Quick Tips – Terrific Tips

Two-Headed Clamp

– I’VE COMBINED THE WORKING PARTS of two quick-action clamps to make a good tool even better. A two-headed clamp allows me to quickly make an adjustable-height table for my drill press or an out feed table for my tablesaw. It also works great for holding cabinet parts in place for assembly.

To make a two-headed clamp, use a punch to pop out the stop tubes from two clamps. Remove the trigger jaw from one clamp and slide it onto the other clamp, back-to-back with the other trigger jaw. Then slide on the second plain jaw.

Fold-Away Outfeed Table

– LIKE MANY OF YOU, I don’t have room in my shop for a large outfeed table, although sometimes I need one. Using heavy duty folding brackets purchased from Rockier (12″ – $22, 16″ – $30), I made an outfeed table for my saw that’s available when I need it and stowed out of the way when I don’t. I made the top out of 3/4″ x 36″ x 36″ MDF. The top is the same width as the saw’s table; it’s as long as it can be without hitting the floor when folded down.

Rout grooves in the top that line up with your saw’s miter slots. I notched one corner of the top so, when folded, the table clears my in-floor dust collector pipe. I screwed 2 x 4’s to the underside to attach the brackets and to add strength and stability to the top. (This design won’t work on a contractor saw, because its motor is in the way.)

Drip-Free Shellac

– AVOID SHELLAC DRIPS, sags, and runs by making sure your brush
is properly loaded. After dipping your brush in the shellac and drawing it across the edge of the can, lightly dab it on a lint-free absorbent cloth. The cloth draws away excess finish.

Easy-Read Speed Square

– I REALLY LIKE BRIGHT-COLORED speed squares because they’re easy to locate on the job, but I find them difficult to read. To solve this problem, I spray-painted my speed squares black. After they were dry, I used a 3M Scotch-Brite pad to remove the paint. This left the marks and numbers black. Carpenter’s squares, rules and combination squares may also benefit from this treatment.

Non-Slip Bench Hook

– PLANING OR SCRAPING PARTS with angled or mitered ends is tricky. Bench dogs will damage a crisp corner, and clamps get in the way. To, hold the work, I use an oversized bench hook with a new twist: a layer of 3M’s grip tape, made for slippery sidewalks and steps. The grit doesn’t mar the wood-even soft wood-and when I apply downward pressure with a plane or scraper, the part stays put.


Tablesaw Trap

– EVEN WITH A ZERO-CLEARANCE throat plate in my tablesaw, thin cut-offs slip through now and then. These pieces can clog a vacuum hose or damage the blades of a dust collector. I made a trap to catch them by attaching a piece of hardware cloth inside my saw, in front of the dust port. The trap also catches a dropped arbor nut or washer.

PVC Lumber Storage

– IN NEED OF SOME QUICK LUMBER STORAGE, I rummaged around my shop for a solution. I discovered a length of PVC pipe left over from a plumbing job and cut it into three 12″ long pieces. I also found some 1/ 2″ rope and cut it into three 5′ long pieces. I tied knots on the ends of each piece, slipped them through the pipes, and used heavy-duty wire staples to attach the ropes to the ceiling joists. The knots keep the ropes from slipping through the staples. Once my racks were hung, I gave them the “pull-up test.” They held my 250 Ibs. with ease!

Extendo Chucks

– I HAVE A HARD TIME throwing things away, such as these chucks from a couple of worn-out drills. To put them back into service; I bought a 3′ long, 3/8″ dia. threaded rod at the hardware store and cut it into two pieces, 12″ and 24″ long. I threaded the old, chucks onto the rods and secured them with jam nuts. I covered the exposed threads with 3/8″ i.d. vinyl tubing, also from the hardware store, to protect my fingers. I now have two extended chucks for drilling or driving in hard-to-reach areas.

Home-Made Deep Reach Clamps

– LIKE MOST WOODWORKERS, I never have enough clamps. Adding to a clamp collection is expensive, so when I needed some deep reach clamps, I made these auxiliary hardwood jaws. You can make them whatever size you like. The jaws are mortised to slide on the clamp’s bar. A stiff wood that resists splitting, like maple, is ideal.