Quick Tips – Tips 2

Zero-Clearance Miter Table

Here’s dirt-simple but effective accessory for your miter saw. It eliminates tear-out, allows you to make precision cuts by aligning a pencil mark with the kerf, and provides room to screw or clamp a stop block anywhere along the fence.

Originally, I built this table for extra support when cutting long pieces. But it’s such a great addition that now I leave it on my saw all the time.

You could use 3/4″ stock, but I made my table from 1/2″ plywood to minimize the decrease in my saw’s cross cut capacity. It can be any length you want. For stability, make the bed about 3″wider than the maximum length of the saw’s kerf.

Glue and screw the fence to the ply-wood bed at 900• Screw the table’s fence to the saw’s fence, and you’re set.

Precision Fence Setting

I use a set of shop-made gauge blocks to adjust my fence for cutting rabbets and tenon shoulders. The blocks are precise thicknesses and about 2” wide.

To set the fence, I insert a ½” spiral bit into the collet, upside down, and then tighten the collet by finger only. (A piece of ½” drill rod would work as well.) Why upside down? The bit’s shank provides a smooth surface for the square to register against. Right-side up, a router bit is difficult to use because you must precisely rotate its cutting edge to the outer-most point of its travel.
Next, I insert a gauge block between the fence and the square. Then I adjust the fence until the square is flat against the gauge block and touching the bit’s shank. After turning the bit right-side up, I’m ready to go.

Friction-Free Re-Saw Fence


Re-sawing a board is tricky. Most blades drih, so that you must angle the board to get a straight cut. Standard band saw fences can’t be angled to compensate for drih, so many folks use a single-point fence instead, like this one. The point on my fence is a tall stack of machine bearings, which gives me effortless, resistance-free cutting. To build the fence, you’ll need a5/16″ steel rod, 5/16″ i.d. bearings,5/16″ i.d. washers, a base6″ to 8″wideand as long as the depth of your saw’s table, an upright (its height depends on your saw’s capacity), and a hardwood cap to house the steel rod and hold the bearings in place.

The steel rod and washers are available at any hardware store for a few bucks. (See Source below for bearings, or try an auto parts or surplus store; the exact i.d. and o.d. of the bearings aren’t particularly important.)

Drill a 5/16″ hole at the base’s point to house the steel rod’s bottom end. Position the hole to allow the bearings to overhang the point by1/8″. Glue and screw the upright to the base, 1/8″ behind the bearings. Insert the rod in the base’s hole and stack the bearings with a washer between each one. Insert the top end of the rod in the cap’s hole, and then screw the cap to the upright, making sure it’s positioned so that the bearing stack is square to the saw’s table.

XL Router Base

My neighbor needed an edge routed on a large oak table top. Having messed up my fair share of edges by accidentally tilting the router, I was a little nervous, but agreed to take on the job.
While removing my router from the router table, it occurred to me that the table’s insert plate would give me the extra support necessary to keep the router from tilting. And it did!

Clamp Blocks Plus

Bessey K-blocks are great for holding K-clamps in position for glue-ups, but they are also quite handy for other things. I milled hardwood strips the same dimensions as my K-clamps and use them to raise work pieces for stacked glue-ups. I also use the blocks and strips fro pocket-hole assembly, so I don’t have to hang a joint over the edge of my workbench to clamp it. Shop-made blocks like these, made in maple, would work just as well.

Slick Drawer Runners

One day, I really got fed up with the drawers in my desk at home. They’re the old-fashioned kind, which ride on their wooden sides. The sides had become so worn that the drawers were always a pain to open and close.

This day, they were particularly bad! considered installing the side-mount ball bearing slides I had always dreamed about, but the cabinet’s opening wasn’t big enough to allow for them. I’d have to make new drawers, and I really wasn’t up to it. Feeling frustrated, I went to the kitchen to make a sandwich. I noticed that our cutting board was made from UHMW(Ultra High Molecular Weight)plastic, which is very slick and very durable. I quickly decided that this cutting board was worn out, and told my wife we should get a new one.

Old’cutting board in hand,1 headed for my shop. First! cut down the drawer’s height by1/2″, and then repositioned the front. Then! countersunk and screwed on my new UHMW1/2″ x 1/2″ runners. Now my only problem is that instead of working in my office, I just sit there sliding the drawers in and out.

Tail Vise Extension

When I installed my tail vise, I made the jaw protrude past the bench’s front rail. Using dog sin the rail, I can securely clamp a board in a vertical position.