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Woodwork 

Winter 2013-2014

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The Jigs of Serge Duclos

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Saddle-Style Push Stick

Any push stick adds a measure of safety, but I prefer using one that straddles the saw’s fence. It lifts right off when I’m done.

A saddle-style push stick has two clear advantages. First, there’s no chance of tipping it into the saw blade. Second, it keeps your fi ngers far, far away from the blade.

The right-hand side and top of my push stick are made from hardwood. I attached a handle shaped like a hand plane’s tote to the top board.

The foot—the part that does the pushing—is 3/4" MDF, which is cheap to replace when I make narrow cuts and slice into it too many times. Th e foot has a hook on it to engage the board’s end and is adjustable, up and down. Set to the thickness of the board, it acts as a hold-down, too.

 

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Gambler's Micro-Adjust

Precise fence adjustments are a sure bet when I clamp this shop-made device on my router table. I simply drilled and tapped a hole to accept a 1/4"-20 machine screw through the center of a 3/4-in. by 1-in. by 3-in. piece of hardwood. I covered the tip that contacts the fence with a cap nut. My “hi-tech” adjustment mechanism consists of two square nuts squeezed tight together. I've blackened them with a permanent marker and painted on white dots to clearly identify each of the 4 sides. I also added a third square nut, so I can lock the device for repetitive cuts.

With the 1/4"-20 screw I used, one full turn of the nuts corresponds to a travel of .05-in. If you prefer working with fractions, switch to a 3/8"-16 screw. Then, one full turn moves the tip 1/16-in. A half turn moves it 1/32- in. and a quarter turn moves it 1/64- in. You can even make one-eighth turn adjustments. Simply position the nuts on edge, as in the photo.

 

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The Third Wheel

All my shop cabinets are on wheels; actually, each cabinet has two wheels on one end and two feet on the other end. When I need to move a cabinet, I turn to my “third wheel.” It’s just a swiveling caster mounted to a 3/4" thick board. Th e board has rubber shelf lining on top to keep it from sliding while in use.

Using a pry bar, I raise the “feet” end of the cabinet and slide in the third wheel, which holds the feet about 1/2" off the fl oor. Th e cabinet’s weight keeps the wheel from tipping. I do have to keep my fl oor clear of debris to keep all the wheels rolling, but a clean shop is a good thing, right?

 

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All-Angle Miter Gauge

Attaching a triangular jig to your miter gauge enables you to safely cut shallow angles, or any angle beyond the normal range of the miter gauge.

The jig is just a 30-60-90 triangle made from 3/4" MDF, fastened with glue and countersunk screws. To cut the jig’s two 30° angles, tilt your saw’s blade and cut the parts flatwise. Screw a backer board to your miter gauge to provide clamping support for the jig. Be sure to clamp your workpiece to the jig.

 

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Bullet-Catch Bench Dogs

When I built my workbench, I drilled round bench-dog holes in the top so I didn’t have to cut square mortises. Being a thrift y sort, I didn’t want to shell out for store-bought dogs, so I made my own.

At first, I thought all I’d need was a couple 3/4" dowels with flat faces cut into them at a slight angle. Th ey worked, but I couldn’t leave the dogs in the holes when they weren’t in use—they fell right through!

I had some left over bullet catches from another job, so I installed a pair in each dog. They’re spring-loaded, providing just enough pressure to keep the dogs in place.

The catches have a lip, so I supported the dogs in a V-block and drilled shallow counterbores to sink the lips below the surface.

 

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Router Sitter

I don't like to lay my router on its side with the bit exposed, so I built a stand for it. It’s just a 3/4" x 8" x 8" board with a 2" dia. hole in the center. The board sits on 2" tall legs. I added shelf liner to the top of the stand to keep the router from sliding.

 

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Power-Grip Handles

After 37 years of pushing pencils and typing on a keyboard at the office, my grip is not what it used to be. So I found an easy way to get a powerful yet comfortable grip on my clamp handles. First I wrap the handle with athletic tape. Then I stretch on a piece of bicycle inner tube that is slightly smaller in diameter than the handle. That’s it! The tape helps hold the tube in place. If you don’t have any used inner tubes, new ones are inexpensive, and a couple tubes will cover a lot of handles.

 

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Miter Gauge Grip

To keep stock from slipping when using my miter gauge, I rely on this simple jig. Screw a 3/4" x 2" fence to your miter gauge. Make it whatever length you need. Use a continuous hinge to fasten a section of 2x4 to the fence. Glue a piece of sandpaper to the inside bottom edge of the 2x4 where it contacts the workpiece. This fence height works for stock from 1/2" to 1-1/2" thick. For thicker stock, just unscrew the hinge and make a taller fence. The jig holds the workpiece firmly against the table and the miter gauge.

 

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Cam-Action Bench Dog

I made a clamping device for my bench that can quickly snug up a board just by swinging a lever. The lever has a cam that pushes a sliding stop tight against the board.

I made all the parts from 1/4" thick stock. The total thickness of the device is 1/2", so I can use it for planing or sanding any piece that’s more than 1/2" thick.

The base for the stop is 6" wide and 20" long. The guide rails are 6" long. The inner edges of the rails and the outer edges of the sliding stop are beveled at 10°. The bevels on the rails point up, while the bevels on the stop point down. This dovetailed arrangement keeps the stop from lifting up when it’s tightened. The rails are glued to the base.

The cam lever is 2" wide and 6" long; its rounded end is a circle with a 1" radius. The lever rotates on an 8-32 FH machine screw, 3/4" long. The hole for the screw is offset: It’s located 5/8" in from the left side of the lever and 1" down from the lever's end. Drill this hole first, using a 1/8" bit, then align the lever with the sliding stop and continue the hole through the base. Countersink the bottom of the hole, insert the screw and fasten it with a wing nut.

 

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Mini Router Tables

I've acquired a bunch of routers over the years—enough so that I can aff ord to keep a few permanently mounted in these mini router tables.

For lots of jobs, you don’t need a large table or a sophisticated fence; a small, fl at surface and a board clamped to the top will do. Th e base’s overhang provides room for clamping the table to my bench; I use the top’s overhang for clamping the fence.

When I’m done routing, these mini tables stack neatly on a shelf. In fact, they’re handier than the cases that the routers came in!