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Ii, Doll Dinette

'\ 1 PUZZLEhis might be the onl y dinette set in the world you re-
T ally can make in a weekend . Not only is thi s an in-
tere sting puzzle , it's also servicable doll furniture.

STEP ONE: Start with a 11/2" x 13/4" x 4" block of scrap

wood and cut out the inside piece of the large table on your
band saw. Be sure to leav e a small lip on the bottom legs
o f the table to hold the other pieces of the puzzle in place. STEP TWO: Cut the interior block into two chair-shaped
Put the table aside. pieces as shown in the diagram below.
STEP lHREE: The two small-
er sets of chairs are cut from
the la rg er chairs. On each
chair, cut a small block below
the seat tha t runs from the
front to the back of each chair.
Cut that block into two chairs.
Th en set the chairs aside.
STEP FOUR: On each large
chair cut out a larger block
from below the seat that runs
from side-to-side. These make
the smaller table s.
STEP FIVE: Sand as needed
and break the edges to remove
sp linters. Finis h as desired .
- Edward Coombs

Full-Size Diagram

Flr5tcut \

Second cut ~

\ /
Full block, side view

ro,r;t ;
Fifth cut

Large chair, front view Small chairs Large chair, side view

38 Popular Woodworking

Full-Size Diagram

P eople love to receive puzzle s as gifts .

I've made this box for years, and it
never fails to delight the recipients.
This puzzle is made on the band saw;
and once you get the hang of it, you can
knock out more than a dozen in an hour.

STEP ONE: Start with a 1%" x 13/4" x

3" block of scrap wood and mark the two
patterns shown in the diagram on ad-
joining sides.
STEPTWO: Make both cuts on one face
of the block, then hold the block together
as you cut the pattern on the other face.
STEPTHREE: A little sanding will clean
up the saw marks, and you can finish the
puzzle however you like. You can even
leave it unfinished.
-Edward Coombs

Teacher (or Mom)
T his project is perfect for the
young woodworker who wants
to make something nice for teach-
STEP TWO: Youcan buy the apples
at a local crafts store or through cat-
alogs (seeour story on catalog shop-
ers at school or family members ping in this issue). Drill two or three
at home. 3/ 8" holes in the top of the apple to
As a bonus, you need only a hold pencils. Cut the 11;4" deep slot
couple power tools for this pro- for notes with a coping or back saw.
ject, including a router mounted A piece ofleather from a shoestring
in a table and a drill press . works nicely as the apple's stem.
STEPTHREE: Sand the base and
STEP ONE: Begin with a piece apple. Paint the apple red and put
of 3/ 4" x 4 1;4" x 9 1/ 4" scrap wood two coats of clear finish on the
for the base. Rout a profile on base. Then screw the apple to the
all four edges . Make it as fancy as base. Attach a note pad to the base
you like (or as your collection of with two-sided tape.
bits will allow). - Edward Coombs

January 1998 39
PuliOut™ Plans • January 1998 ,#100
Carefully open

Wooilworking staples 10 remove

plans, then bend
them closed again

NOll': lI'e had so manv proj ects this issu e \I '/' had lu
pili some of the Pull Out Plans 0 11 pa ge .I f.)

project ~ project ~
Candleholder 40 Mighty Mite 62
Basket 50 Prairie Chair 6.6
Mailbox 51 Musical Toys 70
Maloof Table 57 Whirligig 73

Musical Toys

, ,
,, ,,,
, ~~ "
,, " ,,
,, '"
,,, '"'"'"'"

Full-size diagram of
the Leg top

Full-size diagram of
the Leg bottom



Band Sawn Basket

Full- s ize plan of basket
and handle cut out.

Sawyers Whirligig
Full-size "Jerry" parts

IL _;

IL _;

L ...J
r - - - - -,
I 1
L _

L ...!I

Folding Candleholder
Full-elze diagram of candleholder
part6 and drilling layoute

- - ---

.... ....
.... ....
.... ....

I ....
I ....
I ....
I ........

I ....
....I .... ....
.... ....
<, ........ r .. <,
........ ....
-- - -
._ - - ._- - ._ - - ._ - - ._ - - ._ - - ._ - - .-

Musical Toys


Full-size diagram of Full-size dia(;1ram

side stretcher canopy section
(Tenons not included)

Full-size diagram of
front and back stretchers
(Tenons not included)
awyers Whirligig
Full-size diagram of
tail fin

Sawyers Whirligig
Full-size "Luke" parts

Pocket Luke
o Body

Prairie Spindle Chair
Full-size diagram
of corbel
Maloof Table Base

__. .__i . . . . . . . . ._
Prairie Spindle Chair

c _
Supplement to PuliOut™ Plans
Victorian Mailbox
1" d iameter hole
clearance 3/4" 3/8"
holes t1 hole

@ ~ et
3/4"13/4" 1 7/8" 1 '/2" 1 518" 3/4"
r I r r r r r r 9 '/4"
(~ --t- - -t- - --~- - --- - ----t--t--t)~
F------ ~, - ---- --®- ----- --Fliole~J~
'!J18" '\
2 1f4" -P.-----L--,;:-'----...::-'

~ ~
9 1/4" _ 4 3/4" .
r 1
Prairie Spindle Chair
F-- -- --~ -----~- -t----~------=t1 ~ Important: By making these
l l I dimensions the earne.the
3 3 /4" :
saw setup is the same
for each dimension and
t heref ore square! Always
use these edges to fence .


2 '/2" I
rad ius :

Musical Toys
Hex Plat e
0 Musical Toys
318" holes
Wiring diagram fo r
carousel Bulb from
Solde r wires t o bulb flash light

3" + 0
and switch leads.
Attach wires to "D"
size batteries.
Secure batteries
Pictu re disc
'/4" X 7 '
Sm all
broom clip

wI electrical condu it Block

3 / 4" x 1 1/ 2" x 1' /2"
brac kets.
(tight fi t on shaft) Bushings
0 Drive drum 1'/8" x 1 314" t ight fi t
d ia. Coat wllDD grit 314" X 2" x 6 "
The hexagon al 1/4" Plywood (3 places)
plate has 4 '/2" sandpaper (tight fit on shaft)
s ides Spacers~--:----- ~. .-t-""TI
'/4" bushing and ' /e" sh aft
Disc two washers Rubber band

0 drive belt
3/8" holes
Music movement
wI pulley assembly
3" 3 / 8 " hole throug h \ Rotary
side fo r winding stem •. ,...... '.
0 -f 0 of mus ic movement ~
1/ 2"


o 3 / 4" X 2" x 5"

' /4" Plywood
'/2" x 6 " x 6 "

January 1998 49
F YOU CAN'T AFFO RD to bu y a Counterbore the lag screw holes enough er, then fasten the seat to the top of the
I full-sized stea ms hove l for your chil-
dr en to pl ay with, the n re ad o n . Th e
to recess their heads and a flat was her.
Drill the 3/ 8"-diameter bearing hole
body wi th fla t head wood screw s. The
sub-assembly is now comp lete and can
Mi ght y Mit e Ex cavator is th e perfect in the boom support as shown. Depending be set aside .
on the actual outside diameter of the 1;8"
machine for scooping, moving and dump-
ing back yard sand - witho ut the mess
and fuss that come with real steamshov-
x 1 1/ 2" pipe nip ples (which wi ll fu nc-
tion as bearin gs), you might have to ex-
2Base Sub-Assembly· The base
sub-assembly includes three legs,
els. Best of all, the Mighty Mite is much periment to produce a press fit. Drill out three foot pad s (wi th a 1/ 4" radius on
less expensive. the inside diameter of these pipe nipples both sides) and the two base reinforce-
I built thi s vers io n from pin e and to a full 1/ 4". ment discs. Drill a 1/2" diameter hole
popl ar, but yo u ca n use any thing that Align the body support with the 1;2" through the ce nter of one of the base re-
will endure many "jo bs" and incl ement hole through the body, (keeping the grains inforcement s, then glue the legs to the
weathe r. I rec ommend bu yin g all the at ri ght angles for stre ng th) , and se - two base reinforcement discs. Place the
hardware before you start because some cure the two with glue and screws . disc with the ce nter hole on the bottom ,
piec es might be trick y to find . Th en cut Install the vertical axle and its wash- with the grai n of the two discs at right
out and label all the wood parts acco rd-
ing to the Schedule of Materials.

1 Central Sub-Assembly· After
cutting all the parts to size, start
with the central sub-assembly. It is made
usin g the bod y, the boom suppo rt and
the body support piece s.
First, drill a 1/ 2" diameter hole in the
bod y as shown in the PullOut" Plans,
counter boring the upp er end for a flat
washer and a 1/ 2" nut. Then drill a 1/2"
diameter hole through the center of the
body support.
Attach the boom support to the body,
as show n in the diagram, using 1/4" x 5"
la g sc re ws a nd wa te rproo f g lue .
1 GET YOUR PARTS IN A ROW • Layout all drilling locations on th e cu t
parts before you drill the first hole. Tape parts H together so they ca n be
drilled at the same time.

62 Popu lar Woodworking


Diagram of the Boom Actuator

o M
Plan 1/4" d iameter
3/4" hOle
'-- -(+ J
8 13/ 16 " 7 15116"

I L ,


~,:·I) --: Hardware Schedule:

NO.1 Hardware
1 :1,'2" x 10" vertical axle
3 :1,'2" fender washers
- :1,'4" fender washers
Schedule of Materials: Mighty Mite Excavator 2 :l,'s" x 3/4" Iron pipe
No. Letter Item I Dimensions T W L I Material 3 :l,'s" x 1:1,'2" iron pipe
1 A Body 1:1,'2" x 5:1,'2" x 16:1,'2" Pine 2 :1,'4 " x 4" lag screws
1 B Boom Support 1 :1,'2" x 1:1,'2" x 10" Poplar 2 :1,'4" x 4" carriage bolts
1 C Body Support 3/4" x 5 " diameter Poplar 1 :1,'4" x 3:1,'2" hex head bolts
1 0 Seat 3/4" x 10" x 11:1,'4 " Poplar 4 :1,'4" x 5" hex head bolt
3 E Legs 1 :1,'2" x 3 :1,'2" x 12" Pine 1 :1,'4" x 3" hex head bolt
3 F Foot Pads 3/4" x 3:1,'2" diameter Poplar 1 :1,'4" x 2 " hex head bolt
2 G Base Reinforcement 3/4" x 8 " diameter Poplar 5 :1,'4" x 3:1,'2" carriage bolts
2 H Boom Members 3/ 4" x 1 :1,'2" x 17" Poplar 15 :1,'4" id flat washers
1 I Boom Stop 1 :1,'2" x 3" x 7" Pine 2 :1,'4" id x 1 " od flat washers
1 J Boom Stop 1 :1,'2" x 3 " x 6:1,'2" Pine 17 :1,'4" hex nuts
1 K Bucket Beam 1:1,'2" x 1 :1,'2" x 21 3/4" Pine 1 .062" x 4" x 10:1,'2" sheet metal
1 L Bucket Bottom 3/4" x 4 " x 4 " Poplar 1 .062" x :1,'2" x 12" sheet metal
1 M Boom Actuator (Long) 3/4" x 1:1,'2" x 18:1,'4" Poplar 1 :1,'4" x 11:1,'2" iron rod
1 N Boom Actuator (Short) 3/4" x 1 :1,'2" x 12" Poplar 3 :1,'4" id screw eyes
1 0 Spacer/Stop 1:1,'2" x 1 9/16" x 3 7/16" Pine 1 :1,'4" x 2" eye bolt (s/S" id eye)
1 P Boom Control Lever 3/4" x 1:1,'2" x 17 3/4" Poplar 1 :l,'s" cable clip
1 Q Boom Control Leve r 3/ 4" x 1:1,'2" x 17 3/4" Poplar 1 Compression spring
1 R Bucket Lever 3/ 4" x 1:1,'2" x 10" Poplar 1 :l,'s" x 4 ' nylon rope
1 S Spacer/Bearing 1 :l,'s" x 1:1,'4" diameter Maple 2 3/ 16" rivet
1 T Brace 3/4" x 1 :1,'2" x 7" Poplar 2 #10 x 3/4" RH wood screws

January 1998 63
TEST FIT • To connect the central sub-assembly and
2 BASE CONSTRUCTION • Hand fit the legs where they
co me together in the center to a point. They should be
120 degrees apart. You can see in this photo where I used
3 the base sub-assembly with the :1t2" threaded rod, I
used a nut with a lock washer and applied Threadlocker"
positioning marks on the legs. to the end of it. Tap the rod at both ends.


actuating assembly parts together
to drill them at the same time. The
position of the parts shown here is not
correct, but it made it easier to drill
them together.

angles to each other.

Drill for the three 1/ 4" diameter x
3 Check for Fit· Temp oraril y in-
sta ll th e ce ntra l sub-asse mb ly
man y fender wa sh er s will be need ed,
and where , for cl earance betwee n the
4 1/2" hex bolts, washers and nuts, then onto the base sub-assembly on the ver- moving part s.
attach the legs to the discs. Tum the base tical ax le rod. Use two large flat wash- Set the two outer levers parall el to
sub-assembly over and use the center er s between th e two sub-asse mblies . each other, with the buck et beam rest-
hole in the lower disc to drill the 1/ 2,,_ Install the main boom sub-assembly onto ing agains t the stop of the main boom
diameter hole for the vertical axle through its support bearin g in the boom support assembly. Then bolt the brace piece be-
the legs and the upper disc. Finally, glue with a 1/ 4 " x 5" hex head bolt. Th en in- tween the left hand boom control lever
and screw the foot pads in place . stall the bucket beam onto the front of and the boom stop. Then run a deck screw
To continue assembly, lay ou t the the main boom sub-asse mbly with a 1;4" throu gh the brac e and into the left-hand
hole loca tio ns fro m the Pull Ou t Plans x 3 1/ 2" carriage bolt through the upper boom member, and check again for cor-
on one of the boom members, then stack beam bearin g. rect operation. In stall the buck et lever
them and drill through both pieces. Clamp and spacer onto the left hand lever using
the boom stops betwee n the boom mem- fu 4 Act uat ing Lever Assembly' a 1/ 4" x 3" hex head bolt, fender wash-
bers using two 1/ 4" bolts thro ugh the end In This assembly consists of the two ers, a 1;4 " lock washer and a 1/ 4" hex nut.
holes as alignment pins. Once these parts boom ac tua tors and the sto pper. G lue Once the proper travel and freedom
are correctly alig ned, dr ill th rou gh the them togeth er then drill the three 1/ 4,,_ o f operation ha s been found, di sa s-
boom members and both boo m sto ps . diameter holes as indicated on the dia - se mble all the sub-assemblies and note
Temporarily assemble these co mponents gram on the previous page. the number and locati on of all the fend-
using four 1;4" x 3 1/2 " carriage bolts, flat Fit the right hand lever with two bear- er wash er s.
washers and hex nuts. It may be neces- ings as shown in the PullOut Plans. The Sand all the exposed surfa ces and
sary to use fe nde r washers as spacers space r is next g lued to the bucket lever. apply an appropriate outdoor paint. Then
du ring the final asse mbly. Nex t, temp orarily install the lever s re-assemble the fini shed component s,
To attach the hardware to the buck- onto the main bearing bolt and the ac- again ch ecking for freedo m of move-
et beam, locate and drill the holes for the tuat ing asse mbly in place on the right ment as yo u ass em ble. Add a nut and
two bearin gs and the thr ee screw eye s hand lever. Drill one 3;16" hole throu gh washer to the lower end of the 1/2" ver-
as locat ed in th e di ag ram o n th e nex t the buck et lever for the actuation cord, tical axle.
page. Cut out and perman ently install then attac h the fro nt end of the actu at-
the bucket bottom onto the lower, fro nt
surface of the beam . T he radi us of the
ing assemb ly onto the lower bearin g of
the bucket bea m. Tight en all hard ware
5• Make and Install the Bucket
Form the sheet metal bucket by
bottom sho uld be flu sh with the beam. to a sn ug co nditio n and chec k for free- tightly wrapping it around a 3 1/2 " di -
Locate and dr ill pilot holes for the two dom of movem ent and ex tent of tra vel ameter can. Its inherent spring back will
wood screws that serve as retaining hinge for all wood parts and th eir bearin gs. bring it to about 4" diamete r. File smooth
pins for the sheet metal bucket. Thi s is where yo u will determin e how all sharp edges and attach it to the buck-

64 Popul ar Woodworking
Diagram of the Bucket Release Mechanism

2 1/ 2 "
4 7/8"
5 7/8 "

7 1/4" -4>-


After inserting the
eyebolts into the
arm, attach the
connecting rod to
the handle, which
has been riveted to
the bucket, and
attach it to the
shovel (top).
Then, after reo
assembling the
arm assembly, go
ahead and string
the shovel. Use a
thin piece of wire
to fish the doubled
et bottom wi th two # 10 x 3/ 4" sc re ws stop the buck et in
~8" nylon cord
and flat was hers. its exact closed po- through the 3/1 6"
To fo rm the b uc ke t handle , drill a sition (no ga p, no hole (left) ,
1/ 4" diameter hol e through center and ove rb ite) . Ne xt , Bring enough cord
on the ce nterline. Then, drill 3/16" hole s pa ss a li S" nyl on through the hole to
through both ends, 3/S" in from the ends cord thr ou gh one just wrap around a
and on the centerline. Also, drill two 1;s" of the drilled holes pan-head sheet
diame ter holes in the upper "v " of the in the handl e and metal screw . The
bucket handle, which will be used dur- knot it securely on screw is drilled
ing the riggin g of the bucket. th e und ern e ath into the opposite
side of the bucket
Ne xt, fo rm the handl e so that a I" side. Then pass the
lever (bottom).
flat surrounds the cent er 1/4 " hole. Then free end of the cord
bend eac h end a few degrees I" in from throu gh th e a p-
the ends. Att ach the handl e to the buck- propriate screw eye
et with 3/ 16" rivet s and flat washer s to o n the uppe r e nd
allow for free do m of movement. of the bucket beam,
To form the buck et release mecha- throu gh a clip (or
nism , cut 3/ 4 " lon g, 1/4 -20 threads o n screw ) located on
both ends of a 11 1/ 2" len gth of 1/ 4" di- th e bu ck et le ver ,
ameter rod stock. Then make as-degree back throu gh th e opposite screw ey e drilled washer. Tighten the set screw on
bend 2" fro m the upp er end of thi s rod in the bucket beam , and ag ain throu gh the lever.
and install two 1/4 " hex nuts, as show n th e o ppos ite hol e in th e handl e. T he Might y Mite Excavator is now
in the diagr am. Th ese will be adju sted Temp oraril y knot the cord. assembled and rigged for many hours
on final riggin g. With the bucket fully ope n, and the of service-free operation on the most de-
Thread the 1;4" rod through the hard- bucket beam against its stop, secure the mand ing of co ntrac ts. PW
ware as shown in the diagram above and bucket lever in parallel position with the - Designed by Howard French; con-
then tight en the lower hex nuts sec ure- right-hand and left-hand levers. Tighten structed by Jim Stua rd. The Mi ghty Mit e
ly in place. the nylon cord and knot it securely j ust Excavatorfirst appea red in the November
Adj ust the upper hex nuts so that they bel o w th e rem ain ing li S" hol e in the / 993 issue of Popular Woodworking.

Janu ary 1998 65


hese toys play tinkling tunes while

providing action that adds to a
's play. They're fun to
build, and there 's the added plea-
sure of watching the kids enj oy
them as the toys come to life.

CAROUSEL Use the full-size template in the

Start the Caro usel by assembling the PullOut Plans to lay out and cut the
base. Make the corners by cutting a two halves of the posterboard canopy.
1/ 2" x 1/ 2" groove in the ce nter of a Then carefully fold the pieces on the
length of 3/ 4" square stoc k, then cut score lines and use adhesive tape on
the pieces to length. Bore a 3/ 8" cen - the inside so the canopy will hold its
tered hole thro ugh the top and install correct shape. Mark the hexagonal
the music box movement so its wind- shape of the canopy's top on another
ing stem is cen tered in the hole. piece of posterboard using the assem-
Next, make the bottom disc and the bled canopy as a template. Bore a 5/8"
top hexagonal plate (see the PuliOut™ hole through the center of this part and
Plans) and hold them together while attach it with tape. Conceal the joints
drilling the holes for the posts. Attach a of the canopy with wide plastic tape The carousel turns at a fair clip
33/ 4" plastic turntable at the center of the and add a "finish." because of the diameter of the bottom
disc using small machine screws. Next, cut the posts to length and disc mounted to the music movement.

make the knobs that are installed at the

~5hape from top and bottom of the posts. The knobs

r=:c=p:J3;;W" are made from 1;2" thick slices of I"

dowel. Grip the pieces with a hand
screw or vise and form the holes on a
drill press. Slip the knobs on the posts

H~\'U 1;2" x 1" d ia .

1;8" x 1;4" ra bbet

and assemble with glue. Attach the
canopy with hot melt glue and press it
down over the hex plate. Then coat the
bottom area of the top spindle with
glue and pass it through the hole so it

contacts the hex plate.
A full-size pattern for the horses is
1;4" x 21;4" x 9" given in the Pull Out Plans. After
cutting to size, attac h the horses to
the post s with glue and 1;2" brads.
I Th e music movement is wound by
I rotating the disc or by turning the
Music movem ent. See the PullOut Plans top spindle.
'-'-- - - - -- - 'windi ng stem centered for a parts list

70 Popular Woodwo rking

BANDWAGON The band wagon won't win
The Band Wagon is designed so the
a race, but it moves enough
music movement drives the wagon by
to add to a youngster's
rotating the left rear wheel. The diagram
pleasure. The driver is a
shows the construction details for the store-bought figure.
wagon, while the PullOut Plans provide
full-size patterns for the side of the
wagon and the horses.
Make the sides first by bonding two
pieces of 1;4" plywood or medium den-
sity fiberboard with carpet tape so they
can be scro ll sawe d as a unit. Next,
enlarge the left-rear axle hole to 3/8 " and
mount the movement so the winding
stem is ce ntered in the hole. See
"Attaching the Mu sical Movements"
Attaching the
for tips on this step. rotate freely on the the axle, are held in Musical
The dri ve whee l is attached with place with 1;2" round head plugs, press-
fit on the axle. The best way to form the
hot melt glue to a metal disc key that You need special screws that are
fits the winding stem of the move- holes in the plugs is to grip them in a not easily available to secure the
ment. (See supply source at the end of small hand screw or in a vise and then musical movements, but one of
the arti cle). drill them on a drill press. the following methods will get the
Mount the right-rear axle block to Shape the harness and glue it to the job done with minimum fuss. First
the seco nd side of the wagon and drill it wago n and clamp. The horses, made enlarge the hole in the base of
so it will provide a snug fit for the by scro ll sawi ng a pad of two pieces of the unit with a 3/32" drill bit and
wheel' s 1;8" diameter axle. Now make 1/ 4" plywoo d or medium densi ty fiber- then drive in a #4 x :lr2" machine
screw so it forms its own thread.
the end pieces and asse mble the sides board, are the last step. Attac h them to
The material in the unit's base is
and ends. Complete the wagon body by the harness with glue and 1/ 2" brads .
soft enough to permit this. Or
makin g a sub-asse mbly of the top and Note that the horses' feet are suspend- open the holes to :Irs" and use #6
seat area and installing it with glue. ed a little above the grou nd to allow machine screws with nuts.
Th e front whee ls, which should the wago n to move more free ly.

Band Wagon Se e PullOut Plans 1/4" x 3 " x 61;8 "

1/ 8" x 1;4" rabbet 1/4" x 1" x 3"

:~:3;~'-o;':';':'dJ. ~./ Axle block

3/4" x 1" x 11;2" 1;8" hole " I ! "'
0 3/4~ - - - - ......
0-: 1/4 " x 2" x 31;2"
. --------- _.

3 /2" ---1-.1..

Ha rness trT

movement Front axle: 1;8"

See PullOut Plans

Left-rear wheel
arrange ment

January 1998 71
PICTURE HOUSE view ho le in the fro nt part . Mark
In addition to playing music, the Picture the loc ations of the three discs
House features a rotating disc with small and drill 3/ 8" bottom holes. ext,
decals that are visible through a view asse mble the base , support block
hole in the front of the project. A flash- and fro nt with glue and 3/ 4" nail s.
light bulb, powere d by a pair of D-cell Make the mechanism parts and
batteries and controlled with a small install them before continuing
rotary switch, illuminates the "p ictures." with the house assembly (see the
Start the ho use by making the base, PullOut Plans). Be sure the holes
front and back parts (see the diagram ). thro ugh the shaft support and the
Becau se the fro nt and back are similar, front of the house are on a com-
make a pad of 1/ 2" and 1;4" materi al so mon, horizo ntal line and that the
they ca n be shaped as a uni t. I found it drive drum and the picture disc are
easiest to lay out the shape on the top a tight fit on the shaft. Before final
piece, band saw or scroll saw close to installation, paint the front face of the attach the roof assembl y to the back .
the lines, and then finish by sand ing pictur e disc and apply decals of your Using screws - no glue - allows you
on a stationary belt or disc sa nder. choice on a radius that permits them to to easily remove the back and roof so
Separate the tw o pieces and use a be seen throu gh the view hole. Attach a the batter ies can be replaced and should
hole saw or a fly cutter to form the 2" small broom clip to hold the bulb with the mech anism ever require adjustment
hot melt glue. (see photo). PW
Han d turn the dr ive
The back and roof of
drum to make sure all is R.]. DeCristofaro is the author ofmore
the house are easy
well, then make the sides than 30 books and is a ll the editorial advi-
to remove when
it's necessary for the house and install sory board of Popul ar Woodworking.
to get at the the m with glue and sma ll
mechanism nails. Attach the music Source of supply:
or to change movem ent so its pulley is Crafter's Mart • 800-999-3445
the batteries. ap prox imate ly ce ntered All three projects use a disk key
Uje a heavy with the drum . The music box (prices start at about
r.Q blind as wi nder is a 2 1/4" plastic $4 each) . The Picture House also
a drive belt. turntabl e. Finally, ma ke needs an accessory shaft (about
the two roof parts and join 40 cents) and a pulley assembly
them with the ridge block. (about $1.). Call for exact prices
Attach the back to the base and musical tunes available.
with two screws , then

Picture House

I ~

- - - -- - - -J~ - - - 1I T-
I ----
11- --- - --------------) II
: : #6x 11,t4" ::
~ FH screw, ::
1" ~ one per s ide ::

Bac k
12" x 11 " x 121,t2"
1,t2" x.6" x 6 1,t2"

72 Popul ar Woodworki ng
The Sawyers Whirligig POPULAR
If yo u love cutting wood, you 'll be blown away by this contraption.

N TH E NORTH COUNTRY, amazi ng feats of lumb er ing

I are a daily occ urre nce. T his whirligig honors woods me n
(and woo dswomen) and the pioneers who clea red the land for
adve nturo us ho mesteaders.
Thi s particul ar whirl igig has qu ite a pedi gree because it
was designed and originally built by Anders Lund e of Chapel
Hill, N.C., who was commissioned by the Smithsonian Institution
to build up to 30 whirligigs for their 'Toys of All Ages" show
and who is the autho r of two exce lle nt books on whirli gigs.
Whi rligi gs that fea ture a person chop ping or sawi ng woo d
are a co mmo n theme in Ca nada and the United States .
T his air-powered animation is easy to make fro m wood
yo u can find aro und the shop . The base was made from cedar
(tho ugh other outdoo r woo ds will work) and the figures were DRIVE SHAFT • To make my drive shaft, I used a length
built from 1/ 4" Baltic birch, though COX plywood would also 1 of 1,'4 " pre-threaded rod. Stick the rod in a metal vise with
about 1,'2" sticking up above the jaws. Slowly and somewhat
work we ll.
gently tap the rod with a hammer until it bends at a right angle.
1 Build the Base • First cut out the base piece, then glue
and na il th e pi vot suppo rt piece 4 " in fro m the pro-
Toflatten the end of the rod so you can drill a hole for the con-
necting rod, file down both sides as shown in the photo using
a mill bastard file.
peller end of the base . In the middl e of this piece, drill a 3;s"
hole 13/ 4 " deep and insert a piece of brass or co pper tubin g
as a bu shin g (the co pper pipe used to attac h ice makers is the ba se fo r the tail , wh ich yo u ca n cut from sheet alumi num
perfect size). Place a metal "cap" in the bottom of the sock- or lightweight ga lvanized (old ductwork works nicely). Tack
et made from a 1/4" sec tio n of a 20d o r 30d nail. Next at- it in place wi th so me short finishing nails.
tach the two angle iro ns to the propeller end of the base. The One way to make the drive shaft is from a 61;2" length of
fro nt one sho uld po ke abo ut liS" ove r the e nd o f the base; 1/ 8" drap ery rod or welding rod. You'll have to thread the end
The rear one is attac hed with the upright 3 1/2" fro m the front. to attac h the propeller and then put two right ang le bends on
Make a 2 1;2"-long cut with a coping saw at the end of the the other end and then thread that end. Anot her optio n is to

Janu ary 1998 73

End view


Connect ing
rod eg



Profi le Schedule of Materials: Whirligig

No. I Item I Dimensions T W L I Material
1 Base 3/4" x 1" x 20 " Cedar
1 Pivot support 3/4 " x 1" x 4" Cedar
1 Log 1 :lt2" x 3:1t2 diameter Pine
2 Saw handles 3/8" dowe ls x 1 :lt2" Hardwood
1 Figures :lt4" x 12" x 12" Baltic Birch Ply.
2 Cross pieces 3/4" x 3/4" x 8" Cedar

Hardware Schedule
1 Socket liner 3/8" x 2" brass tubing
2 Angle irons 1:1t2" x 1:1t2"
1 Drive shaft :!f8" or :!f4" wire or bolt x 6:!f2"
1 Saw blade s/1.6" x 6" light aluminum
2 Hlp joints 1 :lt2" machine screws, nuts, washers
4 Other joints 1" machine screws, nuts, washers
4 Prop blades 3:1t2" x 6" light aluminum
1 Screw eye :lt4" screw eye
1 Tail 5" x 7" light aluminum
1 Connecting rod 14-gauge wire

buy the copper rod used in toilet s to attach the float. It is

threaded on one end, bend s eas ily and won' t rust.
If yo u're not fond of thr eading metal , yo u ca n use my
method shown in the photo that uses a 6 1/2" length of already
threaded rod . Drill a '/ 8" hole in the bent section of rod. The
closer to the end the hole is, the more vigorous the sawing

2 SCROLL SAW • Each figure needs two arms, two legs

and two " poc k et s," which make the body fit nicely on
the base piece. Photocopy the pattern and attach it to your
motion will be. (It can be a little too vigoro us. My first drive
shaft made poor Jerr y slam his head against the log.)
plywood with a spray adhesive. Sand t he edges of the fi g-
ures after you cut them out.
2 Making the Figures • Mak e the log fro m a scrap
piece of 2x4 cut in a rou gh circle, abo ut 3 '12" in di-

74 Popular Wood working

ame te r. Cut a 3/4" -w i de groove in the bott om of the log so
it wi ll fit snugly agains t the base. Cut a 1/ 2"-de ep 1/ 4"-w id e
groove o n th e top of the log for the saw blad e to run in . Drill
a hole in the base tha t's I 0 1/ 2" in fro m the prop ell er e nd and
glue a nd screw the log to the base .
Make the saw blade from a piece oflightweig ht aluminum
(th e fu ll- size d ra wing fo r thi s is in the PultOut">' Pl an s )
and two 3/8" dowels for handles th at ha ve been cut to 11/ 2"
lengths. C ut 1/2 "- long slots in the handl es and attac h the han-
d les wi th br ad s . Drill a 1/8" hole near th e top of eac h han-
dl e to attach th e han d s.
Ne xt c ut o ut th e pi eces for th e tw o sawye rs, Jerry and
Luk e (see th e PullOut Plans). I used a scroll sa w, th o ugh a
co ping saw wi ll do fin e. Some whirligi gs feature a woman
in Luke' s place. Thi s ca n be easi ly accompli shed by giving
Luk e a flared ski rt, a few mo re curves and so me extra hair.

lh 3 ASSe m b ' Y • Glue th e " pocke ts" o n th e fig ur es and

t; then drill 1/ 8" holes for all the j oints according to the
di ag ram . Attach the sawyers' arms with I " machine sc rews
and was he rs. Th e mach ine screw throu gh Je rry's legs sho uld 3 GET THE MECHANICS RIGHT • This photo shows where
I put the screw eye on Jerry's backside. As you can see
be positioned about 5 1/ 4 " in fro m the propell er e nd a nd 3" from the drive shaft, I tried several different locations for the
above th e base piece . Cl a mp Je rry ' s fee t in thi s positi on , hole to attach the connecting rod. Don't forget to use wash-
attac h a screw eye to his rea r and then connect the drive shaft ers between the legs and the pockets to reduce friction
and wear on your sawyers.
to the sc re w eye wit h 14-gauge ga lva nize d wire . Tr y diffe r-
e nt le ng th s until Je rry be nds forwa rd but does n' t s la m his
noggi n agains t the log. Th en glue and nail his fee t into place.
Posit io n Luke ' s hip joint 16 1/ 2" fro m th e propeller e nd
a nd 2 112" above t he base . A ttac h the saw to th eir hands
wit h I " mach ine screws to see if everything moves smoot h-
ly. Th e on ly scre w that need s to be rea lly tig ht is the one co n-
necting Jerry 's han ds to the saw . Th e others can be left loose.
Wh en things ar e wo rking right, nail and g lue Luke 's fee t to
the base. Di sassemble the figures, paint them (I used a set of
$3 ac ry lics I fo und at a hobby sto re) a nd then coat them with
a n o utdoo r urethane o r spa r varn ish . Ind oo r urethane will
flake off whe n ex pose d to the elements. When you reassembl e
the figures, yo u mi ght wa nt to use so me sort of metal-lock-
in g so lutio n to ma ke s ure th e bolt s stay in pl ace. (I used a PROPELLER • Metal snips are useful for cutting the
brand ca lled Th readlocker w.) 4 propeller parts and tail piece. Protective gloves don 't
hurt, either. After you cut out the metal, pound the edges
4 Propeller • T here are ma ny ways to ma ke a pro pe ller.
He re' s ho w I ma de the o ne show n in th e ph ot o: C ut
flat with a hammer and then sand or file them smooth.

th e 3 1/ 2" x 6" pear-s haped b lades from alumi num or light- inse rt the bl ad es into the s lots and attac h th em with brads.
weight ga lva nize d metal. Cut the two cross pieces to size and Drill a hole in the ce nter of th e two cross pi eces and attach
then cut 314" x 3/ 8" da does in the center of each piece to for m the propeller to the drive shaft. Use nut s an d was he rs to space
a half-lap joint. Using a coping saw o r ba nd saw, cut a 2"- th e prope ller far e no ug h from th e base to keep th e blades
deep diagonal slot in th e eac h e nd of th e tw o p ieces. Th e fro m striki ng it. Pound a 30d nail into a pos t, c ut off the head,
diagonal slots need to run in opposite directions on each piece. stic k yo ur whi rlig ig o n it an d e njoy wa tc hing these tw o go
For example, if your slot runs from the top left to the bott om to work. PW
right o n one end of the piece, it sho uld run fro m the top right -Whirligig designed by Anders S. Lun de; construction
to the bottom left on the ot her end. Oth erwise, yo ur propell er by Christopher Schwa rz. This article originally app eared in
wo n't turn we ll (if at all) . the March / 987 issue af Popular Wood wo rking .
Round the e nds of the cross pieces with sa ndpaper, then

January 1998 75
There's never ever
been enough space
in the kitchen -
until now!
DON'T KNOW if yo u've
I ever spent a lot of time in the
kitchen (besides that time you
used the dishwasher for that
steam-bending experiment), but
the No. I complaint of cooks is
the profound lackof space there.
Especially in homes built be-
fore the 1970s.
Short of tearing out a wall,
this kitchen island is the best
way to stretch your existing
counter space by 7 1/2 square
feet and increase another com-
modity that's in short supply in
many kitchens: storage space.
And on those nights you 're eat-
ing grilled cheese for dinner in-
stead oflobsters thermidor, and
you don't need the extra space,
the kitchen island rolls into a
comer out of the way.
This kitchen island is made
of hard maple and ma ple ve-
neered MDF (medi um density
fiberboard).To make things eas-
ier, I didn't build the maple
butcher-block top.Youcan make
your own , buy it from a local
vendor or order it cut to size
from the distributor listed at
the end of the article.
The notches require four saw

1• Legs, Sides & Shelves
Cut the 2" stock for
set-ups. The trick here is to keep
the outside surface facing up
when you're making these cuts.
the legs to the size listed in the This will keep the blade under-cut
Schedule of Materials. Then on the inside of your case piece ,
cut all the case parts from 3/ 4" where it won 't be seen . First , lay
MDF maple plywood. Now cut out the locations of the notches.
the 7" x 131;4" notches in the Cut the second notch to allow the
sides for the shelves and onion waste piece to fall to the waste
side of the blade , so plan your
bin. You'll notice that I made
cuts accordingly. Make the cuts
the grain on the sides run left-
with your saw blade up all the way.

30 Popular Woodworking
Are Schedule of Materials: Kitchen Island

we on No. Item Dimensions T W L Material

target? 1 Top 1 :!t2" x 24" x 30" Maple
To see more 1 Drop Leaf 1:1t2" x 10" x 30" Maple
projects like this
4 Legs 2" x 2" x 32 :!t4" Maple
in Mure issues,
circle "P3" on 2 Case sides 0/4" x 18" x 18" Plywood
"1 the postage-paid 1 Case back 0/4" x 18" x 24" Plywood

3 card in the
1 Inner bottom 0/4" x 2o:!t4" x 25:!t2" Plywood
1 Directory. 2 Tray dividers :It2" x 2o:1t2" x 26" Plywood
1 Lower shelf 3/4" x 21" x 27" Plywood
1 Center divider 0/4" x 13:!t4" x 25:1t2" Plywood

Lower 1 Bin divider 0/4" x 13:!t4" X 70/4" Plywood

shelf 2 Drawer divider 3/4" x 13:!t4" x 11" Plywood
1 Front rail 3/4" x 3" x 25:!t2" Plywood
2 Drawer faces 0/4" x 6:!t4" x 16:!t4" Plywood
4 Drawer fronts :It2" x 50/4" X 14:!t4" Plywood
Detail of lower shelf notch 4 Drawer sides :!t2" x 5 3/4" x 103/4" Plywood
2 Drawer backs :!t2" x 5" x 14:!t4" Plywood
2 Drawer bottoms :!t4" x 60/4" x 10:!t2" Plywood
l' ........ 2" 15 3 /4" 3/4"7 3/8" 2" r- 3 Drawer faces 0/4" x 4:!ts" x 70/4" Plywood
II '1'1 '1 T 3 Drawer fronts :!t2" x 3:!t2" x 60/4" Plywood

II:=========~====~J 2 Drawer sides :It2" x 3:!t2" x 103/4" Plywood

iT POTATO&--i: BOOK I: 2 Drawer backs :!t2" x 3" x 60/4" Plywood
H ONION II SHELF 11 2 Drawer bottoms :!t4" x 60/4" x 1o:!t2" Plywood
-~ ---- I
4 Drawer cleats 3/4" x 1 :!t2" X 10:!t4" Plywood
"I II III 1 Drawer cleats :!t2" x :!t2" x 10:!t4" Plywood
:: 1 II
I I"

1i-l----.1L - - - - - - - - - . . 1 11
I:: 1
Drawer cleat
Bin sides
0/4" x 1:1t2" X 13:!t4"
:!t2" x 13:!t4" x 16:!t2"
fi ----J~--------:J~
L..:.+'-o-- 1 Bin back :!t2" x 12:!t2" x 6:!t2" Plywood
1 Bin bottom :!t4" x 16:!t4" x 6:!t2" Plywood
1" 15 7 / 8 " 2 Bin face stiles 3/4" x 1" x 13:!t4" Maple
1/ 2" 2 Bin face rails 3/4" x 1" x 7" Maple
:30" 5 Drawer fillers 3/4" x 2" x 10" Plywood
PLAN 2 Bin Fillers 0/4" x 2" x 15:!t2 " Plywood

1 1/ 2" 1 1/ 2"
4 5 / 3 2"

::l 314"
11 0 II I
II 0 I
0 I
I --'
6 1/ 4 " POTATO &
II I 6 1/ 4 " BIN
I 0 1
0 II
:1 I I 314"
I :j
I -r I
I _ f =' 1/2" :36" :36"
Ope n in 1 1/ 2"
fro nt
10 1/ 2"
r ~ ::l

11 2 W' t~ 5 1/ 4"

~ ,j~/8::J
.11 1 1

II 2'!.-/ . L L 3/4"
15 7/8" u

3/4.? I"---V 2"

1" 1"
1'! -' 2" 24 " 2" ~ 1" 1"
:30" 10" 24"


May 1998 31
NOTCHES IN THE LEGS • The photo shows the cut for
2 BISCUIT TRICK • Joining material of different thick-
nesses with biscuits is easy when you use spacer
blocks. Using a 3/4" piece of MDF on top of my work put
3 t he top notch. Mark the location of the notch with a
marking gauge, then cut across the diagonal to the center
the biscuit slot in the middle of the panel without having to of t he leg with a pullsaw. Finally square out and clean the
change the fence setting. After cutting the slot in the wast e with a chisel.
panel , I used the same setup to cut a slot in the legs .

to-right. Because wood movement isn't a problem with MDF, cuttin g diagonally across the inside co rner. Then remove the
you can make the grain run whate ver direction you want. wast e leavin g a triangul ar not ch. Th e co rne rs of the lower
The inner bottom below the draw ers is biscuited into the shelf are then cut at a 45-d egree angle to fit into the notches.
sides and back so it fits flush to the bottom of the notches in
the sides. I then cut 1;4" deep x 1/ 2" wide grooves and rabbets
into the sides and back to capture the two tray dividers. The
4 Case Assembly • With the inner case asse mbled,
it's time to dry assemble the whole case. First, layout
lower divider is captured flush to the bottom of case sides in the and cut the 3/ 4" x 3/ 4" notches on the back corners and the 3/4"
rabbet, then the groove is cut I Y2" up from the top of the rabbet. x JI/ 2" notches on the front corners of the inner bottom. Also,
The comers of the tray dividers will need to be notched to fit into cut the I " x I " notches on the back corners and I" x 1 1/2"
the comers, but it's best to do that after your first dry assembly. notches on the front corners of the tray dividers. Finally, lay
For now, make all your cuts, but don 't assemble anything yet, out and cut 11/ 2" x 11/ 2" mitered corners on the lower shelf.
there' s more to do. You're now ready to dry assem ble.
Begin by fitting the bisc uits and dry -clamping the case
2 Biscuit Joint Boogie • Layout the biscuit locations
to attach the legs to the back and side panels, holdin g
back between the back legs flat on a bench. Then fit the inner
case asse mbly to the back leg asse mbly with biscuits. Now
the panels 1;2" in from the out side of the legs. With the notch set the sides into place on the back legs' respective joints.
in the side panels, there isn 't a very long glue joint left at With the front legs not in place yet, you should be able
the rear legs. Fear not. After applying veneer edge tape to the to slide the tray dividers and shelf into place. Then place the
edges of the notch, cut a filler to the size of each opening and front legs in place and check for a good fit.
tape it in place temporari ly. This allows you to clamp even- Disassemble the legs and case panels and rout a 1/ 8" ra-
ly across the case, keeping the whole thing square when dius on all four long edges of the legs. Lastly, before gluing
you glue the case assembly together later. the unit together, screw and glue the cleats for attaching the
The inner construction of the case consists of three verti- top assembly to the sides. Wait until the case is assembled be-
cal panels: the center divider, the bin divider and the draw er fore attaching the fillers for the drawer slides (see photo 4).
divider.The bin and drawer divider are screwed in place through Proceed to glue up the case and legs check the case for
the center divider (see the plan view in the diagram s). Th en square after asse mbly, As you begin to clamp the case together,
the bin divider is biscuited into the case back, while the cen- rem ove the maskin g tape from the side s that will interfere
ter divider is biscuited between the two case sides, flu sh with the glue joints. Now you ca n iron on veneer edging tape
with the vertical edge ofthe notche s. The inner bottom is then to the four edges ofthe bottom shelf and the fronts ofthe two
screwed to the dividers. Now iron on veneer edge tape to the tray dividers.
front drawer divider and the case bottom. Build the drawer s by firs t cutti ng out and assemb ling
the sides, front') and backs using simple glued-and-nailed rab-
3 Preparing the Legs • Next cut the notches in the legs
to accommodate the front rail and the lower shelf. The
bets for the joinery. Th e rabbet is 1/ 4" x 1/ 2". Make sure to
check the sizes given with the openi ngs on the case as they
top rail requires a 3/ 4" x 3/ 4" x 11/ 2" squared-out notch. The may vary slightly. Also remember that the large drawers use
one for the lower shelf is a little different. Start by lay ing drawer slides that require the drawer boxes be I" smaller in
out a 3/ 4" wide x 11/2" notch on the two inside faces of all four width than the opening. Cu t out the drawer faces and edge
legs, 23/4" up from the bottom. Starting your saw cut at the tape them, then finish sand and set aside.
inside corner, define the top and bottom edges of the notch ,

32 Popular Woodworking
4 FILLER STRIPS • When the case is dry, install t he
filler blocking for the drawer slides. Use a block cut to
the height you want your drawer slides to sit. Hold the
5 PUNCH THE TIN • After some testing, the tool I liked
best for punching the tin was a nail set w it h a fi ne
tip. Make a copy of the pattern in the PullOu tTM Pla ns
spacer against the side, lay the filler strip on top of it and and tape it to a piece of tin cut to size. Center the pat-
nail away! Always remember to attach the top blocking tern on the material and punch away.
first then work you r way down .

5 Build the Bin • Though similar in construction to the
drawers, the bin front is a stile and rail frame built with 6 ATTACH THE
half-lap joints. A punched tin panel is then nailed to the in- instructions offer
side. Also, the front is the drawer face, and the entire bin fits different mount-
ing locations for
inset in the opening, rather then overlaying.
different set-
The bin sides fit into 1/2" x 1/2" rabbets cut on the sides of
backs on the
the assembled bin front. Cut a 1/2" x 1/4" rabbet on the inside sides. I chose
back edge of the sides to capture the bin back. Final1y, make 1;-2" between
a 1/4" x 1/4" groove 1;4" up from the bottom edge of al1 four the barrel of the
drawer pieces to capture the bottom. Now punch the pat- hinge and the
tern in the tin using the method shown in the photo, and nail leaf. First attach
the punched tin into the bin front after it's finished. the long end of
Attach the wooden knob to the bin by running a screw t he stay to the
through a 3/4" x 3/4" x 6" wooden strip that is attached to the leaf. Then attach
front frame of the bin, behind the tin. the short end to
the case, 2;-16"

6 Down to the Nitty Gritty • Cut the top and leaf in
the Schedule of Materials to size. Ours was already
down from the
top of the case ,
allowing the leaf
finished with a catalyzed varnish. Begin attaching the top by to drop down all
laying the top and the leaf next to each other and attaching the way.
the continuous hinge to the top and leaf at the joint. Place the
case upside-down on the case and locate it roughly in the
center. At this point there should be about 11/2" between the Source of Supply
back of the case and the hinge barrel. This is important for Butcher Block: Tamarack Distributors • 800-582-4555
attaching the drop leaf supports. Screw the case to the top • Two 25" x 30" slabs • $123.50 + shipping
with cleats, then attach the stays . Casters & Slides: Woodcraft • 800-225-1153 • casters
Flip the piece back over and place it on a level surface to item# 27146 • $9.50 for a set of four + shipping • draw-
attach the drawer faces. Start by placing the drawer boxes er slides item# 27E30 • $33 for two pairs + shipping
into their openings, then, using shims to locate the lower-left
drawer face, clamp it to the box. Pul1 it out and hammer a Stays: Woodworker's Supply • 800-645-9292 • item#
couple short nails into the front from the inside of the box. R11965 • $12.50 for the pair + shipping
This gives you a fairly adjustable drawer face. Repeat the
process with the remaining fronts and then adjust the faces clear finish. Rubbing out the finish with a gray Scotch Brite"
so there are equal gaps around each drawer. When done, dril1 pad and some wool wax soap will yield a stel1ar finish on this
a clearance hole in the front of the box and attach the faces tight-grained maple.
with screws. When the finishing is done, reassemble the top and
Now you 're ready to finish the piece. Remove the draw- case upside-down, then drill the holes for the locking cast-
er faces from the drawer boxes and the top from the case. ers and install. Now you're ready to carve that pot roast. PW
Finish sand al1 parts and finish the case with three coats of - Jim Stuard, PW staff

May 1998 33

Pipes of Pan
T his project is both an instrument and a simple
puzzle for school children. The child has to
arrange the pipes in order in the frame and tight-
en the wing nuts without all the pipes tumbling
out of the frame. (Beware that wing nuts are a chok-
ing hazard for small children.) It generally takes a bit
of trial and error on the child's part before he gets it right.
The pipes are PVC with an inner diameter of V2" and an
outer diameter of 5/ 8". These pipes produce a pentatonic
scale, the musical scale used by the ancient Greeks and
Pan himself. By blowing across the ends of the pipes,
children usually get a pretty, soft sound.

STEP ONE: Make the wood holder by first drilling

the screw ho les. Use screws to hold the wood
together as you dri ll the 5/8" holes in the top.
Round and smooth all edges. Finish or paint
as desired.
STEP TWO: Cut the pipes to length. Sand
any rough edges. Assemble. PW
- Erwin V. Cohen
Schedule of Materials: Pipes of Pan
No. Item Dimensions T W L Material
2 Sides 3/4" x 2:1(2" x 5:1(2" Scrap
1 Pipe 0/8" x 9" PVC Are
1 Pipe 0/8" x 70/32" PVC ",~;.gli1we on
1 Pipe 0/8" x 6" PVC target?
To see more pro-
1 Pipe 0/8" x 5 1 0/32" PVC
jects like th is in
1 Pipe 0/8" x 4 3/4" PVC future Issues , circle
1 Pipe 0/8" x 4" PVC " PU" on th e
postage-paid card in
2 Machine screws :1(4" x 20 x 10/4"
the Resource
2 Washers Directory.
2 Wing nuts


May 19 98 45
1'1 ": ALIEN
few year s back my sister got me
A started going to craft shows to sell
my work . I've had real good luck sell-
ing "lawn swingers," so with all the talk
of UFOs and abductions lately I decid-
ed it was time for an "alien" swinger.
This little feller is my own design. I
drew the face while watchinglV. I charge
$17.50 each for them at the craft shows
(each one takes a couple hours to build
with about 75 cents worth of material).

STEP ONE: Make posterboard tem-

plates of the parts in the PuljOur" Plans
(or from diagram below). Trace the
shapes and cut out the parts from 3/ 4"
plywood. Shape the legs to your liking.
The thighs are cut from pine 2 x 4s.
STEP TWO: Drill 1;4" holes for dowels
in the legs, thighs and body. Drill '/4"
holes in the hands for the rope.
STEP THREE: Cut the dowels and as-
semble the parts. Cover the body with
waterproof sealer. Paint the alien 's fea-
tures. When dry, cover the alien with
two coats of outdoor urethane.
STEP FOUR: Cut the seat and drill '/4"
holes for the rope. Attach the alien to
the seat with screws. String 3/16" clothes-
line through the hands and seat. PW
-Leonard Wardle

No. Item Dimensions T W L Material
1 Body 3/4" x 10" x 113,'2" Plywood
1 Legs 3/4" x 6 " x 6 3,'2" Plywood
2 Hands 0/4" x 1"x 13,'2" Plywood
2 Thigh s 1 3/4" x 1 3/4"x 13,'2" Pine
1 Seat 3/4" x 13,'4"x 10" Pine

To see more projects
lik e th is In Mure
issues, ci rcle "P9" on
the posta ge-paid card
in th e Resource
Enlarge to 380 percent of original. Each square equals :1t'2". Directory.

46 Popular Woodworking
hile I was in
W college a
friend would re-
gale me with tales
of the squirrels in
her hometown that
were jet black. 1 didn 't
believe her until she showed
me a photo of one of the ro-
dents feasting on a nut. Darned
if those critters aren 't black as coal.
Thi s three-dimensional scrollsaw puz-
zle features a black squirrel in a tree. The
bottom level of the puzzle has the squirrel and
the branches of the tree. Once you complete that
level (which is real easy), you have to piece to-
gether the leave s and trunk (which is harder).
The real trick to making thi s puzzle is to
have the right blade for your scro llsaw. 1 tried
every blade in our shop ,
but they all had kerfs
that were too wide for
Diagrams puzzle making. Finally,
1 found the trick: skip-
tooth 2/O-sized blades
(I bought Olson Saw Co.
brand). Then I turned
the speed on my scroll-
saw a ll the way down
and began.

STEP ONE: Sand your

material. Attach the pat-
terns to your wood (l used
rubbercement). Cut small
hole s in the waste areas
to start your cut. Cut out
all the pieces for both
puzz le layers.
STEP TWO: Glu e th e
Enlarge drawing to 130 three layers together.
percent. Interior layer Finish sand the puzzl e
with branches locat ed piece s. Color them with
in PullOut Plans dye or stain. Coat the en-
N--- Are we on tire project (including the
'llI..- " . target? back) with two thin lay-
To see more projects ers of a clear finish . PW
like this In future Issues ,
circle "Pi O" on the
-Chris Schwarz.
postage-paid card In the PWstajf
Resource Directory.

May 1998 47
IfThese Walls Could Talk
These aren't George Washington's wooden choppers, but they arefun to build.

HE PIEC E FEATUR ED here is titled "Se lf Portrait." If overall effec t is, I think, more interes ting .
T yo u prefer, you may put a sma ll vase of fresh cut flowers
on top of it and call it " Bloo ming Id iot." It's design ed to ei-
When building this project you' ll need only moderate wood-
working skills, and a few basic tools and supplies. Once you've
ther hang on a wa ll or si t on a tabl e, mantl e, she lf or TV. At co mpleted thi s piece , yo u' ]] be read y for more co mplica ted
first glance this look s like a wo rk of inta rsia. Intarsia differs work s like the ones shown on the following pages. For this first
from marqu etr y in that the indi vidu al pieces that form the in- piece, I used Eastern Red Cedar for the background , the frame
tarsia are thicker, and the edges are shaped to give the finished and the mouth. For the teeth I used Yellow Poplar with a white-
piece more of a three-dimen sion al appearance . wash. It's fin ished with severa l coats of Za r brand satin tung
Thi s piece, o n the other hand, is a blend of intarsia and oil. If ceda r isn 't available in yo ur area yo u might want to co n-
sc ulpture. As my sty le has evo lved, I have inco rpora ted tech- side r using two other co ntras ting woo ds . For the back I used
niqu es tha t give more depth to the work. Co nse quently, ele- 3/4" birch plywood . Any cabinet plywood will do.
ments of a piec e are actuall y three-dimen sion al rath er than
s imp ly proj ectin g a n illu si on o f three dim en s ion s. Th e WOOD"WORDS (woodwurds) n.
INTARSIA: A mosaic, usually of exotic woods,
St eph en Edwards works wood in Hilham, Tenn. If you'd like to sawn, shaped, closely fitted and glued to a support
know more about this kind ofwoodwork ing you may coil/act the of wood to form a picture.
author; Stephen Edwa rds, at: or at 2 15 MARQUETRY: Similar to intarsia except that the
Add Stafford Road »Hilham , 7N · 38568. pieces of wood that make up the picture are inlaid

62 Popul ar Woodworking

Se e deta il below
~I.... - - - - - ~I
'=~2"'--.a 1


See PullOut '" Plans for

full- s ized d iag rams of teeth. D
Numbers refer t o tooth plac ement.

#20 biscuits used on f ace f ra me a nd box.

3/8 " Schedule of Materials: Self Portrait

3 / 4" No. ILett. I Item I Dimensions T W L I Material
3 /8"
1 A Back 3/4" x 10:!t4" x 173/4" Plywood

1 ,k 2"
3/4" x 10" x 17:!t2"
3/4" x 2 7/S" x 11"
2 0 Top & bottom 3/ 4" x 2 7/S" x 18:!t2" Cedar
2 E Stiles 3/4" x l s/ S" x 11" Cedar
Detail of rabbet in box sides 2 F Rails 3/4" x 3" x 15:!t4" Cedar
8 G Teeth blanks I 3/ S" x 5" x 5" Poplar
8 H Spacers I 3/S" x 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" Plywood

The Boy & the Mandolin © 1995 all rights reserved Secret Door © 1995 all rights reserve d

May 1999 6 3
2 FIT· Be
sure to cut
your frame
pieces over-
sized so that
when you
miter the
pieces you
can cut them
down to the
length. If you
glue on hand,
ONE THICK BACK • Attach the background to the it is an excel-
1 back with wood screws. First pilot-drill holes through
the back into the background piece. Countersink the
lent adhesive
for this short-
screws so the y are flush with the back. The construction of grain joint.
the background assembly is now complete and ready for
sanding and the tung oil finish .

1 Build the Back Piece· Begin by cutting the ply-
wood back to size. Then select a nice piece of wood
tha n the plywood to allow for seasonal shrinking and ex-
for the background. As you can see from the photo of the
fini shed product, mine had a split in it that was interesting
so I made sure that it would end up in the center of the "mouth."
The Outer Frame· To build the outer frame, first cut
the sides, top and bottom a little long. On your table
Cut the solid wood background to size. It ' s a bit sma ller saw cut a 3/8" thick x 2" wide rabbet on the inside back edge

Boy on a View from

Swing a Hoboken
© 1998 all rights Apartment
© 1998 all rig hts

64 Popular Woodworking

3 SAND THE LIPS • First cut out the rails with a band
saw. Be sure to cut a little wide of the line. Then sand
the cuts smooth . I used a spindle sander for this. Use a
4 THIN THE TEETH • Smoot h t he sawn edges first. Then
taper the edges to a uniform thinness t o appear li ke
real teeth . To enhance the ill usion, remove more stock
light touch because cedar is soft. from the back of the pieces tha n from the front. Use a light
touch and take your t ime, using your practice piece t o get
the feel of t he procedure. When you've achieved the de-
sired effect, hand sand each piece.

of the frame pieces to hold the back assembly. Lay the fin- teet h free hand on the stationary belt sande r or disc sander.
ished backgrou nd assembly face up on a smoo th flat surface. Next lay the completed back ground ass e mbly face up
Mite r the ends of the four fra me pieces. on you r work table. Slide the teeth into positi on within the
Dry fit them to the background asse mbly and make sure mouth assembly. If nece ssary, trim the edges that are hidden
you have a good fit. Whe n satisfied, use g lue plu s s ma ll behind the frame to get a proper fit. Leave a gap of approx-
biscuits, dowels or nails to assemble the frame. Nailor screw imately 1/8 " between the teeth . Thi s visua lly defines each
the back into the rabbet. tooth and further enhances the illusion . Wh en yo u' re satis-

3 0 pen W ide • It's time to build the mouth asse mbly.
Cut the stiles and rails to size. Dry clamp the pieces
fied with the fit and the positionin g of your denti stry, remove
them from the mouth assembly.
Now you're ready to appl y the whitewash to the teeth. I
together as they will sit on the frame and position the as - use a bright white acrylic craft paint. Experiment on the prac-
se mb ly on the framed background assembly to ma ke sure tice piece first. Apply the paint with a clean dry cloth and im-
you have a good fit. Now unclamp the pieces. med iately wipe it off with a second clean , dry cloth. You want
Usi ng the diagram, mark the curves on the top and bot- the teeth to be white yet still be able to faint ly see the wood
tom rails and c ut them on the band saw. Wh en the cuts are grain . Wh en yo u have achieved the desired effect, allow
sanded smoo th, yo u're read y to put the "face frame" togeth - the paint to dry and ap ply the oil finish.
er. You ca n use biscu its or dowel s. Glu e, clamp and all ow Cut 3/8"- thick plywood spacers that wi ll ho ld the teeth
to dry. above the backgrou nd. With the framed background assem-
When dry, ro undover the inside edges of this asse mbly, bly lying face up on yo ur bench , ge ntly po si tion the teeth
fro nt and bac k using a 3/8" quarter-round router bit in yo ur within the mouth. When you are satisfied with their position,
router. Shape the corners that the router bit doesn't reach with mark the ir location, then glue the teeth and spacers in place
ras ps a nd fi le s to matc h the routed po rti on s . Now han d with a fast- tack white glue , such as moulding glue.
sa nd the ro unded edges. Use bisc ui ts, glue a nd cla mps to Clamp the teeth as best yo u can. If yo u like, y ou can at-
attac h this assem bly to the assembled carcase. Round the tach the teeth to the background usin g wood screws through
out side edges of the mo uth asse mbly usi ng the sa me bit that the back assembly. Be sure that the sc rews aren 't go ing to
you used for the inside edges . Hand sand and app ly a tun g protrude thro ug h the teeth.
oil finish . When the teeth have all been installed yo u ca n attac h a
piece of poster board or mat board to the back of the piec e
4 A Little Orthodontics • Now the fun part: the teeth.
You' ll need thin pieces of stock . Using the templ ates
for a nice finis hing touch. If you' re going to hang your piece
on a wall, attac h a heavy-duty hanger to the back . I use a short
in the Pull'Ou t" Pl ans, ma rk the shape of each piece and length of sma ll chain attached with screws. Be certain that
number them on the back. Cut them on the band saw or scroll- the mounting device attach ed to the wall is sufficient to sup-
saw. Cut an extra as a practice piece. Be sure that the woo d port the weig ht. PW
grain run s vertica lly (like the lines on yo ur teeth ). Shape the

May 1999 65
So what if
you're not royalty.
You can look
the part with the
help ofthis
heraldic crest.

F YOU' RE ONE OF THE MILLIONS OF AMERICANS it is one of the softer and easier wood s to work with. While
I who've been bitten by the genealogy bug, you might have
dug up your family's crest in your research. So what do you
many of the hardwoods are more difficu lt to sand and shape,
the y do add beautiful contrasts with their many colors and
do with your crest when you find it? Paint it on your car? Stitch grain patterns . Make sure your wood is dry before cutting
it on your underwear? Prob ably not. I built this family cre st your project. A moisture content of 6 percent to 8 percent is
to hang over a mantle or a bar. Even if your family doesn 't ideal. If the moisture content is higher, there will be a greater
have an official symbo l, you sho uld feel free to adopt this one . probability that the individual pieces will shrink, leaving a
Rest assured that people at your next party will be asking you gap . Plea se note: the wood color key on the pattern is only a
about your royal roots. guide. There are thousands of color combinations possible
First select your material from a variety of 3/ 4" hardwoods that will produce beautiful result s. Use your imagination!
or cedar. Red ceda r has some of the best color variations, and Make all the pattern pieces by adhering the paper patterns
to the work pieces with a repositionable spray adhesive. Copy
Rick Longabaugh owns The Berry Basket catalo g in Centralia. the patterns from the PulfOut" Plans on a copier, and then
Wash.lfyou would like a catalog with more plan s like these, call stick them to the work piece s with the spray adhesive. This is
800-206-9009. Or on the web: faster and more accurate than tracing. Cut out the shapes on
your scroll saw. '
Letter Inlay
+ + +

+ ~ + ~
Inlaying the letters Int o the banner gives Tilt your scrollsaw 's table down to the left Separate the two woods and glue the
your plaque a mo re refi ned appea rance. To 2 ~2 degrees. Use a #60 drill bit or smaller darker letters Into the lighter banner.
beg in , stack two contrasting pieces of to drill your starter holes In a corner of the Sand the surface flush and finish.
wood on top of each other. I used a piece letter. Using a #2 blade, cut the letters,
of ~4" dark material on a piece of 3/8" . following t he direction of th e arrows.
th ick tlght-cclored wood . Fasten the two Note: Any ins ide cuts , such as those for
pieces together w ith nails (+) in the the " 0," need t o be cut first. After cutting
waste areas. Affix the paper pattern , all the letters , c ut t he outer shap e of the
Including letters, to the t op work piec e. banner w ith your t able leve l.

70 Popular Woodworking
'18" dowel
Ti p: Because of the thick- ... .. I 150 B
ness of the scrollsaw blade and , .. ' ~ ' '' ''' 10LB
. , " 20MB
the challenge of cutting exactly
. .. --.'
I ..

:' :\ .
( ( llL~\ \ ;. ....<': ){;~.~> .....
' ,
on the line, it 's common to .\ ..: -:.. (, .-:' 21MB
have trouble getting the differ- ,. " ..... "~,3 L B••
12LB, " .> ::. \, '"
ent pieces of intarsia to fit
.. .. ~ ,#

.::;'~-B ,1.,:'' :,. .' :\

, '"

... '

.. \

snug. One solution is to cut, .; .. ..__. "

shape and glue one section at a . , '/::l__'::_.. .

I .. •
: :. "

time, such as the lion 's head 2MB "';'

.',. 9MB •• ' . -.
and mane. Then place the head
" .. . .. :- -,~
. . -, ....... .. .. , ' : 23MB
• • • ',' 14LB "
... : : :' '-. '" '. 16LB
and mane assembly onto the ; ,,';1 " : : "~ " .... .. .. """ \~ ..,: -, .... .. /
main body pattern (#29) and . / .: 3MB .: .: : ", -.~ : .. 8MB •. :
: '
J ••,

trace where the two connect. " :, : : ..

: .: 4MB : \ "" 7MB -, .:,1 9LB :
Then cut the body following ~ : '. .. .. .. .. C' . _ • • - " I" \ :

those lines. : .{ J : ... •••• . .:: 18LB : .:

: :': : 6MB " " . ... ..: :
•: , .:.. 5MB -. " ' , I. •• ', '
• , • ' • ". :'17LB: ~ :" ":
See the PullOut Plans for patterns .: " ........ '., :, \.... ~...... ..-, ~ I' ,'
of the remaining parts and a key to .... .. :\ -. \ .. ... ... / ..... "', /',,1:'
the symbols on this drawing.
....~5LB ~'....",,
.j \ : " ."
\ " '61LB - .
i 62L~""r ..
'2'4'~L' B" '-" "" " ,
'-- " '"
', '
:' '\
" , ' \
46LB ~.' :. . .. 'o, ' \ 63LB\ ,
, \ ../'\ .J '\ '"
.. -. ....
, .' ; "

" , .
,. ;

. -:. 25MB (--:,:

. .: , .... '........
•• •• , \ .: ; ; • • •, 26MB {
.. .. .. - . . .... • ' ~ I .. .. .. ..

• .: "..' " I' .' 'i' f,

On ce th e ind ividu al .... "'44LB .: :' 30LB .... .. I '

pieces are cut, arra nge them .... .: .. --:~, 27MB: '~ " " : ""
in position on a master pat- ''' ' ./ ! \, \~1 ~,~ __ ... .>,' 28MB
tern. Check the fit between
your parts, and sand or trim .:,"" ~
: : ... --, __ . 36MB
as necessary. ..__ ' __ . .,./ \ /(~ ~:--
For th e ea sie st form of :' 43LB .~ -: : " ' > ' " 35MB
intarsia, simply leave all the .! , ,... \, .: ,--~.
.... 37LB ...
. - ~ ..:~
pieces the same thickn ess / .... : .:' ! ""::\ 34MB
andjust round over or sand : , . .: / J .: _ _ '" :,,,)' >" ,,;
all the edges for a so fter ,,' .... . , I • : 32LB , ' ,. . •

appearance. For the most realistic effect, ./ .. ./)"\.~,::

,.-- .I·c·r·e·s··t)p'·r'0"J:7e·c·t·"w})'·t·h·'0:u't"'a' :p
':'I 'a3MB and/or

shape the pieces. W hile the individual ./ .: q ue

pieces are still in place on the master pat- ':"" ../ glue to the edge s th at frame, you will need to sec ure the de -
tern, determine which pieces will need ./ ; ./ meet a n adjacent piece . sign to a thin back in g. To do th is, as-
· · 38LB·
to be thickest and which will need ~:. . / .: :' Cont in ue in thi s manner se mble the piec es as directed above .
to be the thinnest. There will be times : I : until all piece s are glued to- Then lay the proje ct on a pie ce of 1/8"
whe n it will be necessary to add a ./'.;!
gether. Finish the design, thick plywood to use as a backing. Trace
1/ 8" to 3/ 8" spacer on the backside "':: : '. plaque, and/or op- around th e outs ide edge of a desi gn.
of a work piece in order to give it .-.... .~ ,,:...~.2MB tiona! frame with Remove the project and cut out the shape
mo re depth . For basic sha ping , ". }' " , ,"':-','; a penetrating oil on the plywood . Use glue to sec ure the
you can use a I " belt sander, drum sander \ "', ; (./'o, )4; MB suc h as Watco intarsia design to the plywood back ing.
or di sc sande r. Th en , fo r refin ing th e .. , . ', ' .' D ani sh O il or Note: When c utt ing the backing , yo u
~ !. : ':40MB
shape, I recomme nd using a fini shing ... ·39MB '.' Tung Oil. Allow to can either c ut on the traced lines and
sander or sanding by hand . dry compl etely (24-48 then stain th e edge of th e backin g to
To asse mble, once again put all the hours), and then secure the design to the match the pr oj ect , or yo u ca n c ut the
pieces into positi on on the master pat- plaque with glue . Finally add a top coat backing slightly sma lle r (1/ 8 " to 1/ 4 ,,)
tern. Beginn ing with one of the larger of two layers of clea r finish. than the traced lines so it will not show
pieces, apply a sma ll amount of woo d If yo u choo se to han g your fami ly when the project is glued on. PW

May 1999 71
T hough there are more than 4,000
species of toads and frogs in the world,
I decided there was still room enough
for one more: the secret toad. Like its am-
phibian brethren, the secret toad is stud-
ded with warts and sports an enormous
Building this 12"-long toad is a preci-
sion job, but I’ll show you some tricks to
making the tedious parts (such as sanding)
go quickly. Basically the toad is built from
3⁄ 3
4"- and ⁄ 8"-thick stock that is cut accord-
ing to a pattern, then stacked up and glued
This amphibian
won’t turn into
a prince, but he is
still full of surprises.

Popular Woodworking website to download

full-size cutting patterns for free by going

Begin With the Base

As with any construction project, it is best
mouth. But instead of revealing a high- with other parts to create the toad’s body to start at the base and work out and up.
speed tongue that makes flies shaky in the and mouth. Roto-Hinges and O-rings allow Lay out three lower body “D” patterns on
knees, this toad’s mouth holds a stash of the toad to scoot across any smooth surface. 4"-thick stock. These parts form the in-
candy. I keep mine stocked with Hershey’s There are half-scale drawings of all the side of the mouth and the belly. Drill all
Kisses. Though if you steal a kiss from this parts that can be enlarged on a photo- the 1⁄ 8" registration holes shown on the
toad, he’s not going to turn into a prince. copier to full size, or you can visit the drawing before cutting. These registration
holes are critical because you’ll push nails
through these holes temporarily while glu-
ing a stack of these parts. Rough cut the

by John Hutchinson
John Hutchinson is an architect and woodworker
from Delaware, Ohio. His vocation provides shelter
for people. His avocation provides homes
for their small treasures. 49
pieces, apply glue and align them with 8d sible. When this first three-part assembly
finish nails through the 1⁄ 8" registration is dry, remove the alignment nails and get
holes. Clamp the lamination with bar ready for some selective finish sanding.
clamps along the width of the assembly. Because the belly area between the front
Wipe off as much glue squeeze-out as pos- legs won’t be accessible to the spindle
sander after you add the outer “E” and “F”
patterns, sand it now.
Lay out the “E” patterns on 3⁄ 8" thick
stock. These parts add to the width of the
belly and create stubs for the front wheels.
Drill the registration holes. Cut, align and
glue them to the outer surfaces of the belly
assembly. Finish-sand the inner mouth sur-
face that will be made inaccessible when
the “F” plates are applied.
The outer profile “F” patterns, also cut
from 3⁄ 8" thick stock, complete the lower
body. Follow the same procedure as above.
Finish sand all remaining surfaces. The
After you adhere your patterns to your wood, drill seven layers of the lower body add up to a
all the registration holes and then cut the shapes thickness of 33⁄ 4". This thickness gives a
out. I prefer a band saw to a scrollsaw because
I’m cutting wide of the line and prefer the speed nice proportion to the toad and is just about
over the accuracy (left). The trick to sanding the the limit of my spindle sander.
toad is to sand in stages. Once you assemble the Drill the axle holes in the lower body.
first few layers, use your spindle sander to get to
the spaces you won’t be able to get to once you Use the rear 1⁄ 8" alignment holes as the
add the next layers (above). pilot for a 5⁄ 16" hole through the lamina-

3/4" stock
2 pieces 3/8"
G 3/8"
3/4" stock 5/16"
2 pieces

1/2" 3/8" T 1/8"

ie ces 1/2"
4p 1/8"

H 3/8" stock
1/8" B 2 pieces
Wart pattern 3/8"

1/8" 1/8"


5/16" F
3/8" stock
1/8" 2 pieces


tion for the 1⁄4" dowel axle. Drill from both
sides to make this long hole. The regis-
tration hole will go a long way towards
guiding your bit straight through the body.
Now drill the 3⁄ 8"-diameter sockets on the
front legs. These holes hold the 3⁄ 8" Roto-
Hinges for the front wheels. The holes are
2" deep and made with a Forstner bit.
Before drilling these holes, place a 21⁄ 4"-
thick scrap block between the legs to pre-
vent any inward bending.

The Head
The upper body is made from the “A,” “B” Yes, you can use your spindle sander to smooth the tongue. Use a backing board as shown in the
and “C” patterns. Again, working from the photo to make sure you’re sanding it square (left). Once you get the tongue sanded and you’ve drilled
center out, cut, laminate and sand the 3⁄ 4"- the pilot holes, it’s time to add the weight in one end that makes the toad work almost every time. I
use polyurethane glue here because it expands as it cures, which locks the rod in place (right).
thick “C” plates. Finish sand the head area
that will be made inaccessible by the eye but do not drill at this time. Drill the 1⁄ 8" body, drill 1⁄ 2" sockets at the awl marks ap-
bumps on the “B” plate. and 3⁄ 8" through-holes. Following glue-up proximately 1⁄4" deep and glue in the screw-
Follow the same procedure with the of the “A” plates to the body, finish sand hole-button eyes.
4"-thick “B” plates and finish sand all the all remaining outer surfaces.
inner surfaces that will be covered by In order for the upper body section to Warts and All
the “A” plates. rotate freely between the hips, you need The warts come next. (Caution! Wash
Careful attention must be paid to drilling to reduce its overall thickness by 1⁄ 16". Do your hands thoroughly following this pro-
holes in the 3⁄ 8"-thick “A” plates. Mark this by sanding the flat surfaces on a sta- cedure. Only kidding.) Stick the wart pat-
the center of the 1⁄ 2" socket with an awl tionary belt sander. To complete the upper tern to the back of the upper body with a

All drawings are one-half scale.
Enlarge 200 percent for full size.

2 1/2" dia.
wheel D B
3/4"stock 3/4" stock
3 pieces 2 pieces
1/4" 3/8"

1 3/8" dia.
wheel J2
3/4"stock 3/8"
3/8" 2 pieces
2 pieces 1/8" 1/8"


3/4" stock
2 pieces

1/8" 51
Here you can see how the two body pieces go
together between the legs. It all works thanks to a
carefully placed Roto-Hinge (right).

light application of spray adhesive. Use an

awl to mark the centers. Use a 3⁄8" Forstner
bit to drill 1⁄ 4"-deep sockets. Finally, pop
in the screw-hole-button warts.

Tongue Lashing
We’re now down to the no-brainer con-
struction steps. The tongue, “H,” is a peace-
ful series of long, undulating curves. Adhere
the pattern to 3⁄ 4"-thick stock with the
long axis of the tongues parallel to the
grain. Cut, laminate and sand the four
tongue elements. As with the upper body, Leg Parts The “G” hips cap and join the upper
the overall width of the tongue must be The legs are simple cutouts, but drilling and lower body assemblies. After cutting
reduced by 1⁄ 16" on the belt sander to allow the pivot sockets demands some con- and sanding, drill through the 5⁄ 16" axle
free rotation in the mouth. To ensure snap- centration because the pairs are handed holes only. Perform the following opera-
py operation of the tongue, drill through (meaning they are left and right mirror im- tions on one of the pieces, then, on the
the tip, or “T” end of the tongue as shown ages). Use a 3⁄ 8" Forstner bit to drill 1⁄ 2"- other piece, reverse which side each hole
on the drawing, with a 1⁄4" Forstner bit and deep sockets in parts “J1.” is located on. At the center of the hip,
insert a 1⁄ 4" steel rod. Sand it flush to the Moving to parts “J2,” drill one 1⁄2"-deep using a 1⁄ 2" Forstner bit, drill a 1⁄ 16"-deep
sides of the tongue on a disk sander. socket on the front and one on the back. socket. Using the same point, continue a

800-279-4441 Upper body, pieces
A, B & C combined
10 - 3⁄ 8" Roto-Hinges, item # 36244,
$2.69 for two.

17 Screw button eyes, item # 20537,

$2.99 for pack of 50

2 - 1⁄ 2" walnut button plugs, item Tongue pieces H

# 20545, $2.99 for pack of 50 combined
Lower body G
(each side)

Thigh J2
(each side)

Leg J1
(each side)

Jaw/front leg, pieces

D, E & F combined


3⁄ 3
8" through-hole. At the offset ⁄ 8" mark, the wood barrels on the hinges are ex-
drill a 2"-deep socket on the opposite actly 3⁄ 8", it’s a snug fit. Use a small pistol-
side. In case you’re wondering about the grip clamp to gently push the hinge into
16"-deep sockets, they are made to con- place. Now use the same clamp to slide
tain the washer on the Roto-Hinges, al- the wheel tight against
lowing for an almost zero clearance be- the leg. The washer
tween the rotating upper body and the on the hinge will pro-
fixed hips. vide the necessary clear-
Cut the wheels from 3⁄ 4"-thick scraps ance.
using an adjustable hole saw. If the pilot Install the rear wheels by
bit for your hole saw is only 3⁄ 16" in diam- running a length of 1 ⁄ 4 "
eter, re-bore the hole in the large wheels dowel through the 5⁄16" axle
to 1⁄ 4" to accept the dowel axle. Also in hole at the back of the lower
the large wheels, bore the 3⁄ 8" offset sock- body. Glue on the large wheels
ets 1⁄2" deep. After cutting the small wheels,
plug the pilot hole and again drill 1⁄2"-deep
sockets. Grooving the wheels and stretch-
ing rubber O-rings over the grooves makes
the wheels grip any tabletop surface. This
kind of traction is necessary to make the
legs operable (see photo at right).
Now apply the finish to all of the as-
semblies. I found that a wipe-on, semi-
gloss polyurethane is ideal for the toad.
Because most of the project glue-up is al-
ready complete, don’t be concerned about
applying finish to areas where glue will be
applied. It’s a simple matter to lightly sand
the few surfaces involved. Sanding the wheels can be tricky. If you chuck
Begin final assembly by placing the the wheels into a drill press and press sandpaper
against the turning wheel, you’re going to create
tongue between the outside cheeks of the an ellipse.That’s because the end grain and long While the wheel is chucked in your drill press,
upper body. Run a 31⁄ 2" length of weld- grain of the wheel will sand differently.To prevent use a common scratch awl to cut a groove
ing rod through the upper 1 ⁄ 8 " hole in this, use a backing board as shown in the photo. around the edge to hold the O-rings.
the cheek, on through the 1⁄ 8" hole in the
base of the tongue, and out the opposite
1⁄ 1
16" hole. Plug the ⁄ 16" holes with tooth-
picks, break them off, and cut flush. The
tongue should pivot freely between the
Glue one of the hips to the lower body
assembly with the upper leg pivot hole fac-
ing out. While this is drying, slide Roto-
Hinges into the 3⁄ 8" through-holes in the
upper body with the barrels of the hinges
facing out. It is not necessary to glue the
hinges in place because they will be cap-
tured between the body and the hips. Slide
I use an old flap sander chucked into a drill or Before finishing, I like to rub the toad’s body with
the hinged assembly toward the glued-on drill press for the final sanding.An old used flap a grey synthetic steel wool Scotch Brite® pad
hip, seat the Roto-Hinge in the 3⁄ 8" sock- sander produces a better finish. made by 3M.
et, and glue on the opposite hip while en-
gaging the second hinge. Clamp your toad with the hinge sockets facing out. Orient the rear wheels and the upper legs to the
sandwich and allow it to dry. Round over the sockets on an imaginary line passing hips.
the outside edges of the hips on the router through them. Now take the little guy out for a spin.
table with a 1⁄ 4" roundover bit. Assemble the leg pairs using the one- As a final refinement, install self-adhe-
Install the front wheels by placing Roto- handed clamp to seat the hinges. Again, sive, clear nylon bumpers where the falling
Hinges in the front leg sockets. Because using Roto-Hinges, attach the feet to tongue strikes the toad’s lower lip. PW 53
For about the cost of a quality jigsaw
you can build a bench that will retire
from woodworking long after you do.
And by the way, the price includes everything —
wood, hardware and even the vise.
by Christopher Schwarz

’ve hauled my grandfather’s workbench across less than $175.

I snow-covered Appalachian mountains, down

narrow stairwells and into a dirt-floored garage
that should have been torn down during the Eisenhower
Believe it or not, I came in 92 cents under bud-
get and ended up with a bench that is tough, stur-
dy and darn versatile. I made a few compromises
administration. I’ve built a lot of good stuff on that when choosing the hardware to keep the cost down,
bench, but now it’s time to retire the old horse. but I designed the bench so that it can later be up-
For starters, the bench is too low for the way I graded with a nice tail vise. However, I made no com-
work. And the top is pockmarked with three dif-
ferent shapes and sizes of dog holes. And during the
last few years I’ve become fed up with the tool tray.
8 2 x 8 x 12' Southern yellow 76.56
pine boards @ $9.57 each
The only thing it seems designed to hold is enough 3⁄
sawdust for a family of gerbils. So I need a new bench, 8 8" x 16 x 6" hex bolts 4.08
@ 51 cents each
but there’s no way I’m going to spend $1,200 to $1,400
for a high-quality bench from Hoffman & 8 8" x 16 hex nuts .56
Hammer or Ulmia. @ 7 cents each
Enter Bob Key from Georgia. He 16 5⁄ 16" washers .48
and his son have been building @ 3 cents each
benches using off-the-rack pine 1 Veritas Bench Dog 8.95
for a few years and have even (see Supplies for ordering information)
built a website showing how quick 1 Veritas Wonder Dog 19.95
and easy this is to do (visit them (see Supplies for ordering information)
beginners.htm). I was impressed with
1 Veritas Front Vise 63.50
(see Supplies for ordering information)
their idea. So I spent a week reading
every book on benches I could find. I pored over Total Cost $174.08
the woodworking catalogs. And after a lot of figur- plus tax and shipping.
ing I came up with a simple plan: Build a bench for


wor kbench
Photo by Al Parrish
When you glue up your top, you want to make sure
all the boards line up. Lay down your glue and then
clamp up one end with the boards perfectly flush.
Then get a friend to clamp a handscrew on the
seam and twist until the boards are flush. Continue
clamping up towards your friend, having your
friend adjust the handscrews as needed after each
clamp is cinched down.

is useful for joinery and opening cans of

peanut butter.

Preparing Your Lumber

Cut your lumber to length. You’ve proba-
bly noticed that your wood has rounded
corners and the faces are probably less than
glass-smooth. Your first task is to use your
promises in the construction of the top or top, but with luck you won’t have to. jointer and planer to remove those round-
base. You can dance on this bench. Here’s the story on the hardware. The ed edges and get all your lumber down to
bolts, nuts and washers are used to con- 13⁄ 8" thick.
Let’s Go Shopping nect the front rails to the two ends of the Once your lumber is thicknessed, start
OK friends, it’s time to make your shop- bench. Using this hardware, we’ll borrow working on the top. If this is your first
ping list. First a word about the wood. I a technique used by bed makers to build a bench, you can make the top, then throw
priced my lumber from a local Lowe’s. It joint that is stronger than any mortise and it up on sawhorses to build the base. The
was tagged as Southern yellow pine, ap- tenon. The Bench Dog and Wonder Dog top is made from 13⁄ 8" x 33⁄ 8" x 70" boards
pearance-grade. Unlike a lot of dimen- will keep you from having to buy an ex- turned on edge and glued face-to-face. It
sional stock, this stuff is pretty dry and pensive tail vise. Using these two simple will take five of your 2 x 8s to make the
knot-free. Even so, take your time and pick pieces of hardware, you can clamp almost top. Build the top in stages to make the
through the store’s pile of 12-foot-long 2 anything to your bench for planing, sand- task more manageable. Glue up a few boards,
x 8s with care to get the best ones possi- ing and chopping. The traditional face then run the assembly through the joint-
ble. You can hide a few tight knots in the vise goes on the front of your bench and er and planer to get them flat. Make a few
more assemblies like
this, then glue all the
Supplies assemblies together
Lee Valley Tools
800-871-8158 into one big top.
Mortises are 1 1/4" deep Bench Dog #05G04.01, $8.95 When you finally
in long stretcher Wonder Dog #05G10.01, $19.95 glue up the whole top,
Large Front Vise #70G08.02, $63.50
you want to make sure
you keep all the boards
3" 7/8" x 3/8" deep
in line. This will save you hours of flat-
1/2" counterbore tening the top later with a hand plane. See
the photo above for a life-saving tip when
you get to this point. After the glue is dry,
square the ends of your assembled top. If
1 1/2" 3/8" x 6"
hex head bolts you don’t have a huge sliding table on your
table saw, try cutting the ends square using
1" x 2" x 2" tenon a circular saw (the top is so thick you’ll
on short stretcher 5/16" washers
have to make a cut from both sides). Or
gets pegged you can use a hand saw and a piece of scrap
wood clamped across the end as a guide.

3/8" pegged Build the Base

mortise and tenon The base is constructed using mortise-and-
joint tenon joinery. Essentially, the base has two


end assemblies that are joined by two rails.
The end assemblies are built using big 1"-
thick, 2"-long tenons. The front rails are
attached to the ends using 1" x 1" mortise-
and-tenon joints and the 6"-long bolts.
Begin working on the base by cutting
all your pieces to size. The 23⁄ 4"-square legs
are made from two pieces of pine lami-
nated together. Glue and clamp the legs
and set them aside. Now turn your at-
tention to cutting the tenons on the rails.
It’s a good idea to first make a “test” mor- Drilling the 3⁄ 8" holes for the bolts is easier if you do it in this order. First drill the holes in the legs using
tise in a piece of scrap so you can fit your your drill press. Now assemble the leg and front rail. Drill into the rail using the hole in the leg as a
guide (left). Remove the leg from the rail and continue drilling the hole in the rail.The hole you drilled
tenons as they are made. I like to make my before will once more act as a guide.You still need to be careful and guide your drill straight and true
tenons on the table saw using a dado stack. (right).
Place your rails face down on your table
saw and use a miter gauge to nibble away long. This will give you a little space for
at the rails until the tenons are the right any excess glue. Bed Bolts
size. Because pine is soft, be sure to make Once you’ve got your mortises drilled, There’s a bit of a trick to joining the front
the shoulders on the edges 1" wide on the use a mortise chisel to square the round rails to the legs. Workbenches, you see, are
upper side rails. This precaution will pre- corners. Make sure your tenons fit, then subject to a lot of racking back and forth.
vent your tenons from blowing out the top dry-fit your base. Label each joint so you A plain old mortise-and-tenon joint just
of your legs. can reassemble the bench later. won’t hack it. So we bolt it. First study the
Now use your tenons to lay diagram at left to see how these
out the locations of your mor- joints work. Now here’s the best
tises. See the photo at right way to make them.
for how this works. Clamp a First chuck a 1" Forstner bit in
piece of scrap to your drill press your drill press to cut the coun-
to act as a fence and chain- tersink in the legs for the bolt head.
drill the mortises in the legs. Drill the countersinks, then chuck
Make your mortises about 1⁄16" a 3⁄ 8"-brad-point bit in your drill
deeper than your tenons are press and drill in the center of the
counterbore through the leg and
into the mortise.
Now fit the front rails into the
leg mortises. Chuck that 3⁄ 8" bit
into your hand drill and drill as
deeply as you can through the leg
and into the rail. The hole in the
leg will guide the bit as it cuts into the rail.
Then remove the leg and drill the 3⁄ 8" hole
even deeper. You probably will have to use
an extra-long drill bit for this.
OK, here’s the critical part. Now you
need to cut two small mortises on each rail.
After you cut your tenons, lay them These mortises will hold a nut and a wash-
directly on your work and use the er and must intersect the 3⁄ 8" holes you just
edges like a ruler to mark where the
mortise should start and end (top). drilled. With the leg and rail assembled,
Use a 1" Forstner bit in your drill carefully figure out where the mortises need
press to cut overlapping holes to to go. Drill the mortises in the rails as shown
make your mortise (middle). Now
square up the edges of the mortise in the photo. Now test your assembly.
using a mortise chisel and a small Thread the joint with the bolt, two wash-
mallet (right). ers and a nut. Use a ratchet and wrench
The mortises in the front rails are also made on
the drill press. Make them 11⁄ 4" deep to make
sure you can get a washer in there. If you can’t,
try clipping an edge off of the washer.

to pull everything tight. If your bench ever that attach the top to the base. Now sand
wobbles in your lifetime, it’s probably going everything before assembly — up to 150
to be a simple matter of tightening these grit should be fine.
bolts to fix the problem. Remember to tell Begin assembly by gluing up the two
this to your children. end assemblies. Put glue in the mortises
and clamp up the ends until dry. Then, for
Base Assembly extra strength, peg the tenons using 3⁄ 8"-
This bench has a good-sized shelf between thick dowel. I had some lying around. If
the front rails. Cut the ledgers and slats you don’t, buy the dowel at the hardware
from your scrap. Also cut the two cleats store and add $1 to your bottom line.

Hole layout on the top is identical on both sides

2 1/4"
2 3/4"

5" CL 17" 27"

2 3/4"
2 1/4"

4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4" 4 1/2" Centerline layout
for dog holes
12 1/2" 2 3/4" 47" 2 3/4" 5"



1 3/8"
1" x 1" x 6" tenon on
ends of front rails 23 1/2"
1 3/8"

9 1/8"
6" 3"
1 1/2"

12 1/2" 2 3/4" 47" 2 3/4" 5"



The Pleasure and Pain of Pine
Southern yellow pine is cheap, but you probably know that it likes to twist, cup,
wind and bow — everything but corkscrew.There’s a way to prevent this, and
it’s a simple trick that will help reduce warping in all your projects.
First, after you cut your pieces to size, store them on edge with about an
inch of space between them. One of the major reasons pine bows is that it’s
not completely dry (surprise).When you stack it flat, one side is exposed to the
atmosphere and the other is not.As a result, one side dries faster than the
other and the board bends. Leave a pine board alone for a night like this and
the next morning you’ll probably have a bowl.
Here’s another tip.When you get set to assemble your top, do it all in one
day. Surface all your boards and glue them up as fast as you can. If a pine board
is in a lamination, it’s much less likely to bow because it has other boards that
may cancel out its tendency to warp.

Drilling your dog holes may seem like hard work using a brace and bit. It is.
However, you get an amazing amount of torque this way — far more than you can get
with a cordless drill. Sadly, I had cooked my corded drill, so this was my only option.

Screw the ledgers to the front rails. have to make your own wooden face. I one on one end of the top and the other
Make sure they don’t cover the mortises must confess I didn’t have enough wood on the far end. Now crouch down so your
for the bed bolts, or you are going to be in left over from my 2 x 8s to make the face. eye is even with the sticks. If your top is
trouble. Now bolt the front rails to the two So I made it from a small piece of scrap flat, the sticks will line up perfectly. If not,
ends (no glue necessary). Rub a little from another project. You’ll need to drill you’ll quickly see where you need work.
Vaseline or grease on the threads first three holes in the wooden face so it fits Use a jack plane to flatten the high spots.
because after your bench is together you over the bars, but this is pretty self-evident Then sand your top and rag on a couple
want to seal up those mortises with hot- when you pull the vise out of the box. All coats of an oil/varnish blend on the base
melt glue. The Vaseline will ensure your the European benches I’ve seen have a and top.
bolts will turn for years to come. bead cut on the edges. I’m not one to argue With the bench complete, I was pleased
Screw the cleats to the top of the upper with tradition, so I used a beading bit in a with the price and the time it took, which
side rails. Then drill oval-shaped holes in router table to cut beads on mine, too. was about 30 hours. However, I’m now
the cleats that will allow you to screw the Make the vise’s handle from a length itching to build a cabinet beneath the
top to the base. Now screw the seven slats of 1"-diameter oak dowel. My handle is bench and to add a leg jack for planing the
to the ledgers. 20" long, which is just the right length edges of long boards. Maybe I’ll get to that
to miss whacking me in the head at every next issue, or maybe I’ll let a future grand-
Finishing the Top turn. I’m a tall guy, so you might want to daughter take care of those details. PW
Before you attach your top, it’s best to drill make yours a bit shorter.
your dog holes and attach the vise. Lay out You are now al-
the location of the two rows of dog holes most done. It’s
using the diagram. I made a simple jig to necessary to flat- 3"
guide a 3⁄4" auger bit in a brace and bit. The ten the top. Use
jig is shown in action in the photo above. “winding sticks” 7"
Now position your vise on the under- to determine if
side of the top and attach it with the bolts your top is flat.
provided by the manufacturer. This Czech- Winding sticks 1" x 2" x 5" tenons on
ends of upper-side rails
made vise is of surprising quality, with a are simply identi-
heavy-duty Acme-thread screw. The only cal, straight lengths
downside to the vise is you are going to of hardwood. Put 3 38"
11/16" 1 /8"

$175 Workbench 1 3/8"

No. Item Dimensions T W L Comments
1 Top 3" x 27" x 70" 7"
4 Legs 23⁄ 4" x 23⁄ 4" x 35" 1" x 2" x 2" tenons on
2 Front rails 13⁄ 8" x 7" x 49" 1" TBE ends of lower-side rails
2 Upper side rails 13⁄ 8" x 7" x 21" 2" TBE 9 1/8"
2 Lower side rails 13⁄ 8" x 3" x 21" 2" TBE 3" 6"
2 Ledgers 13⁄ 8" x 13⁄ 8" x 47"
1 1/2"
7 Slats 13⁄ 8" x 3" x 181⁄ 2"
2 Cleats 13⁄ 8" x 13⁄ 8" x 17"
2 1/4" 2 3/4" 17" 2 3/4" 2 1/4"
TBE= Tenon, both ends

Cabınet he first secret to creating a pleasant, productive wood-

Oodles of
T shop is to get rid of your power tool stands. I mean that
sincerely. Unless you pay a zillion dollars for top-of-the-
line tools, the stands that come with most woodworking ma- storage,
chines are engineering afterthoughts. The dead space beneath
them wastes one of the most precious commodities in your
built-in dust
workshop: space to work.
So the second secret is to replace each stand with some-
thing that does more than hold the tool up in the air. With a doubles as
little ingenuity, you can create a stand that provides conve-
nient storage for accessories, additional work surface, dust col- a huge router
lection, and maybe even holds a second tool. It doesn’t have
to be a piece of fine cabinetry — a plywood box with some table — what
shelves and drawers is infinitely more useful than those
skinny metal legs that come with most power tools. more could
The cabinet that cradles my table saw shows some of the
possibilities. Although its odd shape makes it look complex,
you want?
it’s built up from three simple boxes. The largest box
(the base) has a few shelves where I store the larg-
er accessories. It also serves as a dust collector. The
table saw rests over a cut-out in the top of the box.
Wood chips fall down through this cut-out, slide
down an inclined board, and are whisked away through
a shop vacuum hook-up.
The box on the left side holds frequently used ac-
cessories: push sticks, saw inserts and a miter gauge.
A notch in the sides of this box keeps my saw fence
ready when I’m not using it. The box on the right
has a few drawers where I keep stuff I don’t use as
often: saw blades, a dado cutter, a moulding head
and some alignment tools. To make the odd-shaped cabinet, I attached
three plywood boxes to each other. Each box
I replaced the saw extension on each side of has shelves and drawers for storage.The base
the table saw with the cabinet tops. These tops are box includes a dust collector.
Photos by Al Parrish

By Nick Engler
Nick is a contributing editor to Popular Woodworking, the author of 52 books on woodworking, and an inven-
tor of woodworking tools, jigs and fixtures. His most recent project, a flying full-size replica of the Wright
Brother’s 1902 glider, is making its rounds to schools and museums across the country.
The saw
cabinet offers
plenty of
storage, even
a place to
keep the
fence when
it’s not in use.

made from medium density fiberboard you may prefer it a little higher or lower. with a few dadoes and rabbets, as shown
(MDF) and covered with plastic laminate Also decide whether or not you need your in the Box Joinery Detail (right). This
to make them more durable. The right top saw to be mobile. I need the mobility, so I makes a strong, solid construction.
is a shade over 4-feet long to accommo- mounted the cabinet on 3" swivel casters. The doors are mounted with “overlay”
date my saw’s Unifence and to increase my Without the casters, I would have made cabinet hinges, covering the front edges
ripping capacity. There’s also a cut-out in the cabinet a little taller. of the boxes. I made frame-and-panel doors
this top that holds a router, making the The joinery is simple and straightfor- because I like their looks, but you don’t
saw stand double as the mother of all router ward. The plywood box parts interlock have to get that fancy. Simple slabs of ply-
For all the capability and convenience
that a homemade tool stand like this of-
fers, it’s not a difficult project to build. The
first step is to adjust the size of the cabinet
to your table saw. The dimensions shown
here are just suggestions. Start with the
most important dimension: the height of
the saw table above the floor. I made this
cabinet to hold the saw table at 34", but


The right cabinet top
has a cut-out for a
router, letting the saw
stand double as a
router table. For
routing operations, I
bolt a router table
fence to the saw
fence (right).

Back Side

The bolts that hold the cabinet tops to the
cabinet pass through slotted holes.This lets
wd x you adjust the tops dead even with
3/8"dp rabbets the saw table (right).
and dadoes
Box Joinery Detail

wood make fine doors. the tops, I enlarged the holes in the boxes
The drawers slide on fixed plywood to make vertical slots. The slots let me ad-
shelves or wood strips mounted to the sides just the tops a fraction of an inch so I
of the boxes — no hardware required. Each can get them perfectly level with the work
drawer is a small box, assembled with rab- surface of the table saw. The 3" diameter
bets, dadoes and grooves. The drawer faces access holes in the top of the right box let cleat
are made to cover the front edges of the me reach the bolts when I perform this ad-
boxes, just like the doors. justment. PW
The only joinery in this project that
requires any real finesse is where the cab-
inet tops join the saw and the cabinet. I
recycled the hardware that secured the
saw’s extension wings to attach the cabi-
net tops to the table saw. Where the tops
joined the boxes, I attached cleats to the
undersides, positioned the tops over the
boxes, and drilled bolt holes through the
box parts and the cleats. After removing
side box
Left side box
Base box
Illustration by Mary Jane Favorite
y shop at home is a two-car garage. To
make things more complicated, my wife
feels pretty strongly that the two cars
should be allowed to stay in the garage. What a silly
idea, but it’s been an interesting challenge to keep
her happy and still work comfortably on my pro-
jects. At the heart of this dilemma is getting enough
storage and assembly space. There’s enough room
in the garage to put some shallow cabinets on or
against the walls, but storing my “assembly bench”
(fold-up horses, planks and a partial sheet of ply-
wood) stops me from getting to my storage. And
while the fold-up horses are handy, they’re not as
stable as I’d prefer and I can’t adjust them higher or
lower. Sometimes I want to work 24" off the ground,
other times 34". I decided it was time to solve my
dilemma and here you see the result. When as-
sembled, this unit offers sturdy, adjustable-height
bench space with easy access to the stuff in the draw-
ers.When not in use, the two cabinets store conve-
niently against the wall. You also can use them as
benchtop tool stands and still have easy access to
the drawers.

Building Boxes
This is a basic project. The only complicated part is
the height-adjustment feature of the cabinets. I
haven’t spent a lot of time illustrating the cabinet
construction, but the illustrations and the construction
description should get you there safely.
The cabinets consist of a 3⁄ 4"-thick plywood top
and bottom, rabbeted between the two 3⁄ 4"-thick
sides. The back is also 3⁄ 4" and is rabbeted into the
sides, top and bottom. Start by cutting the pieces to
size, then cut 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 4" rabbets on the top, back and
bottom inside edge of each side. I made the rabbets
on my table saw, but you could easily use a router in-
stead. Then cut the same rabbet on the back edge of
the top and bottom pieces.
I used my 2" brad nailer to shoot the cases to-

by David Thiel
Photo by Al Parrish

Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-

531-2690 ext. 255 or



When space is tight (and when isn’t it?)

this modular system gives you a height-adjustable assembly bench,
two stands for benchtop tools and six drawers of roll-around
storage. Best of all, it breaks down fast and stores in small spaces.
Storage & Assembly Bench
❏ 4 Sides 3⁄
4 15 213⁄ 4 Birch ply 1⁄ 3
2 x ⁄ 4 rabbets, 3 sides
❏ 4 Tops & botts 3⁄
4 15 27 Birch ply 1⁄ 3
2 x ⁄ 4 rabbet, back
❏ 2 Backs 3⁄
4 27 211⁄ 4 Birch ply
❏ 2 Tops 3⁄
4 30 72 Birch ply
❏ 4 Support arms 3⁄
4 6 195⁄ 8 Birch
❏ 2 Top plates 7⁄
8 6 291⁄ 8 Birch 1⁄ 3
2 x ⁄ 4 rabbets, ends
❏ 8 Channel sides 3⁄
8 20 Birch
❏ 8 Channel fronts 3⁄
4 2 20 Birch
❏ 4 Channel botts 3⁄
8 6 Birch
❏ 4 Dowels 1 21⁄ 2" Maple
❏ 4 Dowels 3⁄
4 15⁄ 8" Maple
❏ 4 Fronts 3⁄
4 5 257⁄ 8 Birch ply clearance space incl.
❏ 2 Fronts 3⁄
4 10 257⁄ 8 Birch ply clearance space incl.
❏ 8 Box sides 1⁄
2 4 131⁄ 4 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 groove, 3 sides
❏ 4 Box sides 1⁄
2 9 131⁄ 4 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 groove, 3 sides
❏ 4 Box fronts 1⁄
2 4 241⁄ 2 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 tongue, ends
❏ 4 Box backs 1⁄
2 31⁄ 2 241⁄ 2 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 tongue, ends
❏ 2 Box fronts 1⁄
2 9 241⁄ 2 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 tongue, ends
By adding smaller tops to the individual cabinets, each makes
❏ 2 Box backs 1⁄
2 81⁄ 2 241⁄ 2 Birch ply 1⁄ 1
4 x ⁄ 4 tongue, ends
a fine tool stand with lots of storage beneath. Note the roller
stand mounted on the underside of the top. Flip the top over ❏ 6 Bottoms 1⁄
4 13 245⁄ 16 Ply
and you’ve created an outfeed table for any machine.

gether, adding some glue to the joint for Going Up, Going Down Start by jointing and thicknessing all
good measure. Screws (#8 x 11⁄ 4") would I went through a lot of different ideas to the solid birch necessary for the pieces and
also do the job here. Use the backs to square make the top height-adjustable. After mak- cut them to finished size, except for the
up the cabinets. This will be important ing it a lot more complicated than nec- channel pieces. Leave those pieces a lit-
when you install the drawers. essary, I threw away those drawings and tle long until after they’re glued up. I once
I was feeling pretty minimalist with this went back to simple. The height-adjustable again took advantage of my brad nailer to
project and decided to let the utility show table supports are brought to you by the speed up the assembly process. Glue and
through by simply rounding over all the letters “U” and “L.” The support arms are nail the channel fronts to the channel
plywood edges with a 1⁄ 4" roundover bit in U-shaped solid birch assemblies that slip sides, then set everything aside to let the
my router. If you prefer a more finished ap- into two L-shaped channels on each side glue cure.
pearance, take the extra time to apply iron- of the cabinets. While they’re drying, cut the channel
on veneer tape to the exposed plywood
To make adding the height-adjustable
supports easier I attached the four cast-
ers (two standard, non-swivel and two
swivel locking) to the cabinets at this

I used my brad nailer to tack the channel bottom in After drilling the clearance holes in the cabinet A 1" dowel is a simple and secure way to hold
place between the two channels through the front sides, I used a clamp to hold the channel assem- the support arms at the proper height.The five
and through the sides.Be careful about shooting too bly in place while pilot drilling, then screwing the hole locations (and the all-the-way-down posi-
close to the end of a piece to avoid blow-outs. channels in place from the inside of the cabinet. tion) give you a variety of working heights.


1/ 1/
4" 27" 4" 30"
5" 20" 5"



Support assembly profile
Plan 3/ Table plan
4" dowel
29 1/8" 6"


10" 10"
27 5/8" 4" hole
20 1/8"
19 5/8"

1" dowel 1" hole


/16" gap typical

27 1/2" 15"
1 5/8" 1 5/8" 15"
7 1/2"

1" hole


2" 2" 2" 2"

21 3/4"

21 3/4"

4" wire pull



13 1/4"
25 7/8"

Box section
Box elevation Box profile

bottoms to length. Cut an extra one to use ance holes on each line. Countersink each Forstner bit and used the spur tip as an in-
as a spacer while you’re at it. When the hole from the inside of the cabinets, then dicator of depth. By drilling slowly I was
channels are ready, clean up any extra glue, attach the channel assemblies to the cab- able to tell when the spur poked through
then get the roundover router out again. inets, holding the top of the channel flush on the inside, and stop the hole at that
I rounded all the outside surfaces on the to the cabinet top. depth.
channels and the top lips where the sup- Now move to the support arms them- Next, round over all the edges on the
port arms will enter the channels. selves. Use your drill press to make a 1"- support arms except those on the top, then
Glue and nail the channel assemblies diameter hole through each support arm, slip the arms into the channels and check
together, using the extra bottom to help 3" up from the bottom edge and centered the fit. If they don’t move easily (though
maintain even spacing at the top of the on the piece. On each cabinet, mark the they shouldn’t be too loose) adjust the fit.
assembly. location for five 1" holes centered on the With the arms all the way down in the
To attach the channels to the cabinets, spaces between the channels, locating the channel, take one of the top plates and lay
first use a combination square to make a first 6" up from the inside of the channel it across the two arms. Mark the location
line 41⁄ 8" in from the front and back edges bottom, then 2" on center from that first of the arms on the top plate, allowing the
of each cabinet. Double-check the lines mark. These holes shouldn’t be drilled all arms to naturally settle in the channels. If
to make sure they will fall in the exact cen- the way through the cabinet side, or the they’re pushed too tightly to the cabi-
ter of each of the channel sides. After dowels will interfere with the drawers. net, the arms won’t move easily.
checking, drill five evenly spaced 3⁄16" clear- Make the holes about 5⁄ 8" deep. I used a Head to the table saw and cut 1⁄ 2"-deep 49
from either end. I used a 3⁄ 4" side. Also run the bottom inside edge of
auger bit to make the holes, each drawer front.
and the photo shows a jig Next adjust the fence on your saw/router
we’ve used before to make table to cut the tongues on the drawer
sure the holes are straight. fronts and back. Check the fit, then run
With the holes drilled, all the fronts and backs. The drawers are
mark a centerline down the then glued and nailed together. The bot-
length of each support top toms slip into the groove in the sides and
plate. Then lay the bench- front, and then are nailed in place to the
top on top of the cabinets bottom edge of the drawer back. Use the
and position it evenly on bottoms to make sure the drawers are square
the top plates. Now look before nailing them in place.
through a set of dog holes in The false drawer fronts are again sim-
alignment hole the benchtop and move ple and utilitarian: 3⁄ 4" plywood with the
things around until the cen- edges rounded over. I held each drawer
terline on the plate is in the box 1⁄ 4" up from the bottom edge of each
center of the holes. Use a front. Attach the drawer handles (simple
pencil to mark the hole lo- 4" chrome pulls from almost any home
cations on the top plate, center store that cost about $2 each) to
The drilling jig is simply a piece of plywood with an edge stop (like then remove the top. the fronts, countersinking the screw heads
a bench hook) with a guiding block screwed in position over the
hole (centered 5" from the edge).You’ll notice another hole drilled Drill 3⁄ 4"-diameter holes flush to the back of the drawer fronts. The
through the plywood in front of the block.That hole is in line with partway through the top false fronts are screwed in place through
the guiding hole and lets you see your positioning line drawn on the plates (5⁄ 8" deep). Then drill the drawer box fronts. Mount the slides
top to know if you’re in the correct location to drill.
a 3⁄16" clearance hole the rest following the hardware instructions.
rabbets on each end of the top plate using of the way through the plates, centered on I added a couple coats of paint to the
the marks for the support arms to deter- the holes, countersinking the holes from cabinets, but left the top as bare wood. I
mine the width. Then drill clearance holes, the underside of the top plate. Cut four added a coat of lacquer to the top support
and screw the top plates to the support 3⁄ 4"-diameter dowels to 15⁄ 8" in length, and assembly and the drawer fronts. There’s
arms after pilot drilling the hole to avoid screw them in these holes from the un- only one thing left to do to make these
splitting. derside of the top plates. storage cabinets all they can be. Make a
You should be able to raise and lower The top can now be easily located on couple of auxiliary tops to fit on the in-
the entire assembly with little resistance. the dowels without having to bend over. dividual cabinets. I made mine with a piece
I used simple dowels to lock the arms at Once in place, the dowels hold the cabi- of 3⁄ 4" plywood (drilled to match the dow-
whatever height I wanted. Round over the nets in place, and make the entire bench els). Add a roller and you have a height-
edges of the top plate, then move on to more sturdy. But don’t forget to round adjustable outfeed table that can be used
building the benchtop. everything over. Not only did I round the with your table saw, jointer, planer or any
top’s edges, but I also rounded the lips of other machine. When not in use as a bench
More Than an Assembly Top the dog holes. This makes it easier to lo- or outfeed table, you’ve now got two very
The top is made from two 3⁄ 4"-thick pieces cate the dowels and dogs and also keeps handy tools stands that tuck away against
of plywood glued together. Use lots of glue the plywood from splintering at the sharp the wall — right next to the cars. PW
spread thinly over the entire surface of one edges.
piece, then nail the corners to keep the
top from slipping around while you clamp Sturdy Storage Drawers Sources
up the top “sandwich.” The drawers are the last step and are de-
Grizzly Industrial Inc.
To give the top even more versatility, signed for basic utility. They are 1⁄ 2" ply- 800-523-4777, or
I added dog holes along the front and back wood boxes with 1⁄ 4"-thick plywood bot- 4 - H0689 3" fixed casters - $3.95 ea.
edge of the top to accommodate a set of toms and a 3⁄ 4" false front. I used tongue- 4 - H0693 3" swivel casters w/brake -
$5.95 ea.
Veritas Bench Pups and Wonder Pups. and-groove joinery on the drawer boxes. 6 - G5084 12" full-extension slides -
These work like vises and can hold almost Set up either a 1⁄ 4" stack dado in your $9.95 pr.
any workpiece. These holes also become table saw, or a 1⁄ 4" bit in your router table. Lee Valley
the attachment points to hold the top in Then set the fence to leave 1⁄ 4" between 800-871-8158, or
place on the cabinets. the fence and bit or blade. Set the depth 2 - 05G10.02 Wonder Pups -
$ 18.95 ea.
Locate the dog holes 5" in from each of the cut for 1⁄ 4", then run the front, back 1 - 05G04.04 Bench Pups - $12.75 pr.
edge and spaced 4" on center, starting 4" and bottom inside edges of each drawer


Learn to make through-mortises
using a template and a router as you
construct this simple and sturdy shelf.

ike most wood- Craftsman-style details

L workers, I try not

to reinvent the
wheel every time I build
into the wall shelf: shal-
low, graceful curves, the
corbel (the distinctive
a project. Instead, I curved shape at the bot-
search through my li- tom of the sides), and
brary and back issues of woodworking mag- the honesty of through-mortise-and-tenon
azines to see if I can find what I’m look- joints. Although quartersawn oak is a
ing for. I usually don’t find exactly what I trademark of Craftsman-style furniture, I
want – but if it’s close, it’s easy to modify chose cherry instead for two reasons. First,
a dimension or decorative feature. So I quartersawn oak is highly figured and I
was quite surprised when I started look- wanted the items displayed to catch the
ing around for a Craftsman-style wall shelf, eye rather than the shelf itself. Second,
and came up empty. Further digging re- since I was looking for a formal, dignified
vealed that the Craftsman folks of yes- look, I chose cherry – a wood I’ve al-
teryear didn’t use them. Not because they ways felt adds a touch of elegance to any
didn’t have knickknacks, but because they piece.
relied on built-in shelving units and large Once I was comfortable with the de-
sideboards or buffets to store and display sign and had worked out the majority of
their cherished collectibles. the details, I made a quick mock-up to get
Undaunted, I dusted off my drafting a better feel of how the curves would work
table and put pencil to paper. Designing together and to better visualize the fin-
a wall shelf like this was fairly straight- ished piece. See the story “Crude but
forward as I had a rough idea of the di- Effective Mock-up” on the following pages.
mensions I needed and I knew I wanted
three shelves approximately 30" long. As Construction
I worked, I incorporated three classic To build the Craftsman-style wall shelf,

by Rick Peters
Photo by Al Parrish

Rick Peters is a woodworker and publishing professional and resides in Emmaus, Pennsylvania.
Cleats screwed around the quick work of the job. Since I lean heav-
perimeter of the mortising jig
capture a side piece for ily towards the Craftsman style, it was easy
routing the mortises. to justify the modest cost of this fine tool.
To ensure the corner cuts are perfectly ver-
tical, clamp a guide block flush with the
edge of the mortise and press the corner
start by cutting the parts to chisel firmly against it as you strike the
size. See the cutting list and chisel with a hammer.
illustrations. There are only There are a couple more mortises to cut
seven parts to the shelf: two on each side piece – these accept the tenons
identical sides, three identi- on the ends of the top and bottom brack-
cal shelves and a top and bot- ets. Since these aren’t through-mortises,
tom bracket. The sides and you needn’t use a jig. Instead, lay them out
shelves are 7⁄ 8"-thick and the directly on the sides making sure to book-
brackets are 3⁄ 4". As you cut match them as shown. To cut these mor-
the parts to size, set some of tises, I used a 1⁄ 4 " mortising bit in the
the thicknessed scraps aside drill press and clamped a fence on the back
for test cuts later. edge for accuracy.
A plunge router plus a mortising jig equals precision mortises –
Mortises something that’s paramount when the mortises are through and Side Shapes
the tenons are exposed.
The biggest challenge to build- With the mortises complete, use the draw-
ing the wall shelf is cutting the mortises and removed the waste between the holes ing on the last page to make a pattern of
in the sides for the shelf tenons. Because with a sharp chisel. the sides out of 1⁄ 4" hardboard. Carefully
these are through-tenons and will be high- To use the router jig, fit it over a side cut this out with a jigsaw or band saw and
ly visible, I decided it would be best to build and slide a scrap of plywood underneath sand the edges smooth. Then place the
a simple router jig for added accuracy (see since you’ll be routing all the way through pattern on each side piece and trace around
the drawing on the next page). The jig is the side. Using a plunge router, take a se- it with a pencil. Now you can cut the sides
just a piece of 1⁄ 4"-thick hardboard with ries of light cuts, blowing out the chips to shape and sand the edges smooth.
cleats screwed around the edges to hold from the mortise after every pass. Continue
a side piece in perfect position. Pairs of until you’ve cut all the way through. Then Shelf Tenons
slots for the mortises in the hardboard are move onto the next mortise. Now that the sides are complete, you can
sized to accept a 5⁄ 8" OD, 17⁄ 32" ID template All that’s left is to square up the round turn your attention to the shelves. Basically
guide bushing for the router. This bushing corners of each through-mortise with a all there is to do here is to cut the tenons
can be used with a 1⁄ 2"-diameter straight chisel. Although you can do this with a on the ends to fit the mortises in the sides.
bit or spiral-end mill bit. I drilled the holes conventional beveled-edge chisel, a cor- Since the
in the hardboard with a 5⁄ 8" brad-point bit ner chisel will make 1"

1/4" dowels
B tenons A

1 1/2"
thick x 3/8" long D
To guarantee the mortise corners end up perfectly vertical, clamp a tenon on bracket ends
scrap of wood flush with the edge of the mortise to guide the chisel. with 3/8" shoulders


Crude but
effective mock-up
If you’ve ever built a project that
A drum sander fitted in the drill you designed only to be disappoint-
press will make quick work of ed with the final proportions or the
smoothing the corbel on the decorative details, consider making
bottom and the gentle curve on a crude, but effective mock-up
top of each side piece. before cutting into your precious
stack of hardwood. I unintentionally
started using foam board years ago
when I was rummaging around the
shop one day looking for inexpen-
sive scrap to mock up a project. I
Book match the two sides and stumbled across a battered piece of
lay out the mortises for the 3⁄
4"-thick foam insulation board and
brackets directly on each side thought "why not?" It cuts easily by
piece. hand or with power tools, you can
screw it together temporarily with
drywall screws, and it’s really cheap.
sides are 7⁄ 8" thick, I made the tenons 1" (The only problem working with it
long so they’d protrude through the 7⁄ 8"- is getting past the color – the rather
thick sides by 1⁄ 8". I cut the twin tenons in hideous pink shown here or the
other common color, pale blue.) On
two steps. First, with a dado blade in the the mock-up I built for the wall
table saw set for a shallow cut, cut an equal shelf, I was playing around with the
amount off each face to create the shoul- back curves on the top piece trying
to figure out what looked best. I cut
ders leaving a 1⁄2"-thick tenon (here’s where a couple different foam pieces and
those scrap pieces come in handy). Then tried each in turn. It only took a few
with each shelf on end and a tall support minutes, and it’s a great way to lock
in a troublesome detail. Ever since
piece attached to the miter gauge, make that first foam board mock-up, I try
the end and middle shoulder cuts to form to keep at least one sheet of 1⁄ 2" and
the twin tenons. Here again, use the scrap one sheet of 3⁄ 4" foam board stocked
in the shop.
pieces and sneak up on the perfect fit. Take
your time and test the fit often – what
you’re looking for is a friction-fit – if you
even think about reaching for a hammer
to persuade the joint to go together, it’s
too tight. Stop and take a little more off.
(A finely tuned shoulder plane is excel-
lent for this.) Finally, to soften the ends of The shoulders for tenons on the shelves are
the tenons and help them slide more eas- easily cut on the table saw fitted with a dado
ily into the mortises, I chamfered the ends
with a block plane. sand the edges smooth.

Brackets Assembly
The last two pieces of the wall shelf to Before assembling the Craftsman-style wall
make are the top and bottom brackets. shelf, there are a couple things to do.
Each has a graceful curve and tenons cut First, soften the edges by rout-
on the ends to fit into the matching mor- ing or planing an 1⁄8" Foam insulation board is an inexpensive
tises cut in the sides. Once you’ve chamfer mock-up material that allows you to
cut the tenons, lay out the quickly visualize what a project will look
like before cutting any wood.
curves by bend- 5/8" 1 1/8"
ing a thin strip 3
/16" 1" 1 1/8"
of wood into a 5/8"
graceful curve 1/2"
and having a
helper trace the
3/16" Craftsman Wall SHelf
No. Ltr. Item Dimensions T W L Material
outline on each 2 A Sides 7⁄ 1
8" x 4 ⁄ 2" x 24" Cherry
bracket. The old boatmaker’s adage 1" 3 B Shelves 7⁄ 1
8" x 4 ⁄ 2" x 30"* Cherry
3⁄ 1 3
“if it looks fair, it is fair” certainly 1/8" 1 C Top bracket 4" x 3 ⁄ 2" x 28 ⁄ 4"* Cherry
3⁄ 1 3
1 D Bottom bracket 4" x 3 ⁄ 2" x 28 ⁄ 4"* Cherry
applies here. After you’ve laid out Chamfers
* measurement includes tenon length on both ends
the curves, cut out the shapes and
Clamping a tall support fence to your miter A friction fit of the tenons in the mortises is what The graceful curves on the top and bottom
gauge will make cutting the twin tenons a safe you’re looking for.You should feel just a slight brackets can be laid out with the aid of a helper
and easy operation. resistance as you slide the pieces together. by tracing along a bent strip of thin wood.

on all edges except for the top of dowel for added strength. I drilled 2"-
edges of the bottom brack- deep holes from both the front and back
et, the bottom edges of the of each side piece to allow the dowel to
top bracket, and the back edges pass completely through each tenon to
of the shelves. Next, sand all lock it securely in place. A dollop of glue
the pieces now – this is a habit on each end and a few raps of a hammer is
that’s worth developing – you’ll all it takes. (Pare off any protruding dowel
save yourself a lot of frustra- with a sharp chisel.) Finally, I routed a pair
tion in the long run trying to of keyhole slots in the
sand inaccessible spots. back to hang the
To assemble the wall shelf, shelf and applied 1/4" x 7 1/2" x 27"
first make a dry run. Assemble two coats of satin panel
all the pieces and clamp the polyurethane.
shelf together without glue to Mounted on the
make sure there won’t be any wall, this Crafts- CL
unwanted surprises. Then care- man-style shelf
fully disassemble the shelf and will grace any
apply a small amount of white home and will
7 1/4"
Each square = /2" 1 glue (don’t use yellow glue proudly display
here, it sets up too quickly) your favorite col-
to the tenons on the shelves lection of pot-
and the tenons on the top and tery, knick- CL

bottom bracket. Also, apply nacks – even

a thin bead of glue to the bot- antique tools.
tom edge of the top bracket PW 7 1/4"
and the top edge of the bot-
Pattern for the Sides tom bracket. Working quick- 3"
CL 2 3/8"
ly, slide the shelves and
top and bottom brack-
ets into one side piece.
Then position the re- Cut 5/8" holes
at these
maining side piece and locations
apply clamps from side 7"
to side. You’ll also want
to clamp the top and
bottom brackets along
their lengths to their
respective shelves.
After the glue dries, re- 1/4" x 1 1/2"
move the clamps and banding leaves
a 4 1/2" x 24"
A keyhole bit fitted in a hand-held router and run along a guide block is an pin the shelves to the opening for
easy way to attach the shelf to a wall sides with short lengths a side panel



fter designing and building toy boxes and doll furniture for four
granddaughters, I wanted to come up with something suitable for
a grandson should we ever be blessed with one. This is a multi-
functional project — a lot of fun to build and play with (with or without a Lift up the top
grandchild) as well as a perfect storage box for miscellaneous cargo.
This mobile toy storage tractor-trailer truck features a hood that opens and fill this rig
up for tune-up work on the V8 engine. Driver- and passenger-side doors
have latches to keep them shut dur- with toys.
ing transport time. The cab seat is
upholstered, as well as the interior
of the cab. By lifting up on the brass
This 18-wheeler
air horns, the roof of the sleeper opens
up for additional storage.
is fit for a kid.
The trailer can be detached and
left standing full of toys or other cargo
by flipping down the parking dolly.
The lid is attached with a piano hinge
and features a toy box lid support.
The rig is constructed with 3⁄4" and
1⁄ 1
2" ash and a ⁄ 2" x 4' x 4' sheet of
birch-face plywood. Inlaid walnut
veneer is used for the sleeper windows and trailer decoration. Walnut is
also used for the front and back bumpers.

Working From the Ground Up

Completing the chassis and wheels first is helpful during the final as-
sembly of the cab and hood portions of the rig.
Cut the tractor chassis sides, spreaders and end cap to size, then
use a 3⁄ 4" Forstner bit to drill the axle holes. Apply glue
to the mating surfaces and assemble the chassis
with two screws per joint.

by Al Krogh
After working for 36 years in a large company, Al Krogh
took early retirement from the corporate world in order to
spend more time on his hobbies. Besides designing and
building children’s furniture, he is currently working on a
total restoration of a 1951 Ford pickup truck. You are
never too old to play with trucks.


Tractor-Trailer Toy Box
Tractor Chassis Frame
❏ 2 Sides (A) 3⁄
4 2 221⁄ 4 Ply
❏ 2 Spreaders (B) 3⁄ 4 2 61⁄ 2 Ply Trailer Chassis
❏ 1 End cap (C) 3⁄
4 2 8 Ply
Assemble the trailer’s chassis using the
❏ 1 Front axle 3⁄
4 dia 93⁄ 4 Dowel
same simple butt joints, glue and screws.
❏ 2 Rear axles 3⁄ 4 dia 103⁄ 8 Dowel
Use two self-closing overlay hinges for
Trailer Chassis Frame the parking dolly. Mount the hinges to the
❏ 2 Sides (D) 3⁄
4 3 27 Ply back of the front spreader, orienting them
❏ 3 Spreaders (E) 3⁄ 4 3 61⁄ 2 Ply so they snap to attention when down. I
❏ 1 End cap (F) 3⁄
4 3 8 Ply
used a scrap of ash for the cross piece. Two
❏ 2 Rear axles 3⁄
4 dia 103⁄ 8 Dowel
lengths of bead chain limit the swing of
Tires and Wheels the dolly to 90°.
❏ 2 Front tires 3⁄
4 31⁄ 2 dia. Pine
❏ 8 Dual tires 11⁄ 2 31⁄ 2 dia. Pine Tires and Wheels
❏ 10 Tire rims 1⁄
8 21⁄ 8 dia. Ash All of the tires are 31⁄ 2" in diameter. The
❏ 10 Hubcaps 1 dia. wooden balls cut in half
two front tires are made from 1x pine; 2x
Tractor Cab stock provides the necessary traction for
❏ 1 Cab floor (G) 1⁄ 2 9 81⁄ 2 Birch ply the eight dual tires. Rounding out the bill
❏ 1 Firewall (H) 1⁄
2 8 5 Birch ply of material, I used 1⁄ 8" ash for the 21⁄ 8"-
❏ 1 Sleeper back (I) 1⁄ 2 9 101⁄ 4 Birch ply diameter hub/rims.
❏ 2 Cab sides (J) 1⁄ 2 51⁄ 2 8 Ash Before cutting the dual tires, drill a 11⁄8"-
❏ 1 Cab top (K) 1⁄
2 51⁄ 2 8 Ash
diameter hole at the center point to a depth
❏ 2 Sleeper sides (L)1⁄ 2 41⁄ 2 11 Ash
of 1⁄ 2". The stopped hole creates the illu-
❏ 1 Sleeper frt (M) 1⁄ 2 23⁄ 4 9 Ash cut to fit
❏ 1 Sleeper top (N) 1⁄ 2 31⁄ 4 9 Ash cut to fit sion of a dual tire and makes room for the
❏ 2 Fuel tanks (O) 1 11⁄ 2 111⁄ 2 Ash hubcap.
❏ 4 Window inlay veneer 1 various Walnut Change to a 3⁄ 4" bit and drill through
❏ 1 Hitch pltfrm (P) 3⁄ 4 8 81⁄ 2 Ash the rest of the way. Drill the axle holes
❏ 1 Hitch (Q) 11⁄ 8 dia. 11⁄ 2 Dowel in the 1x pieces using the 3⁄ 4" bit.
❏ 2 Exhaust stacks1⁄ 2 dia. 13 Walnut dowel The wheel rims are made the same way
❏ 1 Seat bench (R) 3⁄ 4 71⁄ 2 21⁄ 2 Ply with a few added steps. Begin by drawing
❏ 1 Upholstery 9 83⁄ 4 Vinyl a 13⁄ 4"-diameter circle on the 1⁄ 8" stock.
❏ 1 Seat back (S) 3⁄ 8 71⁄ 2 4 Ply Divide it into eight equal parts. These
❏ 1 Upholstery 91⁄ 2 51⁄ 2 Vinyl
points are where the wheel lugs (escutcheon
❏ 1 Seat riser (T) 3⁄ 4 13⁄ 4 6 Ply cut to fit
pins) will be installed.
❏ 1 Steering whl 21⁄ 2 dia. Hardwood
❏ 1 Dashboard (U) 3⁄ 4 3⁄
4 8 Ash Drill out the axle opening using the 3⁄ 4"
❏ 1 Front bmpr (V) 3⁄ 8 23⁄ 4 9 Walnut bit for the two front rims and 1 1⁄ 8 " for
the eight dual tires.
Engine Compartment & Front Fenders Although I used a circle-cutting jig
❏ 2 Frt fenders (W) 13⁄ 8 21⁄ 2 51⁄ 2 Ash
to make the wheel and rim cutouts, a good
❏ 1 Grill (X) 1⁄
2 31⁄ 2 51⁄ 4 Ash
eye, steady hands and a band saw can make
❏ 1 Hood top (Y) 1⁄
2 51⁄ 4 51⁄ 4 Ash cut long to fit later
❏ 2 Hood sides (Z) 1⁄ 2 5 51⁄ 4 Ash for smooth-riding wheels. Breaking the
❏ 2 Headlights (AA) 3⁄ 4 dia. 3⁄
16 Dowel edge between the sidewalls and tread area
gives the tires a more realistic appearance.
Trailer The frames and tires are the only parts
❏ 2 Sides (BB) 1⁄
2 12 36 Ply
that are stained. It is easier to do so prior
❏ 2 Ends (CC) 1⁄
2 12 12 Ply
to assembly. I used a brown dye for color-
❏ 1 Bot (DD) 1⁄
2 111⁄ 2 35 Ply
❏ 4 Corner trim (EE)3⁄ 4 3⁄
4 121⁄ 8 Ash ing the frames, tires and steering wheel.
❏ 2 Side decoration 1⁄ 8 3⁄
4 36 Ash cut to fit Stain the rims yellow.
❏ 2 End decoration 1⁄ 8 3⁄
4 12 Ash cut to fit
❏ 2 Stripes 1⁄
2 36 Walnut veneer Hubcaps
❏ 2 Stripes 1⁄
4 36 Walnut veneer While the economy associated with split-
❏ 2 Top banding 1⁄ 8 1⁄
2 12 Ash ting five, 1" wooden balls in half to make
❏ 1 Top banding 1⁄ 8 1⁄
2 36 Ash 10 hubcaps appealed to my woodworker
Trailer Lid frugality, I decided to spring for 10 balls
❏ 1 Center (FF) 1⁄
2 83⁄ 4 321⁄ 4 Ply (about $3) and keep all my fingers. Using
❏ 2 Edges (GG) 3⁄
4 2 361⁄ 4 Ash a large countersink chucked into your drill
❏ 2 Ends (HH) 3⁄
4 2 83⁄ 4 Ash


4 1 /2"
5 1/ "
/4 "

/4 "

2 1 /2"

5 1 /2" M
AA 4 1/ "
K 3/ "

1 1 /4"
1 /4


/4 "
2 3 /4" B Window

3 / " o.d.
5 1 /4" H 8

11 "
3/ "
1/ " 4
Y 2 L
overlap I




1/ "
4 X
3/ "
4 3 1 /4" 1 1 /4"

Hood sides & spreaders 1/ "

1/ "
8 Sleeper sides & spreaders
Cab sides & spreaders
8 1 /2"

5" 3 1 /2"
8 1 /2"


1 / " deep hole for
R 1 1 /8" dowel
/4 " 3/4 "



Q 2"

2 1 /2" T
G Seat

Cab floor Trailer hitch platform

15 1 /4"
11 1 /2"
1 1 /4"
1 1 /4"

1 1 /2"

1/ "
R 21
R 2 4 /4 "
Fuel tanks
22 1 /4"

4" 3/ "
3/ " holes


2 1 /4" 5 1 /2" C
Tractor chassis sides, spreaders & end cap 71
Mount the two hinges to the front frame, orienting Cut the doors out on the band saw or scroll saw. On the seat edges, fold the vinyl under itself.Affix
so the hinge snaps shut in the closed, or upright A fence will help make your cuts more accurate. it to the edges of the back using three or four
position. I used a scrap of ash, 3⁄ 8" x 3⁄ 8" left over Keep the inside piece because you’ll use it again escutcheon pins as shown below. Mount the seat
from making the trailer corner mouldings, for the when making the doors that open and close. riser block to the bottom of the seat bench.
cross piece.

press, make 10 equal-depth divots along a gotiating the corners. Set the doors aside tom, and wrap the vinyl over the top and
length of 1x pine. After gluing the balls in after marking their original orientation. back to the bottom and staple. On the
the depressions, grain horizontal, switch edges, fold the vinyl under itself. Use three
to a #6 countersink bit and predrill the Sleeper Sides or four escutcheon pins to tack the edges.
screw holes at the top centers of the balls Cut out the sides, ease all edges except the
for mounting the hubcaps to the axles. bottom, and inlay the walnut veneer “win- Cab Assembly
Finally, guided by a fence on your band saw, dows.” I used 13⁄ 16"-wide edging veneer for The firewall, cab sides, sleeper sides and
turn the mounting board on edge and lop this. After cutting the windows from the sleeper back mount to the edges of the cab
off half spheres like bologna through a slicer. banding, trace the shapes onto the sides floor. After dry-fitting to ensure tight joints,
of the sleeper and remove enough stock glue and nail the joints using 1" brads. Note
Tractor Cab to accomplish a flush inlay. that the front edges of the sleeper overlap
Refer to the drawings on the previous page the back of the cab sides by 1⁄ 2". The sleep-
and the cutting list for the cab parts. Trailer Hitch Platform er roof is constructed after the cab roof is
Note that the driver’s seat, steering Cut the trailer hitch platform to the 8" x installed. The cab doors are hung after the
wheel and interior upholstering must be 81⁄2" dimensions. Again, use your roundover seat and steering wheel are installed.
installed prior to attaching the roof. bit on the top back and sides of the plate,
Each cab side and door is made from leaving the front edge straight to mount Engine Compartment & Fenders
one piece of 8" x 51⁄ 2" wood. I used a band flush with the cab back. Using a 11⁄8" Forstner Cut the hood top, sides and grill to size. I
saw to make the cuts, drilling 3⁄ 8" holes in bit, drill 1⁄ 2" into the plate, 2" in from used the table saw to make the grill bars.
the upper corners of the doors to aid in ne- the back. Make sure not to drill completely Lower the blade to 1⁄ 8" and install a zero-
through the plate. Leave 1⁄ 4" for hitch clearance insert. Set the fence 1⁄ 4" from
mounting purposes. the blade. Using a push stick and feather-
Round over the top edge of a 11⁄8" hard- board, slide the grill stock through the saw.
wood dowel. Cut a 11⁄ 2" length and mount Move the fence another 1⁄4" from the blade
it in the plate using glue and a screw dri- and make another pass. This will result in
ven through the bottom of the platform. a 1⁄ 8" groove and 1⁄ 8" raised portion. Keep
moving the fence in 1⁄ 4" increments until
Cab Seat you have completed the grill.
See the drawings for a cross-section through Assemble the top, sides and grill per
the seat, seat back and riser. First round
the ends of the seat and back. I can staple
far better than I can sew, so I used a staple
Hardware list
gun to attach the upholstery. After laying 11⁄ 16" x 60" piano hinge
a bit of padding on the seat bench, wrap 1 toy box lid support
1 pkg solid brass knobs for air horns
the vinyl around and staple to the bottom 1 pkg 3⁄8" overlay hinges
Here you can see how the cab goes together.The of the seat, leaving room in the center of 1- 2" bead chain for trailer dolly
sleeper roof will be constructed after the cab the bottom for the riser block. 10 - 1" hardwood balls
roof is installed.And the cab doors will be made 1 - 21⁄2" wheel for steering wheel
and installed after the cab, seat and upholstery Now lay a bit of padding on the front 2 - 5⁄ 16" bullet catches
installation is complete. of the seat back, staple one edge to the bot-


27 "
8" 4" 3/ "


3/ " holes


Self-closing hinge 8"

parking dolly
Trailer chassis sides, spreaders & end cap 3 1 /2"

3/ " 1/
4 16 " roundover

1 3/4"

1 1 /8"

2 1 /8"

Remove waste

Front wheels (2) Dual wheels (8)

1/ " Full-size corner trim
36 "
BB 35 "

5 3 /4"

1 1 /4"
Chassis frame

11 1 /2"

12 "
7 1 /2" 27 3 /4"

1 / " hole for

B8 platform

Trailer box assembly plan EE

36 1 /4"
2" 32 1 /4" 2"


HH #0 biscuits HH
12 3 /4"
8 3 /4"

FF Reinforcement for
lid support


Trailer lid assembly plan 73
Prior to final installation, carpet the interior of the roof. I started the carpet where The lid is a simple frame-and-panel assembled with biscuits and
the top of the windshield meets the roof, about 3⁄ 4" back from the leading edge. glue. But because the panel is a piece of plywood, you don’t
need to worry about seasonal expansion or contraction.

the drawings. The hood top edges should dius at the bottom of the hood sides allow runner for the cab upholstery. Cut a length
extend beyond the front and rear of the full opening of the hood assembly when (about 24") 8" wide for the firewall/cab
hood sides to allow for final trimming. the front bumper is installed. portion and 9" for the sleeper area. I used
After you’ve cut the fenders to size, in- Install the front bumper to the front of a stapler to mount the carpet and turned
stall short slices of rounded 3⁄ 4" dowel for the frame using glue and escutcheon pins. to my hot glue gun for the difficult-to-reach
the headlights. areas.
To keep things rolling along, install a Engine Installation Be sure to leave a 1⁄ 2" area uncarpeted
length of 3⁄ 4" dowel, about 18", through The engine is made from a 21⁄2" x 33⁄4" piece on the top and front edge of the sleeper
the front axle hole on the cab frame. Set of pine with a bevel, at about 30°, for the sides for the sleeper lid installation. Install
the assembled cab and hood portions in valve covers on each side. I made the valve the seat by placing it into position and dri-
position on the frame and mount the fend- covers from two pieces of 3⁄ 4" walnut, 11⁄ 8" ving two screws up through the base.
ers to the hood sides, using glue and screws wide. The motor is installed by fastening The steering wheel is a spoked wheel
driven from the engine compartment. a short piece of walnut to an “oil pan” and sold for making toy cars. Using the axle of
After aligning the face of the grill with then to the bottom of the cab. the wheel as the steering column will allow
the front of the cab chassis, mount the your youngster to negotiate tight turns.
hood to the frame with a piano Fuel Tanks & Details The dashboard is an extra length of cor-
hinge. The 1⁄ 4" ra- The tanks should fit flush with the sides ner molding from the trailer. Mount it on
of the sleeper. They’re mounted to the the inside of the cab over the firewall car-
frame with two screws driven from the peting. Some trimming may be needed if
inside of the frame. it intrudes into the engine compartment.
The exhaust stacks (to be installed at Drill an angled hole into the dashboard
the discretion of the builder) mount to for the steering wheel column; press and
the back of the sleeper sides. To secure glue into place.
them, I used 1", 18-gauge brads. Now carpet the interior of the roof and
After a brief snooze at the rest stop, install it. The sleeper cab lid is made from
place the cab seat in the appropriate po- a 6" x 9" piece of 1⁄ 2" ash. Tilt the saw to
sition on the cab floor and 26.5°, 3" from the fence, and rip it to form
draw a line around the the sleeper top and front. Install the front-
seat base. Remove facing windows following the same tech-
the seat and drill two nique used for the side windows. Mount
clearance holes, the assembled lid to the top of the sleep-
within the seat base er back using a 9" length of piano hinge.
rectangle, through The use of jewelry box pulls for the “air
the floor. horns” gives a bit of flair to the rig. Because
I used a short length of carpet of the angle of the front piece, I drilled an


Tire Making 101
Use a scrap of wood large enough to
cover the band saw table slot and saw
angled cavity to enable the air horns to be Rip 3⁄ 4" stock into 1⁄ 8" thickness — two blade kerf path, about 5" x 7". On the
bottom, attach a wood strip about 8"
mounted perpendicular to the cab roof. 36" and two 12" lengths. Rip the 1⁄ 2" ash long to serve as a slot insert guide.
stock into 1⁄ 8" thickness — one at 36" and Draw a line, at a right angle to the saw
Doors and Wheels two 12" lengths. blade kerf, on the top of the jig. Start
the saw and slide the jig slowly into the
The doors need 1⁄ 8" clearance on each of With glue and brads, mount the 1⁄ 2" blade.When the saw blade meets the
the edges for hinge and door latch in- stock on the top edges of the box, leaving perpendicular line, turn off the saw.
stallations. They are mounted to the sides one long side without the edge banding. Carefully place a “stop block” in the
slot behind the slot insert and clamp in
with 5" lengths of 1⁄ 2"-wide piano hinge. This side is where the piano hinge goes. place.This will serve as the starting
After hanging the doors, install bullet Install the bottom 3⁄4" decoration pieces point for cutting out the tires. Back the
catches to keep the doors closed. around the bottom of the box. jig out and measure 13⁄ 4" from the saw
blade kerf, along the line drawn on the
After drilling pilot holes in the ends of Turn the box upside down and lay the jig.This will be the axis point for the
the axles, slide the axles into the mount- chassis in place. The rear of the chassis 31⁄ 2"-diameter tires. Cut a short piece
ing locations, place the tires in position should be 1" from the rear of the box. Trace of 3⁄ 4" dowel and mount it vertically on
that center point, making sure that the
and install the hubcaps using one screw its outline and set it aside. Drill pilot holes dowel is square with the jig face.The
through the hubcap into the axle ends. within the outline through the bottom, tire block should rotate easily on this
glue and clamp the chassis in place and dowel. If it doesn’t, apply some wax or
lightly sand the dowel
Trailer turn the unit over and fasten the frame To actually make the tires, place
The box is constructed from plywood joined and box together with countersunk screws one of the tire blocks on the dowel and
at the corners with rabbet joints. After driven from the inside of the box. hold the block firmly while sliding the
jig toward the saw blade.When the jig
cutting the plywood for the box carcase, The lid of the box is made from ply- meets the stop block, hold the jig se-
make a 1⁄ 4" rabbet on the joining edges of wood with a 3⁄ 4"-thick frame biscuited to curely in place and rotate the tire block
the sides and ends. the plywood center panel. and is mount- clockwise until the circle is complete.
Turn the saw off and back the jig out
To dress up the trailer, I inlaid a little ed with a piano hinge. Round over the through the entrance kerf.
walnut on the sides. The top strip is 41⁄ 4" frame pieces, then attach them to the cen- Some sanding of the tread area may
from the bottom of the box, and the lower ter panel using biscuits and glue. be needed. I used a dowel to act as an
axle and a belt sander, mounted upside
is 31⁄ 4". Cut the recess using a dado stack After the glue has cured, sand the top down, to smooth down the cut marks.
or router. I used an 8' length of 13⁄ 16" wal- and bottom of the lid. Round the outside Breaking the edge between the side-
nut edge banding. Glue the strips into the corners and use a roundover bit in the walls and tread area also give the tire a
more realistic appearance.After final
slots and sand the sides. router to relieve the outside edges. sanding, stain the tires.
Drill a 11⁄ 8" hole through the box bot- Mount the lid to the box with a piano
tom to accept the tractor-trailer hitch. Use hinge and toy box support. Because of the
a backer board on the backside of the hole 2" thickness of the plywood, I reinforced
to reduce tear-out. the mounting locations on the top and
Assemble the sides, ends and bottom side with 1⁄ 4" hardwood scraps.
with glue and brads (the bottom slips in- Install the axles, wheels and hubcaps.
side the sides). The seams will be covered Mount the back bumper (a 3⁄ 8" x 21⁄ 2" x
by the corner and bottom pieces. 113⁄ 8" piece) using screws. I used the in-
The box corners are made from 3⁄ 4" x side cutouts of the corner mouldings as
4" ash. Round the edges using a roundover spacers between the frame and back bumper.
bit on the router table. Set the fence on The tire-making jig in place on the band saw.
the table saw 1⁄ 8" from the blade and 5⁄ 8" Finishing
high. Run the strip through, reorient the Two coats of 50/50 cut white shellac brings
strip and make another pass, removing the out the grain of the ash. I like the pro-
center portion of the strip. Since you can- tection and ease of application of General
not use the blade guard during this, great Finishes Arm-R-Seal for these types of pro-
care must be taken. Fingerboards and push jects. Two top coats of this oil and ure-
sticks are a must. thane top coat gives the rig some protec-
This will leave an outside 1⁄ 8" corner tion and a “just waxed” appearance.
piece, rounded on three sides. Cut into Take the rig out for a test drive — diesel
four 121⁄ 8" strips. The extra 1⁄ 8" of length motor and air brake noises are optional.
is needed for the edge banding space on Happy motoring! Keep on truckin’ and
Then it’s a simple matter of slowly rotating the
three of the top edges as well as a dado for woodworkin’! PW stock to create a tire that needs just a little
the piano hinge, making the lid fit flush sanding.
on the box. 75
n a world dominated by power tools, it’s a wonder
You can’t buy a that commercial workbenches are still designed
bench that does mostly for handwork. These European-style mon-
sters are set up more for planing, mortising and dove-
everything this tailing, rather than routing, biscuiting and nailing.
What’s worse, most traditional benches are too big
one does: It’s a (most are 6' long) for the handwork necessary in a mod-
traditional ern garage shop; and they are too small (usually 24" deep)
to assemble sizable projects on. Plus, there’s the cost. You
workbench, can buy a decent workbench for $800, but nice ones will
cost more than a cabinet saw.
outfeed table and One of our contributing editors, Glen Huey, found a
assembly bench. solution to this problem when he set up his professional
cabinet shop years ago. Glen does some handwork, but
And even if you for the most part, his motto is: “If you can’t do it on a table
saw, it isn’t worth doing.”
could buy one, it So Glen set up his bench as part of his table saw. It at-
would be a lot tached to the outfeed side of his Unisaw and served as:
• a smaller, traditional workbench for handwork
more expensive • a spacious and solid outfeed table
• an enormous assembly bench (when you take into
than the $372 we account the table saw and its table board)
spent on the • and a cavernous place for tool storage in the draw-
ers and on the large shelf underneath the top.
wood, hardware I’ve watched Glen build dozens of projects with this
rig – everything from corner cabinets to a drop-lid sec-
and vise. retary – and it has never let him down.

by Christopher Schwarz
Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407
Photo by Al Parrish.



Drill the 3⁄ 4"-
diameter dog
holes into the
front edge of your
bench before you
put the top
together. This will
save you from
making a jig later
or having dog
holes that wander
if you cut them

I built the top in four-board sections and then glued those sections together. Don’t
skimp on the glue or clamps – the quickest way to a big old gap in your bench’s top.

I took Glen’s great idea and the legs will clear the motor with the right side open for the motor. a set of bench dogs, the excellent
tuned it up a bit with an enor- no changes to the design for most No matter which bench you Veritas tail vise will handle every
mous tail vise, bench dogs and an contractor-style saws. I checked build, it will change the way you common clamping and holding
extra shelf. Plus, I built this bench half a dozen right-tilt contractor work. You can assemble large cab- chore. So let’s get started.
using Southern yellow pine for saws to make sure this is true. If inets on the saw and bench in-
the top, legs and stretchers, and your saw is the exception, all you stead of on the floor or driveway. Start at the Top
I used birch plywood for the tool have to do is shift the top left be- You will have a dedicated out- If you don’t have a workbench,
box. (If you live in the West, you’ll fore attaching it to the base. If feed table for your saw instead of build the top first, throw that on
have to substitute fir for pine for you want some storage beneath, a tipsy roller stand. And you will sawhorses and construct the rest
this project.) The total cost of I suggest making one bank of draw- have a bench for handwork that of the bench there. The first task
the wood, hardware and vise was ers for the left side only and leave has all the bells and whistles. With at hand is to cut down your six
$372 and change – less than half
the price of an entry-level com-
mercial workbench. If that’s still POWER-TOOL WORKBENCH
too rich, you can make this bench NO. ITEM DIMENSIONS (INCHES) M AT E R I A L NOTES
for less. See the story “Build a
❏ 1 Top* 3 26 52 SYP
Bench – Keep the Change” at
❏ 4 Legs 21⁄ 2 21⁄ 2 31 SYP
right for details. ❏ 4 End rails 13⁄ 8 3 22 SYP 11⁄ 4" TBE
As shown, this bench is de- ❏ 2 Frt/bk rails 13⁄ 8 7 40 SYP 3⁄
4" TBE
signed for a Delta Unisaw equipped ❏ 2 Vise jaws 13⁄ 4 7 1⁄ 8 26 Maple
with the short 30" fence rails. By ❏ 2 Toolbox sides 3⁄
4 23 5⁄ 8 16 Ply 3⁄
4" x 1⁄ 2" rabbet for back
lengthening the bench’s legs up ❏ 2 Toolbox top/bott 3⁄
4 23 5⁄ 8 37 Ply 3⁄ 1
4" x ⁄ 2" rabbet for back

to 3", you can accommodate any ❏ 1 Toolbox divider 3⁄

4 14 1⁄ 2 22 7⁄ 8 Ply
table saw on the market today ❏ 1 Toolbox back 3⁄
4 15 1⁄ 2 38 Ply
with the same shopping list and ❏ 2 Top drw false frts 3⁄
4 6 1⁄ 2 18 1⁄ 8 Ply
basic bench design. ❏ 4 Top drw sides 1⁄
2 5 1⁄ 2 211⁄ 2 Ply 1⁄
2" x 1⁄ 4" rabbet on ends
❏ 2 Top drw front 1⁄
2 5 1⁄ 2 16 5⁄ 8 Ply
When completed and attached
❏ 2 Top drw back 1⁄
2 43⁄ 4 16 5⁄ 8 Ply
to your saw, this bench will give
❏ 2 Top drw bott 1⁄
2 16 5⁄ 8 211⁄ 4 Ply in 1⁄ 2" x 1⁄ 4" groove
you a huge area for project as- ❏ 2 Low drw false frts 3⁄
4 8 18 1⁄ 8 Ply
sembly – more than 19 square ❏ 4 Low drw sides 1⁄
2 7 211⁄ 2 Ply 1⁄
2" x 1⁄ 4" rabbet on ends
feet. I call it the “assembly acre.” ❏ 2 Low drw front 1⁄
2 7 16 5⁄ 8 Ply
If you have a contractor-style ❏ 2 Low drw back 1⁄
2 61⁄ 4 16 5⁄ 8 Ply
saw, this bench can be adapted ❏ 2 Low drw bott 1⁄
2 16 5⁄ 8 211⁄ 4 Ply in 1⁄ 2" x 1⁄ 4" groove
easily to accommodate the motor * The top is made from 20 individual boards. With most of the 2x material I managed to get 13⁄ 8" of usable thickness,
hanging out the back. If you build however other boards were a bit corkscrewed and ended up thinner. You should be able to get a 26"-wide top with the
the bench without the toolbox, material list for this project. TBE=Tenon, both ends. SYP=Southern yellow pine.


Buying a decent workbench will set you back $800 to
$1,400. You can build a bench that is just as heavy,
useful and bulletproof for a fraction of that price. Here’s
how much we paid to build this bench and three ways
to build it for even less.

Deluxe Bench More Basic

• Six 2 x 8 x 12’ Southern
yellow pine (or fir) If that’s still too rich for
boards @ $10.58 each: you, it’s easy to make this
$63.48 bench for less.

• One sheet of 3⁄ 4" birch • Less-Expensive Vise:

3/4"-diameter plywood: $42 Make the deluxe bench
bench-dog holes with a simpler vise (see
• One sheet of 1⁄ 2" birch Supplies box) and make
3" plywood: $35 your own bench dogs.
• One Veritas Twin-screw Total price: $263.93.
Plan 10" vise: $149 • Nice Vise But No Tool
• One set of Veritas Box: Make the deluxe
52" bench without the tool
3/4" Special Bench Bolts:
$19.95 box and make your own
bench dogs.
• Four Veritas Bench Total price: $232.43.
Pups: $26.50
• Total-Economy
• Four pairs of 20"-long Model: Make the bench
26" full-extension drawer with the less-expensive
slides: $37 vise, no toolbox and use
TOTAL PRICE: $372.93 hex bolts (see Supplies
box) instead of the
Veritas bench bolts.
Total price: $135.26.

Plan, top removed Drawer fronts set back

1/4" from face of case

52" 26"
4 1/4" 3/4"-diameter
10" 16 7/8"
bench-dog holes
7 1 /8 "

Jaws of
16" twin-screw
18 7/8"


4" Bench bolt 3"

38 1/2" 19 1/2"
2 1/ 2" 2 1/ 2" 2 1/ 2" 2 1/ 2"

Elevation Profile 35
The easiest way to make clean mortises
using your drill press is to first drill a
series of overlapping holes (right). Then
go back and clean up the waste be-
tween these holes several times until
the bit can slide left to right in the
mortise without stopping (far right).
Then you only have to square up the
ends with a chisel.

12'-long 2 x 8s into manageable rip off the rounded edges. Now the same direction. This will re- A Mortise-and-tenon Base
lengths. Here’s how I did it. borrow some extra clamps from duce any tearout when planing. The base of this bench is built en-
With five of the 2 x 8s, cross- your neighbor and make sure you After the glue has dried on tirely using mortise-and-tenon
cut them at 54" and 108". Then have a lot of glue on hand. It’s each section, it’s a good idea to joints. The two ends are glued
rip all the pieces down the mid- time to assemble the top. dress each assembled section of and assembled using an old-school
dle. This will give you the 20 Here’s some hard-won advice your top with your jointer and process called “drawboring,” which
boards you need to make the top. for you on these tops: Assemble planer. This will make assembling I’ll show you how to do. The ends
You then can glue up eight of the the top a few boards at a time. Yes, the top easier and the end re- are attached to the front and back
shorter fall-off pieces face-to-face it takes longer, but the result will sult a lot flatter. If you don’t have rails using an unglued mortise-
to make the bench’s four legs, and be a top that has no gaps between these machines, be careful dur- and-tenon joint and bench bolts,
use the remaining two fall-off the boards and is more likely to ing your glue-ups and flatten the which essentially are heavy-duty
pieces for the end rails. With the be flat in the end. Assemble your entire top at the end. Before you knockdown hardware that is sim-
sixth 2 x 8, you can get the front top using four boards at a time, glue all the sections together, pick ilar to bed bolts. These bolts are
and back rails, a couple more end using plenty of glue and clamps out the section that will be the better than any glued joint and
rails and have some scrap left over (I needed almost three 8-ounce front and drill the 3⁄ 4"-diameter can be tightened throughout the
for cutting test joints. bottles for the job). Here’s one dog holes now for the front edge. life span of the bench.
If you have a planer and join- more important tip: If you are It’s much easier now than when The first step is to make a prac-
ter, dress all the wood so it’s true going to flatten the top using a the top is assembled. tice mortise in a piece of scrap
and then cut it to final size on hand plane (as opposed to a belt After drilling those dog holes, that you can use to size all your
your table saw. If you don’t have sander), arrange all the boards for glue the five sections together, tenons. I made my mortises on a
these machines, use your saw to the top with the grain running in clamp and wait for things to dry. drill press using a 3⁄ 4"-diameter
Forstner bit and a fence. You can
I cut my tenons using a dado stack as make amazingly clean mortises
shown. I like this method because it this way. See the photos above
requires only one saw setup to make all for details. After you’ve made
the cuts on a tenon. First define the your test mortise, head to the table
tenon’s face cheeks and shoulders
saw to make the tenons.
(right). Then define the edge cheeks and
shoulders (below left). Finally, check I make my tenons using a dado
your work using the test mortise you stack in my table saw. The fence
cut earlier (below right). determines the length of the tenon;
the height of the dado blades de-
termines the measurement of the
tenons’ shoulders. Set the height
of the dado stack to 5⁄ 16", cut a
tenon on some scrap as shown in
the photos at left and see if it fits
your test mortise. If the fit is firm
and smooth, cut all the tenons
on the front, back and end rails.
Now use your tenons to lay
out the locations of your mortis-
es on your legs. Use the diagrams
as a guide. Cut your mortises using
your drill press. Now get ready to
assemble the ends.


Drill hole through leg
at a point 1/2" from
the shoulder
Drawboring is an easy way
to make a heavy-duty joint.
Begin by drilling a 3⁄ 8"- 1/2"
diameter hole through the
Drill hole through tenon
mortise as shown above.
at a point 1/32" in toward
Now clamp the tenon into the shoulder
the mortise and mark the
center point of the hole Rail
using a drill bit and a mallet
(right). Now drill a hole in Tenon shoulder
the tenon that’s 1⁄ 32" in
toward the shoulder from
the mark you just made. Drawboring the tenons on the end rails

Drawboring Explained and go just a little deeper than

Before glues were as reliable as the wall of the mortise.
they are today, 18th-century crafts- Now assemble the joint with-
men would “drawbore” a mortise- out glue and clamp it up. Take a 1 1/8" counterbore
and-tenon joint to get a more me- 8"-diameter brad-point bit and
chanical fit. It’s not at all difficult place it in the hole you just drilled.
to do and reduces the chance of Use a mallet to lightly strike the
having a gap in your joint, too. bit to mark the center of the hole
The key to a drawbored joint on the tenon’s cheek. Remove
is a wooden peg or dowel that the tenon and make a mark for a 1/2" x 6" clearance hole
pulls the tenon into the mortise. hole through the tenon that’s in for bench bolt
Begin by drilling a 3⁄ 8"-diameter the same location as the mark you
hole for the peg through the mor- just made but 1⁄ 32" closer to the
tise only, as shown in the photo tenon’s shoulder as shown in the
above. The hole should be lo- illustration at right.
cated 1⁄ 2" from the edge of the leg Drill a 3⁄ 8 "-diameter hole
3 1/2" 1/2"

1"- diameter hole

Once you’ve drilled the
for brass nut
counterbore and the
through-hole for the bench Rail
bolt, mark its location on
the end of the tenon using a
brad-point bit. 3/4" x 3/4" x 6 3/8" tenon

Bench bolt 37
through the tenon at that second by a doweling jig – and this jig on your table saw. Cut biscuit slots
mark. When you are ready to as- ensures your success. to join these four parts, then glue
semble the ends you will glue and Plane or sand all your legs and and clamp up the case. Once the
clamp up the end rails between rails and assemble the bench’s glue is dry, cut the case divider to
the legs, put some glue in the holes base. Attach the top to the base. its finished size, position it inside
and then pound in some 3⁄ 8"-di- You can glue dowels in the top of the case and nail it in place. Screw
ameter dowels. The offset holes the legs and drill holes in the un- the back into its rabbet and iron
will pull the joint together in- derside of the top, or you can use on birch edge tape to cover the
stantly. Hold off on this final metal desktop fasteners with 21⁄2"- plywood edges. Screw the tool-
assembly step until after the bench long screws. Either way, be sure box to the front rail and legs of
bolts are installed. to leave some way for the top to the bench’s base.
expand and contract. Build the drawers using 1⁄ 2"-
Bench Bolts are Forever thick plywood. Most drawers have
The set of bench bolts for this The Modern Toolbox 4"-thick bottom panels, but be-
project cost $20, but they are After all that traditional joinery, cause these drawers have to stand
worth it. They are easier to in- I was ready to fire up the biscuit up to extra abuse, I chose to use
stall than traditional bed bolts. joiner. You can build this tool- 2" plywood instead.
Drill a hole for the bench bolt using a And they are much easier to in- box using one sheet of 3⁄ 4" ply- With the drawer boxes built,
doweling jig and a 1⁄ 2"-diameter drill stall than using off-the-rack hex wood and one sheet of 1⁄ 2" ply- it’s time to hang them in the case.
bit. It’s a deep hole, so you might need
bolts, nuts and washers. wood. I’ve posted optimization Installing drawer slides is easy if
an extra-long bit to do the job.
Begin installing the bench charts for these cuts on the Popular you know a couple tricks. Most
bolts by drilling a 11⁄ 8"-diame- Woodworking web site at professionals simply will scribe a
ter counterbore in the legs that’s http://www.popularwoodwork- line on the inside of the case and
1⁄ 1
2 " deep. Then drill a ⁄ 2 "-di- screw the slide there. You’d do it
ameter hole in the center of that Cut your parts to size and start this way too if you installed slides
counterbore that goes all the way construction by cutting a 3⁄ 4" x every day. For the rest of us, it’s
through the leg and into the mor- 2" rabbet on the back edge of the easier to make spacers using scrap
tise. Now dry-assemble the ends sides, top and bottom to hold the plywood that hold the slide in
and the front and back rails and back. The best way to do this is position as you screw it to the
clamp everything together. Use
a 1⁄ 2" brad-point drill bit to mark
the center of your hole on the
end of each tenon.
Disassemble the bench and
clamp the front rail to your top
or in a vise. Use a doweling jig
and a 1⁄2" drill bit to continue cut-
ting the hole for the bench bolt.
You’ll need to drill about 3 1⁄ 2"
into the rail. Repeat this process
on the other tenons.
Now you need to drill a 1"-di-
ameter hole that intersects the
2" hole you just drilled in the
rail. This 1"-diameter hole holds
a special round nut that pulls
To accurately position the hole for the
brass nut shown in the photo, build a everything together. To accu-
simple jig like the one shown here using rately locate where this 1" hole
2" dowel, a scrap of wood and a nail. should be, I made a simple jig
The nail is located where you want the shown in the photos at left that
center of the brass nut to go (top).
I picked up from the instruc-
Insert the dowel into the hole in the rail
and tap the nail (bottom). Now drill a tion book for the vise. It works
1"-diameter hole there and your joint like a charm. Sometimes drill bits I nailed the divider in place in the toolbox so I could check and double-check its
will go together with ease. can wander – even when guided position before fixing it in place.


case. Install the slides for the top drawers. Remove the drawer boxes
drawer first. Put your spacer in from the top of the case and clamp
place and put the slide on top. the false fronts to the lower draw-
Back Side
Screw it in place using the holes er boxes. Using the shims, adjust
that allow you to adjust the slide the false fronts until you have a
forward and back. 16" gap on the sides and bottom.
Now install the slides on the You might have to trim the false Front
drawer sides using the holes that fronts a bit using a plane or sand- Bottom
allow you to adjust the slide up paper for a good fit. Once satis-
and down. Put the drawer in the fied, nail the false fronts in place, Side
case and check your work. Adjust then secure them with a few screws.
the slides and, when satisfied, add Now put the top drawer boxes
a few more screws to lock that po- back into the case. Drill a couple
sition in place. Hang the remainder pilot holes into the front of the
of the drawers. drawer box and put screws into
False front
the holes so the points poke out Exploded box drawer
False Drawer Fronts about 1⁄16". Take a top drawer false
Installing false fronts also can be front and carefully put it into po-
tricky with inset drawers such as sition and add shims to get it close. 3/4"
these. The best two tools for the Press the false front against the
job are some shims that you can drawer box until the screw points
buy at any home center and the bite into your false front. Remove
drawer-front adjusters that install the false fronts.
on the back side of the false fronts. Drill 25mm holes in the back
1/2" 1/2"
Begin by ironing on edge tape of the false front for the drawer-
to the plywood edges (if desired) front adjusters and pound them 4 3/4"
and installing the screws for your in place as shown in the photo 6 1/2"
6 1/4"
drawers’ knobs. Now get set to in- on the next page. Now replace 8"
stall the false fronts on the lower the screws in your drawer box

1/2" 1/2"

Drawer section

1/2" 1/2"

16 5/8" 18 1/8"

Use spacers to position your drawer slides for installation. They take an extra few
minutes to make, but they act like a third hand when securing the slides to the case. Drawer plan 39
Deluxe Bench
with the screws for the drawer- drill your dog holes every 10" as
Lee Valley Tools
front adjusters and attach the false shown in the diagrams and cham- 800-871-8158
front. You’ll be able to shift the fer the openings of the holes. I
false fronts around a bit until you purchased four Veritas Wonder
get a consistent gap all around. Pups to use as dogs in this bench. • Veritas Standard Twin-screw
When you’re happy, add a cou- You also could make your own
Item # 05G12.21, $149
ple more screws to lock the false dogs by gluing a 3⁄ 4" dowel into a
front in position. small block of 3⁄ 4"-thick wood. • Veritas Special Bench Bolts (4)
Here you can see a drawer-front ad- Installing the tail vise is a proj- Item # 05G07.01, $19.95 a set
juster installed in the backside of a false Details: Dogs and the Vise ect unto itself and requires a long • Veritas Round Bench Pups (4)
front. The machine screw can wiggle a The spacing of the 3⁄ 4"-diame- afternoon and some precision Item # 05G04.04, $13.25/pair
bit in the plastic housing, which allows
ter dog holes on the top of the drilling. The instructions sup-
you to move the drawer front slightly Woodworkers Hardware
for a perfect fit. Here’s a tip: You can bench are determined by the type plied with the vise are first-rate
plane the white plastic easily if the of vise you purchase. If you are – as is the vise itself – so there’s
adjuster isn’t flush with the false front. using the Veritas Twin-screw vise, no need to go into detail here. If
you mount this vise as shown, it’s • Waterloo 20" full-extension
remarkably versatile. It excels at slides (4 pairs needed)
clamping boards so you can work Item # WW1690B20Z, call for
current price, sold by the pair
on their ends, such as when dove-
tailing. With the dogs, you can Basic Bench
clamp large panels to your bench
for sanding. And with the dog Lee Valley Tools
holes drilled on the front edge of
the bench and vise as shown, you
can secure long boards (up to 61" • Large front vise
long) to work on their edges. Item # 70G08.02, $66.50
If your work is both long and Any hardware store
wide (for instance, a large cabi- • Eight 3⁄ 8" x 16 x 6" hex bolts,
net door) you can pull out one of 50 cents each
the drawers in the toolbox below • Eight 3⁄ 8" x 16 hex nuts, 10
for additional support while you cents each
work on its edge. The drawer slides • 16 5⁄ 16" washers, 3 cents each
Drill two pilot holes in the drawer boxes and install screws in them so the points
stick out about 1⁄ 16". Now position your drawer front where you want it using shims. are rated to hold up to 100 pounds,
so you should be able to tackle all
but the heaviest panels. toolbox) and load that up with
One of your last acts on this more tools or sand bags. Or you
bench is to flatten the top. I re- can cobble up a way to attach the
moved the high spots with a No. bench to your saw’s table board
7 jointer plane, cutting diagonally and sheet-metal frame.
across the top in both directions. Once you get your bench
Then I cleaned up my work with where you like it, you’ll want to
a random-orbit sander. Check rout out a couple channels in the
your progress occasionally using bench’s top to accommodate your
a straightedge or winding sticks. miter gauge’s bar. For my saw,
A belt sander will take the place these slots measured 3⁄ 8" deep,
of a jointer plane if you prefer. 11⁄ 8" wide and 10" long. Measure
Once you load up the toolbox the bar of your miter gauge with
with tools, it’s not going any- the longest bar and add a little
where, so there’s little need to at- extra for good measure.
tach it to the back of your saw. If For me, the only real problem
you do find yourself pushing the with this new workbench is that
bench around, you could add a it begs the question: What do I
Once your drawer front is in position, press it against the screw tips. This will mark shelf between the front and back do with my old bench? Natural
the wood for the location of your drawer-front adjusters. rails of the bench base (below the selection just weeded it out. PW


HOME WORKSHOP Getting started in woodworking is always the hardest part.
But getting your shop set up right will make everything
that follows a little easier. This article will show you how.


Photos by Al Parrish.

hen DIY - Do It Yourself production furniture using only If you’re in a part of the coun- Another basement problem

W Network, asked Popular

Woodworking to help pro-
duce its “The Ultimate Workshop”
hand tools, or make plywood
shelves for the den, many of the
ideas presented here will help you
try with basements, they can make
handy shops. Basements are usu-
ally pre-wired for electrical out-
is ceiling height. Older homes
may only have 6' or 7' ceilings –
less than optimal when working
series, which first aired in May, set up your ultimate home work- lets and lighting, and already have with taller projects.
we sent DIY ( shop the right way, the first time. plumbing and heat. But a base- Finally, basement shops test
a barrage of tips and advice the ment shop poses problems, too. the patience of your family with
staff had accumulated over decades Location, Location, Location You need to get lumber, large the dust and noise. Here’s a tip
of professional and home-shop Most woodworkers can put their equipment and finished projects for quieting your basement shop:
woodworking. shop one of two places: the garage up and down steps. The size of If there’s drywall on the ceiling,
We took a look at all our ad- or (in about half the country) the your doors, the number and slope add a second layer. If the ceil-
vice – enough to fill a book – and basement. If you’re lucky or of your steps and any corners you ing is open rafters, so much the
boiled it down into an essential wealthy you might have a sepa- might have to turn can make a better. Add insulation, then add
guide for anyone planning their rate outbuilding to consider. basement shop impossible. a layer of drywall.
own ultimate home workshop. If you don’t have a basement,
But what is an ultimate home by David Thiel or it’s already got a pool table in
shop? It depends on you. However, Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-531-2690 ext. 1255 or it, a two-car garage makes a great
whether you’re going to build re- workshop, offering easy access 55
through large doors, a solid poured
concrete floor and a location that’s
unlikely to get you in trouble
when you make dust.
With a garage shop, your first
decision is whether the cars will
stay out permanently or just when
you’re woodworking. If your work-
shop will include some major ma-
chinery, the cars will be experi-
encing some weather.
Other concerns with a garage
shop include: upgrading your elec-
trical system (more outlets and
perhaps 220-volt service); plumb-
ing and lighting the shop (and
heating in colder climates).
A third option may or may
not be available to you. If you
have an outbuilding on your prop-
erty (or the space and funds to
build one) they make great shops
without the noise and dust con-
cerns. If you’re building, this also
allows you to get everything just
the way you want it.
This corner essentially makes up the
“machining” area in the shop. Lumber
is stored within easy reach above the
jointer, with the planer positioned ready
to be used by simply turning around
from the jointer. With the wood milled,
it’s a simple step to the table saw to cut
the pieces to final size. The stand for the
planer is designed to knock down
quickly and fold flat against the wall. 1 1/2 hp Shaper 16" Drum Sander 14" Band Saw
10" Table Saw
The planer itself stores under a cabinet,
or even under the right-hand wing of
the table saw. The portable dust collec-
tor is stored in the corner, but it can be
attached quickly to any of the three
machines in this corner for clean and 10" Miter Saw 6" Jointer 16" Scroll Saw Router Table
safe working conditions.

16 1/2" Floor 10" Benchtop 6" Belt / 12" Disc Oscillating

Drill Press Drill Press Sander Spindle Sander
We know that not everyone has the same size
workspace, so we thought we’d give you some
templates to photocopy and cut out to plan 13" Planer
your own shop. The grid is a 1⁄ 4" pattern in full
25 Gal. Vertical 6" Bench Grinder
size (one square equals 1'), which will work
Air Compressor
with most graph paper you buy in tablets at
the store. (Trust me, paper tools are much 1100 CFM 10" Radial Arm
lighter to move around.) Also, when organizing Dust Collector Saw
your tools, remember to include space for the
wood on the infeed and outfeed sides.


Hand-tool Storage
Once you’ve decided where
your workshop will be, it’s time
to decide how it will be used. Dust
Drill Press Collector
3 The assembly area 2 The machining area is
Not Just for Woodworking Miter is close to all the located close to lumber Lumber
We all know that a lot more hap- smaller tools and storage and the Storage
Saw machines are situated to
clamps necessary
pens in a home workshop than for this step. smoothly move the
just woodworking. Hundreds of lumber from one
machine to the next. Planer
home fix-up projects take place Router Table
there, from painting a closet door
to rewiring a lamp.
So even though you’re plan-
ning on lots of woodworking,
don’t overlook the needs of other
projects. Plan on extra storage
for paint cans, mechanic’s tools Jointer
and a drawer or two for electri- Band Saw Table Saw
cal tools and supplies. But before
we worry about storage, let’s pick
some tools and machines.

Picking Your Tools

If woodworking will be an occa-
sional activity, or space is at a high 4 The finishing area is located 1 Lumber enters through the
premium, consider buying bench- close to the garage door for garage door, or in cooler
top machines. You can do a lot of natural ventilation, or for use weather, through the
with an exterior exhaust set-up. passage door to the left.
work with a benchtop drill press,
planer and band saw. While not
as versatile as their floor-model
Our example of work flow in a two-car garage. This is the same shop as shown in the other
big brothers, we recommend them photos, so you know it works on more than paper. Just follow the red arrows to the easiest path
for the small shop. for woodworking. The dotted lines show approximate infeed and outfeed room for lumber.
On the other hand, we don’t
recommend benchtop table saws
for any but the tiniest of shops. There are other tools that you’ll chine when in use (you can over- steps are also the ones that need
While a benchtop saw might be want to have (or may own al- lap the “in-use” footprints of mul- the most power and create the
smaller, it’s also less powerful and ready), including a miter saw, tiple machines). We’ve added a most dust, allowing you to locate
less accurate. Find a way to squeeze scroll saw and bench grinder, but diagram above that shows the your power and dust collection
a contractor saw or cabinet saw these can be added as you go along, necessary working footprint for in a “machining” area, with these
in your shop on a mobile base. and they don’t take up much space. each major machine. We suggest machines close to one another.
The same goes for the joint- you draw up your shop on graph From the machining phase,
er. Like the table saw, benchtop Placing Your Machines paper, cut out the tools (at left) the next step is joinery and as-
jointers just don’t satisfy the needs Once you know what machines and start trying different arrange- sembly, usually requiring hand
of most woodshops. We recom- will be in your workshop, you need ments to see what works. tools, a band saw, drill press and
mend carving out a section of to determine their location. Allow The trick to positioning your hand-held power tools, such as a
floor space along the wall for a for infeed and outfeed space and machines in your shop is to cre- router, biscuit joiner and brad
stationary 6" or 8" jointer. place them near machines they’re ate an orderly flow of work from nailer. A stable workbench or as-
With these five machines (and used with most frequently. raw lumber to the finished prod- sembly table are ideal for this step.
an assortment of portable and Each machine requires space uct. The work flow always starts The assembly area should be
hand tools) you’ll be ready to build for itself and space to use the tool. where the wood is stored, or where located out of the way of the ma-
cabinets and shelves. However, With a table saw, you need to be it enters the workshop. Next, the chining area, but not so far away
if turning is your passion, a lathe able to maneuver a 4' x 8' sheet lumber is prepared for use by joint- that you end up carrying lots of
may be at the top of the list, and of plywood to the back, front and ing, planing and sawing to the milled lumber across the shop.
the jointer and planer may dis- left side of the saw. This means a proper dimensions. Conveniently, Your hand and small power tools
appear altogether. It’s your choice. pretty big footprint for the ma- the machines required for these should be easily accessible (stored 57
The cabinets you choose for your shop
can be premade kitchen cabinets,
cabinets you make yourself, or cabinets
designed for your woodworking needs,
as shown in the photo. These cabinets
offer simple drop-in platforms for a
variety of benchtop tools, with slide-
in/slide-out storage for easy access.
Storage options include drawers and
doors, depending on your needs. Each
of the units is capable of easy dust
collection hook-up for any benchtop
tool, and one of the drop-in panels will
allow the cabinet to function as a
downdraft table. But don't forget the
lowly pegboard for storing hand tools. It
still provides the easiest, least expen-
sive and most adjustable hanging
storage around.

in handy drawers or on the wall), the work triangle, we haven’t and dry. See our “$30 Lumber fall into the cabinet and shelv-
and quick access to clamps will talked about how to store it. Rack” in the April 2002 issue, ing category. Just because there’s
make things easier as well. There are three types of wood which is available for sale at a tool sitting on the floor against
Once assembly is complete, stored in a workshop: sheet goods the wall doesn’t mean you can’t
the third phase is finishing. No (such as plywood), rough or full- Shorts are the hardest to store, hang a cabinet or shelving above
matter what finish you use, a clean, size lumber, and shorts and scraps. but a rolling box with a number it. In fact, in many cases there are
well-ventilated area is required. Shorts and scraps are the pieces of smaller compartments hold- accessories and supplies you need
When applying a varnish or you can’t bring yourself to throw ing the shorts upright allows easy near that tool that belong on a
shellac finish, the vapors given away. Not only are there usual- access to the pieces, and it keeps shelf right above it. And don’t
off as the finish dries are flam- ly more of these pieces, but they’re them from falling against and on hesitate to go all the way to the
mable and should be kept away harder to store than plywood or top of each other. For plans for a ceiling with storage. Even though
from any ignition points, such as rough lumber because of their odd good bin (and 24 other shop proj- the top shelves are harder to get
water heaters or space heaters. In shapes and sizes. Let’s start with ects), get a copy of the book “25 to, we all have things in our shops
concentrated exposure, the va- the easy stuff first. Essential Projects for Your that don’t get used very often.
pors can also be harmful to you, Plywood takes up the least Workshop” (published by Popular Many of us have purchased
so ventilation is important. Also, amount of space when stored Woodworking Books). a tool that had a base tossed in to
when storing solvent-based fin- standing on edge. Most of us aren’t Carrying on with the stor- sweeten the deal. It seems like a
ishes (such as varnishes) a fire- storing more than a few sheets of age concept, one category that good idea, but if you stop and
proof storage cabinet is a must. plywood, so this can often be deserves special attention is fin- think about it, it’s truly wasted
If you’re going to use a spray- stored in a 10"- to 12"-deep rack ishing materials. While water- space. Throw away that stamped-
on finishing system, ventilation that can slip behind other stor- borne finishes are gaining in pop- steel base and build a storage cab-
is even more critical to move the age or machinery. This keeps it ularity, flammable finishes in cans, inet to go underneath the tool.
overspray away from your lungs. out of the way but accessible. bottles and jars should be stored When choosing base storage
From here, the rest of your shop Rough lumber is best stored in a fireproof storage box and kept cabinets, you’ll have to decide
will fall into place in the space flat and well-supported to keep clean and organized at all times. whether you need drawer cabi-
left. Keep in mind that to save the wood from warping. Keeping A tall cabinet with lots of ad- nets, door cabinets or both. If
space, many tools can be stored it up off the floor also keeps it justable shelf space makes room you’re storing large, odd-shaped
under cabinets until needed. away from any water that may get for the many sizes of finishing sup- items (belt sanders, arc welders)
into your shop. A wall rack with plies. For more details, see the a drawer can be a real problem.
Putting Things Away a number of adjustable-height “Flexner on Finishing” article on They’re designed to fit only so
While we’ve talked about where supports provides the easiest ac- page 86 in this issue. much. A door cabinet is a better
your lumber storage should be in cess while keeping the wood flat Other workshop storage needs place to store bulky items.


On the other hand, if you’re from a home center can work out you may view deeper shelves as to almost anything. And peg-
storing smaller items (door hinges, well. There are any number of being capable of storing more, board doesn’t have to be dark
glue, seldom-used jigs) a door cab- utility cabinets available in all (which they are) recognize that brown. More frequently it’s being
inet can be a great place to lose shapes, sizes and finishes. smaller items on the shelf can get offered in colored plastic, or you
these items. Items seem to mi- One other option is plastic or pushed to the back and get lost. can simply paint your own.
grate to the back of the cabinet; metal storage units, such as the But pegboard isn’t the only
and until you’re down on your Tool Dock cabinets shown below, Where’d I Put That Hammer? simple option for hanging tools.
knees peering into the hole, you designed specifically for a work- Certain hand tools (hammers You’ve likely seen “slat wall” in
won’t find them. While drawers shop. These units offer features screwdrivers, chisels and hand department stores holding up
can get pretty junky if you’re not that are set up to maximize tool saws) are always being reached socks and ties. This material is
careful, you’ll at least be able to use and convenience. for – frequently when only one essentially a 3⁄ 4" board with T-
stand up and stare down into the Beyond cabinets, open shelves hand is free. For that reason these shaped grooves cut in it and a col-
drawer looking for your lost met- are good for storage, but they’re and other hand tools are usual- ored plastic laminate on top. It
ric tape measure. a bit of a trade-off. While you can ly stored hanging within easy provides much of the versatility
Beyond doors or drawers, you easily see what you’re looking for, reach on the wall. and convenience of pegboard,
have two general choices in cab- so can everyone else – whether There are all sorts of ways to but looks nicer doing it. It’ll cost
inets – buy ’em or make ’em. If it’s attractive or not. hang hand tools on a wall. Some a little more, but it’s your choice.
you make your own cabinetry, Wire-frame shelving is not a woodworkers build special cab- Then there are the workshop
you will almost certainly get ex- good choice for storing small inets for their hand tools. The experts who mount things right
actly what you need for the best pieces. And knowing the weight more common solution is peg- to the wall. By using drywall mollys
space utilization. You’ll also like- limit of the shelves will keep you board. It’s inexpensive, versatile (or covering your walls with paint-
ly save some money, but it’ll take from picking up all of your wood and easy to mount. With a vari- ed particleboard) and a variety
a fair amount of time. screws from the shop floor when ety of hooks to choose from, you of hanging storage accessories
Buying shop-grade cabinets the shelf collapses. Also, while can make pegboard storage adapt available in any home-center

A good workbench is one item you

should build into your plans from the
start. We've put the bench in this
shop so it’s central to all the activity.
It's just a short step away from the
saw and planer, and only a few feet
away from all the hand tools and
other benchtop tools. And with it
isolated in the center of the room, all
four sides of the workbench can be
used. You can order complete plans
for this bench (which costs just
$175 to build) from our web site at
The plans are $9.95. 59
good power strip with numerous ber of dust collectors you need.
outlets mounted near your bench Ambient air cleaners pull the
because cordless-tool battery dust from the air that the dust
chargers will use them up fast. collectors miss. They are designed
Wood dust is bad for the lungs. to exchange a specific amount of
By properly using dust collection air determined by the size of your
to keep the larger dust particles shop. Choose the air cleaner (or
out of the air to start, and air clean- cleaners) to best serve your space,
ers to pull the smaller particles then let them go to work. Air
out of the air, the workshop can cleaners require less attention
be a safe and lung-friendly place. than a dust collector, but you do
Dust collection is usually set need to clean or change the fil-
up one of two ways – either with ters on a regular basis so they op-
a central collection system using erate properly.
metal or plastic ductwork and a Another air-quality decision
single large dust collector, or with is finishing. Because of the volatile
multiple dedicated collectors and harmful vapors given off by
(though often these can be shared solvent-base finishing products,
by more than one machine). they will be labeled for use in a
A central dust-collection sys- well-ventilated area. Whether
tem is a fairly involved topic that that means a dedicated finishing
entire books have been written area with appropriate air-extrac-
Here’s a little closer look at the interchangeable drop-in panels and dust-collection
about (see “Controlling Dust in tion equipment, or just making
hook-ups for the benchtop tools.
the Workshop” by Rick Peters sure the garage door is open and
[Sterling Publications]). You need a good fan is in use, finishing should
store, you can make a wall of tools 20-amp connection, but you can to determine the amount of air take place in an area that ensures
that will be uniquely your own. use that same circuit for your plan- movement required to collect safety from explosion, or inhala-
In fact, many folks add outlines er or jointer because these ma- from the many different machines, tion of fumes. PW
of the tools on the wall (or on chines are seldom used simulta- make sure your collector is capa-
pegboard) so they know exactly neously. Band saws and drill press- ble of that performance, and lo-
where it belongs, and more im- es can also share a circuit. Another cate and use blast gates in the
portantly…if it’s missing. way to improve motor perform- duct work to maximize the per-
ance and safety is to use a heav- formance of the machine. If a DUST-COLLECTION
Power, Lights, Ventilation ier-gauge wire (12 gauge versus central dust-collection system is STATISTICS
Now that you know where every- 14 gauge) for your stationary tools. your preference, you should spend
thing belongs, it’s time to power Other things to include in your some in-depth research time on Machine Req’d CFM
it up. While it’s one thing to be power requirements are lighting, the topic and maybe even con- 12" Planer 350
able to check the tool manuals bench outlets and any ambient sult a professional for advice. 13" + Planer 400
for the power requirements, it’s air cleaners. Even if you’re blessed Smaller portable dust collec- Shaper 400
quite another thing to go about with lots of windows in your shop, tors are often more affordable and Band saw 400
hooking up that power yourself. we all work on cloudy days and can provide adequate collection Radial arm saw 350
If you’re uncertain about adding in the evenings. So proper light- for a couple of machines. By using Table saw 350
new breakers or running wiring, ing can be critical. Make sure you multiple hoses and closeable gates
Disc sander 300
we recommend you get a licensed have plenty of general lighting to control which machine is being
Jointer 350
professional to help you out. But throughout your shop, and add collected, one machine can do
Drill press 300
you can help them out by de- task lighting over dedicated work double or triple duty. Each ma-
termining the voltage require- areas such as your workbench and chine is rated by the “cfm” (cubic Scroll saw 300
ments for your tools, whether 110 tools that require careful atten- feet per minute) of air that it is
Static Press. Loss/ft.
or 220 volts, and also how many tion to detail, such as the band capable of handling. We’ve in-
4" Duct .055 in./ft.
amps each tool requires. saw or scrollsaw. cluded a quick reference chart
You’ll need to provide ade- Don’t skimp on power outlets. that rates each machine by the 5" Duct .042 in./ft.
quate amperage for each group- Heck, put one everywhere you suggested cfm required to extract 6" Duct .035 in./ft.
ing of tools. A contractor’s saw can imagine plugging in a tool, dust. By using the chart you can 7" Duct .026 in./ft.
will usually require a 110-volt, radio or fan. Make sure there is a easily determine the size and num- 8" Duct .022 in./ft.


Built from two sheets of
plywood, this rolling cart
makes accurate crosscuts,
automatically collects its
dust and folds down to fit
in a small corner.


hen I worked in profes- What I had in mind for Popular

W sional shops, there was al-

ways a chop saw on some
kind of cart. The less-organized
Woodworking’s shop would have
a dead-on stop system and fold-
ing wings so the stand would take
shops put the saw on the nearest up less space. The top of this stand
work cart. It adjusts up and down so you can
didn’t take up line up the saw’s table with the
much space, wings. (In fact, the adjustable
but it wasn’t as table allows you to use a drill press
useful as it or a mortiser on this stand.) It has
should be. The on-board dust collection that
better shops turns itself on and off. And the
mounted the kicker to the whole thing is that
miter saw to a the cart is made from one sheet
rolling cart and each of 3⁄4" and 1⁄2" plywood, with
attached per- some solid wood trim.
manent wings Begin construction by cutting
to support long the parts out according to the cut-
pieces and to hold a fence with ting list and using the optimiza-
stops for doing repetitive cuts. tion diagram. You’ll notice that
This setup was useful, but it took the case top is in two pieces on
up a lot of space. the optimization diagram. That’s

by Jim Stuard
Jim Stuard is a former associate editor at Popular Woodworking and now divides
Photos by Al Parrish

his time on the projects he is most proud of: his children, his writing
and teaching woodworking. 29
1/2" x 3/4" rabbet
in sides
24 3/4" 3/4" 20" 3/4"

2" 2"
3/4" 3/4"

Doors removed 1/2" x 1/2"

for clarity 10 3/4" rabbet 10 3/4"
for back
Shelf cleat
1/2" 1/2"
Dust 34 1/2" 1/4" 34 1/2"
Shelf 13 3/4" Shelf
Vacuum cleat
area Partition 15" Vacuum
enclosure 15"
11 1/2"

3/4" 3/4"

4" 4"

23 1/2" 19 1/2"
3/4" 3/4" 1/2"
25" 20"

Elevation Profile

Measuring tape
Extruded aluminum track
V 3/8" x 3/4" dado
Bottom Riser Top
"A" "D" "A" for track

R Velcro
Side Side Fences
"B" "B" "W"
Crosscut panel
Flipout support Q Half-lap joint P hinge
swings flat to on swingarm
for first cut and brace
the rear
Detail of wing
Door Door
"E" "E"
Jigsaw Wing Wing
through "M" "M" 13/16" Bullnose
waste for 1/2" moulding
1/4" 30º angle
second cut 3/16"
cut 3/4"

4 7/8" 4 5/8" 1 5/16" Door

Illustration by Jim Stuard.

Upright Upright Top

"N" "N" "A"
Third cut
7 3/4" 3/4"

Optimization diagram Flip-out support Detail of door trim


because you have to edge-glue screws. Flush up the front edges Adjusting the
the plywood together, then cut of the cabinet with a plane and height of the saw
is as easy as
it to size. There isn’t much scrap apply iron-on birch veneer tape.
loosening the
on this project. File the tape flush, sand the cab- wing nuts inside
inet and mount the casters. the cabinet and
One Quick Cabinet using the jam nuts
Begin by building the cabinet. To An Adjustable Saw Platform on top of the
cabinet to raise or
join the sides to the top and bot- Now is a good time to mount the
lower the saw
tom, first cut 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 4" rabbets in leveling riser (or platform) to your until it’s flush with
the top and bottom edges of the cabinet and get the miter saw set the two wing
sides. To hold the back, cut 1⁄ 2" x up. First cut a 11⁄ 2" radius on the assemblies.
2" rabbets in the back edges of corners of the riser. Make sure
the sides, top and bottom pieces. this cut is square so that you can
Now assemble the case. An old apply veneer tape without too
trade secret is to lay the case face much trouble. Ironing on veneer
down on your assembly bench. tape to the riser in one piece is
This way you can ensure the joint a real challenge, but it looks great.
at the inside of the rabbet is flush When the riser is ready, cen-
all around. Set each joint with a ter it on top of the case and clamp
couple nails, then screw the case it in place. Place your miter saw
together. Check your cabinet for in the center of the riser. With
squareness and make sure the back a pencil, trace the locations of
fits snugly. Attach the back with your saw’s feet onto the riser. Also
Leveling riser
ULTIMATE MITER SAW STAND 4-41⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 8" stove bolts (coarse thread)
4-1⁄ 2"x11⁄ 2" fender washers
T W L 12-3⁄ 8" flat washers
Cabinet 4-3⁄ 8" lock washers
❏ 2 A Top & bottom 3⁄
4 20 241⁄ 2 Plywood 4-3⁄ 8" wing nuts (coarse thread)
❏ 2 B Sides 3⁄
4 20 273⁄ 4 Plywood 8-3⁄ 8" jam nuts (coarse thread)
❏ 1 C Back 1⁄
2 241⁄ 2 271⁄ 4 Plywood Case
❏ 1 D Leveling riser 3⁄
4 20 243⁄ 4 Plywood 4-4"casters w/locking wheels
❏ 2 E Doors* 3⁄
4 121⁄ 16 273⁄ 8 Plywood 16-1⁄ 2" x #10 panhead sheet-metal screws
3⁄ 13⁄ 16-1⁄ 4" lock washers
❏ 1 F Door trim 16 16 192 Solid wood
1⁄ 1-six-outlet plug strip
❏ 1 G Shelf 2 191⁄ 2 231⁄ 2 Plywood
❏ 2 H Shelf cleats 3⁄
4 19 Solid wood Doors
1⁄ 4-130º European-style cup hinges
❏ 1 I Partition 4 15 14 Plywood
❏ 1 J False front 1⁄
4 15 111⁄ 2 Plywood Wing supports and fence
❏ 2 K Cleats 3⁄
4 133⁄ 4 Solid wood 8-2"x1⁄ 4"-20 hex-head bolts
3⁄ 3⁄ 16-1⁄ 4" flat washers
❏ 1 L Cleat 4 4 5 Solid wood
8-1⁄ 4" lock washers
Wings 8-1⁄ 4"-20 wing nuts
❏ 2 M Wings 3⁄
4 103⁄ 8 30 Plywood 2-36" continuous hinge
❏ 2 N Uprights 3⁄
4 111⁄ 2 141⁄ 4 Plywood 3-36" sliding track
❏ 2 O Upright ledges 3⁄
4 23⁄ 4 111⁄ 2 Solid wood 1-L to R reading tape (72")
3⁄ 1-R to L reading tape (72")
❏ 2 P Swingarm braces 4 4 101⁄ 2 Solid wood
3⁄ 2-2" square sets of Velcro (hooks and loops)
❏ 2 Q Swingarms 4 3 20 Solid wood
❏ 2 R Flip-out supports 3⁄
4 47⁄ 8 73⁄ 4 Solid wood Stop
1⁄ 1-1⁄ 4"-20 star knob
❏ 2 S Front brackets 2 23⁄ 4 15 Solid wood
1⁄ 1-11⁄ 2"x1⁄ 4"-20 hex-head bolt
❏ 2 T Rear brackets 2 23⁄ 4 10 Solid wood
1-1⁄ 4" flat washer
❏ 1 U Wing trim 2 11⁄ 2 15' Solid wood
1⁄ 13⁄ Saw (fastening to leveling support)
❏ 1 V Edge trim 4 16 24 Solid wood
3⁄ 4-21⁄ 2"x1⁄ 4"-20 hex-head bolts
❏ 2 W Fences 4 3 161⁄ 4 Plywood
8-1⁄ 4" flat washers
❏ 1 X Stop block 4 2 3 Solid wood 4-1⁄ 4" lock washers
* Size before applying door trim. 4-1⁄ 4"-20 wing nuts 31
Automatic Vacuum um’s switch to “on,” place it in
Now mount the saw and outfit the new cubby and hook up the
the cabinet with the vacuum and vacuum’s hose to the saw through
electrical parts. When the saw a hole in the back.
and vacuum are hooked up prop- Screw an outlet strip to the
erly, the vacuum will come on au- bottom of the case and run the
tomatically when you turn the strip’s cord through a hole in the
saw on (thanks to the “Automatic back. Plug Craftsman’s Automatic
Power Switch” #24031, $19.99 Power Switch into the outlet strip
from Craftsman, 800-377-7414 and plug in the saw. Now screw
or, and it the partition and false front in
will turn off a few seconds after place to conceal the vacuum.
you finish your cut.
Start by drilling two 2" holes Huge Wings
in the back near the bottom of The wings are the last thing to
the case. One hole is for the vac- do. Begin by gluing and nailing
uum hose (locate it according to 4"-thick solid wood edge trim to
your vacuum). The other is for one end of the wings. This edg-
the wiring. I enclosed the vacu- ing gives the piano hinge some
The easiest way to assemble the wing is to attach the hinge to the upright um in a partition made from two meat to bite into. Finish the wings
assembly. Then remove it and attach it to the wing. Clamp the upright in a pieces of plywood and the shelf. by applying the 1⁄ 2" x 11⁄ 2" trim to
vise and reattach everything. Make sure to mark each hinge’s location or The shelf height in the drawing the other three edges.
you’ll mess up how some parts go together.
works for the two-gallon Craftsman Study the diagram on the pre-
vacuum (model# 17711, $29.99). vious page to see how the wings
Lay out the height of the bottom are supported. First apply the up-
trace the holes in the machine’s riser with a jam nut to set the bolt edge of the shelf. Mount a pair of right ledges to the uprights. Cut
feet that you’ll use to mount the in place. Run a jam nut up the cleats to these lines. Screw the the 2" radii on the brackets and
saw to the riser. This is important bolt, leaving a 2" gap between shelf in from the top. then attach them in place.
because the riser floats over the the riser and the loose jam nut. Now screw cleats to the in- Cut the swing arms, braces
case on four bolts, which allows Place washers over the holes in side of the case to make the par- and flip-out supports. The swing
you to adjust the saw up and down. the case and set the riser in place. tition and false front that con- arm and brace need a half-lap
Now mark locations for the bolts On the underside of the case, ceals the vacuum. Notch your joint that makes a “T” shape.
that attach the riser to the case. put a flat washer on the bolt, fol- plywood pieces to wrap around Attach the continuous hinge to
Be sure to keep the bolts as close lowed by a lock washer and wing the shelf cleat and the power cord the top of the “T.” The best way
as you can to the feet without nut. When you want to adjust the for the vacuum. Turn the vacu- to cut this joint is with a dado
them interfering with each other. riser height, simply loosen the continued on page 34
When you’ve marked the lo- wing nuts and adjust the jam nut
cations for the riser bolts, drill against the case top to raise or
your holes completely through lower the riser.
the riser and the top of the case. To complete the case, build
Hold a piece of scrap inside the and hang the plywood doors. Nail
case where the drill will come out a 13⁄ 16" solid maple edge with a
to minimize tearout. Now ream bullnose profile to the edges.
out the holes a little to ease the Use European hinges (some-
riser adjustment. times called concealed hinges)
Remove the riser from the case on your doors. I’m fond of a $30
and drill the holes for mount- jig that easily locates the holes
ing the saw. Now you can mount for the hinges and the mounting
the riser to the case (see the list plates (Euro-Eze, item #905-599,
of hardware you need on the pre- $29.99 from Woodworker’s Supply,
vious page). Put the bolt through 800-645-9292 or www.wood- There is a lot of aluminum channel out there these days, but I chose this T-
track because a 1⁄ 4"-20 bolt head will fit in the channel. It comes predrilled
the fender washer, then into the Drill the hinges’ and countersunk from Woodcraft (item #141961, $14.99, 800-225-1153 or
hole in the riser. Put another flat cup holes about 4" in from the and machines nicely. You’ll probably have to file down
washer on the other side of the top and bottom of the case. some screws that pop out from the other side.



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continued from page 32

head in a table saw. Cut a 3⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" notch

on the end of the swing arms to mate with
the flip-out support.
The last thing to do to the arms is to round
off the corners: 1" on the ends and 31⁄ 2" on
the brackets. Now mount the swing-arm
assemblies to the underside of the wings using
a 10" piece of continuous hinge, with the
notched end of the swing arm 1⁄ 4" in from the
point where the wing meets the case. To keep
everything from flopping around when the
arms are down, use adhesive-backed Velcro
between the swing arms and wings. Reinforce
the Velcro’s adhesive with staples.
Finish the wings by cutting a 3⁄8" x 3⁄4" dado
down the middle of the wing for the ex-
truded aluminum channel for the stop. Next
to that dado, cut a second shallow dado that’s
2" wide and as deep as your stick-on meas-
uring tape is thick. Cut the aluminum chan-
nel to length and screw it in place.
Now concentrate on the flip-out supports.
After cutting out the mating notches for the
swing arms, cut a 3⁄ 16" x 5⁄ 8" rabbet into the
end of the support to accept a 43⁄ 4"-long piece
of continuous hinge. Lay out and mount the
support to the upright, centered and flush to
the bottom edge.
The last step on the wings is to attach the
wing assembly to the upright. Do this care-
fully so that the surface of the wing is flush
with the upright ledge. Now, if everything’s
OK, your wings should lock flush and square
to the upright. If you didn’t get it right the
first time, add a flat-head screw to the inside
of each notch and you will be able to adjust
the height of the wing.
To attach the wing assemblies, temporar-
ily remove the saw/riser assembly and remove
the wing from the upright assembly. Cut a
spacer that’s 23⁄ 4" plus the height of the saw’s
table. Clamp the spacer flush to the upright
ledge. Lay the wing assembly on the edge of
the case. On the saw/riser assembly, measure
from the front edge of the riser to the saw
fence. Subtract 13⁄ 4" from that number and
mark it on the case, measuring from the front.
This is where the upright should be mount-
ed. It accounts for the thickness of the 3⁄ 4"
saw fence and the distance from the center
of the stop to the fence. Mount the upright
with the hardware listed. Make sure to coun-
terbore the bolt heads and washers. This al-
lows the flip-out support to fold flat against


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Here you can see how the stop works with the
fence system. Note the thin guide strip that pre-
vents your stop from wobbling as you set it. The new standard has arrived:
the upright. Re-attach the wings and flush
the saw table up to the wings by resting a CMT’s Industrial
straight piece of lumber across the wings.
Adjust the saw’s height and lock it down.
The last step is to make the fences and the
stop, and to attach the tapes. First rip a cou-
ple of 31⁄ 2"-wide sections of plywood from
your scrap. Then cut them to 1" longer than CMT’s new ITK blades give you
the distance from the blade to the outside all the advantages of a thin
edge of the upright. That should be about kerf blade, like reduced drag
161⁄ 4", as long as your saw is centered cor- on your saw and less wasted
rectly on the base. material, plus the latest in
Cut 3⁄ 8" x 3⁄ 4" dados 1" to the center from design features:
one edge. The edge that the dado is closest • Micrograin Carbide Teeth
to is the bottom edge. Repeat the 1⁄ 2" dado
• Laser Cut plate, arbor,
for the tape so it’s above the dado. Glue in and expansion slots
a 4"-long filler into the groove at the end next
• Anti-kickback design
to the blade and attach a length of aluminum
• Tri-Metal brazing, precision
channel to fill the remaining length. Make a balancing & more!
mirror part for the other side. This keeps your
hands at least 4" away from the blade – a safe Best of all, these blades are
distance. Attach the fences by lowering the yours at prices that set the
saw (as if you were making a cut) and butting competition on its ear! Easy on
each fence against the blade. Clamp the fence your wallet, easy on your saw
pieces there and screw them in place. and easy to remember - the
Cut the measuring tape to 16" and stick new standard of cutting per-
it in place. Use a square block to index off formance is as simple as ITK.
the 16" marks and, after cutting the tapes
to length (around 46"), stick them in place,
butting the end up against the block on each
side of the saw blade.
Finally, make the stop that runs in the
channel. The stop is a simple 2" x 3" block
with a 1⁄ 4" hole in it. Make a guide strip that’s Visit your CMT Distributor
about 5⁄ 16" x 1⁄ 16". It’s easier if you make the for the finest woodcutting
strip a little thick and plane it down to the tools: router bits, blades,
1⁄ 1
16" thickness. Drill the ⁄ 4" hole through and shaper cutters and more!
test it with a bolt and star knob. PW
CMT USA, Inc. • 307-F Pomona Drive • Greensboro, NC 27407
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DRILL PRESS TABLE Turn your metalworking drill press table into
a woodworking table in just a few hours and with only
a few dollars worth of materials.
espite the fact that your drill press is designed So I built this add-on table with features that will

D mostly for poking holes in sheet metal, it has

many uses in a woodshop. It’s a mortiser, a
spindle sander, it bores huge holes and – of course
turn your drill press into a far friendlier machine:
• First, it has a fence that slides forwards and
backwards as well as left and right on either side of
– drills holes at perfect right angles to the table. the drill press’s column. This last feature also uses
Because the table on most drill presses is designed the drill press’s tilting table feature with the aux-
for metalworking, it’s hardly suited for these tasks. iliary table for angled drilling.

by David Thiel
Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-531-2690 ext. 1255 or


• Built-in stops (both left and and shy of 3⁄ 8"). We used a 3⁄ 8" pi-
right) that attach to the fence for loted rabbeting bit in a router set
procedures that need to be repli- to a height to hold the insert flush
cated, such as doweling or chain- to the top surface of the table.
drilling mortises. While your jigsaw is still out,
• Hold-downs that can be used locate, mark and cut out the notch
on the fence or on the table for in the back of the table. This
any procedure. allows the table to move closer
The sizes given in the cutting to the drill press’ post and also to
list are for a 14" drill press, with tilt without interference.
the center falling 9" from the rear As a final friendly touch on
edge of the table, with a 2" notch the table, I used a 3⁄ 8" roundover
in the back to straddle the col- bit in my router to soften all the
umn. Adjust the center location edges on the table, both top and
and overall size of the table to bottom. You’ll get fewer splinters
The grooves for the T-slot track allow the fence to be used left-to-right and front-to-
match your particular machine. if you do this.
back on the table to take advantage of the tilting feature of the existing table.

Build the Base A Flexible Fence

The base platform for the table is The fence is the heart of the table,
made from 3⁄ 4" plywood, which and the wood should be chosen
should be void-free. Again, adjust for durability and straightness.
the size as necessary to fit your drill Quartersawn hardwood, careful-
press. First you need to get the ly surfaced and planed, will do
table ready for the T-track, which nicely. After cutting the fence to
is what holds the fence and hold- size, use a dado stack to mill two
3⁄ 3
downs in place. Start by locat- 8"-deep by ⁄ 4"-wide grooves in
ing the four recessed holes that the fence. The first is centered
allow the T-slot mechanism to slip on the top surface of the fence,
into the track without disassem- and as in the grooves in the base
bling the mechanism. Each hole platform, a piece of T-slot track
is 11⁄ 2" in diameter and 3⁄ 8" deep. should be used to confirm that
Next, locate the grooves in the groove is deep enough to allow
the center of the holes and use a the track to fit just below the sur- After cutting the hole with a jigsaw, the opening is rabbeted using a bearing-piloted
router with a 3⁄ 4"-wide straight face of the wood. The second router bit. Then chisel the corners square and fit the replaceable insert plates tightly
into the rabbet. Make a couple extra insert plates.
bit to cut the grooves to a 3⁄ 8" groove is then cut centered on
depth. The T-slot track should fit the face of the fence.
into the grooves with the top sur- One other bit of table saw
face just below that of the ply- work is a 1⁄8" x 1⁄4"-wide rabbet on
wood table. The grooves should the inside bottom edge of the
be as parallel as possible to one fence. The rabbet keeps debris
another to allow smooth move- away from the fence, so your work
ment of the fence. will fit tightly against it.
Now cut the hole for the 4" x One option that I considered
4" replaceable insert plate. First was adding an indexing tape
mark its location on your table, measure on the fence. Every time
then mark in from that line by the table is moved, the tape would
8" to locate your cutting line. need to be readjusted to zero, and
Drill clearance holes in two cor- for the infrequent use the tape
ners of the inner square, then use would see I decided against it. A Rabbet for dust
a jigsaw to cut out the center piece. stick-on tape can easily be added and chip clearance
Next, determine the thickness of to the fence face if that’s more to
the material you will use for your your personal taste and needs. The fence is made of a sturdy, stable hardwood. Cut a groove the length of the top
insert plate (the 3⁄ 8"-thick Baltic Unlike the fence on a router and face of the fence. The grooves hold T-slot tracks, which can be used for stops,
birch we used is actually metric table, the fence on a drill press hold-downs and other accessories. 37
table won’t see a lot of lateral pres- ed in the track to simplify that
sure. So the main purpose of the operation), then use a counter-
braces is to hold the fence square sink to widen the hole to ac-
to the table at the drilling point. commodate a #4 x 5⁄ 8" flat-head
In my case I’ve also given the screw. Keeping the screw heads
braces the job of mounting the flush to the inner surface of the
fence to the table. track will make the stops and
Start by cutting the two base hold-downs move much easier.
plates and the four braces to size. Stops and hold-downs designed
The braces are triangles with the for use in T-tracks make the drill
bottom edge 3" long and the ad- press most useful. The stops are
T-slot hold-downs in two
locations for positioning fence
joining right angle edge 17⁄8" long. square blocks of wood with one
The third side is determined by face milled to leave an index-
The fence is supported by two simple brackets screwed to the rear of the fence. The simply connecting the corners. ing strip that fits into the slot on
location of the triangular braces is important to the track orientation, so follow the Locate the braces on the base the T-slot track. By using the saw
diagrams carefully for location. plates according to the diagrams to cut tall but shallow rabbets on
and pre-drill and countersink 3⁄16"- two edges of each block, the stops
diameter holes in the base plates are completed fairly easily. For
to attach the braces to the plates. safety, cut the rabbet on a longer
To mount the support braces 2 1⁄ 2" wide piece of wood, then
to the fence, again refer to the di- crosscut the stops afterward. The
agrams to locate the proper spac- T-slot fasteners are simply inserted
ing on the fence. Then drill and into a 1⁄ 4" hole drilled in the cen-
countersink screw holes through ter of each stop block.
the face groove in the fence. The hold-downs are blocks of
Clamp the brace to the fence and wood with DeStaCo clamps
screw the brace in place. screwed to the top. Each block is
With the braces attached to drilled for two T-slot fasteners.
the fence, use the T-slot fasten- While the DeStaCos are good for
Brace attachment er locations on the diagrams as a this application, they aren’t as
starting point for drilling the holes versatile as I wanted. I replaced
in the base plates, but check the the threaded-rod plunger with
Install the T-slot tracks in the grooves with flat head screws countersunk into the
track. The braces are attached to the fence by screwing through the face groove location against your table for the longer all-thread (1⁄4" x 36) to pro-
prior to attaching the T-slot track. best fit. Two holes are drilled in vide maximum benefit from the
each plate to allow the fence to clamps. The rubber tip of the
be moved to the perpendicular plunger is important to the func-
position (either to the right or tion of the clamp, and if you can
left of the quill), by simply relo- manage to reuse the existing tip,
cating one of the T-slot fasten- do so. If not, I found rubber stop-
ers. Check each hole in rela- pers in a variety of sizes in the local
tionship to that position. Sears hardware store.
To install the stopper, care-
Add the Track fully drill a 1⁄4"-diameter hole two-
Assuming you purchased the 24" thirds of the way into the stopper
lengths of track listed in the cut- and then you should be able to
ting list, you should be able to cut screw it to the rod easily.
the tracks for the table first, leav- The table should attach eas-
T-slot guides allow ing fall-off that can be added to ily to your existing drill press table
hold-downs to be the two remaining full length using four lag bolts countersunk
used anywhere on
tracks to give you the necessary flush into the surface of the aux-
the T-track.
30" lengths of track for the fence. iliary table. Once attached, you
The hold-downs and stops are made from 3⁄ 4" hardwood. To make the guide that When attaching the track, first should find that the auxiliary table
holds the stops squarely on the fence, cut a 1⁄ 16" x 11⁄ 8" rabbet on both sides of the pilot drill the hole in the center gives you more support and ver-
inside face using your table saw. of the track (a groove is provid- satility than the metal one. PW


❏ 1 A Platform 4
20 29 Plywood
❏ 1 B Fence 11⁄ 2 23⁄ 4 30 Hardwood
❏ 2 C Fence base plates 3⁄
4 3 9 Plywood
❏ 4 D Base plate braces 3⁄
4 3 17⁄ 8 Hardwood
❏ 2 E Stops 3⁄
4 21⁄ 2 21⁄ 2 Hardwood
❏ 2 F Hold-down plates 3⁄
1 2 3 Hardwood
❏ 1 G Insert plate 3⁄
8 4 4 Plywood
❏ 2 Part #88F05.02 DeStaCo clamps – $14.50 ea.
❏ 6 Part #12K7901 24" T-slot track – $4.95 ea.
F ❏ 8 Part #00M5102 11⁄8" 3-wing knobs – $6 for 10
❏ 8 Part #05J2115 T-nuts – $1.15 for 10
All hardware available from Lee Valley 800-871-8158 or

See detail of brace below


T-slot track

See detail below

#4 x 3/8" screws

Holes are centered 3" in from

the front and back and 4 1/2"
from either side.

Location of base plate braces

Right side shown, left is mirror image
9" 1/2" F
3/4" 3/4" 1/8"
2" 5"

D D 1 3/4"
C 3" 2 1/2" E B D
1" 1"
1/4" hole 1/2" C 3/4"
Illustration by Jim Stuard

1" 1/8"
1 1/4" 3"
Hole locations 1/4"

Plan detail of hole locations for base plate Detail of fence profile 39
Our technical illustrator unplugs his
high-end software, gets back to the basics
with an entry-level program ($50!) and
walks away with some surprising results.

n the dead of winter, my daughter Carah and her husband,

I Dan, felt the need for some extended family time and set out to
visit Carah’s maternal grandmother, an antiques dealer in Belfast,
Maine. While there, Carah developed an interest in painted and
stenciled wood furniture, and Dan had an opportunity to catch up
on some reading, including the February 2003 issue of Popular
Woodworking. Both of them (as was I) were taken by the lines and
proportions of Warren May’s Kentucky Sideboard, which appeared
in that issue. A little sketching on Dan’s part convinced them that
the piece could easily be transformed into a small dresser – the miss-
ing element in a bedroom remodeling project at home. Dan would
build it and Carah would do the painting and stenciling. As a
practicing architect and project illustrator for Popular Woodworking,
I was selected to be the design development member of the team.
Rather than simply recycling the drawings I’d done for the
project, I decided to start from scratch like anyone else, and work
with the information in the article and some entry-level CAD (com-
puter-aided design) software I’d been wanting to put through its
paces. When I’m illustrating for Popular Woodworking, I use a com-
bination of AutoCAD 2000 (from Autodesk), Macromedia Freehand,
and Microsoft Excel – all told, about a $3,000 investment. The new
by John Hutchinson
Photo by Al Parrish

Comments or questions? Contact John at

When using an existing drawing as a (to me) CAD software was
basis for a new design, the first step is Autodesk’s QuickCAD, the baby
to draw the basic components of the
brother of the professional
existing piece you wish to transform.
Although the drawings are not very AutoCAD 2000 program I use
exciting in themselves, they’re the on a daily basis. I’d heard that it
basic “words” that make the contained some of the best fea-
“sentences” that lead to the tures of my drafting, illustration
“story” of the design.
and spreadsheet programs, yet
cost only $50. I assumed that the
power of the program would be
proportional to its price. After
working through Carah and Dan’s
dresser project, I’m pleased to re-
port that QuickCAD is a power-
ful tool and an amazing bargain.
The leap from pencil to screen
is easier than you think. Why take
the jump? QuickCAD dramati-
cally increases the flexibility of
your design and saves you hours
of drawing time – all for $50. For
example, with QuickCAD, you
always get a straight, consistent
line. And you can turn, flip and
move that line in seconds. Need
a box that’s square? Simply add
several lines together. See what
your design would look like with
an extra drawer, wider door stiles
or a different edge treatment. And
all that can be done (and undone)
with a few swift mouse clicks.
When your design is complete,
you can consult your electronic
drawing during construction to
work out joinery details or cal-
culate complex setbacks. It is an
astonishingly powerful $50 tool.
QuickCAD isn’t alone; there
are several inexpensive CAD
drawing programs available with
similar features, including
TurboCAD ( and
DeltaCad (

After I created the basic No Problem to Show Less Leg

components of my According to Carah and Dan’s
design, QuickCAD
allowed me to easily first e-mail message from Maine,
transform the original the footprint of the dresser was
drawings into what to remain the same as the origi-
you see here. nal sideboard: 18" deep by 48"
wide. Conversion of the sideboard
to a dresser required shortening
the legs and lengthening the body


for the addition of two large and QuickCAD answers this dilem-
three small drawers. I began the ma by offering the option of draw-
transformation by drawing the ing in three dimensions simulta-
basic components of the original neously on an isometric grid.
sideboard. Once the drafting labor Although it’s not technically the
is behind you, the power of CAD correct term, most people refer
really kicks in. to this type of drawing as a per-
The drawings now are putty spective (or a 3D drawing). I often
in your hands, waiting to be copied, use isometric drawings in my mag- Original
arrayed, scaled, trimmed, rotat- azine illustrations. In my opin- sideboard
ed, mirrored, stretched, moved ion, they can’t be beat as a tool
and aligned at will with mouse for conveying a design message
clicks and keyboard commands. without the distortion of a true
QuickCAD handled all of these perspective.
tasks with ease and precision.
When everything looked right, Electronic Tracing Paper
QuickCAD let me save the draw- and Paint-by-numbers
ing as a common JPEG file, as After Carah and Dan gave the
shown at left, that I e-mailed to thumbs up on the isometric, I
my newest clients for approval. learned that Carah and her
grandmother had been out shop-
Go Bravely Into ping for material for the bedroom
the Third Dimension drapes. Carah suggested that when
Because I’ve been looking at ar- she got home, we could incor-
chitectural drawings my entire porate the drapery colors into the
professional life, I forget that many dresser’s paint scheme, and per- Painted
people have difficulty when men- haps use the drapery material’s sideboard
tally attempting to join disasso- designs for her stenciling patterns.
ciated plans and elevations into I told her it wasn’t necessary to
a coherent whole. My daughter wait for the homecoming. All she
falls into that group. had to do was stop at the local li-
Her response to my drawings brary, scan a section of the ma-
was: “I guess it’s fine Dad, but what terial, and send me the file. I’d
the heck will it really look like?” take care of the rest.


QuickCAD offers the option of drawing in

three dimensions simultaneously on an
isometric grid, as you see here. I was also
able to extract a palette of colors from a
scanned image so I could see what the
This is a scanned image of a fabric swatch from which I extracted a palette of colors. project would look like painted. 63
QuickCAD allowed me to im- Make Full-scale Patterns so
port the scanned image onto my You Can Paste and Cut
drawing page where I locked it in When we publish articles such as
place, traced the designs, and ex- the Kentucky Sideboard, we often
tracted a palette of colors. I then include enlarged details overlaid
made copies of the dresser and with a scaled grid. The end board
painted away with the electron- and bottom-rail scrollwork were
ic brush by simply dragging color illustrated this way. It’s a mutual
patches to the various parts, as understanding that the reader will
shown on the previous page. With make a pattern by laying out a
the painting complete, I turned full-size grid on a large sheet of
to the stenciling details, as shown paper, transfer the points where
below. Once drawn and colored, the undulating lines meet the grid,
they, like the dresser parts, were and then connect the dots either
mine to duplicate and manipu- freehand or with the assistance of
late as needed. drafting curves. This technique
for conveying information, which
cannot easily be described by With a neat feature called “page tiling” you can print full-scale drawings using your
dimensions, has been a staple home printer. Simply tape the pages together, paste them on your wood and cut.
of woodworking drawings since
Noah received plans for the ark.
CAD programs allow you to a full-scale pattern for the bot- an 8.5" x 11" page, the page tiling
draw and print full scale so all of tom rail scrollwork, I used a neat printing option allowed the en-
the labor, drafting tools and in- feature called “page tiling.” The tire 431⁄ 2" rail to be printed out
accuracies associated with the rail was copied out of the overall on a series of five letter-sized sheets.
grid method are eliminated. Most 1"=1' (1⁄ 12 scale) drawing, pasted QuickCAD even throws in handy-
professional CAD software, how- into a new drawing where the dandy registration marks to serve
ever, assumes that you have ready scale was set at 1"=1" (full scale), as a guide for splicing the pages
access to a large-format printer and rotated 90° to give it a ver- together. The same full-scale draw-
or roll plotter. QuickCAD makes tical orientation. Although only ing and printing process was used
no such assumptions. To produce a small portion of the rail fits on for the stencil patterns.

Once drawn and colored, QuickCAD allows

users to duplicate and manipulate details,
such as these stencil drawings. The colors
and design of the stencil pattern match the
fabric swatch.


Creating a Cutting List ings, colored isometrics, full-scale the user. In these prototype files, WHERE TO BUY
When I begin to illustrate a proj- patterns and a cutting list wait- we’ve preset many of the pa-
ect, I start with simple, dumb lines. ing for them on the back seat of rameters that will make the soft-
You know the drill – point A to the car. They’ll be starting the ware more woodworker-friend- QuickCAD is easy to find from
point B. Once I have all the lines project in a couple weeks. In the ly. I hope they will serve as tem- most software retailers. You can
down, I group them into mean- mean time, I’ll be enjoying my plates for those thinking about purchase it online from a variety
ingful objects. In other words, I payment: Maine lobster. making the leap of faith from of merchants, including ($47),
create parts that are this wide by pencil to keyboard. The experi- ($46) or from the
that long with this size tenon on Time to Share enced CAD user can also tell us
manufacturer at
that end. Once I create the ob- At Popular Woodworking, we’re where we can make improve- ($49). These prices were correct
jects on the screen, I add dimen- always looking for ways to share ments. Hit us with your best shot. at time of publication.
sions, and then begin to manu- information with fellow wood- We’re learning, too. PW
ally transcribe that information workers. While we can’t loan out
to a cutting list. With QuickCAD, the latest dovetailing jig to every
I can embed all of that informa- reader, we can lend information
tion within the individual parts electronically on our web site.
and then ask the program to spit Rather than leading readers
out a cutting list. All of my pro- through a course in the mechanics
fessional software combined can’t of using the tool, we decided to
do that for me! Here’s a brief sum- relate the saga of Carah and Dan’s
mary of how it works: dresser to illustrate a real-world
QuickCAD asks me to create application of CAD. We’re post-
“fields” for the drawing I’m work- ing the drawing files, produced
ing on. Following the standard in QuickCAD, on our web site.
Popular Woodworking format, I As with any general comput-
tell it that I’m interested in as- er-assisted drawing program,
signing each part a name, the QuickCAD’s focus must be
number of times it appears in the narrowed to fit the needs of
project, its overall dimensions
prior to machining, and a wood
species. Because QuickCAD is a
two-, rather than a three-di-
mensional drawing program, and
doesn’t (yet) have a mind read-
ing button on the toolbar, I need
to manually enter parameters such
as thickness, quantity and species.
QuickCAD does the math on the
length and width by calculating After manually entering
certain parameters such as
the “extents” of the piece or the
thickness, quantity and
full size of the board I need, in- species, QuickCAD can
cluding things like a tenon. No calculate the length and
wonder I’ve long ago forgotten width of each piece in your
where I put my pencils. drawing.

Mission Accomplished
By time I picked up Carah and
Dan at the airport, I had a nice
collection of construction draw-

Once the calculations are done,

QuickCAD allows you to print out a
complete cutting list. 65
Here’s how
to shoehorn an
entire workstation
into a small space.

earing a bathrobe, a bit
of last night’s dinner and
three day’s growth, I was
a telecommuting pioneer.
It was 1990, and I was one of
only 3.4 million people in the en-
tire country who worked for a cor-
poration from home, connected
to my boss up the highway by a
poky modem and the occasion-
al harassing telephone call.
When I first set up my office
as a newspaper reporter in a small
town, I had no clue how tricky it
is to establish a work space. My in the corners. I’m normally a
desk was a barely usable drafting neat person, but eventually that
table. My chair was designed room looked like home to one of
for church picnics. As I accu- the mound-building tribes of Ohio.
mulated files I piled them in milk Nowadays the number of peo-
crates. I stacked my newspapers ple telecommuting is estimated
by Christopher Schwarz
Comments or questions? Contact Chris at 513-531-2690 ext. 1407 or

Photos by Al Parrish 71
1/4" 3" 29 1/2" 3" 1/4" Case Construction Notes:
A Cubbyhole unit
3 3/8"
B File unit
F C Adjustable steel leg at 137 million, according to the
D 1000 mm stainles steel bar Cathers In-Stat Group. And the
24" 16 1/2"
modern-day telecommuter is a
A E Sliding keyboard tray
12 1/4" lot more savvy about organizing
F Wire grommet
a home office. We’ve done our
1" 3 3/8" G Corrugated plastic glazing homework, too. This cabinet has
3/4" H 1" long x 2" wide x 3/8" thick tenon just about everything you need
1 3/4" 39 1/2" 3/4" wide x 1/2" deep rabbet
J to set up shop at home in a small
Case plan, top removed space – it’s also great as the fam-
1/2" 1/2" 1 3/4" 2 1/2" ily business center, for paying bills,
1" 35" 4" 11 1/2"
H doing taxes and answering e-mail.
3/4" 3" The cubbyholes, drawers and
5 1/2" G shelves should keep your impor-
tant stuff handy. And when you’re
A done with business, you can call
25 3/4" 22 3/8" it a day by closing the doors.
Building this project doesn’t
57" require a lot of advanced skills.
The joinery is simple: mortises
3" and tenons, rabbets, dados and a
E F few biscuits. But building a proj-
ect of this size that has so many
assemblies requires the patience
23 5/8" and precision that comes with
B some experience. If you’re con-
18" sidering building this project, you
should have already built a few
10 5/8"
5" pieces that use these joints. You
don’t want to practice something
4" new on something this size.
C Door elevation
Case elevation, doors removed So instead of walking you
3 3/8" 3 3/8" through every construction step
1/4" 3" 29 1/2" 3" 1/4" 16 1/2" 3/4"
in agonizing detail, I’m going to
3" focus on how to meet the chal-
lenges faced by this particular
D project: designing a frameless cab-
inet so it won’t rack, building a
cabinet using several frame-and-
22 3/8" 22 3/8"
panel assemblies, and installing
tall doors that tend to warp.
57" H 57"
3" 3" Wobbly Frameless Cabinets
There’s a reason traditional fur-
F niture uses face frames. These
wooden frames, glued to the front
of a cabinet, stop the case from
25 5/8" 23 5/8"
racking when it’s moved or sim-
ply sitting on an uneven floor.
But not every cabinet needs to
resist racking. Frameless built-in
3" 5" cabinets use a thicker back (5⁄ 8"
or 3⁄ 4") to give the case rigidity.
C And screwing your frameless proj-
Case back Case profile ect to the wall helps, too.


But this project isn’t a built- adding shelves and dividers, but
in, so it needs a hand to keep its that wouldn’t have added the
shape. The frame-and-panel back rigidity I needed.
made from 3⁄ 4"-thick maple and Once you screw these two as-
2"-thick plywood helps quite a semblies in place, the whole thing
bit. But even with the back really tightens up nicely.
screwed in place you can rack the
front of the case by lifting one of Building Using
the feet. So that’s where the cub- Frame-and-panel Assemblies
byholes and file box help. They’re The sides and back are built in
separate cabinets that you screw an identical manner: The stiles
to the sides, top and bottom. I and rails are joined using 3⁄8"-thick
After the tenons and mortises are cut on all your parts, rough out the grooves for had considered building their x 2"-wide x 1"-long tenons (the
the panels using a dado stack in your table saw. functions into the cabinet by thicker bottom rails get two
tenons). The flat plywood pan-
els are glued into 3⁄16"-deep grooves
HOME-OFFICE ARMOIRE cut into the rails and stiles. You
T W L can glue these panels in place be-
Main case
cause the plywood won’t shrink
❏ 3 Top, bottom, middle 3⁄
4 221⁄ 2 35 Plywood in 1⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" dados
❏ 4 Side panel stiles 3⁄
4 33⁄ 8 57 Maple
and swell with the seasons.
❏ 4 Side panel small rails 3⁄
4 3 181⁄ 2 Maple 1" TBE In hindsight, the mortise-and-
❏ 2 Side panel, lower rails 3⁄
4 5 181⁄ 2 Maple 1" TBE tenon joints on these three frames
❏ 2 Side panels, top 1⁄
2 167⁄ 8 223⁄ 4 Plywood in 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove were probably overkill. Because
❏ 2 Side panels, bottom 1⁄
2 167⁄ 8 24 Plywood in 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove these plywood panels can be glued
❏ 2 Back panel stiles 3⁄
4 3 57 Maple in 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 4" rabbet in side assembly in place, biscuits would have been
❏ 3 Back panel rails 3⁄
4 3 311⁄ 2 Maple 1" TBE a fine way to join the rails and
❏ 1 Back panel, top 1⁄
2 297⁄ 8 223⁄ 4 Plywood in 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove stiles. But I’m a sucker for the tra-
❏ 1 Back panel, bottom 1⁄
2 297⁄ 8 26 Plywood in 1⁄ 2" x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove ditional tenon.
❏ 1 Top cap 1 253⁄ 4 391⁄ 2 Ply/maple plywood edged with maple
The groove for the panels is a
Doors bit different than what you’re ac-
❏ 2 Outside stiles 3⁄
4 4 57 Maple customed to. When gluing ply-
❏ 2 Interior stiles 3⁄
4 21⁄ 2 57 Maple
wood panels in place, I like to give
❏ 4 Small rails 3⁄
4 3 131⁄ 2 Maple 1" TBE
the excess glue someplace to go
❏ 2 Large rails 3⁄
4 5 131⁄ 2 Maple 1" TBE
❏ 2 Top panels 9⁄
64 12 227⁄ 8 Plastic in 7⁄ 16" deep x 1⁄ 4" rabbet
(rather than letting it squeeze
❏ 2 Bottom panels 9⁄
64 12 241⁄ 8 Plastic in 7⁄ 16" deep x 1⁄ 4" rabbet out). So I cut my grooves in two
stages. First cut the groove to ap-
❏ 2 Top, bottom 3⁄
4 121⁄ 4 341⁄ 2 Plywood 1⁄ 1
4" x ⁄ 2" rabbet on inside long edge
proximate size using a dado stack
❏ 4 Vertical dividers 3⁄
4 4 12 Plywood biscuited to top, bottom set to 3⁄ 16" high in your table saw.
❏ 1 Back 1⁄
4 5 341⁄ 2 Plywood screwed to case Then install a 10" rip blade in
File unit
the saw and set the blade height
❏ 2 Top, bottom 3⁄
4 19 341⁄ 2 Plywood 1⁄ 1
4" x ⁄ 2" rabbet on inside long edge
to 1⁄ 4". With this setup, cut the
❏ 4 Sides, vertical dividers 3⁄
4 183⁄ 4 161⁄ 2 Plywood biscuited to top, bottom groove perfectly to size in the cen-
❏ 2 Adjustable shelves 3⁄
4 87⁄ 8 183⁄ 4 Plywood screwed to case ter by running the rails and stiles
❏ 1 Case back 1⁄
4 171⁄ 2 341⁄ 2 Plywood with one face against the fence,
❏ 1 File drawer false front 1⁄
2 15 13 Plywood then flipping the piece around
❏ 1 Top drawer false front 1⁄
2 15 5 Plywood and cutting the other way. This
❏ 2 Top drawer sides 3⁄
8 31⁄ 2 18 Plywood 3⁄
16" x 3⁄ 8" rabbet on ends extra step guarantees the groove
❏ 1 Top drawer front 3⁄
8 31⁄ 2 121⁄ 8 Plywood will be centered on your edge,
❏ 1 Top drawer back 3⁄
8 3 121⁄ 8 Plywood
and it’s easier to guide your ma-
❏ 1 Top drawer bottom 1⁄
4 121⁄ 8 1713⁄ 16 Plywood in 1⁄ 4"-wide x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove
terial over the rip blade because
❏ 2 File drawer sides 3⁄
8 93⁄ 4 18 Plywood 3⁄ 3
16" x ⁄ 8" rabbet on ends
❏ 1 File drawer front 3⁄
8 93⁄ 4 121⁄ 8 Plywood
you’re not removing much ma-
❏ 1 File drawer back 3⁄
8 91⁄ 4 121⁄ 8 Plywood terial. And finally, it cuts two shal-
❏ 1 File drawer bottom 1⁄
4 121⁄ 8 1713⁄ 16 Plywood in 1⁄ 4"-wide x 3⁄ 16"-deep groove low grooves at the bottom of your
TBE=tenon both ends groove so excess glue has a place 73
to go. This works really well. You assembly to width in a couple
would have to gorge yourself on passes on your table saw so you
glue to force it to squeeze out. can remove stock from both long
edges. Then you need to crosscut
Think Square with the the assembly to width. If you have
Frame-and-panel a sliding crosscut table on your
It’s easy to get into trouble with saw, this is easy. If you don’t, then
frame-and-panel assemblies. Even I recommend you clamp a straight-
if all your rails, stiles and panels edge to your assembly and rout
are square, once you assemble the top and bottom edge of one
them, the resulting assembly might assembly to length.
Grooves not be square. For that reason, I Once you get one of the sides
to catch always rip my stiles, top rails and square, you can use it as a tem-
bottom rails about 1⁄8" wider than plate for the other side assembly.
the cutting list calls for. I also Clamp the unsquare side on top
crosscut my stiles 1⁄4" longer. This of the square side. Line up the
makes the assembly panel 1⁄8" larg- long edges of the two pieces. Then
er all around – which is more than use a router with a pattern-cut-
enough to square it. ting bit to make the top assem-
This is what the groove looks like after After the frame-and-panel as- bly just like the bottom one.
cutting it to its final dimension with a Always dry-fit all your parts before
sembly is glued, clamped and al- Small steps like this one will
10" rip blade. You can see the two assembly. This will allow you to make
channels at the bottom, which will sure your panel isn’t too big, which lowed to dry, take it out of the ensure your case can be easily
catch excess glue at assembly time. The would prevent your assembly from clamps and then joint one long squared up when you glue the top,
plane is cleaning up the saw marks. going together. edge of the assembly. Now rip the middle and bottom pieces in place.

After the glue is dry, trim the edging flush to your plywood
using a low-angle block plane.

All of the plywood parts have solid-wood edging glued to them. We don’t own any edge clamps, so I
clamped the edging to the panels using our bar clamps. The edging is 5⁄ 16" x 3⁄ 4" and a little longer than The same plane can trim the edging flush at the ends. This
the piece it is being glued to. allows you to sneak up on a perfect fit with your other panels.


Eternally Warping Stiles els by nailing in 1⁄ 4" x 1⁄ 4" cleats
The doors use plastic panels in- around the rabbet in the door.
stead of glass or wooden panels. The doors should be built the Maple: I used about 60 board feet of 4/4 hard white maple.
The plastic panels we chose are same way you built the frame- Plywood: You’ll need two sheets of 3⁄ 4" maple plywood, one sheet of 1⁄ 2"
typically used for building green- and-panel assemblies for the car- maple plywood, one sheet of 1⁄ 4" Baltic birch plywood and one sheet of
8" Baltic birch plywood.
houses. They’re rigid, stable and case: Cut your parts oversized and
durable. A 4' x 8' sheet costs only trim the final assembly to size after
about as much as veneer-core ply- it’s glued up. This will make hang- SUPPLIES
wood (see the supplies box), but ing your doors easier. Lee Valley Tools, 800-871-8158 or
the shipping costs are especially Another thing that will ease # ITEM NO. NAME PRICE EACH
expensive for the Midwest and installation is to have doors that 2 01W83.14 328mm stainless bar handle $4.80
East. Using a utility knife, I cut are flat. Making large doors is a 2 01W83.20 1,000mm stainless bar handle $12.70
the panels in a chevron pattern confounding woodworking puz- 3 00H37.50 pair of reversing hinges $1.30
with the corrugations running at zle. Long and narrow stiles tend 2 02K30.18 100-lb. slides, pair $9.90
a 45° angle. It’s simple work to to warp or twist when ripped on 1 12K88.30 slide w/rest & mouse pad $99.50
change the pattern to make a shal- the table saw. Even a little warp 4 00U07.22 23⁄ 8" gray grommets $1.50
4 00S81.50 adjustable steel leg $4.50
lower or steeper chevron, or to can prevent the stiles from lin-
have the corrugations run ver- ing up when the doors are shut. You can order a kit of all these parts by asking for item # 05D15.13.
tically or horizontally. The first set of doors I built for Plastic panels:
And if you’re not looking for this cabinet had stiles that warped Farm Wholesale Greenhouses, 800-825-1925 or
a contemporary look, it’s easy more than 1⁄ 4". This is too much Double-walled panel, 4'1" x 8'1" panels (5mm thick), item #GS-240,
to substitute plywood panels, glass warp in my book. I built a second $28.95 plus shipping.
or other material. After the proj- set of doors, and they warped about Prices correct at time of publication
ect is finished, install the pan- 32". And that you can fix.

Cabinet top

x 1⁄ 2"
rabbet for

Cabinet side

The interior cabinets are assembled using biscuits and glue.

One important detail is the way the back works. The rabbet is
cut on the top and bottom piece of the file unit and the
With the top, middle and bottom pieces all ready for assembly, rout the dados and rabbets in the sides. cubbyhole unit. When you screw the back in, you can see the
I use a shop-made fence and a router bit that’s slightly undersized (23⁄ 32") to compensate for the plywood edge from the side, which is OK because it will be
undersized plywood. concealed when the interior cabinets are in the main case. 75
The drawer boxes
are simple. The How do you get the warp out
front and back rest of the doors? Two ways: judicious
in 3⁄ 8" x 3⁄ 16-deep planing and two sets of magnet-
rabbets in the side ic catches for each door – one at
pieces. The bottom
the bottom and one at the top.
slides into a 1⁄ 4" x
16"-deep groove
First hang the doors. Here’s a good
in the sides and tip for hanging doors on frame-
front. The back is less cabinets: Install the doors
2" shorter than while the cabinet is on its back.
the front piece to
If you hang them while the cab-
allow the bottom
to slide in. inet is on a floor or bench that
isn’t dead flat, any rack or twist
in the case will be translated into
the doors’ position as you hang
them. When the cabinet is on its
back, it’s not racked.
Once you get the doors hung,
install the adjustable feet on the
bottom of the cabinet and put
When building drawer boxes, the most
critical dimension is the width of the the case on the floor. Adjust the
assembled box. If you are off by more feet until the doors line up like
than 1⁄ 32", your drawer slides will not they did when the cabinet was
function. It pays to mock up an assem- on its back. Now you can deal
bled drawer to get the fit just right. The
with the warp. Install the mag-
slides listed in the supplies box require
2" of space between the drawer box
netic catches; put one set at the
and case, so I’m shooting for a drawer top of the cabinet and one at the
box that is exactly 1" less than the case bottom. Adjust the catches for-
opening. ward and back until the stiles are
in the same plane at the top and
bottom of the cabinet.
Now check the middle of the
doors to see how the stiles line
up there. If one is proud of the
other, take a marking knife (a
knife with a single bevel is most
accurate) and scribe the differ-
ence on the proud door. Remove
the door that’s proud and plane
the stile down to that line. Rehang
the door and check your work.
Like everything in wood-
working, it’s the myriad small de-
tails that add up to a job well
done. And this project has a
mound of them. PW

When installing side-mount slides like

this, I like to use spacers made using
scrap to position the slides. I can simply
hold the slide against the spacer and
then screw it in place.


1/ 4"

Cubbyhole Construction Note:

12" K 1/2" wide x 1/4" deep rabbet

Customize the lower file cabinet
and cubbyholes to your needs. If Cubbyhole plan, top removed
you want to use hanging files,
34 1/2" 12 1/4"
increase the overall drawer
width to 13". If you have a large 10 1/2" K
printer, remove a divider and the
adjustable shelves from the file 4" 5"
unit. If you use legal paper,
increase the depth of the cubby-
hole unit to 141⁄ 2".
Cubbyhole elevation Cubbyhole section

34 1/2"
12 1/8"

N File Unit Construction Notes:

L 328 mm stainless steel bar handle
M 18 3/4" M Full-extension drawer slides
N 3/8" wide x 3/16" deep rabbet
P 1/2" wide x 1/4" deep rabbet
Q 1/4" wide x 3/16" deep groove
R Adjustable shelves
File unit plan, top removed L

9" 9" 15" P 19"

5" 3" Q
16 1/2" 17 1/2"
13" 9 1/4"

The false front for the top drawer is File unit elevation File unit section
trickier than installing the bottom front.
I’m installing it here using a couple
dabs of 5-minute epoxy. Shift the
drawer front around a bit until it lines
up with the lower drawer front then let
it sit for about 30 minutes. Then you can
open the drawer and screw it in place.

The top is made by gluing and nailing

1⁄ 3
4" plywood to ⁄ 4" plywood. I used
strips of 1⁄ 4" instead of a single piece for
two reasons. One, it saves material.
Two, it gives me a way to ventilate the
cabinet. With the center part left open,
all I need to do is drill three 7⁄ 8" holes in
the top of the cabinet (behind the
cubbyhole unit). This allows warm air to
rise up and out through the back. 77
A steel-frame band
saw, built for resawing.

Photos by Tim Grondin and Al Parrish

The traditional cast-iron

band saw, with riser


Shaker Trestle Table

A classic design with extra stability and an antique finish.

’ve built a number of trestle hungrily reaching for platters of Nibbling away the
tables in the Shaker style over food. To solve the stability con- mortise locations
on the leg halves
the years, usually following cern I doubled-up the hardware
can be accom-
the style of an original table from from another sturdy piece of fur- plished with a flat-
one Shaker collection or anoth- niture – the bed. By using a pair tooth rip blade or
er. But when I decided to do a of bed bolts at each joint, this a dado stack.
trestle table for Popular Wood- table becomes amazingly stout.
working readers, I took a second
look at some of the designs and Save Money on Wood
decided I could add a feature and If you’ve seen my other furniture
come up with a stronger table (, you know
without sacrificing the simple I’m addicted to figured maple.

Step photos by the author

Shaker lines. Though they’ve tried to get me
The one shown here is a stan- into treatment, I haven’t yet ac-
dard two-pedestal table with a cepted that I have a problem.
single stretcher tying the bases But when it came to choos-
together. One of the concerns ing the wood for this table, even
I’ve always had with this design I had to admit that with such a
was the stability of the joint at simple piece, adding busy figure Half a Foot, not Six Inches the point out. As you glue the
the stretcher. Anyone who has to the base would be gilding the Construction on the base begins two halves, align the two sec-
been to a family dinner at my lily. So I saved the good stuff for with the feet blanks. The feet ac- tions and press them together.
house knows that a sturdy table the top and chose to use painted tually are two “half-feet” that you The nails “bite” into the wood
is important when everyone starts poplar to build the base. face-glue together. This allows and prevent creeping. Go ahead
you to conserve lumber (no sense and clamp the pieces securely
by Glen Huey
trying to find 3" x 3" wood for a and set them aside to dry.
Glen Huey builds custom furniture in his shop in Middletown, Ohio, for Malcolm L. painted base) and you can make While the feet could be left
Huey & Son. He is a contributing editor for Popular Woodworking and is the author
the mortise for the leg post be- flat at the floor, it’s not as attrac-
of “Fine Furniture for a Lifetime.” You can see more of his work at
fore gluing the halves together. tive as shaping them to leave
Mill out the two halves for each “pads” at either end. It also helps
foot, then clamp the pairs together the table to sit flat on uneven
and lay out the two notches that floors. To form the pads, clamp
will form the 11⁄ 2" x 21⁄ 4" mortise the two assembled feet together
for the post tenon. with the bottoms facing the same
There are many ways to re- direction. Mark the pads on the
move the waste material from the feet according to the illustrations,
notches, but I’m a table-saw guy, then drill a 3⁄ 8" hole at the tran-
so that’s where I headed. Use your sition point at either end. The
miter gauge and make repeated hole itself will create the small
passes across the blade to nib- radius for the transition. After
ble away the waste area on all four making the two holes per foot,
pieces, as shown above. head to the band saw to cut away
With the notches cut, it’s time the portion between the radius
to make the halves a whole. When cuts to finish the pad shapes.
gluing the two halves together, Some simple shaping using a
the last thing you want are the couple of saws will give the feet
pieces to “creep,” or slide on the an even more graceful look. First
glue, which will cause misalign- cut a 7° bevel on the ends of the
ment. My solution is to mount a feet using the table saw. Next,
1" section of a #6 finish nail into make a mark 3⁄ 4" down from the
one half by drilling a small hole top edge at the ends of each foot.
and gluing in the nail piece with Make another mark 101⁄ 2" in to-
Photos by Al Parrish 43
After gluing the With the post cut
halves together, I to shape, the first
first drilled two step in forming the
8" holes to define tenon is to define
the foot pad and the shoulder on all
then connected four sides. The
the dots. The rest miter gauge
was simple band 3⁄
8" hole (hidden behind the
saw work. work) on my saw
Mortise for post works well, while
the rip fence
allows you to set
the shoulder

I use a high-sided
tenoning jig to cut
the cheeks on the
tenon. You could
also nibble away
the waste á la the 4"
foot mortise if you 3⁄
1" 4"
don’t have, or
want to build, a
tenoning jig.

The top of the post is notched 4" deep,

so the table saw won’t cut it (pun
intended). The band saw will and I use
staggered cuts to remove much of the
wood, then chisel out the excess. Notice
the notch isn’t centered on the post, but
offset by 1⁄ 4" to one side.

ward the mortise at the top of the and run the posts upright to form Visible Means of Support notches at the tops of the leg posts,
leg. Connect the two marks and the cheeks. Cut two cheeks, then The part of the leg that actually so test the fit to make sure it’s
you have the slope for the top of adjust the fence and cut the other supports the top is the cross brace. snug, but not too tight.
each foot. Head to the band saw two. Make the tenons slightly Mill the stock for the cross braces, While the cross braces are
and cut the slopes. To finish the oversize and then trim them to then use the table saw to nibble mostly hidden under the table-
feet, sand the surfaces and round achieve a snug fit. away the shallow notches (as you top, they can be seen at times and
all the edges with a 3⁄16" radius bit At the tops of the posts, cut did on the feet halves) on the two therefore there’s no sense leav-
in your router. out a notch the width of the post opposing sides of each brace. These ing them square and chunky. Use
to hold the cross braces. Lay out notches will fit into the 4"-deep the pattern (at right) to trace
Going Vertical this notch using the photos above
The next step is the 27⁄ 8" x 27⁄ 8" to locate them. Note that the
posts. As with the feet, there’s a notches aren’t centered in the SHAKER TRESTLE TABLE
good chance you’ll need to glue posts – rather, they’re offset by NO. ITEM DIMENSIONS (INCHES) M AT E R I A L
1⁄ T W L
up thinner pieces to form the posts. 4" to one side. An easy method
Once assembled and milled to remove the 4" of waste is to ❏ 4 Feet halves 111⁄ 16 3 30 Poplar
❏ 2 Cross braces 1 1⁄ 2 4 30 Poplar
to the size given in the cutting hog the majority out with a band
❏ 2 Posts 2 7⁄ 8 27⁄ 8 293⁄ 8 Poplar
list, it’s time to form the tenons saw, then chisel away the re-
❏ 1 Center brace 1 1⁄ 2 2 28 Poplar
to match the mortises in the feet. maining waste. To finish off the ❏ 1 Stretcher 1 1⁄ 2 6 431⁄ 4 Poplar
Start cutting the tenons by first posts, use a chamfer bit in your ❏ 1 Top 7⁄
8 36 71 Cherry
defining the shoulder on the table router to make decorative cuts ❏ 2 Breadboard ends 7⁄
8 11⁄ 2 38* Cherry
saw with the posts flat on the saw’s on each edge, stopping 7⁄ 8" from ❏ 10 Top fasteners 3⁄
8 21⁄ 4 Cherry
table. Then reset the table saw the joinery at each end. *Finished size is 36" long.


1/2" 1/2" Outline of top 1/2" 1/2" 1 1/2"
69" Breadboard ends -
two required 1 1/2"
3 1/4"
2 1/2"
1" 3/4"
See joinery detail
at right 6 1/2"
28" 2 1/2" 1 1/2" 1" 2 7/8"

6 1/2" 36" 3/16" 3/16"

1 1/8"
2 1/2"
Cleat half-lapped
into stretcher 6 1/2" Post top
2 1/2"
w/cross-brace detail
3 1/4"
Plan - top removed thick
breadboard tenons
72" 36"
2 7/8" 42" 2 7/8" 30"
1 1/2" 1 1/2" 2 7/8" 7/8"

2" 4"
Cross brace 7/8"
1 1/2" 2"r. 8" Bed bolts
1"t. x 6"l. x 5/8"w. Post
tenons both ends 29 3/8" 30 5/8"

Foot 7/8"

Elevation Profile 3"

1/2"x 3/4"x
2"deep mortise top 1 11/16" 1 11/16" 30"
and bottom for bed-bolt nut
11/2" L
Cross brace 15"
17/16" 17/16"
Stretcher 3"

2 7/8"w. x 3/16"d. notch 1" grid

Bed bolt both sides
Cross-brace layout
1"t. x 6"l.
x 5/8"w. tenon
Outline of post
Post 7°
1 1/2" x 2 1/4" 1 1/8" 1 1/8"
x 2 5/8"l. tenon
10 1/2"

2 5/8" 3/4"

2 1/4"w. x 3/4"d. 3/8"

2 1/4"w. x 3/4"d. notch one side 4 1/2"
notch in half-
Section through post Half-foot layout 45
or mark the curved shape on the peg a bit to make it easier to in- the stretcher. Start by cutting the piece. After cutting the rabbets
pieces themselves. Then use the sert in its hole. After tapping the 1" x 6"-long x 5⁄ 8"-deep mortises on the stretcher, make two 1⁄ 2" x
band saw to cut out the shape on dowels in place, cut the extra on the thicker side of each as- 4" x 2"-deep mortises at each end
the braces, cutting wide of the length nearly flush to the leg sur- sembly. I used a Forstner bit to of the stretcher, one in the top
line and then smoothing the curve face and sand it smooth. make most of the mortise (see edge and one in the bottom edge,
with sandpaper. below) then chiseled out the waste to hold the bed-bolt nuts.
Now glue the foot and cross Bridging the Gap to square everything up, but you To add more stability to the
brace to each post. To add a bit With the ends assembled it’s time could use a router with a straight table, a third center brace is half-
more strength after the glue has to attach the stretcher to tie every- bit. To create the short tenons on lapped into the center top of the
dried, drill two 7⁄ 16" holes (on op- thing together. This is the joint the stretcher, I used a rabbeting stretcher. Mill the stock for this
posite sides of the leg) in each where you need all the strength bit in a router to cut rabbets on part and use one of the finished
joint and pin the joint with dow- you can muster. As I mentioned opposite faces of the stretcher. cross braces as a pattern to shape
els. Make sure to stagger the pins earlier, I used bed bolts here, but If you haven’t used bed bolts the center brace. Next, use the
on each side so they don’t run I started with the traditional before, they’re essentially heavy- illustration to lay out the deco-
into each other. Using a knife or method of cutting mortises in the duty bolts that screw into a square rative cut on the bottom edge of
sandpaper, taper one end of each legs and tenons on both ends of nut buried in a mortise in the other the stretcher. Then use the table

Sculpting a shape on the cross braces isn’t necessary to keep the table sturdy, but it With the cross braces glued to the posts, they are pegged in position. Clamp them
does keep it from looking clunky. After transferring the pattern onto the brace, I cut tight and check for square between the post and brace. Note that the pegs are at
wide of the line on the band saw, then used a spindle sander to smooth the shape. opposite corners of the joint. This allows room for the mortise (in the next step).

Getting the holes for the bed bolts straight is important. And the best tool for that
Here’s the mortise for the stretcher. I removed most of the waste with a Forstner bit, task is the drill press. The two 7⁄ 16" holes are located in 11⁄ 2" from the top and
then chiseled the mortise square. bottom edges of the mortise.


Ball and Ball
saw and miter gauge to cut the hole, place the nuts into the mor- 5⁄
piece of wood that is 4 8" long 800-257-3711 or
half-lap joint for the center brace. tises, slide the bolt into the hole, and 3⁄4" thick. Cut a 1⁄2" x 1⁄2" rab-
4 • 6" bed bolts
This piece is attached with glue and attach it to the nut. Tighten bet along the end grain leaving
#U60-076, $5.15 each
and a 2" wood screw, but don’t the connection with a wrench. a 1⁄ 4" tongue. Then rip the piece
attach it until you’re done in- into 7⁄ 8"-wide strips and crosscut Horton Brasses
stalling the bed bolts. Holding the Top in Place the ends to 21⁄ 4"-long pieces. 800-754-9127 or
Use a drill press to make the I use wooden clips to hold the top Pre-drill clearance holes in
holes in the trestle legs for the in place on the base. The clips the wooden clips you’ve just made 4 • 6" bed bolts
#H-73, $3.50 each
bed bolts. The holes are 7⁄ 16" in have a rabbet cut on one end that to accept a #8 x 11⁄ 4" wood screw.
diameter and are in the center of slips into slots cut into the cross Olde Century Colors
the stretcher mortises, 11⁄ 2" from braces on the base. I use a biscuit With a Cherry on Top 800-222-3092 or
both the top edge and bottom cutter set to make a cut for a #20 Again, trying to avoid admitting
edge of the mortise. To finish mak- biscuit and start the slot 1⁄2" down I have a curly maple addiction, I 1 • pint of lamp black acrylic
ing the hole for the bed bolt, slip from the top of the brace. Because chose cherry for the top. Cut and latex paint
#2022 (waterbase) or
a stretcher tenon into the end the tenon on the clip is almost glue the slab to the finished size
1⁄ #1022 (oil-based), $9.40
section, clamping the two pieces 4" thick, make two cuts with the given in the cutting list.
firmly. Use a long 7⁄ 16" drill bit to biscuit joiner, lowering the cut- Appropriately, the Shakers Rockler
finish the hole through the end ter to finish the cut at 1⁄ 4" wide. used breadboard ends (traditionally 800-279-4441 or
of the stretcher and into the mor- Place two slots on each inside of called a “clamp”) on their tops to 1 • pint of Sam Maloof
tise area created for the bed-bolt the cross braces and one on ei- hide the end grain and to help Oil/Wax Finish
#58669, $10.99
nut. The straight hole at the drill ther side of the center brace. keep the top flat. The breadboard
press acts as a guide to drill the Rather than trying to cut rab- requires a tongue on each end of 10 • #8 x 11⁄ 4" slotted screws
remainder of the hole straight. bets on the ends of the little wood- the top for the breadboard to fit Prices correct as of publication deadline.
Clean out any waste from the en clips, start with a 5"-6" wide over. I created the 5⁄ 16"-thick x

Double-wide #20 biscuit slots in

the braces work well to hold the
wooden top fasteners (shown in the
inset photo).

After clamping the stretcher between the

legs and drilling the bed bolt holes into the
stretcher I simply dropped the nut into the
previously cut mortises and bolted the base
together. 47
1"-long tongue on the top using pin. Use a scrap piece on the un-
a straightedge to guide my router derside to prevent “blowout.”
and a 3⁄ 4" pattern bit. Remove the ends and elongate
Use a marking gauge at each the holes to accommodate wood
edge to locate the tongue depth movement. Apply glue to only
and align the straightedge to the the middle 4" of the tongue, re- Partially completed tongue
mark. Set your bit to cut just be- install the ends, then drive the
hind the mark on the bottom side pins into the holes and apply glue
and just covering the mark on to only the top edge of the hole.
the top side to ensure the bread- Trim the pins and the extra length
boards will fit snugly against the of the breadboards flush.
tabletop on the top side.
After the tongue is made, draw Finishing Touches With the top milled to size, mark a 5⁄ 16"-thick x 1"-wide tongue on each end with
another line on it 1⁄ 2" from the Sand the top with #150 grit sand- your marking gauge. Then use a straightedge and a 3⁄ 4" pattern bit to shape the
end, running the entire width of paper and rout the edges, top and tongue on both sides of the top.
the top. At four equally spaced bottom, with a 3⁄16" roundover
locations on the tongue, mark lo- bit. Final sand to #180 grit and
cations for the 21⁄ 2"-wide tenons. apply three to four coats of an Mortise location
Trim the tongue around the oil/varnish blend following the
tenons, leaving them extending product directions, then add a
the full 1". This is where the bread- top coat of furniture wax. Breadboard end
boards and top will be pinned. After following the instruc-
Cut the two breadboard ends tions in “Painting the Base” below Mortise location
and plow the 1⁄2"-deep groove the to paint and age your base, attach
length of the ends for the tongue. the top to the base with the wood-
Then lay out the areas that match en clips and #8 x 11⁄4" wood screws.
up with the extended tongues and You and your table are now
cut the 1⁄ 2"-deep mortises in the ready for years of family dinners
bottom of the grooves. with no concerns about sliding Tenon
Fit the breadboard ends to the the ham or vegetables onto the
top and clamp. At each extend- floor because of a banquet table After marking and cutting the tenons on the breadboard tongue, use the finished
ed tongue, drill a 1⁄ 4" hole for the that’s less than sturdy. PW tenons to locate the mortises in the already-grooved breadboard ends.


A simple coat of paint on the base may suffice for
many, but it looked too new and shiny for my taste, so
I added an antique finish to the piece.
Begin by staining the piece and applying two
coats of shellac. Sand the finish.
Next, mix Olde Century Colors lampblack acrylic
paint with fine sawdust particles and paint the mix-
ture onto the base. As the paint dries, wipe with a very
wet rag. The wiping will remove paint and dislodge
some of the sawdust pieces leaving a “worn” surface.
Once the paint is dry, apply a coat of Maloof’s
Oil/Wax finish. Simply brush it on and wipe with a
clean rag. This step provides a dull sheen to the paint,
adding the look of years of polish.

A simple coat of paint looks too new and shiny Here I’ve wiped the piece with a very wet cloth as
for a traditional Shaker piece of furniture. the paint dried, which removed some of the paint,
creating an antique finish.


Work Box
A fold-out, carry-anything uring a recent trip to Germany, our publisher,

tool chest on wheels. D Steve Shanesy, snapped some pictures of a util-

itarian, but also clever, rolling tool cart used
in one of the woodworking shops he visited.
The cart was designed to hold your tools so your
bench or assembly platform remained tidy. It had doors
and drawers on the lower section, plus wings that
opened on top to reveal three tool wells that kept
things orderly and prevented items from falling onto
the floor. When not in use, the cart closed to a nice
size and could even be locked.
The staff agreed that the idea was a good one, but
we decided to put a Popular Woodworking spin on it.
We divided and detailed the lower drawer space some
more and added a tool till inside the center well
with magnetic tool holders.
Plus we made sure the construction was simple.
Mechanical fasteners do all the hard work. You could
easily build this cart with a circular saw, a drill and a
router, making it a great project for beginners or even
a professional cabinetmaker in a production shop.

Affordable Space
While we didn’t start out worrying about price, the
finished bill is worth talking about. Using two sheets
of good-quality 3⁄ 4" shop-grade plywood and one sheet
of 1⁄ 2" Baltic birch ply for the drawers, wood costs came
in at about $125. The necessary hardware (there’s a
lot more than you might think imagine) comes in at
less than $150 if you build it exactly as we have. So
Photos by Al Parrish

By David Thiel & Michael A. Rabkin

Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-531-2690
ext. 1255 or Contact Michael at
513-531-2690 ext. 1327 or


SOURCES for $275, you’re still getting a lot on edge because of the long grain To allow the three smaller
of storage for the price and the part of the plywood core). This drawers to slide in and out of the
Lee Valley Tools space is arranged to be exactly size back offers excellent stabili- case, you need to cut 1⁄ 2"-wide x
800-871-8158 or what you need, unlike a store- ty and the opportunity to square- 3⁄
8"-deep dados in the left side of
bought toolbox. up the case without worrying the case and in the left side of the
1 set • 2"metal drawers (5) about wood expansion because center divider. Lay out the dado
#05K98.25, $23.50
The Basics of changes in humidity. locations – according to the il-
1 set • 1" metal drawers (5) While this is a utilitarian work On the interior plywood draw- lustrations – then cut them using
#05K98.10, $19.95
cart for the shop, we expended a ers we used simple rabbet joints either a dado stack in your saw,
2 • gripper mats little extra effort (veneer tape on to add some extra strength. The repeated cuts with a circular saw,
#88K18.05, $5.95 ea.
the plywood edges and no ex- bottoms of three of the drawers or with a straight bit, using two
3 • 12" magnetic bars posed screw heads) to make it a are screwed to the drawer boxes passes to achieve the full depth.
#93K75.12, $7.95 ea.
more finished-looking project and stick out past the drawer sides There is 1⁄2" of space between each
Woodworker’s Hardware while maintaining the solid, sim- to serve as effective drawer guides, of the drawers and we worked
800-383-0130 or ple construction details. emulating the metal drawers used from the bottom up, leaving a The cart joinery is a collec- on the right side of the case. larger gap above the top drawer
3 • 11⁄ 2" x 48" nickel piano tion of butt joints. We used a new to allow clearance for the door
hinges product on the market, Miller Begin with the Big Box catches.
#LA11248 14A, $8.98 ea. Dowels, to assemble all the butt First cut the plywood panels to
2 • 21⁄ 2" swivel casters joints. This is a stepped wood size according to the cutting list Dowels and Glue
#JH25 S, $4.16 ea. dowel that replaces the screws below. We’ve posted an opti- As mentioned, we used veneer
2 • 21⁄ 2" swivel casters w/brake and plugs the holes left by the mization chart at tape to dress up the edges of the
#JH25 SB, $4.81 ea. drill bit at the same time. (click on “Magazine Extras”) to plywood. We had been using iron-
1 • lid stay The back is 3⁄ 4" plywood (ply- help you get all the pieces from on veneer tape for years, but re-
#KV0472 R ANO, $2.67 wood offers great gluing strength your plywood sheets. cently discovered a self-adhesive
2 • 4" chrome pull
#UFWP4 SS, $2,60 ea.
4 • 1" pull screws
#SC832 1SS, $.23 ea. GERMAN WORK BOX
2 • roller catches NO. L E T. ITEM DIMENSIONS (INCHES) M AT E R I A L
#A09714 A2G, $.96 ea. Case
1 • 18" 100# full extension slide ❏ 2 A Sides 3⁄
4 191⁄ 4 32 Shop plywood
#KV8417 B18, $11.45 pr. ❏ 3 B Shelves and bottom 3⁄
4 181⁄ 2 281⁄ 2 Shop plywood
❏ 1 C Back 3⁄
4 281⁄ 2 32 Shop plywood
❏ 1 D Front 3⁄
4 67⁄ 8 30 Shop plywood
800-535-4482 or
❏ 1 E Divider 3⁄
4 18 18 Shop plywood
❏ 2 F Doors 3⁄
4 1415⁄ 16 25 Shop plywood
2 • Miller Dowel 1X walnut ❏ 4 G Wing front and back 3⁄
4 615⁄ 16 15 Shop plywood
packs (25) ❏ 2 H Wing sides 3⁄
4 615⁄ 16 181⁄ 2 Shop plywood
#144735, $6.99 ea. ❏ 2 I Wing sides 3⁄
4 63⁄ 4 181⁄ 2 Shop plywood
1 • stepped dowel kit 1X ❏ 2 J Wing panels 3⁄
4 131⁄ 2 181⁄ 2 Shop plywood
#144570, $27.99 ❏ 1 K Till support 3⁄
4 51⁄ 2 281⁄ 2 Shop plywood
❏ 1 L Till lid spacer 3⁄
4 281⁄ 4 Maple
Woodworker’s Supply
❏ 1 M Till lid 3⁄
4 10 281⁄ 4 Shop plywood
800-645-9292 or
❏ 2 N Drawer section sides 1⁄
2 12 18 Shop plywood
1 • 13⁄ 16"x 50' PSA birch edge
❏ 2 O Drawer front and back 1⁄
2 4 153⁄ 4 Baltic birch
❏ 2 P Drawer sides 1⁄
2 4 171⁄ 2 Baltic birch
#934-960, $13.95
❏ 2 Q Drawer front and back 1⁄
2 41⁄ 2 153⁄ 4 Baltic birch
Prices as of publication deadline. ❏ 2 R Drawer sides 1⁄
2 41⁄ 2 171⁄ 2 Baltic birch
❏ 2 S Drawer front and back 1⁄
2 5 271⁄ 2 Baltic birch
❏ 2 T Drawer sides 1⁄
2 5 171⁄ 2 Baltic birch
❏ 2 U Drawer front and back 1⁄
2 51⁄ 2 153⁄ 4 Baltic birch
❏ 2 V Drawer sides 1⁄
2 51⁄ 2 171⁄ 2 Baltic birch
❏ 3 W Drawer bottoms 1⁄
2 163⁄ 4 18 Baltic birch
❏ 1 X Drawer bottom 1⁄
2 171⁄ 2 27 Baltic birch


17 1/4"
Cut the drawer
1/2"w. x
dados in the case 15 3/8"
sides prior to 3/8"d.
assembly. We used dados 14"
a router to make
the dados and a 12 1/2" 12 3/8"
guide that clamps 10 3/4"
across the ply-
wood to guide the
router. You could
just as easily
clamp a straight 7"
board to the side
to serve as a 5 1/4"
guide. Use two
passes on each
dado to achieve 2 1/2"
the full depth.
This puts less 1/2"
strain on the
router and the bit.

Drawer dado layout

15" 30" 15"
C 3/4"
Piano hinge
L 3/16"
M 10"
18 1/2" 20"


Plan Wing hinge detail

3/4" 3/4"
28 1/4"
18 1/2"
See wing hinge J
detail above right
I H G I 6 3/4" 6 15/16"

B N A 6 3/4" G 6 15/16" 6 7/8" D 6 1/2"

1/8" 3/4"

4" O J B

4 1/2" Q W 32"
A C 18"
25" F 25"
5 1/2" U E B

5" S 5 1/4"

Elevation Profile 67
veneer tape that is much simpler Start by clamping the divider and drill 3⁄32"-diameter pilot holes
to use, takes the concern out of between the upper and middle in the divider. Add glue and screw
the glue melting evenly and sticks shelves, holding the front edges the assembly together.
very well to the work. flush. We used regular #8 x 11⁄ 4" Next use either screws or Miller
After veneering all the ex- screws here because they would Dowels to attach the back to the
posed edges, sand the interior sur- be hidden inside the case. Drill center assembly. Check the spaces
faces through #150 grit. Now and countersink 3⁄ 16"-diameter to ensure they are square, then
you’re ready to assemble the case. clearance holes through the shelves add the bottom shelf to the back,


Middle shelf
The veneer edge tape is easy to use and
quickly adds a finished appearance to
the cabinet. Even though we ended up
painting the exterior, the paint still
applied better to the veneer tape than Top shelf
on a bare plywood edge. You’ll need to
notch the tape with a file at the dado
locations in the left case side.

Screw the divider between the top and

middle shelves by first drilling a pilot
hole for the screws and countersinking
the flathead screws to the shelf surfaces.



Attach the back to the center assembly

using the Miller Dowels. Put glue on the
back edges of the center pieces, then
position the back and clamp it in place.
After using the proprietary stepped drill
bit to make the holes, add glue to the
dowel and then tap it into place in the
hole. Lastly, attach the bottom to the
back with stepped dowels.


holding the back flush to the bot- The wings go together like side the cabinet (so the wings can allow you to get your fingers under
tom side of the shelf. simple versions of the case. The close) we added a 3⁄ 4" x 3⁄ 4" maple it to lift the lid. Add some glue
Clamp your center assembly side closest to the cabinet on each strip to the back 1⁄ 8" down from and a couple of stepped dowels
between the two sides, drill the wing is 3⁄ 16" narrower than the the top edge. This allows the till through the sides to hold every-
appropriate holes, add glue and other. This creates a recess to lid to open to about 110°. Mount thing in place.
assemble the rest of the case. It’s house the hinge to mount the the lid to the strip with a length Now you need to attach the
a good idea to trim the dowels wings to the cabinet. of piano hinge. Carefully check two wings to the case with more
flush to the case side before flip- We recessed the captured pan- it for clearance between the two piano hinge. Clamp the wings to
ping the case onto that face: It’s els 1⁄ 4" in from the outside edges sides as it closes. the case in the open position (flush
more stable and there’s less chance to avoid any alignment problems. Next, attach the till support to the front) while attaching the
of messing something up. Using the stepped dowels, attach to the top shelf by screwing into hinges to ensure even and well-
Add the front piece to the the wing sides to the wing pan- the support through the shelf. supported wings.
front edges of the sides, holding els. Attach the fronts and backs The support is set back 1⁄ 2" from Lastly, attach the doors to the
it flush to the top edge. The front to complete the assembly. the front edge of the till lid to case (use a piano hinge again).
will overlap the top shelf, leav-
ing 1⁄ 4" of the shelf edge exposed. Storage Details
This allows room to attach the Start by adding the till lid to the Before attaching the second side, it
front to the shelf with brad nails. back with a length of continuous makes sense to cut the dowels on
the first side flush to the surface. I
The exposed edge will act as a (or piano) hinge. Because of the
used a Japanese flush-cutting pull
door stop once hinges are installed. way the hinge needs to mount in- saw that has teeth with very little set
to them, reducing the chance of
scratching the cabinet side. By
applying pressure on the blade to
keep it flat to the cabinet surface, I
further reduced the chance of
scratches. Do a little sanding, then
flip the cabinet over and attach the
second side, then the front.

Till lid

Till support

The next step is to attach the first side (which side doesn’t really matter). Carry your After attaching the till lid, the wings are ready. The wings are held flush to the front
location lines from the back around to the side and use them to lay out the dowel and are tight against the cabinet side. The recessed wing side is the attachment point
locations. Add glue, clamp, drill and dowel the joint. for the piano hinge, allowing the lid to close flush against the top of the cabinet. 69
To get the doors to seat flush You’ll also notice that the left- experience has shown that low As this would interfere with the
against the cabinet front, cut a hand door’s hinge covers the dados shelving just collects junk at the door hinge, we added two draw-
shallow rabbet (3⁄ 16" deep, the for the drawers. Rather than place back of the case that you can never er section sides made of 1⁄2" Baltic
thickness of the hinge) the width the hinge on the outside of the see or reach easily. birch and set them back 1" from
of the closed hinge on the back cabinet (making it too visible), We’ve used a selection of draw- the front of the case. This also
of the door on the hinge side. This we opted to simply file out the er types for this project, both shop- made it possible to cut the dados
cut can be done with your router hinge to match the dado loca- made and purchased. You can fol- in the section sides after the case
or table saw. tions, as shown below. low our lead or choose whatever was assembled.
When attaching the doors, style you prefer. The three drawers to the left
pay careful attention to the height. Drawer Space The lower shop-made draw- use the best of both worlds, fin-
Preferably they will be about 1⁄ 8" Ultimately you’ll decide how the er is simply a Baltic birch box ishing off some of the wood at
below the wings when open to interior space in your cart is used. drawer mounted on full-exten- hand and avoiding the cost of
keep things from bumping. We’ve used drawers because our sion, 100-lb. drawer slides. This more drawer slides by using the
is a fine heavy-duty drawer joined “lip and groove” concept of the
at the corners with simple rabbet metal drawers. On all the wood
joints. We used a 1⁄ 2" bottom fit drawers, a simple 1" hole drilled
MILLER DOWELS into a rabbet in the sides. While in the front serves as an adequate
Miller Dowels are a clever concept that can make some types of assembly we usually would have recom- drawer pull.
faster and easier. Essentially, the stepped-dowel idea offers the strength of mended a 1⁄4" bottom, we had the
a standard dowel with the ease of a tapered dowel.Alignment and splitting 1⁄
2" material and didn’t feel like Finishing Touches
difficulties often associated with standard dowels are reduced, while the by buying a whole sheet of 1⁄ 4" The last steps are adding a finish
strength offered is actually better than with a standard dowel thanks to the for just one drawer. (we opted for two coats of dark
ribbed design (increasing glue coverage).
The store-bought drawers are green latex paint on the outside;
These stepped dowels can be used in place of screws (as we’ve shown
metal, lighter-duty drawers of 1" the inside was left as-is) and then
in this project) – think of them as self-plugging screws.
We’re going to stop short of advocating Miller Dowels as a replacement
and 2" depths and have metal some sturdy 21⁄ 2" casters to the
for all screws, though.While the strength is good, they still won’t pull up an flanges that ride on dados cut into case and placing and organizing
ill-fitting joint, and if the glue is not allowed to cure before removing the the sides of the case. With these, your tools. The photos will show
clamps, there is the potential for the joint opening slightly after removing the front of the drawer overlaps you a couple of storage tricks and
the clamps. So proper clamping and glue-curing time is still essential. the case sides to both hide the items available for sale to help
Then there is the economic consideration. A pack of 50 dowels (23⁄ 4" or dados and serve as a drawer stop. keep things neat and tidy. PW
31⁄ 2" long) and the necessary bit cost about $30. Packs of 25 dowels cost
about $7. That’s about 28 cents per dowel versus 4 cents per #20 biscuit or
about 8 cents per premium screw.
All things considered, we like the idea of an all-wood, strong and simple
joint – but we’d recommend choosing your application carefully.
The dowels are available in birch, red oak, cherry and black walnut,
and more weather-resistant species are on the drawing board. For details,
contact Miller Dowel at 866-WOODPEG (866-966-3734) or
piano hinge

You can see the two sets of dados for the drawers with a few drawers removed.
Also, notice the notched piano hinge to allow the drawers to slide in and out.


Rabbet joint

Trimmed to fit

This shot of one of the drawers shows the rabbet joinery used.
Also note that the bottom was trimmed slightly in width to
allow the drawer to move more smoothly in the dados.

Pads line the bottoms of

the wing and till sections
to keep tools from
rolling and to help trap
dust. Dividers in the till
section can be cus-
tomized to fit the tools
you need. The magnetic
bars on the till lid
provide secure storage
for small ferrous tools.
Small-parts storage is
easily accomplished with
a couple of plastic
storage bins held in
place in one of the metal
drawers with some
fasteners. 71

Router-made Mortises & Tenons

There are many ways to make this joint, but none is better than with the router.

T he traditional way to make a mortise is

to chop it out with a chisel and mallet;
the matching tenon is cut with a backsaw.
Disposable Mortising Fixture
Successfully routing mortises requires a good
plunge router and a good fixture to hold the
of placement on the edge. The width of the
mortise is determined by the diameter of your
bit. The router’s plunge mechanism controls
Fitting is done with a shoulder plane. Every workpiece. Over the years I’ve tried a variety the mortise depth.
joint has to be marked out. The work is slow of fixtures. In designing one, you have three The basic fixture, made from scraps, has
and time-consuming, but quiet. Doing it well challenges. You must: five parts: a base, two supports (or fences)
demands skill. • Provide adequate bearing surface for the and two stops. The supports are attached to a
However, the router can do both jobs. It can router base to keep it from tipping. plywood base with drywall screws. The router
do them faster, and it can do them better. • Position the router and control its move- stops are screwed (or clamped) to the top edge
With the proper setups, you can minimize ment so every mortise is identical. of the long support.
layout, which saves time. The cuts are accom- • Minimize the workpiece handling. A setup line is squared across the edge and
plished faster (but with more noise). Machine The drawing and photos at right show that down the face of the long support, equidistant
setups produce uniform cuts, which minimizes this fixture is simple to build and use with a from the ends. Align the midline of the mor-
the need for fitting individual joints. And the plunge router and an edge guide. The more tise – the only layout mark needed on all but
mortise cheeks will be smooth, which means precise your edge guide, the more accurate one of the workpieces – with this line. Your
the joints will glue well. your mortises will be, particularly in terms router, edge guide and the stops will ensure
I always make the mortises first, then cut that each mortise is uniform in placement,
the tenons to fit those mortises. The reason is by Bill Hylton width, depth and length.
simple: It’s easier to adjust the size of a tenon The upshot of this fixture is that it’s easy
Bill is the author of several books about
than that of a mortise. Before I show you how furniture construction and router operations.
to make and is disposable. Make one for a
I cut this joint, study the illustration below to When he isn’t writing about woodworking, particular job, use it, then dismantle it and
familiarize yourself with its parts. he’s doing it in his home shop in Kempton, Pa. recycle the scraps for something else.
If you are so inclined – and I haven’t been
so far – you can make a spiffy model with slid-
ing stops and a built-in work clamp.

Using the Fixture

Clamp the fixture to your bench and chuck
EFQUI the bit you want to use in your router’s collet.
5FOPO Mount the edge guide on the router.
UIJDLOFTT Lay out a sample mortise on a scrap,
including the midline mentioned above. I
.PSUJTFDIFFL .PSUJTF wouldn’t use an actual workpiece, but I always
MFOHUI use a piece of the working stock. Thickness is
critical to the setup. The mortise layout must
4IPVMEFS clearly define the mouth of your mortise.
Set the sample in the fixture, align it with
%FQUIPGNPSUJTFJT the setup line and clamp it to the long support.
HSFBUFS 5FOPO Set the router on the fixture and plunge the
UIBOMFOHUIPGUFOPO XJEUI bit down to the stock. Align the bit within the
layout lines and set the edge guide, cinching
down its screws.
With the bit still bottomed against the
work, zero out the router’s depth adjuster and
Anatomy of a mortise-and-tenon joint reset it for the depth you want.


1 1/2"x 3"x 18" long support

1/2"x 11/2" x 3" Setup line

Finally, set the router stops, which control
the mortise length. Move the bit so it aligns router stop
11/2" x 3" x 5"
with one end of the mortise. Set a scrap on short support
the long support against the router’s base and
attach it to the fixture. Move the router to the
other end of the mortise, align the bit, then
attach the second stop.
Move the router to the appropriate end of
the mortise for bit rotation, switch it on and
plunge the bit about 1 ⁄8" into the work. Make
a cut and retract the bit.
At this point, you can remove your sample
3/4" x 81/2" x 24" plywood base
from the fixture and measure the mortise
shoulders. Assuming the mortise is to be
centered, you want them equal. Adjust the
edge guide as necessary to center the cut.
(If the mortise is intended to be centered
on the work and your edge guide is less than
precise, here’s a trick. After routing the mortise
to its full depth, unclamp the work and turn
it around. Align the setup lines and reclamp
Edge mortising fixture - exploded view
the work. Re-rout the mortise. While it now
will be wider than the bit, it will be centered.
When you rout the matching tenons, simply best). Gaps and misalignments at the shoul- You can set this up in just a few minutes, you
cut them to fit the mortise.) der not only degrade the joint’s appearance, don’t have any layout to do, and you can cut
Now you can clamp a fresh sample in the they weaken it. You want a clean and square a typical tenon in four passes.
fixture and make a full-depth mortise. Never intersection of the shoulder and the cheek The key is the bit. Most manufacturers call
remove more than about 1 ⁄8" of material in a – no ridges of waste, which could prevent the it a mortising bit (intended for hinge mortis-
single pass with your plunge router. joint from closing completely. The shoulders ing), but some call it a planer bit. The bit is
If the sample mortise is properly located must be in the same plane all the way around designed to cut on the horizontal surface as
and it’s the correct length and depth, you the workpiece so they’ll seat tight against the well as the vertical. Thus it’s perfect for ten-
should be ready to rout the good stuff. mortise’s shoulders. oning, where you want shoulders square to
Router-cut tenons meet all these criteria cheeks and both surfaces smooth.
Routing Tenons and they’re easy to make. While there are a Mortising bits are available from many
A good tenon has straight, square shoulders variety of ways you can rout tenons, my fa- manufacturers with both 1 ⁄4" and 1 ⁄2" shanks
and smooth cheeks (smooth surfaces glue vorite is with a router table and a simple jig. and in diameters up to 11 ⁄2". With the biggest

Long support
Setup line
Photos by the author


Align the midline of the mortise with the jig’s setup line, then clamp the work The jig provides support under each plunge post, which enables you to
to the jig’s long support using an F-clamp. plunge your router smoothly. When cutting, move the router in the proper
direction, so the bit’s rotation pulls the edge guide against the support. 35

size, you can cut a typical tenon’s cheek in a

single pass. Even a bit that large can be run
safely at the router’s full speed.
I guide the work with an easy-to-make sled
that’s essentially a short, stocky T-square. The
sled rides along the tabletop edge so you get a
straight, consistently placed shoulder cut. The
fence holds the workpiece and backs up the
cut, so you don’t get tear-out. A stop clamped
Stop clamp
to the fence sets the tenon length.
The sled is simple to make, but be careful
about some details. Specifically, the shoe must
be perpendicular to the jig fence, the edge of
the fence must be perpendicular to the table-
top and the stop must be perpendicular to the Exploded view
edge of the fence and the tabletop. Misalign-
ment of any of these reference surfaces can
result in skewed tenons and shoulders.

Using the Sled

The first thing is to install the bit in the router
and set its elevation. Use a rule to measure Plan
the exposure of the cutting edge above the
table. I set the bit just under the width of the
mortise’s shoulder; that way, I can creep up
on the right setting (determined by fitting a
test tenon in a mortise) with test cuts.
Set up the sled next. Set the stop on the Profile Elevation
sled’s fence to establish the tenon length. To
Router table tenoning sled
do this, measure from the cut made into the
fence by the bit. (You always want to use the
same bit with the sled; otherwise you will get
tear-out.) If the tenon is to be 11 ⁄ 8" long, as
shown in the photo at right, align the 11 ⁄ 8"
mark on the rule at the edge of the cut. Slip the
stop onto the fence and bring it against the end
of the rule. Seat it firmly so it’s square to the
fence and the tabletop. Tighten its clamp.
Then cut a sample tenon to check the
setup. Make one pass, cutting the first cheek
and shoulder. Roll the workpiece over and cut
the second cheek and shoulder.
Check the fit of this tenon in your mortise. Position the stop by measuring from the shoulder Cutting your tenon takes only one pass per cheek.
You need a close fit for the joint to glue well. of the cut in the sled’s fence. Use the same bit for Lay the work on the table, pull it against the sled’s
tenoning so the shoulder cut remains accurate for fence and stop and feed it across the bit. The bit
If you have to hammer the tenon to close
setups and for backing up the tenon shoulders. cuts the cheek and shoulder simultaneously.
the joint, the fit is too tight. Hand pressure
should close it. But don’t make it too loose,
because the joint should stay closed until you In any case, your square-cornered tenon A third option is to scale the tenon width
separate the parts. doesn’t match your routed mortise, with its to fit the mortise. The primary glue surfaces are
Obviously, “plain vanilla” tenons, which rounded ends. You can resolve this problem in the broad cheeks, and you’ve got the shoulders
have the same width of shoulder all around, one of several ways. Some address it by squar- working to resist twisting and racking. If the
are the easiest to cut. An offset tenon or one ing the ends of the mortise with a chisel. I’ve narrow edges of the tenon aren’t in contract
with wider or narrower edge shoulders takes often rasped the tenon’s corners to roughly with the ends of the mortise, it doesn’t signifi-
one or two more setups. match the mortise. cantly impact the strength of the joint. PW


One afternoon – start to finish – is all it takes, even for a new woodworker.
This may be the easiest (and coolest) table you’ll ever build.

f mid-20th century modern furniture design were as popular as the Arts &

I Crafts style is today, then thousands of these tables would be turning up for
sale at craft shows any day now. Why? Anybody can build this table. And
the more tables you build at once, the less time each one will take.
In spite of its simplicity and minimal materials, the table is very sturdy,
owing to the geometry of the dowel placement. Isamu Noguchi (1904 - 1988),
a sculptor and designer recently honored with the issue of U.S. Postal Service
commemorative stamps, designed the table in the 1950s using a cast-iron
base and chrome-plated steel rods. Wooden dowels, even 5 ⁄16"-diameter ones
as used in our model, provide ample strength.
Many different materials can be used to make the table. In addition to
the wood or steel dowel options, the base can be solid wood or plywood. The
top can be solid wood, plywood covered with plastic laminate or even glass
with a ring of plywood to capture the top of the dowels and support the glass.
Marble, granite or slate are still other possibilities.

by Steve Shanesy & John Hutchinson

Comments or questions? Contact Steve at 513-531-2690 ext. 1238 or Contact John at


Photo by Al Parrish
The Secret to its Simplicity threaded rod connector and drill thickness isn’t critical). These Cutting Circles
When you’ve settled on the ma- out the threads. Just make sure the will be glued to the angled piece With the jig built, you can cut
terials, the first order of business inside dimension of whatever you to create a space to capture the the top and base to shape. You
(and the genius that makes the choose to guide your drill matches drill bit bushing. Glue the drill can use a band saw or jigsaw for
table so easy to build) is making your dowels’ diameter. bit bushing to the angled section this, but a perfectly round shape
one simple jig. This is what will To build the jig, first rip and of the jig using epoxy. is best achieved by using a router
guide your drill bit when boring crosscut a 2"-wide x 61 ⁄ 2"-long After the glue has cured, cut with a circle-cutting jig. Although
the holes for the dowels. board. The thickness of the board a notch in the bottom of this as- you can purchase this jig, a simple
You’ll need something to use should be the same as the outside sembly and attach the long, trans- shop-made version will handle
as a guide for the drill bit, which dimension of the drill bit bush- verse “wing” board. This board this project easily.
we’ll call the drill bit bushing. ing. On this board, cut a 56° angle provides you with a place to attach Simply mount a piece of 1 ⁄ 4"-
Aluminum or copper tubing can across its width at one end (use a the clamps that will hold the jig thick plywood that’s about 24"
be used for 1 ⁄4" or 3 ⁄8" dowels, but miter saw or a miter gauge with a in place while you drill your holes long to the base of your router.
for 5 ⁄ 16" dowels (which we used 34° setting). for the dowels. Simply secure the Drill a hole so a straight bit can
for the table shown on page 47), Next, cut two 2"-wide x 61 ⁄2"- wing to the jig using four coun- pass through the jig. For the three
you should buy a 1" long x 5 ⁄ 16" long pieces of scrap wood (the tersunk drywall screws. radius sizes required for this proj-
ect (the top, and the outside and
inside circles of the base) drill a
+JHBMJHONFOUDFOUFSMJOF small hole for a finish nail that will
DPOUJOVFTEPXOCBDLPG be the pivot point of the jig.
CVTIJOHTVQQPSUCMPDL Where you drill these pivot
holes depends in part on whether
you are cutting the outside edge
of the top or base or the inside
# edge of the hole in the base. To
cut the outside edge of the top and
$ base, you don’t want to include
the diameter of the straight bit in
your measurement; for the inside
% hole, you do.
Next, prepare the two square
The drilling jig is made from four blanks for the top and base from
pieces of wood, with the center Drilling jig 1 ⁄2"-thick material of your choice.
piece cut at the proper angle before
Each blank should be at least 1 ⁄8"
gluing the blocks in place. The metal
bigger than the finished size. On
using epoxy. P the underside of each plywood
blank (the side that won’t show)
find the center by drawing two
lines from corner to corner of
each square. The center is where
those lines intersect. Mark that
A finish nail serves as the pivot point spot with an awl for the finish
for the circle-cutting jig. For outside nail that is the pivot point of your
cuts, measure from the inside edge circle-cutting jig.
of the router bit; use the outside Insert the finish nail in the
edge of the bit for measuring inside appropriate hole in the jig and
cuts. Mark the radius distance on the
hammer it in the center of the
jig, then drill a small hole for the nail.
blank. When cutting the circles
in the base, you can drive the nail
clear through because – if your
design calls for it – the center piece
is later cut away and discarded.
Cut the outside circle first. (The
inside circle is cut after you drill






Underside of top

Blank clamped
Make cut
to scrap plywood
or bench

Mark the center of the circle with an awl. Then use the point of the nail in the
jig to drop in the hole. Give the nail a couple of taps with a hammer to secure
it. Cut the circle by moving the router counterclockwise. Make the cut in
several passes, lowering the bit about 1⁄8" after each pass.

your holes for the dowels.) Do the holes first because you’ll need to
same thing for the top, except this use the waste material of the in-
time don’t drive the nail all the side circle to align the jig.
way through. Half-size pattern
When cutting all the circles, Drilling Holes (enlarge 200%)
you should make the cut in three Prepare to drill the holes for the
passes, so set the depth of your dowels using the jig you made
router bit’s cut accordingly. Be and the hole-drilling pattern at
sure to clamp each blank to your right. To use the pattern provided
benchtop. You’ll likely want to here, you’ll need to enlarge it 200
protect your work surface from percent (double the size). It fits
the last router bit pass by putting nicely on legal-size paper. Then
some scrap below the work. make five copies, trim to the pat-
Also, keep in mind that when tern border and match them up
you later cut the inside circle of so that corresponding, overlap-
the base, the outer ring should be ping lines are in place, as shown at
clamped down so it isn’t damaged right. Tape the five pages together,
by the router bit at the moment it’s then carefully tape them to the
cut free of the outer ring. top side of the base.
Cut the top and the outside Next, study the pattern and
base circles. As mentioned earlier, sort out the various circles. The
before cutting the inside base cir- very outside circle is the outside
cle, you’ll need to drill the dowel diameter of the top. The next Pattern layout 49
circle in is the outside diameter of
the base. It contains the five pairs
of small circles that are the drilling
locations for the holes in the base
where the dowels will be glued.
Note: Each drilling location has a
straight line (green in the drawing
on page 49) that connects it to the
location in the top for gluing the
other end of the dowel.
Before clamping the jig in place
and drilling your holes, you must
mark the centerline of the guide
bushing on the back of the jig.
Transfer the drilling locations
from the paper template to the
work. Use an awl or other pointed
Tape the five-piece pattern together and lightly secure it
implement to softly mark each
to the underside of the top. Use an awl to mark the hole’s
hole’s center. Then follow the drilling center for the dowels. Make two more marks, Connect the dots made by the awl with a pencil line. The
straight “dowel” line mentioned one to represent the hole center for the base and another pencil line will represent the dowel’s path from the top
earlier about 8" back and softly along the line indicating the dowel path. Mark the center hole to the base hole. You’ll use this line to set up the
mark another point. Designate about 8" back from the dowel center for the top. drilling jig in proper alignment.
pairs of dimples that go together
When all these are made for the
base, remove the template, keep- To clamp the jig to the work, Align the pencil mark on the back Before assembly, you may want
ing it intact, then connect the you’ll need to elevate it. Use short bottom edge of the jig with the to apply edge veneer tape to the
paired dimples with a pencil line. lengths of 2x4s. Now you can posi- straight line for that hole loca- exposed plywood edges. Use pres-
(Or, you can make two copies of tion the jig as shown below. tion. Verify the position by sliding sure-sensitive adhesive-backed
the pattern, attach one to the top Use the drill bit bushing as your brad-point drill bit through veneer tape because of the size of
and one to the base, and drill right a sighting device so you can see the bushing. If the point hits the the inside circle of the base.
through each pattern.) the center of your marked hole. dimple, it’s perfect.
Clamp the jig to the work and Assembling the Storm
drill a 1 ⁄ 4"-deep hole. Because It’s time to cut your dowels to
you’re drilling at an angle, one length – five at 235 ⁄ 8" and five at
side of the hole will be longer than 237 ⁄16" to create a 20"-high table
1 ⁄4". To establish a consistent hole when assembled. Designate length
depth, mark on your drill bit where by color-coding the ends.
you should stop drilling when the Next, dry-fit the base, dowels
mark reaches the top of the bush- and top. First insert the dowels in
ing. Repeat the process for each the base. Each pair will make a
hole center on the base and the “V” shape. Insert the slightly lon-
top. Once you drill all the holes ger dowels first in the left hole of
in the base, place the template on each pair. Next, place the shorter
the underside of the top piece and dowels in the right hole making
follow the same steps to drill the sure these dowels overlap outside
mating holes. To make assembly all of the previously placed dowels.
easier, redrill the holes in the top Study the 3-D illustration at right
using a bit that’s 1 ⁄64" larger than to get a clearer picture.
5 ⁄ 16". It’s not necessary to use the When you’re satisfied with the
2x4s elevate part for clamping jig – just chase the existing holes assembly, take the table apart.
with the larger bit. Sand it and get ready to finish
With the drilling jig clamped in place, drill a 1⁄4"-deep hole for the dowel. Now that the drilling is com- the base, dowels and underside
You should mark your drill bit with a pen or piece of tape to tell you how deep plete, you can go back and rout out of the top. If you want, finish the
to drill. Obviously, you don’t want to drill through your top. the inner circle of the base. good side of the top, too. Just be


careful not to damage it during respective holes. Be sure all the
final assembly. dowels are seated home. Measure
Before applying any finish, the distance between the base and
plug the dowel holes and tape off top to make sure they’re parallel.
the ends of the dowels. This will This will ensure a table with a top
ensure that you’re gluing wood to that’s parallel to the floor. While
wood, not finished wood to fin- the glue is drying, place a weight
ished wood. To finish the dowels, on top of the base.
consider screwing cup hooks in The Tornado Table described
one end so you can apply the finish here is basic and representative of
and then hang them to dry. the original Noguchi table. As you
For final assembly, place the can see from the gallery of tables
top upside down and glue all the our entire staff made (on page 52),
dowels in the top first. Then apply the variations of tornado tables
glue to the holes in the base and are limited only by your imagina-
carefully slip the dowels in their tion and materials.



As a child of the 1950s, I used get? Despite its current negative
to classify myself as a Baby connotations, the shape of the
Boomer. After researching cooling tower was the icon for
Isamu Noguchi’s Tornado Table, a bright new tomorrow in the
I’ve decided to switch titles to mid-1950s.
“Offspring of the Atomic Age.” As a pure geometric form,
EPXFMT (The fact that my father worked the shape of the Tornado Table
! for the Atomic Energy Commis- (and the illustration above) is
TVSGBDFPGUPQBOE sion doesn’t hurt, either.) what is known as a one-sheeted
UPQTVSGBDFPGCBTF If commercial nuclear power hyperboloid. For more informa-
has a birthday, it would be tion on all the cool math, check
EJBCBTF Dec. 8, 1953. That was the day out http://mathworld.wolfram.
President Eisenhower gave com/Hyperboloid.html. Ap-
his “Atoms for Peace” speech. parently, hyperboloids came in
As a result, the first wholly one- and two-sheet varieties.
commercial power plant was But what about three
ordered in 1955 and built in sheets? Yet another Internet
1959 by Commonwealth Edison search gave me the answer.
EJBDVUPVU in Morris, Ill. Coincidentally, The phrase “three sheets to

Noguchi presented his design the wind” dates to 1821. The

for the rocking stool (yes, the “sheet” is a reference to a
table started as a rocker) to rope on a sailboat. To have a
TORNADO TABLE furniture manufacturer Knoll sheet loose in the wind is bad
NO. ITEM DIMENSIONS (INCHES) MATERIAL Associates in 1955. When seamanship; to have three loose
T W L inverted and with a few dowels means you are not capable of
1⁄2 added, the Tornado Table takes controlling the boat i.e., wasted.
❏ 1 Top 22-dia. Maple plywood
on the shape of a nuclear power And you thought you’d only be
❏ 1 Base 14-dia. Maple plywood facility’s cooling tower. How learning about woodworking.
❏ 5 Dowels 5 ⁄ 16 -dia. 237⁄16 Maple much more “atomic” can you — JH
❏ 5 Dowels 5 ⁄ 16 -dia. 235 ⁄8 Maple 51
To show you how simple the Tornado Table is to build, we had
each member of the Popular Woodworking staff design and
construct their own interpretation. Here’s a quick look at what
each person created.

• Steve Shanesy, editor and publisher

Materials: Walnut top, white oak base, steel supports
The idea behind it: I wanted to get closer to the look and materials of the
original Noguchi design. The base is turned, giving it a slight domed shape,
and the 1⁄4" steel round stock is bent at the base and secured with clinch
nails. The walnut top is a single board (believe it or not) and features a so-
called “pencil edge” detail often seen on Knoll furniture pieces of the era.

• Linda Watts, art director

Materials: White oak
The idea behind it: I delight in sitting on my front porch on a warm after-
noon, so my goal was a practical one. I wanted a side table that could with-
stand the weather and hold a good book, a glass of iced tea and a planter of
flowers. I cut a hole in the top to inset the lipped planter for stability
and finished the table with a light coat of boiled linseed oil.

• Christopher Schwarz, executive editor

Materials: Cherry base and dowels, sugar pine top
The idea behind it: I was going for a high-tech, high-texture look, so all the
surfaces are finished with hand tools. The rippled surface of the top was cre-
ated with a scrub plane. The chamfers on the base and underside of the top
were made with a drawknife, block plane and scrapers. And the circle in the
base was shaped with a small gouge.

• David Thiel, senior editor

Materials: Poplar top and base, hardwood dowels
The idea behind it: Black lacquer has always held a magical appeal for me.
With such a simple table, a gloss black finish seemed an obvious way to dress
it up. I left the dowels natural as a counter-balance to the stark reality of the
top and base. The edge of the top was radiused above and a heavy chamfer
applied below to slim the appearance.

• Kara Gebhart, managing editor

Materials: Maple plywood top and bases,
hardwood dowels
The idea behind it: I wanted a top with a more fluid
shape, but then there was a stability issue. So John suggested
creating a two-base tornado “storm.” The amoeba-shaped top
(cut out on the band saw) is two 22"-diameter circles connected
with curves. The overall height is 17" and I chose 1⁄4" dowels. The
drilling angles remained the same. I finished it with spray lacquer.

• Michael Rabkin, associate editor

Materials: Poplar top and base, hardwood dowels
The idea behind it: Baseball has always been a big part of
my life – Mom was a huge Yankee fan and Dad was my Little
League coach who took my best friend and me to our first of many
major league games. I changed the circular base to a home plate and painted
the entire table white. Then my friend Amy (a great artist) painted the red
stitching on the top so it looks like the ball I caught while walking with Dad in
the left-field bleachers during batting practice in Pittsburgh this year. PW



Router table cabinets can be a

waste of space. This compact,
Photo by Al Parrish

vise-mounted unit stores easily

and is just the right size.
think it might have been see- track installed front to back on

I ing a $1,000 router table setup

at a recent woodworking show
(it’s very cool, but $1,000?). Or
the tabletop to easily reposition
the fence.
The fence itself is a variation of
maybe it was realizing that our one we’ve built half-a-dozen times.
shop’s router table’s cabinet mostly The fence base is almost a torsion
takes up space and fills with dust. box – more of a torsion corner –
Either of these observations was that provides stable support for the
enough to get us rethinking our laterally adjustable fence faces and
router table needs. allows for dust hook-up.
Essentially you need a stable, For the router itself, we went
flat working surface that can sup- shopping. After looking at a num-
port most work. You need a fence ber of router lifts and router table
that guides, supports and moves plates we chose the Milwaukee
easily for adjustments (both the 5625-29, a 31 ⁄2 horsepower router
fence location on the table and that offers through-the-base
the faces themselves toward the height adjustment. And, no, the
bit). You also need easy access to price of the router is not included
the router for bit changing and in the $120 figure. You don’t have
height adjustment. Other than to use this router, but in our opin-
that, it just needs to be up off the ion it has the horsepower you want Allowing the proper clearance for your router is critical. You can see that I’ve
removed the handles from the tool to allow as much space as possible. Mark
floor, hence the cabinet. to swing large panel-raising bits on
out the space and then assemble the frame to fit.
So we decided that a light- your router table, and the through-
weight, easily stored router table- the-base adjustment means you
top that would still offer all these don’t need to buy a router lift. The Torsion Top Construction how to cut the hole in the tabletop
benefits would be preferable. Oh, variable speed is also a big plus. The top itself is very simple to to fit the plate. Otherwise, follow
and we wanted to be able to make We chose a circular router plate make. A frame made of 3 ⁄ 4" x 3" the instructions for your individ-
it in a weekend for less than $120. from Veritas because it replaces plywood pieces is sandwiched ual router plate.
No problem! The hardware came the sole plate on your router and between two pieces of 3 ⁄ 4" ply- We chose to locate the router
to $65 and change. You can pur- allows you to still use the router wood. T he bottom piece is plate closer to the front of the
chase the plywood locally or we’ve freehand or in the table without notched to accommodate your table rather than in the center of
included a source on page 73 that changing the base. The base also router (you’ll need to test fit your the table. Most router table work
will provide the necessary wood fits into the table without the use router to locate the center frame happens within 6" of the fence
for less than $50. of any tools, and slips in and out pieces and the notch). The top and this location keeps you from
from above in seconds. piece extends 11 ⁄ 2" beyond the having to lean across the table for
An Ingenious Design Now the fun part: To bring the frame on all sides to allow for operations. If you have a larger
For a stable, lightweight top the router table up to height, but still clamping featherboards or other piece to run, the fence can be
solution that made sense was a tor- make it compact, we designed a guides to the top surface. reversed on the table to give you
sion box made of high-density ply- brace that is mounted to the table Start by cutting out the top, a larger support surface.
wood. The size that seemed most and then the entire thing is sim- bottom and seven frame pieces. With the router plate located
functional was a 20"-deep x 24"- ply clamped in your bench vise. If you opt to use the Veritas plate, in the top, suspend the router from
wide platform that only needed to Instant router table! the instructions are very clear on the top and locate the two center
be about 4" tall. The box itself has frame members the necessary dis-
an open center section on the bot- by David Thiel tance to clear the router. Make a
tom to accommodate the router Comments or questions? Contact David at 513-531-2690 ext. 1255 note of that dimension, then lay
body. There are two lengths of T- or out your frame accordingly. 71
I used glue and an 18-gauge Attach the bottom the same This will keep you from scratch- face, faces and braces. All but the
brad nailer to assemble all the way you assembled the frame. ing your work, or worse, allowing braces are very straightforward.
pieces for this project. While per- Before fastening the top to the your wood to hang up on a brad The braces are actually triangles.
haps not the height of joinery, it’s table, you need to install the alu- head during an operation. The best method is to rip a piece
fast and reliable. minum T-track inserts for fence of plywood to 3" wide, then head
With the frame assembled, adjustment. I used a dado set on Down and Dirty Fence to the miter saw. First miter both
place the frame on the bottom, my table saw to run the grooves The fence is also absurdly simple ends of the strip at a 45° angle,
and mark and notch the center before attaching the top. to make. Accuracy is important then reset the miter saw for a 90°
section to allow clearance space Next, attach the top, center- to make sure it sits square to the cut and cut the 3" triangles from
for the router body. You could leave ing it on the frame assembly. Pay tabletop, but other than that, it’s the strip. Repeat this process and
the center section open, but the extra attention when attach- brads and glue. you’ve got four braces.
extra strength along the back of ing the top to keep the fasteners Start construction on the The sub-face and base need to
the tabletop is worth the effort. below the surface of the tabletop. fence by cutting out the base, sub- have a 3"-wide half-circle cut at

More marking: With the frame assembled and resting on the bottom piece,
mark out the notch that will allow the router to extend through the top.



With the bottom notched, simply glue and nail it in place on the frame.
❏ 1 T1 Top 3⁄4 20 24 Plywood
❏ 1 B1 Bottom 3⁄4 17 21 Plywood
❏ 2 B2 Frame F&B 3⁄4 3 21 Plywood
❏ 4 B3 Frame dividers 3⁄4 3 151⁄2 Plywood
❏ 1 B4 Frame divider 3⁄4 3 101⁄2 Plywood
❏ 2 B5 Support stems 3⁄4 3 7 Plywood
❏ 2 B6 Support braces 3⁄4 3 21 Plywood
❏ 2 F1 Fence faces 3⁄4 4 14 Plywood
❏ 1 F2 Fence sub-face 1 ⁄2 31⁄2 28 Plywood
❏ 1 F3 Fence base 1 ⁄2 3 28 Plywood
❏ 4 F4 Fence braces 3⁄4 3 3 Plywood
❏ 1 F5 Hood top 1 ⁄2 5 31⁄2 Plywood
❏ 2 F6 Hood sides 1 ⁄2 21⁄2 3 Plywood
❏ 1 F7 Hood back 1 ⁄2 5 3 Plywood
❏ 2 H1 Fence T-tracks 3 ⁄8 3⁄4 14 Aluminum
❏ 4 H2 Hex-head bolts 1⁄4"-20 11⁄2"
❏ 4 H3 Star knobs After cutting the grooves for the T-track, tap it in place using a backing block.
❏ 2 H4 Cam clamps If you have to tap too hard with the hammer, your groove is too small. Attach
❏ 2 H5 Table T-tracks 3 ⁄8 3⁄4 20 Aluminum the track with 1⁄2" x #4 flathead screws. Pre-drill and countersink each hole.


the center of each piece along one ) '
edge as shown on page 74. This
space will be the opening for the '
router bits.
The sub-face is then glued and
) )
nailed to the base. Then glue the
braces into the corner formed by ) '
the sub-face and base. Make sure '
to locate the braces as shown to  
avoid interference with any of the '
fence handles. I again used brad '
nails to hold the braces in place. 
For the router table to be as use-
ful as possible it needs dust collec-
tion. This is achieved by building '
a simple hood to surround the bit
opening in the fence. Drill a hole
in the hood back piece. Adjust the Fence - exploded view ) EJB
hole size to fit your dust collection EVTUDPMMFDUJPO
hose, usually 11 ⁄4" in diameter. 
Then attach the hood sides to
the hood back, holding the sides
flush to the top edge of the back.
Then add the top to the box.

Lee Valley Tools
800-871-8158 or
4 • Four-arm knobs
#00M55.30, $1.50 each
1 • Veritas Router Base Plate 4QBDFBDDPSEJOHUP
#05J25.01, $29.50 DMFBSBODFOFFETGPS #
2 • 2' T-slot extrusions
#12K79.01, $6.50 each #
1 • 3' T-slot extrusion #
#12K79.03, $9.50 each
2 • Cam clamp mechanisms
#05J51.01, $3.50 each
The Wood & Shop Inc. #
314-731-2761 or #
2 • 3 ⁄4" x 30" x 30" Birch ply
#BBP3 ⁄4C30X30, $18 each
1 • 1 ⁄2" x "20" x 30" Birch ply #
#BBP1 ⁄2 20X30, $6.90 each
Available from any
hardware store:
4 • 11 ⁄2" 1 ⁄4"-20 hex-head bolts
2 • 11 ⁄4" 1 ⁄4"-20 hex-head bolts Router table - top removed 73
Cutting out the bit clearance hole on the band saw is made simple by first cut- With the sub-face and base assembled, add the four triangular braces with
ting “spokes” toward your line. These relief cuts allow the pieces to fall out in glue and brads. Space them adequately to support the fence, but make sure
small chunks, rather than fighting with one bigger piece. you leave room for the knobs.

After installing the cam clamps, lock the fence in place on

the top and check for square. If adjustment is necessary,
you can do it by sanding the base or adding thin shims.
The dust collection hood completes the router table fence. It should seal tightly around the fence You don’t want to add shims behind the fence faces
to provide the best dust collection, so don’t skimp on the glue here. because they’re moving parts. Adjust the base.

The next step is to locate and to check the fence against the top. near the bit, I beveled the inside 5 ⁄16"-diameter bit to drill through

drill the holes for the cam clamps If it’s not square you need to adjust lip of each of the faces at 45°. Next to the back of the fence face. This
that hold the fence to the table the base slightly, either by shim- you need to rout two, 21 ⁄ 2"-wide will create a slot that will let a 1 ⁄2"-
and for the knobs that hold the ming or removing material from stepped slots in the front of each hex-head bolt drop into the slot,
faces. Place the fence assembly the underside of the fence base to fence face. These will allow the recessing the head, but capturing
over the table and orient the make it square. faces to be moved left-to-right to the sides of the bolt head to keep
cam clamp holes so they fall in Next, drill the holes for the accommodate different bit sizes. it from spinning.
the center of the T-tracks in the fence knobs, again avoiding the The easiest way to do this is on I also added a T-slot fixture to
top. There can be a little bit of braces so the knobs can be easily a router table, but if you’re building the front of each face. This allows
play, but not too much. turned. The holes should be 2" up your first, you can use a drill press you to attach featherboards, a
Secure the fence to the table from the tabletop. with two different bits. Use a 1 ⁄2"- guard to protect your fingers and
with the cam clamps so it seats The fence faces are next. To diameter Forstner bit to first cut a other guides. Again, you can use a
tightly. Use an engineer’s square allow the best fence clearance 1 ⁄ 4"-deep slot. Then change to a router or your dado set in the table


Seen from the front, the fence faces have been grooved for the T-tracks, and
the clearance holes to attach and adjust the faces are drilled. Note that the
face slot shows the rough edges from the overlapping holes made on the drill
press. A few minutes with a file and some sandpaper will clean up the slots so After drilling clearance holes, you can locate the holes in the fence faces and
the bolt will move smoothly. add the knobs.

Here you can see the fences in place and the fence attached and ready to run. The T-tracks in the The support brace (customized for my bench vise) holds
fence faces can be used for featherboards and you can use them to attach a simple guard to keep the router top firmly in place with plenty of clearance
your hands a safe distance from the bit. (and no wasted space).

saw to make the slot (about 1" depend on your bench vise, but the vise at both the top and bot- ier. You can add a topcoat of spray-
down from the top of the fence). you want the tabletop to rest on tom of the jaws for more support. on lacquer (as we did), or simply
Attach the fence faces using the vise as much as possible. In Your vise may require a different add a coat of oil or shellac.
the bolts, washers and knobs. fact, if you can also get the top arrangement, so give it a test run Some other simple additions
to rest on the vise at the rear of to make sure it’s held tight. for your table can include some
The Mounting Support the table, that’s even better sup- shop-made featherboards (that
To make the whole thing work, port. Our larger router forced us Finishing Touches will fit nicely in the T-tracks on
you need to be able to secure the to move the support all the way With the support mounted you the fence face) and if you’re really
table in your bench vise, but still to the rear of the table. This is can put your table to work. But you industrious, you could actually
have access to the router motor. something else that can be indi- may want to add a step – finishing. add a couple of storage drawers
We used a U-shaped support vidualized on your table. While a bare plywood surface will to either side of the opening in
screwed to the sides of the table. You’ll see in the photo that we perform reasonably well, a slicker the top. Customize the project to
The actual size of the support will used two support braces to catch surface will make things move eas- meet your needs. PW 75
Fundamentals of
Owning the right tools and knowing a few tricks
will ensure accurate work.

ayout is one of the most Tools for Marking Immediately my woodworking wood. You’ll find it much easier
important processes in Although I sometimes use a pen- improved. A knife is the best to saw or chisel accurately to an
woodworking; it provides cil for layout (more on pencils choice for accurate layout, espe- incised line than to a pencil mark;
an essential “road map” to point in a minute), my first choice of a cially when you’re using hand the saw or chisel will naturally fol-
you in the right direction when marking instrument is a knife. I tools. Pens and pencils make a low a scored line.
cutting and fitting your joints. remember early in my career when mark on the surface of the wood, Although there are a number
Layout is also an area of wood- I first used a knife for marking. but a sharp layout knife incises the of fancy layout knives available
working where it’s easy to make in woodworking tool catalogs,
costly mistakes; and it’s disheart- by Lonnie Bird my favorite is still an X-acto
ening to cut and fit joints only Lonnie is the author of “The Complete Illustrated Guide to Using Woodworking knife. It’s razor sharp so it doesn’t
to find out that they won’t go Tools” (The Taunton Press) and teaches woodworking. You can learn more about his require honing, the long, slender
together properly or that they’re classes online at tip reaches into tight spaces and
in the wrong location. when it becomes dull it takes just
Yet I’ve found that by using a minute to replace the old blade
the right tools for the job and fol- with a sharp one.
lowing some simple procedures If you’ve been trying to cut
Marking gauge X-acto knife #4 pencil
that accurate layout is virtually dovetails to a pencil line you will
assured. Let’s first take a look at see a noticeable improvement
some layout tools that should be when you switch to using a knife
part of every woodworker’s tool for marking out the joints. The
kit; then we’ll go over the tech- chisel will easily slip into the knife
niques that I use to measure and line and give you a clean, crisp cut
mark accurately. every single time.

Here you can see three lines scored on a piece of wood. The left line was made
using a marking gauge, the middle line was made using an X-acto knife and
the right line was made using a #4 pencil beveled to a chisel profile.


Photos by Al Parrish
Machinist’s combination square Steel tapes self-wind onto a you avoid the fancy rosewood
spool for convenience but when and brass versions, and purchase
Steel rule unwound, the tape doesn’t lie flat. a machinist’s quality combination
Folding rule This creates a potential parallax square. This versatile tool works as
problem as the curled edges of both an inside and outside square,
Divider the tape lift the graduations off a 45° square, and a depth gauge.
the workpiece. Even so, the steel The best ones have a hardened
tape is still a favorite among many head and an engraved rule. Cheap
woodworkers. The shorter ver- squares feature a die-cast head, a
sions, 10' to 12', are lighter and stamped rule, and are often, in
Adjustable Compass more compact than the large, fact, not square.
bevel gauge Dovetail awkward 25' tapes that really are To mark angles other than 90°
marker intended for the construction you’ll want an adjustable bevel
trades and not for woodworking. gauge. This tool has a blade that
These layout tools should be in every woodworker’s toolbox. When making precise mea- pivots to any angle and locks in
surements, such as a drawer open- place. The best examples of this
ing, I always use a steel rule. The layout tool use a lever to lock the
For incising knife lines paral- – from steel tapes to steel squares best ones are machined, rather blade rather than a wing nut. The
lel to the edge of stock I choose a with engraved markings and a than stamped, and the numerals lever is low in profile and pivots
marking gauge. The tiny knife or satin finish. A good rule should are engraved. Nowadays, a satin out of the way. In contrast, many
wheel of a marking gauge actually be easy to read and convenient finish is available, which elimi- newer bevels use a wing nut, which
scores the wood like a knife. The to carry around the shop. My per- nates glare and prohibits rust. The can often be obtrusive.
head of the gauge follows the edge sonal favorite is still the venerable engravings allow you to slide the Laying out dovetails involves
of the stock to ensure that the lay- Lufkin X46 folding wood rule. point of a layout knife precisely marking the same angle on the
out line is parallel to the stock’s It measures 6', which is longer into position for the highest stock repeatedly. You can use
edge. The marking gauge is the than the majority of woodwork- degree of accuracy. a bevel gauge and set it to the
best tool for marking baselines ing projects, yet it folds easily and When measuring equal dis- required angle with a protractor
on dovetail joints. But once you quickly to slip into a pocket. And tances, don’t overlook dividers. or you can use a dovetail marker.
own a gauge, you’ll find a num- unlike a steel tape it holds itself This simple tool has legs, which A dovetail marker has the angle
ber of uses for it. When shopping open and stays put while I’m mark- adjust to step off equal spaces with built in so there’s no need to set it
for a gauge, look for one with a ing. It’s even got a brass slide at accuracy. The best dividers have a before each use.
graduated beam and a cutter that one end that serves double duty thumbscrew for locking in precise For drawing arcs and circles
removes for sharpening. for taking inside measurements adjustments. you’ll need a compass. Similar to
Although pencils are not my and measuring depth, such as the Every woodworker should have dividers, a compass has two steel
first choice for precision joinery, inside of a mortise. Put a drop of a good-quality square; it’s one of legs but one can be replaced with
they still find a use in my shop. oil on each joint occasionally and the most useful and important a pencil. Trammels are useful for
When I need a fine, accurate lay- this tool will last for many years. tools you’ll own. I’d suggest that large arcs and circles beyond the
out line but I don’t want to see a
scored line in the finished prod-
uct, I use a #4 pencil. Unlike the
common soft #2 pencil, the #4 has
a very hard lead, which can be Fifth First
finely sharpened and will hold its Second
edge. You can find #4 pencils at
most office-supply stores. When Fourth
sharpening a #4 pencil I use an
old draftsman’s trick and bevel
the edge to a chisel profile with
fine sandpaper.

Tools for Measuring

Open almost any woodworking Here you can see mortise locations and sizes marked out To deter parallax, position your rule on edge and view the
tool catalog and you’re sure to see on a table’s leg. Notice which dimensions you should numbers you’re marking head on, as shown here.
a wide variety of measuring tools mark out first.


■ Avoid measuring. Although but it also avoids the errors that
this may sound odd, there are inevitably come if you measure
many times I don’t measure at and mark each piece separately.
all. Instead, I mark the workpiece ■ Keep the tools shar p.

from the mating part. For exam- Whether you’re using a pencil,
ple, all joints involve at least two knife, or marking gauge, remem-
members; rather than measure ber to keep the tools sharp. A
and mark the second piece, I lay it sharp layout knife will score the
out from its mate. Doors and draw- wood cleanly while a dull knife
ers are another example. Because will tear the fibers and make it
they’re made to fit a cabinet, I posi- difficult to craft a clean, precise-
tion them adjacent to the opening fitting joint.
for marking. Using this method I Remember, too, that while
can avoid calculation errors and a hard, #4 pencil may be appro-
ensure a precise fit. priate for some types of layout, it
■ Mark “Lefts” and “Rights.” becomes imprecise as it wears. A
Most furniture pieces are symmet- quick rub over fine sandpaper will
rical and so they involve making restore the fine chisel edge.
mirror image parts. During lay- ■ Make sure you can see.

out it’s easy to mistakenly mark Recently my eyesight has dropped

For an exact fit, mark measurements on pieces using mating parts, not rulers.
two “lefts” or two “rights.” Often off slightly and I’ve found it diffi-
Here you can see I’m marking a stile for a cabinet.
the mistake isn’t noticed until cult to see details. One of the guys
the joints are cut and it’s time to in a class offered use of his reading
reach of a compass. Their capac- piece of stock to determine the assemble the project. glasses and it made a world of dif-
ity is limited only by the length “show” faces. After selecting the An easy method for avoiding ference. I’ve also found that extra
of the stick that they’re clamped figure and orienting the grain, I this common layout error is to lighting helps.
to. And trammels will give you label the parts “top,” “bottom,” clamp the mating pieces together ■ Measure twice, cut once.

much greater accuracy than the “left,” “right,” etc. The labels tell for marking. Start by measuring This adage still rings true. I’ll often
old string and nail trick. me at a glance how each piece is and marking the first piece, mea- measure the completed layout and
to fit within the assembly. sure a second time to check the find an error. In fact, layout errors
Layout Technique ■ Mark overall dimensions layout for errors, then clamp the are my most common mistake. So
Remember, layout is a road map to first. With each piece of furni- mating pieces together and trans- I’ve found that measuring twice
guide you as you cut joints, curves ture I build, the overall dimen- fer the layout. ensures that after careful cutting
and profiles. To ensure that joints sion is usually the most critical. This method not only ensures and fitting the joints, all the parts
and assemblies fit together as For example, chair seats are usu- that you have both a left and right, fit together during assembly. PW
planned, here are the guidelines ally 17" from the floor; tabletops
that I follow: and the writing surfaces on a desk
■ Start with straight stock. are 29" from the floor. I measure
Your finest work always begins and mark this critical dimension
with stock that is flat, straight first, then I measure and mark the
and square. It’s difficult, at best, location of joints, drawers, doors,
to perform accurate layout and feet, etc. In contrast, if you mea-
joinery on even slightly warped sure and mark the smaller dimen-
stock. Consider skipping the S2S sions first and expect them to add
that’s surfaced at the lumberyard up, small errors can accumulate to
and milling your own stock from throw the overall dimension off.
rough lumber. And always mill ■ Avoid parallax. This phe-

mating parts, such as the stiles and nomenon can cause small errors
rails of a face frame, together to in your layout. It occurs when the
ensure uniformity. marks on the rule are viewed at an
■ Label the parts. Labeling angle. To avoid this, position the
the parts in a project helps avoid rule on edge so that the gradua-
confusion and mix-ups. Before tions touch the stock and view the Clamping mating parts and transferring layout lines ensures accuracy versus
layout I carefully examine each number you’re marking head on. individually measuring each part. 79
Plant Stand A spline-and-miter joint ensures
this elegant table will remain stable.

hen I started building custom furniture many years ago, I
discovered the best way to advertise my work is to let people
see it. To do this my wife and I attend art and craft shows,
and our local farmers’ market. We take along a selection of jewelry boxes
and other small items that we feel show the quality of our work.
At the start of each year we try to come up with something that our
regular customers haven’t seen before. And we hope it will be some-
thing that they will want to have for themselves.
A couple years ago, I designed this small table. Because all my work
is one-of-a-kind and made using solid hardwoods, I needed something
I could build in about four hours to make it affordable for my custom-
ers. This table is the result.
Since its first outing, I have made a considerable number of these
tables. I have made them from native hardwoods and imported exot-
ics, including teak, mahogany and purpleheart. The tops have been
round, square, octagonal and other custom shapes. The legs have been
tapered, straight and some have been Queen Anne style. All of these
variations have an elegance all their own.

by Barry Black
Barry Black builds custom furniture in Red Deer, Alberta, Canada, using hand tools
as much as he can. His passion for antique hand tools has become a sideline and he
sells them on his web site,


Photos by Dwight Arthur
The Right Wood rately to thickness, but there is
Although I used 5/4 material for some room for small variations.
the top in the table shown here, Try to bear in mind that we are T W L
the entire project can be built building a table, not a part for a 3 ⁄4
❏ 4 Legs 3 27* Walnut
from 3 ⁄ 4"-thick stock. The wood space shuttle. No matter how care- 3 ⁄4
❏ 4 Aprons 31 ⁄2 8 Walnut
should be planed reasonably accu- fully you prepare your wood, when 3 ⁄4 3 ⁄4
❏ 2 Stretchers 10 Walnut
the weather changes, it most likely
❏ 1 Top 1 12 12 Curly maple
will change, too. 3 ⁄4
 ❏ 1 Shelf 7 7 Curly maple
The wood for the legs should
  *Finished dimension; cut oversized for shaping
be relatively straight-grained for
obvious reasons. When I make a
table with Queen Anne legs, how- x 29". Near the top of each leg ers. The holes should be 5 ⁄8" deep.
ever, I look for wood with some mark where the slot will end at I use 1 ⁄ 4"-diameter by 11 ⁄ 4"-long
curve in the grain that mimics the 31 ⁄ 2" from the top. On the table birch dowels. It’s hard to drill these
curve in the leg’s shape. It looks saw (with the saw off of course), holes accurately after the leg pro-
great and adds strength. lower the blade and clamp a block files have been shaped.
For the top and the shelf, I of wood to the fence to stop the Trace the shape of the leg on
select something showy, maybe cut in the right place. to the top piece on the stack, and
X some bird’s-eye maple or other You will need two fence set- cut to this line using a band saw
YE figured wood. The aprons and ups, one for the left side of each or jigsaw. Clean up the saw marks
HSPPWF stretchers are less conspicuous, leg and one for the right sides. using a spokeshave, plane or rasp,
and so more ordinary grain pat- Cut each groove 3 ⁄ 8 " from the and finally sandpaper.
terns can be used. board’s edge. This operation will Now apply the edge treatment
The dimensions shown are most likely require that the blade to the legs. There are many things
for a table that is ideal as a plant guard be temporarily removed. Set you can do here. I like to use my
stand. But you can easily adjust the height of the blade to 1 ⁄4" and old Stanley No. 66 hand beader.
them to build a table of up to about make your cuts. I filed a bead profile into a
20" square without increasing the When the slots in the leg have piece of hacksaw blade and care-
thickness of the legs. Tables larger been made, square up the ramped fully work that shape into the
than this tend to look a bit spin- end of the slot left by the shape edges of the legs. Be careful to
 dly in the leg department. So to of the saw blade with a narrow not do too much to the projec-
improve the look it is better to chisel. Next, stack the leg blanks tion left for the lower stretchers
use thicker material for the legs, together using double-sided tape, to attach to. It’s best to shape this
maybe 11 ⁄ 4" or even 11 ⁄ 2" thick. and mark out and drill the dowel section after the stretchers have
All the other dimensions would holes for the lower shelf stretch- been glued in place.
be basically the same.

Queen Anne Legs

 It’s best to cut the joinery in the
legs before shaping them. To
join the legs to the aprons I use
a mitered spline joint. Using my
table saw, I cut an 1 ⁄8"-wide slot in
the leg and a matching slot in the
mitered end of the apron. A spline Stop block

 in the slots holds them correctly

in place and adds strength.
I attach the stretchers to the
legs using dowel joints. Once all
the joinery is cut I stack the legs
together using double-sided tape
and shape them.
To make the legs shown here, A stopped groove is cut on each side of the legs for the splines that will join
Quarter-scale leg pattern begin with four blanks 3 ⁄ 4" x 3" them to the aprons. A stop block ensures accuracy.




Elevation - top
Elevation - apron




 " UYXYMTQMJOFT Elevation - shelf



With the legs After the stack

stacked and held of legs is cut to
together with shape, the edges
double-sided are detailed by
tape, the pattern hand.
is used to lay out
both the shape
of the legs, and
the location of
the holes for the
dowels. 83
Aprons and Stretchers double-sided tape and then mark Top and Shelf Prior to assembly I like to sand
To make the aprons, I first cut the out the lower edge profile. I cut and Choose your finest pieces of wood or scrape all of the parts, usually
blanks to length, miter the ends then sand these edges, and com- for the top and shelf. Sometimes I finishing at #240 grit for the legs
of each piece, and cut a 1 ⁄4" x 1 ⁄4" plete the edge treatment the same will use the same species I used for and aprons, but going to #400
groove for the buttons that attach way as was done on the legs. the base assembly, but occasion- grit on the top and shelf. I then
the top to the base. The stretchers are made with ally I will become bold and use a apply a first coat of oil finish to
Now I need to make a saw kerf 3 ⁄ 4 "-square stock. Cut the two contrasting wood. When this is the top and shelf (as these parts
1 ⁄4" deep in each mitered edge for pieces to length and then drill done properly, it can be very eye- won’t be glued), which I allow to
the spline. I actually prefer to do dowel holes in the center of each catching and the table will usually soak in while I glue up the legs.
this step using a sled I made that end. The pieces are joined to each command a better price. I allow the finish lots of time to
tilts the wood at 45° rather than other using a simple bridle joint. Because my tops typically are penetrate, but not so much that
tilting the saw blade. You can cut this joint on a band at least 12" square, I generally find it’s difficult to wipe off. This, of
When this operation is com- saw, or with a handsaw and a some it necessary to glue together pieces course, depends on your local con-
plete, I stack the apron pieces with light chisel work. for them. If you take the time to ditions, and where I live this will
match the grain, the joint can be change from day to day.
hardly noticeable.
On square or rectangular tops Final Assembly
and shelves I usually clip the cor- When it comes time to assemble
ners at 45° and bevel the underside the base unit, do a dry run first to
of the parts about 11 ⁄4" back from make sure that everything fits. A
the edge to a 1 ⁄2" taper with a hand tip here is to make sure that the
plane. I find that this makes the dowels and splines aren’t too tight
finished piece look less top-heavy. a fit or too long.
The top edges can be chamfered You can make your splines
or rounded over. from any species of close-grained
hardwood. I make them “cross-
grained,” i.e. with the grain at 90°
to the length of the spline. If it was
done the other way, the splines
could easily split down their length
as they are only slightly less than
1 ⁄8" thick. I like the splines to run

the full length of the slots, finish-

Each mitered end of the aprons receives a slot for the splines. The completed
Exploded view joint is strong, even though the splines are thin (inset).


ing them off cleanly with a sharp traditional wood buttons, keying Careful Finishing of the piece. If it’s to be a plant
chisel when everything is dry. in to the grooves in the inside of As with any woodworking project, stand, a water-resistant polyure-
If I’m alone, I do the glue-up the aprons to attach the top, which finishing can make or break the thane makes sense, but if it just
in two stages. I glue up the legs allows for wood movement. piece. The difference between a has to look pretty or maybe display
and aprons in two sets. When The buttons need to be 11 ⁄ 2" great and a mediocre piece can an ornament, it gets about four
these have had time to dry, I square x 3 ⁄4" thick. The buttons’ be as little as 15 minutes extra in coats of the hand-rubbed oil. It’s
assemble them with the other tongues need to be 1 ⁄4" thick. The sanding or scraping. I scrape when- also easy to repair if anything does
two aprons and hold the whole length of the tongues isn’t criti- ever possible to maintain my crisp damage the finish at a later date.
thing together using surgical tub- cal but they shouldn’t bottom out edges and to keep down the dust One of the few drawbacks with oil
ing. This stretchy tubing allows when the top expands or con- in my shop. Sometimes though, is the possibility of the used rags
me to spring the legs open enough tracts with changes in weather. sanding works best and then I use spontaneously combusting if left
to get in the two stretchers along The grain on a button should run a random-orbit sander. around so it is imperative that they
with their dowels. into the slot in the apron – a cross- My finish of choice is an oil be disposed of properly.
When this is accomplished, grained button would be very and varnish mixture. I always This table has uses in every
I bind more tubing around the weak and could easily split. use this on the legs and aprons. room of your house. Be creative
legs near the stretchers. I find this Also, the holes to attach the The finish for the top and shelf with your design, and maybe try
works best when the base portion buttons should be larger than the depends on the intended use your hand at selling a few. PW
is assembled upside down and on screws used, which will allow for
a flat surface to ensure accurate movement and adjustment. If nec-
alignment of the aprons with the essary, a washer should be used
top of the legs. under the screw head to protect
If the miters were cut accu- the button from splitting. Always
rately, when the surgical tubing is use round-head screws. The taper
stretched tightly the whole thing under the head of a flat-head screw
squares itself. The beauty of the will almost certainly crack the sur-
spline-and-miter joint really shows rounding wood.
itself off in a project of this type. I I make my buttons from hard
usually clean up any squeeze-out maple scraps. I usually make a lot
glue at this time and while doing of them at a time so I always have
so I carefully inspect the joints some on hand.
for tightness. The table’s shelf only needs
I allow the glue to cure and two through holes for screws
then add the edge profile to the drilled into the stretchers and up
stretchers, sand everything again into the underside of the shelf to
and attach the top and shelf. I use do the job adequately.

A bridle joint holds the stretchers together in the middle, dowels join the ends Surgical tubing applies pressure evenly on all the joints, pulling the assembly
of the stretchers to the legs. tight and square while the glue cures. 85
Successful M
any of the tools and fasteners we use in
woodworking have been around for thou-
sands of years. The concept of the screw
goes back to the ancient Greeks. Archimedes took
a wedge, a simple but powerful device, and wrapped

Screwing it around a cylinder. The helical threads allowed the

leverage derived from the wedge to be delivered via
a circular motion.
Until the industrial age, screws were expensive,
hand-made items. Certain applications justified their
use, but in most cases other methods made more
sense. In the 18th and 19th centuries, machinery
was developed that made the price of screws reason-
able; in the 20th century, better methods of driving
Everything you screws were developed.
Most woodworkers have a love/hate relationship
always wanted to with screws and screwdrivers. They work well, but
it seems like cheating. Screws exert a lot of force,
know about screws, but that force is concentrated in two rather deli-
cate areas – the tiny bit of metal where the thread
but were afraid extends from the shank, and the interface between
the driver and the head.
to ask. When things go wrong, these weak links fail,
which is usually the result of trying to force a screw
to do something it wasn’t designed to do, using the
wrong tool, or using the wrong technique.

A Clamp With a Twist

I like to think of screws as clamps. As the threads
bite into one piece of wood, the head pulls the other
piece tightly to it. Take a look at the cutaway picture
at the bottom left of the next page, which shows two
pieces that have been properly screwed together.
The threads are gripping in only the lower piece.
In that piece, the hole is the size of the unthreaded

by Robert W. Lang
Comments or questions? Contact Bob at 513-531-2690
ext. 1327 or Visit his website


Photo by Al Parrish

portion of the screw, which allows A newer style from Amana
the threads to tightly grip the sur- (far right) has larger set screws,
rounding wood. The hole in the and the shaft that fits in the chuck
upper piece is slightly larger than of the drill is an integral part of
the shank of the screw, and the the countersink. In addition to
head sits in a countersink. being less likely to slip, the Amana
In the two center pictures countersink has a carbide tip that
below, the hole on the right was lasts longer, especially when drill-
made by force-feeding the screw ing plywood or particle board.
without first drilling a pilot hole. Choose the right diameter
Instead of neatly cut threads, the drill bit by holding the bit behind
wood has been torn and crushed. the screw. You should be able to
This damage continues beyond observe that the screw threads are
the screw, and the surrounding wider than the bit, and the bit is
wood is starting to split. The trick about the size of the shank. The Fuller countersink is driven by The Amana countersink extends into
is to get the holes the right size I set the depth of the coun- the drill bit. When the countersink the drill’s chuck. It is less likely to slip,
meets resistance, it tends to slip on and has a long-lasting carbide tip
so that the threads hold securely tersink by holding the bit beside
the drill bit’s shaft. but doesn’t come with a tapered bit.
without the shank damaging the the screw, and setting the end of
surrounding wood. the tapered bit just short of the
There are a couple of other bad point of the screw. If you’re using applications, #6 is the smallest net back should be held in place
things that can happen as a result a straight bit, set the end of the bit useful gauge and #12 is the largest. with a 3 ⁄4"-long screw. For thicker
of not drilling a pilot hole, or drill- to where the taper begins on the The best general-purpose size is pieces, like 3 ⁄ 4"-cabinet parts, a
ing a pilot hole that’s too small. If screw. Unfortunately, this may probably #8 gauge. For attaching 13 ⁄4" long screw is sufficient.
the threads engage in the upper cause splitting in hardwoods. hardware to wood, smaller #4 or Longer screws introduce prob-
piece of wood, it can prevent the I prefer the tapered bit for solid #5 screws are often used. lems of drilling the pilot hole deep
two pieces from pulling together, wood, and the carbide counter- T he r i g ht s c r ew le n g t h enough, and of keeping the hole
sometimes called “bridging.” sink for man-made materials. depends on the thickness of the straight so the screw doesn’t come
When attempting to force the pieces being joined, and the ori- out the far side of the wood.
pieces together by applying more How Long a Screw entation of the parts of the joint.
pressure on the driver, the threads Screw diameters are specified Ideally, the screw should be 2 to All Screws Aren’t the Same
can be stripped, or in harder woods in gauge sizes, with the higher 3 times the thickness of the piece If you’re working with softer
the screw head can be damaged or gauge number indicating a larger being attached. For example, a woods, it doesn’t make much dif-
the screw can snap. diameter. For most woodworking 1 ⁄ 4"-thick drawer bottom or cabi- ference what type of screw you use.

Three Bits in One

The pilot hole, the clearance
hole and the countersink can be
drilled in one step with a special
bit, as seen at upper left. The Fuller
countersink has been the standard
for years.The big advantage is the
tapered bit, which ensures that the
clearance hole is big enough and
that the threads grip all the way
to the end of the screw.
The biggest problem with the Pilot
Fuller countersink is the attach- hole
ment of the countersink cutter
to the shaft of the bit. The small The hole on the left was bored with
a tapered bit, allowing the shank to
Allen head setscrews don’t hold
slide in the upper piece of wood, and The screw on the left is made for
well on the round bit. The coun- the threads to cut neatly in the lower woodworking. The drywall screw
tersink can slip on the bit when piece. The ragged hole on the right is on the right is smaller in diameter,
it meets resistance on the surface For a screw to work effectively, it the result of driving a screw without threaded the entire length of the
of the wood. must fit its hole precisely. first drilling a pilot hole. shaft, and made of brittle metal. 83
The Robertson square drive holds
In harder woods, you’re better off for most interior applications the
more securely than a Phillips , it will
spending a little more for screws extra expense isn’t warranted. stay on the driver when the
that are designed and manufac- Brass screws for hardware require driver is horizontal.
tured as wood screws. Drywall special handling as the soft metal
screws are rather brittle, and their is easy to damage. Use a steel
small diameter gives them only screw of the same size to cut the
marginal strength. The bottom threads, then replace it with the screws by hand this isn’t that big
right picture on page 79 shows the brass screw, and don’t use a power of a problem; you simply center the
differences. driver on brass. driver by eye or by feel as you start
In harder woods, you may need to turn it. With a power-driven
to use a lubricant to make driving Driving Around in Circles screwdriver, however, the slight-
easier and to prevent the screw It is easy to get frustrated with est misalignment or resistance
from snapping. I use beeswax from any of the drivers in common use. will send the driver sideways out
a toilet bowl ring, an inexpensive Each has its quirks and shortcom- of the slot. develop the manufacturing pro-
way to obtain it. I keep it in 35mm ings. The common (or slotted) If it weren’t for a business deal cess only after the president of the
film containers, and one ring will screw head was the only choice that went sour and one man’s company threatened to fire all of
supply my needs for several years. until about 100 years ago when stubbornness, the Phillips-head his engineers. General Motors
Paraffin also works, but it isn’t as the development of automobile screw might never have come into was the first customer, and Phil-
easy to use. Some people use soap, assembly lines created the need to existence. In 1908, Canadian P. lips-head screws were first used in
but soap can attract moisture, drive more screws in less time. L. Robertson invented a tapered Cadillacs made in 1936.
causing damage to the screw. If the tip of the screwdriver square recess driver and head com-
Different finishes, some purely isn’t centered perfectly over the bination. The big advantage to Not a Flaw, That’s a Feature
decorative and some that offer head of a slotted screw, the driver this is that the driver centers itself What most of us consider to be
corrosion resistance, are avail- will tend to slip sideways from the in the head, and doesn’t slip under the Phillips-head screw’s biggest
able for the metal in screws, but slot as it turns. If you’re driving pressure. The Robertson head defect was actually an advantage
holds so well, that the screw will when it was first adopted. Because
stay with the driver even when the intersection of the crossed
held horizontally. recesses is slightly rounded, the
Robertson lost money in his driver will slip, or cam-out, when a
first attempt to produce and dis- Phillips-head screw becomes tight.
tribute his design in the United This prevented overtightening on
States, and from then on insisted the assembly line, but is the bane
on not licensing his design to any of any woodworker who has had
other manufacturers. Henry Ford a screwdriver slip and go dancing
wanted to use these fasteners on across a finished surface.
his assembly line, but wanted to In the last 25 years, cordless
manufacture them himself. Rob- drills have become the preferred
ertson wouldn’t budge, and while method of driving screws for
long popular in Canada, square- woodworking, and the general
drive screws have only recently frustration with the Phillips bit
caught on in the United States.
The Phillips head didn’t come
into existence until the 1930s, and
was actually invented by John P.
Thompson, who couldn’t con- McFeely’s Square Drive
vince any screw manufacturers Screws
the cross-shaped recess could be 800-443-7937 or
manufactured affordably. Henry
F. Phillips bought the rights from • screws, bit and drivers
Thompson, obtained patents on “One Good Turn: A Natural
the design and searched for a History of the Screwdriver
manufacturer. and the Screw”
You can save a lot of room in your toolbox by using replaceable insert tips The American Screw Co. by Witold Rybczynski (Scribner)
with a hand driver, or a magnetic bit holder in your cordless drill. spent half a million dollars to


has led to an increase in popular- other styles of bits aren’t really
ity of the Robertson square drive, repairable. You might increase the
as well as other types. life span of a rounded off Robert-
The Quadrex or Combo drive son bit by grinding a little off the
is a combination of the Phillips end, but I know of no way to fix a
and Robertson types. In theory, damaged Phillips bit.
either driver may be used but they Rather than fill a drawer or two
work much better with a square of my toolbox with various sizes
drive, the Phillips being relegated and shapes of screwdrivers, I use
to emergency status when a square insert tips in a driver with storage
driver can not be found. in the handle and a magnetic tip
The Pozi-Drive was patented by as seen at bottom left on the previ-
the Phillips company and features ous page. These tips also fit mag-
the same cross-shaped recesses as netic bit holders for driving with The Vix bit has a self-centering Seasonal wood movement can even-
the Phillips, but the intersection a cordless drill. Magnetism is your spring loaded guide that makes it tually crumble the fragile interface
has an additional square recess friend when power driving a lot of invaluable when drilling holes for between the wood and the threads
hardware. of the screw, enlarging the hole.
that reduces cam out consider- screws, or when placing a screw in
ably. This type is commonly used a hard to reach location.
in European cabinet hardware. A to be exactly in the center of the screw, the truss head screw (left)
Phillips bit can be used, but prob- Head in the Right Direction countersink in the hardware. has an oversized head that func-
lems of cam-out and head strip- The countersink-style head is Once again, a special drill bit tions as a built-in washer. Also
ping are much worse than if the the most commonly used head in comes to the rescue. The Vix bit known as a drawer-front screw,
Pozi-Drive bit is used. woodworking, and it has another (above) has the drill bit enclosed this style allows for both minor
Numerous other drive configu- advantage in addition to coming in a self-centering guide. A spring adjustments of position, and sea-
rations exist, but their purpose flush with or slightly below the inside the guide keeps the drill bit sonal wood movement.
seems to be keeping the average surface of the wood. The wedging out of the way until you begin to
person from taking something action of the countersink lines the apply downward pressure. Winding Up
apart because the right driver parts up in the same orientation If you put the pilot hole in the So is it cheating to use screws?
isn’t available. None of these other whenever you take it apart and wrong place or strip it out, you can Like any method of joining wood,
drive systems offer any real advan- put it back together. Most of the repair the damage with a small there are times when a screw is
tages over the Robertson. time this is what you want, but piece of wood glued in the hole. ideal, and times when another
Whatever type of driver is sometimes you need to allow for For stripped holes, toothpicks can choice is better. When I worked
used, the interface between driver wood movement. be used. Glue them in and break on wood boats or built commer-
and screw head should be a close Due to this wedging action, them off flush with the surface cial cabinets, I used thousands of
fit to prevent damage to the screw screw holes for hardware need until there is enough wood in screws without a second thought.
head or the end of the driver. Flat- the hole for the screw to bite. To For other work, I only use them in
tip screw drivers can be filed back move a hole, it’s better to whittle a few specific situations.
to shape if they get damaged, but a small piece of wood from scrap, Like a clamp, a screw isn’t really
glue it in and make it flush with a permanent fastener. Over time,
a chisel cut. This makes it easier the fragile connection between
The truss-head, or drawer-front screw,
has a large head that allows it to be to drill a new pilot hole. wood and metal deteriorates as
placed in an oversized shank hole. Pan-head screws allow for the these different materials move
This permits slight adjustments two parts to slide around below in different ways. This may take
and allows for seasonal wood the flat head. This allows you to decades, but whenever I remove
movement. adjust the joint slightly as it comes a screw from an antique, I usu-
together, as with a pocket screw. ally find crumbled bits of wood
To attach a solid wood tabletop or as seen above.
cabinet top you need to allow for A screw may not last forever,
the wood to expand and contract. but for attaching a solid wood
If the hole in the attached piece top or hardware, or reinforcing
is elongated, the wood is free to joints in unseen places, it is the
shrink or swell while remaining best fastener. Using it correctly
firmly in place. will improve the odds of your work
The Robertson square drive, Combo drive and Phillips head screws (l to r). A variation of the pan head outlasting you. PW 85

Here’s how to take your
stock from logs to lathe.

O nce upon a time, not so very long ago, I

was sitting in my booth at a craft show
when a young man came in and began look-
ing at some bowls I’d made. He was clearly
quite intrigued, and also seemed a bit puzzled.
Finally he held up a bowl he had been exam-
ining and asked, “How do you get the edges
to curl up like that?”
It wasn’t a silly question from his point of
view; wood comes in flat boards, right?

Photos by Al Parrish
As woodworkers, you of course already
know that wood actually comes from trees.
However, if you build furniture, shelves, fix-
tures and the like, you may have experience
only with wood that has already been cut There is nothing like some quality time with a chainsaw to remind you that wood comes from trees. As
a turner, sooner or later you’ll be cutting up green logs for at least some of your material. (If you will be
into boards. It has probably been dried as
using a chainsaw to cut large pieces, be sure you are well-versed in its safe use.)
well, usually in a kiln, but certainly at least
air-dried. It is a far different thing to deal
with a log that is freshly cut from a tree and get quite large, but are not common enough this wood, which will often be very wet, dry
sopping wet. to have commercial use. Hackberry is lovely enough to use without cracking?
One of the great things about turning is turning wood but is generally considered a It’s important to understand how wet wood
that you will be able to use many wonderful weed tree from a landscaper’s perspective; if behaves. It’s beyond the scope of this article to
woods you will seldom, if ever, encounter as you come across one of good size, it’s a find. thoroughly cover the topic of wood structure.
a “flat” woodworker. In addition to the usual So there are two main things you will need This would take volumes, and many have
domestics such as oak, ash, maple, cherry, to know when you do find these woods. The been written. One of the best and most use-
walnut, hickory, you will happen upon and first is how to cut it up: What shapes and sizes ful I have found is “Understanding Wood,”
acquire what I call exotic domestics – woods of pieces will you want, and where are they by R. Bruce Hoadley (Taunton). I encourage
such as dogwood, lilac, holly and fruitwoods, located in the log? Second, how do you get you to read this book; it will greatly expand
as well as ornamentals such as boxwood, rose your comprehension of all aspects of wood as
of Sharon and many others. by Judy Ditmer a material. In the meantime, there are a few
Some of these trees (especially the orna- basic considerations that will enable you to get
Judy, author of two turning books and many articles,
mentals) never attain a size that makes them has been turning since 1985. She teaches and
your wood finds from the log to the lathe.
a viable source for commercial lumber; oth- demonstrates her skills throughout the United States As a furniture maker, you would be con-
ers (such as persimmon and hackberry) do and Canada. cerned with wood movement on a fine scale,


as your (usually kiln-dried) lumber fluctuates throughout the piece to prevent splitting.
between as little as 6 to 8 percent moisture If you halt the loss entirely, the wood will
content. For some kinds of turnings, you will rot; if you slow it more than necessary, it will
want wood equally dry. Fitted-lid boxes, for just take longer to dry, and if you slow it not
example, just won’t work if made from wood enough, the wood will split.
with higher moisture content than somewhere For two reasons, larger bowls are usually
around 8 or 10 percent. Bowls, on the other rough-turned from green wood then put back
hand, might be fine at 12 percent or even on the lathe when dry for finish turning. First,
higher. Still, some woods when completely it is much easier to remove all that wood from In a pinch, you can hold a big chunk of green wood in a
green may contain twice as much water by the interior of the bowl when it is wet than plastic garbage bag to keep it from checking, but only
weight as they do wood fibers. That’s 200 per- after it dries. Second, it is difficult or impos- for a very short time (perhaps a few weeks at most);
cent moisture content. sible to dry very thick pieces of wood without holding all the moisture in a piece of wood for very long
Generally, softer woods have a higher having them split, because if you slow the will cause it to rot.
moisture content than hardwoods, but even moisture loss enough to prevent cracking for
hard maple has 65 percent or more when long, the wood will stay wet enough to begin must cut off the end past the checking then
freshly cut. If you obtain the wood when it to decay. Even if the wood does not rot, at best wax this fresh surface before it cracks.
is this wet, it has a long way to go before it is it will take a very long time to dry. Different species of wood will behave
ready for finish turning. Because a piece of wood is basically a bun- very differently during this process. If I’m
As wood dries it shrinks, and it occurs dle of fibers and vessels (rather like a very tight processing freshly cut cedar, I will coat one
drastically more sideways (across the grain) bundle of straws), it loses moisture much more end before I cut the other; that’s how fast it
than lengthwise (end-to-end). A large piece rapidly at the end grain than at the side grain. will begin checking. On the other hand, I’ve
of wet wood is losing moisture much more The ends of green wood will start cracking had dogwood that’s been on the ground in
rapidly from the outside surfaces than it is first, often very soon after it is cut. So the first the woods for years and is badly checked on
from the interior. As the piece dries, shrinking thing to do with wet wood you cannot imme- the end, but cutting off only an inch or two
wood surrounds wood that is not yet shrink- diately put on the lathe to rough-turn is to coat reveals perfectly sound wood. Large pieces,
ing; the stress causes it to split. The primary the ends with green wood sealer, a water-based or even smaller ones of some species, can be
goal in drying a piece of wood is to slow down wax. If checking has begun, coating the ends held at this stage for only a short time. They
this moisture loss just enough to equalize it will not stop it, so where this is the case, you will quickly begin to deteriorate, so it is impor-
tant to proceed with the next step in process-
ing them (roughing out, cutting into smaller
pieces, etc.) as soon as possible.
A roughed-out bowl is much more stable
than a large, solid piece of green wood, but it
may be necessary to slow the drying at this
stage, too. You will have to determine this
by trial-and-error, based on results in your
particular situation. In a dry climate, you may
need to coat the entire roughed-out bowl
with wax. In a more humid area, this may
not be necessary; coating just the end grain
may be sufficient. It will also depend on other
variables, including the species of wood, how
thick the blank is, the micro-climate in which
you will store it as it dries (a heated or air-
conditioned space may be much drier than
one that is not regulated) and the moisture
End grain
with fresh content of the wood to begin with.
application of Some people put the blanks into paper bags
greenwood sealer or piles of shavings. I find these methods a bit
too labor-intensive; I coat the end grain of a
On top of my bench are roughed-out bowls dry enough to be brought into the shop. On the bench sur-
face are freshly turned rough bowl blanks, with sealer drying on the end grain; also a small pile of green roughed-out bowl (both inside and outside);
wood that has been cut into a variety of sizes and shapes. The end grain has been waxed on all these this is usually enough to allow it to dry with-
pieces, and they are stacked openly to allow the wax to dry. Below are boxes labeled for several types of out damage. If the piece has burly or highly
work; dry wood being cut up on the band saw can go directly into these boxes. figured wood such as crotch figure, I coat those 89

These wire-drawer
areas as well because there is considerable end
carts are ideal for
grain exposed in such wood, which makes it storing my cut,
prone to checking. waxed pieces until
Squares that will be used for smaller items they are dry enough
can usually be dried successfully by coating to be sorted into
just the end grain. You should stack the pieces storage boxes.
with lots of space in between so the wax can These contain
redbud, holly, pear,
dry completely. Store the wood in very open
honey locust and
stacks during the early stages of drying to birch cut into pieces
prevent mold growth, as it will be losing a lot that I will use for
of moisture at this stage. When the wood is a wide variety of
quite dry, you can re-stack it, place it in boxes, small turnings.
or store in some other manner that provides
ready access. PW

Most wood will quickly begin to split at the pith, so when you cut half-sec-
tions like these redbud pieces, you should remove a slab from the center of Different species will behave very differ-
the log or limb. The piece on the right was cut exactly in the center, and has ently in drying. The first piece on the left is
split rather badly. The piece on the left was cut about an inch to the side of redbud, and although the ends were coated with sealer, the drastic sideways
the center, eliminating the problem. shrinkage has caused a split along the entire length of the piece. Because the
split stops at the center, it can still be cut up for smaller items such as bottle
stoppers or pens. The second limb is lilac, and the split has followed the
spiral growth of the wood around the axis rendering this piece useful only
for very small items. The two pieces on the right are dogwood, and even the
larger one (about 7" in diameter) has dried with no checking at all.

These pieces of drying wood are all fairly small, so they do not need to be
roughed out to dry successfully. Leaving them to dry this way preserves the
possibility of using them either for bowls or to cut into squares that would On these pieces of sycamore cut from a half-section of log, the end grain has
become tool handles, candlesticks, boxes, bottle stoppers or other small been waxed. The upper-left piece is a bowl blank; the rest are squares (the
items. The piece on the left has been cut round on the band saw, because I grain runs lengthwise), including the large one on the right, which could be
plan to shape it into a bowl. used for an end-grain bowl as well as for a large-diameter spindle turning.


This shows the two most common ways to orient a bowl in a half-section of log
(the top two images are the same orientation with a different bowl shape in
the end), with the resulting bowls and the basic pattern the grain will present
in each one. — JD


If you will be able to process a log immediately for bowl

blanks, cut the length “B” to the same measurement as
the diameter “A.” This allows you to get as large a bowl as
possible from each half of the piece. If you will have to hold it
for a short time, cut it somewhat longer; then any checking on
the ends can be cut off later and still leave adequate length.

Save for
smaller items
Bowl blanks


Save for
smaller items

A typical layout for cutting a log section for bowls. Cut off a
slice on either side (unless the piece is to become a natural-
edge bowl), then cut a slab out of the center to remove the
pith. There will be a board on either side of the pith that is
useable for smaller items. If the log is large enough, you may
also be able to cut useable wood from the outer slabs for tops,
pens, etc. The large slabs from either side of the pith will be
bowl blanks.

If the slabs are too large to cut to rounds on your band saw,
cut off the corners with the chainsaw. This piece is ready to be
mounted on the lathe and roughed out to dry. — JD 91
r is

56 Popular Woodworking April 2007

lmost everyone likes the One Panel Chops into Three Sacrificial
look of barrister book- We wanted the grain on each case fence
cases. But what makes side to be consistent from top to
them so appealing? I think there bottom as we stacked our indi-
are a number of characteristics vidual units. This is a matter of
that make the barrister design aesthetics, not a necessity. (I’m
popular and enduring. sure somewhere during this case’s
First is that the individual lifetime, the units will be stacked Raising the blade height is the only
units of the case stack together. without regard to the grain.) Using the widest setting on a dado adjustment needed to cut the back-
And because they are separate What is a necessity, in order stack along with a sacrificial fence is board rabbets. The front edge of this
units, they can be arranged in any to get the units to stack without the best choice for creating rabbets side looks as though it is raised from
for these case sides. This will ensure the saw top because of the previous
desired height configuration to fit problems, is to make the width of
that the cut clears the waste entirely. rabbet cut.
any area of your home or office. each unit equal in size. This is best
Second, they are elegant as accomplished by starting with one
well as functional. The wood- large glued-up panel of the correct height of 1 ⁄8". With this setting, a router with a guide fence and a 1 ⁄4"
framed glass doors, when low- width that is then crosscut into single pass over the blade will cre- upcut spiral router bit.
ered, protect your books or other the appropriate lengths. ate the 3 ⁄ 4"-wide x 1 ⁄ 8"-deep rab- Positioning this groove is the
valuables from moisture and dust Once the sides are milled bets at the top and bottom edge trick. It needs to be located cor-
– not to mention those tiny pud- according to the plan, there are of the side panels. rectly from the top edge of the
ding-laced fingers of the little three rabbets that need to be cut Next, again with the blade sides, so the guide fence of the
ones. They also allow you to look in each side panel. One rabbet moving, raise the height to 7 ⁄ 16". router becomes key. Set the fence
through the glass for a specific so the router bit plunges into the
item without the undo stress of side with 11 ⁄8" of material between
operating the doors. In the open We’ve rethought this classic the top edge and the groove. The
1 ⁄ 4" cut will then be perfectly set
position, with the doors raised and
slid back into the case, you have with techniques so simple for the placement of the centered
easy access to those leather-bound brass rods in the bookcase doors,
sources of knowledge. even a beginner can do it! and it builds in the necessary 1 ⁄8"
Third, as you will see, we spacing so the top edge of the door
rethought the construction so does not bind when opened.
these cases can be built with the goes at the top and bottom of each This is to create the rabbet for Next, you need to find the
easiest techniques – without sacri- side panel. Those rabbets are for the backboards. They fit into a starting or stopping point of the
ficing any classic design elements. the full-width case bottom and the 3 ⁄ 4"-wide x 7 ⁄ 16"-deep rabbet. If cut depending on which side you’re
These are the easiest barrister front and back rails at the top. You you are trying to keep the grain working. On each right-side panel
bookcases you will ever build. also need a rabbet at the back edge aligned, as we have, you need to you’ll plunge at the front edge and
We decided to build a stack of the side panels that will house determine the front edge of the finish the cut through the back-
of three units – each identical the backboards. That rabbet hides bookcase prior to crosscutting the board rabbet. On the left-side pan-
in construction and design, with the backboards when viewing the individual side panels into smaller els you’ll begin coming through
one slightly different in height. bookcase from the side. sections. Or, choose the best edge that rabbet and complete the cut
There are two larger units for over- A dado blade is the best choice of your stock for the front face at by stopping at the correct loca-
sized books and special keepsakes, for cutting the rabbets. Install a this time and cut the backboard tion and removing the bit from
and one that is slightly shorter in sacrificial fence, set the blade for rabbets into the opposite edge. the work surface. Attacking the
height. Those, along with the top the widest cut (at least 3 ⁄ 4") and groove this way registers each cut
and bottom units, add up to the position the blade below the saw Your Groove is Important off of the top edge of the side pan-
appropriate design for our book- top. Adjust the fence to the blade Creating the groove in which the els and makes the best use of the
case needs. so that 3 ⁄ 4" of cutting width is doors slide is the most difficult task guide fence.
Your set can be created with exposed and with the blade run- involved in building these book- The location that you need to
only one unit, or it could be a ning, slowly raise the cutter to a cases – but all it takes is a plunge stop on is 3 ⁄ 8" in from the front
stack of five, along with the top edge of the sides to the beginning
and bottom sections. (More than by Glen D. Huey of the routed groove. Where did
five units is unwieldy and poten- Comments or questions? Contact Glen at 513-531-2690 ext. 1293 or this number come from, beside
tially unstable.) You can view his work and books at the plan? The 1 ⁄4" brass rods that 57
are used to hang the doors are
located in the center of the 3 ⁄ 4"-
thick doors. The outer 1 ⁄4" of door
stock along with the design fea-
ture of the 1 ⁄ 8" offset of the door
to the front edge of the case adds
up to that exact location.
With the setup and location
locked in, rout the 5 ⁄ 16"-deep Creating the groove for the door pins to ride in is the most There are pin locations at both the top and bottom
exacting step of the process. A plunge router with a guide that act as guides for the doors. Use the drill press for
grooves into the sides as shown
fence makes it short work. Check the layout before routing. this step – unless you’ve a steady hand and good eye.
in the picture at right.
The doors will be held in posi-
tion toward the front with two rear rails and the catch rails, as your bench and match the two rabbet area. Attach the rails to the
brass rods per side. The top rod is well as the bottoms. You can get sides to the bottom, making sure bottom with wood screws.
centered 13 ⁄4" from the top edge away with using a secondary wood that the bottom fits into the shal- Creating the frames for the top
of the side and in 1" from the front for the rear and catch rails, as we low rabbets. Next, slide the top and base units is next. We found
edge. These two rods act as a pivot chose to do, because these pieces rails in place – the oak at the front that building the frames and then
for the sliding door. will not be seen as you view the and the secondary wood at the attaching the mouldings was the
The second rod location is bookcase. All pieces connect to rear. These rails fit into the rab- best way to approach this part of
pulled from the bottom edge of the sides with pocket screws. bets at the top edge. Add clamps the project. It also allowed us to
the sides and is also set at a mea- Cut three pocket-screw holes as shown below then attach the use secondary wood for these hid-
surement of 13 ⁄4". It too is located on the worst face of the bottoms, rails to the sides with the screws. den areas.
1" in from the front edge. This rod leaving the best face for the inside Flip the box then add the screws Each frame starts with the
placement gives the door some- of the piece. Position a hole at 11 ⁄2" to attach the bottom. assembly of a box. The end sup-
thing to close against while hold- from each edge and one that is With the box set on its top, ports receive the pocket-screw
ing the door parallel to the case centered across the bottoms. The position and attach the catch rail holes and are attached to the rails
front when closed. rails used for the top also attach to the bottom. Align the piece off through that connection. Also,
with pocket screws. Place two of the front edge of the unit and while you have the pocket-screw
Assemble the Box holes at each end of both rails. center the rail from side to side. jig out, add a number of holes to
Mill to size and thickness the Now you are ready to assemble Each rail lines up with the inside the top frame that you’ll use for
material for the top-front rails, the boxes. Position the bottom on face of the side, not the edge of the attaching the top.

The catch rail is fastened to the box bottom. It is impor-

tant to properly align the piece to fit the other units.

The catch rail for

the top unit rests
inside the end rails.
To keep the rail
from sliding down-
ward as the screws
are installed, rest
the piece on a
Assembling the boxes is a matter of 14 pocket screws. Clamping the box ensures that it will be block cut to the
square. The opening in the top is for the adjoining catch rail on a second unit. correct size.

58 Popular Woodworking April 2007


3⁄8" 35"
With the narrowness of the 33"
frames, you should arrange the 131⁄2"
pieces so the screws are to the out- 1211⁄16" 32"
side of the unit. The drill, with
the square drive installed, is too 3"
large for the inside of the frame. 33⁄4" 33⁄4" 33⁄4"
You should also attach the center
support, the piece that runs from 1⁄8"
front to back and is centered along
the width of each frame, through
the outside with four #8 x 11 ⁄ 4" 15"
wood screws.
From this point the construc-
tion of the frames differs. In order 2"
for the top and base units to fit the
design of the bookcase, the top
12" 1⁄8"
unit must have a catch rail while
the base unit receives a front and Chamfer 17"
back flat rail. 11⁄8" 111⁄2"
The catch rail of the top unit
fits between the frame’s side rails,
with a 1 ⁄4" extending beyond the 11⁄4"
side rails, and attaches to the cen-
ter support with two #8 x 11 ⁄ 4"
wood screws.
Make sure that the catch rail
is aligned to fit into the top rails of 17"
any of the bookcase units – they

Illustrations by Mary Jane Favorite

are all consistently positioned, 3⁄8"
making them interchangeable. Chamfer
In the base unit the front and 33⁄4" 3"
rear flat rails are set flush with the
top edge of the frame and attached 4"
using the pocket-screw method.
Remember that the front rail is 123⁄4" 2"
only 3" wide, whereas the rear
rail is 33 ⁄4". Each of these flat rails Section Elevation
also attaches to the center support
with #8 x 11 ⁄4" wood screws.
The mouldings are next. Mill
the material for the crown mould-
ing, the base moulding and the
bookcase top to size and thick-
ness. The top edge of the base
moulding has a 3 ⁄8" chamfer. Cut
the edge with a router equipped
with a chamfering bit, then fit
the pieces to the base. Because
there is a solid frame backing the
mouldings you can nail the pieces
in place with brads. Add a small The 3" rail in the base unit is toward the front while the The chamfered base moulding is fit to the base frame on
bead of glue at the mitered corners wider rail is held to the back. Each rail is not only con- three sides. The secondary wood of the frame is hidden
as you assemble the mouldings for nected to the frame sides, it is also attached to a center when the bookcase is stacked.
added strength. support. 59
Make the Crown Moulding marks on my mouldings. Set a corner and clamp the pieces to Place the top unit, with the
The crown moulding is a bit more light depth of cut and be sure to the frame. Slide the third piece, moulding now applied, onto the
complex than the base moulding. use push sticks. If you choose not with its end cut square, to meet bookcase top, centered from side
It begins with a cut at the table to use the jointer you can sand the the back of the front crown piece to side and flush to the back edge
saw. Tip the blade to 10º and posi- moulding face smooth. Once the as shown in the photo below and of the top unit. Use pocket screws
tion the fence so that the blade piece is cleaned and sanded it can mark the top edge on the front to attach the frame to the top then
exits the stock about 1" down from be attached to the top frame. moulding. set the completed top unit aside.
the top. This will leave about 3 ⁄8" I work counter-clockwise At the miter saw, align the
of material at the bottom edge of around the unit to get an accu- mark with your blade (saw angled The Doors are a Snap
the stock. This setting will need to rate fit when wrapping mouldings. to the right) and make the 45º cut. The only easier method that could
be fine-tuned at your saw. Run the This allows for easy marking of With the top edge up it is easy to be used to build doors would be
cut for both pieces of stock – one cutlines as well as easy positioning match the blade to the layout line. a f lat-paneled door and that
for the front and one piece that is of the cuts at the miter saw and it Now to cut your final miter, simply wouldn’t give us the glass panels
crosscut into the two ends. allows me to make my mitered cuts place the end piece at the saw with that we need for these cases. The
I elected to make a pass over without changing the angle of the the top edge pointing down while secret for these doors is accurate
the jointer to clean up the saw saw. Cut and fit the first mitered the face side is out and make the cutting of the pieces.
cut. The angle of the saw doesn’t R ip t he m ater i a l to t he
change and the cuts are correct. required width then set stops at
While the setup
This is also how I would cut the the saw to allow for accurate cut-
is involved, the
ripping of the first mitered corner. ting of the required lengths. If
crown moulding
is straightfor-
ward. Just make
sure to have a
push stick handy.

The cutting of the crown moulding can leave saw kerf indications and burn
marks. A quick run over the jointer knives works best to clean the face.


Cut miter here

The crown moulding is attached to three sides of the top frame. Miter the cor- Complete the work on the top unit by attaching the moulded frame to the
ners and add a small amount of glue to reinforce the area. Brads will affix the case top. Pocket screws are quick and easy.
pieces to the frame.

60 Popular Woodworking April 2007

the pieces are all cut to the same
sizes (two matching sets of the rails
and stiles per door) two things will Climb cut
happen – one, the doors will be
square when assembled and two,
the assembled doors will correctly
fit the openings of the boxes.
Cut the stiles to be 3 ⁄ 16" less
than the opening of the box and Positioning the pocket-screw holes in the door rails is The 3 ⁄8" x 1⁄2" rabbet for the glass and the retainer strips
important. Too close to either edge can cause problems. requires that you climb cut a portion to eliminate any
the rails to be 41 ⁄8" less than the
Don’t forget to add glue at the joint. tear-out.
total width of that opening. This
will build in the appropriate reveal
around the doors.
These doors are also assem-
bled with pocket screws placed
in the rails, and the location of
the holes is important. If the hole
is too close to the outside of the
rail, as you drive the screws there
is potential to crack the end of the
stiles. If the hole is set too near the
interior of the rails, as you rabbet
for the glass, you have the pos- Squaring the corners left rounded from the router bit is a Adding a small bevel to the edges of the piece will help
sibility of cutting into the screw job for the chisel. It works best to begin with a cut across hide the joints between the separate units. This edge
the end grain and to then take small cuts with the grain, work also allows the doors to flip up and slide back into
area. The best location is at 5 ⁄ 8"
removing the waste. the case without binding.
from both edges.
With the pocket-screw holes
cut you can now assemble the of routed area from climb cutting, store) on which the door will
doors. Place a clamp over the the removal of the balance of the hang and travel in the groove as
intersection of the two pieces, waste material will shear off at that it is opened. A shop-made jig is
a rail and a stile, and drive the point and prevent most tear-out. just the trick to complete this step
screws. Work the four corners of To complete the rabbet you’ll quickly and accurately.
each door in the same manner. need to square the rounded cor- Build the jig using a scrap of
Rabbeting the doors for the ners left from the router bit. Use the cutoff material from your door
glass and glass-retainer strips is a straightedge to continue the pieces. Locate the center of the
another router operation. Install lines to reveal the exact corner piece, which will be 3 ⁄8" from the
a rabbeting bit, set for a 3 ⁄ 8" rab- and use a sharp chisel to bring the edge, and also mark a line that is
bet, and cut the interior of the rounded corners to square. Clean 3 ⁄8" in from the end. At that cross-
frame. It is necessary to position the corners until you’re level with ing is where you need to drill the jig
the door hanging over the edge of the bottom of the rabbet. 1 ⁄ 4" hole completely through the

your table or bench so the bearing Before moving forward now is block. Use the drill press because
screw does not rub the bench. the time to create the small bevel you need the hole to be straight.
If you try to make the entire cut on the edges of the doors as well as Next, add t wo pieces of
by running the router in the stan- the edges of the boxes themselves. Masonite, or other thin plywood-
dard manner, into the bit rotation, Chuck a chamfer bit in a router type material, to both sides of the
you’re likely to have areas, espe- and set it to cut 1 ⁄ 8" and run the block. To use the jig, slide it over
cially in quartersawn white oak, profile around the doors outside the long grain of the stile, keeping
that will splinter and tear out. To edge and along the top and bot- the 3 ⁄8" space toward the top edge
remedy this you must climb cut tom of the boxes, including both of the door. Add a clamp to hold
during a portion of this process. sides and the front. the jig and drill the hole using the
Start by climb cutting the first Each door edge, at the top of jig as a guide. Set the drill bit to
1 ⁄8" of the rabbet then reverse the the door, needs to have a hole cut to a depth of 3 ⁄4". Aligning the holes for the doors to
routing procedure and complete drilled to accept the short brass Drill two holes per door, install pivot becomes easy work with the
the rabbet. By having a small shelf rod (available at any hardware a 1" piece of brass rod using no use of this shop-made jig. 61
glue (we need to be able to remove barrister bookcases
them over the remainder of the No. item dimensions (inches) material comments

project). Once the rods are in T W L

place you can test the door to the ❏ 2 Case sides 3⁄4 12 50 QSWO* Cut to length shown in drawing
opening. If you have a problem it ❏ 3 Bottoms 3⁄4 111⁄4 303⁄4 QSWO*
will most likely be binding at the ❏ 3 Top front rails 3⁄4 33⁄4 303⁄4 QSWO*
top or bottom. ❏ 3 Top back rails 3⁄4 33⁄4 303⁄4 Poplar
In either case you will need ❏ 3 Box catch rails 3⁄4 33⁄4 303⁄4 Poplar
to remove a sliver of material to ❏ 2 Top frame rails 3⁄4 3 32 Poplar
allow the fit. This can be done at ❏ 2 Top frame sides 3⁄4 3 101⁄2 Poplar
the jointer or with a plane. Both ❏ 1 Top frame center support 3⁄4 21⁄2 101⁄2 Poplar
solutions require you to work care- ❏ 1 Top frame catch rails 3⁄4 33⁄4 301⁄2 Poplar
fully around the end grain. All ❏ 1 Front crown moulding 3⁄4 3 36 QSWO*
that’s left is to cut the plywood ❏ 1 Side crown moulding 3⁄4 3 26 QSWO* Makes both sides
pieces that comprise the backs ❏ 1 Case top 3⁄4 131⁄2 35 QSWO*
of the individual units and mill a ❏ 2 Base frame rails 3⁄4 4 32 Poplar
number of pieces to use as the glass ❏ 2 Base frame sides 3⁄4 4 101⁄2 Poplar
retainers from some scrap. ❏ 1 Base frame center support 3⁄4 31⁄4 101⁄2 Poplar
❏ 1 Base frame front flat rail 3⁄4 3 301⁄2 Poplar
Finish as Easy as the Project ❏ 1 Base frame back flat rail 3⁄4 33⁄4 301⁄2 Poplar
This finish technique was devel- ❏ 1 Base moulding/front 3⁄4 4 36 QSWO*
oped by Popular Woodworking ❏ 1 Base moulding/sides 3⁄4 4 26 QSWO* Makes both sides
Senior Editor Robert W. Lang. ❏ 6 Door rails 3⁄4 2 263 ⁄8 QSWO* Rails for three doors
If this method had been around ❏ 4 Door stiles/tall 3⁄4 2 151⁄16 QSWO* Stiles for two doors
years ago when I was working with ❏ 2 Door stiles/short 3⁄4 2 131⁄16 QSWO* Stiles for one doors
oak, I would have built many more ❏ 9 Glass retainer strips 5 ⁄16 5 ⁄16 28 QSWO* For three doors
projects from this hardwood. You ❏ 1 Short unit back 3 ⁄4 147⁄8 317⁄16 QSWO* Plywood
will not find an easier finish any- ❏ 2 Tall unit back 3 ⁄4 5 ⁄16 317⁄16 QSWO* Plywood
where that I know of. * QSWO=Quartersawn White Oak
To begin, don’t waste a huge
amount of time sanding. I know
The barrister
you like the sound of that! Bring
bookcase gets
the piece to #120 grit with the ran- an Arts & Crafts
dom-orbit sander and finish sand look with the
by hand using #150-grit sandpa- simple finish-
per. Done! Now you are ready to ing method
stain the bookcase. described for this
The staining process contin- project. It works
great for oak
ues in the easy category. Rag on a
– both white
coat of Olympic oil-based “Special and red.
Walnut” stain. Apply an even coat
and allow it to sit for 15 minutes
before wiping any excess away.
That coat needs to dry for 24 hours
before moving on.
Next up is one coat of Dark
Walnut Watco Danish Oil. Apply
this in the same fashion as the
stain. Rag a coat onto the stained adds color to the project. Again, floor of your shop or put them into The final step in the finishing
bookcase and allow that to cure let the oil coat dry for a day. a bucket of water. Combustion is process is to apply a coat of amber
for 15 minutes, then wipe away The rags used in both of the a result of these rags thrown into shellac. Can you guess how this is
any extra oil with a clean rag. In previous steps can become a fire a pile either in the trash can or a applied? You bet: Rag it on. Keep a
this process the oil acts as a toner hazard if not disposed of properly. corner of the shop. Always dispose wet edge on the wide-open areas
that will even the shading as it You can lay the rags out on the of rags properly. and on any other areas simply coat

62 Popular Woodworking April 2007

a snap. A bit of wax on the threads The great thing about this
will ensure easy installation. barrister bookcase design is that
Sliding the doors into the as your collection grows, and you
boxes is the last step before fill- know it will, so can your book-
ing the bookcase with your books. cases. You can add to the existing
Slide the door into the case on a stack or start another bookcase.
slight angle to the front, lift the They are easy to build and adding
brass rod on the side toward the to the stack is something you will
rear of the case into the groove enjoy. pw
and position the other rod to move
into the groove as you bring the
door square to the front. Supplies
Lift the door so it is perpen- Horton Brasses
dicular to the case and slide it to 800-754-9127 or
the rear of the case. Holding the
door up to the top of the unit, 6 • knobs, 3 ⁄4" semi-bright
install 3 ⁄4"-long brass rods into the #H-42
remaining holes. Your barrister Call for pricing.
bookcase is ready to use.

With the fin-

ish complete,
an easy way to
install the glass
for the doors is
with matching
Illustration by Mary Jane Favorite

retainer strips.
They are cut and
fit then attached
with a 23-gauge

No glue is used
Center support to hold the brass
rods in place.
They can be
Exploded view removed if the
door should ever
need to be taken
out of the book-
them. That’s it. Once the shellac Use a countersink and wood case.
is dry (the next day) add a coat of screws for a professional look.
paste wax after knocking down Installing the glass and knobs
any nibs with a non-woven abra- will complete the bookcases. Have
sive pad. 1 ⁄8" glass cut to fit the openings of

the doors and fit a glass-retainer

The Finishing Touch strip around the inside of the rab-
Attach the plywood backboards to bet holding the glass in place.
the back of the units with screws The knobs are like the rest of
after the finish is complete. All the project; simple and elegant.
that is needed is to run four screws, What would finish this project
one at each corner, through the better than a simple brass knob?
pieces and into the unit bottom Find the location and drill a pilot
and the rear rail of the unit top. hole to make installing the knobs 63
b y G l e n D. H u e y

A stack of drawers and storage under a

workbench has Shaker written all over it.

W hen I started work at Popular Woodworking magazine my work-

bench was a couple storage cabinets on wheels and a cut-off slab of solid-core
door. The assembled bench design worked, but then again, it wasn’t sturdy,
solid or anywhere near going to be the bench that I used for an extended period
of time. So it was decided that I should build a workbench. A Shaker-style
workbench jumped to the forefront of the many design choices. I wanted a
showy bench. One that when looked at in 100 years, most observers would
wonder if it was for use or for show.
To create a Shaker design I knew that I needed to have doors and a stack
of drawers under the benchtop. In keeping with traditional Shaker benches,
I planned to paint the under-chassis. But the structural members, as well as
the top, had to be tiger maple – of which over the years I had accumulated
quite a stash of less-than-quality figured wood that would do nicely as a
workbench top.

Stout Legs and Sturdy Mortises

Start the construction of the bench with the legs. Instead of searching for
16/4 stock that is milled to 31 ⁄2" square, look for material that can be glued
to the required size. Rough-cut eight pieces of 8/4 stock that is 33 ⁄ 4" wide
x 34" in length. Each leg is made from a pair of these blanks. Because you
want a final size of 31 ⁄2", joint only one face of each piece to gain a smooth
surface for a good glue joint.
Shop box. This bench design
Once the legs are assembled and the glue is dry, mill the pieces to the final
features generous amounts of
dimensions, then begin the layout work to locate the mortises. I oriented the space for working with your
full faces of the legs to the front and rear, keeping each leg’s glue line facing tools and storing them when
the ends of the bench. you are done.

62 ■ Popular Woodworking December 2007 lead Photo by al parrish; illustrations by mary jane favorite
For a drawing of the workbench top
that shows dog hole locations, a video
on how to drill dog holes with a router
and a video on how to size drawer
parts, go to: ■ 63
A furniture joint on the bench. Shaker craftsmen
would employ the dovetail joint for the top rail.
To maintain strength in the joint, set the socket
back from the front edge. Pin down some strength. The added pins reinforce the joint. Because the size of the dowels match
the size of the drill bits, the job couldn’t be easier.

The mortises for both ends and the back

are identical. Each location receives a 1" x 41 ⁄4" plunge router and router bit, you can hog also include the beams that stretch from front
mortise for a 5"-wide lower rail and a 1" x out the majority of the waste material with a to back of the base and add support to the
21 ⁄4" mortise for the 3"-wide upper rail. The Forstner bit at the drill press or you can slave bench (see photo at right). The mortises for
front legs receive an identical mortise for the through the work with a mortising chisel and those beams are cut into the lower front and
3" lower rail at the base of the leg – the rail a mallet. I elected to use a dedicated mortise back rails. You also need to cut the mortises
beginning at 21 ⁄2" above the floor. The upper machine. Whichever method you select, cut for the rear divider that runs between the rails
rail is 7⁄8" thick and 23 ⁄4" wide. It’s a dovetail the mortises to a depth of 11 ⁄2". of the back. A quick step back to the mortising
joint (that’s evidence of the furniture maker stage then you’re ready to cut tenons.
coming out in me). Creating the Rails to a Strong Joint Install a dado stack in the table saw and
There are many ways to cut the mortises. Once the leg mortises are made, mill the mate- raise the blade to 3 ⁄8". Set the fence to act as a
You can make a plywood pattern and use a rial for your rails. That batch of material should stop for a 11 ⁄ 2"-long tenon. Nibble away the
waste material on the four surfaces of each rail
2" 11⁄8" 2" exposing the tenon. Fine-tune the fit of each
tenon into its respective mortise.
The front top rail is joined to the front leg
1⁄4" 1⁄4"
11⁄2" 11⁄2" 31⁄2"

face-frame-to-drawer-runners joinery 4" 211⁄2" 2"

23⁄4" 23⁄4" 11⁄2"


33" 221⁄2"



23" 3" 31⁄2" 141⁄2" 31⁄2"

back elevation detail profile

64 ■ Popular Woodworking December 2007

the back of the base. Add clamps to secure the
assembly. Pin each joint with a 3 ⁄8"-diameter
dowel. Use two pins in the wide rails and a
single pin in the 3" rails.
Next assemble the bench base’s front. I
added a #8 x 11 ⁄ 2" screw to reinforce each
dovetail joint and pinned the lower rail of the
front with a single dowel pin in each joint.
For the ends, glue the rails’ tenons into the
mortises and pin those joints as well. Don’t
forget the beams in the bottom of the base.
Installing these parts makes the assembly of
the base a bit tricky. It’s necessary to slide all
the joints together at the same time. When
complete, the base structure of the workbench
is standing strong.

Making Beaded Panels

To achieve a Shaker look on the exterior of
the bench I decided to fill in the open areas
Standing strong and sturdy. All the rails are fit to the legs with mortise-and-tenon joinery. It’s possible between the ends and back with tongue-and-
to simply add a benchtop at this point to have a well-built woodworking bench. grooved pieces. To add a bit of excitement I
included a bead detail on each piece.
posts with a dovetail joint. Cut the dovetail ing the scribe line at the edge of the legs, and Cut the tongue-and-groove joints at the
socket into the top of the legs. Use a handsaw to transfer the socket layout onto the rail ends. table saw. First mill the pieces necessary to fill
define the edges of the socket then use chisels Saw away the waste material. Carefully fit the each opening. Lay out the pieces edge to edge
to remove the waste. dovetail to the sockets to get a tight fit. and mark the edges that get a groove and the
With the socket complete, fit the top rail mating edges that get a tongue. The starting
to the legs. Slide the lower-front rail into the Assemble the Workbench Base piece has a groove only while the ending piece
front legs, then add clamps to secure. Next, Work in stages. Sand the inner portions of the will have only the tongue. All remaining pieces
scribe the dovetail length onto the front top legs and the inside of each rail, then add glue have both a tongue and a groove.
rail, lay the rail on top of the legs position- to the mortise-and-tenon joints and assemble Cut a 1 ⁄ 4"-wide groove centered on the

11⁄2" 11⁄2" 11⁄2"
13" 31⁄2" 16" 141⁄4" 141⁄4" 31⁄2" 13"


213⁄4" 11⁄8"

265⁄8" 63⁄8"

30" 63⁄8"

elevation ■ 65
edge of the boards. To do this, set the blade down on the table saw surface. Cut both faces haunch cut in the outer edge of the rail. Move
height to 3 ⁄8" and the area between the fence of the boards that get a tongue. the fence toward the blade 3 ⁄ 8" and make a
and the blade at 3 ⁄16". Make a single pass over Now adjust the blade height to 3 ⁄ 8" and second edge-shoulder cut. You can see the
the blade, then reverse the board and make a position the fence at 7⁄16". Cut the boards on haunch appear as the cut is made. The 3 ⁄ 8"
second pass. The result is a 1 ⁄4"-wide groove