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Winter 2013-2014

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  • Garage-Friendly Assembly Tables

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, July 2, 2009
    Efficient storage is important in my garage shop, so after use, my assembly tables tip, fold, clamp and roll. Each table has one apron-mounted caster ($7 at a home center) and a stabilizer. I used two sheets of 3/4-in. plywood to make the tabletops and...
  • Solvent Decanter

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    I came up with this 5-ft.-tall decanter to recycle my varnish-contaminated mineral spirits. It’s made from standard plumbing supplies from the local home center (about $50). It holds a gallon of mineral spirits and hangs in a cool, dry place, away...
  • Smooth-As-Silk Countersink

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Countersink first, drill the pilot hole second. That may sound backward, but it’s the easiest way to ensure a perfectly smooth countersink. I used to drill the pilot hole first on the drill press, but if that hole was relatively large or the wood...
  • Zero Clearance Dust Port

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, June 30, 2009
    Zero clearance inserts are wonderful for eliminating tearout, but unfortunately, they also impede dust collection. To give my collection system an opening to pull sawdust through, I cut a 1/2-in.-dia. hole at the front end of the blade slot. In this location...
  • Knee-Saving Compressor Rack

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, August 11, 2009
    by Richard Fenwick Crouching to operate my compressor’s drain valve was no big deal until my football-ravaged knees started acting up. To keep from grimacing in the sawdust, I devised a more civilized way to clear the tank. I replaced the drain...
  • Toggle Clamp Sanding Block

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, August 12, 2009
    I made this quick-release sanding block from four pieces of 1/2-in. -thick birch plywood. The top three pieces are glued together. Wrap a quarter sheet of sandpaper around the bottom piece and slip on the top assembly. The toggle clamp (www.rockler.com...
  • Tips for Mastering the Miter Saw

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    Tips for Mastering the Miter Saw 14 Ways to Make Safe, Accurate Cuts with No Tear-Out by Tom Caspar At first glance, using a miter saw appears quite simple. But to get good results—that’s another story! Here are a handful of techniques and...
  • Scratch-Free Flush Cuts

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 8, 2009
    No matter how carefully I cut with my economy-model flush-cutting 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 about scratches, because...
  • Sandpaper Saver

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, August 18, 2009
    by Chip Harding Sanding between coats of polyurethane is tough on sandpaper. And I make it tougher, because I never wait the recommended 72 hours before recoating. But if the finish isn’t bone-dry, the paper is likely to gum up. When my sandpaper...
  • Good-Looking Panels

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, June 24, 2009
    Nothing makes a cabinet look worse than door panels with unattractive grain that runs at weird angles. It pays to be picky about grain direction, even if it means wasting some plywood. After assembling your door frames without glue, slide them around...
  • Small Parts Drying Rack

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, July 2, 2009
    I made this rack so the finish on my small projects would dry without leaving marks. I cut strips off of a 3/4-in. board with my tablesaw’s blade tilted 30 degrees. For each new strip, I just flipped the board and moved the fence over 1/2-in. Then...
  • Changing of the Guard

    by American Woodworker Editors     Thursday, July 2, 2009
    After years of use, I could hardly see through my tablesaw’s guard. While at a car show, I heard that polish for renewing aluminum wheels also worked to clear up old headlight lenses—so I tried it on my saw’s guard. After two applications...
  • Minimize Router Burns

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    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 burns without requiring...
  • Switch Safety

    by American Woodworker Editors     Tuesday, September 15, 2009
    Sliding switches on some of my older power tools make it difficult to tell whether they’re switched on or off. I didn’t think much about it until the time my router started right up when I plugged it in— I had unknowingly switched it...
  • Plastic Stickers Don't Stain

    by American Woodworker Editors     Wednesday, September 9, 2009
    I use plastic conduit to make stickers for stacking and drying my wood. These stickers provide consistent spacing and excellent air circulation with minimal contact. I’ve never had problems with insects, mold or staining, which can occur around...