February 22, 2018

Drilling Precisely Centered Holes in Wood

Brad-point drill bits are the best drill bits for drilling accurately centered holes in woods. This is because it has a fine center point on the bit so it can be aligned on the exact point you want to drill your holes. V-point drill bits on the other hand commonly have a wide angle at the top of the tip (usually 118° or 135°) which makes it hard to align and stay on the center of your drill point. Also, V-point drill bits are more likely to wander while drilling.

However, there is a technique in marking and drilling accurately centered holes which is applicable regardless of what tools you are using. For this example, let’s assume we are marking holes for shelf pints for a bookcase. This is a once in a lifetime project so you don’t need to invest in a shelf pin jig (a good thing to have if you are making numerous bookshelves or cabinets).

First, you must accurately mark the place you want the holes. Use a sharp pencil. We’ll assume the sides of the bookshelf are approximately nine inches wide and the shelf pins will be placed one and one half inches from each side edge and two inches apart vertically. With an accurate tape measure, mark a point one and a half inches in from both edges at the top and bottom of the shelf side board. Never mark it using a straight line. Use a V to mark the exact drilling point.

Once marked, use a straight edge to connect the v-points from the top to the bottom of both sides of the side shelf edge.

Another technique would be to use a combination square set so the ruler extrudes one and a half inches. Place your pencil at the edge of the ruler and then rag the square down the edge of the board keeping the pencil at the edge of the ruler. Using the same V marking technique place a mark every two inches along one of the vertical lines. Start about four inches from the top and end about four inches from the bottom. Next use a square and at each two inch mark scribe a line across both vertical lines keeping the square tight against the side board edge. Where the lines cross will be the center point for your shelf pins.

Next, let’s center punch the hole locations. One of the handiest tools in your woodshop will be a spring loaded center punch. The best way to make sure the center punch is located exactly at the marked cross point is to align the punch point by starting with the punch almost parallel with the side board, rotating the tip of the center punch onto the marked cross point which will result in the punch being vertical to the side board (assuming your side shelf board is laying horizontal on a flat surface.

With a little practice, you can become very accurate in putting the center point of the punch exactly on the market cross point of the shelf side board. Once you have the punch in place, simply push down firmly on the punch and the spring action will put a v-point indent exactly where you want it.

The next part is easy. Place the marked shelf side board on your drill press table with the size of brad-point drill bit you want for the shelf pins tightly inserted in the drill press chuck. Next set the drill press for the depth of the shelf pins (you don’t want to drill completely through the side shelf board). Turn the drill press on and slowly lower the fine point tip of the brad-point drill bit into the center punched indentation and then continue drilling the hole to the until it stops at the depth you set. If you don’t have a drill press, you can use a hand drill with a stop collar on the drill bit to control the depth of cut.

Try to keep the drill bit as perpendicular to the board as possible. As a woodworker, accuracy is important. Using brad-point drill bits in your woodworking projects will assure greater accuracy in locating your drill holes. Using the marking, punching, and drilling techniques discussed above will help you achieve perfection in your woodworking projects. The marking techniques can be applied to all the measurements you make as a woodworker.

Space-Saving DIY Clamp Rack

_DSC1567Build a space-saving DIY clamp rack which is convenient and easily to use.  The wood is poplar because of its straight grain resulting in very little warpage.  The clamps are pipe clamps but other similar type clamps could be used.  This rack holds 10 clamps spaced 7 inches apart.  It folds against the wall when the bottom supports are folded in.  With them out. it is easy to stack boards in the clamps, slide the top part of the clamp down to the boards to be glued, and tighten the clamps.  Use an industrial quality carbide-tipped saw blade for clean, smooth cuts that require little planing.  The narrow top strip holds the clamps in place and allows them to be easily lifted out if you want to use them in other applications.  Use it to clamp short pieces, long pieces, or in-between pieces.  This clamp rack will be a great addition to your shop.




Easy-to-Make Treatment for Your Wooden Cutting Boards & Utensils

cutting_board_treatmentHere is an easy recipe to keep your cutting boards and wooden utensils in tip top shape.  All you need is mineral oil and beeswax.  Mineral oil can be purchased in the pharmacy section of your store.  Beeswax, although a little harder to come by, can be purchased on the Internet or at a specialty bee keeping store if you have one in your area.  Farm and ranch stores or other specialty stores might carry beeswax as well.  The granular beeswax is best because it melts faster but solid pieces of beeswax will work.  Beeswax is generally yellow or white.  It doesn’t matter which color you use.  Here’s the formula:

1.5 cups of mineral oil
1/2 cup of beeswax

Place the ingredients in a metal pan or other container.  Place the container over a  low heat source.  Stir it just until the beeswax has completely dissolved.  Be very careful not to drip any of the ingredients on the heat source (especially an open flame) because it is flammable.  Once dissolved remove it from the heat and let it cool for a few minutes and then pour it into one or more glass or plastic containers.  Don’t wait too long or the solution will solidify.

This formula should result in a relatively soft wax that is easy to apply using your hand or a cloth.  The more beeswax you add, the harder the wax paste will be.

Once you have poured the dissolved solution into containers, wipe out the pan immediately with a paper towel.  Wash it in hot soapy water and it will be as clean as when you started.

You will also discover that the finished product makes a great treatment for your hands and lips.

Simple to make and you’ll love it.

Clamping Rough Wood Stock

If you plan on clamping rough wood stock together, you need to follow a few simple guidelines along with having the right clamps.  With regards to the clamps, don’t be fooled by those cheap bar clamps.  If you apply much torque, the bar will bend and your clamping job will not produce tight joints.  Purchase heavy duty bar clamps like the Jorgenson clamps shown in the picture on the left.  You would be hard pressed to apply enough torque to bend the bar and with the twist clamp handles, it is easier to apply significant torque to produce tight glue joints.  Once you have the right clamps, run the edges of the boards to be clamped together through a joiner or use a table saw to true up the edges.  For stronger joints, cut biscuit slots spaced as desired.  Lay your clamps out on a level table or floor and adjust the clamp spacing as well as the clamp openings to fit your project.  Apply plenty of glue to both edges of the joint (as well as the biscuit slots if used) and set the boards in the clamps.  It is important that the boards sit flat on the bottom of the clamp bar as shown in the picture on the right.  To achieve this, start at one end of the clamps and ask a person to stand on the boards over the first clamp.  Tighten the clamp sufficiently to hold the boards and then proceed down the line tightening each clamp as the person stands on the boards directly over the clamp being tightened.  Turn the clamped piece over to insure there is no space (or very little space) between the boards and the bar.  In some cases, you might have to use a c-clamp to pull an uneven board down against the bar.  Once you are satisfied the boards are close enough to the bar, tighten each clamp further to insure a tight, solid glue joint.  Don’t try to wipe off the glue coming out of the joints.  Let it dry and then use a scraper to remove the excess.  Wiping it off with a cloth will rub the glue into the wood and make sanding difficult.


Durable Work Surfaces

Take a look at this shop-built miter saw table!  Are you looking for a good durable work surface for your router table or miter saw table.  Try covering it with Formica or a plastic laminate.  This will give you a surface that will last decades and it is much more durable than melamine or a simple plywood or MDF surface.  It is very simple to put Formica on a plywood or MDF.  Simply apply contact cement to the surface and the Formica, let it sit for 15-20 minutes until it feels dry but tacky.  Carefully, place the Formica on the surface and apply about 75 lbs of pressure working from the middle to the edges.  A rolling pin or large dowel is ideal for doing this.  Be sure and cut the Formica so it overlaps the edges by approximately 1/2″.  Once you start placing the Formica on the surface you are committed so be sure and line it up properly.  If you want to be safe, leave more than 1/2″ overhang on all edges to allow for more leeway in placing the Formica on the surface to be covered.  When you are done, use the straight edge or bevel edge router bit with bearing to trim the Formica to the edge.

Glue Scraper

Got a glue scraper?  It is one of the handiest tools in your woodshop.  One of the no-no’s in woodworking is to never try to wipe off the excess glue with a dry or wet rag.  It will spread the excess into the wood pores which will require much more sanding and make staining difficult.  Simply let it dry and then use a glue scraper to remove the excess.  Buy a good glue scraper that you can apply pressure with both hands and one that the blade can be resharpened.  Keep it sharp and clean.  It’s very easy to scrap the glue off of joined boards and then just leave the glue on the scraper.  Once it drys, it will be much more difficult to get off and will result in a dull blade because the sharp edge is coated with dried glue.  Take the time to wash it off with warm water and wipe it dry.  It also never hurts to put a little light oil on the blade to keep it from rusting.  Scraping dried glue off a well joined board is almost as much fun as picking dried glue off your hands.

Router Table Extension

Why do most table saws have an extensions on them but you very seldom see an extension of a router table or shaper cutter? A small table top on a router table makes it very difficult to manage a larger or longer workpiece often making it unsafe as well.  Router table tops need to be large enough to support your work.  This is the same reason extensions are added to table saws.  If you are building your own router table, don’t settle for the normal sized table.  Add an extension similar to the router table in the picture or design your own.  It’s much more important to have the additional surface space on the in-feed side of the table than the out-feed side.  For better utilization of the extra table top space, an additional router plate was installed in this table.  If you have a certain round over bit that you constantly use and an extra router available, it is very quick and easy to mount it to the extra plate and drop it in the extension part when you need it.  Having an extra blank plate to fill in the hole when the router is not needed will keep you form having to adjust the extra router up and down as well.