Vacuum Hose Bracket

The drum sander on my drill press works great for sanding curves — but it produces a lot of dust. If you don't have a dust collection system, here's a handy clamp you can make that will allow you to attach the hose from a shop vacuum to your drill press table.

The bracket consists of two parts: a keyhole-shaped yoke, and a metal hose clamp that secures the yoke to the column of the drill press (see drawings). These parts are held together with a carriage bolt and wing nut. The bolt passes through a hole in the hose clamp and into another hole in the end of the yoke.

To allow you to tilt the yoke to the desired angle without loosening the wing nut, the hole in the metal clamp is slightly larger than the square shoulder of the bolt. And to provide clearance for the wing nut, there’s a rectangular opening in the yoke. Finally, the large hole in the yoke is sized to accept the hose from the shop vacuum.

Tool Shelf

Keeping power tools organized and within easy reach in my shop used to be a hassle. They were usually scattered around the shop or in a messy pile on my bench. To solve these problems, I built a handy shelf. Besides providing storage, this tool shelf solves another nagging problem as well — it keeps the power cords from getting tangled up like spaghetti. Each power cord fits in a separate compartment directly below the tool, as you can see in the photo.

These compartments are formed by a number of dividers that are sandwiched between a top and bottom, as shown in the drawing at right. The location of the dividers is determined by the amount of space each tool requires.

Shop-Made Drawer Pulls

I’ve built several storage cabinets with a number of drawers to help organize small pieces of hardware and other items. The problem was I didn't want to buy a separate pull for each drawer. Plus, I wanted an easy way to know exactly what was inside without having to open the drawer. To solve both these problems, I made drawer pulls that double as label holders, as you can see in the photo at right.

Each pull begins as a scrap “two-by” that’s cut to the desired length, as you can see in Figure 1. (My pulls were 2" long). But to form the recess for the label safely, it’s best to use extra-wide pieces.

The recess is made in two steps. Start by routing a shallow groove in the edge of the workpiece, as shown in Figure 1. Then, to create slots that "trap" the label, use a bandsaw to cut two thin kerfs in the corners of the groove (Figure 2 and detail at lower right). To complete each pull, just rip off a narrow strip. Then screw it in place.

Scribing a Parallel Line

One way to scribe a parallel line around a workpiece is to trace the workpiece with a compass. But if the compass isn't held perpendicular to the edge of the workpiece or the points of the compass are set too close together, the scribe line may not end up parallel all the way around the workpiece, as you can see in detail 'a.'

The best way I've found to ensure a parallel line around a workpiece is to use a "posterboard scribe," like the one shown in the main drawing and detail 'b.' The scribe is just a small piece of posterboard with a hole punched in it for the tip of a pencil. Just punch or position the hole the distance you want the line from the workpiece.

By using posterboard instead of a compass, there's a much larger pivot point for making contact with the edge of the workpiece, which results in a more uniform line around the workpiece.

PVC Dust Collector Port

Recently when building my own router table and fence, I found that an ordinary 3" to 1½" PVC reducer works great as a dust collector port. The advantage is it connects easily to a standard shop vacuum with an inexpensive 2" adapter.

As you can see in the drawing, the larger 3" side of the reducer is mitered at a 45° in both directions. I did this at my bandsaw by tilting the table to 45° for the first cut. Then return the table to 90° for the second cut.

To attach the port to the fence I used some small #4 x 1¼" Fh woodscrews. I simply drilled through the fence and into the reducer.

Multi-Purpose Sawhorses

I bet you've got a pair of old sawhorses in your shop or garage. Here's a couple of quick modifications you can make to them so that they're even more versatile.

My sawhorses get used mostly for "rough" work, but they also make a great finishing stand. I simply added some removable pads to the top of my sawhorses. These "two-by" pads are wrapped with carpet so they won't scratch the surface of a project, see photo at right. And to hold the pads in place, there are dowels on the bottom that fit into holes drilled in the tops of the horses, see drawing below.

Another quick modification you can make is to add a simple L-shaped bracket to the side of each sawhorse. As you can see in the photo here, these brackets help to hold sheets of plywood so I can cut them down to a more manageable size. Because the plywood is held vertically, I don't have to stretch to cut all the way across the sheet.

I also use the L-brackets and an old piece of plywood as a backer board when I need to spray a project with a coat of paint or finish.

More Leverage on Clamps

Sometimes I have a hard time getting a good grip on the small handles of my clamps, which makes it difficult to tighten them. Here's a simple solution for getting more leverage.

Drill a 3/8"-dia. hole in the handle and slip a short (6") length of dowel through the hole, as shown in the drawing below. The dowel allows me to get a better grip when I really need to tighten it.

Leg Leveler

Most shop floors are uneven. So whenever I build a shop-made tool stand, I allow for some handy leg levelers. (They add about 2" to the height of the stand.)

The thing that’s unusual about this leveler is the rubber tip on the bottom. This keeps the stand from “walking” across the shop floor shop if there’s any vibration produced by the tool.

The rubber tip is nothing more than the pad from the bottom end of a crutch. (I picked them up at a local hardware store for about 75 cents apiece.)
The crutch tip fits over a dowel that has a hole drilled in it to accept a carriage bolt, as you can see in the drawing at right.

Note: To provide clearance for the bolt as you adjust the leveler, you’ll need to drill a deep shank hole for the T-nut, as shown in the Cross Section drawing at right.

The only thing to keep in mind when using the leveler is the nut has to be tight. This keeps the dowel from spinning as you adjust the leveler.