Table Saw Blade Alignment

November 2nd, 2018

Last Friday, I published a video describing how to make and use a dial indicator jig to align your table saw blade to 45 degrees.  The jig is incredibly easy to make, and if you made my 90 degree alignment jig, you might be able to use the same jig for 45 degrees as well.

I have been using a form of this type of dial indicator jig for close to 10-years and a few of the most popular criticisms I receive for using them goes something like this:

  1. “This is woodworking, not metal working. We are not building Space Shuttles, so this degree of accuracy isn’t required for woodworking!”
  2. “Because wood moves, you don’t need to machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch!”
  3. “We only need to align our tools to the accuracy that is required for the project we’re working on!”.

The first two arguments are meant to imply that I am using dial indicators to align my tools because I want to be able to machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch, which is fallacious.  I cannot stress enough that it is NOT my goal to use dial indicators so that I can machine wood to within a thousandths of an inch, but rather to use them so that I can align my tools quickly without making test cuts.  The high degree of accuracy that comes along with using dial indicators is just a side effect; it comes along for the ride as a freebie.

The third argument above I sort of agree with, but if you are going to align your table saw blade to 90 degrees why not align it to a degree of accuracy that would accommodate ALL of your projects (you might forget to re-align it)?  My point above regarding speed applies here nicely; that is, if it’s just as fast or slower to align your table saw blade with a lesser degree of accuracy (by using a square against the blade) then you’d be sacrificing accuracy for no logical reason.

I think you’ll find that pushing a dial indicator jig against your blade (after it’s calibrated – which is a quick process), is just as fast as pushing a square against your blade.  The difference is that the dial indicator jig will offer you greater accuracy.

Sliding Dovetail Toggle Clamps

July 27th, 2018

I recently had the idea of trying to make  a toggle clamp more versatile in the wodshop.  What I came up with was a sliding dovetail attachment that can be used with your existing toggle clamps.  So far I am pleased with how well they work in the shop. With the add-on, you can quickly move your toggle clamps from jig to jig without having to use screws to attach them.

The build video can be viewed here.  In the video I wasn’t very clear regarding the sizing of the male dovetail.  When sizing the dovetail it would be easier to remove some (~1/2” or so) of the side supports so that you can test fit the male dovetail in the dovetail channel. And if it’s too snug adjust the router fence accordingly and remove more of the sidewalls of the dovetail (male). Also, when making the dovetail (male), the height of the bit will determine if it contacts the bottom of the dovetailed channel; this is easier to get right then the side to side fit of the dovetail (the bit should be slightly lower than what is used to make the dovetail channel). After the dovetail fits nicely with a test fit, the remaining side supports can be removed.

If you make these and find them useful, please let me know.  Also ask me any questions if anything isn’t clear.



A Modern Drawer Box Table

April 18th, 2018

I really love Krenov’s ‘cabinet on a stand’ style of furniture.  Three years ago, I made a hall table (first photo below) which features two drawer boxes ‘on a stand’; which I think the inspiration came from Krenov’s work (build video series).

I wanted to take the design concept of ‘drawer boxes on a stand’ to a side table.  To that end, I designed one with a drawer box that is constructed with miter joints and features cool tapered legs with a decorative curve (a portion of an ellipse) at the top of each leg.  You can download the SketchUp file for free here.

I filmed >95% of the build and the video series can be viewed here.  The third and final video will be published on Friday.