Work Holding

 

Last time I promised a blog on work holding. This subject has almost become an obsession with me the last few years. I got tired of making do with  c clamps and other ways to clamp something firmly and safely. I grew up in a shop where safety was not always a big priority and as a result saw numerous accidents over the years. Working in production for years influenced my thinking to do things safely, but yet maintain a certain amount of speed. In the next few blogs I would like to share some of what I do to make my life easier while keeping my fingers I intact. There is a reason at 64 years old, I still have all mine!

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This time I would like to show the various ways I use toggle clamps. These are readily available from Woodcraft, Rockler and multiple other sources. They come in a variety of styles and sizes, so you can always find one that suits your needs. The first picture shows a coping sled I built for some glass grills for passage doors. It is the same doors I showed in the last blog. Notice the base on the clamp. These, as well as the handle, came from Rockler. Until I discovered these, I typically screwed the clamps to my jig. That is fine for a permanent jig like this one, but for multifunction jigs you end up with a lot of screw holes.2016-09-24-08-25-56

On this jig I have routed a T-slot which allows the clamp to be positioned anywhere by simply loosening the knobs. Because of the style of toggle, this one was raised with a block to allow for the thickness of the work piece. The grills on the last doors I built had some pieces about 1 1/2″ wide and 8″ long with a 5/8″ wide profile on each side. There was no way I am putting my fingers that close to the shaper cutter. The example is not the actual piece. They were much smaller. Now the task becomes a piece of cake!

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The cutter is not  for this application.  I just needed to get pictures to show the clamps

Next time I will share some of the other ways I use toggles, and how I route the t-track.

 

Thanks for looking!

Miter Sled

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I frequently do smaller moldings in cabinet doors and other projects. I find it easier and safer to use a sled on my table saw rather than a miter saw. I can see my mark to cut by better this way. The small waste pieces don’t fly around as much. Years ago I was measuring a cabinet door job. As I was sketching the cabinets, the trim carpenter was cutting some small molding. The end piece flew off the saw and hit my face right by my eye. It bled a lot, but it turned out fine. However, it made me much more cautious.

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This week I was working on a pair of sliding barn doors for a client. The top sections get glass so I needed to cut the custom molding. To me, this is the best way.

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I set the miter fences away from the main fence so I can cut the length against the straight fence. leave that slightly long and then miter it. You have a little play to cut the miter. If you need to cut really small pieces, you can add toggle clamps to hold the work piece and keep your fingers away from the blade. T-slots are routed into the sled for other hold down clamps. I make some of my own and use some from Rockler and Woodcraft also. The miter fences are attached with bolts to threaded inserts mounted in the sled. They do have some adjustment in them. I can easily remove them for straight work.

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If you are interested, at some point I will do a blog focused on various methods of work holding.

Thanks for looking!

Kreg Set Up Bars

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For quite a while I have been using the Kreg set up bars for various set up tasks in my shop. Before I bought these I had made a set of different thicknesses of hardwood blocks. That worked well, but the Kreg blocks offer more versatility. They come in sizes from 1/8″ to 1/2″ in 1/16″ increments, nicely organized in a handy case. ( If you follow my work, you know I love organization!)

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I frequently use mine for setting the depth on my drill press. Just bring the bit down just touching the work piece, lock the quill, and adjust the stop the thickness of the set up block.

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 Set the height of saw blades or router bit as well. Or use the other side to check dado and groove depths.

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Radius Plane

2016-08-30 08.11.18Often it is much quicker and easier to grab a hand plane to do a simple job rather than get a power tool, set it up and do the same job. (It also makes listening to Blues on the stereo more enjoyable!) I frequently use my radius plane and chamfer plane in situations like this. Does a great job with ease. This tool creates about an 1/8″ radius.

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Knocks the edge off in hurry. Similar tools available from Rockler, as well as several other online companies. Woodcraft offers some different style that accomplish the same result. Or check out Shepherd Tool & Supply in Lubbock, Texas. Both styles use 2 blades that are easily adjusted with an Allen wrench supplied with the tool.2016-08-30 08.13.49

Give it a try. “Unplugged” is often better. I find it very rewarding to see the cute little curls coming off my work piece.

Center/Offset Marking Tool

2016-08-10 08.15.55Accurate, clean marks are critical to any fine woodworking project. For years my marking tool arsenal consisted of a tape measure and a pencil, sometimes sharp (maybe). To mark the center of a board edge was hit or miss–mostly miss! As my quality progressed, so did my need for accurate ways to mark. How can you cut it or drill it right if you don’t start with a proper starting point. For the last few years I have been on the look-out for anything that would help achieve that. Not too long ago, Rockler came out with the Center/Offset Marking Tool. Since it looked promising, I brought some into the store to try.

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http://www.rockler.com/rockler-center-offset-marking-tool

And yes, I realize you can certainly make your own version, but for about $10.00, why would you want to. To maintain accuracy, how long would it take to do this? To work right, all your measurements would need to be perfect. I hate to think how much time I would spend.

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Quickly create a center line for drilling, mortises or any time you need dead center. Simply straddle the work piece between the integrated dowels, inset a sharp pencil and mark away.

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Notice the offsets on each side. Often I need to mark a certain distance from the edge or face of a board. Built in to this jig is the offsets, from 1/16″ to 1/2″ in 1/16″ increments. Place the pencil in the proper spot and slide the jig along the edge of your work.

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And finally, they have added a magnet to attach to any metal surface. I keep mine handy on the side of a tool box. Even holds the pencil for you!

 

Thanks for looking.

 

 

Quick Corners

2016-08-01 08.17.31Often some of the handiest ideas are so simple we all think–why didn’t I think of that! A while back I ordered a set of these “Quick Corners” from Woodcraft. http://www.woodcraft.com/product/124220/quick-corner-four-pack.aspx

I have found them very useful several times, In the past, like most of you I was looking all over the shop for something with the right radius to mark a rounded corner. Usually it was a can of putty, or maybe a paint can or anything round. These are so simple to use I wish I had had them years ago. As you can see, this set has convex and concave arcs in multiple sizes, and 45 degree angle in several sizes.

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They all feature a built in lip so set-up is a breeze. Just hang it on the corner and mark.

Thanks for looking!

 

Clamp Pads

I thought I would start offering quick woodworking tips, and try to do them more often. Running Shepherd Tool & Supply by myself can sometimes be a little overwhelming, but I really want to share some of my experience on a larger scale.
I was doing a glue-up the other day and became frustrated trying to protect the already sanded legs on a table base. The long side is about 60″, so I had trouble reaching both ends to keeps my scraps in place for pads. I managed to get it done but it wasn’t until I was unclamping the next day before it hit me. I had seen someone a while back using magnets in their pads to hold them in place. I cut up some small pads from leftover lumber in my shop and in minutes I came up with these.
So simple, yet so effective! I only wish I had thought of this idea originally. I would love to give credit, but I have no clue who came up with this. The build was so easy and the cost of the magnets is not much considering how much they help. I used magnets I had from something else but they are readily available online and even locally.  Drill a shallow hole the depth of the magnet using bit just under the diameter of the magnet. I used a mallet to pound the magnet in the hole, but you could also use epoxy. Just drill your holes a bit deeper. Experiment with sizes to find what is right for you. My first ones were 1/4″ x 1/10 thick  They were OK but the 1/2″ x 1/4″ were much stronger. I just ordered some that are 3/8″ diameter so I am anxious to see how they work.
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