Rolling Featherboard

When cutting raised panels on a router table, my featherboard attachment does me little good.
With the panel up on edge, my featherboard simply doesn't provide enough support to help steady the workpiece while I'm making the cut. To solve this problem, I came up with a device that works like a featherboard, yet offers much more support in keeping upright panels steady.

My rolling featherboard consists of an L-shaped fence (made with MDF) with a pair of appliance casters attached to one side. The rollers allow the workpiece to glide smoothly along the table while the spring action behind the rollers keeps it snug to the fence. 

First build the fence section. Attach the castors to a length of MDF that matches the width of your router table. To make sure the castors will move in and out of the fence (as the spring expands and contracts) be sure to drill holes for the castor studs slightly larger than the stud diameter. Also, studs on casters can be rather short, so you might need to counterbore the holes in your fence stock (see detail a.
Next attach a base to the fence with woodscrews.

Flush Trim Jig

Recently I was building a plywood bookcase with several shelves. To conceal the rough plywood, I glued hardwood strips to the front of each shelf. But when I tried to trim the strips using my router, the edge of the shelf was too narrow for my router to ride on. So I came up with this quick jig for trimming these kind of edges.

Zero-Clearance Top

Most table saw inserts have wide throat openings around the saw blade. This makes it all too easy for narrow cutoffs to fall in the opening and possibly bind against the blade. Also, since the throat opening isn't supporting the workpiece, you'll often end up with chipout along the bottom face of your board.

Table Saw Taper Jig

Recently, I was building a blanket chest featured in Workbenchmagazine. When it came time to make the thick, tapered legs, I needed a way to make a long, angled cut quickly and accurately. But I also wanted to make sure the taper on both legs ended up identical. So, I made a simple taper jig. The jig makes it easy to position the leg at the correct angle and hold it in place during the cut (see photo).

Small Piece Miter Gauge

I make a lot of small picture frames for gifts. But there's a couple challenges: mitering the small pieces accurately and holding them safely. So I've made a jig designed to help with this. It's nothing more than a shallow box attached to a miter gauge runner.

Small Parts Sled

Using a table saw to trim a number of small parts to identical size can be tricky — especially if the cut is angled. But this small parts sled makes it easy and safe.

Rip Fence Setup Gauge

When trying to make very accurate cuts with my rip fence, I used to check the distance between the fence and my saw blade with a tape measure.

Miter Gauge Extension

Using a miter gauge to cut multiple pieces to identical length on a table saw is easy — if the pieces are fairly short. But if the pieces are long, it can be difficult cutting them to identical lengths. Unless I use an extremely long fence, there’s no place to clamp a stop block. And a long fence would just get in the way most of the time.

Miter Gauge - Bookmark -

When cutting miters on my table saw, I sometimes need to change my miter gauge to a different setting, but then return to my original angle to finish the project. 

Finishing Dowels

Once I designed a project that included quite a few dowels. I really didn't give the dowels too much thought — that is until I had to stain and finish them. I soon found out that finishing dowels with a brush can be extremely time consuming and tedious. Plus, it's easy to miss spots around the sides of the dowel.

Drying Rack for Shelves

Finishing shelves can be awkward and time consuming, especially if you need a finish on both the top and bottom surfaces of a shelf. For most of us, this means letting one side dry completely before we can start on the other side. To make things go a little quicker, I built this drying rack that lets me hang the shelves vertically so the entire shelf can be finished in one shot. It only takes a few minutes to build.

Clean-Up Can

I like using a spray gun for finishing. It produces a smooth, even finish in a fraction of the time it takes using a brush. The only downside is the clean up. It's messy and time consuming, especially when you're spraying a solvent-based finish. Plus, the fumes can be dangerous.

Corner Cabinet Kickstand

When I was making a corner cabinet a few months ago, I discovered that the most difficult part of the project wasn’t cutting the miters or even clamping the cabinet together. It was supporting the cabinet on my workbench while working on the face frame.

Attaching Glass Stops

When attaching glass stops in a frame or door, I like to drill a starter hole for the brads or screws. Problem is, with the glass in place there's not enough clearance for me to position my drill bit where it needs to be, just above the plate of glass. So I came up with a way to drill the holes just before I install the glass.

Turned Spindle Repair

Recently while turning an intricate spindle, my chisel caught the workpiece and tore out a chunk of wood. Rather than discard the turning, I came up with a simple technique to repair the damage.

Roundovers on the Table Saw

Shaping an irregular roundover, like the one shown in the photo, is not as difficult as you might think. Here's an easy three-step process for making smooth, clean roundovers using your table saw.

Raised Panels on the Table Saw

If you can afford the bits, a router makes quick work of cutting raised panels. But here's a less-expensive alternative for making the same cuts using your table saw. You'll still end up with smooth, clean bevels and square shoulders.

Non-skid Miter Saw Table

There are times when it's difficult to hold a workpiece steady on a miter saw. Crown molding, in particular, wants to slip away from the fence when I stand it up on edge.

Miter Moldings Safely and Accurately

I recently completed a project that required cutting miters on small pieces of molding using a power miter saw. The irregular shape of the molding caused my workpiece to rock back and forth while I made the cut. To solve the problem, I made a small wood support and attached it to the table with carpet tape.

Cutting Plywood - Final Cuts

After making preliminary rough cuts to your plywood (see Cutting Plywood - Rough Cuts), the next step is to trim each piece to final size. This calls for a series of cuts.

Cutting Plywood - Rough Cuts

Cutting a full sheet of plywood (or MDF) down to size on a table saw can be a challenge. The sheets are heavy and awkward to move around. And even after you wrestle it into position, the surface veneer has a frustrating tendency to chip out as you make the cut. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to simplify the job - starting with the initial rough cuts.

Cutting Identical Slots

I recently built a large entertainment center that needed several identical slots for cord access. Roughing out the slots with a jigsaw wasn't difficult. But getting them all identical, with clean edges was another story. To solve this problem, I decided to cut the slots with my router and a simple shop-made template.

Custom Fit Dado

Here's a quick way to cut a dado on a table saw. It takes a combination saw blade and two spacers, which establish the two sides of the dado. The material between the sides is wasted out.

Applying Veneer

A piece of veneer with swirling grain can turn a project into something special. But getting the piece centered on the panel can be difficult. Here's a trick that makes the job easier.

Indexing Jig for Making Featherboards

Featherboards are a great way to hold a workpiece firmly against a fence or table surface. But there's more to making a featherboard than just sawing kerfs in the end of a board. To get the fingers to flex properly, the spacing between the kerfs must be nearly perfect. To make the job easier, I built an indexing jig from just a few pieces of scrap wood in my shop.

The jig is nothing more than a long piece of plywood (backing board) with two saw kerfs spaced 1/8" apart. In one kerf I glued a hardwood "pin" that serves as a index. Leave the other kerf open.

To use the jig, start by setting your blade to a 30° angle and cut one end of your featherboard. Then position the jig on the table, lining up the open kerf with your saw blade. Next secure the jig to your miter gauge with clamps or screws.

Now position your featherboard against the jig, making sure it's pushed up snug against the index pin, see detail "a." Secure the featherboard to your jig with clamps and cut your first kerf.

Next unclamp the featherboard, and again, push it up snug against the index pin. Reclamp and make another pass to cut your second kerf. Repeat this process to complete all the fingers on the featherboard.

Magnetic Stop Block

When cross-cutting short pieces to the same length, I like to clamp a stop block to the rip fence of my table saw. This block provides clearance between the rip fence and the saw blade so the cut-off pieces don't get trapped (and kick back).

Dado Setup Jig

When making a series of matching dadoes, it's important that the two shoulder cuts align perfectly to the blade. Here's a simple jig you can build to keep your dadoes aligned and accurate.

he jig is a small adjustable hardboard stop attached to a clamping block with carriage bolts and nuts. By adjusting the nuts, you can move the stop in or out to register the cut for the inside shoulder without having to reset the fence between cuts.

Here's how to set up the jig.
First clamp the jig to your fence (Fig.1).

Then mark the dado locations on your workpiece (Detail a) and posi-tion it against your fence so that the dado blade aligns perfectly with the inside shoulder of the dado.

Now, before making any cuts, reposition the workpiece and adjust the hardboard stop so that it aligns perfectly with the outside shoulder of the dado.

Once the jig is set up, you're ready start cutting (Fig. 2). Make the first cut with the end of your board butted against the fence to define the inside shoulder of the dado.

To make the second cut, slide the board away from the blade and butt the same end against the hardboard stop. This defines the outside shoulder of the dado. To complete the dado, clear away the waste between the two shoulder cuts.

Fitting Inset Doors

Fitting inset doors to a cabinet opening has always been a hassle for me, especially if the cabinet opening isn’t perfectly square. But recently, I came up with a quick and easy method of trimming doors with a router and flush-trim bit.

Bevels of Another Degree

On a recent project, I wanted a 30° chamfer on an edge. However, all I had was a 45° chamfer bit. I didn't want to buy a new bit for what was likely to be a one-time use, so I found a way to make the 45° bit work for me.

Router Table Indexing Jig

Recently I had to cut a series of evenly spaced dadoes across the sides of some small display shelves I was making. I wanted to make the dadoes on my router table, and I needed a way to space them evenly. That's when I came up with the idea for an auxiliary table fitted with an index pin as shown in the photo.

To make the auxiliary table, I started by cutting a piece of ½" MDF (medium-density fiberboard) that fit on top of my router table. Then I drilled a hole in the center of the MDF for a router bit.