This is a new crosscut sled for my new saw. The old sled didn’t fit the new miter slots. This time around I made a few changes.
First, I use 1/2-inch birch plywood rather than particle board. I also didn’t do a front fence. This is much lighter and also without a front fence, larger workpieces can extend off of the sled.
The fence is two pieces of 3/4-inch birch plywood laminated together. I also screwed a block behind the blade area. This will give a place to bury the blade and be a guide of where to not place fingers. This block is screwed into the sled so it’s also helping to hold to two pieces of the sled together. Also, two blocks at the end screwed into the fence. This is basically somewhere to hold when moving the sled with the hope of not putting to much stress on the fence. Lastly, I used walnut for the miter rails.
We’ll see how this holds up.
It seems to be pretty square. I did a 5 cut on about a 10-inch board and it came out to I guess 0.0009 inches off. I think that’s probably close enough.
My first try at a box I did 45-degree miter joints for the edges. For the next box, I want to try using box joints. I made this sled and jig to make these on the table saw. I also picked up a dado blade to cut these joints.
I made a little sled with two miter rails. The plan is to have different fences attached to the sled fence for different dado widths. I then made a small key to fit the dado slot as a placeholder. The first time I did this, I made the key too tall. Being that tall I had to cut deeper dados than I needed, so I redid the fence and key with a shallow dado.
This worked out pretty well on my test pieces. The set fence was held in place with a clamp, but I needed to reposition the clamp when I started the other board. I think it shifted a 1/8 of an inch or so. I’ve seen some similar jigs held together with a bolt rather than clamps. I’ll have to play around with it, but it’s close enough.
Yet another cutting board. This one turned out pretty well although a perfect pattern is still elusive. I actually meant this to be a checkerboard but did an odd number of edge grain strips instead of even to get a pattern when cutting the end grain strips. But this works.
I got frustrated enough with end grain boards to pick up a drum sander. These cutting boards are learning project and I’m planning to start building some boxes next. A drum sander would be handy in working with pieces too small for a thickness planer. So, I figured I’d have uses other than cutting boards as a justification for a new toy.
As with other large power tools, I made a mobile cart using similar designs.
I chose the small Jet 10-20. Not only is it one of the most affordable, but has a small footprint for my little shop. Although, the cart is bigger than it needs to be. I may repurpose this cart in the future for something else and make a cart a little smaller to save on space.
I’m still learning to use it. I keep tripping the motor overload, but I’m getting the hang of it. It seems running the belt fast and doing very small thickness adjustments works well. Slowing the best causes a lot of burning, so seems like this small sander just needs some patience. It’s not a huge time saver, but it requires little to no concentration, unlike the router sled.
My workshop has an exterior door and a doorway going into the garage. When making dust, I open the outside door and car garage door for some ventilation. The doorway into the garage and the outside door and in-line, so the rest of the shop doesn’t seem to get a lot of air movement. A forced air exhaust vent at the other end of the shop seems a good idea.
The other thing I’ve been thinking about is I probably don’t want to have all the doors open when the weather turns cold. My thinking is that I may run the fan only when running saws, or perhaps just flip on the fan for a few minutes to clear out the air. There’s no heat in the workshop, but I’m thinking of installing some kind of electric heat. By just running the fan to suck out dust, I’m wondering if I’ll be able to take the edge of the cold in the workshop and momentarily run the fan to clear out the air. I plan to crack the garage door when running the fan in the winter.
I’ve also moved my shop vac dust collector over by this fan. I run a short hose from the blower port on the fan and shoot that out the fan. The idea is whatever isn’t captured by the Dusty Deputy and HEPA filter should go side.
Anyway, I got this 14-inch fan from Amazon. There are bigger fans, but they seemed excessive and not worth the price for my space. I didn’t get fussy installing it. I basically cut out a hole in the garage wall with a beat up jigsaw blade, then braced the fan with 2×4 boards against the joists. I wired then it up using an extension cord. Eventually, I’ll make it more permanent with a switch.
This seems to work pretty well. There’s noticeable less dust hanging in the air and even less eventually settling. I always wear a respirator when making dust, but I feel this fan clears the air enough to remove the mask when not running saws or sanders.
Small project to improve lighting. I’ve been using four CFL bulbs for my little workshop. I bought an LED array that’s in the form of tube bulbs. I’m trying to keep down the power usage for the shop just because everything is on a shared circuit. LED seemed a good solution for low power and quality of light. I installed one and liked it enough to add a second.
These worked out great. Hopefully, they prove to be durable. They offer 4800 lums of light at 5000k daylight temp and run at 64 watts. They make a big difference lighting up my work.
You can link them together, which is pretty convenient for installing multiple bulbs. Installation is pretty easy. Just u-shaped bracket, chain, and clips.
Finally got around to building a cart of the little jointer. I was keeping this on the floor and lugging it on the workbench when needed.
This cart is using some new casters I got from Amazon. I think I like these much better than the casters from Lowes. Seem smoother. Cheaper too. These don’t have locks. Next time I may try a set from Amazon with locks.
Some day I’d like to either rebuild this cart or build a more traditional work bench. Until then, I’m getting an idea of what is helpful and what is not helpful for me to a work surface. One thing I decided to add last week was a bench vice.
This is an Eclipse 7-inch vice that has a few features that I wanted. I wanted something that mounted to the side of the bench and sat level with the surface. I didn’t want a bench-top model. I also wanted something that I could use to hold a workpiece against a bench dog, and this has a little notch that can pop up for this purpose. I also wanted to screw in some scrap wood to prevent the metal of the vice from marring the surface of a workpiece. Lastly, I like how this vice has a quick release to quickly open and close without working the vice.
I opted for the smaller 7-inch model because it was significantly cheaper and I don’t see myself needing to hold anything much bigger. Plus it just seemed like a small vice would be an easier retro fit into my bench`.
The vice is designed to sit about 2.25-inches from the surface. This means a 2×4 and 3/4-inch bench top fits it perfectly. Since the front of my cart has a 2×4 running vertically, I trimmed down a section with the jigsaw. The cutout isn’t pretty, but it works. Then I screwed in a new 2×4 to lay flat under the bench top. This supports the second bolts for the vice and I have it screwed from the front of the work bench and sides with the side of the bench and middle cross support.
I ran four 3/8-inch 4-inch hex bolts through the bench top and secured them with washers and nuts. The rear bolts could actually be shorter since there’s less material in the vice. I made it work just by adding some extra washers rather than another trip to the hardware store. Also, I didn’t have a 3/8 counter-sink bit to have the bolt sit below the bench top. I ended up just making the holes a little bigger with a drill. Doing this, however, I actually over drilled a couple of the holes, so the heads spun freely in those holes. It’s not solid tight, but it works.
The last part was I cut two pieces from 1×4 pine to screw into the vice. I trimmed the height of the board to be flush with the workbench top.
Tip: Make sure to screw in the wood before bolting it down! Another tip, this thing fell off the bench and chipped the paint. Don’t do that either.
The goal of this jig is to level edge grain surfaces for cutting boards. Running edge grain through a planer is tempting, but not recommended. I’m not going to risk my new planer, so I’m trying this setup. The idea here is to use a router with a large straight bit to chew through the surface of the wood. To get a level surface, you run the router over the workpiece in a parallel plane.
So, I built a simple sliding platform with a center slot that rides along two rails. I used 3/4 particle board for the bottom and 2x4s for the rails. I ran the 2×4 through the jointer to get them level. In theory, the jointed rails and flat particle board should be parallel to the work surface that’s supporting the workpiece.
I glued two sides on top of the jig on the long edge using more particle board. This keeps the router on the jig. I also glued two guides to the bottom of the jig to keep it on the rails. Here I used scrap plywood that I already had cut into strips. At first, I didn’t have these guides, but the vibration of the router makes the jig move laterally and slip off the rails. For the slot, I measured the diameter of my router bit and cut out a slot in the surface of the jig. To cut, I just drilled some holes and used a jigsaw. It’s nothing fancy or pretty. The critical parts of this jig are the flatness of the bottom and the rails.
To set up the jig, I placed two scrap pieces of wood between the cutting board and rails. Then I clamped it all together to make it stable. For height, I slide the jig on either the long or short side of the glide boards and adjusted the router bit depth as needed. The jig and rails are not attached so that it can handle a variety of sizes. I just need to have a couple pieces of scrap wood to fit between the rails and workpiece. Also, note the burn marks from my table saw. I recently picked up a new saw blade and it’s an amazing difference on hardwood.
In my first attempt, it did the job, but I ended up taking off a lot of material. And it made quite a mess. Next time, I’ll fine tune the technique and setup to get a lighter pass. There was also some machine marks, which isn’t a big deal since it needs to be sanded, but this can probably be improved.
You can make this jig as wide as needed. This one is about two feet, I think. You just want to make it wide enough to accommodate the workpiece and a little buffer so not to run into your rails. (I thought about clamping stops for the router, but I kept it simple and was just mindful of my progress.)
BONUS: My bench jointer can face joint up to 6-inch boards and my planer can thickness plane up to 12-inches, so I’m thinking this jig could be useful if I need to mill larger boards for thickness or straightness.
Another power tool cart. When I picked up some milled hardwood a couple week ago, I realized the value of milling my own wood. Rough sawn lumber cost 1/2 as much as the milled boards. This includes waste lost to the milling. So, in my head, this thing will pay for itself! We’ll see, I guess. I really do like it though. Along with the small bench top jointer I have, it’s very satisfying when all the wood comes together as intended.
My first project with the planer was an end grain cutting board. After gluing it up, I sent the long grain board through the planer to clean up the glue and level out of the boards. This was prior to cross cutting for end-grain. More on this project soon. When a clean and level board came out, I gave a “whoa, that’s cool.”
The second project was the cart to hold the tool. I took extra time to joint and plane all the dimensional boards to be square and same thickness. Clearly, overkill, but everything came together like Legos, and like I said, it was very satisfying… even if the board lengths are off a mm or few.
I did the wheel barrow design here and left two legs longer. I hand planed the longer legs to make them level with the wheels. Given the weight of the tool and dimensions of the cart, the wheel barrow design doesn’t seem that ideal. There isn’t the same leverage to make it easy to lift. I think I’d rather this have four wheels, however, I’ve been thinking of trying a design for retractable wheels. I may try that on my next cart.
I put a shelf at the bottom, which I think was left over from cutting the bench top. I plan to add shelves to some of these carts and could do that here too.