cabinets, but they are a real
bear to assemble.Where do you put the clamps?It's much easier to let
pocket screws do the work by drawing the pieces together without
This method uses a strip of hardwood, rather than just the plywood
panels, to form the corner. Using a hardwood strip offers two benefis.

First, a solid piece of hardwood is much more durable than plywood
veneer. Second, aligning the parts isn't as fussy.You plane, rout or sand
the strip's overhanging point after thejoint is assembled(seephoto, left.
bottom). You can't do that with plywood.
To make thisjoint, rip an angled edge on a hardwood strip. The strip
must be at least 1 in. wide for a lSSdegree corner. Fasten the strip to
panel A with l-in.Jong pocket screws.Drill pocket holes in panel B and
assemblethe corner. Tiim the point flush.

lrusrnu BorroMS
You don't have to fuss with dadoes or rabbets when
you use pocket screwstojoin bottoms and shelves.Drill
holes on the underside to keep them out of sight. I use
nvo Right Angle Clamps and drill the outer holes in
pairs. During assembly,I work from the outside in. I
align the shelf by putting clamps in the innermost side-
by-sideholes, and then put screwsin the other holes.

'EM, 'EM
lr You CAw'I Hrne PLUG
No doubt about ig a cabinet frrll of pocket*crew holes doesn't look attractive. If
the holes will show, you sure won't want to drill them on the cabinet's outside.
They should go inside instead,where you can fill them with plugs. Premade
tapered pluS are a',railablein sevendifferentwood species(seeSource,
below). Glue them in the holes and sand them flush. For melamine
cabinets, q^e plastic pluS. Their caps cover the holes so sanding is
unnecessary.You can also use plastic plu5 in wood cabinets.

Source KregToolCo.,
#K (800)447-8638,
E,F K3
ffg\ MasterSystem,#K3MS,
* l I $150.StandardPack,
\ WOODEN #K3SB $80. Upgradekit,

t'o ,.-,,r**,"*ro#S!''
PLUG #K3UP,$70. Bench
Klamp,#KBK,$35. Right
Angle Clamp,#RAC,S25.
Solid-woodplugs and caps,
50 plugsfor $7, 50 capsfor $8.

JULY 2006
to flatten monster boards. f,HH*r:''
-*l'F '

Big, wide boards make my heart race with anticipation.

; color changes cattsedby multiple board glue-ups.And I avoid the hassle"'r*
of tryir-rgto match boards for a uniforn, pleasing apPearance.
I used to shy awayfrom these beautifuiwide boards because I thought t nJeAea
z an aircraft carrier-sized jointer to flatten them. Over the years, I've learnea a few t4cts
z that allow me to take aJvantage of what a wide board has to offer-even in a
- small shop.
Don't limit your woodworking to boards that fit on your
jointer or planer. Here are four tried-and-tnte
techniqttes to tackle any size board
t rvith cor-rfidence.

An-rclican \\iiocllor'kcl JULY 2ooo 33

byFland #''"^'*
F-i o. really wide boards, You don't want to remove
. you'll have to aban- all the wood at once.
don stationary machines. That's because removing
A handheld power planer wood releases tension,
is the key to this tech- causing the board to
nique. First, you need a slightly change its origi-
flat surface larger than nal shape. Remove about
the board. Shim the 75 percent of the wood
board under the high you need to take off the
spots so it won't rock. A first side. Then flip the
cupped board should be board and remove anoth-
set convex side up at first er 75 percent. Let the
to prevent rocking. Mark wood sit for a day or two
all four edges of a wide on stickers. Then re-mark
board with a marking and finish flattening the
gauge to indicate its high board.
spots (Photo l). The If you're lucky enough
gauge is just a 2-in.-thick to have access to a wide-
blockwith a 5/8-in. dowel belt sanding machine,
set in a hole. Power-plane you can get the finish-
the board down to the sanding done there. For
marks (Photo 2). Use a the rest of us, a belt
set of winding sticks to sander, a random-orbit
-l fine-tune the flatness sander (preferably a Gin.
Flattenbig slabs of wood in several steps. Placethe
I board on a flat surfaceand add shims to steadythe (Photo 3). model) and elbow grease
board. Use a shop-mademarking gauge to transferthe Big, thick planks are will finish smoothing the
flat surface onto the edge of the board. best flattened in stages. board.

C) Planethe high spots down to the line using a hand-

Q Fine-tunethe flatnessof your board using winding
4 held power planer.First use a lumber crayon to mark r-f sticks.When the two end sticksare parallel,run a
the high areas.Skew the planer so the heel rides on the third stick back and forth between the two to checkfor
previously cut surface. Cut with the grain to avoid tear- high areasin the middle. Mark any high spots and
out. Checkyour progress frequently with a straightedge. remove them with light cuts. Checkyour work frequently.

34 American Woodworker JULv 2006

You can flatten

I a board that's
s l i g h t l yw i d e r t h a n
your jointer by
guard. lt's just like
I ld"rrt'r cutting a giant rab-

bet:The uncut por-
tion rides over the
rabbetingledge on
your jointer.
,' ,:l
Caution: Secure a
.. here's no need to cut an
temporary acrylic
tt);. inch or two offa board's
guard over the cut-
width so it'll fit your jointer. terhead.
Instead, remove the jointer's
guard and make a full-width C) Hand-planethe
pass (Photo 1). Then hand- ^4 uncut strip of
plane the remainder (Photo wood flush. Skew
2). Now the board is ready for the planeso its
the planer. You may have to heel rides on the
repeat the steps to get the jointed surfaceof
the board.A power
whole length of the board flat.
h a n d p l a n e rw i l l
Removing the j ointer guard
also do the job.
is no casual thing; you must
take precautions! Clamp an
acrylic guard to the fence to
keep your hands clear of the
cutterhead. And always, always
use a pair of push blocks.

a nip a wide board
I r _- -^ I into jointer-sized
pieceson the band-
r* \r-Y )
r r, saw. Make sure the
lomt dc boardhasone
straightedge to go

"Reghre againstthe fence.

Make the cut where
the grainruns
straighton the
board.Thatway, the
H joint will be less
fr f tne board is more than v i s i b l ew h e n t h e
4; 2 in. wider than yourjoint-
board is glued back
er, hand-planing is a chore. together.
Try this technique instead:
Joint an edge of the board C)Glue the board
and then rip it on the band- 4together again
saw (Photo 1). Joint and after it has been
plane each board separately; jointed and planed.
then glue them back together Leavethe board a
(Photo 2). little thick so it can
be planedto finish
To minimize grain interrup
thicknessafter the
tion at thejoint, it's important glue dries.Shifting
to avoid cutting through the boards a bit
cathedral patterns. They're may help blendthe
hard to align when the board g r a i na n d h i d et h e
is reassembled. Follow the joint.
straight grain and your joint
will be almost invisible.

American Woodworker JULY 2006 35

Turn)four Planerintq a_fcint*r

; , uild a sled to hold

; "'a wide board
steady through the
planer (see photo,
right). Fasten a stop ar
the front of the sled to
keep the rollers from
pulling the board
through without the
sled. Add a backerboard
to prevent kickbacks. #
Shim under the high
spots to prevent the
planer rollers from flat-
tening out the board
before it's cut. You'll
find it's best to position
a cupped board concave
side up because it's easi- Joint a reallywide board with your planer using a shop-madesled. Support the board on
er to shim around the the sled with shims and double-facedtape.After you joint one side, remove the board.from
perimeter than the mid- the sled and plane the second side normally.Thesled is simply a pieceof 3/4-in.sheet
dle of a board. stock.Stops and a backerboardare fastenedto the ends to hold the board on the sled.

36 American Woodworker JULv 2006

larm free Slid{ing

Hl[Itlililtn A greattoolfor rusticfurnituremakers
- lodgestylefurniture,custom railings,
Easily& equally gates,logbeds,patiofurniture,arbors


CircleNo. 193






American \Abodrvorker JULY 2ooo 37

Here are some applications in which I find detail
sandersmost useful:
Inside corners. If you sand before assembly,you
shouldn't have to sand into a corner, but it hap
pens. Corners are very awkward to sand by hand.
Some detail sanders have large pointed pads for
corner sanding (Photo 1); others have small trian-
gular attachmentsto do thejob. On both types,you
sand a corner by app$ing pressure to the pad's
Moldings. Moldings look much better if you sand off
mill marks, but this is tedious work when done by
hand. Detail sanderswork much faster.Some detail
1 Detailsandersare idealfor getting into corners.Most
sanders have concave, convex or flat attachments I have pointedtips, which can go placesthat round-
for beads,covesand fillets, the individual elements pad random-orbitsanderscan't go. Some pointed pads
of all moldings (Photo 2). On complex moldings, are quite large,like the one shown above, but others are
much smaller.
you sand one shape at a time.
Narrow edges. Mury detail sanders have relatively
small flat pads that are easy to control on narrow
edges,such asface frames (Photo 3). If you need to
maintain a very squareedge on narrow stock, this is
the way to go.
Refinishing. Sandingfuzry,raisedgrain or removing
stain on moldings is a lot of work. Often you must
sand into corners as well. Detail sandersmake this
work go faster.
Old metal. Most sanders have abrasive or buffing
pads that quickly bring tarnished hardware or tools
back to life.

Tvpgs oF
DErnu SnruDERs C)Sanding a routed profile is easy using a detail sander.
Detail sandersdiffer in fourways: pad design, sand- /-lt's faster and lesstiring than sanding by hand. Some
sandersincludean assortmentof concave,convex and
ing action, grip and variable speed.
flat attachmentsin additionto a pointed pad.
Pads. Some pads are fixed and flat; others are inter-
changeableattachmentswith shaped profiles.
Action. There are three typesof action: orbital, in-line
and oscillating. On detail sanderswith orbital action,
the pads rotate in very small circles,about l/76 in.
dia. The pad doesn't spin, though, like a random-
orbit sander'spad. Thesemodelswork beston finish-
sanding flat surfaces. Sanden with in-line action
move their pads in a back-and-forth motion and
work best on moldings or contoured shapes.An
oscillating motion rocks forward and backward in a
short arc and is suitable for both flat surfaces and
Grip. T*o gtip designsare available:palm and barrel.
Choosewhichever you find most comfortable.
Variable speed. M*y models have a variable+peed
2Detail sanderswith small, flat pads are easyto control
control, a m4jor plus. High speed can remove a lot .lon narrow edges.Random-orbitsanders,with their
of material fast,while slowspeedoffersmore control. larger pads,tend to tip and round-overthese edges.

38 American Woodworker JULY 2006

Detail Sanderswith Attachments
Attachments make a detail
sander more versatile. They BOSCH
come in a wide variety of 1294VSK, $130
sizes and shapes. Both This variable-speed, orbital-
pul- and barrel- action sanderhas three Pad
grip models are extenders,perfect for getting into doesn't
with palm gnps
have an orbital
action. Their attach-
ments screw onto
the tip of a stan-
dard clothes-
pad, which can be awkward to install.
Palm-grip models include the Craftsman
1L647Detail Sander ($35), 11683Mouse
Detail Sander ($40) and Cyclone &in-l
Sander 11684($55,bottom right), the FEIN
Skil7300 Octo ($40) and the MulrtMAsrER XL,
Black and Decker MS $340
550GB Mouse This sanderhas an oscillating
rF action. lt comes with six profiles,two
Sander ($40) (see
Additional triangularpads and attachmentsfor sawing,
i n g , rrasping
s c r a ping, and
asplng a profile
llclng. Ine p
n d sslicing.The attachment,
r o T l l ea [acnmenr'
which clamps the paper in place, works extremely well'
Barrel-grip kits with the same sanderare also available'
sandershave a Source Fein,(800)441-9878,
wider varieWof
attachments, includ-
ing a triangular
one, which are
easier to swap
in and out. Some barrel-grip sandersare
orbital; others are in-line. Barrel-grip
models include the Bosch 1294VSK
($130,top right), Fein MultiMaster XL
($340,center right), Porter-Cable9444
VS ($135) and Dremel 600041 ($56) (see
Additional Sources,below). The Porter-
Cable and Dremel models have in-line
action; their attach- CRAFTSMAN
ments include con-
Cvclotle 3-1ru-1Seruoen
cave, convex and
116,8'4, $SS
flat shapes.
Sources Skil,
-- .Eo,
This machinedoubles as a 5-in. random-orbit
sanderwhen you replaceits iron-shaped
pad with a round disk.Thepointed end of
the iron-shapedpad has a two-positiontip.
o Blackand Decker, You also get a flat-padfinger attachmentfor
(800)544986,www. ffi sanding in confinedareas. Source Sears,(800)377-
. Porter-Cable,
(800) 7414,
r Dremel,(800)

American Woodworker JULY 2006 39

Flatfad-Only Detail Sanders
All flatpad detail sanders use orbital
action. Flatpad sanders with a palm RYOBI
grip look like random-orbit sanders,
but their orbital action isn't as
aggressive. The pad's front is
-# ConruenCan
cFS1501 K, $30
This sander'shook-and-looppaper
pointed for getting into corners, has two sections.Thefront section
butyou can covera large areawith can be removed and rotated into
three positions,giving you three tips.The
the rest of the pad. The Ryobi
sanderalso comes with three buffing sheets,
Corner Cat CFSI5OlK ($30, top which are usefulfor removing rust.
right), the Gizzly H3120 ($2S1 Source Ryobi, (800)525-2519,
and the Festool DS 400EQ
($190)are palmgrip models (see
Additional Source,below).
Barrel-grip flat-pad sanders
have smaller, triangular pads.
They're best for corner or
narrow-edge sanding only. FESTOOL
The Festool Deltex DX 93 E Derrex DX 93 E, $260
($200, bottom right), and The Festoolfeaturesan exceptionallysmooth orbital
Ryobi DS11008($2f1 are bar- actionthat helpsreducewrist has variable
relgrip sanders. 7") speedand largeand small triangularpads.A package
7 "- of 100sheetscostsabout $16.
Additional Source Grizzlv, Source Festool, (888)337-8600,
(800152347 77, www. - l?
40 American Woodworker JULY 2006


o Dowelmax - a tooldesigned
bya woodworker
for woodworkers
o Precision
o Precision
0.M.S. Ltd.,203- 814West1SfiSteet,N.Vancouver,
ToolCompany BC,Canada
CircleNo. 177
byEnc Smittr

Is itwise to super-size?

P icking the.righ.t sliding

compound mlter saw
can be a dauntirg task,
because there are so many choices. The 12-in.
sawshave the most capacity. The 7-l/2-in. and
8-l/2-in. sawsare the most portable. The l0-in.
saws balance capacity and portability-but
aren't they really just less-capableversions of big-
ger saws?And then there's the price. A lZ-in. slider
can cost nearly twice as much as an &L/2 -in.
slider, and they all cost more than compa-
rable nonsliding miter saws.
As part of our tool test of lZ-in. slid-
ing compound miter saws (see "Tool
Test," page 49), we examined nearly
every available sliding saw, including
7-l / z-ila.,Ul / 2-in. and I Gin. models.
Our sideby+ide comparisons of
the different size models pro
ducedeyeopeningresults. ,i,,, .
f r

"-q:*, lffi*

Thicknesscapacityis the major differencebetweensmall

and large sliding saws. Every saw easilycuts through
8/4 stock,but only the 10-in'and 12-in.slidersallow cut-
t i n g d i m e n s i o n a4l x 4 t i m b e r s a s w e l l . l t ' s a l s o e a s i e rt o
m i t e r w i d e m o l d i n g sa n d c u t b a s e b o a r d so n t h e l a r g e r
saws. Surprisingly,the differencesin width capacityare capacityt2'718"x11-718"
marginalfor the various saw sizes:Eventhe smallest
slider cuts dimensional2x12 boards'

S u n P R t s t N GS t v l L A R l r l E S
First and foremost, differences in size don't necessarily to make it fit right. You can make the same cut on an&l/Z-
mean big differences in capaciry (see photos, in. saw but the baseboard has to be lying flat. This makes
above; Fig. B, page 44), or in the amount of the cut slightly more difficult to set up and much more
space the saw takes up in your shop (see difficult to fine-tune, because the bevel scales are small
photo, page 44, top left)' and hard to read. On small saws,fractional bevel adjust-
All the saws we looked vt, even ments are hit or miss.
the diminvive 7-l/Z-in' Makita, Crown molding can also be cut on any of the saws,but
can easily crosscut on small saws, the molding has to be cut flat using com-
dimensional pound miter cuts-a skill that takes practice to master'
2xl2 boards,
even at a 45-
degree bevel.
Figure A Typical S t r e e t P r i c e s
Almost any $700
board that can $675
be cut on a 12- $650
in. saw can be $625
cut on a 10-in.
saw. Most of those
boards can also be
cut on the smallestsaw
but not always as easilY. $475
For instance, on a 10-in. or $450 ffigfffi
12-in. saw you can cut 1x4 $425
baseboard standing uP $400
against the fence and it's $375
easy to shave a fraction $350
of a degree off the cut $325
saw 12'sliding
saw l0'sliding
saw 8-l/fsliding
7-ll?sliding saw

Even small sliding miter saws are big-ticketitems, and each

step up in sizecarriesan increasein price,typicallyabout
$100 per step among saws of similar quality.
American Woodworker JULY 2006 43
S m a l l s l i d i n gs a w s r e q u i r ej u s t as much front-to-backspace as l a r g eo n e s , Virtuallyall 10-in.and 12-in.sawstilt both
b e c a u s eo f t h e r a i l s .A l l s l i d i n g saws require more space than the largest left and right. Bevel cuts can be more
nonslidingmiter saw. challenging on 7-112-in.and 8-112-in.
saws, becausethey only tilt to the left.

especially wtth 7-I/z-in. and 8-l/2-in. sawsthat only bevel in However, the smallest saws are not available with laser
one direction (see photo, above right). On 10-in. and 12-in. guides, and some have fewer accessories.Small blades cost
saws,standard crown molding can be cut leaning up against less,but there are fewer to choose from. You'll have numer-
the fence, which makes cuts easier to visualize. ous choices in 10-in. and 12-in blades. Usually,
12-in. blades cost the most.
P e n F o R M A N c EA N D F r n r u R E S
The price difference between small and large saws (Fig. A, rHE DrcrsroN
page 43) doesn't translate into differences in performance. If you really need to cut big timbers, a 12-in. saw is the way o
In side-by-sidecomparisons cutting the same hardwoods, we to go. However, 10'in. sawshave virtually the same crosscut and
discovered little difference in the cutting speed and power bevel capacity as 12-in. saws.They cut just as well, weigh less a
of the different size saws. Surprising maybe, but it makes and cost less. And if you never cut anything thicker than -
sense, because it doesn't take as much power to drive a 8/4 stock, theT-I/Z-in. and &l/2-in. sawsdeservea close look. z
smaller-diameter blade. In our tests, the Makita 7-t/z-ir'. My personal choice? My shop is in my basement, I'm
saw cut 7-3/{in.-thick white oak faster, smoother and remodeling my attic three floors up and my back is acting up.
straighter than many of the 12-in. saws,and it was much less A 2&lb. saw that effortlessly slices l2-in.-rvide boards of -
noisy, to boot. 8/4hardwood sounds great to me. I


Figure B Typical Capabilities z

saw saw
8-1/2" 10"saw 12"saw (9
Crosscut2x12 Yes Yes Yes Yes -
crosscut widthcapacity 11-3/4" 11-718" 12-3116" *

mitercutsin 2x8
Horizontal Yes Yes Yes Yes ()

max.widthat 45degrees g-3/9" 8-U2" g-5/9" 8-718'* o

Verticalmitercutsin 1x4 No No Yes Yes

thickness capacity 2_U16" 2-718" 3-314" 4-114. z

Yes** Yes**
Compound mitercut Yes Yes z
.Typicalbevel-cut capacity 1'314-
thickness ** 1-719" xx Rl-5/16"
L 2-3116", L2-519"R 1-5/9" -
Weight 28lbs. 39 to 43 lbs. 43to 55lbs. 51to 70lbs. F
* Largestcapacityis l3-l/2"; onesaw cuts 16"with modifications.** Leftbevelonly. F

U American Woodworker JULY 2006

This joint \ /ill never loosen !
a l ) . t a p . t a p . T h e n ' e c l s e su o h o t n e , t h e s l t r c
s(lu('czcsottt ittlcl a bic snrile lights ttP \'otrl-
, :
"This joint ist't't cotnil)B- :lPart firr a
" . " , 1 . . 8l ,r.r c e .
h r r n c l r - e c vl e a r s . " \ ' ( ) t l s l l \ ' . " l t ' s : r s s t l l i c l a s : t t - c l c k l "
N l a k i n g - a r l e c l g e c l t n o r t i s e - : t t l c l - t t l t t o t ' .t i o i n t i s
r i c h l v r e u ' i t r c l i t r g . O n c e t v r l t t t t t t c l e t ' s t : r t l c ll i < x v i t
u-or-ks (see pl-roto, ltelorr'), \'otl czrrl't helll btrt
a c l n i r - c t h e - j o i n t ' s e r l e q a t r ts i r l r l l l i c i n ' . I t z i l s o s e t r c l s
ir l'nessage. .\ rveclgecl .joint s2lvs to otrc :ttld :lll,
"This u'its tt't:tcleb1'a skillerl rt'ooclrt'tlrker."



a If olv the.|oint Works

H e r e ' sa c u t a w a y v i e w o f a w e d g e d m o f t i s e - a n d - t e n o n
I joint. Driving in the wedges forcesthe tenon to flare into

a f a n o r d o v e t a i l s h a p e .T h e m o r t i s e i s t a p e r e d t o m a t c h
C the angle of each wedge. Like a dovetail, this joint can't
o pull aparl afterthe wedges go home.
a T h i s t e n o n h a s t w o u n u s u a l f e a t u r e s :s a w k e r f s t h a t c r e -
Z ate flexible strips and holes that dispersethe strain that the
Z w e d g e s c r e a t e .T h e w e d g e s c a u s e t h e s t r i p s t o b e n d ; t h e
holes prevent the bend from splittingthe rail.
.'\nrcricun \\kroclivorkcr- JULY 2006 45

I /l / here could you use a wedged
V V jointl It's a candidate for any
joint that receives a lot of stress.A table
base is a good example (see top photo,
page 45). Pushing or leaning on this table
might slowly force a standard joint apart,
TEMPLATE but wedges keep this joint locked rogerher.
The wedged mortise-and-tenon joint
isn't difiicult to make, but you should have
some experience making standard mortise-
and-tenon joints before tackling it.

I Make the mortise beforeyou cut the tenon. I use a shop-madetem- To make this joint, you'll need a table-
I plate,a drill press,plunge router and two flush-trim bits to make large
t h r o u g h m o r t i s e s( P h o t o2 ) . T h eh o l e i n t h e t e m p l a t ei s t h e e x a c ts i z eo f t h e saw,drill press, plunge router, chisel and a
mortise. bandsaw. If your mortise's width is 5/8 in.
or more, like the mortise I made, you'll
TTEMPLATE need a l/Z-in.4ia. topbearingflush-trim bit

C) Here'sa cross sec- {? ($19). If the mortise is more rhan 3/4 in.
deep, you'll need a bottom-bearing flush-
4tion of the mor- trim bit ($ZO1(see Source, page 48). For a
tise in various stages
of completion.You mortise less than 5/8 in. wide, you'll need
make it in four steps: a straight router bit and a fence or jig for
your plunge router.
1 . D r i l lo u t m o s t o f
the waste.
Rour rHE MoRTtsE
2. Followthe tem- Before you begin your project, make a
plate with a short
top-bearingflush- prototype joint (see "Designing Your
trim bit. Wedged Joint," page 47).
3 . U s i n gt h e s a m e It's good practice to start with the mor-
bit, remove the template and rout deeper. tise for any type of mortise-and-tenon
4. Flip the workpieceand finish the mortisewith joint. It's easier to fine-tune a tenon to fit
a bottom-bearingflush-trim bit. a mortise than the other way around.
This is a through mortise, meaning it
goes all the way through the workpiece.
My favorite way to make a fairly large one

h T
is to remove most of the waste on the
drill press and then use a plunge router
Ert and template (Photo 1). This merhod
works particularly well in thick stock,
,i ::-ii.. because it makes a mortise with absolute-
_ l=|f1,{: -r ly straight walls. That's important for
:--i.', .1". ..
appearance's sake in a through joint,
because you can clearly see from the out-
side how well the mortise and tenon fit
Make the template from plywood or
solid wood by gluing four pieces together.
"*'.'T j
':Fa, r'{, The inner two pieces are the exact width
":,;-.-*' of the mortise, but their overall length is
\ ::.;i!

unimportant. The outer pieces must be
i:;e long enough to allow room for clamps.
QUsing an angled guide blockand chisel,taper the mortise'sends into a Space the inner pieces apart by the length
r-lflared shape.Thetaper leans3 degreesfrom square.Make the taper of the mortise.
about three-fourthsthe depth of the mortise.Turnthe moftise over and
s q u a r et h e r e m a i n i n gc o r n e r s .

46 American Woodworker JULv 2006


DesigningYour WedgedJoint
Each part of a wedged joint must often
Before you
be tailored to fit the joint's size, intended
start routing,
strength and type of wood. Make a proto-
use the tem-
type following these steps:
plate to draw the
1.Substitutea notch made with a dado
mortise on the
set for the mortise(see "How the Joint MOCKTENON
workpiece. Drill out
Works," page 45). Taper both of the
most of the waste
notch'ssidesby anglingthe miter gauge.
using a Forstner bit
2. Makea full-sizetenon.Observehow well
that's I/16 to l/8 in.
the flexiblestripsbend.Youmay be ableto
smaller than the mortise's holesor no holes
use smallerstrain-relief
width. Make overlapping holes
at al l .
to remove as much wood as Possi- with the notch'sangle.Thewiderthe tape; the stronger
3. Experiment
ble. Rout the mortise (Photo 2). butyoucanincrease it upto 8 degrees.
thejoint.My taperis3 degrees,
4. Test the bend. My flexiblestripsare only 1/8 in' thick
Tnpen rHE MoRTtsE
Tapering the ends of the mortise oppositethe strain-reliefhole, so they bend easily.
requires a razor-sharp chisel; there's no Depending on the wood,this thicknesscan be
practical way to do it with a router. You increased to 114in. or so to improvethe
must use a chisel to square the ends of a
routed mortise anryay, so tapering isn't
that much extra work.
Make a l-7/2- to 2-in.-thick block to
guide your chisel. Cut one end square. Cut
the other end at the angle you've chosen
for tapering the mortise and wedges. I've
found that a &degree angle works well.
Use the guide block's right-angle end
to square the back of the mortise. Chop
about one-fourth of the mortise's depth.
Turn the workpiece over and position the
block a short distance away from the end
of the mortise (Photo 3). The exact dis-
tance depends on the mortise's depth.
You'll want the taper to extend approxi-
mately three-fourths of the way down the
mortise. On a 3-degree hp.t, shifting the
/ Cut a tenon to fit tightly into the backof the mortise,where there'sno
block 1/16 in. from the mortise's ends
ttup"r. On the tenon, draw a centerlinedirectlyoppositethe point
results in a taper about 1 in. deep. where the mortise beginsto taper outward. Drill two strain-reliefholes all
the way through the tenon.
Mnrce rHE TENoN
Make the tenon arty way you want. I use
a tablesaw tenoningjig to cut its cheeks, a
bandsaw equipped with a fence to rip its
':.' ''
top and bottom sides and a tablesaw's lj;
miter gauge to cut all four shoulders. The
tenon's length is up to you; it can be flush
or stand proud of the joint.
Fit the tenon to the back, untapered
side of the mortise. It should be no more
than a paper-thickness smaller than the
opening. If your tenon stands proud,
chamfer is end using a block plane or file.
The next two steps are unique to this
joint: making the strain-relief holes and f Saw kerfs in the tenon to receivethe wedges.Thiscreatesstrips that
L,lcan flex without breaking.I aim for the inner edge of the hole, so the
kerfs don't end up too closeto the tenon'sedges.

American Woodworker JULY 2006 47

cut a precise angle and fine-tune each
wedge's thickness. Make a wedge
blank from straight-grained wood. I
prefer one that contrasts in color from
the tenon. Make the blank aboutS/4
in. thick and as wide as the mortise.
Tilt the blade ro the guide block's
angle. Here, it's 3 degrees. Raise the
blade to make wedges that are about
I in. longer than the tenon.
For a trial cut, position the stop
block so the thin end of the wedge is
the same thickness as the tenon's kerfs.
Clamp the blank to a tall fence using a
wooden handscrew. (A wooden clamp
protects your blade from damage if
you accidentally place the clamp too
f,Cut extra-longwedges on the tablesaw.Tiltthe blade 3 degrees-the same
Lfangle as the guide blockyou used to taper the mortise.Crosscutthe wedges low.) Flip the blank around ro cut a
from the blank with a bandsaw. second wedge. Remove the blank and
Caution:You must remove the blade'sguard for this cut. crosscut the wedges by hand or on the
bandsaw. File chamfers all the way
around the wedge's thin ends.

Trsr rHE WEocr's Fff

Push the tenon all the way through
the mortise-without glue, of course.
Tap in the wedges, but not too hard
(Photo 7). If they're too skinny, cur
the wedge shorter or adjust the stop
block and saw new ones. If your
wedges become stuck, pull them out
using locking pliers. The wedges
should go in as far as possible but not
be so long that they hit bottom before
fully spreading the tenon. Marking the
bandsaw kerfs length on each wedge
will help you prevent this problem.

AssrvrBLE THE Jolrur

fTest-fit the wedges without glue.Youhave to get their thicknessjust right to When everything is ready to go
f completelyflare the tenon beforethe wedges hit bottom.Adjust the tablesaw
setup until the wedges are the right size.You'rereadyfor gluing. together, you only have to put glue on
the mortise's long sides and the
tenon's cheeks. Clamp thejoint so the
sawing kerfs for the wedges. Start by For the saw kerfs, draw lines that tenon's shoulders are tight to the mor-
marking and drilling the holes (Photo connect the holes to the tenon's end. tise. Then brush glue into the saw
4). Their location and diameter deter- Traditionally, the kerfs go to a hole's kerfs and the mortise's tapered spaces.
mines the flexible strips' thickness. In center, but I aim for the hole's inside Thp in both wedges and clean up the
most woods, such as the white oak I'm edge (Photo 5). Looking head on at glue squeeze-out. Saw off the wedge's
using here, I drill \/4-lin.-dia. holes the completed joint, I believe this excesslength after the glue dries. Use
centered 7/4 in. from the edge. This divides the tenon into more pleasing a file or low-angle block plane to level
makes the bending strip a flexible 1/8 proportions. the wedges flush to the tenon.
in. thick. Holes that are only 1/8 in.
dia. are commonly used for this joint, Saw rHE Weoces Source MLCSWoodworking, (800)533-9298,
too, for types of wood that bend easily, Make wedges using the tablesaw www.mlcswoodworking.c om 1l2-in.pattern/
#16509, $19.1/2-in.
such as maple and ash. (Photo 6). This method allows you to f lush-trim

48 American Woodworker JULv 2006

Tool Trsr
Hn. SlidngQq*pound
Mit& Saws Dl Eric Smith

Lqts of capacrty,
but at atost

'b***'* '

(9 rized by carpenters for its amazing versatility, a slid-
ing compound miter saw is also great to have in a
o woodworking shop. The blade swivelsfor miter cuts and the
head tilts for bevel cuts. To make compound miter cuts, you swivel the blade, line up the laser guide and go. Switching
simply swivel the blade and tilt the head. Compared with a from crosscutting big timbers to cutting comPound miters

in delicate trim takes only seconds. Making 60-degree cuts

nonsliding compound miter saw,the big difference is capac-
F ity: A typical sliding saw easily cuts 12-in.-wide boards. That's for an equilateral triangle is simple and cutting exotic com-
3 to 4 in. wider than the largest nonsliders can cut. pound miters for complex assembliesis no sweat'
A sliding compound miter saw easily makes cuts that are Sliding miter saws are available in many sizes,which are
I difficult on a tablesaw.For example, accurately mitering the determined by blade diameter. We tested 12-in. saws
- end of a long, wide board on your tablesaw is virtually because they have the largest capacity and are available in
impossible, because the miter gauge is too small and the saw the widest variety of models. We also compared different

F table isn't big enough to support the angled board during sizes of saws (see "Choosing a Sliding Compound Miter
u-i the cut. With a sliding miter saw,just position the board, Saw" page 42).

American Woodworker JULY 2006 49

How We Testedthe Saws
To evaluate each saw'sperformance, controls and features, Our results were consistent. On every saw cutquality imper-
we made multiple crosscut, mite4 bevel and compound miter fections we noted in the 3/Lin. mahogany were amplified in
cuts in 3/Lin. mahogany and l-\/Lin. white oak using the the thicker white oak. Comparing the results from subsequent
factory+upplied blade. We used $in.-wide and l2-in.-wide tests with topquality blades installed on every saw revealed
pieces of both thicknesses to test each saw's capability over its which imperfections were due to the blade (roughly cut faces
entire miteringand crosscutting range. These extreme cuts test- and surface tear-out) and which were due to the mechanism
ed the merit of the saw'ssliding mechanism as well as its blade. (gapsand uneven cus).
We made the same cuts several times using both types of Topranked cuts were perfectly flat, showed no tearcut
wood. To see if the cut ends were straight and flat, we stood the around the edges and had minimal tooth marks on the faces.
test samples on a dead-flat steel plate. We also checked to see Middle-ranked cuts noticeably rocked or showed daylight
whether the ends were squarely cul The largest gaps were between the cutand the steel plate. Bottom-ranked cuts showed
about 7/32 in. on crosscuts and slightly wider on com- daylight and areas of tearout or splintering. With almost every
pound miters. saw,the blade's teeth left a mark or groove in the board's face
at the end of a sliding cut.

I*portant Features
LrvrrrgoPuav tN THEHEeo
All the sawswe tested made accurate chopping cuts in stock up to 4 in.
wide, but when we made sliding cuts in wider stock, the results varied.
A l2-in. sliding compound miter saw cantilevers a lot of weight on the
rails when the saw head is fully extended. In this position, all the saws
exhibit noticeable side-to-side play. The amount depends on a number
of f,actors, including the spacing and location of the slide mechanism's
support rails and the number and location of support bearings (photo
-l 1). Side-teside play can allow the blade to wander. cutting problems are
W" prefer saws thaifrinimize side-to-side
I play when the head is fully extended, most likely on wide boards, because the amount of play decreasesas the
becausethey make the straightestcuts. For saw head moves toward the fence. In our tests, the sawswith the least
example,the Metabo'swidely spacedrails
amount of play made the straightest cuts.
effectively limit play.

A Gooo BlaoE
The blade has a big impact on a sliding compound miter saw's cut
quality. Most of these saws come with blades that sell for $40 to $60.
The Makita saws,which are outfitted with a $90 blade, made the clean-
est, smoothest cuts (Photo 2). Switching blades among the saws con-
firmed our findings: The Makita blade improved the cur quality of
every other saw.Switching out the Dewalt's rough-cutting blade trans-
formed that saw into a top performer. on almost every saw,upgrading
the blade ($70 or more) would be a wise invesrmenr.

good blade is key to a cleancut.TheMakita

Q A CovpecT StzE
4 saw'sbladeconsistentlymade amazingly
Because of their slide mechanisms, these sawsoccupy a lot of space,
cleancuts and saves
you spending$90 on average about 40 in. from the lever in front to the sliding rails in
for an upgrade. back (Photo 3). we prefer sawsthat are most compact. when the saw
isn't in use, you can limit its intrusion by rotating the miter table to the
left or right. with the extension wings closed or removed, widths
hover around 2 ft.

2W" like saws that save space.Many sliding saws require more
r-lthan 30 in. betweenthe benchfront and the wall.The Dewalt saw
takes only 26 in., thanksto its compact sliding rail design.
Maximum CapacityHas a Price
The Ridgidand DeWalt saws feature the largestcrosscutcapacity,1
in. to 1 -112-in.more than any other saw we tested. (The DeWalt cross-
cuts up to 16 in. with modifications).Both saws achievedthis, in part, by
droppingthe bladedeep into the bed of the saw so it cuts closerto its full
diameter.The downside of this design is that during a sliding cut, the
teeth on the blade's back edge rotate directly up into the board. lf the
board isn't firmly clamped in place, especiallyduring wide compound
miter and bevel cuts, the blade can violentlykick it up. Owner's manuals
for both these saws stronglyurge using the hold-downsfor all cuts. We
second that.
You can eliminatekick-upon the Ridgidsaw by adjustingits depth stop
to raisethe blade and changethe exit angle of the teeth. But when you
raise the blade on the DeWalt saw, you have to add a 3/4-in.-thicksub-
fence to finish the cut.

Srvrple BEvEt-Ao"lusrMENT
Each sawhead tilts left and right to make bevel cuts, but the process
of operating the bevel controls while supporting the heary saw head
ranges from simple to complicated (Photo 4). Unlocking and tilting
the head can require up to four steps, depending on the saw.
Obviously, fewer steps are better. On most saws, the location of the
bevel controls isn't as important as the number of steps needed to
make adjustments. On some saws, however, the control's location
makes the adjustment process awkward.

The saws'miter scalesvary in appearance,but they're all large, easy A T h e b e s tb e v e l
tcontrols aresimple
to read and precise. Unfortunately, most of the saws'bevel scaleswere
and accessible. We prefer
hard to read (Photo 5). To set anything less than half a degree was d e s i g n st h a t r e q u i r eo n l y o n e
really just a guess-which was a little annoying given that some of the or two stepsto unlockand tilt
owner's manuals include long tables with 1/10-degree settingsfor cut- the head. Front-mountedcontrols
mean you don't have to support the saw
ting crown molding when it's lying flat. Most saws have detents for
h e a dw i t h o n e h a n d w h i l e r e a c h i n gt o t h e b a c k
common angles. with the other to releasethe bevel lock.
Cursors are a mixed bag. Generally, we prefer metal cursors,
although some are so wide they make precise settingsdifficult. Most of
the clear-plastic cursors were hard to read. Some even trapped sawdust
underneath. We liked the Hitachi saw'sdigital display, bttt we wish it
were more finely calibrated (see "Digital Display," page 52).

ErrecrrvE HoLD-DowNS
Hold-downs help with accuracy and general safery particularly
when you're cutting large pieces (Photo 6). These sawsall have small
support beds and, even with perfectly aligned outfeed supports, it's
both difficult and dangerous to hold big pieces of wood with hand
pressure alone (see "Maximum Capacity Has a Price," above).
Manufacturers recommend using hold-downs for every cut. We test- X W " l i k e l a r g e ,r e a d a b l es c a l e sA . l t h o u g ht h e
ed each saw'shold-down by cranking it down tight and marking the Jmiter scalesare good on every saw, a read-
a b l e b e v e ls c a l e ,l i k et h i s o n e o n t h e B o s c h
board's position against the fence. Then we checked to see whether
saw, is rare. On most saws,the bevel scales
the board moved during demanding compotlnd miter cuts. are so small or awkwardly locatedthat it's
t o u g h t o d i a l i n f r a c t i o n a dl e g r e es e t t i n g s .

American Woodworker JULY 2ooo 51

For easy removal, some saws employ hold-downs that don't lock
securely in the base. These loose-fitting hold-downs were harder to
tighten. Several saws have quick-release hold-downs, some of which
held more securely than others. In p;eneral,short, squat hold-downs-
and those that could be adjusted to be short and squat-were a little
more tenacious, and every hold-down worked better when solid out-
feed supports were nsed to help support the board.

fiA hold-downthat securelylocksthe work- Top-MoUNTED LasEn Gutoes

\Jpiece to the saw table is a must for safe
Laser guides are included or are available as accessoriesfor all these
operation.Lockingfirmly in the base is one
r e q u i r e m e n t . T h ae b i l i t yt o s e t t h e a r m l o w - saws.We prefer the top-mounted lasers (Photo 7) because their guide
closeto the workpiece-is another.Thissquat lines stayed on the mark through each cut. The line from a rear-
position minimizesplay between mounted laser is blocked and disappears as the saw head is lowered.
the parts.
Several sawsuse arbor-mounted laser guides that aren't adjustable and
only come on when the saw is running. We think it's safer to line up
cuts with the saw turned off.

ErreclvE Dusr Colr-EcrloN

On most of these saws,dust collection is just plain dreadful. When
attached to a shop vacuum, only the Hitachi and Metabo sawscollect-
ed dust adequately (Photo 8). However, to make Metabo's innovative
system work, you have to buy a dust-extraction accessory ($35) or use
twojury-rigged hoses.

Additional Features
r The swiveling miter tables are all easy to adjust, even by as little as
1/8 degree. The detents for commonly used angles are solid but easy
to override if you need to shave a quarter-degree. All the sawswill cut
at least severaldegrees past a 45-degreemiter on both sides,and most
go to 60 degrees on at least one side.
r All the sawsbevel both ways.We prefer those with a bevel capacity
beyond 45 degrees. This extra capacity is invaluable when you're bevel-
nW" like top-mounted laserguides,like this
/ one on DeWalt'ssaw, becausethey light cutting tall baseboards and need to tweak a cut to 45-L/2 degrees.
both the face and front edge of the board. r Handles on the saws are horizontal, vertical or adjustable.
They independentlyswitch on and off, so you
can positionthe board without startingthe
saw.They'realso adjustable,so you can use
them with differentblades.

What lookslike an alieneyeballon top of an insect'sbody is

a welcomestepby Hitachitoward precision woodworking:
a digital display of miter and bevel
the scaleis only
calibratedin half-degreeincre-
ments,which isn't quite precise
enough.Also,it's hardto readthe
displayand makeadjustmentsat
the same time. But when the
QGood dust collectionis rare. Metabo'sdou- bugs are workedout, this could
(Jble-port design draws dust down through
be a greatfeature.
t h e s a w b e d a n d u p b e h i n dt h e b l a d e ,c a p t u r -
i n g m o s t ,b u t n o t a l l , o f t h e d u s t .

52 American Woodworker JULv 2006

Adjustable handles allorv choosing the position you like best. We thought
all the handles were easyto Llse,so orlr advice is to try before you buy.
: The same is true for the fences.They're all tall and consist of two sec-
tions. The top sectionsare acijustableand,/or removable' Some swiveland
some slide.
r We prefer the sawsthat come with extension wings. They're handy if
you frequently move the saw or don't have an outfeed stlpport table.
r Almost every saw has a dor-rble-depthstop for limiting the depth of
cut-a useful feature for making rough dados or multiple shallow kerfs.
These stops can be set, then moved out of the way for regular cutting.
r \4/eprefer blade guards that are mottnted on the outside of the blade
housing. Blade guards that fit inside the housing were more likely to hang
up on the leading edge during compottnd miter trim cuts' They also Makital-,Sl214E$600
occasionallyjammed when small offcuts got stuck inside the housing.
r A few sawswe tested needed the miter and bevel settings trued right
The more we used these saws,the betterwe
out of the box. This process is not alwaysobvious, Sosavethe owner's man- likedthem.Theyconsistentlymade straight,
ual. silky-smoothcuts,even on compound
I Most saws' manuals include helpful instructions and charts for set- miters.TheLS1214Fhas a fluorescentlight;
the LS1214hL a s a t o p - m o u n t e dl a s e rg u i d e .
ting up compound miter cuts.
r F e e l ss o l i d d u r i n g a d j u s t m e n t sa n d r i g i d
Recommendatiolts while cutting.
p l a y ,d u e i n p a r t t o
r M i n i m a ls i d e - t o - s i d e
Every saw has likeable features, but the Makita LS1214F and LSl214L t h e w a y t h e s l i d i n gr a i l s ,w e l l - s u p p o r t e d
models come closestto getting the whole package right. Fine woodwork- u n d e r n e a t ht h e s a w b e d , a c t u a l l yg a i n
support as the saw is pulled forward to
ir-rgdemands perfect results, so a saw'sability to cut cleanly and accurate- m a k ea w i d e c u t .
ly carried the most weight in our ranking. The Makita sawsdelivered top- r Has a user-friendlysoft start.
grade cuts every time. There's nothing flashy about these saws;their fea- r The factory-suppliedblade is excellent.
trlres are straightforrvard, dependable and r-rser-friendly. r B e v e lc o n t r o li s s i m p l e a n d e a s yt o r e a c h .
r H o l d - d o w nw o r k s w e l l .
The other sawsare capable, but every one would benefit from a higher-
r W e l i k e dt h e a d j u s t a b l ef l u o r e s c e nlti g h t .
quality blade, which rvould add at least $70 to the bottom line. These saws
have different strengths. If effective dust collection tops your list, look first Cons
at the Hitachi and Metabo. For maximum capaciry check out the Ridgid r B e v e ls c a l ei s s m a l l a n d d i f f i c u l t o r e a d ,
and DeWalt saws.The sawsfrom Bosch and Craftsman feature user-friend- r B e v e lr a n g ei s l i m i t e dt o 4 5 d e g r e e s .
r D u s t c o l l e c t i o ni s a v e r a g e .
ly bevel controls and adjustable handles. The Hitachi and DeWalt sawsare
r Adjustablefencesare not as user-friendly
the most compact.
a s t h o s eo n t h e o t h e r s a w s a n d d o n ' t
You should also know that locking ir-rprecise setups for bevel cuts can s p r e a da s w i d e .
be challenging on all these miter saws. Fractional degree settings are 462-5482,
Source MakitaUSAInc.,1800)
almost alwaysa guess.Either the scale is too small to accurately read, the
top-hear,ysaw head is hard to control or both.

Intrigued low price,we alsotestedthe 12-in.

by its astonishingly
Chicago Electric91852-2VGA saw.Although thissaw isn'tengineered
as preciselyor builtas heavilyas the expensive saws,it stillmakes
most of the cutsthey make,just not as easilyor as accurately.
lf you onlywant to constructa deck,framethe basementor do
roughcrosscutting, the price-one-thirdthe cost of the othersaws
we tested-makesthis saw a realcontender.

Source HarborFreightTools,(800)423-2567,

American Woodworker JULY 2ooe 53

Bosch54I2L, $650 Crafmman 21206,$600 DeWaltDW71B,$660
This saw has many user-friendly
features. T h i s s a w a p p e a r ss i m i l a rt o t h e B o s c h lf you need big cutting capacity,this
5412L,especiallyregardingseveraluser- i s a n e x c e l l e n ct h o i c e .
Pros friendly features.
r Front-mountedbevelcontrolsare
easyto use. Pros r Removingthe main fenceand
r Bevelscaleis largeand readable. r Front bevel controlson this saw are adding a 1-112-in.-thicksubbase
r Quick-release hold-downis tenacious. s i m p l ea n d a p p e a l i n g - j u s t i l t a n d l o c k . increasescrosscutcapacityto 16 in.
r Built-inextensionwings are perfectly r Bevelscale'sreadablityis above-average. and miter capacityto 11-518 in.
levelwith the saw bed. r We liked the quick-locklever for setting r We likethis saw'sunique,simple
r Handleadjuststo horizontal,vertical miterangles. systemfor truing the miter settings:
and diagonal(45-degree) positions. r H a n d l ea d j u s t st o h o r i z o n t aal n d Insteadof aligningthe fencewith
r We likedthe viewing slot in the blade d i a g o n a l( 4 5 - d e g r e ep) o s i t i o n s . the saw blade,you loosena few
guard;some editorspreferredit over Allen nutsand shiftthe saw bed into
the laserfor lining up cuts. Cons alignmentwith the fence.
r C u t q u a l i t yi s a v e r a g e . r This saw is light in weightand very
Cons r Blade guard catcheson 45-degree compact.
r T h e f a c t o r y - s u p p l i ebdl a d er e q u i r e d right bevel cuts. r We like the front-mountedlaser.
a g o o d p u s ht o g e t t h r o u g hb e v e l I B u i l t - i ne x t e n s i o nw i n g s s i t b e l o w t h e a $59 accessory.
a n d c o m p o u n dm i t e r c u t s i n t h e saw bed.
1-314-in. white oak. r B e v e lr a n g ei s l i m i t e dt o 4 5 d e g r e e s . Cons
r H o l d - d o w ni s n ' t p a r t i c u l a r l yu s e r - r D u s t c o l l e c t i o ni s a v e r a g e . r Blademakesrough,splinterycuts.
friendly. I Saw headjumps on start-upmore
r D u s t c o l l e c t i o ni s a v e r a g e . (8001
Source Craftsman, 377-7414, than any other testedsaw, so can
r Saw requiresa lot of space. www. sea tsma n drop down and nicka board if you're
not prepared.
Source Bosch,(8771
267-2499, r Dust collectionis average.
www. r Hold-downis difficultto securely

Source DeWalt, 433-9258,

Limited Cut qualitv Easy bevel Bevel

Street side-to- w/su-pplieil Compact adiuitmentl scale Hold-down Dust Laser Footprint/
*B*.h price side play blide footpiint* (head tiltl readability effectiveness collection location overall depth++
length Y'i19.T'
54il**-*]- $ocu 3** 1 I arbor 36'745" 25-1/2" 59
C r a f t s m a2n1 2 0 6 i $600 3 2 1 1 30"143-114"
arbor 26' 66
DeWaltDW7lB bobu 2 1 1 26"/36', 24-3/4" 53
H r t a c hCi 1 2 L S H $650 1 2 3 3 24-314"137-1/2" 22-314"

H i t a c hCi 1 2 R S H $600 1 22-3/4" oo

M a k i t a1 2 1 4 F $600 3 2 3 1 1 NA 2B-1l2"l3t-112"17-314" 5'r

M a k i t a1 2 1 4 1 $630 3 2 J 1 1 28-112"137-112',
17-3/4" 5I
MetaboKG5305 $650 2 1 1 1 2 arbor+ 37-314',145-314" 26" 68
RidsidMS1290LZ $570 2 1 1 arbor 34-3t4"t43-3t4" 21" 70
ChicaqoElectric $ILJU 1 2 1 1
1 rear 27-114"135" 22-3/4" A A

1 Average 2 Better 3 Best

*l 26" or less,2 27" to 30".3 more '**extra{ost accessory
than30" $59 + availablelate 2006 wall/mitertable leverto wall +++ requiresspecialsetup

54 Arnerican \Voodworker JULy 2006


Hitachi C12[SH, $650 Metabo KGS305,$650 Ridgid MS1290LI",

T h i s s a w h a s m i n i m a ls i d e - t o - s i d e This saw featureslargecapacities,big,
ClzRSH,$600 a w i d e , s t a b l eb a s e . readablescalesand user-friendlycontrols.
Thesesaws have many innovativefea-
turesand the most compactfootprint.The Pros Pros
C12LSHincludesan LCDdigitaldisplay' r W i d e l y s p a c e dr a i l s m i n i m i z ei t s s i d e - t o - r Hasthe widest miter range,second-widest
sideplay. bevel rangeand second-widestcrosscut
Pros r Dust collectionis betterthan average. capacity.
r T h e m i t e r t a b l e ' sr a c k - a n d - p i n i o n r Hasthe biggestbevelscale.
r Ouick-release hold-downis effective;an
adjustmentsystem works well' adjustablearm extendsits reachby 1-112in. r Lockingmiter handleand detent release
r D u s t c o l l e c t i o ni s g o o d , t h e b e s t i n r H a sa w i d e b e v e lr a n g e . are combinedinto a smooth, user-friendly
the test. control.
r H o l d - d o w ni s o n e o f t h e b e s t . r Bevellockis convenientand easyto use.
r W e l i k et h e i n n o v a t i v ed i g i t a l r The factory-suppliedblade cut smoothly, r Cam wheel designmakesblade-depth
display. but left slightlycurvedfaces.However, adjustmentseasy.
w i t h t h e M a k i t ab l a d ei n s t a l l e dt,h i s s a w
Cons cut straightand true. Cons
I C u t q u a l i t yi s a v e r a g e C . ompound I R e q u i r e sa l o t o f s p a c e . r Dust collectionis average.
m i t e r c u t s a r e s l i g h t l yc u r v e d . r Awkwardly placedbevel lock doesn't work r Ouick-release hold-downwas difficultto
r W e f o u n d t i l t i n ga n d l o c k i n gt h e t o p - securelytighten.
well enough. lt's finickyto adjust;we
heavy saw head difficult,in sPiteof never got it to securelylockthe saw head r Bubble-stylebevel-scaleindicatortraps
its rack-and-pinion adjustment. w i t h o u t b e i n g i m p o s s i b l et o o p e r a t e . sawdust,making it hard to read.(We had
r T i n y b e v e ls c a l ei s n e a r l yi m p o s s i b l e r Right-tiltbevelsare hard to set accurately to removethe indicatorto cleanit.)
t o r e a d a n d t h e d i g i t a ld i s P l a Yi s b e c a u s ey o u c a n ' t s e e t h e s c a l ew h e n y o u r Bed is smallerthan most,only 10-1/2in.
o n l y c a l i b r a t e dt o 1 / 2 - d e g r e e s . r e a c ha r o u n da n d u n d e rt o l o c kt h e s a w from the bladeto the edge,and extension
r S i d e - m o u n t e dr a i l sa l l o w c o n s i d e r - supportsaren'tavailable.
a b l es i d e - t o - s i d eplay. r Built-inextensionwings sag belowthesaw bed. r Requiresa lot of space.
r Bed'ssurfacearea is very small and r Bevelscaleis tiny; the bubble-styleplastic
extensionsupportsare extra-cost indicatorswere difficultto read. (800)474-3443,
Source Ridgid,

Source MetaboCorp.,(800)638-2264,
Source Hitachi (800)
PowerTools, 829-
4752, s

Board Vertical cut

Miter Bevel width at {3/4" stock Depth at
range L/R range L/R Crosscut 45" miter Depth against fencel 45'bbvel L/R Comments

52'160' 47'147', 8-112" 4-1/2" 2-3t4"11-518" Built-inbed extensions;handleis adjustable

47'160' B 3 /4 2-112"11-3t4" handleis adjustable

Built-inbed extensions;
60'/50' 48"148' 13-112"116"+++o-vslr r-sn' 3-11/16" 2-318"11-11116" Bed extensionwings availableas accessory($37)
I 2-314"11-314" Dioitaldisolav.insidebladequard;
46'151" 12-114' i B-5/B 4-114"
be"dextensiohwings availableas accessory($35)

40tct 12-114" e-E/e' 4-1/4" 2-3/4"11-314" lnsidebladequard:

bed extensiohwings availableas accessory($35)

47"152" 45'145" 12-118" 8-5/8" 4-112" 4-114" 2-5lB"l1-314" light,bed extensionwings included

47'152" 45'145" 12-118" B-5/8', 4-112" 4-114" 2-5t8"11-314" Laserguide,bed extensionwings included

50'/60' 4t"147' 12-112" 8-718" 4-3116" 4-3116" 2-5116',11-112" Builtin bed extensions,insidebladeguard
61-1t2"t61-112' 47'147" 13-112" 9-114" 4-112" 5-112" 3"11-112"
45"145' 45" (L only) 5-114" 4' 1 / 16 " ( Lo n l y )
1-5 Bed extensionwings included

American \4/oodworker JULY 2006 55

SruruNtNGBrnuw RlcHr FRoMTHETnrE

ig planks of wood with natural bark edges make my heart race.

Most woodworkers share a desire to build something from a sin-
gle, thick plank of wood. After 20 years of building custom cabi:
nets and furnirure, I finally got my chance.
The first steP was finding that perfect slab of wood-not an easy task.

Slicing a tree into planks, bark edge and all, is not a common sawmill Prac-
tice. I started my hunt in the Yellow Pages under "Sawmills." I found a num-
ber of people with portable mills, butwithout a log for them to saw,I was out

of luck. I tried a few tree-trimming companies to see whether they had a tree
trunk or two they needed to dispose of. Two strikes.

Finally, I turned to the Internet (Photo 1). I found the slab of my dreams:

a huge (14 to 3Gin.-wide x l2-ft.-lotg) slice of English BttlyWych

Elm (pronounced "witch elm") (see "Sources," page

64). I knew immediately that this was the one.

When the wood arrived at mY

door (Photo 2), I quickly real-

ized that building with a

single rough slab requires

a completely different

approach than working with

individual boards. On one hand,

no decisions would be needed

about grain pattern or color that

individual boards require. With a single

slab of wood, your only task is to present the

natural beauty of the wood in'the best way possi-

ble, despite all its inherent defects, such as loose

bark pockets, rough edges, dirt, checks and cracks. On

the other hand,just handling such an enorrnous yet delicate

piece of wood presents some unique challenges.

American Woodworker JULY 2ooo 57


I l r r r r rl i l o t o l l r r r rl r r r i l r l i r r tgl t i s
i: '
1,,.,.'*.."r t r r l r l t ' l r n < l\ ( ) r l r r i l l . l ( ) ( ) . i 1 r o r r
Ii r l t ' < i r l t 'l o l r r r i l r l o r r c l i l . t ' i r . l ' , t . t l t r r s t .

( ' \ ( ' l ' \ r l r l r r r ' ; tr 'l r l g t ' r l r o l r l r l i s r r r r i r l r r t i.l.' s
:\ r l i l l l rr r l r l o g i r t ' ; t r )( ' \ : r (l l i r t ' n t r r l ol rn l r o \ r
t o r I t ' s i g r or r l r r r i l <llr r r : r l r u ' l r l - t . t ltg. rt l' r l t ' .
l ' . r t ' r ri 1 t l r c r t o r r r t ' 1 t ' o r nl l t t . \ ; l l l t ( ' t r ( ( .

$ r ) ( )l \ \ ' ol r o ; r r r l r ; u ( ' l r l r k \t \, l. r l r t I i r l l o r s i '

l n \ ( ' \ p t ' r ' i t ' r tr 't l r r I l r u i l t t l r i s l : r l r l t .i r r
\ I I l o n t o l l l r t 't ; r r t t t ' r l r .


;.i . \ l t t ' r ' l l r t ' n o o r lr r l r so l r l t ' r ' t ' r lI. <o r r l r l -

n I \ \ l i t l o t i l t o ; r l r i i t , .\ \ i t l t l r l l r r t r
t l t o t t g l t l \ ( ) l t l ) o s s t ' r s i r )tgl r ; r t l r i t ' rt ' o l '
{? r r o o r l . I r r t ' g l r 't<t ' < lt o l t l l u r; r l r t ' l r rl rl r r r l
*4 , tr'l '&.
q : i

'# T,
l l t ' r t ' r r r l lr o r i l s l r r r i r ; r l I. r l i s to r t ' r c r l
j t l r t ' l t l r t r lr r l r r l l r : r l\ ( ) u ( i l l l ' t l l r r r r l l t '
l r l i u ' g ( ' p l l r t r lkl r t ' r l r r r o r r r l r r i r r r l i -
r i t l t t ; t l i o : r r < l (sI ) l r o t o! ) .
j \ \ l r t ' r r\ \ ( ' g ( ) tl l r t ' r r o o r li t r l l r c s l r o l t .
I r l i r l t rt l ( ' l l ) l l r (t i t l r l r o n s i r l t ' r ' l r l i o r r s
s l o r v r r r t ' r l o r r r r . I i r t , r l l ri r r l o r i -
. ( r r t t ' r ll r r r r l u l l r l r : i r r s i r l t t' l r t '
( r : l l ( ' . | 1 t ' l t: t l r r r n r i r r gr l t ' : i rt
[ ( ) : i ( ' ( ' l l r t ' r l o o r l . r r o r r| \ \ t '

't ' , , ) l ) l )o(l'l( lttllrt rt '' l r : r r r r l s r r r r r l l i l t t ' r l
l r r o l t ' lt i \ t ' t , , r r . r .\ l r
l t ( ' l ul \ i u ) 1 ,l r 1 r rI l i r t I \ : r \ \ : t u )
( ' l ) ( ) l ' n t ( ) us\ l i <t ' o l l l t ' t . l l r ; r l
l o o l . t ' r l l ) ) ( ) r ' ( l' i l . t ' t l l r r l l u r n l l
l r t ' l r r r t i l i r {l l g r r r t ' r ll r i t ' r t ' o l r r o o r l
( I ) l t o t o l i ) . . \ r l t r i rl . s l o s l ro l
t t t i r t t ' r ' l sr ll l i r i t s o r t ' r ' t l r t '
: i l t l ; t r( ' t ( ' \ l , , t r . ,l lr r r . 1 l i l -
its (I)lrolo I). I'lrt'lrrrrl
tllrt gr('\\ ru'()ut)(l tlrt'
\ \ ' r r l r l ' . l r r r I r ' ( ' ( ' ( i r n r ( ' t ()
l i l t ' .I I t ' t { '\ \ ; t \t l t l r l; r n r ; r . / i l r ' l

' r.,;
"i'':tiq$It '* l r i c rt ' o l r r o o r l I l u r r l s t ' t ' r r
( ) r ) I l ) \ ( ( ) l ) ) l ) u 1 ( s' t( r ' ( ' ( ' l ) .
I t r r ' l r sl i ] . t ' n o o t l r t ' r '
p i c r< ' o l \ r o o r ll ' r l
: i ( ' ( ' n l r t ' { o rr ' . l r
( , t r r l ( 'l t , r t t t . u l
olrI l..rrslislr
( ' s t t r l ( l' r r r r l I r t r r r
( ) l l l \ i r r r : r g i r r tr' r l r ; r l
tlrt' tl'('(' ilscll rrrrrst
Iltr t' loolit'rl likt'-r'r'lrl-
l r . r ' r ' : r l l rg r r : r lrr . \ i r r r
could clearly see the normal
grain of the elm in the center
of the plank, but is edges were
like one big, long burl. The
swirling grain was punctuated by
tight knots, each radiating small
black cracks.The sight reduced us to
a stunned stare.I knew we'd be able to
breatl-relife back into this thing.

Broken Dreatns
Of course, I had to see the other
side of the plank as well. To avoid get-
ting our fingers pinched as we turned
the plank over, we let it drop. We
heard a sickening crack attd saw
one of the beautiful burls lying
limp at the plank's side (Photo
5). That's when this lessou
finally l-rithome: You have
to be very careful of
the edges on a
slab of wood
tike this. Ther' 3i
are not only
an integral
part of the
slab's char-
acter but are
also very frag-
ile. With rough-
sawn boards, yott
can always trim off
banged up edges-
not so for a natural
edge you want to
Enough mistakes: I con-
structed a "plank [rain" (Photo
6) to safely handle my preciotrs
slice of tree. Now, the plank was
mobile, the edges protected
and the wood at a height where
we could easily lift ancl ttrrtt it for
inspection. To help season the
plank to my shop aiq I set l-1,24in.
stickers under the plank and draped a
polyester dropcloth over the whole thing
(Photo 7). As we rolled the slab to the
back of the shop, my mind was mulling
over how to repair that broken piece of burl.
lif I'
the FirsTCtrt
Afier the woocl sat fbr'
several rveeks in the
slrop, I was readv t<r
start rvork on the
table in earnest. Nou'
c:une the scary part:
clecidins rvhere to cut
the plank. .|ust the
thousht of makine
that irrever-sible step
put beads of'snerAt or-r
my foreheacl. Our
wood had a rvilcl eclge:
a l l z r l o r - r gi t s l e n g t h . S t i l l ,
there were natul'al
breaks rvhere it made
sellse to crosscllt the slab.
This plank was abotrt 36
in. at the butt end and
only 14 in. at the top. I
wanted t() use the rvidest
sectiolt for rny coflee
table. It prornisecl tl're
best proportiolts with a
rich selection of burl or-r
each edse. The rest of the
plank would be trsed for a
matchine sofa table and
the rernainder^ sold to a
friend to help defray the
cost. It seemed like one cut
could be rnadejust past a check
that ran up the center of the butt
encl and the second cut about
50 in. farther up the
plank. I made prelimi-
nary rnarks to help rne
explore where these
cnrcial ctrts should be
made (Photo 8). The
plank clictatecl a wider
coff'ee table than I
I'rad orisinally planned.
Unlike making firrniture
from boards, yotr can't do
much to adjtrst the size of
your piece when it's a single
plank. To be safe, I made a card-
board template of the proposed
section and used it to check
the fit in the roorn (Photo 9).
Cardboard also tnade it easyto
build and test different base
designs. I settled on a simple
design that's a snap to build with
butt joints and screws (Fig. B,

Edge Treatment
Now that I knew rvhere I wanted
to cut the plank, I rvasn't sure how
I wanted that cut to look. Should
the cut be angled? Straight?Free-
form? I tried a rough cut first
(Photo 10). Then I textured the
cut l'ith a chisel (Photo 11).
Hmm-it simply wasr-r'twhat I had in
mind. I even used a jigsaw to cut a
free-form edge and then a gollge
to mimic the bark edge (Photo
12). I still wasn't huppy. I finally
settled on a straight cut pol-
ished smooth. I took advantage
of a split at the butt end of the
plank to create an offset cut
(Photo 13). Two quick cuts with a
circular saw freed my coffee table
from the plank. I was glad to have a
much smaller piece of wood to move
around. At the same time. I felt a
touch of sadnessat breaking up that
long plank.

Bark Side IJp?

OK, next question: \Arhich side of
the slab should be up? There was a lot
to consider here. Did I want the bark edge
Lrp, making it a prominent element, or
down, tucked under the edge. I liked the
overall look of the edge tapering back under-
neath the top edge. On the other hand, this
plank had such gnarly bark, it was a shame to
hide it. Neither side had a defect severe
enough to tip the scales.After flip-flopping both
the plank and my decision, in the end, I went with
the bark side down.
the BYokenlltrrl
Norr,I turned rnv attention back

li'. /.
to the bloken piece of' btrrl.
'liil .: Fortunatell.,tl-reclean break n,ould not
require fancv repail rvork. Paclclecl
clamps appliecl enotrsh pressure to I'rolcl
the piece in place rvirhout darnaging tl're
t lr. n*
burl edge. (Photo 14). f needed a stronti,
1ri :i
gap-filling glue witl-r a fair arnounr of

11 open tirne to do this repair. I chose epoxy

becauseit does not require a lot of clamp
,i1'q ealraad r'ho,":Y
ch :,',:::XI:t?fr;;'i'#jt
\rrear,rachedthe,*ii:"C';r,;;iyT:ftyuny:^ pl-essrlreand epoxt,'s gap-fillins proper-
onNo?he\d-rhe Pta
Y\i;;' ;w;;r rhe ties rvould fill tl-revoids frorn anv missing
in'v:7,,9;Z\:#;'"fl";;;^r:'::*- splintersof wood.

Makins It F'lat
I \r,Asn't at all sure horv I tvas goir-rg to
flatten this rnonster board. Something
crazy happenecl, thotrgh: I rvent to bed
conternplating the problem and rvoke trp
with tl-re answer. First I btrilt a cradle in
rvhich to set rhe n'oocl (Fie. A, page
64). The slab rv:is shimmecl
up under the I'righ spots so
it rrouldn't rock (Photo
15) and rvedgedir-rplace
so it rvouldn't nrove
(Photo 16). Then I
fasl-rioned a l'ollter
carriage out of alu-
mintun channel. The
carriage rode or-rtop of
the rails ar-rclgtrided
the router as it
passed back and
forth o\,'er the
plank (Photo l7).
I used a specialbit
called a bottom-
cleaning bit (see
top left photo,
page 63; Sources,
page 64). The bot-
torn-cleaning bit
cuts olt both the bot-
tom and the side.
The bit's l-7 / 4-in.
diameter helped

shorten the dura-

tion of an odious
Starting with
the bit set about
1/8-in. belon' the highest point on
the pliink, I began to flatten the
boar-cl.I stepped the bit down in
I /8-in. increments until the
rvl-role surface was flat. Then I
flipped the plank and milled the

Fixins Defects
^ ^/tr^^t) .v -

Most of the cracks were small and added to

the wood's natural beauty. Nevertheless, I
rvanted to fill a few stresscracks that ran across
the plank's grain. I used epoxy to fill the largest
cracks (Photo 18). It dries to an amber color
ar-rdblends well with a natural finish. I added a
cellulose filler to give the epoxy more body so
it wouldn't run out of the cracks.

(,leanitg l-jp
the Bark Edge
I found a nylon brush attachment for
my drill to be the perfect tool for clean-
irg the bark edge (Photo 19; see
Sources). The stiff nylon brushes are
embedded with an abrasive. They work
to remove loose bark and dirt without
scoring the wood like steel brushes do.

SandingIt Smooth
To smooth the top surface, I turned to
my 4in. belt sander (Photo 20) followed
by -y random-orbit sander. I started with
an 80-grit belt and diagonal strokes for
the initial sanding. I followed that with a
120-grit belt running with the grain. Then
I switched to a &in. random-orbit sander' I
backed up one grit when I switched from
the belt sander to my random-orbit sander.
Then I worked through the grits all the way
to 220 grit.
Finishirg the Top
Figure A I wanted a clear finish that could be
FlatteningCarriage applied to the gnarly bark edge without
Use jointed2x4s that pooling and dripping. I chose a wipe-
havedried in your shop on polyurethane because it's applied
to start the base.Add a like an oil finish but it dries hard. It was
pieceof sheet stock
easy to work into the bark edges.
about2 in. wider than
the widest sectionof Daubing the wet bark with a dry rag was
your plank.The rails all it took to clean up the excessfinish.
needto be dimensioned Be sure to put as many coats on the bot-
so they are slightlytaller
tom as you do on the top.
than the thicknessof
your slab.Spacethe alu-
1/8 in. wider than the
Attachirg the Base
baseof your router. I screwed the base to the top
through cleats glued along the base's
top edge (Photo 21). At the outside
Figure B Base edges where grain movement is an

The base is sturdy, issue, I drilled oversized holes and used

easyto buildand washer-head screws.'s made
from doubled-upply- Sources HearneHardwoods,(888)814-0007,
wood. Supportwings EnglishBurly
are screwed to a W y c h E l m , 8 l 4 x 2 6 i n .x 1 2 f t . , $ 2 , 2 3 0 . .M L C S ,
mainspinethat runs (800)533-9298,
diagonallyalongthe 1-112-in. bottom-cleaning bit,#7942,$19. o Epoxy
lengthof the slab.
1 q u a r to f r e s i n ,$ 3 0 . 1 / 2 p i n to f h a r d e n e r9,1 6 .
Thisbasedesigncan T h i c k e n e r1,. 7o z . ,$ 7 . . M S C I n d u s t r i aSl u p p l y
be adaptedto any Co., (800)645-7270, www.
shapedslab of wood. Nyloncup brush,medium,#00549204,$9.

il American Woodworker JULy 2006

Qsfor o
fte MiterSav furTom Caspar
ways to make safe , accurate cuts
with no tear-out

tu first glance, using a miter saw appears quite

simple. But to get good resuls-that's anoth-
er story! Here are a handful of techniques and jigs, for
pieces large and small, to help you make absolutely
straight, splinter-free cuts right on your layout lines.


PushYour Fence Back
Straightpiecesof molding are easy to cut on the miter
saw, but how about those snarly bent ones? lf you have
an extendedfence, accuratelycutting their ends requires
one simple adjustment. Push the fence extension back
and out of the way, so a bend won't prevent you from
holding the molding tightly againstthe saw's own fence.
Use this techniquefor flat boardsthat are bent, too.

One Blade Can Do It All I
Most miter saws come with a blade that's fine for cutting
2x4s,when a bit of tear-outor a slightly rough surfacereal- U

ly doesn't matter. For better performance when cutting -

hardwood and plywood, replacethe original bladewith -
a blade that has a high tooth count and a negative (E

: rdk. Leavethis replacementblade in your saw for

cutting all types of wood. -o_
A negative rake means the teeth lean o
slightly backwardand cut lessaggressively. A 10- z
in. high-tooth-countblade has 60 to 80 teeth; a z
s i m i l a r 1 2 - i n .b l a d eh a s 7 0 t o 1 0 0t e e t h .P l a nt o F
spend at least $70 for one; the price increases E.

with the number of teeth. o


Back up Thin Stock

Make a saciificial two-sided miter box when
you're slicingthin stockinto short pieces,Mount a
toggle clamp on the box to safely hold your work
(see Source, below). Fasten the box to your
saw's fence so it won't move. Then cut a slot
partwaythrough. Use the slot to align the lay-
out mark on your workpiece.This box also
acts as a back stop so the cutoff won't fly
away. lt also prevents tear-out below and
b e h i n dt h e c u t .

Source WoodcraftSupply,(800)
T o g g l ec l a m p ,# 1 4 3 9 3 8$, 1 2 .

Carrv It
/7 / ,1
Rotate irour sawts turntable
all the way, left or right,to make
the saw more compact and eas-
ier to carry.Thisputs the handle
closer to the saw's center of
gravity,so it's easierto balance.
Set Bevel Anqles
with a Block "
When's the last time you tried to read your saw's
bevel scale,the one that tells you how far the blade is
t i l t e d ? T h o s es c a l e sa r e o f t e n d i v i d e db y i l l e g i b l el i n e s
and have crude cursorscakedwith dust. lt's much eas-
ier to make a setup blockthan to read the scale.
To make the block, leave the blade at 90 degrees
with no tilt. Rotatethe saw table to the angle you want.
Placethe block flat on the table and cut it. Rotatethe
table backso it's squareto the fence.Standthe blockon
edge to adjust the blade'stilt.
Check Your
Throat Plate
Most throat plates are set slightly below the
saw's table, as indicated by this piece of paper.
The throat plate should be level with the table to
reduce tear-out and prevent a thin piece from
bending as it's cut. lf your throat plate sits too
low, remove it from the saw and shim it by put-
ting tape on the ledge underneaththe plate.

I-Jsethe F{old-Down
A little creep can ruin a good cut.The best way
HOLD-DOWN to prevent a board from wiggling is to use your
saw's hold-down clamp. l'm sure you've already
figured out that regular clamps don't work well
for this job. Unfortunately,most miter saws don't
have flat surfacesunderneaththe table to receive
a clamp.Thebacksof many fencesdon't have flat
spots either.
Miter saws' hold-downs are a mixed bag.
Some work well; others are difficult to adjust or
don't hold the work steadyenough. Inconvenient
or not, most hold-downsdo increasethe accura-
cy of any cut.

Cut Dowels
with a V-Block
Make a V-shapedcradle to prevent dowel stock
from rotating when the blade hits it. lf your saw
has a depth stop-a very handy feature-set the
stop so the bladewon't cut all the way throughthe
To makethe cradle,tilt your tablesawbladeto
45 degrees. Raise the blade until it cuts
about 3/16 in. below the top of the V (see
inset photo).Turn the board end for end
and cut the oppositeside.Thispartial-cut-
ting method prevents the waste from
shooting back at you at the end of the
second cut. Snap off the waste piece by
hand. Raise the blade and finish the
V shape.


68 American Woodworker JULv 2006

Wait tlntil
the Blade Stops
Be honest:How many daigerous missileshave
you launchedfrom your miter saw?We'veall done
it. Small cutoffs are the worst, of course. But it's not
rocket scienceto figure out how to ground them:
Don't lift the blade until it stops. Make the cut, let
go of the trigger and count to five. That's not so
hard, is it?

RaiseYour Work
for More Capacif,v
When your blade wont cut all ihe way across
a wide board,try raisingthe board on a
may seem weird, but this effectivelyincreasesyour
saw's crosscut capacity.The amount varies from
saw to saw. Here,on this 10-in.saw, each piece of
314-in.plywood placedunder the workpiecewidens
the cut by 112in. Adding two piecesgains 1 in., just
enough to make a full-width cut. Be sure to
use a hold-down, so the blade's steeper
cutting angle at the cut's far side doesn't lift
the workpiece.
Use a stop block to ensure each piece you cut is
exactlythe same length.Thisstop is easy to make
and adjust. lt's just a piece of plywood or
solid wood with a carefully cut slot (see
inset photo).Theslot fits tightly around the
bar of an F-styleclamp.When you move the
clamp, the block goes, too. Use your miter
saw to cut off one of the block's corners so
sawdust won't be trapped between the block
and your workpiece.

Mark the Middle

Where does the blade cut first? lt starts at the
board'smiddle, of course.That'swhere your layout
mark should be, ratherthan at the board'sedge.
When you mark a board for length, indicatethe
waste side with a big X.To align the blade with the
pencil mark, keep your finger off the trigger and
lower the blade until one tooth is a hair above the
board. Shift the board until the mark lines up with
blade.Raisethe blade and then make the cut.

Is Your .SAw
Still Square?
Most sawstut reasonablysquare out of the box,
but they may not stay that way. lt's good practice
to check yours now and then and readjust as
My favorite precisiontool for this job is a plas-
tic drafting square. lt only costs a few bucksat any
office supply store and doesn't mind getting
dropped. Using my miter saw, I cut off a cornerto
shorten one of the square's sides.This way, the
blades'teethdon't interferewith the alignmentcheck.

70 American Woodworker
' t:,


ii :,i
i$$ ;
Materials: Tools: Cost:
Foursheetsof 314-in.4x8birch plywood, Tablesaw,dado set, $ 5 0 0w i t h o u t s a w a n d v a c u u m ,$ 2 1 0
one sheetof 114-in.4x8 birch plywood, c i r c u l a rs a w , p o c k e t - h o l jei g , f o r a b a r e - b o n e sv e r s i o n ( s e e ' A
13 bd. ft. of 3/4-in.-thick
birch r o u t e ra n d b i s c u i tj o i n e r Less-Expensive Versionj'page 73)

Drrnt 1 DnnwenBox Top

).1 1" K-
V i--*r---
3/8"-ii f--l


8 4 ( N O TS E E N )


#8 x 1-114"




H3 I
At (,


H21 o
; r
CASTER zh\ z
ttts--@ z
Dernt 3 Wrwc PnopSrop U


Derall 4 Feruce
Slor CJ

M E A S U R E M E N "TA " F

74 Ar.nerican \\bocll'or-ker JULy 2006

M n r E T H EB o x r s ,
l. Measure your saw to determine the size of the stand's
well. If needed, adjust the sizesof the drawer boxes and cab-
inet in the Cutting List (page 76). Cut all the plywood
pieces to size (Fig. D, page 77).
2. Cut | / Lin. strips of solid wood to edge-band the sides
of the boxes' tops (B2). Glue on the banding.
3. Cut dados and rabbets in the pars for the boxes and
cabinet (A1, A2,81, 82, 83, 84) (Detail 2, page 74). Note
thatadrarver box's top (B2) overhangs is sides (B1, Detail 1,
page 74). This overhang provides clearance for the wing's
prop (B8) to fold against the cabinet's side. Assemble the
boxes and cabinet. Glue and screw the spacers (85) to the
boxes. The spacers bring the inside of the drawer box flush
to the face frame. which will be attached later.
4. Glue the double-thicknesswings (87). Lay the parts on
your tablesaw's top and weight them with cinder blocks to
apply clamping pressure. Trim the wings to final size.
5. Cut strips to band the wings, doors (D), drawer faces
(C4), saw platform (El), shelf (A5), dust-hood sides (F1)
and dust-hood top (F2). Glue on the banding.
6. Cut out the wing props (B8, Fig. B, below). Glue mate-
rial to make the hinge spacers (86). Cut them to final size
and glue and screw them to the boxes.
7. Cut the continuous hinge into four 14in. lengths.
Place the boxes upside down on a flat surface. Attach the
wings to the hinge spacers flush with the back of the boxes.
8. Screw the upper boxes to the cabinet.
9. Drill holes in the back of the vacuum-cleaner storage
area for the vacuum hose and the power strip cord. Drill a
hole in the well for the saw'spower cord.
10. Attach the casters to blocks (,4'6).Screw and glue the
blocks to the cabinet.

Mnrr rHE Facr Fnave

11. Cut solid-wood strips (Gl through G5) for the face
frame. Assemble the face frame with pocket screws, dowels
or biscuits.
12. Glue the face frame to the box and cabinet assembly.
Install the glue blocks (G6) behind the rving covers (Gl).

American Woodworker JULY 2ooo 75

Part Name otv. Material Dimensions(ThxWxL)
41 Side 2 Birch plywood 3 / 4 "x 2 O ' x 2 7 - 1 1 4 "
A2 Top and bottom 2 Birchplywood 314"x20" x 58-3/4"
43 Back 1 Birch plywood 314'x25-314"x58-3/4"
A4 Internalpartition 2 Birch plywood 3/4"x19-114"x25-314"
A5 Shelf 1 Birch plywood 3/4'x 19"x 19-3/8" Edge-band
front edge.Finalsize:19-114'x19-3/8"
AO Casterblock 4 Birchplywood 3 / 4 " x3 " x 6 "
Drawer box and wing
81 Side 4 Birch plywood 3/+"xb-g/g"xzo"
82 Top 2 Birchplywood 3/4" x17-314"x 20" Edge-band
both ends.Finalsize: 18-113"
83 Bottom 2 Birch plywood 3/4" x 16;1/2"x20"
84 Back 2 Birchplywood 3/4"x6"x16-112"
85 Spacer 2 Birch plywood 314"x5-1/4"x19-114' Attach drawer hardware.
BO Hingespacer 2 Birch 1 "x 2 - 3 1 8x" 1 7 - 1 1 2 " Solidwood
87 Wing 4 Birch plywood 314"x 19-114" x23-112' Edge-bandall around.Makeoversizedandcut to size.
x 193/4"x24"
88 Wing prop 2 Birchplywood 314"x19-114"x20" Diagonalcut produces2.
Bg Prop stop 2 Birch 3 1 4 ' x 2 - 1 1 4x"3 - 1 1 2 " Solidwood
C1 Frontand back 4 Birch plywood 3/4" x3-314'x13-114"
C2 Sides 4 Birchplywood 314"x3-314"x 16"
C3 Bottom 2 Birch plywood 114'x14'x16' 1/4"plywood
C4 Face 2 Birchplywood 314"x5-114"x15" Edge-bandall around.Finalsize:5-3/4"x 15-112"
D Doors 2 Birch plywood 3/4" x19-1/4"x24-112" Edge-band
all around.Finalsize:19-314"
E1 Saw platform 1 Birch plywood 314'x 19-314" x24-314" Edge-band front edge. Finalsize:20" x25"
EZ Heightspacer,left 1 Birch 1 - 3 1 4x"2 - 1 1 2 x" 1 8 " S o l i dw o o d
E3 Heightspacer,right 1 Birch 1 - 3 1 4 ' x 2 - 1 / 2x"1 6 " Solidwood
E4 I n d e xb l o c k 2 Birch 314"x1"x4" Solidwood
E5 Box fence face 2 Birch plywood 3/4"x2-114"x18-114"
EO Wing fence face 2 Birchplywood 3 1 4 x" 2 - 1 1 4 x" 2 4 "
E7 Box fence base 2 Birch plywood 314"x5" x18-114"
EB Wing fence base 2 Birch plywood 3 / 4 "x 5 " x 2 4 "
Dust hood
F1 Verticalsides Birch plywood 314'x 4-114"x36" Edge-bandon front edge:27' long. Final size: 4-112"x36'
F2 Top Birchplywood 314"x4-114"x25-314" Edgebandon front edge:27"long.Finalsize'.4-112"x25314"
F3 Bottom Birch plywood 3/4'x 4-114" x25-314"
F4 Front Birchplywood 1 1 4x" 9 " x 2 6 - 1 1 2 " 1/4"plywood
F5 Back Birch plywood 1 1 4x" 2 6 - 1 1 2x" 3 6 ' 1/4"plywood
Face frame
G1 Wing covers 2 Birch 3/4- x 3-3/8"x 34" Solidwood
G2 Horizontal(long) 2 Birch 314"x1-112"x58-1/8" Solidwood
G3 Horizontal(short) 2 Birch 3/4"x1-112'x16-112" Solidwood
G4 Vertical(lono) 2 Birch 3/4" x 1-112"x 24-114" Solidwood
G5 VerticalishoTt) 2 Birch 314"x 1-1/2"x 5-114" Solidwood
G6 G l u eb l o c k s o Birch 3 1 4 "x 3 l 4 ' x 6 " Solidwood cut diagona

Aoo rHE Wtwc Pnops MoUNT THE P nroRM

13. Clamp the wings so they're level with the boxes' tops. AND SNW
Attach the props to the cabinet so there is about 7/2 in. of 18. Use a dado set to cut notches in the platform's sides
clearance between the prop's top and the lving's bottom. for the index blocks (E4) and power cord.
14. Measure the gap betrveen the prop and the wing 19. Place the platform on top of the cabinet. (Note: The
(Measurement "A," Detail 3, page 74). Make a ramp-shaped platform is | / 4 in. shorter than the space between the draw-
prop stop (B9) to fit each side. Attach the srops. er boxes. This space is necessary for easy removal of the
platform and saw.) Place your miter saw on the platform.
Mnrr rHE Dusr Hooo Measure the distance between the saw'stable and the box's
AND DNAWERS top. Plane or rip the two height spacers (E2,'E3) so each
15. Cut rabbets on the drawer sides (C2) and dust-hood one's thickness equals this distance.Place the spacersunder
sides (Fl). Assemble the dust hood. the saw platform. Adjust each spacer's thickness by remov-
16. Cut nn'obrackets (H20) from aluminum angle stock. ing more wood or adding paper shims until the saw'stable
Drill holes in both brackets. Use a hacksaw to cut a notch is exactly level with the boxes..Remove the saw and attach
in the left-hand bracket (Fig. C, page 75). This notch allows the spacers to the cabinet. Replace the saw platform.
the hood to rotate outwardly for cleaning. Attach the brack- 20. Center the platform in the well. Cut index blocks
ets to the dust hood. Place the dust hood in position and (E4) to tightly fit the platform's notches. Bevel the block's
mark holes for the hanger bolts on the drawer boxes' tops. tops to make it easier to install the platform. Screw the
Drill holes and insert hanger bolts (H15). blocks to the spacers with the platform in place. Place the
17. Assemble the drawers. Attach the drawer guides to saw square on the platform and attach it.
the drawers and boxes (H3).

76 American Woodworker JULy 2006


. ;;Ii on

B r ii ii
ii A3
87 ii
3/4-in. birch 3/4-in.birch 3/4-in. birch 1/4-in.birch

Mnrcr AND lrusrall THE FrrucES

21. Cut slotson the box and wing fence bases(E7, E8) by epoxy or other adhesive. Reposition the box fence against
drilling 7/4in. holes at the end of each slot and routing the straightedge and fasten it with the knobs.
between the holes (Detail 4, page 74). Cut notches on the 25. Raise the wings and support them with the props.
box fence bases (E7) to accommodate the dust hood's Aligr-r the wing and box fences with a straightedge. Drill
brackets. Cut #20 bisctrit slots in the bases (E7, E8) and the holes into the wing at the rear of the slots and repeat the
fence faces (E5, E6) ancl glue the fences together. Make installation procedure for the T:nuts (see Step 23). Cut two
strre each face is square to its base. new all-thread pieces so 2-7/4 in. sticks out of the knobs.
22. Ctrt the Kleg Top Trak to the length of each fence. Glue the rods into the knobs. Clamp the fence in place
Drill holes in the back of tl-reTop Trak and attach the pieces using the kr-robs.Repeat for the other wing.
to the top of the fence facesl'ith the screwspror,ided. 26. With all the fences clamped even with the sacrificial
23. Clamp a 3/{in.-thick sacrificial board to the sarv's board, drlll \/fiin. holes for locating pins (Hl1), which
f'ence:rnd place a 3-ft. straighteclgeagainst it. Slide the box index the fences (see "Multi-Position Fences," page 75).
I'ence agzrinstthe straightedge. Drill 1/4in.-dia. holes into Drill the holes all the way through the fence and at least
the top of the box at the slots' rear. Remove the feuce and 1 in. into the boxes and wings.
redrill the holes to 5/16 in. dia. Install T:nuts in the holes. 27. Remove the sacrificial board and reposition all the
24. Ctrt two pieces from a 1/ 4in.-20 all-thread rod. They wooden fences so they're even with the saw'sfence. Use the
slrotrld be long enough to leave I-7/2-in. of thread sticking knobs to clamp the fences in place. Drill through the locating-
otrt of the knobs (Hl3). Glue the rods into the knobs with pin holes into the boxes and wings. Install the locating pins.

Part Name otv. Source Catalog # Price 28. The doors are full-over-
H1 . 0 6 0 'x 2 " x T 2 " c o n t i n u o u h
s inge 1 MSC 32931271 $26 door
H2 D o o rh i n g e
,) Rockler 32407 S10
lay style. Attach the
H3 1 6 "B l u md r a w e rg u i d e 2 Rockler 34843 $5 a pair hinges to the cabinet and
H4 Wirehandles 4 Rockler 39859 $2 ea. doors. Install the door pulls
H5 Powerstrip 1 Home center $10
H6 Tool-activated switch 1 Craftsman 00924031000 $20 and magnetic catches.
H7 4' Top Trak 2 Kreg KMS7714 $35 29. Attach the drawer faces
H8 F l i pS t o p 2 Kreg KMS7801 $30
H9 Right-to-lefttape 1 Kreg KMS7723 $8 to the drawer boxes.
H 10 Left-to-right tape 1 Kreg KMS7724 $8 30. Sand and finish.
H11 L o c a t i n gp i n ( l i n c h p i n ) MSC 67972844 $'l ea.
H12 1/4 T-nut I Rockler 30146 $4 for 10
H13 1 / 4 "t a p p e dh o l ek n o b R MSC 82502212 $3 ea.
H14 1 1 4 x" 3 ' a l l - t h r e a dr o d 1 Hardwarestore $2 ea'
Sources Kreg,(800)447-8638,
H15 114"x 1-112" hangerbolt 2 Rockler 24406 $2 a pack . MSC, (800)
H16 1 / 4 "f e m a l et h r o u g hk n o b 2 MSC 82502113 $2 ea.
H17 1-114" x 6' vacuumhose 1 Home center Q1tr 645-7270, www.
. Rockler,(8001279-4441,
H18 3 " s w i v e lc a s t e r 2 Rockler 31883 $ 11
H19 3" lockingswivelcaster 2 Rockler 31870 $16 Sears,(800)
H20 1-112" x 118"x 6-112" aluminumangle 2 Hardwarestore 6-
H21 Magneticdoor catch 2 Home center Q1

H22 Shelfsupportpins A Rockler 30437 $3/16

Americ:rn \Aloodrvorker- JULY 2006 77

lI Hor-o rr! Ror-r- rr!
Hnnc rr! Sronr rr!
ed,itedDl Tinr


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Plrnvood .u*.


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Before I installed these rollers, the rvall; the trprights fasten to a


sliding pll,lvood i1 a1d otrt of my stor- board mounted on the ceiling.


age rack trsed to wear me otrt. It also dam- Before assernbling the rack, I laicl out and r

aged the edges of the sheets. Now plym'ood clrilled holes in the trprights and backboard for the E
sheets glide in and otrt. hex-head bolts. I counterbored the backboard's o
I ctrt the 2-1/Z-in.-clia. r-ollers from 3/*in. hard l-roles for the 1/Z-in. nlrts that the 7-in.long bolts 0-
rnaple on my drill press trsins a fly cutter. Ytru could screw into. After screu'ir-rgthe blocks to the back- z
also cut them on a bandsarv rvith a circle-cutting jig. board ancl installir-rgthe nuts, I screwed the assemblv z
I rlrillecl out the centers t<t 17/32 in., so they would o
to the wall. Then I screwed each trpright to the block -
spin on the 1/2-in. hex-head bolts I trse as spindles. on the floor and the board on the ceiling. Installing CL

My rack consists of f<rur evenly spaced blocks the rollers and their 7/2-in. washer spacers was the z
attached to uprights and a 4in.-wide x 6-ft.Jong last step. I slid them onto the bolts before screwing O
solid-wood backboarcl. The backboard is screwed to the bolts into the backboard's housed nlrts. a_
Steuen Oharltonn,eau CL
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My spring clamps always
seem to be out of reach or
scattered around the shop.
To solve my problem, I sus-
pended my dog's old leash
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ffi over my workbench. Now
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80 American Woodworker JULv 2006
Plasrrc STTcKERS
Doru'T Srnrru
I use plastic conduit to make stickers for stacking and drying my
wood. These stickers provide consistent spacing and excellent air cir-
culation with minimal contact. I've never had problems with insects,
mold or staining, which can occur around wooden stickers, especial-
lv when the wood is green and the air is damp.
For strength, I use l-7/4-lin.-i.d. Schedule-80 rigid PVC electrical con-
duit. Available from home centers and electrical supply stores, it costs
about $12 for a lGft. length. Schedule-40 rigid PVC conduit is much less
expensive but thinner-
walled, so it doesn't sup
port as much weight. I
only use it for small
stacks. Both Schedule-40
and Schedule-80 rigid
PVC conduit are suitable
for indoor and outdoor
After cutting the con-
duit to sticker lengths, I cut
them in half on my band-
saw, using a simple jig to hold the sticker in position (see photo, above).
To keep the conduit from rotating during the cut, I follow a straight
line drawn on its surface. To draw the line, I simplylay aflat board
next the conduit and use the board as a straightedge.
John P Rose

Well gwe you $150,flris great{ooking

$irtarrd a durable shop ryrcn for
your original Small Shop fp!
Serid your tip to us with a sketch or photo. If we print
it, you'll be woodworking in style.- E-mail your tip to
smallshoptips@readersdigeslcom or send it to Small
Shop Tips, American Woodrvorker, 2915 Commels
flrive, Suite 700, Eagan,MN 55121.Submissionscan't be returned and become our prop
erty upon acceptanceand payment. We may edit submissionsand use them in all print
and electronic media. and apron offer good only while supplieslast. rai

American Woodworker JULv 2006 81 ti

// --'
Acro CoFFEE ./ <'
Last night, after a two-week hiatus, I made my
way down to my shop to resume working on
the legs and apron of a table. I set my piping-
hot coffee on the bench and started laying
out the mortises in the legs.
i r * t

While double-checking
the measurements, I
reached over without
looking, grabbed the
cup and took an

to gag. The liquid

! t
I nt*
was ice cold with f
a revolting tex- d
ture and nauseat-
irg taste. Before , il
my eyes completely
teared up, I noticed **a

steam gently rising from a

second cup sitting on
the bench. and I real-
ized the coffee I'd
just swallowed was
two weeks old!
Paul Deemer

A wood stove heats my garage workshop and my she grabbed pieces from the top of the pile and
wife's painting studio, which is located in the pitched them into the fire. She didn't realize she'd E.

upstairs loft. thrown in the locomotive bookends until it was too -

I had just glued together a pair of bookends late; the flames had quickly consumed them. U
depicting a train going through a tunnel. To help When she told me what had happened, I was 2
the glue dry I placed them near the stove, on top upset at first, but pretty soon we both 'were sharing F

of the woodpile. Then I quit for the day. a good laugh. I'm now a diligent stove-stoker,and I E.
My wife was still painting, so when her loft got never place any of my projects near the woodpile. J

chillv. she came down to stoke the fire. Innocentlv. lames Van Assche z

Make your woodworking mistakes pay! Send us your most memorable "What was I thinking?" blunders. You'll LU

receive $100 for each one we print. E-mail to or send to AW Oops!, American Woodworker, 2
2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121. Submissions can't be returned and become our property upon accept- F
ance and payment. We may edit strbmissionsand use them in all print and electronic media. tr

88 American Woodu'orker JULv 2006