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Wood shop tips and tricks

90 replies to this topic

#51 Cameron_C

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 01:25 PM

I'll dig out my vintage beam compass, and draw a big one, and get back to you on that......

When I am working with a large circle, I draw a smaller circle inside (same centre) and walk off the six points as described. And then I draw line from the centre through these smaller circle points to the larger circle.

Just because I do not have a GBF (Great Big Fat) compass.

One of my geometry lessons that somehow stayed with me over the decades...

Can't remember the name of the new guy at the office, but this stays stuck in there somehow......

#52 roscoe

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 01:37 PM

I've been a carpenter/cabinetmaker since forever....and its amazing how many times paying attention in geometry class has come in handy!!

...and trigonometry, too.  I have absolutely stunned people by being able to solve a regular old right triangle......  click-click-click-the angle is 23 degrees.

WHAT??  How the heck?????

or....draw a top-front-side view of something.....

like Bob Dylan said once..... twenty years of schooling, and they put you on the day shift......

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#53 jtsenghas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 02:24 PM

Note that if the error were caused by actually measuring a circumference you would be off by nearly 5% (6*pi/6 is approximately 1.0472).

Let's get this thread back on topic, guys. Okay, I'll take another turn...

How to eliminate tear out when cutting plywood on a tablesaw:

Cutting laminated stock on a table saw presents a problem with quality of the edges on the bed side of the stock. Even with sharp fine toothed blades designed especially for such materials, the fact that the blade is exiting the material pulling outwards tends to pull splinters away from the underside surface. This is even more the case when the cut is perpendicular to the grain of the outermost layer.

The trick to cutting such material well is to make a very shallow scoring cut first with the saw blade barely extending through the table first. As long as care is taken not to allow the material to move between the time the scoring cut and the full depth cut is made, the edges will cut cleanly. A table saw sled or fence can make this possible

In the case of extremely thin outermost laminate layers that are nearly paper thin, that scoring cut can actually be made BACKWARDS, provided the blade is set EXTREMELY low. By that, I mean only about a half millimeter or only a bit more than 1/64". This cut must be made very slowly and the workpiece held firmly to make sure the saw gets no significant purchase. Because the blade enters the wood almost parallel to the surface and in fact slightly INTO it even the most delicate laminates won't chip at all.

Repeat the cut full depth and the result will be beautiful!

On a related note, when cutting such materials with hand saws, a sharp knife cut made with a square or straight edge first has a similar effect. You can in fact cut on BOTH sides of the following saw kerf location to keep both edges clean.

#54 wells_c

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 03:42 PM

+1 on the tearout trick, specifically using a razor knife and straightedge on plywood. Works for most kinds of saw

#55 Bill Schneider

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:36 PM

How to eliminate tear out when routing holes in plywood

Routing circular openings and creating disks in plywood is a common task in telescope making and in loudspeaker building. Generally spiral bits are used. To avoid tear out, start the hole with a spiral DOWNCUT bit for the first 1/16" - 1/8" inch, then switch bits to a standard UPCUT bit to finish the hole.

With a standard upcut bit, the plywood will splinter at the work surface as the upcut bit pulls material upward.

If the hole is started with a downcut, the splintering is avoided.

Change the bit to an upcut after the first scoring pass to allow the bit to excavate chips efficiently.

Edited by Bill Schneider, 25 July 2019 - 05:02 PM.

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#56 Bill Schneider

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:44 PM

How to avoid splitting wood edges when threading things into them

Tighten a clamp over the area where the split could develop, then insert your screw or threaded insert.

The photo below shows a threaded insert being placed into an MDF edge. (MDF is especially challenging in this regard.)

Edited by Bill Schneider, 25 July 2019 - 04:45 PM.

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#57 Bill Schneider

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 04:53 PM

How to remove small dents from a bare wood surface

Despite your best handling, sometimes something presses against your freshly smoothed wood and leaves a little dent. Use a small paintbrush with water to swell the wood in that area to reduce or eliminate the small dent. A light sanding afterward often makes it new again.

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#58 Bill Schneider

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 05:43 PM

How to drill the cleanest holes in wood

The brad point also make it more accurate to position on wood, and is beneficial to avoid bit-walking if you are drilling at an angle.

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#59 jtsenghas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 05:48 PM

How to remove small dents from a bare wood surface

Despite your best handling, sometimes something presses against your freshly smoothed wood and leaves a little dent. Use a small paintbrush with water to swell the wood in that area to reduce or eliminate the small dent.

For larger dents, moist heat helps even more.  A clothes iron on a medium setting on a damp cloth  can bring out larger dents completely, unless fibers are completely severed.

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#60 Bill Schneider

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 05:58 PM

How to create centered counterbores

1) Drill the counterbore first with a Forstner bit. The point of the bit will create a centered divot in the bore, and use this to guide the smaller through-drill.

2) Use a machinist's counterbore tool that has interchangeable diameter pilots. The pilot centers in the through-hole for a concentric bore with a perfectly flat bottom - even at the inside edge where a Forstner bit will score a groove.

They are expensive though. However a few well-chosen sizes may suffice for standard fasteners.

Edited by Bill Schneider, 25 July 2019 - 06:03 PM.

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#61 jtsenghas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:21 PM

How to create centered counterbores

1) Drill the counterbore first with a Forstner bit. The point of the bit will create a centered divot in the bore, and use this to guide the smaller through-drill.

Additional tips on this if using hand held drills:

Very soft woods vary a lot in hardness between the faster growing rings and the slower, harder rings and the smaller bit may walk a little off-center. Two ways to minimize this are to first drill a much smaller pilot hole, perhaps half the diameter of your final bit, or to drop an appropriate washer into the counterbore hole and to use this as a drill bushing for the final hole.

Depending on the precision and quality required, spade bits also make decent counterbores and provide larger centered pilot holes than Forstner bits.

#62 roscoe

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:48 PM

How to eliminate tearout on a table saw alternate method:

For several purposes, I make wood  inserts for my table saw - usually from scraps of Baltic Birch.  I have one for each width available for my set of stack-dado blades, for instance.

For cutting plywood quickly and nearly totally splinter-free, I have an insert made just for my fine-tooth cutoff blade, the slot is almost exactly the width of the blade.  As long as the stock is pressed firmly against the insert while cutting, there is no place for splinters to tear out.

I have two, one for 90-degree cuts, one for 45-degree cuts.   After several hours of use, blade movement will open them up a bit, so I pass them down the line to my ripping and coarser crosscut blades (which are thicker) and make new ones.

Make the inserts by putting a blank into the saw, with the blade down, set the fence over the insert just a bit beside where the blade will emerge, start the saw, and slowly crank the blade up.

A problem with scoring the bottom, then cutting, is that if the two passes vary just slightly, you might get chipping on one side or the other.

Also, a new or nearly new blade is best.  About an hour's worth of Baltic Birch cuts, or two hours of lumber-yard birch-face ply or MDF, and the saw is ready for a trip to the sharpening service.  Hardwoods, maple, cherry, oak, etc, are good for several hours of blade time.

The thin slots in the inserts also help to stop thin cutoff scraps from getting sucked in beside the blade, jamming it or forcing it off to the side.

#63 jtsenghas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:50 PM

How to mark the center of a board edge accurately:

I'm one who doesn't invest in lots of expensive layout tools, but instead makes lots of little jigs and fixtures. One easy and really effective one is a board center finder. I'm on vacation now so I can't offer a photo, but a description is simple enough.

Start with a small piece of scrap stock, perhaps 3/4"x 1 1/2" x 6". Drill two blind holes about 2/3 of the way through near the ends, and glue pieces of dowels into them. 3/8" or 1/2" diameter dowels about an inch long work perfectly. They need to extend only about 1/2" above the surface.

The distance between the dowels isn't critical. It just has to exceed the thickness or width of the largest board you want to mark a center location on.

Carefully drill a small through hole as exactly through the midpoint between the dowels as you can. Screw a small pointed screw such as a drywall screw through this hole from the opposite side of the dowels so that the point barely extends through.

That's it!

When you place the tool on your board with the dowels both contacting opposite faces the screw will score a line right down the middle of your edge (except for the end couple of inches). A straight edge and knife can extend this line to the ends if needed.

EDIT - Okay, here's a sketch.

Edited by jtsenghas, 25 July 2019 - 10:27 PM.

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#64 roscoe

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 07:55 PM

How to eliminate splitting with threaded inserts, more suggestions:

The hole sizes suggested for threaded inserts are almost always too small.  Especially in hard woods, drill the hole just slightly smaller than the insert, about 1/32 smaller, and lubricate the insert with a bit of wood glue rubbed onto the side of the hole with a q-tip.  Always try your setup in a scrap piece to test it before drilling your stock.

#65 jtsenghas

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:00 PM

Roscoe's tip above for essentially making a zero clearance insert reminds me of a related trick.

How to avoid losing small cut pieces into your tablesaw:

Sometimes a very small block or short thin strip of wood is needed. If you don't have a zero clearance insert, using a tablesaw to make such pieces sometimes risks losing the piece into the table.

A solution is to temporarily apply masking tape, preferably painter's tape, to the table right up to the side of the blade on the side of the small workpiece just before making the cut. It will serve as a zero clearance insert on that side.  Taa daaa!

Edited by jtsenghas, 25 July 2019 - 08:57 PM.

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#66 roscoe

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 08:02 PM

Additional tips on this if using hand held drills:

Very soft woods vary a lot in hardness between the faster growing rings and the slower, harder rings and the smaller bit may walk a little off-center. Two ways to minimize this are to first drill a much smaller pilot hole, perhaps half the diameter of your final bit, or to drop an appropriate washer into the counterbore hole and to use this as a drill bushing for the final hole.

Depending on the precision and quality required, spade bits also make decent counterbores and provide larger centered pilot holes than Forstner bits.

Industrial supply houses sell stubby drill bits, much of a bit's tendency to follow the grain can be eliminated if there is only a short amount of bit sticking out of your chuck.

#67 don clement

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Posted 25 July 2019 - 10:10 PM

Did the circle cutting test using the Rotozip  tool (BUMP) with 1/8" wood zip bit and circle cutter on 3/4" thick MDF. I first drilled an 1/8" pilot hole for the circle cutter center. Then just plunged cut and completed the circle. Cut was fast and smooth with no issue with sawdust clogging the cut. At the end of the cut there is a small protuberance but could have clamped the center piece before finishing the cut of the complete circle. I believe I could finish the circle even better using a router and piloted router bit.  All in all very pleased with the Rotozip tool performance in cutting MDF. The Rotozip tool might even replace my  Demel Mototool.

Don

Edited by don clement, 25 July 2019 - 10:11 PM.

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#68 Bill Schneider

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 07:19 AM

How to clamp corner reinforcing blocks when gluing them in place

When two boards are joined at right angles, the joint is under a lot of stress. Corner reinforcing blocks are one method to strengthen the joint. Gluing them can be tricky though, so make up a clamp block to allow the clamp to seat  firmly without slipping.

The block is made by first drilling a hole ~1/2" diameter near the center of it, then sawing two 45 degree cuts from each side to meet the circle. The circle provides clearance for the edge of the two boards, and the two 45 degree cuts form a 90 degree angle, This allows the clamping pressure to be spread over the outside of each board instead of the point where they join, preventing damage. Also the clamp is much less likely to slip.

Edited by Bill Schneider, 26 July 2019 - 07:25 AM.

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#69 roscoe

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 07:20 AM

How to avoid splinters, chips, and rough edges on wood parts

Sharp cutting tools are everything if you want clean cuts.

Modern carbide tooling has revolutionized woodworking (and metal and plastic working, too)

However, not all carbide is created equal, and even carbide gets dull.

There are pretty much three levels of carbide tooling, the Chinesium stuff, the tradesperson/light industrial variety, and the pro-grade stuff.

for single/occasional use, the Chinese cutters available everywhere work OK, but for any sort of reliability, better to step up to the trade-grade cutters -  those offered by the tool-makers, Makita, Dewalt, etc, fit here, as do the cutters made by Freud, which are also available in the big-box stores and lumber yards.  The high-end stuff is mostly specialty retailers, but it lasts the best.

Some examples:

A mid-grade fine-tooth blade for a table-saw will cut cleanly for maybe an hour of use cutting Baltic Birch, perhaps two hours cutting lumberyard birch ply or MDF board, longer if cutting hardwoods.  After that, it's time to pass it on to less exacting tasks, or send it out for resharpening.

Router cutters, being small and operating at high speed, have a shorter life than we would hope, a mid-grade cutter making parts in Baltic Birch is only splinter-free for maybe 15 minutes of use, and half-hour in other sheet stock....   Router cutters are not normally re-sharpenable.

Drill bits are the same story, it doesn't take long for a bit to lose its edge slightly, especially if you are drilling steel with it sometimes.  A carbide forstener bit will hold up pretty well, but watch for increased pressure to drill, and more splintering.   There is pretty much no way to sharpen forsteners or brad-points, regular bits - if you use them a lot, might be worth buying a 'drill-doctor' type sharpener.

Band saw blades, same story..... they get splintery fast in high-glue sheetstock like baltic birch, you just have to watch, and change them out when it starts looking ragged.

Hand tools, planes and chisels and the like, want to be sharp enough to shave the hairs off the back of your hand to work right.  Fortunately, they are easy to sharpen, though it takes practice, and one of the many jigs available does a lot to produce good results.  Planer and jointer knives..... not quite shaving grade, but when you can feel any irregularities on the cutting edge, or start to see little lines on the work, or pullout on uneven grain, time to devote an hour or two to sharpening or replacing them.

Most mid-size cities have sharpening services that will do sawblades and knives, some will do plane irons, a few will do router cutters and shaper cutters.

As always, your mileage may vary, but.... the stuff you inherited from your Dad..... or bought back in college..... best to let it pass on to the happy hunting grounds.

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#70 roscoe

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 07:26 AM

How to keep glue from sticking to your clamps

Bill's post above reminded me..... the easiest and cheapest way to keep your clamps or clamping blocks from sticking to your work is a piece of waxed paper between the work and your clamp.  Regular Titebond/Elmers glues will not stick to waxed paper.  Some solvent-based adhesives will dissolve the wax, so test first.

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#71 NHRob

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 08:27 AM

awesome ideas guys!!

#72 jtsenghas

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 03:26 PM

How to manage wood glue squeeze out better:

ATM work often involves glue ups of box like structures using wood glue. Some glue squeeze out is inevitable, unless you use insufficient amounts of adhesive. It is not good to try to use damp rags or paper towels on large glue beads, as this may thin and spread the glue excessively on the surface. Wiping tiny amounts with a damp towel or cloth is fine, as such tiny residue will sand easily. With larger amounts start with a dry paper towel, rolling it upwards to minimize smearing, then wipe with a damp one using a similar motion. Here are a few of my glue management tips.

1) On Inside corners a plastic drinking straw pinched flat can be pushed into a bead of glue, scooping up all but a few thousandths of an inch of a fillet. The glue goes up the straw. If the straw starts to fill too much before you are done, just dispense it onto a paper towel by pinching it flat and sliding your fingers along its length like a toothpaste tube. This works wonders!

2) On outside corners painters tape applied right up to the edges BEFORE gluing keeps the glue off the surface of the wood. Squeeze out goes onto the outer surface of the tape and can be peeled off with the tape as soon as the glue stops flowing. Note that this takes several minutes, so don't rush it, but the tape should be removed before the exterior bead gets past the rubbery stage.

3) On clamping mitered corners it helps to have inside and outside 90 degree blocks such as Bill described and showed above on gluing inside corner blocks. If you don't want your inside block to glue to your workpiece it helps if it, like the outside block is relieved to avoid contact. This also helps to keep squeeze out from contacting the block itself. I like to make such blocks by first drilling a 1/2" or 3/4" hole through the center of a square block, and then sawing from two adjacent corners directly towards the hole. This leaves a quarter circle hole on the inside block and a three-quarter hole in the outside block, both to avoid damaging the corner and to avoid contact with glue.

Edited by jtsenghas, 26 July 2019 - 06:59 PM.

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#73 JohnH

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Posted 26 July 2019 - 06:31 PM

How to drill the cleanest holes in wood

The brad point also make it more accurate to position on wood, and is beneficial to avoid bit-walking if you are drilling at an angle.

Also. If you get an adjustable bit for brace and bit especially if you get the two sizes offered, you can drill virtually any sized hole from about three quarters of an inch to 2 and 1/2 inch with just those two bits, which is great when you need an odd sized hole that you're only going to drill one or two of and you don't want to buy a very large and expensive bit to drill it.

Also from best holes to the worst holes these are the bits in order Brad Point bits, Sawtooth Foresters, regular bits with the scoring teeth on them for brace and bit, your regular twist bits and then spoon bits for a brace and bit
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#74 Bill Schneider

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:22 PM

How to make a strong butt joint

The butt-joint is a common method of joining two boards at right angles. With a little knowledge, it is easy to fasten them together strongly.

One thing that I see beginning woodworkers do is to drive nails or screws into end-grain of one of the boards. This produces a weak joint because end-grain doesn't hold screws or nails very well. It is also prone to splitting. It may hold well enough for some light-duty purposes, but it is weaker than the alternative methods that follow.

Here are a couple of possible ways to make much stronger butt-joints.

Corner block: This method uses a block of wood on the inside corner of the joint, with alternating screws placed to attach the top and side. If combined with glue, it becomes an especially strong joint.

Pocket screws are another method to joint two boards. The kits for making these can be relatively inexpensive. However pocket screws can be ugly looking. Plugs are available to cover the opening to help with appearance.

Dowels: It is fairly easy to drill holes into both pieces, add glue, and insert wooden dowels. The large surface area of a dowel is its strength. Alignment is important when drilling holes for them, but there are inexpensive dowel centers available, or you can make or spend money for a dowel jig. Usually the joint itself is glued too when dowels are used.

With a little planning and care, the dowels can also be completely hidden inside the joint. However I don't find the circular ends unattractive if they are sanded flush with the board.

There are additional glue-only methods including biscuits and splines, box joints and dovetails, and special routed edges like rabbets and lock miters. These tend to be used by advanced woodworkers who are already familiar with the methods shown above, but they require care and time to do properly. Note also that aside from biscuits and splines, the rest aren't true butt joints either.

Driving screws into the edges of plywood works better than on plain wooden boards because half of the plys on an edge are face-grain, and half are end-grain. Still, the other fastening methods shown above remain stronger.

Edited by Bill Schneider, 28 July 2019 - 06:35 AM.

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#75 don clement

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Posted 27 July 2019 - 02:27 PM

Dovetail joints are my choice for high strength not only for wood but for metal. https://en.wikipedia...Dovetail_jointÂ

Don

Edited by don clement, 27 July 2019 - 02:30 PM.

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