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Winter 2013-2014

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  • AW Extra 7/10/14 - Replaceable Fence Faces

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, July 8, 2014
    Replaceable Fence Faces It’s hard to improve on the performance of a T-square fence, but I think I’ve done it. I got frustrated with clamping on an additional subfence every time I wanted to make a rabbet with a dado set (where part of the...
  • Q & A: Bandsaws for Cutting Metal and Wood

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, July 2, 2014
    Bandsaws for Cutting Metal and Wood Q: I plan to buy a bandsaw, and I’d like one that can cut metal as well as wood. I’ve seen some two-speed bandsaws advertised. How well do they work to cut metal? A: The slow speed on most two-speed bandsaws...
  • AW Extra 7/3/14 - Minimize Router Burns

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, July 1, 2014
    Minimize Router Burns End grain burns easily on maple and cherry, and those burns are hard to remove. After sanding my fingers to the bone following one particularly unfortunate routing pass, I came up with an easy solution that removes those unsightly...
  • Scratch-Free Flush Cuts

    by American Woodworker Editors     Saturday, June 28, 2014
    Scratch-Free Flush Cuts No matter how carefully I cut with my economy-model flushcutting saw, it always left scratch marks on the wood’s surface. To solve the problem, I attached a playing card with double-faced tape. Now I don’t have to worry...
  • Q & A: Proper Varnish Storage

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, June 26, 2014
    Proper Varnish Storage Q: Does varnish go bad sitting on the shelf? A: Unopened varnish should last for years on the shelf when kept away from excessive heat. When a can is opened and the finish exposed to oxygen, curing can begin. If the finish skins...
  • Q & A: Better Drilling in Plastics

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    Better Drilling in Plastics Q: I make my own guards and router bases from plastic. How can I drill clean holes without the bit grabbing the plastic? A: A simple solution is to file a flat edge on a regular twist bit’s cutting edges (see photos,...
  • AW Extra 6/19/14 - Shallow Cut Eliminates Tear-Out

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, June 18, 2014
    Shallow Cut Eliminates Tear-Out When I crosscut hardwood plywood, I use an old technique to minimize tearout on the bottom face. I simply make two passes with my general-purpose blade. After setting the rip fence, I cut a shallow groove, no more than...
  • AW Extra 6/12/14 - Better Winding Sticks

    by American Woodworker Editors     Friday, June 6, 2014
    Better Winding Sticks Winding sticks are very useful for gauging twist in a board, but they’re difficult to read. My improved version of these time-tested helpers makes the twist stand out. I start with a pair of straight, flat 2-in.-wide sticks...
  • Q & A: Shop-Made Sanding Blocks

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, June 5, 2014
    Shop-Made Sanding Blocks Q: Commercial sanding blocks all have some kind of padded bottom. Do my shop-made blocks need to be padded, too? A: Yes they do. Padded blocks have two primary benefits: They increase the life of your paper and they make it possible...
  • AW Extra 6/5/14 - Faster Sharpening

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, June 4, 2014
    Faster Sharpening One of my favorite sharpening tools is a diamond paddle. I use it for router bits, knives and, most importantly, scrapers. The problem is that it cuts so fast the tiny spaces between the diamonds quickly fill with metal particles, called...
  • Q & A: Square Drive vs. Phillips-Head Screws

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, May 28, 2014
    Square Drive vs. Phillips-Head Screws Q: What’s the advantage to square-drive screws over Phillips-head screws? A: The primary advantage to square-drive screws is they are much less prone to “cam-out.” Cam-out refers to the slipping...
  • Q & A: Bowl-Gouge Sharpening Jigs

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, May 20, 2014
    Q & A: Bowl-Gouge Sharpening Jigs Q: Try as I might, I can’t seem to get a good edge on my bowl gouges. Are bowlgouge sharpening jigs worth looking into? A: Bowl-gouge sharpening jigs do a great job. The jigs give many turners a higher degree...
  • AW Extra 5/22/14 - Saber-Saw Cushion

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, May 20, 2014
    Saber-Saw Cushion The next time you use your saber saw, forget about hauling out the sawhorses or cantilevering a hard-to-hold workpiece off your bench. Extruded polystyrene insulation board, the rigid pink sheets used in housing construction, makes saber...
  • AW Extra 5/15/14 - Rip Fence for Plastic Laminate

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, May 13, 2014
    Rip Fence for Plastic Laminate I used to work in a cabinet shop that churned out countertops by the truckload. We used this simple jig to keep plastic laminate from lifting during the cut or from slipping under the saw’s rip fence, since most fences...
  • Q & A: What's a Tail Vise?

    by American Woodworker Editors     Monday, May 12, 2014
    Q & A: What's a Tail Vise? Q: I am really puzzled as to how the tail vise actually works as I have only used a front vise. A: A tail vise’s main purpose is to hold a board flat on the bench for planing, routing, sanding and so on. The tail...