Wednesday, March 9, 2016
For the past month or so I have been enjoying videos by a man named Steve Ramsey from Wood Working for Mere Mortals.
This guy is unlike many of the master wood workers' videos I have watched, such as Norm Abrams or The Wood Whisperer. He works out of his garage, doesn't use top-of-the-line power tools and he's a bit of a weirdo...
...kind of like me.
So naturally I relate more with him. Anyway, recently I had been working on a wood Hope Chest for my girlfriend and I was using uneven boards to try and make the top of the chest.
My attempts at straightening the boards failed miserably and I thought to myself that I needed a jointer.
For any of you who do not know what this is, a jointer is a woodworking machine used to produce a flat surface along a board's length. Jointers are very expensive, but luckily for me Steve Ramsey had videos for using a table saw and a router to make jointing cuts. Below are links to his videos.
So I thought I'd try these out. FYI - you'll probably want to watch Steve's videos first if you are interested in making these. Mine will most likely be a little different than his.
First I'll try making a jointing jig for my table saw. For this I'll need some toggle clamps. The 2 pictured below I found at Harbor Freight for $5.99 each.
For the base I'll be using some leftover 1/4" plywood. Both the pieces below have perfectly straight edges. This is crucial.
I then drilled some holes into the smaller piece.
This piece was screwed onto the bottom piece, making sure the edges were flush.
Then I screwed on those toggle clamps.
You may have to adjust the rubber stoppers for each piece you use, but they do their job well. The piece of wood pictured below in the jig won't budge.
You also need to set up your fence on the table saw. The flat edge of the jig will butt-up against the fence. I decided to test out my jig using a piece of wood that was leftover from my Hope Chest build. This particular piece is bowing out on the right side.
Then I cut a slice out of one side. The cut piece is perfectly straight...
...which will allow me to run it across the fence and trim the opposite side.
Now both sides are straight and parallel.
Lastly, I cut the short ends squarely on the miter saw and now this piece of wood is usable again.
So this jig is done and I have to say that it does indeed work!
Now I'll make the jointing jig for the router table!
For this I set up one of my flush trimming bits. You can also use any straight cutting bits as well.
I'll also be using a board that has an obvious uneven side.
The uneven side is quite apparent when you press it against the straight fence on my router.
In order to make a successful jig, I needed to cut a thin board for the outfeed side of the router.
This board then gets clamped to my fence and should line up with the bit.
When I turn on the router and run my warped board through, the clamped piece of wood is where the newly cut wood should press up against. Without the clamped piece, the wood being cut will push against the fence resulting in an uneven cut.
But done properly you'll end up with a square piece that will lay flush against a straight piece of wood.
I drilled a hole in the clamped piece and have it hanging inside the router table.
Both these jigs will be very useful to me.
When you get a chance, check out Steve's website, Wood Working for Mere Mortals
Thanks for reading!
UPDATE: These jigs are working out nicely, but I came up with something else. A few years ago I bought myself an electric hand planer that was on sale.
This thing works nicely, but I've never completely had the knack for smoothly planing with it. So more often than not I opt to sanding, or even using block planes to try and smooth the edge of boards. However, if I turn the hand planer upside down it is essentially a jointer.
So I decided to make a proof of concept and quickly assembled some scrap material. For the table of this jointer I'll use a sheet of scrap MDF. I traced the boot of the hand planer onto the MDF.
Then I drilled a hole into the shape so that I can fit my jigsaw blade inside.
Then I cut out the shape of the boot.
Unfortunately I had to retrace the boot, plus the sides of the hand planer since the MDF was too thick. With my new shapes drawn, I cut it out again with the jigsaw.
Then I played with rasps and sandpaper to get the hand planer to fit in the MDF very snugly.
When I flip it all over the boot should be level with the MDF.
Next I cut some scrap plywood...
... to begin making a stand out of it all.
Then I reinserted the hand planer...
...flipped it over and screwed on a fence from my old table saw.
Next I grabbed a piece of MDF that had an uneven side to test out the planer.
It was a little tricky making some passes, but that was mainly because one of my hands was under the jig, holding the trigger down.
But my framing square shows it all - the board now has a straight edge.
So this proof of concept shows that a hand planer can definitely be used as a jointer.
There are several things to not from my proof of concept. The height of this jig is the height of the planer. For the most part it stays in place because the top of the handle is resting on my work table.
But since the handle is round it did shift a little, making the boot uneven with the bench top.
So I'll have to figure out a better way to mount it.
So I went to work building a better version. For this I'll be using some scrap plywood. I marked the sizes of the pieces I want to cut...
...then I made the cuts on the table saw.
Then some of the pieces received pocket holes....
...and then I began assembly connecting the sides to the bottom with pocket screws.
Next came some cross members on the top...
Then I removed the bench top from the proof of concept and fit the hand planer and new jig on top.
I marked the position of the sides and cross members so that I could flip it over, glue it, and attach the top with screws.
Lastly I added some bottom supports with glue and nails.
I still have yet to figure out a really good jig for keeping the hand planer in place. But a couple of metal brackets and screws sure holds it in place nicely.
I also put a zip tie around the trigger so I wouldn't have to hold it while planing.
Then I flipped it over, and drew arrows so I remember which direction the wood goes.
Next I used the same fence as before, also screwed in place. Since 90% of the time I use .75" thick wood, I do not need to move the fence. And if I do, it's just held in place with 2 screws.
To test out this new jig, I used some scrap plywood from the proof of concept.
2 passes on the jointer cleaned up that edge nicely!
And the edge is squarely flush with my worktable top.
Lastly I drew all over the top...
...and I also connected a power strip with an ON/OFF switch to the side of the jig, making it easier that constantly plugging in the power cord of the hand planer when needed.
The first 2 jigs are great, as I've said before. But I have a feeling I might be using this bench top router jig more often.
Thanks for reading!