Making a Flush-trimming Router Jig

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I use a plastic offset base to give my palm router a larger footprint. Here’s how I modify my base to trim overhanging banding, dowels or even dovetails and box joints flush. I affix a “house”-shaped trapezoidal spacer to the bottom of my offset base with carpet tape. Read more

A Reminder about Unplugging Safety

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We all know better than to change blades and router bits with the tools still plugged in, but a safety reminder about this protocol never hurts. And, it sure beats a trip to the emergency room! So, I label my table saw throat plates and blade-changing wrenches with a bold “Unplug” warning as a way of supporting a good shop habit. Read more

Table Saw 101

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If there is a single piece of machinery I couldn’t do without in my workshop, it’s the table saw. It’s the first machine I bought when I set up my first shop nearly four decades ago: an old used Craftsman saw I bought for $35. From day one, I used that saw for all the basic cuts I needed for my first cabinetry projects and custom furniture commissions. Read more

How to Make a Scarf Joint

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Do you have a table leg or another piece that has damage, a defect or user error? Don’t throw that piece out. Ernie Conover explains an easy repair technique that will allow you to salvage damaged pieces, including antiques, with a simple table saw jig and some glue. Read more

Drilling Holes: Five Fast Facts

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Forming accurate holes can be a critical detail when building a chair, cabinet, wall shelf, cabinet door…well, you get the picture. Drill bits are key to creating those accurate holes. They come in many styles, materials and measurements to help you drill more accurately and effectively. Read more

A “Simple” Blade Cleaner

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I use Simple Green® biodegradable concentrate for general household cleaning. When it came time to clean my table saw blade a while back, I gave Simple Green a try on that, too. I mixed a 1:3 solution of cleaner and water and soaked the blade in it for about an hour. This pleasant-smelling and nontoxic solution effectively softened the resin deposits so they were easy to scrub off. Read more

Inexpensive Polishing Wheels for Rotary Tools

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Ordinary felt furniture pads with plastic backs can be made into polishing wheels for high-speed rotary tools, like Dremel. I use a center finder to mark where to drill a small hole into the pad’s back surface. Then, I simply screw the pad onto a felt bob shaft — it’s the accessory shaft that appears to have a pointed sheet metal screw on the end. Alternately, you could use the cutoff wheel shaft if you trim away enough of the felt so that the shaft’s center screw can thread down and tighten against the pad’s plastic back. Read more

Easy Mortising Router Jig

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Here’s a mortising jig you can use with any plunge router that has a 7″-diameter or smaller base. My design allows you to clamp both the jig and a workpiece inside a bench vise, with the workpiece tucked up under the base and against the clamping fence. What’s unique about the jig’s styling is that the system automatically centers mortises on the thickness of 3/4″ stock. And, by simply changing between 1/4″, 5/16″ or 3/8″ straight or spiral bits, you can cut these three mortise widths without affecting the centered position of the mortise. Shifting and locking the left adjustable stop sets the length of the mortise, up to about 4″. Notice that your router base mounts to a base plate: sliding the router and base plate between the left and right stops and against the rear alignment shim limits its travel to ensure that mortises are straight, correct length and easy to machine. Read more