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Notes from the Workshop: 20101227

Bent Hook Blues

I noticed one day my favorite tape measure seemed to be off.  After double checking the measurement with another tape and confirming my suspicions, I noticed that the hook was bent.  At some point I must have dropped it on the floor; I can't think of any other way I could have bent it.  I tried to bend the hook back straight, but it is difficult when hook is still riveted to the tape. Read more »

Tools: clamps, table saw, tape measure

Tags: dado, notes, rabbet

Materials: glue

Miter (Crosscut) Sled

I barely ever use my miter gauge on my table saw, probably because it's so loose it rattles in the slot. It's too loose to use a punch to dimple the sides, and I really didn't want to throw good time away tapping and threading holes for a bunch of set screws. So when I had to rip an 8" block of mahogany into 1-3/4" strips, I had nothing I could trust to support it.

The only other way to cut the block into strips was to use my miter saw, but 2x8" is approaching it's maximum capacity, plus I really couldn't figure out a safe way to do it once I got down to cutting the last few strips.

I've been planning to build a miter sled for some time. I've seen some of the fancy jigs they come up with in woodworking magazines and have thought they would be handy. Since I really wanted to get on with my other projects I decided on a really basic design.

Tools: clamps, table saw

Tags: crosscut, miter slot

Materials: glue, MDF

Building a Bird House with My Daughter

My daughter has wanted to build a birdhouse for a while. I told her first she needed to figure out what type of bird she wanted to build it for. She decided to make a house for one of the Blue Jays we always see in our back yard. Googling Blue Jay house, I found some decent plans at the ShopSmith Hands-On website, I liked the fact they had a nice set of plans and a cut-list.

While building the house was fun, it turns out that this wasn't the best project for a six year old. While she did well with the measuring and gluing, there wasn't much else she could help with. She didn't like the noise my miter and table saw made. She wasn't necessarily afraid of the machines but couldn't even help me support the boards because she had her hands over her ears. Unfortunately I didn't have a set of clean earplugs and my muffs hurt her head. Drilling holes and using a screwdriver were also beyond her dexterity.

I think I am going to look for a hand miter box with a pull saw rather than the push style saw. She loves to saw with my pull saw and it would be nice if she could actually make cuts accurate enough to build things. Maybe I'll look for a small brace too, I'm sure she would love drilling holes.

Tools: drill press, hand saw, miter saw, table saw

Tags: bird house, daughter

Materials: cedar, glue