Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category

Jointmaker Pro Bench Hook

May 11th, 2010 5 comments

Not having a space for a dedicated stand for my Jointmaker Pro (note: link is to newer version of JMP) I needed a better solution for quicker setup and usage of the tool. I have been using it on a desk and that just wasn’t cutting it (pun intended… sadly) You see the tool works best, with respect to ergonomics and work visibility, at a slight angle. Additionally the tool really needs to be anchored down as it has a penchant for doing the jitterbug.

Like most tools, I would like to use this tool at the good ‘ole workbench. How do we facilitate the usage of many other tools at the workbench? The first person that answered “bench-hook jigs” goes to the second row of the class. If you just read ahead for the answer and didn’t even venture a guess you go the head of the class as I also don’t like to be asked questions when reading silly blogs like this one.

So here is the fruit of my labor (that phrase makes me feel like I just when through childbirth… probably a similar process except less messy). I didn’t design any of it. I just identified an angle of elevation that I found desirable and built the box around that, employing mostly pocket hole joinery.

Completed Jointmaker Pro (JMP) Bench Hook

Pocket Hole Joinery

I made the hook to slip fit in to the junk (a.k.a. tool) tray and over the front of the bench. I guess in that regard it’s really not a hook but more of a two-time hooker.

To anchor the saw to the bench hook I installed T-Track and made some rather beefy hold-downs out of poplar. I wasn’t looking for elegance here… it’s a jig, right…

Poplar Hold Downs

Here’s a short video overview of the jig, plus the saw in action. Be kind… the camera adds ten lbs… apparently directly to the belly.

Categories: Hand Tools, Tool Porn Tags:

Texture me surprised

October 12th, 2009 6 comments

NOTE: Please note that I’ve moved this site from ( to this hosted site ( You may need to resubscribe to this blog to continue to receive posts delivered to your RSS reader. If you happened to link to my site in the past, first, why would you do so? And second, please relink to my site. Thanks!

So I was in the shop the other day fumbling around looking for a tool that I had most definitely put back in it’s proper place after it’s previous use, but has since migrated elsewhere, when my eyes became trained on a particular object. If you are thinking that the object was probably shiny, you are correct. The object of my gaze this time was a corrugated fastener which found itself separated from the herd. With my eyes fixed, the fastener gestured to me to come pick it up while saying “look at me, don’t I look like a beading profile.” I replied “why yes you do… and you’re just a little bit vein aren’t you?”

I grabbed it as-is and stuck it in my Veritas beader and went to town on a Mahogany offcut with many existing surface blemishes. Surprisingly the results weren’t completely horrible. Definitely worth playing with further…

IMG_3063 mohag

Next, I rather hastily attempted to refine the cutter by removing the bevel and finished by jointing the top surface. The third photo below shows my cutter on the left versus a virginal corrugated fastener on the right.

removingBevel jointing cuttercompare

I probably should have taken more time and been more exacting in this effort but I was anxious to get to scratching. With my jock itch relieved, I put this new cutter to work. Ideally the profile in the cutters are all 90 degrees as the Village Carpenter explains. The corrugations clearly prevent this, but it didn’t seem to create much of a problem. Here is the results in some rock maple (looks a little odd as I did it right along the heartwood/sapwood border).

maple maple2

For some reason the tactile feedback you get with scraping and scratching things is just too much fun (probably why my mosquito bites tend to never heal). The Veritas beading tool ships with predefined cutters but also with blanks for you to create custom cutters (or scrapers really). Another option is to grab an old Stanley 66 beader off ebay (can be seen in the photo above). It has a nice feel and a good fence for solid reference against square edges. I’d still recommend the Veritas though as it allows for wider profiles (such as these corrugated fasteners) and is presumably better for profiling curvilinear pieces as you can reconfigure the fence into a bullnose position (haven’t tested this but it makes sense).  Course, you really don’t even have to spend a penny for a beading tool. Visit any woodworking forum for helpful threads on making your own scratch stock as well as making the cutters from old hacksaw/bandsaw blades.

If you do want to make your own scratch-stock, you won’t do any better than following this post by The Village Carpenter where she walks you through making two incarnations of beaders. Grab some corrugated fasteners and do some beading for very little cost! Wait, what am I saying… just contact me to place an order for one of my special beading cutters for the low, low price of $9.95 per beader (only $13.95 with undercoating option added). Ask for the “Wood Zealot Special” and you’ll get 2 cutters for just $29.95. You can’t get these cutters anywhere else! Act now! Limited time offer!

Categories: Antique Tools, Hand Tools, Tools Tags:

Making a .001 clearance insert

June 28th, 2009 13 comments
Padouk Insert

Padouk Insert

Tired of closing my eyes as I trim boards, fearful of the offcut falling between the blade and the stock insert and being launch back at me,  I decided to make one of these high-falootin gizmos called a zero clearance insert. These inserts are a panacea… they protect you from the aforementioned offcut falling between insert and blade and also improve cut quality by backing the material, reducing tear-out. Beyond that, they are known to get rid of warts and make you more virile. Ehhh maybe not all of that, but we live in age of over-hype and unsubstantiation so I’ll ask you kindly to not question my claims.

I have a bit of a history with zero-clearance inserts or ZCI’s as we call them in the biz ( the “as we call them in the biz” is there simply to annoy). You see,  I’ve previously mauled an HDPE,  which is High Density Polyethylene aka “space plastic”, version. Ideally you’re able to just stick a blank insert in throat, clamp a sacrificial board over it, and raise the blade to cut the kerf. No such luck with my Craftsman 22124 (Steel City clone) as the blade sits to high and prevents the insert from sitting flush for the operation. So I aligned my fence with the throat and pushed the blank insert over the blade to create the kerf in the right spot. It seemed to work but when I installed the new ZCI it just bound up my blade and made the belt whine like a Guantanamo detainee (What?? Too soon? I don’t condone torture, I just make fun of it so we can all heal… and by “all” I mean those of us that weren’t tortured of course… I’m guessing those guys are scarred for life). I tried to make the insert work but I ended up just making a mess of things… so I just declared “mission accomplished” and walked away.

Recently I got the nerve to try it again. Pretty much forgetting my first experience, I went ahead and repeated most of my mistakes… and yes, I interrogated the hell out of that blade and belt again. This time I made the insert out of some padouk, a rather dense and stable hardwood. The stable part is the important word there… a zero clearance insert needs to not move… especially if it wants to expand and become a negative clearance insert, or NCI as we call it here in the biz. Actually, I would think “zero” clearance insert is a bit of a misnomer as well, as it would imply that that the entire insert is always in contact with the blade.

We should probably be calling these things .001 clearance inserts or something, as presumably one tooth is going to be set fractionally further out than all other teeth and/or slight variations in blade path as the arbor is raised enlarge the kerf, etc. This strikes me as potentially being on the anal side of things so I will not mount a substantial campaign to do so. Anyways, back to my incompetence. First off I half-assed the making of the insert after bandsawing it to shape… no, wait… I half-assed it well before that by jointing only the top surface since set screws are the mating surface on the bottom to the machine (since it’s hardwood, everything should probably be uniform to ensure that there’s no impetus for that sucker to move).

After bandsawing I doubled-down on my half-assedness (achieving overall full-assedness) and brought it to finally shape with a spindle sander instead of using a router with a bearing to follow the exact shape of the stock insert. I guess I just wanted to see how well I could do it freehand and frankly I just like playing with the spindle sander as it’s just one of those tools you can get into a zone on…. especially with that woooo-waaaa, woooo-waaa sound that I find so soothing (yes, I just dropped some onomatopoeia on ya… and how come that sounds dirty?). I’m half tempted to replace my white noise machine in my bedroom with this sander.

This is where I cut the kerf in exactly the same way as I did previously. They say it’s a sign of intelligence to repeat things that don’t work with the expectation of a different outcome (still waiting for my invite Mensa… hint, hint). My table saw was kind of enough to make sure I got the message this time by tossing the insert back at me… I think I even heard it say “No soup for you!” at the same moment. I didn’t get the reference but was still offended. I finally grew a brain cell and carpet taped the new insert to the top of stock insert, clamped a board on top and proceeded to raise and lower the blade 418 times. The insert no longer grabs the blade.

Lastly I replaced the stock safety guard/splitter with a slightly more compact home made version.


For the short-term I’m going to use it. Shortly after making that decision, however, I found myself engaged in further debate of the idea. The conversation (with myself) went something like this: You know that you are still a relative newbie to this woodworking thing don’t you? Well, duh, your point being? Do you really want to always have the question in the back of your mind “is this insert going to blow up because I didn’t know what the hell I was doing” every time you use this inherently dangerous tool? No, no… you make a good point… and um… nice pants, by the way. Thanks! I didn’t think you noticed any more. [end scene] So with that I ordered a phenolic insert.

When I started writing this I was concerned that there wasn’t much to say about it and thus removed my tangent muzzle…. begs the question, overcompensate much??? Wait, are you talking to me again? Seriously?? You’re going to take a shot at me after I complimented you on your pants, wtf? [And with that I’ll take this conversation offline as it’s about to get heated up in here]

On a separate note, I think it’s time that I start educating my viewers with short educational videos covering the more complex and nuanced aspects of woodworking.  First up, how to properly chuck a bit:

How to chuck a drill bit. on Vimeo – Watch more Videos at Vodpod.

I will certainly endeavor to continue sharing my woodworking knowledge. Please be patient as I’m sure you can understand that these videos take considerable time to storyboard, shoot and produce. I mean getting the gaffer(me), key grip(me) and best boy(me) on the same page is a nightmare.

Categories: Power Tools Tags:

Soup De Jour – Rust Soup

February 21st, 2008 1 comment


Mmmmm…. Nothing better than some rust soup when you’re trying to restore old tools. If you collect old woodworking tools, one thing you will not be able to avoid is dealing with rust at some point or another. I got my hands on a sweet Siegley 8 jointer plane. These pre-Stanley planes are not very easy to come by so I was pretty happy to get one even though the one I got was pretty much concealed in a nice layer of rust. Despite its outward appearance, I could still see the beauty that lay beneath (yeah, I may have had a couple drinks first… you know how it goes… you have a couple beverages and that rusty jointer starts looking pretty good from way across the web). So the simple answer was a little electrolysis. No, no… Not the kind that resulted in me sporting some sort of spectacular brazilian. The sort of electrolysis needed here would hopefully prove less painful than that.

I of course performed my due diligence here (i.e. i did a Google on it and skimmed through the first search result for the main points) and learned that all I needed was a bucket, battery charger, soda powder, and a piece of metal. Yes, there was scientificky talk of anodes, electrons, and cathodes. Whatever… I’ve got the web so I don’t need to understand that stuff. I just hook everything up and flip the switch and start cooking! Bubbles start coming up and the rust follows. Pretty cool stuff, huh?!? It worked and I didn’t die so mission accomplished.

Disclaimer: If you attempt to perform electrolysis yourself referencing my blog as some sort of instructions you are a complete idiot and need to be put down for the sake of the gene pool. Improperly performed electrolysis can result in explosion, electrocution, and many other things that would otherwise ruin your day. I mean what kind of idiot reads this stuff off the internet and gives it a try based on good faith??? In terms of full disclosure I should note that ever since I did this I have had a slight ringing in my ears and a persistent shooting pain through my genitalia. If that blade didn’t end up so shiny I’d have to really weigh whether it was worth it.

[slideshow id=288230376167508720&w=426&h=320]

As you can see in the after pic the blade came out pretty clean. After I restore the plane body it will make a nice collector. As would be expected the blade sustained enough pitting to render it useless as a user plane since it will never hold a keen edge. Still you have to admit that is one dead-sexy blade. You know you want to touch it.

Blade BeforeBlade After

Categories: Antique Tools, Hand Tools Tags: