Completed Router Table (Mostly)

After competing the router table top, I noticed that I didn't have a reliable way of holding down the fence. Sure I could use some clamps, but since I had a two foot section of T-track lying around, I figured that T-bolts would be the easiest way to keep the fence in place. Read more »

Tools: corded drill, cordless drill, counter sink, drill press, file, Forstner, miter saw, router, table saw

Materials: angle iron, pan head screw, T-track, wood screw

A Second Wooden Car with a Different Finish

When I finished my first wooden toy car, my wife asked me to make another one for her nephew. This gave me the opportunity to change a few aspects of the construction.

The first thing I changed was the material. In making the first car, I used some Basswood carving blanks I had purchased from Rockler. While the blanks were extremely easy to work, with basswood is soft and easy to dent. Also the blanks didn't come it one uniform size, so the chances of finding the same sized blanks without having the extra step of resawing was low. So this time I used some SPF 2x6 scrap I had lying around. The pattern I made for the car actually would have fit on a 2x4, but using the 2x6 I was able to move the pattern around more to pick out the best grain with the least number of knots. I also was able to make larger wheels which I felt looked better.

I also wasn't satisfied with the mineral oil finish, it really didn't last. So the second thing I wanted to change was the finish. My sister-in-law is very particular about the toys she lets her kids play with, so to make sure that her son would get to play with the car, I used General Finishes Salad Bowl Finish. I know that most finishes are non-toxic when they dry, but a few extra dollars was worth it so I could point at the label. Read more »

Materials: basswood, dowel, mineral oil, paste wax, SPF, steel wool, urethane

Mounting the Remote Digital Readout

The router lift is designed with a 16 tooth per inch screw to adjust the height, which means if you rotate the crank one full rotation you raise the router 1/16". Although that's a pretty handy feature, I decided that I still wanted to be able to see exactly what height the router bit was, rather than try to keep track of the number of rotations. Also, you can zero the dial readout on the top of the router lift, but it's just not as easy as pressing a button. Read more »

Tools: aviation snips, ball peen hammer, bench vise, crimper, drill bit, drill press, tap wrench, taper tap

Materials: digital position readout, lock washer, pan head screw, sheet metal, spray paint, washer

Mounting The Router Lift in the New Top

In the last installment, I left off after screwing the two halves of the router table top together. In this installment I'll relieve the edges of the top and finish the corners, add some temporary legs, fix a problem with the router opening, install the hardware to level and secure the plate, and shim the insert plate.

Read more »

Tools: Forstner, router table, Surform

Wooden Car

After seeing the wooden toy cars at my son's preschool, I thought that it would be easy to make some wooden cars of my own. The next time I went to Rockler I picked up some basswood carving blocks. I believe it's used for carving because it is an easy wood to work; it is soft and has consistent grain -- almost like a soft plastic or foam. I thought I'd try to use basswood for the toy car for the same reasons. it's easy to machine and forgiving -- it doesn't take much effort to sand out mistakes. Read more »

Tools: drill press, Forstner, hole saw, router table, scroll saw

Tags: round over

Materials: basswood

My Dust Collection System

Over the years, I've made a few tweaks to my Shop-vac to address some problems and annoyances I've encountered. Today I thought I'd share some tips for people who use a Shop-vac for dust collection. Read more »

Tools: shop-vac

Tags: dust collection, remote, speed control

Leveling Insert Plates

I wasn't satisfied with the way the sacrificial insert plates sat in the recess on my drill table. My original plan was to use 3/4" MDF plates, the same width as the top layer of the table. As I later discovered, not all 3/4" MDF is the same thickness. I'm not sure if it's variation between sheets, or that the smaller pieces of the MDF are less stable with temperature and humidity variations. No matter the cause, I couldn't get new plates flush with the surface of the table without a lot of material removal -- even then it wasn't perfect.

I decided that the only way I'd get the plate level was to build some sort of leveling system into the table. After weighing the options I decided to use screws and jam nuts. Read more »

Tools: drill press

Tags: jam nut, leveling

Materials: MDF

Wooden Hinges

I've been experimenting making wooden hinges. I have a few projects I've been thinking about that might use them. One is a drawbridge for my son's wooden track and the other is another decorative box.

On my first attempt I used some 1/2" aspen scraps. I started out modestly with only a single wide finger. Marking the locations of the finger on the two pieces, I clamped them together and used my pull saw to make the vertical cuts. Then I cleaned out the spaces where the fingers would mate with a chisel. Read more »

Tools: hand saw, router table

Tags: box joint, Hinge

Materials: aspen, maple

Decorative Box: My First Attempt at Box Joints

It's funny, the day that I'm going to post about the decorative box I just made, Tom Iovino over at Tom's Workbench wrote a post about why you should make a decorative box. OK, so there are tons of woodworking blogs and other sites on the net and many of them make projects like decorative boxes, so it really isn't that surprising.

I decided to make the box about a week ago. Buoyed by my success at the pencil box, I wanted to experiment with some more joinery. This time I chose box joints. I didn't start out with any plans or even a rough sketch, my only requirement was that I the depth of the box couldn't be any wider that the 1/4" and 1/2" maple I had on hand. I just chose a length that looked proportional. Read more »

Tools: router

Tags: box joint

Materials: maple, tung oil

Making a Colt Router Base

My wife's father gave me an old sign making kit that used to be her grandfathers. Until recently, I'd forgotten I had it. I'd put it away unused because at the time I didn't own any router bushings and the ones that came with the kit were for some old Craftsman router.

When I bought my Colt, I remembered that I had it. I thought playing around with the sign making kit would be a good test for the router. Unfortunately the Porter Cable style router bushings I had acquired since coming into possession of the kit don't work with the standard base, so I made my own base. Read more »

Tools: Colt, drill press, Forstner, router, router bushings

Tags: Bosch, Menards

Materials: plexiglas