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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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.

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.

Makita RT0701CX3

It’s not often I am blown away by a new power tool (Well, except for Festool ) but from the moment I opened my new Makita  1 1/4 hp router kit I knew I was in love.  Sorry lovely wife–just a figure of speech! I have had a couple of the Bosch Colt routers and for the most part, liked them, although I did struggle with the cheesy height adjustment. I have been a big Bosch fan for years, but move over Bosch, Makita’s got you beat on this one. As soon as I picked up the router with the fixed base from the case I immediately felt the difference. The router is definitely heavier than the Bosch.  Then I really got excited when I noticed the rack and pinion height adjustment. It actually works! Smoothly–Effortlessly!

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The kit comes with multiple bases including the standard fixed base, plunge base, tilt base, and offset base. All the accessories you will ever need are also included. The offset base is great for laminate work when you need to rout closer than any standard base allows.

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The tilt base is useful for angled grooves or chamfers using a straight bit, thus having the ability to chamfer at any angle.

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I have mixed feeling about the fabric case, While it contains and organizes all the pieces well, I find it awkward to carry with long straps. I wish it had a simple handle, but with all the other great features of this kit, that is a pretty minor issue.

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The sky is the limit using this tool. With the adapter you can use standard template guides. Supplied with the kit is also an edge guide for use on both the fixed and plunge bases, and a bearing guide for curved work.

I typically have sold the Bosch Colt but a customer had me special order this kit for him. I thought it looked promising so I ordered one for stock for the store. I had it for a couple of days before I succumbed to temptation and bought it for myself. Obviously I can get more!

Festool Vecturo


Check out Festool’s latest–the Vecturo Multi-Tool. With 400 Watts of awesome power, you will wonder where this tool has been all your life! Before you slam the price, compare specs. This ain’t no throw away toy. There is only one other multi-tool on the market that compares, the Fein SuperCut, although it doesn’t offer the optional plunge base that Festool does. Great for cutting out for electrical boxes in sheetrock or wood or anytime you need to cut a section of molding. I even used mine to cut away tree roots interfering with some underground plumbing. Undercut door jams and base for tile with ease. Multi-tools are indispensable for all kinds of remodeling projects. With the proper blades you can cut metal drywall, pvc,  some masonry and wood.

SawStop Sliding Crosscut Table

Unless you live on a deserted island, you have probably already heard about the new SawStop Crosscut Table. Of course if you live there you are probably not seeing this either!


I received my store demo a couple of weeks ago and was blown away by the design and quality of it. Installation was simple. The hardest part was having to remove the fence rails, as they need to be cut down a bit. This is a pretty simple process, but does take some time. If you can’t cut the rails yourself, any metal working shop should be able to take care of that for you. Other than that, it is a simple matter of removing the left cast iron wing and replacing it with the new table with the four bolts that held the wing. Using the standard mounting you will have a full 48″ crosscut capacity. If you prefer, you can move the sled forward so that it is not in your way using the saw normally. You will loose about a foot in crosscut capacity, but could be a good compromise.


With the fully adjustable fence, cut any angle up to 60 degrees with ease. Two flip stops come standard, so repeat cuts are a breeze!

Due to high demand, it can take awhile to get yours so consider ordering now. I love mine and know you will too.

Work safe and be Happy!

General CNC 40-915X


I have recently become a dealer for General’s CNC Machines. I sold my first one on the condition that I would set it up and assist in training the new owner how to operate both the machine and the software. The machine itself is ready to go out of the box. Basically, unpack and find a place to put it–preferably something solid. Needless to say–there is a learning curve with the software and operation of the machine. After some initial issues with getting the software loaded and working (and consulting wih General’s “amazing  technicians” –their words, not mine, although he was helpful) I got it working. After that the iPicture 1.2 software that drives the machine was actually very user friendly (the software’s friendly, not the user–I’m a grump) This machine comes with a CD which includes a lot of gray scale drawings, ready to load into iPicture and carve. This process is quite simple.


I will go into greater detail in a later blog on using the software. Once you enter the artwork you wish to carve and save the G-code, it is simply a matter of saving to a flash drive. You then insert the flash drive into the machine and go through a quick process to prepare the machine for carving. Trust me, if I can do this and carve something that quickly, it is  not rocket surgery!IMG_2769IMG_2770

These are two of the many drawing provided to get you started.IMG_2768

The General also comes with Artcam Express, allowing you to create your own custom carvings. The learning curve can be a challenge, especially if you are not familiar with art programs, but there are several tutorials available to help you learn. I would highly recommend watching some before you tackle your first project.


This is my first attempt  at designing in Artcam Express. The background texture and the rose are provided in the software. You can also import pictures and images to create your own. Again, I intend to address this in a later blog.



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