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GUILD EDITION Vol. 37 / No. 218


Classic Cherry
5 Great Projects
More Tips & Techniques

Ample Storage
Large Display
& Serving Area

Measuring Tools
Tabletop Proles
Perfect Tenons Every Time
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PUBLISHER Donald B. Peschke


MANAGING EDITOR Vincent Ancona from the editor
Phil Huber, Randall A. Maxey


Dirk Ver Steeg, Peter J. Larson In our first Guild Edition of Woodsmith, I asked you to let me know
SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Bob Zimmerman what you thought of the new look and larger size. Well, lets just say the response
exceeded my expectations with many great comments and suggestions. The
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Ted Kralicek response was so overwhelming that I resorted to a form letter of sorts to make
sure I got back to everyone as quickly as I could and go into a little more detail
CAD SPECIALIST Steve Johnson about why we made some of the changes.
SHOP CRAFTSMAN Dana Myers Overall, the Guild Edition was well-received. But there was one thing about
it that bothered me and apparently it bothered a lot of you, too. Thats the
Dennis Kennedy absence of the three-hole punch.
Unfortunately, the additional pages
PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Minniette Johnson made it impractical for our printer to
continue to punch holes in Woodsmith.
So I did what I usually do when faced
Woodsmith (ISSN 0164-4114) is published bimonthly by
August Home Publishing Company, 2200 Grand Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312.
with a problem. I came up with a jig,
Woodsmith is a registered trademark of August Home Publishing.
Copyright 2015 August Home Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
as you can see in the photo at right.
Subscriptions: Single copy: $6.95.
Canadian Subscriptions: Canada Post Agreement No. 40038201. Send change of
You can find all the details you
address information to PO Box 881, Station Main, Markham, ON L3P 8M6. need to build your own version at
Canada BN 84597 5473 RT
Periodicals Postage Paid at Des Moines, IA, and at additional offices. And
Postmaster: Send change of address to Woodsmith, Box 37106,
Boone, IA 50037-0106. it works great for drilling and organizing any other magazines and catalogs you
may have in your shop into three-ring binders.
There are a few things Id like to highlight in this issue. The first of which is the beautiful cherry buffet featured on the cover. Its the last project in our recent
ONLINE SUBSCRIBER SERVICES dining room series. A couple of previous issues featured a matching hutch, a
VIEW your account information dining room table, and a set of chairs. Based on the comments weve received,
RENEW your subscription
CHECK on a subscription payment its been a popular set of projects. If youve decided to build the entire set, please
PAY your bill send in some photos of your completed projects.
CHANGE your mailing or e-mail address
VIEW/RENEW your gift subscriptions The room divider that begins on page 28 is the answer to creating some cozy
TELL US if youve missed an issue spaces right where you need them. Plus, the construction is simple, and the two-
CUSTOMER SERVICE Phone: 800-333-5075 weekdays tone look gives it a style that will fit in just about anywhere.
Finally, the issue wouldnt be complete without a couple of great shop projects.
Customer Service Woodsmith Magazine The bit index (page 22) is a classic way to keep your drill bits organized and
P.O. Box 842 2200 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50304-9961 Des Moines, IA 50312 close at hand. And if you deal with small parts, the sled on page 36 is a safe and
accurate way to cut them at the table saw.

Printed in U.S.A.

2 Woodsmith / No. 218

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contentsNo. 218 April/May 2015



weekend project
Window Planter Box . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Dress up the outside of your home with this decorative planter
box. While easy to build, the construction techniques ensure it
will hold up to the elements.

shop storage project

Drill Bit Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Based on a classic design, this portable index is a super solution
for keeping drill bits close at hand. The key to making it is a set
of patterns that precisely locate everything.

designer project
Room Divider . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 42
With just a little time in the shop, you can create an elegant
project that not only makes it easy to divide up spaces but also
provides a great-looking storage and display area.

shop project
Small Parts Cutting Sled . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36
Cutting small parts at the table saw is always a challenge. This
small parts sled and add-on accessories accurately handle a
wide range of tasks safely and easily.

heirloom project
Cherry Buffet. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42
This elegant cherry buffet is a fine addition to any dining room.
It adds ample storage while providing a convenient place to
serve meals to family and friends.
36 3

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from our readers
Tips & Techniques . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
all about
Shop First Aid Kit . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
56 router workshop
Tabletop Profile Bits . . . . . . . . . . 12
great gear
58 Dovetails with the Leigh Jig . . . . 14

woodworking technique
Tips for Better-Fitting Tenons. . . . 52

working with tools

Must-Have Calipers & Dividers . . 56
in the shop
Shop Solutions: Oils & Lubes . . . 58
woodworking essentials
Plywood Buyers Guide . . . . . . . . 60
mastering the table saw
Push Sticks, Blocks & Pads. . . . . . . 62
tips from our shop
Shop Notes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 64
questions & answers
Cutting to a Line . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66
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o m o u r

Tips &
Overhead Fan Mount
My small basement workshop lacks
adequate air circulation, but finding the
floor space to set a pedestal or box fan in
my confined shop just wasnt in the cards.
Instead of looking to the floor, I found the
solution to my problem overhead.
I devised a circular platform that allows
me to mount a small but powerful fan. NOTE: Base and platform 6
The platform is then mounted to a ply- made from #/4" plywood
wood base that has a section of T-track BASE
recessed in a groove. The base is long T-track
enough that I can position the fan to aim
Screws mount
it at almost any location in my shop. base to ceiling
The circular platform has a couple of
adjustment slots that let me rotate the fan a. BOTTOM VIEW
almost a full 180. The platform is held to 2!/8
the T-track with a pair of threaded knobs, 1!/8
hex head bolts, and washers.
BUILD TECHNIQUE. To make the base, cut a %/16
groove down the center and install the FAN PLATFORM
T-track. The base can be any length to
!/4"-20 x 1!/4" 17
suit the space you have available. I used hex bolt Screws and washers
a simple router trammel to cut out the mount fan to
circular fan mount platform. The tram- !/4"-20 FAN PLATFORM
star knob !/4" fender
mel also worked well for routing the two washer
adjustment slots in the platform. NOTE: Use fan
base to locate
Greg Wilson mounting holes 4!/4
Santa Rosa, California

Win This Kreg K5 Jig

Simply send us your favorite shop
tips. If your tip or technique is selected The Winner!
as the featured readers tip, youll win Congratulations to Gary
a Kreg K5 Jig just like the one shown Brown, the winner of this
here. To submit your tip or technique, Kreg K5 Jig. To find out
just go online to
how you can win this jig,
check out the
and click on the link, SUBMIT A TIP.
information at left.
There, you can submit your tip and
upload your photos for consideration. 5

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NOTE: Drive #10 x 2!/2"
Fh woodscrew !/4" finish washer
into wall stud 6" 12"
NOTE: Position
brackets to suit
your clamp sizes

NOTE: Edges of 2!/2
brackets have 14!/2
!/8" roundover BASE PANEL 20!/2
(18"x 41")
NOTE: Base panel
is made from 8!/2
!/2" plywood.
Brackets are
made from 2#/4 12"
#/4" plywood DOUBLE


4!/4 BRACKET 2#/4


#10 x 4"
2 Fh woodscrew

Space-Saving Bar Clamp Rack

Having accumulated a number of Bessey this simple storage rack to get my clamps and are fastened to the base panel with
F-style bar clamps over the years, I even- out from underneath my workbench and screws from the back side.
tually came to realize that stacking them make them more accessible. As you can see in the photo, I posi-
on the shelf underneath my workbench SIMPLE DESIGN. My storage rack allows tioned the brackets based on the length of
wasnt the ideal storage option. They clamps to be stacked in each pair of the clamp bars. That kept the longer bar
were difficult to get to, and I always man- brackets to save space. The design of the clamps from interfering with the clamp
aged to knock a couple off the shelf when single- and double-layer brackets cradle brackets below.
picking them up. Since I had some free the Bessey F-style bar clamps perfectly. Patrick ORourke
wall space available, I decided to make The brackets are made from plywood Moncks Corner, South Carolina


Pocket Screws in Tight Places. Recently, while building Router Bit Cushions. Serge Duclos of Delson, Quebec,
a fireplace surround for his home, Keith Hoffman of Afton, likes to drop a small piece of pipe insulation into the collet
Minnesota, realized he couldnt install pocket screws in a of his router before inserting the bit. This keeps his bits
tight space with his drill driver. Instead, he switched to a from bottoming out and potentially loosening up during
small ratchet, 14" socket, and drive bit to get the job done. use or causing excessive vibration.

6 Woodsmith / No. 218

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NOTE: 3"-wide stretcher
made from 1!/2 " plywood.
Cut to fit between arms
1#/4 "-
rad. NOTE: Arms are
1 1 made from 1#/4 "-rad.
#/4 " plywood
3!/2 1
1!/2 1!/2 #/8"-16 x 3" hex
ARM 3!/2 bolt w/washer
1!/2 & locknut

#8 x 2!/2" Fh woodscrew

Swing Arm Sheet Goods Lift

Last year, I built a knock-down cutting table similar to the one
that is available as an Online Extra from Woodsmith No. 185. This
quick-to-assemble table clamps to a couple of saw horses and is
perfect for breaking down sheet goods. To make the table even
more user-friendly, I added the swing arm lift shown at left to
assist in loading large sheets of plywood onto the table.
The plywood arms have a notch cut on one end. A two-layer
plywood stretcher connects the two arms. The arms are attached
to the knock-down table with bolts, washers, and lock nuts. To
load a sheet of plywood onto the table, simply lift the panel high
enough to set in the notches and swing the lift up.
Glen Frazier
Santa Rosa, California

If you have an original shop
tip, we would like to hearr
from you and consider
publishing your tip in one
or more of our publications.
Jump online and go to:
and click on the link,

Youll be able to tell us all about
your tip and upload your photos
hotos and
drawings. You can also maill your tips
to Woodsmith Tips at the editorial
address shown on page 2. We will pay
up to $200 if we publish your tip.


Now you can have the best time-saving

Stool to Shop Cart Conversion secrets, solutions, and techniques sent

directly to your email inbox. Just go to:
I recently replaced an aging desk chair pieces of plywood to match the chair
that had several tears in the seat fabric. mounting bracket. A few strips of hard-
Since the wheeled pedestal of the chair board around the top perimeter keeps
and click on,
was still in perfect working condition, I items from rolling off. This roll-around
Woodsmith Tips
decided to repurpose it and create this shop cart is the perfect place for tools,
mobile shop cart. supplies, and project components. Youll receive one of our favorite tips
Depending on the style of chair used, Steve French by email each and every week.
construction will vary. I shaped a couple Lakeland, Florida 7

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Push Pad Tray
A good set of push pads is a must-have
safety item when using a jointer. And the
jointer bed seems like the logical place to
store them. That is, until you walk over
to your jointer, with board in hand, and
realize the push pads are right in the way
of where you need to set the workpiece.
Well, this handy, easy-to-mount tray
solves that problem while keeping the
push pads at the ready.
photo at right and the illustration below,
the push pad tray is constructed from ply-
wood. The front, back, and end pieces all
have a groove along their inside edge.
This groove holds the plywood bottom
panel. The back and front pieces also
receive a rabbet along their ends. These
rabbets interlock with the end pieces to
make a sturdy tray. I also rounded over
#4 x !/2" Fh woodscrew
the ends of the front piece to keep from
snagging my shop apron. !/2 NOTE: Back made !/2"rare-earth
!/2 1!/2 from #/4" plywood magnet w/cup
I drilled a couple shallow
3%/8 #/16
holes in the back of the
tray to recess two rare- !/4 BACK !/2"-rad.
earth magnets and cups. !/2 !/2"-rad.
These are more than 12#/4
enough to hold the BOTTOM
tray to the jointer. The END
13!/4 !/2
tray then goes together
with a little glue at the 3%/8
NOTE: Front and
corners and in the groove. ends made from
13#/4 !/4
Bill Mullin !/2" plywood. Bottom
is !/4" plywood
Creston, Iowa NOTE: Front corners 1
have !/4" roundover NOTE: Size tray
to fit push pads


Benchtop Upgrade. Faced with replacing his battered Dowel Gauge. John Cusimano of Lansdale, Pennsylvania,
workbench top, Lee Kraftchick of Miami, Florida, instead found that the dowels at his local home center were often
opted to cover his workbench with some inexpensive solid under or oversized. To get the exact size dowel for his
bamboo flooring. The flooring is easy to install with glue or projects, he made this dowel gauge block that he can take
finish nails, and it resists scratches and stains. with him when he shops for dowels.

8 Woodsmith / No. 218

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Low-Cost Dust Separator
I have long needed to upgrade the dust
collection system in my workshop. My
prior system consisted of pulling my
shop vacuum over to the tool I was
using and plugging it in. This works
just fine for many of the operations I
do, but the filter in the shop vacuum
kept clogging up quickly, resulting in
reduced suction power.
Not wanting to spend a lot of money, I
came up with the solution you see here.
It allowed me to make a two-stage dust
extraction system using mostly items I
already had in my shop, plus a few inex-
pensive pieces of PVC.
HOW IT WORKS. Since the two elbows
inside the bucket face in opposite direc-
tions (inset photo), a vortex is created
when the shop vacuum is attached and
turned on. This vortex deposits most of
the wood chips and dust into the bucket.
This, in turn, keeps the filter in my shop
vacuum clean for much longer, which
prevents a loss of suction power.
BIG BUCKET. At the heart of my new dust
collector is a five-gallon bucket that acts
as the first stage of the system. I sand-
wiched the lid between two plywood
discs and secured the assembly with
screws. The discs act as an anchor point
for two short sections of PVC pipe and
elbows. I chamfered both edges of the
lower disc for a better fit inside the bot-
tom of the lid. I also chamfered the top of
the upper disc to remove the sharp edge.
ADD PVC. Each PVC assembly
consists of a coupler, a pipe, #8 x 1" Fh chamfer
and a 45 elbow. The coupler woodscrew 2#/8" -dia.
hole 5-gallon
size I used is a slip fit with the 2" PVC NOTE: Insert bucket
coupler made from
hose on my shop vacuum. I !/4" plywood.
drilled the holes in the discs Upper disc
made from
and lid using a hole saw and 10&/16 !/2" plywood.
UPPER DISC Lower disc
held the PVC in place using and base
some epoxy. The coupler and LID made from
2" #/4" plywood 10!/16
4 3!/4
elbow should slide over the PVC
pipe and rest flush against the
discs on either side. !/8"
MOBILE BASE. To give my dust (top & 12
!/4" bottom
collector some mobility, I cut chamfer edges)
another disc, chamfered both MOBILE BASE
edges, and added four cast- LOWER DISC
ers. A thin plywood insert
glued to the mobile base sur- 2" PVC 11#/16 2" swivel
45 elbow caster
face keeps the bucket from
sliding off the base.
NOTE: !/8" chamfer NOTE: Four
Gary Brown cut on bottom side casters needed
Maroa, Illinois of lower disc 9

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building your
Shop First Aid Kit
Without a doubt, when youre working some serious injuries. Here, youll find supplies dry and dust-free in the shop.
in the shop, an injury is always a possibil- my recommendations for creating your But more important, its big enough to
ity. Some injuries, such as a splinter or a own kit. Most of the supplies are avail- hold everything I need to deal with most
small cut, can be merely a nuisance. Oth- able at your pharmacy, and harder to find shop emergencies.
ers can be much more serious and require items are listed in Sources on page 67. Its important to clearly label the con-
a trip to the urgent care center. COMPACT, ACCESSIBLE STORAGE. The first tainer. You can download labels from the
In all cases, a well-stocked first aid kit requirement for a first aid kit is storage. internet or design your own.
should be easily within easy reach. Its I use an inexpensive plastic container SPLINTER TREATMENT. As you know, the
your first line of care for both
bot minor and with a handle, shown above. It keeps most common injuries youll encounter
in the shop are splinters. They range
< Sterile eyewash can from a tiny sliver to what seems like
help flush debris and a 2x4 stuck in your skin. The sterile
errant liquid splashes Splinter Out picks you see at left make
from the eye. splinter removal easier. The ultra-sharp
point and wide, flat body make them
> This sterilee tool effective and easy at removing splinters.
was designed
gned If you can get to the end of the splinter,
to grab a a tweezer with fine points works better
splinter for
or than common household tweezers. The
easier removal.
moval. ones shown at left also incorporate a
magnifying glass to help you target the
splinter more effectively.
< Sharp
Sh points and A trick I learned from a nurse for
a magnifying removing small splinters that are hard
gl make these to see is to wipe the area with isopropyl
tw ideal for (rubbing) alcohol first. It makes the skin
re splinters. more translucent, so the splinter shows
up better. The alcohol also disinfects the
area to help prevent infection later on.

10 Woodsmith / No. 218


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saline sspray
remove dirt
and debris
from wounds

Brush-on bandage flex with
remains flexible Fingertip your finger
bandages are Finger-cots can
more secure
mo be used with
tubular gauze

strips close
the wound

powder helps
stop bleeding

{ Keep a supply
ply of bandages and sterile
saline in your first aid kit to treat and
protect minor wounds.

FIGHTING INFECTION. Infection is a concern helps

h l reduce irritation from accidental ones with a stronger adhesive. They
not only for splinters, but for any open splashes of liquid such as finishes or stand up to a lot of abuse in the shop. If
wound. A bottle of sterile saline solu- solvents. As with serious injuries, have you need additional protection for your
tion can be used to wash out the wound your eyes looked at by a professional fingertips, you can use a finger cot that
(left photo above). Betadine or hydrogen after youve thoroughly rinsed them. rolls onto your finger.
peroxide applied to the area also helps FINGER WOUNDS. A woodworkers hands A liquid bandage product is great
reduce infection. For deep wounds, and fingers typically display scratches for small scratches. You apply it with a
though, its best to stick with the saline or bandages of some sort. Its inevitable brush. Its flexible and waterproof, too.
solution and then seek professional when youre working with wood and I find its also a great product to use on
medical treatment. sharp tools. A wide range of bandage cracked skin during the winter.
FOREIGN OBJECTS IN THE EYE. Next to splin- sizes and types is a requirement for a WOUND CARE. Since woodworkers use a
ters, dust in the eye is another common shop first aid kit (photo above). lot of tools with sharp cutting edges, a
ailment. For that I keep a bottle of sterile Fingertip and knuckle bandages are deeper skin wound is a real risk. I keep
eye wash solution on hand (lower left always within reach in my shop. Theyre a supply of the items you see above and
photo, opposite page). Its better than tap specially shaped to conform to and move in the main photo for first aid treatment.
water for flushing debris away. It also with the fingers. I buy the heavier-duty With an injury, your two primary con-
cerns are to clean the wound and stop the

GETTING HELP: BUTTON PAGER bleeding. Ive already talked about using
a sterile saline solution for irrigating the
wound. But stopping the bleeding is even
Youve seen the commercials where with you at all times. When you press more important.
an elderly person has fallen and uses the button on the pager, a receiving For minor wounds, theres a powder
a pager button to get help. Those same unit in the house sounds a loud alarm. product you can apply to the wound that
products can be a big help in case of This way, a family member can come causes the blood to clot. For more serious
a shop emergency. They include one to the rescue and provide any assis- injuries, use sterile gauze pads or surgical
or more pager buttons that you keep tance you may need. compresses. The key is to apply plenty of
pressure to the wound to stop the bleed-
ing. If the bandages become soaked,
> An inexpensive
nsive apply fresh ones on top of the others.
paging system
tem GET HELP. The most important lesson Ive
sounds an learned is to get help. For this I keep a
alarm whenn cell phone handy. Another great option
you press the
he is shown in the box at left. Its always
remote button.
ton. best to err on the side of caution and
seek medical attention if a shop injury
might be serious. W 11

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a high-end look with

Table Edge

Router Bits
A well-chosen
w profile added to a table- This wider profile looks more in propor-
top makes the edge more friendly both to tion with a large tabletop.
the eye and hand. The problem is a small PROFILE OPTIONS. Several bit manufac-
rou or narrow chamfer doesnt turers make table edge bits. In the left
really cut it on a large, thick tabletop. margin, you can see three bits from one
Bit Thats because a small profile gets maker that give you an idea of just some
lost in the wide expanse of the top. The of the profiles that are available. (For
challenge then becomes creating a more sources of the bits, turn to page 67.)
impressive profile that creates a smoother Having several choices gives you
visual transition to the edges and is better the ability to use a profile that suits the
scaled to size of the table. Thats where a style of the project. In addition, you can
table edge bit comes into play. coordinate the profile of the tabletop to
NOT JUST BIGGER. The obvious difference similar (though smaller) profiles used
Ogee Fillet w/ between table edge bits and ordinary elsewhere in the project or with other
Radius Bit
profile bits is the overall size. The cut- furniture items in the same room.
ting diameter of the bits is around 258" As you might imagine, table edge
and theyre only available in 12" shanks. bits cost more than a regular profile bit.
That size has some implications for use, Depending on the brand, they can run
but Ill get to that later. from around $30 up to $90.
Another difference has to do with the
orientation of the profile. A typical profile PUTTING THE BITS TO WORK
{ Table edge router bits cut wide profiles bit creates a shape thats about as wide Selecting a bit is one thing, but putting it
to better suit the large-scale surfaces of as it is deep. A table edge profile, on the to work is another. Due to the larger size,
tables and cabinet tops. other hand, is much wider than it is deep. there are a few issues to consider.

12 Woodsmith / No. 218

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SLOW DOWN. The first way these large-
diameter bits alter how you work is the
speed requirements. The bits I used had a
recommendation of 18,000 RPM. This Rout ends
translates to the 3 setting on my rout- of workpiece first
ers dial, according to the manual. (If your
Move the router
router doesnt have variable speed, you so that you are
can purchase an aftermarket controller.) following the grain
around the curves
SOLID SUPPORT. In addition to the oper- to prevent tearout
ating speed, you have to accommodate If corner chips outs,
routing the long-grain
the bit. A table edge bit isnt likely to fit edge will remove it
through the opening in your baseplate.
And even if it did, there wouldnt be
much surface area left over to provide
good support while routing.
I made a large auxiliary baseplate to
solve both those issues. In the box below,
you can find the details to make a similar
baseplate for your router. the strain on the router and bit, create the Things get a little trickier on oval or
SMALL BITES. When youre ready to turn profile in multiple passes, lowering the round tops. The transition from long grain
on the router, the process will seem bit between each pass. to end grain is more subtle, and routing
pretty familiar to using a typical pro- That being said, for the first pass or against the grain may lead to tearout. To
file bit. Routing the full profile involves two, you can set the bit for a 316" depth prevent this, I take light cuts and move the
removing a lot of waste material. To ease of cut or so. Any chipout you get will be router so that its working downhill to
eliminated in subsequent passes. The the grain (upper right drawing).
closer you get to the final depth of cut, This means that for some cuts, youll
the shallower the cut you should take. be cutting opposite the normal routing
FIND YOUR DIRECTION. The order and direc- direction (backrouting). But by taking
tion of the cuts makes a difference, as light cuts and keeping firm control of the
well. On a rectangular top, I start by router, it isnt a big deal.
routing across one end, as shown in the The final result is a smooth, crisp pro-
upper left drawing. As the bit exits the file that enhances the look of your table-
Rout in multiple cut, it could chip out the trailing edge. top. Table edge bits give you another
passes to avoid
tearout and burning But the blemish will be cut away once option for adding detail and making your
you shape the long edge. project stand apart from the rest. W


NOTE: Auxiliary baseplate
made from !/2" plywood
For me, the size of the workpiece determines whether up support stands to help support (6" x 13!/2")
to use the router table or a hand-held router to create a long or wide parts, as shown in the
profile with a table edge bit. For smaller and mid-size lower left photo.
parts, a router table offers the best combination of sup- AUXILIARY BASEPLATE. On large table-
port and control for me. Sometimes its handy to set tops, I prefer to bring the tool to
the workpiece. However, support
and control are still crucial. For
that, I made the baseplate shown
at right. Its made from 12" ply-
wood for stiffness. The added
size prevents the router Tall
from tipping in use knob
especially near 2#/4"-
the corners. A tall dia. hole
knob on the end 1!/2 "-rad.
{ A roller stand can be used to support a long workpiece as gives you more router
you complete a cut. For wide panels, you may want to set control to steer the baseplate to
mark screw
up additional supports to the side of the table, as well. router in use. locations 13

WS218_012.indd 13 2/5/2015 2:34:50 PM


Leighs new router table

Dovetail Jig
The first time I saw the new Leigh RTJ400 template, rather than the router, is the tackle unique joints such as half-blind
dovetail jig, my initial thought was that part that moves. Instead of a hand- box joints and angled dovetails.
its a lot different than other dovetail jigs held router, the guide bushing and bit As you can understand, I was
Im accustomed to using. For years, Ive are installed in a router table. Then you intrigued by the possibility of increas-
owned a jig thats used with a hand-held pass the template over them to cut the ing my joinery capabilities with this jig.
router. The router moves in and out of a joints, as you can see in the photo above. So I decided to put it through the paces
comb-like template to cut the joints. Not only does the Leigh jig work differ- in my shop to see how well it worked.
This jig, on the other ently than most other dovetail jigs, but JIG OVERVIEW. At $329, the RTJ400 is cer-
hand, takes that basic it also claims to be a lot more versatile. tainly not the cheapest dovetail jig on
concept and flips it on According to the manual, you can make the market. But my hope was that its
its head. The work- nine types of through dovetails, three versatility, paired with the quality Ive
pieces are still secured different sizes of half-blind dovetails, come to expect from Leigh, would make
to a template. But the and four sizes of box joints. It can also it a good investment.

< Leighs new jig lets Spring-loaded clamp

locks down workpieces Side
you rout many different stop
dovetails and box joints.
Frame holds
Thick aluminum in position



Blockers prevent
routing into the Depth gauge
wrong holes in the helps you set Pin wrench Allen Four bits come
template the height of adjusts the wrench standard with
the router bit bushing setting the jig

14 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_014.indd 14 1/28/2015 10:40:02 AM

1 " x 1 1 "
2 4
straight bit

2"x 1316" x 8o
dovetail bit

3 " x 1 1 "
8 4
straight bit

2"x 12" x 14o
dovetail bit

{ One of the secrets to the jigs versatility and ease of use is the series of { These bits come standard with the jig and can handle
presets at each end of the jig. To rout a particular joint, you just position basic through dovetails, half-blind dovetails, and box
the frame using the indicated preset holes, and the jig is ready to go. joints. Other bits are available as options.

As you can see in the photo at the bot- PRESET HOLES. At the ends of the template, the fit of the joint easily. If a joint is
tom of the opposite page, the RTJ400 youll find the secret to what makes the too loose or too tight, you can fix it by
includes a variety of accessories. Leigh jig so easy to set up and use. And thats rotating the bushing as shown below.
also provides a very thorough manual, a series of preset holes and slots for rout- Since theyre elliptical, rather than cir-
quick reference instruction strips, and a ing different types of dovetail and box cular, the bushings might seem like theyd
DVD that walks you through every cut joints. You can see the holes at one cor- add a measure of confusion to using the
you might want to make. ner of the jig in the upper left photo. jig. But I found that really wasnt the case.
As I started working with the jig, I was These holes are used to position the The trick, as the manual explains, is to
impressed by its ease of use. Even though frame on the template for each type of strike a centerline on the reducer ring that
the jig can cut many different kinds of joint. If you want to cut through dove- holds the bushing. That way, you have an
joinery, each setup is simple to achieve. tails, for example, you position the frame easy reference for adjusting the bushing
Plus, its straightforward to switch from using the corresponding presets on the based on the cut at hand.
one setup to another when needed. template. Then, when its time to rout OTHER FEATURES. If a jig is going to handle
TWO-SIDED TEMPLATE. The jig has several a different joint, you simply switch to a as many joints as the Leigh claims it can,
features that contribute to both its sim- different set of holes. its going to need a lot of router bits, as
plicity and versatility. For one, it has ELLIPTICAL BUSHING. The guide bushing well. And Leighs jig certainly delivers in
a double-edged template that allows also contributes to the jigs versatil- that area. It comes standard with four
you to cut both the tails and pins for ity (lower left photo). It has an open- different bits, which can be used to cut
a through dovetail. You can see both ing with an elliptical shape, rather the through dovetails, half-blind dove-
edges of the template in the photo on the than a perfect circle. (The same type of tails, and box joints shown in this article
opposite page. The template also acts as bushing is used with other Leigh jigs, (upper right photo). An accessory kit is
a base for a frame that provides a clamp- as well.) This is an important consid- also available with more bits and bush-
ing surface for holding the workpieces. eration, as it allows you to fine-tune ings to expand the capabilities of the jig.
Other features enhance the accuracy
of the jig. There are blockers that fill
holes in the template when you want
to change the spacing of the joint. Side
stops allow for accurate positioning of the
workpiece. And the heavy-duty, spring-
loaded clamps keep the pieces from shift-
ing while you rout (near left photo).
IMPRESSIONS. Lots of gadgets are all
Reference well and good, but I was particularly
line drawn
on table impressed with the jig in use. At 11
insert ring
pounds, it has good heft that keeps it
firmly in place on the table as you rout
the joints. I also find that I enjoy the mea-
{ Rotate the elliptical bushing to fine-tune { The spring-loaded clamps slide in a track sure of control provided by routing at a
the fit of a joint. Just turn it to the right or and hold the workpieces securely to the router table. For a closer look at some of
left to tighten or loosen the fit. frame as you rout the joints. the joints the jig can make, turn the page. 15

WS218_014.indd 15 1/28/2015 10:40:31 AM

The Leigh RTJ400 isnt the only jig on Left Side
the market capable of routing through
Set frame
dovetails. But with five different sizes of onto the
dovetails, its one of the most versatile. template in
the preset
Whats more, the jig makes this complex holes for
joint surprisingly easy to cut. dovetails
SET THE FRAME. For standard through
Right Side
dovetails (12" pins and 1" tails), youll
use both edges of the jigs template.
The edge of the template with straight
fingers is for the tails, and the edge 2 Center the tail board over
with the angled fingers is for the pins. the template, clamp it
The first step is setting the frame in the securely in position, and
then secure the side stop
preset holes, in this case to cut the tails in place beside the board
(refer to Figure 1). (inset photo)
position the first workpiece on the tem-
plate manually, but this isnt difficult to
do. Just use a rule to center the work-
piece over the fingers of the template,
and clamp it down (Figure 2). Then
set the left side stop against the work- 3
piece to lock in the setting for routing Raise bit to line
subsequent workpieces (inset photo).
Note that theres also a backer board Insert blockers
in every other
thats clamped horizontally behind opening and
the workpiece. This helps to prevent cutting tails
tearout while routing.
Mark the bit height by
SET THE BIT HEIGHT. With the frame and placing the pin board
workpiece positioned, the next step is to against the face of the
tail board and making
set the height of the bit. And since these a pencil line
are through dovetails, that means you
can use the mating workpiece to estab-
lish the depth of the cut, as shown in Fig- 4
ure 3. For standard through dovetails, Left Side To rout the
youll only rout in every other opening pins, flip
in the template, so you can insert the the frame
around on
blockers in the other openings (inset the template
and insert
photo). Then just rout in and out of the into the
template openings to complete the tails. preset holes
FLIP THE FRAME. Now you can turn your Right Side
attention to the mating pin board of the
through dovetail joint. To cut this side
of the joint, youll rotate the frame and
align it with the pin side of the two- 5
sided template. This template has wider Rout the pins using a straight
bit and the template with
openings and angled fingers on either wider openings. Make a light Skim pass
side of the opening. skim pass (inset photo) before
cutting to full depth
To set the frame on the template,
youll use the preset holes that match
the diameter of the bit youll be using
to cut the dovetail pins, which is 12" in
this case (refer to Figure 4).
ROUT THE PINS. While you use a dovetail
bit to cut the tails, youll actually rely on
a straight bit to cut the pins. The reason
this works is due to the angled sides of

16 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_016.indd 16 1/28/2015 7:13:32 AM

the template openings, which you can
see in Figure 5 on the opposite page.
The good news is that the setup for rout- Pin board
ing the pins is easy. The side stop you set stop
in Figure 2 will automatically position the
pin board to match. And you set the bit
height the same as is shown in Figure 3.
When it comes time to rout the pins,
youll just want to be aware that this is a Tail board { With the Leigh jig, you can rout both the
hefty cut that removes a lot of material. stop pins and tails of a half-blind dovetail
So its best to make a light skim pass first joint in one operation.
to establish the shoulder, as shown in the
inset photo of Figure 5. Then you can fin- that are proud or recessed, you reposi- but half-blind dovetails. I use this type
ish routing the pins. tion the frame in the template using of joint all the time, particularly for
FINE-TUNING THE JOINT. Almost every dove- the + or - holes. (You can see these drawer construction (refer to the cherry
tail joint requires some fine-tuning to clearly in Figure 1 on the opposite buffet on page 42). And, as I expected,
get the fit just right. And as promised, page.) I found I was able to dial in a the Leigh jig is well-equipped to handle
the Leigh jig has a number of features perfect fit with just a few test cuts. half-blind dovetails, too.
that make this process easy. If the joint The typical manner of routing half-
is too loose or too tight, you simply turn HALF-BLIND DOVETAILS blind dovetails is to offset the position
the elliptical bushing in the router table, Really, the bread-and-butter joint for of the pin board from the tail board, and
and make another test cut. For joints any dovetail jig isnt through dovetails, rout both parts of the joint at once. And
the Leigh jig allows you to cut them this
way, as well. In fact, the side stop has two
settings, so it positions both the tail board
and pin board for the cut simply by plac-
ing them against the corresponding parts
of the stop (upper left photo).
SETUP GAUGE. Setting the height of the bit
is a little trickier for a half-blind dovetail,
since you wont be cutting all the way
through the workpiece. Fortunately,
Leigh offers a simple depth gauge that
simplifies the process (near left photo).
{ For routing half-blind dovetails in thinner { A bit depth gauge makes it easy to set You just raise the bit to match the setting
stock, you pass a stop rod through the the height of the dovetail bit for cutting of the bit youre using until it just barely
template to limit the depth of the bits cut. accurate half-blind dovetail joints. grazes the underside of the gauge.
STOP ROD. As it is, the jigs template
works great for routing half-blind

How-To: CREATE PERFECT BOX JOINTS dovetails in 34"-thick stock. Of course,

sometimes you want dovetails in 58"
or thinner stock. This requires limit-
The Leigh jig handles four sizes of box stop rod to set the position of the side ing the distance that the router bit cuts
joints with ease, as well (332", 316", 38", stop for routing the box joints (photo into the opening in the template, and
and 34"). And setting up for box joints below). Then its just a matter of shift- Leigh solved this problem with a long
is even easier than for dovetail joints. ing the frame between two positions nylon stop rod. When needed, it passes
Instead of centering the workpiece to create the interlocking pins and through holes in the template openings
on the template, you use the long slots on the mating workpieces. to limit the depth of cut (inset photo,
above left). Then it simply stores below
the template frame when not needed.
< Preset holes in the FINAL IMPRESSIONS. The Leigh RTJ400 is
jig template allow pricey compared to other dovetail jigs.
you to accurately But after extensive use in my shop, I
position the side have to say that this versatile, easy-to-
stop for routing use jig is worth the cost. In fact, it has
perfect-fitting changed the way I look at dovetail join-
box joints. ery. I now consider the router table my
go-to tool for these cuts. W 17

WS218_016.indd 17 1/28/2015 7:14:24 AM

ee ken d

Window Planter Box For additional size
options, go to

Give your homes curb appeal a little boost with this easy-to-build project.
In the process, youll learn some tricks for rock-solid construction.
Outdoor projects need to be built like a sturdy framework that easily supports a enjoy the rewards of its design (and the
tank to handle the weather extremes they heavy-duty plastic liner filled with pot- blooms) season after season.
face. The problem is many outdoor proj- ting soil and plants. The construction is CONSTRUCTION OVERVIEW. The window box
ects often end up looking like tanks, too. designed to shed water like a ducks back consists of three basic components. It
But not this window planter box. for maximum durability. starts with a wide upper frame that cre-
While this simple project has the charm All this is accomplished by combin- ates a lip to support the plastic liner.
of a picket fence, it offers some great les- ing strong but light cedar, durable join- The second component is a set of slats
sons in building for the outdoors. Under- ery, and some classic details. With an captured in a groove in the upper frame.
neath its cottage-style appearance lies a easy weekends worth of effort, youll These have decorative cutouts to give the
window box its unique look.
Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram Finally, a hidden inner frame anchors
the lower portion of the window box
A Upper Frame Front/Back (2) 114 x 112 - 38 F Hanging Cleat (1) (opt.) 112 x 214 - 32
and gives it added strength. The open
B Upper Frame Ends(2) 114 x 112 - 10 (1) 36" Flower Box Liner
C Lower Frame Front/Back (2) 34 x 112 - 3412 (2) Hanger Brackets (opt.)
frame allows excess water from the liner
D Lower Frame Ends (2) 3 x 11 - 61
4 2 2 (10) #14 x 1" Ph Woodscrews (opt.) to drain away freely. The construction
E Slats (28) 3 x 37 - 53
8 16 4 (3) #14 x 112" Ph Woodscrews (opt.) process starts with making the frames
and then adding the slats.
#/4"x 3!/2" - 48" Cedar (1.2 Bd. Ft.) D 1!/2" x 3!/2" - 36" Cedar (1.3 Bd. Ft.)
UPPER FRAME. The upper frame stands
apart from the other frame with the
1!/4"x 3!/2" - 72" Cedar (2.6 Bd. Ft.)
details it includes. Take a look at the
drawing on the top of the opposite
1!/4" x 3!/2" - 60" Cedar (2.2 Bd. Ft.) A B page to see what I mean. The cor-
ners are joined with miters for a clean
appearance. It also limits the amount

18 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_018.indd 18 2/5/2015 7:37:09 AM

36" planter box liner
(turn to page 67 for sources)
a. #/8 !/4
of exposed end grain that can absorb B

moisture and lead to decay. A stepped, #/4

angled groove on the underside of the 10 A
frame parts accepts the slats and estab- C
lishes the tapered look of the window 1!/2
box, as illustrated in detail a.
The process for doing this is more man- B
ageable than it appears on the surface. BACK
The trick is knowing the right order of
operations. The box below walks you
b. A
through the main steps. FRAME A 38 Splines FRAME
I prepared extra-long blanks for the FRONT END
front, back, and two end pieces. These 1!/4 NOTE: Frame front, back,
2!/2 and ends are made from
match the final thickness and width of 1!/4"-thick western red cedar
the frame parts (detail a at right).
The angled groove is the first detail to Take your time setting up the saw and strengthen the joint, I used a table saw
tackle, as shown in Figure 1. Cutting it miter gauge for accurate cuts. jig to cut a slot through the joint and
before creating the step means the rectan- Gluing up a mitered frame is tricky at added splines. The jig holds the frame at
gular blank has the most stability. best. What makes it even harder is that a 45 angle. As a result, the bottom of the
In order to create a lip on the frame the previous steps dont leave much slot is perpendicular to the mitered face,
blanks, turn the blanks on edge and trim surface area for applying clamps. My as in Figure 4. The grain of the spline
away the outer edge of the blank. Replace solution was to make an MDF clamping will run across the joint line to increase
the dado blade with a regular blade and form to fit inside the completed frame, as the amount of long grain glue surface.
set it square to the table (Figure 2). illustrated in Figure 3. Then you can size a spline blank to
The upper frame is joined with miters SPLINES. The mitered joints look great, match the the width of the slots. After cut-
cut on the ends. I did this by placing but the joints arent durable enough to ting the splines to rough length, glue them
the top face down on the saw table. make the grade outdoors. In order to in place and trim them flush (Figure 5).


Chamfer at each
3 corner of MDF form
prevents glue contact

1 Rip fence
2 #/4" MDF form
(7" x 35")
Frame frame
blank a. END VIEW a. #/4
!/2 #/8
fence 1"-dia.
#/8" dado VIEW holes cut
blade for clamps
NOTE: Tilt
blade 12 Risers

Angled Groove. Tilt the dado Trim One Edge. Rotate the Gluing Form. An MDF form keeps the frame
blade to create the groove that frame blank on edge to cut away square while the glue dries. Drill holes in the form
holds the slats in the upper frame. one side of the groove. to provide access for the clamp heads.

NOTE: Size saddle Fence

to fit over rip fence 1!/4 2 4 5
12 a. END

8 1
Trim spline
waste, then
45 90 sand smooth
#8 x 1!/4" Fh
8 Cut the Spline Slot. The saddle jig holds Trimming Splines.
NOTE: Miter jig is Support the frame in the correct position to cut Cut away most of the
made from #/4" MDF the spline slots that reinforce the miters. excess with a hand saw. 19

WS218_018.indd 19 2/3/2015 1:49:57 PM

NOTE: 12 bevel on
lower frame outside
edge is cut after assembly
1!/2 C
BACK #/8

D 1!/2
D #/8

1!/2 34!/2


b. c.
LOWER 3&/16 1
FRAME 5#/4
END NOTE: Lower frame parts !/8
are made from #/4"-thick stock Upper
NOTE: Slats are resawn from 5#/4
1!/4"-thick stock and planed
SLATS down to #/8" thick E
2!!/16 E
NOTE: Corner slat
assemblies are made Corner slats are mitered, glued !/2 D C
in mirror-image pairs, and pinned before inserting END
turn to page 64 for details in upper frame SECTION
!/2 (/16 VIEW

Lower frame & SLATS PLAN VIEW 12

The lower frame of the planter box is Theres one catch: The lower frame rests SLATS. The slats give the window box its
simpler than the upper frame. Instead of inside the slats, which are angled outward. distinctive look. The lower ends are dog-
miters and a clean look, I chose the brute So the frame needs to be beveled to match eared with a chamfer, and they have a
strength of half laps. the slope of the slats. This is best done after diamond cutout along the middle.
TABLE SAW JOINERY. In addition to the assembly of the frame. For the ends, the The box on the facing page gives you a
sturdy construction, half laps are easy to miter gauge offers the best control and good summary of the process. But there
cut on the table saw. All it takes is one results. For the long edges, you can use are a few additional things to highlight.
setup, as shown in the box below. the rip fence (lower right drawings). EXTRA PARTS. I resawed the slat blanks
from thicker stock. The key when plan-

How-To: CUT HALF LAPS & BEVEL ing them to size is to aim for a snug fit in
the groove in the upper frame.
Its a good idea to make a few extra
slats to use as test pieces and have a few
Aux. miter extras on hand in case of a miscut.
fence Rip
fence Most of the slats are straightforward
Rip fence
acts as stop to make. But the corner slats are mitered
Waste and tapered to create a seamless edge and
D E Lower match the bevel of the frames. This adds
assembly a few extra steps but isnt complicated.
#/4" dado
blade a. END VIEW a. END VIEW TWO-STEP DIAMONDS. The diamond-
1!/2 shaped cutout is the first detail to add
to the slats. This is done by making two
Tilt blade
#/8 12 cuts on each edge of the slats. The key
here is making sure the cutout on each
slat is located consistently. A stop block
Cutting Half Laps. The key to the half Bevel The Frame. The saw blade attached to the rip fence is a good way to
laps is taking the time to set the blade is tilted to match the slope of the register the parts to make the cuts.
height to half the thickness of the parts. groove in the upper frame. Mark the location of the top edge of
the cutout on one of the slats. You can

20 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_020.indd 20 2/5/2015 9:13:21 AM

use that as a gauge to position the stop
block (Figure 1). Now its just a matter
of making the same cut in all the slats. 1 2
Completing the notch involves chang- Slat
blanks Aux.
ing the setup. You need to flip the slats Stop miter
block on
around to make the second cut. So I rip fence
Stop a. END VIEW
moved the auxiliary fence on the miter a. END VIEW block
Second Lower
gauge to offer better support for the slats. 1 cut blade
1 below
Like before, grab a test piece to fine- Tilt blade cut
tune the position of the rip fence. I also 45 First cut
found it necessary to lower the blade
slightly to prevent scoring the opposite A Decorative Notch. You can speed Second Cut. Reposition the stop block
side of the cutout, as in Figure 2. up the shaping process by cutting and lower the blade to cut a crisp point
A CHAMFER ON THE END. The final detail step several slats at one time. on the inside of the notch.
is cutting a chamfer on the lower corners
of all the slats, as you can see in Figure 3. 3 4
By now, you have a pretty good idea of
how this cut is made.
BEVEL & TAPER. The basic slats are complete. Waste
The task now is to cut the corner slats to a. END
Tilt blade
final size. This involves cutting a taper block 45
along the length and mitering the edge of
!/2 NOTE: See Shop
the corner slats a compound-angle cut. Tilt blade 45 Notes, page 64, Front left and
The way to do this is to use a sled for sled construction back right corner
and slat positioning slat shown
that holds the slat at the correct angle,
as shown in Figure 4. You can find the Chamfer. The setup for cutting Slat Sled. To accurately cut the beveled
details in Shop Notes on page 64. the chamfer on the lower end is taper on the corner slats, I used a simple jig
FINAL ASSEMBLY. Bringing all these parts similar to creating the notch. to register the parts.
together is the payoff for the careful
work youve been doing. I flipped the 5 6
upper frame upside down on my bench
and marked centerlines on the length. Pin
Frame is
From there, I glued the mating corner upside down on
slats together, as in Figure 5. (Be sure to use workbench
a waterproof glue.) Once the miter joint is
dry, you can glue the corner pieces in place
(Figure 6). You can avoid waiting for glue
to dry by pinning the slats in the grooves. Dry fit slats in top Square edge of slat
The lower frame is added next. Whats frame groove while corner to underside
miter joint glue dries of top frame
important here is that the frame rests
level across the bottom, as in Figure 7. Nail Glued Corners. Drive 23-gauge Start at the Corner. Use a try square to
The goal with the remaining slats is to pins to act as clamps for holding the make sure the corner slat assemblies are
space them evenly between the corners. miter joint tight as the glue dries. aligned during the glueup.
I marked a centerline on two slats and
Middle slat
aligned them with the marks on the frame 7 8
(Figure 8). Set the slats into the groove Slat
(without glue) and tweak the side-to-side !/8
location to get even gaps (about 18"). Then
glue the slats in place one at a time. Lower
There are several ways to attach the frame Lower
planter box to a house. On page 65, you Upper frame
(/16" -thick spacers
can see one solution that uses a unique hold lower frame centerline
hanging bracket and beveled cleat. level while End slat is
installing centered
Even though cedar is weather-resistant,
I primed and painted the planter (refer to Add the Lower Frame. Insert the From the Center. Center the middle slat
Sources on page 67 for the color). Then its lower frame through the upper between the corners. Then space the
a matter dropping in the liner and picking frame and glue it to the corner slats. remaining slats equally in between.
the flowers to put inside. W 21

WS218_020.indd 21 2/3/2015 2:26:50 PM

p Sto rage

Drill Bit Index
Store your most-used drill bits in style with this
modern take on a classic storage device.
A few of us around the Woodsmith shop The three sides pivot on pins made
have a fondness for antique tools. Theres from brass rods. Each side of the index
a certain charm about the styling and is unique in shape so that all three sides
utility of these old-time classics. When nest together when collapsed. The two
our managing editor, Vince, brought in free ends butt together when expanded.
an antique drill bit index, it inspired the NOTES ABOUT CONSTRUCTION. Building this
design for the one shown above. project isnt difficult, but its construc-
The triangular index provides a stable tion techniques may not be what youre
platform for your most commonly used used to. This project relies heavily on
{ Folding the drill index turns it into a bits during use. For storage, the index patterns to shape each of the parts and
compact package thats easy to store on folds up into a compact unit, as shown locate key features like the holes for the
your benchtop or a shelf. in the photo at left. pins that hold everything together.

22 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_022.indd 22 2/4/2015 12:28:36 PM

Each side consists of two identical cap
pieces and a core. I used walnut for the
caps and padauk for the core. Using the
patterns below, youll get a head start on
laying out the blanks.
MAKING THE PATTERNS. But before you get
too far, theres a tip I want to point out. I
used thin sheets of flexible, high-impact
polystyrene (HIPS) to make the patterns
(refer to Sources on page 67).
HIPS is easy to draw on with a pencil
or fine-point permanent marker. It also
cuts easily with a knife or scissors. Since { High-impact polystyrene (HIPS) makes an { Use double-sided tape to attach the plastic
youll be applying and removing the pat- ideal material for patterns. Its durable and patterns to the blanks. The patterns can be
terns often as you shape and assemble cuts easily with a knife or scissors. easily removed and reattached as needed.
the parts, HIPS is durable enough to with-
stand the repeated use. contact adhesive. Carefully cut out the diameter shown on the pattern. Simply
To start, make enlarged copies of the plastic patterns, using a straightedge press the centerpoint of the bit into the
patterns below or download full-size where needed for the long edges. plastic and rotate the bit by hand to
patterns from After To lay out the shaded radiused areas dimple the centerpoint. This provides a
roughly cutting out the paper patterns, on the patterns and mark their center- handy reference later when it comes time
attach them to the plastic with spray points, I used a Forstner bit sized for each to drill out the waste and hinge holes.


PATTERN ONE For full-size
NOTE: Enlarge patterns 200%. The highlighted areas (tan circles) are removed patterns, go to
(One square = !/4")
when drilling out waste for final shaping of part.

PATTERN TWO (One square = !/4")


#/4"- #/4"-dia.
dia. 1!/16"-dia. C 1"-dia.
1#/8"-rad. CAP TWO 1#/8"-rad.


#/4"-dia. D 1"-dia.
1#/8"-rad. CORE TWO 1#/8"-rad.
PATTERN THREE (One square = !/4")
#/8"- !/2"-rad.

#/16"- 1#/8"-dia. E #/4"-dia. #/16"-

dia. CAP THREE dia.
#/4"- #/4"- 1#/8"-rad. 1#/8"-rad.
dia. dia.

1#/8"-rad. F 1#/8"-rad.

WS218_022.indd 23 2/4/2015 12:29:15 PM

SIDE NOTE: Caps are ripped from Drill hole

ONE a single blank after shaping for hinge
pin after
CAP ONE (upper) !/2 final
A assembly
Once you have the patterns in hand, you
can start to work on making the parts. This end of cap
blank is shaped 9!/8
Youll construct one side at a time, each at router table
with two caps and a core. 2

PREPARING THE BLANKS. For each of the three

sides of the drill index, youll prepare Shape end B
of core blank CORE ONE Shape end
two blanks: One for the core and another at router table of cap blank
for the caps. After youve completed the at band saw
then sand
shaping of the cap blank, youll rip it in 9#/4 smooth
two to create the top and bottom caps.
Rip caps extra a. TOP VIEW
When preparing your blanks, its a #/8
wide and joint
good idea to square up the edges and to final width
after assembly !/16"-rad. B
faces. Having square reference edges A #/4
and smooth faces makes the shaping A
and assembly process a lot easier. I used CAP ONE (lower)
double-sided tape to fasten the patterns
to the blanks. When you do this, make the curved shapes and prepare for install- I started by cutting the core blank to size.
sure to mark the centerpoints of all the ing the brass hinge pins. Use the pattern to locate the centerpoint
radii using an awl. Youll reference these for the hinge pin and mark it, but dont
points when reinstalling the patterns SIDE ONE drill it yet. Then round over both ends
during the shaping process. These center- The illustrations above and below guide at the router table, as shown in Figure 1.
points also mark where you need to drill you through the process of making the CAP BLANK. The blank that forms the
during and after assembly to complete first of the three sides of the drill index. two caps starts out in a similar fashion.
Except youll leave it a little wide to

How-To: SHAPE & ASSEMBLE SIDE ONE account for the saw kerf when ripping
the blank to create the two caps. Joint
the edges and faces square, as before.
1 Backer board
2 Using the pattern as a guide, trace the
shape on the edge of the blank. One end
is rounded over at the router table. The
opposite end is shaped at the band saw,
as in Figure 2. I used an oscillating spin-
a. #/8" A
roundover dle sander to smooth the curves. You
could also use a small-diameter sanding
B Use !/4" or #/8" drum chucked in the drill press.
blade for shaping Once the shaping is done, rip the cap
blank in two to form each of the caps
Shaping the Blanks. Round over both Band Saw Caps. Attach the pattern (Figure 3). After sanding to remove the
ends of the core and one end of the to the caps blank to mark and cut the saw marks, youre ready for glueup.
cap blank at the router table. profile on the end at the band saw. CLAMPING SETUP. The clamping setup I
used is shown in Figure 4. I took advan-
3 4 Cleat
tage of the face vise and bench dogs on
my bench. A pair of cauls between the
A Caul
A dogs traps the workpieces and spreads
Waxed the clamping pressure.
Caul B
The key to the glueup is to make sure
Rip a. END
fence VIEW the rounded end of each of the three
Bench A
Push dog pieces is flush. Thats where the cleat
block vise Hinge comes in. The cleat is clamped square to
Rip A
blade location the cauls. Butt the pieces against the cleat
and tighten the vise to clamp the pieces.
Creating the Caps. Rip the blank in Glue & Clamp. To keep all three parts Joint the faces and edges smooth and
two, leaving the caps extra wide. Sand aligned and square during glueup, use set the assembly aside for now. Youll do
or plane the caps to final thickness. the vise with a pair of cauls and a cleat. the final shaping of the assembly after all
of the sides are complete.

24 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_024.indd 24 2/4/2015 12:30:24 PM

NOTE: Caps are ripped from Drill hole
SIDE TWO a single blank after shaping for hinge
The second side of the drill index requires !/2 pin after
CAP TWO (upper) final
a little more shaping, but otherwise the C assembly
construction process is pretty similar. The SIDE TWO
drawings on this page will guide you,
and Ill highlight the important steps. 10!/2

CAP BLANK. As illustrated at right,

the caps for side two are a little more Remove bulk
involved than for side one. In Figure of waste D
from cap blank
1 below, you can see how I used the before ripping
blank in two
centerpoints on the patterns as a guide (Figure 2 below)
to drill out the inside radii at each end 10#/4
using Forstner bits. These become refer-
ence points for marking the core blank.
I cut away the bulk of the waste at the
1 C
band saw, as illustrated in Figure 1. Rip caps extra
wide and joint
CORE BLANK. As also shown at right, the to final width
after assembly D
core blank for side two is thicker. This is
to account for the hinge knuckle at one C TOP VIEW

end. At the opposite end, a cove mimics CAP TWO (lower) #/8

the cove on the end of the caps.

Use the cap blank as a guide to mark to the core blank. Then drill through the Rip the caps in two and use a dowel to
and drill the radii on the core blank, as core blank using the cap blank as a guide help align the parts during assembly, as
in Figure 2. (Youll drill the hinge hole (Figure 3). After removing the cap blank, you can see in Figure 5. Then remove the
after all the sides are assembled.) I used rough out the shape of the core and sand waste on the upper and lower caps at the
double-sided tape to attach the cap blank it smooth, as shown in Figure 4. band saw (Figure 6).


1 Waste
Forstner bit
2 3
Cleat #/4"
Forstner bit

Waste C

NOTE: Remove Hinge pin
location Double-sided
bulk of waste tape Double-sided tape
at band saw Waste

Mark & Drill. Use the pattern to mark Alignment. Apply double-sided tape to Drill Guide. Use the cap blank as a
and drill the inside radii, then remove the core blank and use a cleat to align guide to drill the inside radii of the core
most of the waste at the band saw. the two blanks while clamping. blank at the drill press.

4 5 Caul
6 C
Waste dowel

Caul D
Face vise dog

Cut to Shape. Attach the pattern to the Gluing & Alignment. A dowel helps Final Shaping. After the assembly is dry,
core blank to serve as a guide to remove align the parts while clamping them remove the remainder of the waste at
the waste at the band saw. using the clamping jig on the benchtop. the band saw and sand smooth. 25

WS218_024.indd 25 2/5/2015 7:15:15 AM



With two sides roughed out and glued

up, youre ready to move onto the third 1
side. Then youll concentrate on the fit Drill #/8"-dia. holes 10#/4
for hinge pins
and finish during final assembly. in cap blank before
ripping in two

The final side of the drill bit index goes
down a familiar road. The most critical Shape outside curves CORE THREE
part of the process is aligning the holes after caps and core 10%/8
are assembled
for the hinge pins during glueup. But Ill
talk more about that later.
SHAPING THE CAPS. The outside shape of
the caps for the third side dictate the a. END VIEW
shape of the core, so I made the caps Plane core blank
E !/2
to thickness then 1
first. Figure 1 below shows the process joint edges square
of marking the centerpoints of the inside before assembly #/8
radius cuts and the hinge pin locations.
I made the blank wide enough to incor- E
porate the centerpoints to help locate CAP THREE
the Forstner bit when drilling (Figure 2). NOTE: Caps are E !/2
I waited until the caps were glued to the ripped from a
single blank after Inside shape of
core before removing the waste. drilling inside radii caps is formed 1&/8
Before ripping the cap blank in two, I and holes for hinge pins after glueup
drilled the holes for the hinge pins, mak-
ing sure they were square to the face. The GLUEUP. Using the bench vise setup as smoothing with a sanding belt. I rounded
fence on your drill press helps to register before, youll need to ensure that the over all of the outside edges of the caps
the blank for drilling. holes for the hinge pins are aligned. I with a 18" roundover bit at the router
A SIMPLE CORE BLANK. Once youve drilled inserted a piece of brass rod through the table. The rest of the assembly involves
the holes and ripped the blank to form caps at each end. After the glue dries, installing the hinge pins and doing the
the two caps, youre almost ready for step over to the band saw for the final final shaping. The drawings on the next
glueup. But first, youll need to make shaping (Figure 3). Once everything is page help guide you along.
the core. Its a rectangular blank cut to sanded, youre ready for final assembly. DRILLING FOR HINGE PINS. The position of the
size with the edges jointed square. You hinge pins results in a slight gap (about
can even leave the blank a little long FINAL ASSEMBLY DETAILS 1
32") between the sides when the index
since the ends will be removed during The process of assembling the drill index is collapsed for storage. The goal is to
the final shaping at the band saw. starts by doing some final shaping and align the centerpoints of the hinge pin


1 2 3 Waste


Backer 1#/8"
board Forstner bit

Marking Centers. Attach the pattern Drilling. Drill the inside radii and holes Cut to Shape. After the glue dries, cut
to the cap blank flush on a jointed edge. for the hinge pins at the drill press. Youll the waste from the caps and core at the
Mark the hole centers with an awl. remove the waste after glueup. band saw and then sand smooth.

26 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_026.indd 26 2/4/2015 12:31:23 PM

1 2 3

drill bit
brass pin
Business Business
cards cards

Card Spacers. For even gaps when the Hinge Pins. Assemble the three sides by Final Sanding. Refine the outside curve
index is closed, insert business cards as inserting 316"-dia. brass pins in the pivot of the assembled index at the belt sander
spacers before drilling for hinge pins. holes. Use epoxy to secure the pins. then finish with some hand sanding.

4 5 Mark
6 Lightly chamfer
locations holes after drilling
with pencil
and awl

&/32 16
32 #/
!/8 %/

Drill Bit Layout. Arrange your drill bits Hole Locations. Transfer the marks from Drilling. Use the fence on your drill press
with equal space between each bit and your layout to the centerline along the to locate and drill oversized holes to
then mark the shank centerpoints. edge of one of the sides of the index. accommodate the bits.

locations on sides one and two with the FINAL SHAPING. With the index assem- before drilling the holes for the drill bits.
holes in the caps on side three. To main- bled, I inserted the business card spacers This way, you avoid having the finish run
tain consistency in this gap width, I used once again. Some careful sanding at the down into the holes.
a few business cards stacked together as belt sander will smooth the ends of the STORING YOUR DRILL BITS. The idea of mak-
spacers (Figure 1 above). assembled unit and make a nice transi- ing the drill bit index was to have a place
Once everything is aligned and tion between the parts (Figure 3). You to keep your commonly used bits at
clamped together, use the holes in the may need to touch up some of the round- hand. Figures 4 through 6 above show
caps on side three as a guide to drill overs on the cap after this step. you how to lay them out to locate the
through the other two sides. Cut the brass A little hand sanding is all you need to holes youll need to drill.
rod to length before assembling the drill prepare the index for a finish. I sanded Lay the drill bits on a piece of paper
index. Then use epoxy on one end of the through 150-grit before wiping on a cou- or light cardboard and space them as
hinge pin to secure it (Figure 2). ple coats of oil finish. I applied the finish desired. I did this for my sets of brad-
point, twist, and spade bits. Mark the
centerpoints of the drill bit shafts on the
Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram paper to transfer to the edge of the drill
A Cap One (2) 1
2x 34 - 934 E Cap Three (2) 1
2 x 178 - 1034 index. Scribe a centerline down each edge
B Core One (1) 3 3
4 x 2 - 9 4 F Core Three (1) 1 x 2 - 1034 of the index to keep the holes aligned.
C Cap Two (2) 1 x 17 - 103
2 8 4 When drilling the holes, I used a bit
D Core Two (1) 178 x 2 - 1034 (2) 316"-Dia. x 3" Brass Rod slightly larger than the shank size (164" or
1 ") so the bits would be easier to insert
1!/2"x 2"- 36" Walnut (1 Bd. Ft.)
and remove. I drilled the holes 12" deep
C E with brad-point bits. That was followed
up with a countersink bit to create a slight
2"x 2"- 36" Padauk (1.3 Bd. Ft.) chamfer and ease the edges.
With this handy drill bit index, using,
storing, and keeping your drill bits acces-
sible has never looked so good. W 27

WS218_026.indd 27 2/5/2015 9:52:36 AM

e sign e r

Room Divider
Its simple to create a boundary between living spaces with this stylish
storage unit. The contemporary design will complement any dcor.
Homes with open floor plans have This room divider can be used anyplace made it so the whole thing can be bro-
increasingly gained favor with home theres a need to separate a space without ken down and moved from one space
buyers over the last couple of decades. adding a permanent wall. I used ours to to another if the need should ever arise.
These floor plans encourage family screen an entryway from the main living The bulk of this two-tone unit is
togetherness, and they increase your area, as shown above. The open construc- made from maple plywood panels
options when entertaining guests. They tion of this divider still lets plenty of light with solid-wood edging. This ensures a
can also make a home with a modest through, and the removable shelving quick build while still giving the room
square footage feel much larger. But allows the unit to be customized to suit divider a rock-solid foundation. But the
sometimes its necessary to subtly break any space or decorating desire. thick, solid-wood face frames really set
up the room to make a space more user- Dont let the size of this room divider this project apart. They give the room
friendly. Thats where this freestanding scare you off. We designed this project divider its unique look while providing
room divider is the perfect addition. to go together very easily. And we even stiffness for the overall assembly.

28 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_028.indd 28 2/3/2015 9:31:35 AM

Construction Overview / OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 78"W x 78"H x 16 "D 1

Easy-to-install railing
connectors are used to
assemble the face frames
Simple cabinet hangers anchor
the room divider to the wall
Drop-in dust panel
creates an additional
shelf on top of the unit

face frames Shelves and dividers
provide plenty of are made up of two
support for the layers of plywood with
removable shelves solid-wood edging

Wide dadoes
are easy to make
with a router
Edged plywood
shelves rest on
shelf pins

NOTE: Entire unit

is constructed with
connectors and screws
for easy disassembly

{ These easy-to-install hangers provide three-axis { Adjustable shelf pins make arranging the
adjustability and ensure the room divider stays put. shelves a snap. The groove in the edging
Find out where to get them in Sources on page 67. completely hides them from view. 29

WS218_028.indd 29 2/3/2015 9:32:10 AM

a. B b.
13!/4 76!/2 B #/4" #/4"
ply. ply.
76!/2 2&/8 TOP
a. END
CAP B !!/16
#/4" A
B of panel
Drill through holes C
and countersink TOP END CAP
for #8 Fh woodscrews #/4" A
Drill through holes and
countersink for #8 Fh C
NOTE: Top and bottom woodscrews at center of 2&/8 BOTTOM 2!/8
panels are #/4" plywood each dado (details 'b' & 'c') END
VIEW (through dado)
C B c.
NOTE: Top and bottom edge 1!/2" Middle dado
rails and end caps are made ply. is centered
from #/4"-thick hardwood on length
B of panel

Make the TOP & BOTTOM 6!/4 16

A natural starting point for this project is into manageable-sized pieces. I opted to Since the panels are each over a foot
with the top and bottom panel assemblies. use a large piece of foam insulation board wide and a little over six feet long, extra
Nearly identical in construction, they con- to support the plywood while cutting it care needs to be taken to safely cut the
sist of plywood panels edged with solid to rough size with a circular saw. I used a panels to their final length. I found that
stock. These assemblies will trap the three straightedge clamped to the plywood to a crosscut sled on my table saw made the
dividers between them later on. guide the saw (Figure 1, below). Its then cuts in the safest and most accurate man-
START WITH THE PANELS. There are many easy to rip the panels to their final width ner. This process is shown in Figure 3. Be
ways to break down large sheet goods using the table saw (Figure 2). sure to save a piece or two of the offcuts


1 2 Infeed
support 3
FIRST: Cross-
Clamp guide cut one end
fence parallel of panel
to panel edge

Foamboard under PANEL
plywood panel
gives support A
during cut

Crosscut sled
SECOND: Rotate panel
Outfeed support and make second cut
to final length

Rough Cut Plywood Panels. Foam insulation Finish Rip. The table saw makes Cut Panels to Final Length. A table
boards provides plenty of support while cutting a clean rip cut in the two, more saw sled is the safest way to crosscut
the top and bottom panels to rough size. manageable-sized pieces. large panels to size.

30 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_030.indd 30 1/30/2015 12:41:00 PM

from this step. They will come in handy How-To: CUT THE DADOES & RABBETS
setting up the dadoes next.
EVENLY SPACED DADOES. Each panel has Two-layer plywood
spacer block
three wide dadoes cut on its inside
Bit edge Cleat
face. These dadoes hold the upright to router
Base base edge
dividers in place. To ensure that the is !/4" A

dadoes cut in the top panel line up hardboard Guide

Fence base
perfectly with the ones in the bottom Waste
panel, I decided to rout the matching NOTE: Make Guide
fence and base base
dadoes at the same time. But before 30!/2"long A
jumping into making the cuts, a little
preparatory work is necessary. a. Waste base rides
ROUTER GUIDES. The key to this method of on fence
routing dadoes is a pair of router guides.
Base Clamp cleats
The guides consist of a 14" hardboard snug against
base with a 34"-thick hardwood fence for edges of panels,
#/4" straight then secure
the router to ride against. The box at right bit END VIEW with brads
shows how to make a guide and trim it to
fit your router and bit. Make Two Router Guides. With the Connect the Guides. Using the two
SETTING UP THE GUIDE. The dividers are fence attached to the base, trim the spacer blocks, position the guide bases
made from two layers of 34" plywood. edge of the base with a straight bit. and clamp the cleats in place.
Since plywood thickness can vary from
its stated size (usually a hair thinner), I NOTE: Make two
made a couple spacer blocks from the a. passes in the
direction shown
offcuts I saved earlier. Just be sure you Dado waste
are using the same plywood for the pan-
els as you are for the dividers.
Dado waste
The box at the upper right shows how !/4 1!/2" ply.
to orient the router guides on the panels. END SECTION VIEW A
With the spacer blocks positioned, clamp straight
a couple of cleats to the underside of the Keep panel ends bit
flush while
router guides and tack them in place with routing dadoes Cleat
a few brads. The clamps are then reposi- A
tioned to hold the guides in place.
ROUT THE DADOES. With all of the prep
NOTE: After routing first
work out of the way, all thats left is dado, slide guide to
next position
to rout the dadoes. The middle box at
right shows exactly how to rout the Rout the Dadoes. With the top and bottom panels oriented correctly, clamp the
first dado in two passes. Then its just a router guides over the first dado position. It will take two passes to complete the
matter of sliding the router guide along wide dado. The guides can then simply be repositioned for the next dado.
the panel to the next dado location and
repeating the process.
ADD THE RAILS & CAPS. With the panels com-
plete, its time to add the rails and caps. Aux. rip Aux.
Cut these parts to size and then take a fence rip
#/4" dado fence
look at the main drawing on the oppo- blade Aux. miter
site page. Youll see that the top edge
rail needs a rabbet along the top edge. a. END VIEW
Dado a. END VIEW
This holds a dust panel later on. Also #/4" #/4"
note that the top end cap has rabbets on ply. ply.
all four edges while the bottom end cap support
!/2 !/2
only has rabbets on three edges.
With all of the pieces marked, I used
a table saw set up with a dado blade
and auxiliary rip fence to cut the rabbets Rabbet the Rails. A dado blade in Rabbet the End Caps. Be sure to use a
(drawings, at right). Youre then ready the table saw makes quick work of backer board when cutting the rabbets
to assemble the panel assemblies. A little cutting the rabbets in the top rails. in the end caps to avoid tearout.
glue and some clamps is all it takes. 31

WS218_030.indd 31 1/30/2015 12:41:25 PM

Finger hole allows dust
12#/4 panel to be removed #8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrews a. b.
76!/2 at top and bottom F
Flush trim
Top edge rail
DUST PANEL Top panel

EDGING E panel D
NOTE: Dividers
are two layers
of #/4" plywood
Bottom panel
D 1!/2
panel is 72#/4 18#/8
#/4" plywood
Drill 3mm-dia. x
!/2"-deep shelf F
pin holes in
front and 1"-dia.
18#/8 back edging finger
NOTE: Divider 1!/2 1!/2
edging made
from #/4"-thick NOTE: Shelf pin
hardwood holes are drilled
after assembling
dividers to panels E D E
17!/16 (see guide on
page 33)

11#/4 the dividers. Theres nothing too taxing

about making these assemblies, but it
Screws are centered
can be a bit challenging to get the long
on dado width edges of the large panels lined up per-


fectly while gluing them together.
To avoid this frustration, I cut the
plywood panels needed for the divid-
With the top and bottom panel assem- similar fashion. Finally, the top will be ers a little wide. I was then able to inten-
blies completed, its time to add some capped off with a dust panel. tionally offset the panels edges when
dividers to the mix. Thatll be followed DIVIDERS FIRST. Each divider assembly applying the glue and clamps (Figure
up with the removable shelf construc- consists of two plywood panels lami- 1, below). This ensures that you have
tion. Despite their obvious size differ- nated together. Some hardwood strips a straight edge to run against the table
ences, all of these parts go together in a are then attached to the long edges of saw rip fence while cutting the dividers


3 E D
1 2 D

on a flat

Waste D
Slightly curved cauls a. flush-trim Edging is
bit Assembly squares flush with
apply equal pressure edge of
across panels and clamps hold
dividers square to panel
base and top
END while driving
Oversized Caul VIEW screws
divider panels

Glueup Panels. Offsetting the panels Clean Up Edging. Trimming the Assemble the Divider Panels. A flat
ensures a straight edge for ripping them edging flush with the divider leaves surface and assembly squares are helpful
to finished width at the table saw. a seamless transition. when assembling the divider panels.

32 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_032.indd 32 1/30/2015 1:08:52 PM

End shelf Flush with
to final size. Shop Notes on page 65 has assemblies Center shelf outer edge
more information about this technique. assembly of face
frame stiles
ADD THE EDGING. With the dividers ripped (refer to pg. 35)
to their final size, adding the edging is a END #/8
simple task. Cut the edging strips a lit- I EDGING
tle wide, so they can be trimmed flush SHELF J
after theyre glued to the dividers. This G

process is detailed in Figure 2 at the H

Flush with
bottom of the opposite page. outer edge
of divider
DIVIDER ASSEMBLY. Joining the dividers to J

the top and bottom panel assemblies 3mm- dia.

K through hole
will start to give this project some life. END SHELF
This isnt a complicated process, but it H a.
will require a large, flat surface and a lit- CENTER End shelf H H J
tle patience. Figure 3 (bottom of oppo- assembly J
EDGING 1!/2 G I #/16
site page) shows how I used a couple of
assembly squares and some clamps to
hold everything in place while I drove #/4
the screws home. SIDE SECTION VIEW
Center shelf
MAKING THE SHELVES. Since the offset assemblies
NOTE: End shelves 18#/8
glueup process I used to assemble the and center shelves
are two layers b. #/4
dividers worked so well, I decided to use of #/4" plywood K
the same method for the shelves. This 1!/2
means youll need to cut the panels extra NOTE: End shelf caps, center shelf I #/16
edging and end shelf caps are
wide and long, glue them together, and made from #/4"-thick hardwood
then cut them to final width and length. #/16
Attaching the solid-wood edging to Panels cut to size FRONT SECTION VIEW
after glueup H (end shelf)
the shelves is also done the same as the 16!#/16
dividers. Rip the pieces wide, attach them
with glue, and trim the excess material J
16!#/16 18#/8
(Figure 2, opposite page). Youll want to 11#/4 18(/16
leave the end caps off the end shelves at
this point. Theyll be applied after the
shelf pin grooves are routed in the edging.
ROUT SHELF PIN GROOVES. The box at right H
shows all the details for routing the shelf CENTER SHELF J
EDGING 13!/4
pin grooves on the underside of the shelf END SHELF
edging. Make this groove on both edges END SHELF I
of all the shelves. With the grooves SHELF CAP
completed, add the end caps to the end
shelves in the same manner that the edg- How-To: PREP FOR SHELF PINS
ing was applied. You can then rout the
shelf pin grooves in the shelf end caps. Shelf Clamp drill
DRILL SHELF PIN HOLES. To keep the holes edging guide flush
for the shelf pins equally spaced in the with front 3mm
edge of drill
divider edging, I made the drilling guide divider bit
shown in the margin at right. Its sim- #/16" straight
bit 17!/16
ply a piece of 14" hardboard with holes
a. a. Divider
located to assist in drilling the shelf pin edging
holes in the edging, and later, the face #/16 END !/2
frame stiles. Drill the dividers now.
main drawing on the opposite page, a VIEW
dust panel can be cut to size and dropped
in place for now. Since the face frame Grooves. A small straight bit Shelf Pin Holes. Clamp the
parts will be painted, I applied a finish makes quick work of routing drilling guide flush with edge of SHELF PIN
to all the completed parts at this point. the shelf pin groove. divider and drill shelf pin holes. DRILLING GUIDE
(Refer to Sources on page 67.) 33

WS218_032.indd 33 1/30/2015 1:09:19 PM

NOTE: Frame stiles and rails are
made from 1!/2"-thick hardwood

Dust panel installed a. SIDE SECTION VIEW

with screws after #8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrews Dust panel
attaching outer
frames Railing
3 Edge rails
L M M Top panel M connector
FRAME threaded
RAIL rod
!/8" offset
shelves Divider
Shelf pins b. edging
End shelf Center
End End shelf edging shelf
78 cap
FRAME Center Shelf L
shelf 3mm to 5mm Shelf
STILES pin M pins
shelf pins
End shelf
Threaded Threaded rod Anchor

connector c. L
anchor Shelf pins
End shelf edging

Railing Shelf
connector pin
1"dia. x Railing threaded FRONT SECTION
1"-deep hole 72 connector insert VIEW
for railing threaded rod
anchor #8 x 1!/4" Fh woodscrew
difficult. But it does require drilling

Complete the ROOM DIVIDER some mounting holes accurately near

the ends of the stiles and rails. Since the
face frame pieces are long and would
To tie the room divider together, I added of the long stiles and rails. I used railing have required outriggers to drill at the
a pair of substantial face frames on both connectors to draw the joints together. drill press, I decided to make a simple
sides of the unit. The face frames act to Youll want to start with sturdy, straight drilling guide (shown below) to allow
hold the entire unit square, as well as stock for these pieces and cut them to size. the use of a hand-held drill. Turn to
support the end shelves. The best part is RAILING CONNECTORS DRILLING GUIDE. Install- Shop Notes on page 65 to see how to
theres no fussy joinery to cut on the ends ing the railing connector hardware isnt make this drilling guide.


1 Back
2 3 Small
Inside edge


Small 12mm
hole twist Flip and
1" Forstner bit down bit clamp
jig with
M side flush
with end
a. a. a. END SECTION of stile
Jig Jig VIEW
SECT. SECT. %/16" drill bit Jig
Clamp drilling NOTE: Keep
1 jig flush with !/2 jig clamped
both edges as before
2!/4 of frame rail Drill through

Anchor Holes. Position the drilling Threaded Rod Holes. Leave the drilling Threaded Insert Holes. Now place the
guide as shown to drill the hole in the guide in the same position on the rail to drilling guide as shown to drill the hole
back face of the rails. drill the end hole. in the edge of each stile.

34 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_034.indd 34 1/30/2015 1:09:59 PM

step process shown at the bottom of the
opposite page walks you through how 1 FIRST: Install
SECOND: Thread rod
into insert and slide 2 3mm twist bit
to position the drilling guide to drill the insert in stile rail over it so that rod
three holes needed for the railing connec- extends into anchor
tors. Be sure to carefully label all of the
frame pieces to make this process easier. Anchor L


all of the mounting holes drilled, Fig- Guide
THIRD: Tighten
ure 1 at right shows how to install the anchor cam M
with a 4mm
railing connector hardware. Youll start Allen wrench
by inserting the threaded insert portion Clamp guide
edge flush with
of the connector into the hole drilled in Install the Hardware. Follow the three steps outside edge
of frame stile
the edge of the stile. above to install the hardware and assemble
The threaded rod is then partially the two face frames. M

threaded into the insert in the stile. Now,

Cabinet hanger
simply line up the rail and stile so that 3 L-bracket assembly
Top Bottom of guide
the threaded rod slips into the hole in the rests on bottom
end of the rail. The trick here is to leave !/4" x 1"carriage bolt cap panel end
just enough of the threaded rod extend-
Screw to wall
ing into the hole in the back of the rail for Cam N
the anchor to slide into place. Once the a. Wall 2!/2 CLEAT a.
Cam Frame &/8 M
anchor starts threading onto the rod, a #/4
stile L !/2
4mm Allen wrench can be used to snug 1
it up the rest of the way. #/4 #8 x 1!/4"
You dont have to go overboard on wood- Guide VIEW
tightening these connectors. You just
want to snug up the fasteners enough to Add Cabinet Hangers. A cleat attached Shelf Pin Holes. Position the
hold the frames together while you attach to the top panel provides a surface for two drill guide and drill the shelf
them to the rest of the room divider. cabinet hangers to be added to the unit. pin holes in the stiles.
MORE SHELF PIN HOLES. Now is a good time
to test the fit of the face frames by clamp-
ing them in position against the inner FINISHING DETAILS. Before permanently Finally, the face frames are attached
assembly. I took this opportunity to drill attaching the face frames to the main using screws through the top and bottom
the remaining shelf pin holes in the face assembly, I painted them black to con- rails. Then secure the dust panel with
frame stiles using the drill guide (Figure trast with the rest of the room divider. screws, as well. To keep the room divider
2). Be sure to orient the correct edge of The paint and finishing information is from tipping, I anchored my unit to the
the guide to the outside edge of the stile. listed in Sources on page 67. wall using cabinet hangers (Figure 3). W

Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram

A Top/Btm. Panels (2) 34 ply. - 1314 x 7612 H Center Shelf Edging (12) 34 x 112 - 161316 (8) Railing Connectors
B Top/Btm. Edge Rails (4) 3 x 21 - 761 I End Shelves (6) 112 ply. - 1134 x 18916 (48) 3mm to 5mm Shelf Pins
4 8 2
C Top/Btm. End Caps (4) 3 x 27 - 131 J End Shelf Edging (12) 3 x 11 - 189 (47) #8 x 114" Fh Woodscrews
4 8 4 4 2 16
D Dividers (3) 112 ply. - 1134 x 7234 K End Shelf Caps (6) 3 x 11 - 131
4 2 4 (2) Cabinet Hangers w/Hardware
E Divider Edging (6) 3 x 11 - 723 L Frame Stiles (4) 112 x 3 - 78
4 2 4
F Dust Panel (1) 3 ply. - 123 x 761 M Frame Rails (4) 112 x 3 - 72
4 4 2 ALSO NEEDED: Four 48"x 96" sheets of
G Center Shelves (6) 112 ply. - 1134 x 161316 N Cleat (1) 34 x 34 - 1314 #/4" maple plywood

#/4" x 7" - 84" Hard Maple (4.1 Bd. Ft.) N 1!/2" x 6 !/2" - 84" Red Oak (2 Boards @ 7.6 Bd. Ft. Each)
#/4" x 7" - 84" Hard Maple (2 Boards @ 4.1 Bd. Ft. Each) E 1!/2" x 6 !/2" - 84" Red Oak (2 Boards @ 7.6 Bd. Ft. Each)

#/4" x 7" - 84" Hard Maple (2 Boards @ 4.1 Bd. Ft. Each) #/4" x 4" - 48" Hard Maple (1.33 Bd. Ft.)
H H J 35

WS218_034.indd 35 1/30/2015 1:10:15 PM


Small Parts Sled
Cutting a wide range of small parts accurately and safely on the table
saw has never been easier. This handy sled takes care of the details.
The table saw is the shop workhorse for As a foundation, theres the basic sled The real beauty of this simple design is
cutting workpieces to size. But for small you see on the opposite page. Like most the ability to add attachments for cutting
workpieces, this can be a tricky opera- sleds, adjustable runners on the bottom miters, ripping thin stock, and cutting
tion. It becomes difficult to hold the piece ensure a smooth, sliding fit in the miter tiny parts to length. If your woodwork-
securely and at times, the cutoff goes fly- slots on your table saw. The sled features a ing is on a smaller scale, this sled is an
ing across the shop. This sled is scaled simple fence with a stop block for making easy weekend project thats sure to see a
down to make cutting small parts easier. square, repeatable crosscuts. lot of use in your shop.

Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram

A Sled Base (1) 1 ply. - 16 x 18 L Holddown (1) 1 Hdbd. x 134 x 14 W Tray Top (1) 1 ply. - 715 x 27
2 4 4 16 8
B Rear Bridge (1) 3 x 21 - 16 M Fence Base (1) 3ply. - 7 x 71516 (2) 24" x 24" Plastic Laminate
4 2 4
C Front Bridge (1) 3 x 21 - 6 N Fence Top (1) 1 ply. - 715 x 87 (2) 18" Incra Miter Bars
4 2 4 16 8
D Fence (1) 3 ply. - 2 x 16 O Small Parts Fence (1) 3 x 1 - 121 (1) 24" T-Track
4 4 4
E Stop Block Top (1) 1 ply. - 2 x 25 P Stop Top (1) 1 ply. - 3 x 3 (4) 14"-20 x 1" Flange Bolts
4 8 4 4
F Stop Block (1) 3 x 3 - 2 Q Stop (1) 1 ply. - 11 x 3 (4) 14"-20 Star Knobs
4 4 8 4
G Miter Fence Block (1) 3 ply. - 16 x 83 R Tray Base (1) 1 ply. - 715 x 7 (3) 14"-20 Threaded Inserts
4 16 4 16
H Miter Fence Top (1) 1 ply. - 16 x 101 S Tray Back (1) 3 x 11 - 715 (3) 14"-20 x 34" Knurled Thumbscrews
4 16 4 2 16
I Rip Fence Block (1) 3 ply. - 6 x 14 T Tray Front (1) 3 x 1 - 715 (8) #8 x 1" Fh Woodscrews
4 4 2 16
J Rip Fence Top (1) 1 ply. - 6 x 157 U Tray Side (1) 3 x 1 - 5 (6) #6 x 12" Rh Woodscrews
4 8 4 2
K Hold-down Bar (1) 3 x 3 - 14 V Tray Ramp (1) 3 x 3 - 5 (8) #8 x 114" Fh Woodscrews
4 4 4 4

#/4"x 4"- 48" Hard Maple (1.4 Bd. Ft.) K V

ALSO NEEDED: One 24" x 24"sheet of #/4" Baltic birch plywood,
B C S One 24" x 24" sheet of !/2" Baltic birch plywood, One 24" x 48"
sheet of !/4" Baltic birch plywood, One 12" x 12" sheet of !/8"
Baltic birch plywood, One 12" x 24" sheet of !/4" hardboard

36 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_036.indd 36 2/5/2015 2:36:46 PM

Construction Overview / OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 16"W x 3#/8"H x 18"D

Stop block
makes repeatable T-track in fence allows for
cuts foolproof easy mounting of
special-purpose accessories
Star knobs
are used to attach
accessories to fence
Rear bridge
connects sled halves
Front bridge adds
stability to the sled

Plastic laminate
provides a

Holes allow access to

adjust fit of miter bars

Baltic birch plywood

provides a flat,
stable base

Kerf is cut after


Screw and wedge

assembly fine-tunes fit
of miter bar in miter slot
Dual miter bars
allow sled to ride
smoothly in
miter slots

{ Cutting miters on small frame { Rip narrow, thin stock safely using { A simple fence with a stop block
parts is a snap with a pair of the rip fence attachment with a makes square crosscuts on small
auxiliary miter fences. built-in hold-down. parts a sure thing. 37

WS218_036.indd 37 1/27/2015 12:58:21 PM

NOTE: Front and
rear bridges are B
#/4"-thick 2!/2 2!/4
hardwood. Base is REAR BRIDGE FRONT
!/2" plywood BRIDGE
16 FRONT Front
NOTE: Plastic VIEW bridge
laminate applied 2!/2
to both faces of
sled base 1!/8

Plastic laminate 6

A bridge
7!/4 base 1!/4
1!/2"-Rad. #8 x 1!/4" Fh
!/4" FRONT
!/4" Rad. Plastic laminate
1!/4 Rear bridge

1!/2 5!/2 apply one piece of laminate and then trim

it flush before applying the other piece.
start with a But theres one thing I need to mention
FRONT & REAR BRIDGES. Youll be cutting
through the base of the sled the first time

BASIC SLED before you turn on the saw. Take some

extra time to ensure your saw is tuned
up for making square cuts. Its impor-
you use it. To keep the sled together, the
bridge pieces connect the two halves of
the sled, as illustrated above.
This sled isnt too much different than tant that the side edges of the base are Both bridges are cut to size from 34"-
most table saw sled designs, but its square to the back edge. When youre thick stock. After shaping them, use
scaled down to make cutting small parts ready, cut the base to size. After this, screws through countersunk holes to
simple. Two miter bars under the lami- round off the two front corners and sand fasten them to the base from the bottom,
nated plywood base register the sled on them smooth, as shown above. as shown in details a and b.
the saw for smooth operation through Plastic laminate adds a tough, long- While youre at it, drill the holes used
the cut. A fence with T-track and a stop wearing surface to the top and bottom to attach the fence youll make later. Then
ensure consistency in the precision
p of of the base. I used spray contact adhe- you can install the bridges, taking the
each cut on duplicate parts. sive to attach oversized pieces of lami- time to ensure theyre flush with the front
LAMINATED BASE. I started by bu
building the nate to both faces of the base. To trim the and back edges of the base. Its important
base out of 12" Baltic birch plywood. laminate flush, you might find it easier to that the rear bridge is square to the edge


The Incra
I miter bar shown on the left features
a simple
sim mechanism for adjusting the bar to
obtai a perfect fit in the miter slot. A screw Double-sided
pulls a wedge against the tapered sides of the tape
miter bar to expand them slightly. The illustra-
tions on the right step you through the process
of locating
loc and installing the miter bars so that
the sled
sl is centered on the blade. Mark runner
locations on
It starts
s by placing the sled against the rip edges of sled
fence and adjusting the rip fence to center the
sle Use double-sided tape on top of the
m bars to temporarily position them for Locating the Bars. Align the ends of the miter
lo the screw and access holes. Then bars and sled with the back edge of the saw before
yo can mark and drill the holes. lowering the sled onto the miter bars.

38 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_038.indd 38 1/28/2015 7:12:19 AM

!/4"-20 #6 x !/2" Fh
star knob woodscrew a. b. Allen wrench
Adjustment for miter bar
Fence screw adjustment
Sled Sled
STOP BLOCK 2 base base
#/4 2 bar
bar Wedge
!/4"-20 x 1"
flange bolt
T-track NOTE: Locate access holes for
miter bar adjustment screws
!/16" after miter bars are positioned
chamfer on sled (see box below)
on ends
NOTE: Stop block made from
#/4"-thick hardwood. Stop block top
#/8" -dia. made from !/4" plywood.
hole Fence made from #/4" plywood

#8 x 1" Fh c. E
18" Incra NOTE: Cut
miter bar saw kerf
after miter
bars are #/8
installed and F #/4
adjusted #/8
of the base. This way, crosscuts will be D

accurate and the accessories will align #/4

precisely when installed.
ADDING A FENCE. Sitting tightly against #6 x !/2" Rh 1!/8 SIDE VIEW
the rear bridge is a simple fence with a 2#/8
T-track, as shown above. A stop and a make, as you can see in the main
variety of accessories can be attached to drawing above and in detail c.
the fence depending on the type of cuts Install the stop in the T-track with a The Incra miter bars include wedge-
you need to make. flange bolt and knob. shaped adjusters that allow you to fine-
The fence body is made from 34" Baltic INSTALLING THE MITER BARS. When using the tune the fit of the bar in the miter slot.
birch plywood. Before you cut the groove sled, its centerline should be aligned For smooth-sliding operation, youll also
for the T-track, take a look at detail c. with the table saw blade. This means need to locate and drill holes through the
Youll notice that the track is offset from the location of the miter bars depend on sled to be able to access the adjustment
the centerline of the fence. After installing where your saws miter slots are posi- screws, as seen above. I did this by mark-
the T-track, clamp the fence tight to the tioned in relation to the blade. The box ing the screw location on the bottom of
bridge and base before installing screws below steps you through the process the sled, removing the miter bars, and
from the underside of the sled. of centering the sled on the blade, plus then drilling a small pilot hole through
ADJUSTABLE STOP. A sliding stop makes locating and installing the miter bars. the sled. This way, you can enlarge the
repeatable crosscuts accurate and easy. I used a pair of miter bars to make sure hole from the top to avoid chipping the
The two-part construction is simple to the sled runs straight in the miter slots. laminate when drilling.

Drill access hole NOTE: Raise

Double-sided blade just high
tape in top of sled
using pilot enough to cut
holes as through
guides fence
Front bridge
Locate and #/8" bridge
drill !/16" pilot drill bit Fence
hole for
screw Sled


Drilling Holes. With the miter bars temporarily attached, mark and drill the Square Cut. After the miter bars are attached
holes used to fasten the bars to the sled. Before permanently attaching the and adjusted, make a shallow pass to cut
miter bars, locate and drill access holes for the adjusters. through the sled base, fence, and T-track. 39

WS218_038.indd 39 1/27/2015 12:43:18 PM

star knob a.
NOTE: Top made 1 6
from !/4" plywood.
Block made from 16
#/4" plywood #/4
H 2!/8
Center point
on saw kerf
!/4"-20 x 1" to cut miter 10!/16
flange bolt fence in two


Cutting miter joints on small parts can 1&/8

be tricky. The miter fences shown above !/8

ADD-ONS make this task easier. You start by making

the triangular fence block and then add-
ing the top to create a single unit youll and slide the sled through the saw to cut
With the basic sled youre all set to cross- cut in two later. The top overhangs the the miter fences into a matching pair, as
cut small parts to length on your table fence on the sled so it can be attached illustrated in detail a.
saw. But Ive added a few special acces- with star knobs, as in detail b.
sories that make the sled even more func- The only trick in making these two HOLD-DOWN & RIP FENCE
tional. The first is a pair of miter fences to parts is to make sure the sides are 45 to The next accessory to build is a hold-
aid in cutting miter joints. Next is a hold- the back edge. After gluing the top to the down assembly you can use for rip-
down that allows you to use the sled to block, sand all of the edges smooth and ping thin stock to width. The hardboard
rip narrow workpieces from thin stock. then drill the four holes used to attach
Finally, for extra-small pieces that are them to the sleds fence. a.
hard to crosscut and corral on the table Center the miter fence assembly on the
saw, theres a small platform and tray to sled, aligning the tip with the center of
catch the cutoffs. the kerf in the sled. Secure all of the knobs 3&/8
K hole J
!/4"-20 J
star knob #/4
RIP FENCE TOP %/8 15&/8
!/4"-20 x #/4"
knurled 2
thumbscrew 1#/4

NOTE: Hold-down bar L

made from #/4"-thick HOLD-DOWN TOP
hardwood. Block SECTION
made from #/4" plywood. VIEW
Top made from !/4"
plywood. Hold-down RIP FENCE
made from !/4" 14 BLOCK
hardboard I 1!/2

!/4"-20 x 1" !/4"-20 FRONT
b. SIDE VIEW 2 flange threaded SECTION
bolt insert VIEW
#/8 %/16
!/4 K

40 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_040.indd 40 1/28/2015 12:08:41 PM

hold-down keeps the workpiece steady making two assemblies: The fence with a
during the cut (refer to the photo on page stop and the tray assembly.
37). Construction starts out similar to the FENCE & STOP ASSEMBLY. The fence and stop
miter fences, as illustrated in the drawing assembly is simple to make, but there
at the bottom of the opposite page. The are a couple of key things to keep in
rip fence top caps off the rip fence block. mind as you go along.
I started with rectangular blanks for I started with the fence base and added
the block and top, cutting them to over- the plywood top. As before, the top over-
all size. After gluing the top to the block hangs the base to allow attachment to the
and allowing for the overhang, I cut the sleds fence. Just drill the two holes.
tapered edge and sanded it smooth. The small parts fence is cut to size
Details a and b provide all of the before you install a threaded insert. The
dimensions. Drilling the holes used to insert is for a small, sliding stop. Glue { The auxiliary fence platform and tray allow
fasten the assembly to the sled is next. the fence to the platform, making sure you to cut extra-small parts safely while
The hardboard hold-down is fastened its square to the blade with the platform collecting them in the tray.
to a hold-down bar. This bar is in turn installed on the sled. The stop comes
glued to the top of the rip fence assembly. next. Its top is slotted to allow for small the fence on the main sled. I glued the
After cutting the bar to size and beveling adjustments. The stop itself is beveled on sides to an oversized piece of plywood
the ends, I installed a pair of threaded one end to avoid trapping the workpiece, that forms the base, making sure the
inserts. Thumbscrews secure the hold- as you can see in detail b below. sides were square. Once the glue dries,
down in these inserts. SIMPLE BOX. The tray is made up of 34"- you can trim the plywood flush.
Next, glue the bar to the top of the rip thick hardwood sides glued to a 14" To finish off the tray, the tray top comes
fence assembly. The hold-down is cut and plywood base. One end of the tray is next. Cut it to size, drill a pair of holes,
then slotted for the thumbscrews. Cre- beveled to act as a ramp to guide cutoffs then glue it to the tray back.
ate the slots by drilling overlapping holes into the tray. I rabbeted the tray back to With your sled complete, cutting small
and filing them smooth. accept the top that connects the tray to parts is easy and hassle-free. W


The final accessory is a cutoff assembly !/4 dia.
for crosscutting small parts. The photo on 1 &/8 1!/2 #/4
the upper right shows it in use. A small O
auxiliary fence with a stop allows you to S
cut short parts to repeatable lengths. The #/4
1&/8 Q
cutoffs fall into a tray to make them easier
to collect without losing them. !/4"-20 x #/4"
The drawing below shows how the STOP TOP thumbscrew
whole assembly fits together. There are a P 8&/8 FENCE TOP
lot of parts, but putting them all together N
is a pretty simple process. Youre basically 1!/4 !/4"-20
star Stop
3 !/16

TRAY TOP 12!/4
W 1
#/4 1
!/4"-dia. O
hole 7!%/16 FENCE
5 7
2&/8 7!%/16

M c.
1!/2 S Small
P parts
!/2 TRAY RAMP fence
T #/8"-
#/4 TRAY FRONT dia. !/4"-20
TRAY hole threaded
7!%/16 BASE insert

!/2 Q
U 7!%/16 NOTE: Fence top, stop top, tray top, Stop
TRAY SIDE and tray base made from !/4" plywood.
Stop made from !/8" plywood. Fence base made
from #/4" plywood. All other parts made
from #/4"-thick hardwood 41

WS218_040.indd 41 1/28/2015 12:09:00 PM


Dining Room Buffet

Complete your heirloom cherry dining room set with this stylish buffet.
It lends ample storage and a large serving area for all your gatherings.
In the last two issues of Woodsmith, weve you lack the space or budget to build of the hutch. Those include doors and
provided plans for a dining room table, a the entire set, then this buffet is worth a a back assembly that are joined with
set of chairs, and a china hutch (refer to closer look as a stand-alone piece. With cope and stick joints, drawers assem-
the photo on the opposite page). In this its sleek appearance, ample storage bled with half-blind dovetails, and a
issue, this latest dining room suite of fur- space, and large serving area on the top, veneered top panel.
niture comes to a close with the cherry it would be a useful addition in almost The buffet is wider than the hutch,
buffet you see here. any homes dining room. however, and it features three drawers
VERSATILE FURNITURE. All four of the furni- EASY TO BUILD. If you saw the china hutch for storage. And, of course, the wide,
ture pieces are designed to go great with in the last issue, then this buffet should deep top is open, which makes it a great
one another in any dining room setup. look pretty familiar. It shares a number serving area for big meals and a nice-
And the buffet is no exception. But if of design details with the lower cabinet looking display area the rest of the time.

42 Woo
dsmith / No.
dsmith No 21

WS218_042.indd 42 2/4/2015 12:56:36 PM

Construction Overview / OVERALL DIMENSIONS: 68"W x 34"H x 19 "D 1

Large, veneered top

provides ample space Veneer extends
for serving big meals over edging and
is trimmed flush

Drawer supports
provide mounting point
for drawer slides

Drawers feature half-blind

dovetail joints and Cabinet back is a
rest on full-extension frame and panel
drawer slides assembly with cope
and stick joints

Face frame is
glued and pocket
screwed together

Case sides have

dadoes to accept
upper and lower
Bullnose molding and divider panels
tapered legs add
stylistic elements Adjustable
to the cabinet shelves add
more storage
to buffet
NOTE: Refer to Doors feature
page 67 for hardware plywood panels
sources and finishing that fit grooves
information in the rails
and stiles

Doors are
with no-mortise
overlay hinges

Doors are partially

inset in face
frame openings


{ The buffet is just one of the projects in our most recent suite of dining
room furniture. To find in-depth plans for the table, chairs, and china
hutch shown here, go to 43

WS218_042.indd 43 2/4/2015 12:57:13 PM

NOTE: All parts A
are #/4" plywood UPPER
a. Vertical
5#/4 Side
#/4" ply.

#8 x 1!/2" Fh
#/4 woodscrew
19 Lower
!/4 divider
33 SIDE 16!/2 chamfer VIEW

b. Bottom face of
B 63 upper and lower dividers
17!/2 LOWER
5!/2 #8 x 1!/2" Fh 12!/2
woodscrew 22
#/16"-dia. hole,
TOP for #8 Fh woodscrew

Build a sturdy CASE 2!/2

The case structure is a good place to start Just set up a dado

work on the dining room buffet. Its made blade to match the
up of two sides and upper, lower, and ver- thickness of 34" plywood, and pass the Sides !/2
tical dividers cut from cherry plywood. pieces over the blade. Upper
You can cut the sides and upper and POCKET HOLES. Youre just about ready to divider SIDE
lower dividers to final size at this point, join the sides with the upper and lower VIEW
but hold off on cutting the vertical divider dividers. But first, drill a series of pocket
to final length until after assembly. Note holes in the lower faces of both divider
that the sides are an inch wider than the panels (detail b). Later on, these will of the upper and lower dividers are
dividers (drawing above). be used to lock the face frame and back centered on the width of the sides
DADOES. Youll notice that the side pan- assembly in place. I also drilled three (refer to detail c above). You can use
els each have three dadoes. Two of the countersunk holes centered on the length temporary spacers to set this distance
dadoes are on the inside face to accept of the panels. These holes are used to as you assemble the case.
the upper and lower dividers. And one secure the vertical divider with screws. With the case assembled, its time to
dado on the outside face holds a strip of ASSEMBLY. Now you can join the sides measure and cut the vertical divider to
decorative bullnose molding. Cutting to the upper and lower divider with final length to fit between the upper and
these dadoes is simple at the table saw. glue and clamps. Note that the edges lower dividers. Center the panel in the
case, and transfer the pilot holes from the

How-To: DRILL SHELF PIN HOLES top and bottom into the divider. Then use
woodscrews to secure it.
SHELF PIN HOLES. The basic case is nearing
9!/2 NOTE: Align completion. All thats left before getting
template flush
1!/2 with back edge started on building the face frame is a
Template of lower divider
!/4" hole Side
series of holes in the sides and vertical
2 (case side will
overhang by !/2") divider for shelf pins.
These holes need to align perfectly
Front of #/8 from panel to panel in order for the
Template shelves to sit level. I accomplished this
8 (!/4" hdbd.) goal by creating a drilling template, as
Masking !/4" bit shown in the box at left. To make it, sim-
SIDE VIEW Lower tape ply cut a piece of hardboard to size, and
drill the holes as shown. Then use the
Drilling Template. This hardboard template ensures consistent holes in the template as a guide as you drill the holes
sides and divider. Just align it as detailed above and drill 38" deep into the case in the case sides and vertical divider.
sides. On the vertical divider, use a backer and drill all the way through. Note that the holes in the sides are 38"
deep, while those in the vertical divider

44 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_044.indd 44 2/3/2015 2:20:15 PM

58 E
I FACE FRAME a. #/4"
TOP SECTION 1!/4" pocket
ply screw
!/2 Outer
stile Rail
1!/2 I
E !/8" chamfer
1!/2 b. !/2

G 33
!/4 18!/2
D #/4 Lower rail
13!/4 MIDDLE STILE Frame
joined with Outer
stile !/2
glue and FACE FRAME
pocket LOWER RAIL 5!/2
screws F 4!/2

!/8" chamfers
go all the way through. I put a piece of 3
NOTE: All parts
masking tape around the drill bit to estab- are #/4"-thick hardwood
lish the depth of the holes in the sides. For
the vertical divider, I clamped a backer to over the case sides, Theres also a groove in the face frame
the opposite face of the divider to prevent as shown in the lower left drawing. This lower rail. This matches the dadoes in the
blowout on the back side of the holes. is easy to do by burying a dado blade in outer stiles to accept the bullnose mold-
FACE FRAME. Youre now ready to turn an auxiliary rip fence at the table saw. ing. Cut this using a dado blade.
your attention to the face frame of the Next, cut a dado near the bottom end of FACE FRAME ASSEMBLY. Its time to drill
case, which is shown in the drawing each stile to accept the bullnose molding. pocket holes in all the rails and the
above. Its a series of rails and stiles that Lay out and cut a taper on the bottom end upper and lower stiles. Then assemble
are joined with glue and pocket screws. of each outer stile at the band saw, and the face frame with glue, pocket screws,
I started by cutting the outer stiles to chamfer the outside edge and bottom end and clamps (middle drawing below).
final size before cutting the other parts of each (refer to detail b above). Use spacers to establish the openings
to length. This way, I could position the With the outer stiles complete, clamp correctly in the frame, and keys to align
outer stiles over the case sides and mea- them in position on the case and mea- the dadoes and groove. Finally, glue and
sure for the parts that fit in between. sure between them to determine the final clamp the face frame to the front of the
First, youll want to cut the rabbet on length of the rails. Cut these to size, as case and drive in pocket screws to secure
the outside edges of the stiles that fits well as the upper and lower stiles. it (lower right drawing).


upside down

spacers Buffet
a. case
ply. Face
Aux. rip frame
fence Face 1!/4"
Outer !/2 pocket
stile screw a. Face
#/4" dado
blade Case
Clamp divider
filler block

Rabbet Stiles. Bury a dado blade in a Assembly. Join the face frame with Face Frame to Cabinet. Glue and clamp
wood auxiliary fence and then cut a rabbet glue, clamps, and pocket screws. the face frame to the case, and then drive
on the edge of the outer stiles. Use spacers for the openings. in pocket screws to secure it to the cabinet. 45

WS218_044.indd 45 2/3/2015 2:20:31 PM

K 59
4!/2 OUTER rail
1!/2 5!/4 PANEL
Inside !/4"
3 UPPER ply.
4!/2 N face
19#/4 R
RAIL Middle
5!/4 LOWER rail
33 16!/4

M b.
27#/8 Outer BACK
LOWER stile
1 Lower
c. NOTE: Bevel !/4
NOTE: Rails and profile faces inside
stiles are #/4"-thick #/4"
hardwood. Panels 5!/4 !/2
are !/4" plywood 5!/2
TOP #/8
VIEW !/2 4!/2

3 ply.
!/8" chamfers

Add the BACK & SHELVES I used a cope and stick joint. The box
at the bottom of the page walks you
The back of the buffet is a little more Finally, trim the tapers on the bottom of through the process. The joinery tech-
elaborate than just an ordinary piece of the stiles at the band saw. nique requires a pair of router bits for
plywood. Rather, its a frame and panel With the outer stiles complete, you can cutting mating joints on the parts. First,
assembly thats designed to look great clamp them in place on the case, just as you use the coping bit to cut the stub
when the doors of the cabinet are open. you did with the face frame, and measure tenons on the ends of the rails and inner
Its made of solid cherry rails and stiles for the other frame components of the stiles. And then you switch to a sticking
that surround 14" plywood panels. back. Then cut the three rails and three bit to cut the grooves and mating profile
As with the face frame shown on the additional stiles to size. Youre now ready on the edges of all of the parts.
previous page, youll begin by cutting the to get set up for the joinery that will bring The key to a successful cope and stick
outer stiles to their final dimensions. Then these rails and stiles together. joint is to make plenty of test cuts, and
cut the rabbets on the edges and cham- COPE & STICK JOINERY. To join the rails and take your time to get the bit settings just
fer the outside edges and bottom ends. stiles and create grooves for the panels, right, particularly the thickness of the


Sticking bit
a. a.
L END Outer
VIEW END stile

#/8 Rout groove in #/8 Case

Coping bit all rails and stiles side
(Sources, page 67) (outer stile shown)

Coping Bit. Use the coping bit to cut the Sticking Bit. After setting the height of Chisel Notch. After the back is
ends of the rails and upper and lower stiles. the sticking bit to cut a mating groove, installed, notch the outer stile to
A backer holds the pieces square as you cut. rout the edges of all the parts with the bit. match the dado for the molding.

46 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_046.indd 46 2/3/2015 1:47:04 PM

a. 1!/4" S
NOTE: Supports and molding
pocket Drawer
screw supports 5%/8 are #/4"-thick hardwood. Edging
S is !/4"-thick hardwood. Shelves
Outer are #/4" plywood

NOTE: Supports Upper S

are flush with TOP VIEW stile S
edges of stiles

stub tenon so it matches the plywood. U

Once you get the cut right with the cop-
ing bit, though, you can use the piece to V
set the height of the sticking bit. BULLNOSE U
COMPLETE THE BACK. After achieving a SHELF
(miter to fit) V
nice fit, you can dry fit the assembly, SHELF
EDGING 30!!/16
and measure for the plywood panels.
As you cut all five of them to size, note
that the grain runs vertically on all the
panels. Now glue up the assembly. b. Bullnose
Once the glue on the back has dried, molding
you can attach it to the case, again SIDE
using glue and clamps. As with the face VIEW

frame on the previous page, youll drive !/2 Case

pocket screws through the holes in the
upper and lower dividers and into the c. SIDE VIEW
rails of the back assembly. Finish by supports align with the inside edge of the
trimming a notch in the outer stiles for outer stiles (refer to detail a). Shelf
the bullnose molding (lower right draw- BULLNOSE MOLDING. Before moving on to
!/4 Shelf
ing, opposite page). the drawers, I took a little time to finish pin
DRAWER GUIDE SUPPORTS. When its com- out the exterior of the cabinet. One detail
plete, the cavity at the top of the buffet is the decorative strips of bullnose mold-
cabinet holds three dovetailed draw- ing that fit the dadoes and grooves near of the blank. Then rip the strips free
ers mounted on full-extension drawer the bottom of the cabinet (detail b). to form two pieces of bullnose mold-
slides. Drawer guide supports provide To make the molding, plane some ing. The molding is mitered to fit in the
a surface for attaching the slides. extra-long, extra-wide blanks down to dadoes and grooves on the bottom of
These supports are just hardwood fit the dadoes and grooves in the cabi- the buffet (see the drawings below).
pieces installed in the top of the cabi- net. Now head to the router table, and SHELVES. The shelves that fit behind the
net with pocket screws. The four cen- center the top edge of the cutter on a 12" doors are simply cut to size from cherry
ter supports align perfectly behind the roundover bit on the thickness of the plywood. Then glue a cherry edging
upper stiles of the face frame. The outer blank. Make two passes on each edge strip to the front (detail c above).


Center top
edge of cutter Molding
on molding Dry fit Align
blank Aux. miter side
a. fence moldings

45 miter Mark back
!/2" roundover end to cut
bit miter front
molding off square
to fit

Rout & Miter. Rout all four edges of a wider, longer blank to Cut to Fit. Dry fit the side moldings, and mark and miter the
create the molding profile. After ripping strips of molding free, front molding to fit at the front of the case. Then mark the
miter the ends of two of them to fit the side dadoes. back of the side moldings, and cut them off square to fit. 47

WS218_046.indd 47 2/3/2015 1:47:19 PM

NOTE: Fronts are #/4"-thick hardwood,
backs and sides are !/2"-thick hardwood,
and bottoms are !/4" plywood 19%/8 4!/4


Outer BACK
drawer X
19!/8 Z
16!/2 BOTTOM

12#/4 5
W 1!/4"

a. 4!/4 FRONT
slides 5 14!/4
b. !/2
16" full-extension Drawer VIEW
side !/2
drawer slide
Drawer Drawer
fronts Centerline
bottom of drawer
!/4" ply.
!/8 2!/4

Make the DRAWERS & TOP !/2

At this point, the buffet is starting to take wider than the sides and backs to form a
shape. Three more assemblies will get you lip that overlays the face frame. The parts
the rest of the way there, and those are are joined with half-blind dovetails. backs, you can rout them as you typically
the dovetailed drawer boxes, veneered After cutting the drawer fronts, backs, would half-blind dovetails, by offsetting
top, and doors. I started with the drawers. and sides to size, you need to make a few the pieces in a dovetail jig and routing
DRAWER DETAILS. The three drawers fea- cuts on the drawer fronts. Youll cut a rab- both the pins and tails of the joint at once.
ture 12" maple sides and backs, 34" cherry bet on all four edges before you rout the Because of the lip on the drawer front,
fronts, and 14" plywood bottoms. Note dovetail joints (lower left drawings). This youll have to make these joints a little dif-
that the middle drawer is narrower than forms a lip around the perimeter. ferently and rout the pin boards (sides)
the two outer drawers. And on all the HALF-BLIND DOVETAILS. Now youre ready and tail board (front) separately. But the
drawers, the fronts are both longer and for the joinery. For the drawer sides and cut is well within the capability of any


Top and
a. bottom edges
#/8 Drawer
END #/8 back
#/8 VIEW !/2" roundover
Drawer bit
front Drawer
Aux. front 1
rip 1 a. Align top of cutter
Ends of
fence b. drawer front
w/lip on drawer front
#/4 1 side
Dado !/2
Rabbet Front. Use a dado blade buried in an Profile. Complete the drawer
auxiliary fence to rabbet the front. Note that #/4 fronts by routing a rounded
the end cuts are wider than the edges. profile around the perimeter.

48 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_048.indd 48 2/3/2015 1:46:25 PM

NOTE: Rout edge profile
after veneer is applied a.
to top assembly NOTE: Top is #/4"
Veneer plywood, edging
is 1"-thick Back
16!/4 hardwood, and edging
fillers are 1!/2
DD 65 !/4"-thick
TOP PANEL hardwood
17#/4 Side Veneer
F F 65 edging
E E edging


Front Back 1
edging edging
commercial dovetail jig. Youll want to TOP ASSEMBLY. The buffet top is a
1!/2 1!/2
refer to your jigs manual for the details. plywood panel thats edged with !/4 Filler
(Or see page 14 for a review of a new solid cherry and topped with a strips
dovetail jig that can handle the task.) paper-backed veneer. It makes a
COMPLETE THE DRAWERS. After the joints perfect serving area for large meals
are cut and the fit is good, cut grooves once the buffet is complete. After planing these strips to fit, cut and
near the bottom edge of all the parts to To make the top, youll want to start glue them in place on the underside of
accept the drawer bottoms. Next, head by cutting the plywood panel to size. the top panel, as shown in detail b.
to the router table to create a rounded The next parts to go on are the edging VENEER. You might have noticed that I
profile on the drawer fronts, as shown in strips around the perimeter of the top havent applied the veneer to the top
the lower right drawing on the opposite panel. As you can see in detail a above, yet. Thats because the veneer is actu-
page. Then cut the bottoms to size, and these edging strips meet at the corners ally applied after the edging strips. It
assemble the drawers with glue. with butt joints. I cut and glued on the extends over the edging, and then is
All thats left now is to add hardware back piece first, followed by the sides, routed with a roundover bit to form a
to the drawers. First, mount knobs to the and then the front edging strip. seamless transition between the edg-
drawer fronts, as shown. The drawers There are also some thin filler strips ing and the veneer.
are mounted on full-extension drawer on the underside of the top panel. These To add the veneer, cut it slightly over-
slides. Attach the slides to the drawer align flush with the bottom of the edg- size, and use contact adhesive and a
sides and the drawer guide supports ing strips and give you a good surface J-roller to apply it. I like to use firm pres-
before installing the drawers. to glue to the top of the buffet cabinet. sure and work from the center of the
panel toward the edges to roll the veneer

How-To: TOP EDGE PROFILE smooth and remove any air pockets. Once
youre pleased with the results, you can
use a flush-trim bit in a hand-held router
to cut the veneer flush with the outside
a. !/8
edge of the edging strips.
COMPLETE THE TOP. Now its time to rout the
profile on the top. Start with the panel
!/2" Veneer
right-side up, and use a 12" roundover bit
bit Riser block to rout the roundover around the ends
SIDE VIEW and front of the top, cutting both the edg-
Top with
veneer applied ing and veneer in the process (refer to the
main drawing and detail a at left).
Rout ends first, Now flip the panel upside-down,
then front edge
and use a 14" roundover bit to rout the
Top Profile. After veneering the top, use !/4"
profile around the ends and front of the
a hand-held router to cut the profile. Rout roundover Veneer bottom of the panel (detail b). Finally,
the ends first to minimize any tearout. position the top on the case, and glue
and clamp it in place. 49

WS218_048.indd 49 2/3/2015 1:46:42 PM


GG 2!/2 2!/2

offset 1!/4"
hinge knob
NOTE: Panels are Hinge
14!/2 !/4" plywood. All
other parts are
19 #/4"-thick hardwood
PANEL NOTE: All four doors
are identical

I I 3
DOOR 9#/4 Face
STILE HH frame stile
RAIL #/8

Rounded !/2

Finish up with the DOORS profile (page 48)

The final details that bring the buffet cut the stub tenons on the ends of the perimeter of each door features a rabbet
to completion are the four doors that stiles. Then switch to the sticking bit, and around the backside to fit the opening
enclose the front of the cabinet. Each one use the stub tenon to set the height of the in the cabinet face frame. This is easy to
features a plywood panel surrounded bit. Cut the grooves in all four parts for accomplish using a dado blade buried
by rails and stiles that are assembled each door, and check the fit. in an auxiliary rip fence, as shown in the
with cope and stick joinery. In fact, its DOOR ASSEMBLY. Once you have achieved drawings below. Note that this rabbet is
the same joinery thats used on the back a flush surface between the parts, you a good opportunity to fine-tune the fit
assembly shown on page 46. can assemble the doors to measure for of the doors in the frame. If you find
The four doors are identical to one the plywood panels. Then assemble the that the door fits tight, simply adjust the
another. So you can get started by cutting rails and stiles around the panels and width of the rabbet to make the door fit
two rails and two stiles for each door to glue and clamp the doors together. the face frame. (Make sure to take the
final size, as shown above. RABBET & BULLNOSE. There are just a few thickness of the hinges into account.)
COPE & STICK JOINERY. Just as before, set up more details remaining to complete Finally, youll cut a subtle rounded pro-
the coping bit in the router table first to the doors. First, youll notice that the file around the front of the door frame.
This is the same profile thats shown in

How-To: DOOR RABBET the drawing at the bottom of page 48.

DOOR HARDWARE. To simplify installation,
the doors are mounted with no-mortise
a. Aux.
rip hinges designed for 38" overlay doors. So
fence its just a matter of installing the hinges
on the doors, spacing them correctly, and
Door attaching the hinges to the face frame.
Door The knobs are also easy to install. Just be
sure to note the orientation of the hard-
Aux. rip ware shown in the drawing above, with
Dado the hinges placed on the outside of each
Dado blade
blade pair of doors and the knobs in the center.
COMPLETE THE BUFFET. Now you can take
Lip Around the Door Frame. The doors partially overlay the face frame of the your time staining and finishing the
buffet. This requires a lip formed around the perimeter of each door. Cut rabbets components of the buffet. Youll find
by burying a dado blade in an auxiliary rip fence and passing the frame over it. the information you need in sources on
page 67. Then its ready for service. W

50 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_050.indd 50 2/5/2015 2:37:30 PM

Materials, Supplies & Cutting Diagram
A Case Sides (2) 4 ply. - 1712 x 33 S Drawer Supports (6) 3
4 x 55 8 - 1612 (6) #8 x 112"Fh Woodscrews
B Upr./Lwr. Dividers (2) 4 ply. - 1612 x 63 T Bullnose Molding 3
4 x 12 - 105 rgh. (46) 114" Pocket Screws
C Vertical Divider (1) 4 ply. - 1612 x 19 U Shelves (2) 3
4 ply. - 113 4 x 301116 (3 prs.) 16" Full-Extension Drawer Slides
3 1
D Face Frame Outer Stiles (2) 4 x 3 - 33 V Shelf Edging 4 x 3 4 - 65 rgh. (9) 114" Antique Brass Knobs
E Face Frame Upper Rails (2) 4 x 114 - 58
W Drawer Sides (6) 1
2 x 414 - 163 4 (4 prs.) 3 8" Overlay Hinges
3 1
F Face Frame Lower Rail (1) 4 x 3 - 58 X Outer Drawer Backs (2) 2 x 414 - 195 8 (8) 14" Shelf Supports
G Face Frame Lower Stiles (2) 4 x 112 - 1812
Y Outer Drawer Fronts (2) 3
4 x 5 - 2118 (1 sheet) 24" x 96" Paper-Backed Veneer
H Face Frame Middle Stile (1) 34 x 2 - 1812 Z Outer Drwr. Btms. (2) 4 ply. - 1612 x 1918

I Face Frame Upper Stiles (2) 34 x 112 - 412 AA Middle Drawer Back (1) 12 x 414 - 123 4
3 3
J Back Outer Stiles (2) 4 x 3 - 33 BB Middle Drawer Front (1) 4 x 5 - 1414
K Back Upper Rail (1) 4 x 112 - 59 CC Middle Drwr. Btm. (1) 4 ply. - 1612 x 1214

3 3
L Back Middle Rail (1) 4 x 3 - 59 DD Cabinet Top (1) 4 ply. - 1614 x 65
M Back Lower Rail (1) 4 x 514 - 59 EE Top Edging 1 x 112 - 180 rgh.
N Back Upper Stiles (2) 4 x 514 - 412 FF Top Filler Strips 1
4 x 114 - 170 rgh.
O Back Lower Stile (1) 4 x 514 - 1614 GG Door Upper Rails (4) 3
4 x 212 - 93 4
P Lower Panels (2) 4 ply. - 273 8 x 1614 HH Door Lower Rails (4) 3
4 x 3 - 93 4
Q Upper Outer Panels (2) 14 ply. - 193 4 x 412 II Door Stiles (8) 3
4 x 212 - 19
R Upper Middle Panel (1) 14 ply. - 11 x 412 JJ Door Panels (4) 1
4 ply. - 9 3 4 x 1412

!/4"x 3" - 96" Cherry (2 Sq. Ft.)


#/4"x 6" - 96" Cherry (4 Bd. Ft.)


#/4"x 6" - 96" Cherry (4 Bd. Ft.)


#/4"x 6" - 96" Cherry (4 Bd. Ft.)


#/4"x 7" - 96" Cherry (4.7 Bd. Ft.) K


#/4"x 7" - 96" Cherry (4.7 Bd. Ft.)

%/4"x 3 !/2" - 96" Cherry (2.9 Bd. Ft.)


!/2"x 5" - 60" Hard Maple (Two boards @ 2.1 Sq . Ft. each) #/4"x 6" - 60" Hard Maple (Two boards @ 2.5 Bd. Ft. each)


!/2"x 5" - 60" Hard Maple (2.1 Sq. Ft.)

X X AA ALSO NEEDED: Two 48" x 96" sheets of #/4" cherry plywood,

One 48" x 96" sheet of !/4" cherry plywood 51

WS218_050.indd 51 2/5/2015 2:37:48 PM

w orking
wood ique

tips & techniques for

Better Tenons
Mortise and tenon joinery is a hallmark of the key details. The drawing and pho- The other detail that I key in on is a
of solid, long-lasting construction. To tos below highlight what youre after. tight, even seam around the shoulders.
improve your skills, its helpful to take For me, there are two main points of This looks good, but it also resists the
some time to zero in on one part of the attention: First, the connection between forces that try to lever the pieces apart.
process. Here, lets take a look at how to the wide cheeks of the tenon and the As for the fit of the tenon at the ends of
raise your tenon-making game. long-grain walls of the mortise. This gives the mortise, Im not concerned about that.
YOUR TARGET. Before you get to the the joint its strength. The other surfaces In fact, a little gap here gives you some
nitty-gritty of making and fine- have at least one end-grain component wiggle room to align parts at assembly.
tuning the fit of a tenon, I find and contribute very little to the overall Another aspect you dont need to
it helpful to have an idea strength of the joint. worry about is making the length of the

Chamfered edges
allow the tenon
to slide in easier

Gap on short
shoulders allows
you to align
parts better

Wide cheeks
provide strongest
glue surface
cut short
Stile cut away so it
to show doesn't
mortise and bottom
tenon joint out in { A properly sized tenon should fit into the { Another test for a tenon is to dry fit the
mating mortise with moderate hand joint and raise the mortised piece. The
pressure or light mallet taps. workpiece should stay in place.

52 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_052.indd 52 2/2/2015 3:15:00 PM

1 a. 2
Aux. miter
gauge fence Make first cut at
shoulder line
Aux. miter
gauge fence

Cut stub Rip fence used

tenon on as stop to set
end of length of tenon

Use corner of stub clearance
tenon to check fit insert

Adjust the Blade Height. Dial in on the correct blade height with test cuts across the First Cut. Start with a cheek cut along the
tip of one test piece. The result is a stub tenon that will allow you to check the fit to the shoulder line, keeping the workpiece flat
mortise. Youre aiming for a fairly snug fit. on the table and tight to the fence.

tenon match the depth of the mortise per- 3 4

fectly. I prefer the tenon to be a little short,
so I dont have to worry about cleaning Make multiple
cuts to remove Slide workpiece
up the bottom of the mortise. remaining waste back and forth
There are several good ways to make while moving
it forward
tenons. No matter which method you
choose, your aim should be to get a good-
fitting joint right from the tool. The less
time and effort you spend in fine-tuning
tenons means more time you have for Nibble Waste. Once the shoulder cut Back & Forth. Remove ridges left by the
other details. To get an idea of what I is made, start to nibble away the waste dado blade to create a smoother tenon
mean, Ill provide an overview of one toward the end of the tenon. cheek and a better glue surface.
popular and simple tenon technique.
DADO BLADE METHOD. Theres a reason that The drawings on this page run down project parts and cut the wide tenon
many woodworkers turn to a dado the overall process. In Figure 1, you can cheeks (Figures 2 and 3). Most tenons
blade to cut tenons. The setup is simple, see how to use a test piece to sneak up are longer than the width of your aver-
the process is straightforward, and with on the correct blade height. I start with age dado blade. So youll need to make
a little practice, the results are hard to the dado blade set low and make a pass multiple passes across the blade.
beat. Long story short, you use a miter along each wide face. At this point, the These overlapping cuts can leave ridges
gauge to guide the workpiece across a stub should be too thick to fit the mortise. that affect the fit of the tenon. To smooth
wide dado blade to create each face of SNUG FIT. Raise the dado blade a tad and them out, I slide the workpiece
kpiece back and
the tenon. Of course, theres more going make another pair of passes. Remem- forth across the blade, as in Figure 4.
on here than meets the eye. ber, youre removing material from each SHORT CHEEKS. The remaining
ning step is
Prior to cutting the actual workpiece, I face, so dont raise the blade too. Youve cutting the end cheeks of the tenon.
like to make a couple extra parts so they reached your goal when you can just Here the workpiece is held
can be used as test pieces for setting up barely fit the tenon in. on edge. Remember,
cuts. This takes away the pressure of try- From here, you can set the rip fence to this isnt a critical glue
ing to get things right on the first try. cut the full length of the tenon. Grab your surface, so you dont
need to worry about
5 6 getting an air tight fit.
Aux. miter fence Aux. miter fence The margin photo
shows what the results
will look like. The
Rip fence
Rip fence Make first cheeks of the tenon may { Heres the result
cut at end
still show light scoring of cutting a tenon
marks. But overall, the with a dado blade.
cheeks are smooth, not
Stand Nibble away ragged. If everything went well, then each
workpiece waste back
on edge to shoulder tenon should slide home easily.
The reality is a joint or two may show
Edge Shoulders. You may need to Edge Shoulders Last. Complete the small gaps or may not close at all. On the
adjust the blade height to cut the edge tenon edge by making a careful cut next pages, I talk about the process for
cheeks and shoulders of the tenon. along the short shoulders. tracking down and fixing any problems. 53

WS218_052.indd 53 2/2/2015 3:15:39 PM

Troubleshooting Tenons
Taking the time and care to set up your
table saw and cut accurate tenons pays
off when its time to fit the joints together.
However, it isnt uncommon to end up
with a couple of joints where you still
need to do some additional work.
You may wonder why you have a prob-
lem at all if youve followed the steps Ive
already discussed. The answers cover a
wide range: Individual workpieces may
vary slightly in thickness or width. A part
may have a subtle bow or curve. Depend-
ing on your technique, the mortise size
may not be perfectly consistent. What-
ever the reason, when the fit isnt right,
you need to do a little detective work to { Trim tenon cheeks with a shoulder or
diagnose the problem and fix it. rabbet plane, or a hardwood sanding block
ONE STEP AT A TIME. On these pages are (inset). Take care to keep the tenon straight
several common issues youre likely and parallel to the face of the workpiece.
to run across. In some situations, you
may have more than one problem going The temptation is to take it back to
on. I find its easier to take things one the table saw and trim it. The problem
at a time. Focusing your attention on is its all too easy to take too much off.
a single issue makes it easier to get a Instead, skip the table saw and reach for
better-fitting joint in the end. some hand tools to get the final fit. The
TOO THICK. I start with looking at the fit photos above show two tools that accu-
of the tenon cheeks to the sides of the rately make the tenon thinner.
mortise. After following the process on Considering its name, its no surprise The other tool is simpler by far a
the previous pages, the most common that many woodworkers think a shoul- sanding block. To keep the tenon flat, I
problem occurs when the tenon is just a der plane is just for trimming shoulders use a hardwood block rather than a cork
hair too big. It may fit only with a lot of of tenons and rabbets. But actually, I find block. I apply adhesive-backed sandpa-
clamping pressure, or firm mallet strokes. that this specialized tool is ideally suited per to the block, leaving at least one edge
The danger here is that you run the risk for paring tenon cheeks. without sandpaper. This safe edge pre-
of splitting the workpiece as you drive A shoulder plane is narrow, so you vents me from altering the shoulder of
the tenon into the mortise. In addition, need to trim a tenon in several passes. the joint unintentionally. I size the block
once the glue goes on, the joint may swell Its possible to create a tapered tenon, if so that I can sand the entire tenon cheek.
slightly. So you may be unable to even you arent careful. So check your progress No matter which tool you use, the key
assemble the joint at that point. often as you work. is taking the same amount of material off
each face. This keeps the tenon centered
for a consistent fit of the overall assembly.
NOTE: Orient grain
of shim in same TOO THIN. The opposite problem is a
direction as board
tenon that drops into the mortise with-
out any resistance. Dont worry, your
workpiece isnt doomed to the scrap
bin. To rescue it, you first need to make
the tenon bigger. You do that by gluing a
thin shim to each cheek. Clamp it firmly
so that you have a gap-free connection
between the shim and cheek.
When the glue is dry, refit the joint. I
like to use relatively thick shims so I can
A narrow tenon
Glue recut the tenon at the table saw. If you use
prevents glue from
forming a good thin shims, you need to fit the joint with a
wood-to-wood bond Shim a Small Tenon. If a tenon is too small, glue shims on shoulder plane or a sanding block.
each cheek. After the glue dries, you can recut the tenon at THE SHOULDERS. Taking care of the wide
the table saw or trim it to size, as shown in the upper photos. cheeks allows you to concentrate on

54 Woodsmith / No. 218

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other aspects of a strong and good-
looking mortise and tenon joint. The
next area of attention is the fit between
the tenon shoulders and the mating
piece that has the mortise.
Slide the joint together and examine
the joint line along the two faces and
both edges. If theres a gap all around the
joint, the culprit could be that the tenon
is bottoming out in the mortise. Check
to make sure the mortise is clear of any
chips. Then trim back the tenon slightly
(if necessary), and reassemble the joint.
On a side note, I like to cut a small { A slight chamfer around the end of the { Cure stepped shoulders by taking small
chamfer on the end of the tenon, as tenon allows it to slide into the mortise bites with a chisel. Register the chisel on
shown in the upper left photo on this easier, and it provides some glue relief. the low side of the shoulder.
page. This makes inserting the tenon
easier and provides some glue relief.
EVEN SHOULDERS. Another problem is a
step between the face and end shoul-
ders. My tool of choice here is a chisel
to remove the step (upper right photo).
When youre sure the shoulders are
even and the joint still doesnt close tightly,
there may be a small ridge of waste where
the tenon cheeks meet the rim of the mor-
tise. The remedy is to pare the waste away
with a chisel. Take care not to cut into the
tenon (near right photo).
Some woodworkers undercut the shoul- { A small ridge of waste where the tenon { Undercutting the shoulder all around the
ders of a tenon to ensure a tight joint line. meets the shoulder can prevent a joint tenon is another method for eliminating
The idea here is that you hold the chisel from seating. Trim it with a chisel. gaps. Leave a narrow flat on the rim.
at an angle to create a beveled shoulder
where it meets the tenon (far right photo). Now I said earlier that I dont tweak the And it also provides glue relief during
If you do this, be sure to leave at least a 116" mortise, but I sometimes make an excep- assembly to reduce squeezeout.
flat around the outer edges. tion. With the chisels out, its easy to cut a ASSEMBLY. The final stage of the process
If the flat is too narrow, the undercut slight chamfer around the edge of the mor- is assembly. But beware, there are still
shoulder may show up as a gap if you tise. This creates a small recess to accept hazards to avoid. The first is applying too
have to do a lot of sanding after assembly. minor inconsistencies in the shoulder. much glue and in the wrong places.
Instead, put the glue only where it
matters most, the cheeks and sides of the
mortise. This is shown in the photos at
left. Brush a thin coat of glue on the wide
cheeks of the tenon. Then use a paddle to
put a coat on the mortise walls. Putting
glue on both surfaces prevents starving
the joint and creating a weak bond.
Now dont dawdle. Get the joints
together quickly. Moisture in the glue
can cause a tenon to swell and make it
difficult to insert. Its easy to go from a
just-right fit to too tight.
As you make the last turns on your
clamps, the joint will close tightly. After
applying these tips and techniques, it will
{ Apply a thin, even coat of glue to the wide { For the strongest joint, brush glue onto the be the last time you need to think about
cheeks of the tenon. Too much glue here side walls of the mortise. No other glue is this joint. And peace of mind is a good
can lead to messy squeezeout. neccesary for solid assembly. destination if you ask me. W 55

WS218_054.indd 55 2/2/2015 3:04:16 PM

o rk ing
w ls
with too

working with
Calipers & Dividers
It seems like every time I pick
up a tool catalog, I see some new
d or electronic woodwork-
i gadget. While tools like these
d have their advantages,
there are times when simple is
calipers better. Calipers and dividers are
a good example.
Calipers have been around
for centuries and are used by
Inside machinists and other trades, as
p well as woodworkers. In essence,
theyre nothing more than a pair { The legs of a spring caliper are held under tension
of metal legs that are joined at by a bow spring at one end. A threaded rod and
one end so they can pivot. This knurled nut allow you to make fine adjustments.
allows you to open or close the
legs to gauge the size of a part. photo above, the legs on a spring caliper
TYPES. There are three main types of are connected by a round bow spring
Dividers calipers outside, inside, and dividers at the top (end) of the tool. A threaded
(photo at left). As the names imply, out- rod and knurled nut are used to hold the
side and inside calipers are used when legs in a fixed position, so you can make
working with outer or inner diameters repeat measurements.
or openings. Dividers have sharpened SIZES. Calipers are available in a range
{ Calipers and dividers can be purchased points for laying out work. of sizes, from 3" to 12" (upper right
from most woodworking catalogs or oonline The calipers shown here are referred to photo on opposite page). The size refers
sources, either individually or as a set. as spring calipers. As you can see in the to the maximum opening of the legs.

56 Woodsmith / No. 218

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For woodworking applica-
tions, I find the 6" and 8" sizes
to be the most useful.
New calipers and divid-
ers are available from several
woodworking supply compa-
nies (refer to Sources on page
67). But you can often find
quality, used examples at flea
markets, garage sales, and
online auction sites like eBay. { To set a caliper to a specific size, place one leg against
the end of a rule. Then open (or close) the other leg as
USING CALIPERS & DIVIDERS needed. The knurled nut holds the legs in position.
Calipers work on the principle
of measurement by comparison rather Outside calipers are especially use-
than actual dimensions. They dont have ful for gauging the size of round parts,
a rule or scale. Instead you use them as particularly when turning. You can use a
a gauge for sizing workpieces. Using rule to set the opening of the calipers to
both outside and inside calipers requires an exact dimension (photo above). Then { Calipers are sized according to their
developing a certain feel. In order to get as you turn down your workpiece, just maximum opening. They typically range
an accurate reading, you want to set the use the caliper to check your progress. I from 3 to 12, as shown here.
caliper so theres just a slight drag on the keep several calipers near my wood lathe
part youre measuring, without crushing when turning spindles. This allows me opening to an outside caliper to use in
it. A little practice is all it takes. to set each caliper to a different size that sizing the mating part.
corresponds with the various diameters DIVIDERS. Unlike calipers, dividers are
of the spindle Im making. more of a layout tool. I use mine to step
You can also use calipers to transfer off equal segments on a workpiece or
dimensions directly from an existing scribe a circle. Theyre handy for laying
workpiece. This is helpful if youre mak- out repeating patterns, such as carved
ing multiple identical parts. moldings. And they work great for
INSIDE CALIPERS. I dont use inside cali- laying out shelf pin hole locations, as
pers as often as outside calipers, but I shown in the photo at left.
keep a pair handy for tasks like gauging Calipers and dividers are one of those
the width of a groove or opening or the basic tools that every woodworker
{ A pair of dividers comes in handy for inside diameter of a hole (lower right should have in his toolbox. Fortunately,
laying out equally spaced parts, joinery, or photo). After gauging the inside of the theyre affordable enough that you really
the locations for shelf pin holes. opening, you can transfer the size of the dont have an excuse not to. W


Digital readout
The basic design of calipers in inches or
has remained the same for millimeters
centuries. Recently, however,
the advent of inexpensive Locking knob
digital readouts have brought
calipers into the modern age.
The example shown at right
features a digital display that
reads in decimal or fractional
inches, as well as millimeters. legs { Digital calipers
A locking knob allows you to are available in
set the spring-loaded legs to a both outside and
precise opening for accurate, inside versions.
repeatable work. For sources, { A pair of inside calipers can be useful for
refer to page 67. gauging the diameter of a hole, recess, or
other interior space. 57

WS218_056.indd 57 2/3/2015 9:44:34 AM

in the

9 must-have
Shop Solutions
A well-equipped shop contains more your tools running smoothly and making some periodic maintenance. In addition
than just tools, wood, and hardware. In clean cuts. (For sources of these supplies, to the supplies shown here, its a good
fact, in order to do your best work, you turn to page 67.) Ive broken down the idea to check the owners manual for
need to regularly spend time tuning and materials into a few broad categories. your tools to see whats recommended.
maintaining your tools and machines. LIGHT MACHINE OIL. You need to keep the
For that, youll need a few other supplies. PEAK PERFORMANCE moving parts like adjustment screws on
A good set of wrenches and sockets are A good place to start is with the machines power tools and even the mechanisms
a must. However, I also keep a few lubri- in your workshop. If you treat them well, on hand planes lubricated for easy oper-
cants and cleaners on hand. The products theyll stay accurate and be ready for use ation. And while just about everyone
you see on these pages are the ones I reach whenever you step into your shop. But has a can of WD-40, it really isnt meant
for most often. Theyre critical to keeping just like the family car, power tools need to be used as a lubricant. The better

{ Buffing a coat of paste wax onto metal tool tables (and even { Spray-on dry lubricants coat bits and blades to
jigs and fixtures) forms a barrier to prevent rust and allows a reduce friction for easier use, extend tool life, and
workpiece to slide across with much less effort. prevent pitch and resin buildup.

58 Woodsmith / No. 218

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choice is light machine oil. 3-In-One is a
common brand, and there are other ver-
sions that are just as effective. Go easy as
you apply it. A light coat offers the best
lubrication without getting gummy.
GREASE. The heavy-duty gears and
moving parts inside big power tools
like your planer need more than a light
coat of oil to fight wear and tear and
reduce friction. My go-to solution is a
can of spray lithium grease, as in the
main photo on the facing page. The key
is spraying it on then wiping down the
excess, so it doesnt create a buildup. { Cutting sticks create a waxy barrier that { Cutting and tapping fluid
TWO KINDS OF WAX. One downside to helps keep drill bits cool and prevent chips works to loosen and carry
grease is that it can attract and hold from clogging up the flutes. chips away for better results.
dust. The result is a sticky grime that
may cause more problems than it solves. amount of effort needed to make a cut. I want to mention one final thing.
So for gears and screws that are con- You can help that along by periodically Dont think you need to have everything
stantly exposed to dust, like the cutter- spraying the cutting edges of bits and shown here, since several items can fill
head lift mechanism inside a thickness blades with dry lubricant, as shown in more than one role. Whats more impor-
planer, I rub a bar of paraffin wax across the lower right photo on the facing page. tant is developing a maintenance rou-
the gears (upper inset photo on the fac- The slippery, microscopic coating left tine for the tools in your shop and stick-
ing page). The wax leaves a dry surface behind reduces friction. ing to it over the long haul. The payoff
thats less likely to attract dust. CUTTING STICKS & FLUID. Drilling into metal will be tools that work reliably and cut
Speaking of wax, a can of soft paste can gum up and prematurely dull bits. smoothly whenever you use them. W
wax comes in handy for tool tables and Waxy cutting sticks coat bits to
even jigs. A buffed-out coat of wax makes keep metal chips from clogging
workpieces slide smoothly and combats the bit. Cutting and tapping
rust formation, as shown in the lower left fluids work to reduce friction,
photo on the previous page. keep bits cooler, and carry away
chips better (upper photos).
A smooth-running tool equipped with a resins accumulate on saw blades
sharp bit or blade is a recipe for top-notch and router bits. The result is
results. But there are some other ingredi- cutting edges that break down
ents you can add to the mix to keep your faster. You can remove the gunk
cutting tools in top shape. with a quick spray of bit and { All it takes is a few spritzes of blade
DRY LUBRICANT. Sharp bits and blades blade cleaner and a brass brush, cleaner to soften caked-on resin and
work better because they decrease the as in the right photo. pitch. The residue scrubs right off.


Im a sucker for an old tool that can be brought back to
life with a little TLC. While Im not afraid to spend some
time reconditioning a tool, I dont want to make it my
day job. Instead, I rely on a few helpers that can take
some of the hard work out of the task.
Lets just say many old tools suffer from deferred
maintenance. The result can be threaded parts frozen
tight with rust. Penetrating oil shown in the photo at
right works like magic to get things unstuck.
Then, rather than remove surface rust with a wire
brush in a drill or tedious hand sanding, soak rusty parts { A spray-on penetrating oil soaks
in a rust dissolving solution (left photo). After a few in to break the bonds of parts that
hours, the rust residue scrubs right off. are heavily corroded. 59

WS218_058.indd 59 1/12/2015 8:18:42 AM

w ork ing
wood ntials

} Different types of cores can

impact the weight, thickness,
choosing the right
and flatness of plywood.

I use plywood in a lot of my projects, and isnt a huge concern. For a project like
Veneer I know Im not alone. There are several the cherry buffet on page 42, however,
good reasons to use it. Its flatter and youll want plywood that looks its best.
more stable than hardwood, and it cuts Plywood has a grading system that
and assembles nicely. But perhaps most helps you choose the best options avail-
important, when youre building some- able. The grading contains a letter and a
thing large, it lets you make panels a lot number (A-2, B-3, etc.). The letter refers
MDF more easily than having to glue a number to the quality of the front face, with A
of boards together. being the best and D being the worst.
When it comes to buying plywood, The number refers to the back face (1 is
though, things can get a little confusing. best; 4 is worst).
There are so many different types, cores, Grading will vary by manufacturer and
and quality grades for plywood that its wood species, but in general, a higher
tough to keep track of it all. Lets take a grade means more uniform color and
cores closer look at plywood, so you can find grain, with fewer voids and defects. In the
what youre really looking for. lower grades, youll be more likely to find
UNDERSTANDING PLYWOOD GRADES. The first knots, voids in edges, and color blotches.
question when it comes to plywood When shopping for plywood, my
for a project is, How good do you advice is to not get hung up on the
want it to look? If its for a shop stor- grade. Instead, choose the plywood
age project, then appearance probably based on appearance. Remember that

60 Woodsmith / No. 218

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higher grades mean higher prices, so This is dictated
ated by how
you want to be smart here. the veneer is cut (refer to
For example, home centers in my area the box below).
low). Rotary cut
only have B- and C-grade plywood, but is the mostt common type of
it still looks pretty good. (A-grade ply- face veneerr for plywood. If you
wood is often found at a lumberyard or want a riftsawnsawn or quartersawn
specialty retailer.) Also, keep in mind look, it may y require a special order.
that a project part like a tabletop only GETTING AT THE CORE. There are also three
needs a good grade on one face since different options
ptions for the core of a sheet of { For greater stability, the plies inside a sheet
youll never see the bottom face. plywood: Veneer, MDF, and a composite of veneer core plywood alternate grain
FACE VENEERS. Another issue thats impor- thats a mixture
xture of materials. You can see direction from one layer to the next.
tant when youre choosing plywood is examples of these cores in the photo at
the look of the grain on the face veneer. the bottom of the previous page. PLYWOOD THICKNESS. Any time youre
Veneer core has thin layers of wood working with plywood, youll need to
with alternating grain (photo above). deal with the issue of inconsistent thick-
This makes the plywood less likely to ness. Typically, veneer core and compos-
bow or cup, but it may have voids in the ite core plywoods are a hair thinner than
edges. The number and thickness of plies their stated dimensions, while MDF core
varies based on the type of plywood. isnt. This can impact projects in a variety
MDF core is a sheet of MDF with face of ways everything from the width of
veneers on it. It has smoother, void-free edging to the size of dadoes and grooves.
edges. But its also heavier, and the Luckily, its easy to compensate for these
material doesnt hold fasteners as well. differences with careful measurements
Composite core plywood features a (photo at left) and fine-tuning your tool
combination of traditional veneers and settings, such as a dado blades thickness.
MDF or particleboard layers. The MDF MAKING THE RIGHT CHOICE. There are a lot of
or particleboard is just below the face options when it come to plywood, but
veneer to make the sheet flatter. This its not difficult to understand the differ-
{ Check the thickness of plywood in multiple gives the plywood sheet the smoothness ences. With a little legwork, you can find
spots before beginning a project. Plywood of MDF core and the stiffness and screw- great plywood sheets for your next proj-
is often thinner than its stated dimension. holding capability of veneer core. ect that wont break the bank. W


One key consideration when ROTARY CUT PLAIN SLICING (FLAT CUT)
choosing plywood is the
appearance of the face veneer. Rotary cut Slicing the
veneer is log parallel
By far the most common type produced to the
of face veneer is rotary cut (top by rotating center
the entire creates
left). For this type of cut, the log against veneer with
log is laid against a knife, and a long cathedral
knife grain
the veneer is peeled off the
outer circumference of the log. Knife
Another way is to cut the
veneer from a log like boards.
This type of cut produces a RIFTSAWN QUARTERSAWN
cathedral grain (top right).
Veneer can also be cut at Cutting the Quartering
veneer at the log
an angle to produce riftsawn 30 to 60 before
or quartersawn veneer for to the rings slicing it (at
produces 60 to 90
plywood (bottom drawings). straight to the rings)
grain results in
These techniques produce Example of without the straight
great-looking plywood, but riftsawn flecking of grain and
lumber quarter- flecking
you can expect to pay a pre- sawn Example of
mium for these products. quartersawn lumber 61

WS218_060.indd 61 2/5/2015 2:38:29 PM

as te ring
m saw
the ta ble

choosing & using

Push Sticks
While you can master the basics of rip- time, my right hand provides the push That help comes in the form of either a
ping at the table saw in a short time, a key (photo below). I like this method since push block or a push stick. These accesso-
element of the process is safely controlling the feedback through my fingers lets me ries do the same thing, drive a workpiece
the workpiece. To maintain better control, know how the cut is progressing. through the table saw blade. The only dif-
you have a few options to choose from. However, there comes a point when ference is their shape.
To be honest, most of the time I use the rip fence and my fingers are just too PUSH BLOCK. The name push block
my hands to guide a workpiece. My left close to the blade for comfort. Its a bit implies its shape. I use a push block
hand is fixed on the saw table holding subjective, but anytime Im ripping pieces thats cut from a piece of two-by stock.
the piece against the fence. At the same under 5" in width, I reach for a helper. A notch along the bottom edge creates a
heel at the back end. (There are commer-
cial versions that work similarly.)
The advantage of a push block is that
while youre moving a workpiece forward,
the long base of the push block applies
downward pressure on the workpiece.
I view this accessory as a disposable
item. For ripping narrow parts, I can run
the push block right across the blade.
After a while, the bottom and heel are
too chewed up to work. But it only takes
a minute to make another one.
PUSH STICKS. The other type of guide that
many woodworkers routinely use is a
push stick. Here again, these can be shop-
made or purchased. These long-handled
{ When making wide cuts, your hand guides the workpiece. I like to hook my outer fingers accessories feature a small notch on the
over the fence rail to serve as a physical reference to make the cut safely. business end to catch the back end of

62 Woodsmith / No. 218

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a workpiece and push it through the
blade. The main benefit to using a push
stick is that the longer length keeps your
hand away from the blade. Push sticks
are pretty thin so theyre useful when
cutting narrow parts. That also means
they work well with blade covers, as
shown in the upper right photo.
PUTTING THEM TO WORK. Unless a work-
piece is fairly short, its not practical to
use a push block when beginning a cut.
The pressure on the unsupported back { A notched 2x4 push block makes for a simple, { A narrow push stick can fit between
end would raise the front edge of the disposable guide. You can cut into the block the blade cover and rip fence for all
workpiece like a teeter totter. while still maintaining control. but the narrowest cuts.
That means you need to start the cut by
guiding the workpiece with your hand
and then grab the push block along the
way. The key is knowing the right moves
to get the job done safely. The photos
below show the three-step process.
To minimize reaching, I park my push
block either on top or right next to the
rip fence. Feed the workpiece steadily
through the blade. As the end of the
workpiece approaches the edge of the
saw table, use your left hand to keep
the workpiece firmly on the table as you { This saddle is ideal for cutting narrow strips. { Rubber-bottomed push pads give
reach for the push block with your right. Riding along the rip fence ensures that the piece you a firm grip to hold the work-
Make sure the hook engages the work- youre cutting is moving in a straight line. piece against the saw table.
piece and push the piece past the blade.
Either a push block or a push stick will to a different pushing device. This one up and cause an inconsistent depth of
satisfy most of your needs. However, Ive is a saddle that rides along the rip fence cut. To avoid this problem, I use a pair of
found that there are a couple of cases (near left photo above). With this setup, rubber-bottomed push pads (near right
where its nice to have other, more spe- the side that pushes the workpiece cant photo above). These spread the pressure
cialized accessories. drift away from the fence and get cut by you apply over a broader area so you
SADDLE FOR THIN STRIPS. Earlier, I men- the blade. The side is notched to accept can make the cut with ease.
tioned that my push block works well several common thicknesses. Making smooth, accurate cuts goes
for narrow stock. But if I need to cut a PADS FOR JOINERY. One of the keys to cut- hand in hand with safe practices at the
lot of thin strips for edging plywood, for ting accurate rabbets and dadoes is table saw. Using the guides and learning
example, my usual push block can get holding the workpiece against the saw the techniques shown here will put you
chewed up pretty quickly. Instead, I turn table. Otherwise the workpiece can rise on the right path. W

{ Start cutting a long board by feeding the work- { Use your left hand to keep the workpiece { Complete the cut with the push block.
piece with your hands. The push block should be moving slowly as you reach for the push Lift your left hand from the saw table
located within easy reach. block with your right hand. to keep it clear of the blade. 63

WS218_062.indd 63 2/3/2015 9:47:38 AM

tips frop
our sho

Cutting Compound Miters
The corner slats on the window box
(page 18) are joined with compound
miters. To keep a consistent spacing
between slats, the width of the front
and back corner slats is different from
the end slats. What makes it a challenge
is that to cut the eight corner slats, you The opposite beveled edge serves as a of two to match the four different cuts
need four different setups. The lower guide for positioning the slat along an you need to make.
left drawing below shows how each angled fence. Sandpaper on the base Figures 1 - 4 below highlight the setup
pair of corner slats relate to the others. helps keep the slat from creeping as for each cut. You set a slat on the base
VERSATILE SLED. The solution comes in you hold it in place with a push pad, as and slide it along the fence until the lay-
the form of a simple table saw sled. shown in the photo above. out line aligns with the beveled edge of
The details of the sled are shown in MAKING A CUT. In order to cut the slats the base. Then use a push pad to hold
the drawing below. accurately with the sled, you just need the slat in place as you make the cut.
One edge of the sled runs along the rip to mark the width of the slat on its Notice that in Figures 3 and 4 the fence
fence. (I needed to move the rip fence to top edge. To keep things organized, I and slat are flipped end for end to cut the
the left side of the blade for this step.) arranged the corner slats in four groups opposite miters from the first two cuts.

NOTE: Base is made 1&/8

from #/4" plywood.
Fence is !/4" hardboard
1 2!!/16 2 2&/16

1!/2 Rip
Adhesive-backed fence 1
sandpaper 2
#14 x #/4"Ph
woodscrew 2 Waste NOTE:
45 NOTE: Table saw as Table saw
beveled viewed from as viewed
edge 4%/8 operator's position NOTE: Blade from operator's
13 tilted left 45 position

3 2!!/16 4 2&/16

3 2 4 Waste
1 Waste
3 4
2 3
Flip fence

NOTE: As viewed from NOTE: As viewed from

back of table saw back of table saw

64 Woodsmith / No. 218

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NOTE: Base is centered
3 5!/2 on guide block
Hardware Drilling Guide
The face frames for the room divider on a. 1"-dia.
Guide block hole
page 28 are held together with railing hole
connectors. These connectors require the 1!/2 #/4 #8 x 2!/4" Fh
accurate drilling of a few holes near the 2!/4
ends of the rails and stiles. In order to Base 4!/2
keep the hole spacing consistent between #/4
parts, I made this simple drilling guide Guide
to assist in lining them up. block %/16"-dia.
THICK BLOCKS. The drilling guide is made VIEW NOTE: Jig base and guide block
from a couple of thick hardwood blocks are made from 1!/2"-thick stock
screwed together to form a T. Before
fastening the two blocks together, youll 1 1"
Forstner 2 twist
want to lay out and drill the holes. bit bit
The base piece of the guide has one
hole drilled in its face. This locates the fence
hole that houses the anchor portion of Jig base Guide
block Stop block
the railing connector.
The two holes in the guide block posi- a. a. #/4
tion the hole for the threaded insert in the
2!/4 %/16"-dia.
stile edge and the hole for the threaded hole
rod that extends into the end of the rail.
The boxes at the bottom of page 34 show SECTION VIEW #/4
how to use the drilling guide.

Trimming Two-Layer Panels 1 2

The room divider on page 28 has three Caul Trim away
large upright dividers, each constructed Panel edges uneven edge of
offset !/16" oversized glued-up
from two layers of 34" plywood. When panels
face gluing these large panels, its dif-
ficult to keep the edges flush and get the Outfeed
clamps in place without the panels slid- Caul support Waste
ing out of alignment.
To avoid this frustration, I cut the ply-
wood panels needed for the dividers a In order to maximize the yield of a
little wide. I was then able to intention- sheet of plywood, be sure you only cut
3 11#/4"

ally offset the panels edges when apply- the oversize panels about 18" wider than
ing the glue and clamps, as shown in necessary. This allows you to overlap the Rip
Figure 1. This ensures that you have a panels about 116" on each side, as illus- fence

straight edge to run against the table saw trated in Figure 1. The result is that you Trimmed edge
against fence
rip fence while cutting the dividers to can still get four single-layer panels from Waste
their finished size (Figures 2 and 3). one sheet of plywood.

Hanger bracket with

Pre-drill shank holes #14 x 1!/2" Ph
Planter Box Hanger Cleat
#14 x 1" Ph woodscrews for attaching Once its filled with flowers and potting soil, the planter
hanger cleat box from page 18 can be pretty heavy. So I wanted an
dado easy way to attach it to the house. You can see what I
32 came up with in the left drawing. The secret is a heavy-
3!/4 duty hanger bracket that looks like a giant-sized saw-
a. 12 tooth picture frame hanger.
1#/8 Slat The brackets are set into shallow dadoes cut in a cleat
Bolt into that I screwed to the back side of the planter box. The
wall &/8 cleat is made from the cedar, just like the planter box. I
END beveled one long edge to match the angle of the slats, as
VIEW 1!/2 shown in detail a. The brackets hook over lag screws
that are driven into the side of the house. W 65

WS218_064.indd 65 2/5/2015 9:31:45 AM

ue stions
q rs
& answe

cut on
I often read directions that say to cut CURVED & IRREGULAR SHAPES. When creat- INSTALLING HARDWARE. Shaping a part
on the waste side of the line. How ing a curved edge on a workpiece, the isnt the only place where knowing
much waste should I leave? first step is to remove most of the waste how close to cut to a layout line is
Eric Oslund quickly. A band saw is an ideal choice important. The other example, creating
Independence, Missouri for this, as shown in the photo above. a hinge mortise, is shown in the lower
The blade leaves noticeable marks, so right photos. I traced the hinge to locate
Working to a layout line is an essential you dont want to cut right on the line. it on the edge of the door. A router and
woodworking skill. A layout line on a Otherwise you would lose your refer- a straight bit removes most of the waste
workpiece separates the material you ence for shaping the curve. Instead, area inside the pencil lines.
want to keep from the material that keep the blade slightly away from the In order to do the final fitting, turn
needs to be removed the waste. So the line. The closer you cut, the easier (and to your chisels. Heres where the lay-
line helps determine the ultimate size quicker) it is to clean up the profile right out line comes into play. For a snug fit,
and fit of a project part or even a joint. to the line. With a well-tuned saw and a you need to trim up to, but not remove,
The key is understanding what part of little practice, you can reliably cut pretty the line. Trimming away the layout line
the workpiece the layout line is on. For close to the line (up to 132"). results in a mortise thats too large by
me, the lines serve as a do not exceed The second step is smoothing the edge, the width of the pencil line on each side.
reminder. But ultimately, its the final fit working just to the layout line without Layout lines are your roadmap to
and look thats most important. Here are removing it. You can do that with a sand- staying on course while you work.
two examples that illustrate how to use ing drum (lower left photo) or with a Learning to read what theyre telling
layout lines as a guide. router, a template, and flush-trim bit. you will make your projects better. W

{ In order to create a workpiece with a smooth curve, be sure to { Use your chisels to trim away the waste right to the pencil
keep your layout lines. Sanding away the line eliminates your lines so a butt hinge fits in the mortise like a hand in a glove.
guide and its much harder to make a smooth, even curve.

66 Woodsmith / No. 218

WS218_066.indd 66 2/3/2015 8:13:02 AM

hardware & supplies
Most of the materials and sup- The room divider face frames were OILS & LUBRICANTS (p.58) MAIL
plies youll need to build the primed and painted with a black Amazon ORDER
projects are available at hard- satin spray paint. The remainder Lithium Grease . . . .B001DKQ0X2 SOURCES
ware stores or home centers. For of the project was finished with Rockler
specific products or hard-to-find three coats of spray lacquer. BladeCote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52670
Project supplies may
be ordered from the
items, take a look at the sources Enco following
listed here. Youll find each part SMALL PARTS SLED (p.36) Tap Ease Stick . . . . . . . . 825-8140 companies:
number listed by the company McMaster-Carr Tap Magic Fluid . . . . . . . 505-2007 Woodsmith Store
name. See the right margin for 1 "-20 Thumbscrews . . . 92421A540 Home Depot
4 800-444-7527
contact information. 1 "-20 Insert Knobs . . . . . . 5993K22 PB Blaster . . . . . . . . . 16PB-THD
Rockler Metal Rescue. . . . . . . . WH290497
SHOP FIRST AID (p.10) Miter Bars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21982 Paste Wax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00203
Rockler 1 "-20Flange Bolts . . . . . . . . .31969
Benjamin Moore
Splinter Out . . . . . . . . . . . . 36562 T-Track . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22104
Magnifying Tweezers . . . . . 81943 Nevamar
Craft Supplies USA
Amazon Laminate (Liberty Red) . . . S-1027 800-551-8876
Pager System . . . . .B0032FMSWS
Saline Eyewash . . . . B00INAXF1K CHERRY BUFFET (p.42) Enco
TABLE EDGE ROUTER BITS (p.12) Cope & Stick Bits . . B001GI7TCM Hardware Source
MLCS Lee Valley 877-944-6437
Thumbnail Bit. . . . . . . . . . . . 8559 114" Knobs . . . . . . . . . . 02W26.22
Traditional Bit . . . . . . . . . . . . 8567 Shelf Supports. . . . . . . . 05H20.41 Highland Woodworking
Ogee Fillet w/Radius Bit . . . 8564 16" Drawer Slides . . . . . 02K42.16 TABLE SAW ACCESSORIES (p.62)
Hardware Source Woodworkers Supply
Home Depot
8" Inset Hinges . . . . . . . . 400171 Push Stick . . . . . . . . . . . . . 886-669
Highland Woodworking Veneer Supplies Woodcraft
Lee Valley
RTJ400 Dovetail Jig . . . . . 105881 Cherry Veneer . . . . . PBCHRFC28 Push Blocks (Pads) . . . . . . 111170
Accessory Kit . . . . . . . . . . 105882 The buffet was stained with a
mixture of three parts Zar cherry Get the all-new Woodsmith
WINDOW PLANTER BOX (p.18) stain and one part Wood Kote Magazine Library DVD! This
Lee Valley Jeld stain (cherry). Then it was computer DVD contains every
Hanger . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 00F16.10 sprayed with two coats of lacquer. page of all 216 issues. The DVD
MLCS is fully searchable and printer- 800-533-9298
36" Box Liner . . . BXI-NM-02368 CALIPERS & DIVIDERS (p.56) friendly. Plus, you get online
The planter box was primed Craft Supplies USA access to every issue, as well. Nevamar
and then painted with Benjamin Caliper/Divider Set . .1050860001 Learn more at! 877.726.6526
Moores exterior paint in Mountain Digital Calipers . . . . .1042510002 Magazine Library DVD: ............... $99
Peak White. Veneer Supplies


Lee Valley
Cabinet Hangers . . . . . . 01L06.01 01 Woodcraft
Railing Connectors . . . . . 00S12.40 40
Lowes Wood Kote
Shelff Pins . . . . . . . . . . . . . 163200
Woodworkers Supply

Zar 67

WS218_066.indd 67 2/3/2015 1:45:26 PM

looking inside
Final Details

{ Small Parts Sled. This scaled-down version of the classic

table saw sled includes all the features youd expect to
find plus a few more that are designed specifically for
working with small parts. Plans begin on page 36.

{ Room Divider. Whether its placed against a wall or in the middle { Window Planter Box.This planter box is ideal for mounting
of a room, this shelving unit is both practical and attractive. beneath a window or on a deck railing. And the picket
Removable shelves enhance its utility. Well walk you through fence design of the slats gives this weekend project a
each step of the construction, beginning on page 28. unique look. Turn to page 18 to get started.

< Dining Room Buffet. The final

chapter to our dining room suite,
this buffet incorporates several of
the same great design features
found in the other pieces
frame and panel joinery, elegant
bullnose profiles, and solid cherry
construction.To learn more about
how to build it, turn to page 42.

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