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.American~

Woodworker.
#153, April/May 2011

Features
32 10 Everyday Tools
Here's what one pro always keeps in
his toolbox.

35 Chad's StepBox
Learn how to make compound-angle
dovetails building this handy stool and
portable tool box.

50 Five-Photo Frame
If a picture is worth a thousand words,
this frame reads like a book!

54 Compound-Angle Dovetails: The Layout
A system as elegant as the joint itself.

57 Wipe-On/Rub-Off Finishing
This two-step process guarantees flawless
results.

60 Wicked Sharp
For the ultimate edge, use a leat her strop.

62 $20 Leg Vise
Hardware-store parts do the trick.

64 Walnut Chest of Drawers
Building for the love of wood.

Departments
10 Workshop Tips
17 CNC Workshop
22 Well-Equipped Shop
28 A Great American Woodworker

_0. _

Iuuot1Sl _ _ _. 1SSN1074-9152\ USPS73&-710

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APR I L I M A Y 2011

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American
Woodworker
#153, April/May 2011
EDITORIAL
editor In Chief
Editor
Senior Editor
Cont"buling Editors

PO . . . . . PllllllllCIltrae ..... IINIIF.al.
..
___• -nr Sf" 5 iii '_

Randy Johnson
Tom Caspar
TIm Johnson
Sptkecari..n
Brad Holdon
Alan Lacer
oavid Radtke
Kovin Southwick
Alan Turner
Androw Zeollnor

OffICe Administrator Shelly Jacobsen

ART. DESIGN
Art Director Joe Gohman
Director of Photography Jason Zentnor

Advertising DirKtor

Ad Sales Manager
ClasSIfied AdvertiSing Represenbtive
VKe PresidentlProduction
Production Manager
Production Coordinator
Systems Engineer
V.P. Consumer Marketing
Group Markeling Director
Nowsstand Consultant
On"no Subscnption Manager
Now Business Manager
Assistant Marketing Manager
Renewal and Billing Manager
Renewal and Bdllng ASSOCiate

Brian Zift

Susan Tauster
Sam SelvaggIO
Derek W. Corson
Michael J. Rueckwald
KriStin N. Burke
Denise Donnarumma
DenniS o Bnen
Christine Fadden
TJ Monlilll
Jodi Lee
Joe Izzo
Hannah dl Cicco
Nekeya oancy
Ad"ana Maldonado

ADVERTISING SALES
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Chief Execulive OffKer Stephen J. Kent
executive VKe Pre"dontlCFO Mark F. Arnen
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Customer Service
Subscription/Billing Questions
Online: www.AmencanWoodworker.comlSublnfo
E.... iI: • .,.,. ~ AmericanWoodwortter.com
Phone: S.... tonada 8001 666-3111 ,lnt-....1 (515) 462-5394
Paper mail: American Woodworker Subscriber Service Dept.
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Back Issues
Some are available for S6.99 each, plus shipping and handling.
Order at www.awbookore.com/magazlnos

Contact the editors
Email: awedltorAmencanWoodworker.com
Phone: (9521948-5890 F.x 1952) 948-5895
Paper mail: 1285 Corporate Center OrIVe,
SUite 180 Eagan.MN 55121.
Amonaln Woodworlror rT1If " - dormation about you WIth ~
table companoes ... order for !hem to offer you products and - . .
r:i ...terest to you. f you....,.jd rather we not " - irIormation. please
wnte to us at Amencan Woodworker. Customer SeMc:e Departmen~
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What you get:
2-DVDs that include

Easy to use

· 157 issues
· 271 furniture projects
• 178 shop projects
. 452 technique articles
• 259 weekend projects
· 569 tool-buying articles
• 2,251 workshop tips
• 15,811 pages

• High-resolution, full -color
reproduction, including original
illustrations and advertisements
• Searchable text by issue or full
collection
• PC and Mac compatible
• Mouse click flips pages
• Zoom and scroll functions
• Book of Corrections file to ensure all plans are
accurate and up to date

Every issue from March 1985
through February/ March 2010

TIRED OF CHANGING
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More On the Web at AmericanWoodworker.com

Wedged Mortise & Tenon

Hand Plane Troubles?

Learn how to make a wedged-tenon joint at
AmericanWoodworker.com/WebExtras

Troubleshoot your tool at
AmericanWoodworker.com/WebExtras

Tips for Dovetailing

Routed Picture Frames

Frank Klausz shares four techniques at
AmericanWoodworker .com/WebExtras

We use common bits to make complex moldings at
AmericanWoodworker.com/WebExtras

Outlaw Cabinet Video

CNC V-Carving Video

See Brad Greenwood'sanimatronic display (p. 30) at
AmericanWoodworker.comIWebExtras

We go from design to final carving at
AmericanWoodworker.comIWebExtras

11111111111111111
Find us on:
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facebook.
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Follow uson:

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,.

Big News From Forrest

ew

For Discerning Woodworkers
Forrest sets the standard for excellence
with these new top-quality blades:

Wood Magazine, Dec I Jan. 2010 2011

• Woodworker II 48-Tooth Blade for
general-purpose applications. Features
a 20" face hook, a 25° bevel, and sharp
points for clean cross-grain slicing and
quiet, smooth cutting.

Patented Technology
Patent. us 7,824,457 B2
Patent. US 7.55(l.021 B2

• MSignature Line" Chop Master for
qUiet, precise cutting and less splintering. Features 90 teeth, a _5° hook to
control the feed rate, and re-de5lQned
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• 2·Piece I 4·Plece Finger Joint
Sets with reversible, interlocking S"
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Blades have 24 teeth and standard 5IS'
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• Thin Kerf Dado. for clean cutting
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Workshop Tips

11 \ \ \ .01\\ \

Clever Ideas From Our Readers

Terrific Tips Win Terrific Tools!
We'll give you $100 for every original workshop tip we publish. One Terrific Tip is featured
in each issue. The Terrific Tip winner receives a $250 gift card.

E-mail your tiP to workshoptips. americanwoodworker.com or send It to American Woodworker Workshop Tips, 128S Corporate Center Drive,
Suite 180, Eagan, MN S5121. Submissions can't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissions
and use them In ail print and electronic media.

10

AmericanWoodworker.com

APRIL / MAY lOll

The Sandpaper Files

Sawing with Sticky Notes

THIS SANDPAPER STORAGE SYSTEM i about as simple as it

WHEN USING MY MITER SAW, I've found that the easie t

gets. It' just a stack of folded envelope bound with a
big mbber band. Each envelope i mark d with a grit
number. A thin piece of wood on the bottom of the
pil ke p the envelope flat.
tandard letter-siz envelope work well. Fold and
tape them to fit our sandpaper. M piece are 1/6 of
a heet, a perfect ize for a sanding block. To make
them, I tear a heet in half lenglh\vi e, then divide
each half into three piece.
Tom Caspar

wa to neak up on a lin i to u e a tack of ticky
note.
Fir t, et a top block to cut our part lightly
O\'er ize (1 / 16" i plenty). Attach a thin pile of tick
note to the top block, make a cut, and then add
individual note until you're right on the mone .
The 'II all sta in place for cutting more parts at the
am len tho Put the sticky note back on the pad
when ou're done.
Brad Holden

Goof-Proof Center Finder
TO MARK THE EXACT CENTER of a board, I measure an

qual di tance from both end and make two marks.
Thi distance i just an approximation-it doe n't
matter if it' longer or horter than exactl half the
length of the board, as long the marks are reasonabl clo. e together. Then Ijust plit the difference b
eye.
John English
A PR I LIM A Y 1011

AmenclUlWoodworker.com

11

Workshop Tips

continued

Benchtop Ruler

Router Dado Jig

ometime, when I'm meauring and marking. After dropping a tape measure
I don't know how man time one da, I decided
to make m bench hold the tap for me.
ing a
guide, I routed a 1/ 64" deep x 1/ 2" wide groove in
my ben htop and in talled a metal adhe ive-backed
flexible ruJ in it.
leplzm Gorul

are easy to make
using thi impl jig. It' compo ed of two piece
of melamin helving, cut 4" wid , and a couple of
cro bars crewed und rneath. The pa e between
the melamine piece i 1"-exactly fitting the 1" o.d.
guide bushing in my router. The router can't wobble
as I cut the dado.
To prepare the jig, I precut a dado in one of the
cro bars. I line up thi dado with a pair of layout
marks on the workpiece, clamp the jig in place, and
have at it.
Robert Bro be

I WISH I HAD THREE HANDS

SOURCE

Woodcraft Supply, www.woodcraft.com. (BOO) 225-1153, Self Stick
Tape Rule, 6' L-R, #08Y41 , $11 .

Tablesaw Assembly Clamp
MYTABLESAW'STOP often

doe double duty as an
mbl table. It' a guaran~ d-f1at urfa e. When I glue
or r w together a project, it won't come out twisted.
m time I use th saw' fence as a clamp to hold
parts in place for fast ning. The "fix d" nd of the
clamp i a tick that fits ti ht in th saw' miter lot.
l[ I'm gluing, I'll cover the saw with ne\ paper or
red build r' paper. Before I used paper, I found that
I could pop off dri d glue blobs from the cast-iron
top usin a putty knife, but the glue di colored the
urface.
Alan We ley

12

JlmericanWoodworker.com

APR IL I MAY l

a 11

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WOODWORK

CNCWor shop

By Randy Johnson

to create
attractive carving on a
router. With pecial
oftware and a little practice, it' po ible to eran form almo t any lettering style or 2D de ign into a
carving that require onl minimal cleanup before
fini hing. I u e Thrve Pro oft\ are from ectric,
but the tep ar imilar with other v-carving pro-

V-CARVING IS ONE OF THE SIMPLEST WAYS

gram . The oft\vare tell the machine to rai e the
bit at the in ide corner; the machine then u e the
tip of the v-bit to create corners that ar clean and
cri p-as oppo d to the round d corner mad b '
a handheld router guided b a template. For more
example of v-caf\;ng vi it AmericanWoodworker.
com/

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APRil / MAY 2011

JlmericanWoodworker.com

17

C C Wor

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continued
'/

Step 1
Layout your design. All it takes is a
simple hand sketch or photograph.
This can be imported directly into the
program and then outlined using the
drawing tools in they-carve design
program. Since both letters and shapes
can be carved, there are not many limits
to the kinds of designs you can v-carve.
You also have the choice of carving
on the inside or outside of letters or
shapes.

Step 2
Make sure all shapes are closed.
This is one of the cardinal rules of
v-carving design. A circle, square or the
outline of an object qualifies, but a single
line or parallel lines with open ends will
not work. The v-carve programs need
a continuous outline to follow. Some
outlines may look continuous, but even a
little break in the line will cause problems.
Fortunately, v-carve programs are able
to recognize shapes that have small
openings and will automatically close
them for you.

Step 3
Set the cutting depth for the
background of your carving and
the inside of the letters (as needed).
This cutting depth is mainly a design
decision, and of course it cannot
exceed the thickness of your board.
The cutting preview (example at
right) will show you how your chosen
cutting depth looks.

Step 4
Select your router bits. Use a straight bit first to rout flat areas. The diameter of this bit
determines how much cleanup the v-bit will need to do inside a corner. A large diameter
straight bit removes material faste'r but leaves more for the v-bit to cleanup. A small
diameter straight bit leaves less material inside a coner but takes longer to clear the flat
areas. I typically use a 1/4" diameter end mill for drawer front or cabinet door carvings.
The three most common v-bit angles are 50°, 90° and 120°.1 prefer using a 90° and
120° v-bit for wide or large letters and a 60° v-bit for small or fine letters. If possible, I also
prefer to use a v-bit with a cutting radius that's slightly wider than the width of the final
bevel. This allows me to make one final cleanup pass (if needed) to remove any step
marks left by the initial passes.

1.

Amerlc. .Woodworlter.com

A'~ll / MAY 1011

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StepS
Create cutting paths for the recessed background and export them from your v-carving design program
to your CNC machine. The cutting paths (shown above in red with tiny arrows) show the areas that will be
routed. Here I'm using a 1/4" end mill bit to rout the flat background area. I'm accomplishing this with 1/8"
wide passes (shown by the distance between the red lines). This dimension is referred to as the ·stepover"
measurement. The cutting depth per pass can also be programed, as can the feed (travel) rate of the router,
expressed in inches per minute, .

Step 6
Rout the recessed background area. To ensure a smooth background on
this plaque, I used a couple techniques. First, I routed the background area
in two .06" (about 1/ 16") deep passes, plus a light .01 " pass to reach the final
depth of .013". Three passes take more time than one, but create a surface
that requires only light sanding. Second, I programed the router to cut with
the grain (see Step 5). This reduces sanding, too. Milling the background for
this plaque took about 20 minutes.
APRil / MAY 2011

JlmericlUlWoodworker.com

19

CNC Workshop

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Step 7
Create cutting paths for the bevels around the shapes (the hand plane and perimeter rectangle in this
case) and export them to your CNC machine. For this design, I will be using a 90° v-bit, which produces a
45° bevel. The shaded areas above the handle and below the depth-adjustment knob are closely-spaced
tool paths where the v-bit needs to make many close passes to mill the background flat. These areas are too
narrow for the 1/4" end mill bit to get into.

StepS
Rout the bevels around the shapes. This requires removing the straight bit and installing the
appropriate v-bit. I used a 1/2" diameter 90° v-bit. It has a 1/4" tall bevel-more than enough for the
carved bevel. which will be only 1/8" tall. This step took about 20 minutes to rout. Except for some light
hand sanding and a little touch-up with a carving chisel, this part of the carving is now complete.

20

AmericanWoodworker.com

APR I L I M A Y 1011

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Step 9
Create tool paths for the lettering. This requires a separate step because I'm changing to a 60° v-bit. I

prefer a 60° bit for small letters such as these because it creates a deeper, more distinctive v-groove than a
90° bit. The tool paths above show how v-carving requires two lines to carve between. The two lines are
parallel in these letters, but they can be any shape or spacing. For example, the outline of the hand plane
and outer rectangle represents the pair of lines that were used to create the hand plane carving.

-

'

Step 10
Routthe lettering. Notice that "No.4" is routed into the surface of the plane whereas as the logo is

carved into the background. I programed the difference in cutting depth into the cutting paths while
designing the plaque. This final carving step took about 8 minutes. To view a video on how I designed
and machined this plaque from start to finish, visit AmericanWoodworker.com/CNC.

AP RI L I M A Y 2011

&mericanWoodworker.com

21

he

e 1- qu.·pped Shop

Our Pick of the Latest Tools

Do-It-AII Pocket Hole Jig
YES, THIS REALLY IS a picture of a pocket hole jig. With
screwed-together joinery becoming 0 popular, PorterCable has pulled out all the top to de ign a jig that'
fully adjustable. Sometime that make a device way
too complicated, but the Quikjig is very easy to u e.
To adju t the hole pacing, you turn a knob on the
left side of the jig. Then you place your material in the
jig and pu h down on the large knob in front a far as it
will go. Rotate the knob to lock it. A scale on the side of
the jig then indicate what length of crew to u e. You
don't have to adjust the top collar on the drill bitthat stay the arne for every etting. Pushing down on
the large lever in front of the jig clamp the material in
place. You're ready to drill. It' really a imple as 1-2-3
for a piece of any thickne s.
The Quikjig can be used in two different positions.
For a piece of normal length, you position the jig as
hown and put the piece in vertically. For an extra-long
piece, you turn the jig 90 0 • The back of the jig become
the ba e and the piece lides in horizontally.
All in all, the major benefit of thi jig is that it greatly expands the range of furniture part that you can
a emble with pocket hole crew. After all, they're not
ju t for face frame anymore.
The Quikjig will handle material from 1/2" to 1-1/2"
thick. You can pace the hole anywhere from 3/4" to
1-1/2" apart. The drill bit and top collar are included.

SOURCE

Porter-Cable, www.deltaportercable.com. (BOO) 223-7278,
QuikJig Pocket Hole Joinery System, Model S6O, $230.

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Improved Digital Planer Gauge
for a thickne s gauge for your
planer that' ea ier to read, there' really only one game
in town: the Wixey Digital Readout. Wixey fir t introduced their gauge about 10 year ago, and while it

IF YOU'VE BEEN LOOKING

certainly was accurate, it could have been more u erfriendly. Wixey ha now addre sed the e hortcoming
and rede igned the gauge. It' a little ta te of woodworking heaven.
The new WR510 has an angled di play that' ea y to
read without bending over. (The older model had a vertical di play, like the stock gauges on mo t planer .) The
new gauge a1 0 has an auto shutoff to prolong the battery's life. (If you forgot to press the Off button on the
old model-which we often did-the gauge would stay
on indefinitely.) The WR510 also has improved mounting hardware, and i designed to easily fit many brand
of planer .
As for the readout, you could hardly ask for more. It
reads in decinlal inche , millimeters and-best of all-in
fractions. Depending on the mode you select, you can
either teU exactly how thick the board i coming out the
back end of the planer or how much more you have to
take off to reach a pre-determined thicknes .

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Wixey, www.wixey.com.PlanerDigital Readout, WR510, $60.

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AmerlcanWoodworker.com

AP RI

LIM A Y 2011

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Premium Countersink Bits

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EVEN THE HUMBLE countersink bit can be improved, right?
A new set of these bits from Woodworker's Supply takes up
where generic sets leave off. The new bits make absolutely
mooth holes, defy clogging and come with a set of top
collars unlike any you've seen before.
The set contains four bits matched for #6, #8, #10 and
#12 screws. The counter ink bodies are 3/8" dia. for the
#6, #8 and #10 bits, and 112" dia. for the #12 bit. They are
hardened to Rc64 for a long life and are 1-1/4" long, allowing you to drill a deep, accurate counterbore. As with all
countersink bits, you can vary the drill bit's length by loosening a set screw. However, these bits have two set screws,
an arrangement that further prevents the bit from slipping.
Two top collars are included: one for the #6, #8 and
#10 bits, and one for the #12 bit. A white nylon ring spins
freely on the end of each stop collar to prevent the collar
from marring the wood. The stop collars also have "windows" above the ring to allow chips to eject, a convenient
feature most stop collars don't have. The set is packaged in
a handsome burl-finish box, worthy of the fine tools inside.

time with one of the oldest woodworking tools around:
the handsaw. It's just you, the saw and the wood. Of
cour e, you'll want a tool that is comfortable, wellbalanced and super-sharp. Those qualitie exactly
describe two new saws from Lee Valley.
These saws-a 12 tpi rip and a 14 tpi cro cut-are
designed for general joinery work. We like them best for
cutting tenons. You u e the ripsaw for cutting the cheeks,
as hown above, and the crosscut for cutting the shoulder.
Both saw have high-tech composite pine, pistolgrip handle and 11" long blades. The set is only 0.003"
on each side. With the kerf hardly wider than the blade,
it's easy to stay on track. In trying out these saws, we were
surprised to see how our skill improved just by using
such high-quality tool . We're sure that your will, too.

SOURCE

SOURCE

Woodworker'SSupply, www.woodworker.com. (BOO) 645-9292, Four-bit
Straight Countersink Set with 3/8' RTS-2000 Plug Cutter, #964-370, $73.

Lee Valley, www.leevalley.com. (BOO) 871 -8158, Veritas Rip Carcass Saw,
05T07.05, $69; Veritas Crosscut Carcass Saw, 05T07.01 , $69.

High-Tech Handsaws
UNPLUG THE MACHINES, relax and get ready for a good

Sharpen Spade Bits
and More
THE FIRST AND ONLY spade-bit harpener on the market,

the Drill Doctor DDSB, might make you take another
look at these bits for serious woodworking. They're a heck
of a lot cheaper than Forstner bits.
Most spade bits-even new ones, right out of the
package--Ieave a ragged surface inside a hole. But given a
really sharp edge, which this machine can deliver, they're
capable of doing much better.
Grinding a spade bit on the Drill Doctor DDSB guarantee that both cutting edges will be in the same plane
and that the point will remain centered-a geometry
that's very hard to achieve if you harpen spade bits by
hand. Both factors help make a spade bit run true.
The DDSB is a further refinement of the Drill Doctor line. Drill Doctors are well-known, reliable machines

for sharpening twist bits. Using the same technology, the
DD B can harpen twi t bits as well, from 3/32" to 1/2" .
SOURCE
Darex. www.drilldoctor.com. (BOO) 597-6170, Drill Doctor Model DDS8, $130.

APR I L I M A Y lO 1 1

JlmertcanWooclworker.com

23

T e e l-Equipp d

op

contlnu d

Sm II Size, B-g Features
If , this new compact scroll sa\
from General International may be ju t the answer. The
Excalibur EX-I6 will easily tore on a helf-it' only IS"
wide, 27" deep and 17" high. Full- ize Excalibur roll saw
are well-known for their ~ ellent performance; the new
EX-16 meets the same tandards.
Like its larger cousin, the EX-I6' head tilts, not the
table. That' a real advantage. Your workpiece tays level,
giving you better control for intricate cuts. The EX -16 al
utiliz a parallel-link arm to minimize vibration. The
larger Excalibur have the same type of arm.
Thi saw has a 16" throat capa ity and a maximum
cutting depth of 2". Its table i 12" \vide by 18-1/2" deep.
The blade tilts up to 45° in either direction. The motor has
a variable peed control, going from 400 to 1400 trokes
per minute.
Blade changes are tooll
and peed and ten ion controls are conveniently located. An onboard dust blower

CRAMPED FOR SPACE?

Redesigned Planer
a new 13" planer, the 22-590.
It repla
the 22-5 0, a mod I that received top marks in
our planer t I test back in 2003. In the year inee, few
other mall planer have met the very high tandard set by
the 22-5 o. I the new model a tep forward?
The an5\ver is a mixed bag. \J e won't be able to make
a final judgment until we've used the 22-590 for a year or
so (we've had a 22-5 0 in our hop ince '03), but here' a
compari n of three important features.
The new model introduce a three-knife cutterhead.
Running at 26 feet per minute-a good cli~it produ es
96 cuts per in h (cpi). The higher the number of cuts per
inch, the moother the urface you'll get. Few other planer can match 96 cpi, the new model does quite well in
this regard.
DELTA HAS JUST INTRODUCED

keep the blade clean and the work urface clear of du t,
you see preci Iy where you're cutting.
SOURCE

Generallntemational, www.general.ca. (888) 949-1161,
16· Scroll Saw, Model EX-16, $575.

The old model, the 22-580, had a two-knife cutterhead.
It was capable of producing 90 cpi, but this required you to
witch the feed rate to a much lower peed. At the normal
feed rate, you would get 60 cpi, which i OK for anything
other than a final p . A lower cpi has the benefit of putting less wear on the blad .
In urn, the older model gave you the option of two
urface qualiti , mediurn and fine, while the new model
only produces a fine urface. Delta has compensated for
the additional wear on the 22-590' blad by upgrading
their tee!'
A second major difference between the models i the
thickn
scale-the indicator that tell you how thick
your planed board will be. The scales are notoriously
hard to read. The older model broke new ground by introducing a scale with an easy-to-read cur r, conveniently
po itioned on top of the machine. The new model abandon thi approach, reverting to a commonly used type of
scale that' frankly awkward to read.
A third difference between the models i the depth
top. The new model allows you to dial in a thi kn anywhere from 1/8" to 1-1/4". However, it' not a very po itive
to~when cranking the depth-of-cut handle, it' hard
to tell when you've exactly arrived at your pre-set thickn . The old model allowed you to dial in virtually any
thickn from 1/ "t06".This top was very definite-you
knew when you hit it.
Overall, if urface quality i the mo t important aspect
of a planer' performance, the 22-590 continue an excellent tradition. But we wi h it were more user-friendly.

SOURCE

Delta Tools, www.deltaportercable.com. (800) 223-7278,
13" Portable Thickness Planer, 22-590, $500.

24

Americ. .Woodwork.... com

II' R I I I M II Y

10 11

Now, turn a $5.00 rough board Into $75.00 worth of high-dollar
molding in just minutes. Make over 500 standard patterns, curved molding,
tongue & gtOO't'e, picture frame stock, any custom design. QUICKLY CONVERTS
from Molder/ Planer to Drum Sander or powerfeed Multi-Blade Ripsaw.
Made in U.S.A. S-Year Warranty. Choose from 12·, lS· or 25· models.

NEW! SHAPE 3 SIDES I
NEW 3-Slde Molding System turns your Wood master into a
POWERFUl3-SIDE MOLDER that
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morel

The Well-Equipped Shop

continued

New Glue,
Old Favorite
more respect-at
least, this one hould get it. It's Elmer's
Glue-All, first introduced in 1948 and
recently reformulated to make a stronger
bond. Many folks confuse thi product
with Elmer's School Glue, but that's a different white glue be t suited for craft and
paper projects. Glue-All i for woodworkers, even though it's generally thought of
simply as a home-repair remedy.
Glue-All has one simple property
that mo t yellow glue don't have: It' lippery when
wet. Two pieces coated with Glue-All will slip pa t
each other more easily than if they were coated with
mo t yellow glue . And when would that be important? Hmmm ... let's ee. How about a nice, tightfitting tenon liding into a mortise? A long dowel
going into a hole? A series of well-made dovetail ?
Well, you get the point. For some joinery work,
Elmer's Glue-All i perfect. ure, there are many ituations in which a tackier glue would be preferable. But we
woodworkers are picky, right? We want the right glue for
the right job. Here' one more to add to your kit.

WHITE GLUE DESERVES

Bits for Impact Drivers
for tough screwing job i an impact
driver. It has much more torque than the average cordless drilVdriver. The next time you want to run screw
into a piece of hardwood without drilling pilot hole, as
when fastening a turning blank to a faceplate, reach for
an impact driver.
But don't grab the bit from your cordle drill. The
tip will get rounded over or chip pretty fa t because it's
not de igned to take the con tant pounding of an impact
driver. Instead, you hould reach for a pecial type of bit
that can withstand these brutal condition . Dedicated
impact-driver bits are currently offered by Bosch, Craft man, DeWalt, Makita and Milwaukee. All have 114" hex

THE BEST TOOL

SOURCES

Bosch Tools, www.boschtools.com. (877) 267-2499; Craftsman,
www.craftsman.com, (800) 549-4505, DeWalt, www.dewalt.com,
(800) 433-9258; Makita, www.makita.com. (800) 462-5482;
Milwaukee, www.milwaukeetool.com. (800) 638-9582.

SOURCE

Elmer's, www.elmers.com. (888) 435-6377, Glue-All, 8 oz.. $8.

Revamped Jigsaws
with a jigsaw is a brutal test of the
machine's quality. Many saw don't score high marks
becau e their blade deflects, producing cuts that are out
of quare. That make it hard to accurately follow a line.
Year ago, Bosch led the way in producing a jigsaw that
passed the hardwood test with flying color . They've
recently updated their line with two new models.
In ide, the saw are very imilar. Both have similar
7-amp variable-speed motors. As with many state-of-theart woodworking machines today, thi motor' feedback
circuitry maintains a teady peed as the load increase .
In practical terms, that means Ie s bogging down when
you push fa ter.
Both jigsaws have a toolle blade-change system and
four orbital-action settings (smooth to very aggre ive).
They also have an integrated, adjustable du t blower to
keep the cutting line clear and a 'steel insert in the foot to
reduce wear.
On the out ide, Bosch has made two saws that look
and feel very different. One model has a barrel-grip
handle, while the other ha an enclosed handle. A barrel-grip handle puts your hand c10 er to your workpiece.
That' best for intricate work, uch as cutting mall radius
curve . With a low center of gravity, there's less chance of
CUTTING HARDWOOD

26

JlmericaJlWoodworku.com

A PRIL/MAY lOll

inadvertently putting side pre ure on the blade and making a non-perpendicular cut. An enclo ed handle, on the
other hand, is ea ier to grip when making vertical cuts.
SOURCE

Bosch Tools, www.boschtools.com. (877) 267·2499, 7-Amp Top-Handle
Jigsaw, JS470E. $160; 7-Amp Sarrel-Grip Jigsaw, JS470EB, $160.

!'ro(l'cI & Organi/l' ·fllll!rinlll "(wt!wor!.. er
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American Woodworker.comlconte t

Conte t end June 30, 2011

Conte t end June 30,2011

THRIVING ON INNOVATION

~GU\IA

TOOLS

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Precisely the best.

.A. Great American Woodwor er

r Gree

An Artisan's Life Story

ood

Blending craftsmanship, whimsy, California
hardwoods and Rube Goldberg.
by Spik C rl
SOME FURNITURE MAKERS excel in ru tic con truction,

other in elegant de ign; orne accent their piece
with wood carTing, other with whimsical detail.
But few craftsmen bring all of the e kill to bear in
their craft-and no one blend them a eamle I
into a ingle piece of furniture a Brad Greenwood.
Hi unique, eclectic lyle may reflect hi unique
eclectic upbringin . He became enamored with
wood while tinkering in hi father' workshop as hi
father carved decoy. And bi ift for de ign and
tyle was influenced b hi mother-a former runwa model with a flair for interior de i n.
After taking de ign and furniture building c1as e
at DAnza ommunity ollege in upertino alifornia, Brad began to forge hi wa in the world
of profe ional woodworking. To help pa the bill
while e tabli hing hi bu ines , he worked in auto
mechanic and bod repair. "It taught me how to u

n

m hand and al 0 how material reacts to different
force ," he explain. It al 0 gave Brad the kill he
now u e to fa hion the clever mechani m - orne
imilar to tho e of a car door handle-u ed to operate cret drawer and ompartments in hi piec
( ee "Open
arne," page 31.)
Brad' initial fora into profe ional woodworking met with muted ucce . He tried hi hand at
making landing nets for fl fi hermen, but found
the work highl competitive and highly boring. 0
he turned to ru tic furniture. "The first few piece
were twig furniture and I wound up throwing them
awa ," Brad recall. "But then I began havin luck
elling piece through the De ign enter in an
Franci co." B the mid-19 0 he wa earning enough
to make a living, and soon began adding more
refined elements to his piece.

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&n..a1caaWoocIworu...com

APRil/MAY 2011

Stick 'em Up! cornice carving

Stick ~m Up! gun cabinet

Inspiration and whimsy
Brad' work i inspired, in part, by Arts and Crafts
furniture, a well a the Black Fore t furniture of
Germany-a tyle characterized by its ru tic feel
and u e of carved elements that often portray wildlife. Most of Brad' carvings are ba ed on photographs he' found or taken him elf in Yellow tone
and other national park. He strive for reali m.
When he couldn't find the right photograph for
the upended bird in hi Stick 'em UP! gun cabinet
( ee photo, above), he opled for the real lhing.
He went to a local quail dealer, got hi own models
and hung them exactly how he wanted them.
Brad' furniture piece are al 0 often adorned with
whim ical elements. Great PLains Buffet ( ee photo,
page 30) has miniature fence po ts trung acro the
top and pistol wedging the through tenon at the
bottom. Boy s Cupboard feature mini bunk beds for

Buffalo Hunter shooting game

helve and mini ladders for dividers. Brad' mechanical shooting game ,such as BuffaLo Hunter (above) are
based on coin-operated game he encountered on visits to the local drugstore as a kid.
Brad' piece have a en e of humor. "A warped
en e of humor," he add. "I like urpri ing people.
It draws them in-and 1 t11ink it' one of the things
that make me ucce fu!." A client who recently purchased a poker table asked if Brad could integrate a
hidden mechanism for popping up a urpri e card.
Although it function as a dry bar with a pull-out
prep urface, Outlaw Cabinet ( ee photo, page 30)
blends fine woodworking with high-tech "animatronics." Drop in a quarter and you gel your money' worth:
The robotic cowbo blinks, move, ings and taunts the
heriff (who' eated in the outhouse). Lights come
on and obje ts move-all thi made po ible b ervomechani ms imilar to tho e used at Disneyland and
APRIL/MAY 2011

AmericlUlWoodworker.com

29

A Great American Woodworker

continued

a c mput r hip pr gramm db Brad' wife, rrain.
"I lov l reuse and r . I thin ," h
\. "Visitin
a junk ard can 'v mILS f id as." Ref; rring l the
12- \ ar-old ran h (pre\; ush \\11 d b\ an antiqu d aler) wh r h n w liv with h' wife and four ns, Brad
mt ,"111 r ' I LS of inspirati n la};n around her ."

alkingwo ds
Brad use hardw
han'e t d in
w rlUn \\;th walnut, mulberry, 1m and u al plUS. ~1 t
fh' w
c me from tree d wn d from natural cause
and head d for th chipper. Th walnut ften
m
fr m nut r har wh r older, I produ tive tr
ar
bein r m v d and r pIa ed with oun r, mor productive one.
Brad has a tr mendous lash f wood.
u h chara t r th talk to him." m pi
I'm an end table.' And that' what the ' be orne."
bout half of Brad' work' ommission d. \\'hiJ h

Outlaw Cabinet with animatronic display

See the animatronic display in action at
AmericanWoodwor.com/WebExtras
m re of Brad' amazin work
at www.bradgreenwoodcom.

Spike Carlsen i auth r of
A plintered History oj Wood: Bell
Sander RIleI'. , Blind H'ixxiworkm
and Baseball Bats. His n w t book,
Ridieuwusl)' imp[, FumituTl' Pmjeets, \\;11 be available thi prin.
Great Plains Buffet-A Tribute to the American Spirit
30

e S
A trademark of Brad's furniture, par-

ticularly his desks and buffets, are
hidden drawers and secret compartments. "I've always had an interest in mechanical things; he says
mischieviously. "And I like to have
fun." Brad's hidden-compartment
pieces are often requested by repeat
clients who know about his special
affinity. His advice for first-time hidden-compartment builders? ·Plan
ahead. Keep it simple. Have fun."
Brad's mechanisms are typically
a combination of metal and wood.
Some hidden compartments are
simply drawers or panels that blend
in with the surrounding wood. But
others are more complex-much
more complex. For example, unlocking the hidden drawer on Brad's

Northwoods Desk (right) requires:
Opening the main drawer (A)
to a specific position that's located
by looking through a small open
knothole in the desktop's front
edging and lining up crosshairs (B)
which ... causes the teeter-totter
(e) to rise out of notch in the secret

Northwoods Desk
Hidden drawer mechanism

drawer, after which you ... rotate
the compass on the front leg (D) to
the south position, which ... causes
the shaft to rotate the spool gear (E)
that turns the cog gear (F), which
rotates the catch out of the side
of the drawer. After which you ...
swing the decorative diamond shape
on the side apron (G) downward
to reveal the release button (H)
which ... causes the linkage with
the spring (J) to pull away from the
metal catch (K), which activates the
spring on the back of drawer (l)
which ... automatically thrusts out
the secret drawer/apron front (M).

APR III MAY 201 1

Americ:anWooclworker.c:om

31

10 Everyday Tools
Here's hat one pro al ays
keeps in his toolbox.
by Chad Stanton

MY FAVORITE TOOLS are the one thaI I u'e e,cr... da\around the hou c." in Ihe hop or at ajob ite, The'\'e
become old fJiend . . The, 're nol compli aled, giml11ick~ or gold-plated .. ',en oflhem co t \c.. than 20
apie e.
Mv ('venda> kit a1.o include a few ob,;ou.. tools
not 'ho\\n hert'. 'uch a a hamm I~ tape mea~ ure,
scre,\(lriH'l~ carpent or' pen il and a utilil) knife. The
ten tool I\e arranged on my b n h round out that
el. LeI me introdu e \OU 10 my pals:
• Cordless drill. Thi tool i. a must for drilling hole
of am i/e. I al 0 u e il for dri\ing . mall crews. Afler
acUlI tin T it. clut h to a yen light torque etting, I'll
ct the dJillLO i low "peed and lI ' the \(\riable- peed
trigger to turn the cr 'W Y ''1' lowly. For large crew ,
I lie an impact dri\er.
• Lufkin 6' folding rule. I r 'alh like lhi. rule" e. 'Ieni nlid for mea uring in ideomething.
• Compass. I u 'e thi mainly for cribing cabin t.
and trim in order t gel a good fit again t an 1II1('\ n
wall. I al 0 lie it for bi. ecting angie, along with a ,Iidin bc\ I. And, oh y'ah, I u e it for drawing cir Ie
< well.
• No. 3 Stanley plane. Thi plane i horter, narrower
and light ' I than a . '0. 4, hUI thaI make it ea ier to
u in awkward ituation . . I can
n h Id it up id
d "n \\ithout too much [fort.
• Irwin ProTouch 15" handsaw. With a good aw,
ulling b) hand i ju t a. [at and acclIrat a ' u. ing a
machin . It' c rtainh a 101 more el~o)<\blc. This saw
ha fin 12-1'1. leeth up fr nl for accuralel~tartin J a
UI; th r . lofthe aw ha oars
pt. leNh. Look for
model 2011201 . I 10\' it!

• 1-1/2" Stanley No. 60
butt chisel. Once in a "hil .,
beat the not out of thi thing-and it
can take it. \ hutt chi d i honer than.1 tandard
chi el. which make. it easier to tor' in Ill' tool belt.
lu e it f()r plittin T2. -01 , I ,tting ill a bUlt hinge, paring a mil ' r and c\er:thin T in bet\\l'l'n.
• Sliding bevel. .orner aI" nner trul~ quare,
are tlwy? Thi i an e scntial tool f()r mea uring thc
angle of a corner when laying out miter on houe
trim, especiall, ba · board _
• Small pry bar. It' for remO\-in lIim. ofcour e,
hut I al 0 place it under tIl{' la\\ end of a hammer
wh n I'm I' mming a nail, to PI' teet th • wood_
• Impact driver. Thi to I i for driying rew,
not drilling hole. An impact dri,· r ha. mu h more
torque than a cordle . drill. I like its mall ill'.
e peciall' \ ,hen I'm tanding in an awk,,"ard po ition "hile hanging a cabin t.
• Swanson 6" combination square• . 'op , not a
12"-a 6" has b tter balance and comfortabh tor s
in m~ tool b It. Iu it a . quar ,a depth gang
h 'i .ht Taug and a marking au T • ~
T

PHOTOG RA PHY TOOD 51A TO

--

.- --' ---

-- -...

"-

\"

.

.

.......

te intnl tion , plan and how-to
Cprojeompl
photo for 20 of th b
furniture
from m
an Woodwork r.
t

Ii

u

• 9 fun we kend projec
• - u . ful medium-. if d proj cts

• 6 ambitiou lar e prqje ts
"WtVt 'P~CR.trA t~~s. bo?R.
, t~ ~LL t~t ~V\-foyW..~tL.oV\WI,;

~o1.ll V'-ttrA

...II"

to s.1.Ilcctt"".

-Randy Johnson,
Chief Editor,
American Woodworker.

Make your woodwO_r: __
mistakes pay!
end u your mo t m morabl
"What wa I thinking?' blund r
You' ll r

1\'

FOR MY JOB as a trim arpenter and furnitllremake., I\'e alwa} need d aturdy tool to tand
on. 1\ al 0 wanted to make a ni box for carrying m} tool and a ~mall workben h for cutting
molding. While p rched on an o\erturned bucket
on >da" I thought, '"\\lly not combin all three?~
The tepBo. \\< born.
Th
tepBox ha plaved ide ~ r tability,
ample room for m~ tool (. ee '"10 E\endayTool ,~
page 32), and grome and not he in the top for
holding pie e of molding and drilling hole . .
Building the tepBo. gme me an opportunity
to learn how to make a challengingjoint: th compound-an Ie dovetail. \\llil I could ha\e mer Iy
rewed the parts to th I, I wanted a tlonger
joint. Dm tail. ar d finit Iy the way to go. \\ben
I tand on the t 01, the joint. a tllall~ ti hten.
Thi. proj t i built to lat!

Rip 12° bevels on
the long edges of
the side and end
pieces. Note that
both edges are
beveled, and that
the bevels lean
the same way.

Saw an angled
end on each
piece. This is
a compound
cut: The miter
gauge is set at
12°; the blade is
tilted to 2°. (See
' CompoundAngle Butt Joints~
next page.) The
inside surface of
the board must be
facing up.

Make the
second cut on
the other side of
the blade. Leave
the miter gauge
and blade at the
same settings,
but flip over the
workpiece, so the
outside surface is
facing up.

36

AmericanWoodworker.com

APR I

LI MA Y 2011

Materials
I made the base and handle of my
tepBox from 3/ 4" hard maple.
you know, thi wood i vel trong.
It can easily take my weight and
more when I tand on the tool.
Maple i al a a good choice for
dovetailing. Pencil lin are ea y to
ee, and it cuts and pare cleanly,
without plintering. But becau e it'
a hard, I have to keep my aw and
chi el extra- harp (ee "Wicked
harp!", page 60).
I made the top from a 1" thick
outhern ellow
tair tread. It'
pine-a tough wood, like maple,
but not as hea\ . The top mu t withtand a lot of wear and tear (I may
even drill into it occasionalI ), a I
u ed a piece of wood that would be
eas and inexp n ive to replace.

The challenge
The tepBox's base pIa 12° in
both direction . It won't tip over,
even when I stand with my feet right
on the edge. The pIa al a make it
easier to fi h out tool from the box
and drop them back in ide.
Creating thi play is quite intere ting: You mu t cut the end of all
four ba e piece at a compound
angl . You might think that merely
mit ring the piece at 12° would do
the trick. It doe n't. In order for all
four piece to butt together, you
mu t bevel their end at 2° a well.
The e compound angle can
make your head pin. But you
won't go wrong if you follow my
technique. Even 0, I trongl ugge t that you make a complete base
from crap wood fir t, to familiarize
yourself with each tep, before cutting into your ex pen ive maple.

Cut the compound angles
Joint and plane the ide (B) and
end ( ) to final thickne . rocut them about 1" extra-long and
rip them about 1/ 4" extra-wide.
Tilt the blade of your table aw to
12° and rip one long ed e of each
piece. Flip each piece over and rip it
to final width (Photo 1). I clamp d
a board to my fenc a the b \'el
didn't get trapped under the fence.
Mark our piece well. tand
each board on edge, long ide

Compound-Angle Butt Joints: The Setup Block
MOST BUTT JOINTS are easy to make. A box \\ith four

quare ide only require 90 cuts, right? But if the
ide lope, like a pyramid, the e piece have to be cut
at a compound angle.
Take my tepBox, for example. All four piece of
the ba~e play outward at the same angle-12°. Their
end are cut \\ith a 12° miter and a 2° bevel.
Let' ay you wanted to make a box with a 20 play.
Ob\iously, the be\O
el angle would be different-but
how would you figure out what it i ?
Wel1, you don't have to con ult a chart. For a 20
play, you just have to make a 20 etup block. And
for a 12 play, you'd make a 12 block. Fol1O\\ing the
tep below, you can make a etup block to give you
the correct bevel for any compound-angle butt joint.
Make the block from a qUaI-ed-up 2x4, or from any
piece of\vood that's at least 1-1 / 2" thick and about 12"
long. I make my etup block by gluing up three piece
of 3. 4" plywood. With plywood, I don't have to joint
or plane the block, and I create a lip that helps orient
the block through the cutting pro e s.

Step 1

Rip the setup block at the angle that the sides of the box will
splay. In this step and the ones that follow, note which way the
block's lip faces.

Step 2

Watch Chad cut these joints at
AmericanWoodworker.com/WebExtras
To make the block, cut one piece of plywood 3" x
12". Cut two piece 2 -1 2" x 12". Glue them together
in a tack. The ide and ends of the three piece don't
have to be perfectly aligned; clo e i good enough.
The next tep depend on whetller your saw'
blade tilts left (away from the fence) or right (toward
the fence). In the photo, I'm u ing a left-tilt aw.
• For a left-tilt saw: Tilt your table aw blade to me
splay angle of your project. Rip the block, mIming
its lip against the fence (Step 1). Next, cro cut the
block (Step 2). Finally, tum your miter gauge counterclock\\is to the play angle. Rotate the block 90 and
butt its end up to the blade (Step 3). Tilt tile blade to
match the angle of the block. Thi \\il1 be tile be,oel
angle for the compound cut.
• For a right-tilt saw: Tilt your table aw blade to
the play angle of your project. Place the aw' fence
on the left ide of the blade. Rip the block, as in tep
1 above, mnning the lip against me fence. Next, place
the miter gauge in the left miter slot. With the lip in
front, as in tep 2 above, cro cut the block. Final1},
tum your miter gauge clockwise to the splay angle. As
in tep 3 abo"e, rotate the setup block 90°, 0 the lip i
up, and butt the end of the block to the blade. Tilt the
blade to match the angle of the block.

Crosscut one end of the block. Leave the blade tilted at
the same angle as Stepl. The miter gauge is set at 90°. Once
the block is cut, you're ready to set up your saw for cutting
compound-angle butt joints.

Step 3

Set the miter gauge to the splay angle. Rotate the setup
block 90' and place the freshly-cut end of the block against
the blade. Tilt the blade until it matches the block's anglethis is the bevel angle of the compound cut.

APR IL / M A Y 2011

JlmericanWoodworker.com

37

Fig. A Exploded View

0 1/4L'l/OL£
12

£N]) p,f'0 7/f't(])£S
2

BeYCL

3/q'

BeYCL

Fig. C End View

Fig. B Pin Layout

y".

-J ~2-wl1 o E E . : - - - - ~·---~>I
~ I""

I

1.2-y"·------....;:;:.~

Fig. 0 Top

Cutting List
Part

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L

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AmericanWoodworicer.com

C
0
E

Top
Side
End
Handle
Wedge
Cleat

Qty. Material
1
2
2
2
2

5/4 Pine
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple
Maple

ThxWxL
1"x11-1/2"x22"
3/4"x7-1/4"x20-3/4"
3/4"x10"x12-1/2"
3/4"x3-1/4"xll-3/4" (a)
3/4"x3/4"x2-3/4"(a)
3/4"x1-1/4" x7-1/2"

Note: a) Cut piece at least 1" extra-long, fit, then trim tofinal length.

~ i/-":1h'~
38

A
B

Name

Ov<>rall Dimension<'10--1f2" Hx17"l x12-1/2" 0

APR I L I M A Y ~ 0 11

down, 0 'ou can clearl
e which
wa it lean. Think of the board as
one face of a p ramid with its top
cutoff, as hown in Fig. A (page 3 ).
ing a carpenter' pencil, write
Top-In and Top-Out in big, bold
letter on both ide of each piece.
Get read to make the fir t cut
on the end of each board. The procedure to follow depend on which
wa your awblade tilts:
• For a left-tilt saw: Place your
miter gauge in the right-hand lot.
Rotate its head counterclockwi e to
make a 12° cut (Photo2). (Depending on how your gau e i marked,
the reading will be 12° or 7 °.) Tilt
the blade to 2°. Place each board
o the In ide face up and the Top
edge face away from you. Cut the
end. Repeat thi proce for each
board. To cut the oppo it end,
mo\'e the miter gauge to the other
ide of the blade (Photo 3). Fasten
a fence to the miter gauge, 0 you
can crew or clamp a top block to
it. (You'll need the top block to
en ure that matching piece ar
cut the ame length.) Flip over
each board 0 the Out ide face up
and the Top edge butts again t the
miter gauge. Make the cuts.
• For a right-tilt saw: Place 'our
miter auge in the right-hand lot.
Rotate i head clockwi to make
a 12° cut (the oppo ite direction
from the one hown in Photo 2).
Tilt the blade 2°. Place each board
o the Out ide face up and the Top
edge butts again t the miter gauge.
Make the cut. For the econd cut,
move the miter gauge to the lefthand lot. Flip each board 0 the In
ide face up, and Top edge face
awa ' from you.

Cut the dovetails
If you thought the angle are tricky
o far, ju t wait! Laying out the e
dovetail can make your e es go
ero ed-the angle ju t don't look
right when you fir t draw them.
Fortunately, I u ed a foolproof ytem for drawing the do\'etail (ee
" om pound-Angle Do\'etail -The
La 'out", page 54). Let me quickly
how you how it works, and then
we'll move on.
Layout the pin fir t (Fig. 8).

Lay out the
dovetails. Start
with the pins.
First, draw a
large triangle on
the board that
indicates the pitch
of the dovetails.
Set your sliding
bevel directly
from the triangle.
(See ·CompoundAngle Dovetails:
The Layout ~ page
54).

Transfer this
angle to the end
of the board. The
right side of the
triangle shows the
correct angle for
the right sides of
the pins.

Saw the pins.
This isa bit
trickier than
sawing standard
dovetails. Every
cut is a compound
angle-it leans
two ways. I use an
auxiliary support
to raise the
workpiece and
to keep it from
chattering.

APR I L I M A Y Z 0 1 1

AmericanWoodworker.com

39

Draw around
the pins to mark
the tails. Sawing
and chopping
out the tails is
no different than
making standard
tails. but once
again. these will
all be compound
angles.

Drill and chop
mortises for the
handle. There are
no compound
angles here- all
sides of the
mortise are square
to the surface.

Glue the base.
Use triangular
blocks to prevent
the clamps
from slipping or
digging into the
wood.

Draw a pair of large triangle on the
in ide face of each end board. The
long ide of the triangle repre ent
the pitch of the dovetail (in thi
ca e, the familiar 1:6 ratio). Place
a sliding bevel on the face of the
board and et it to match the right
ide of the triangle (Photo 4). Place
the quare on the end of the board
and draw the right ide of each pin
(Photo 5). Re et the liding bevel to
the left ide of the triangle to draw
the left ide of each pin. That' the
gist of it.
lfyou've made through dovetail
before, the re t i pretty tandard. I
won't claim it' eas '-ju t familiar.
You saw and chop the pin (Photo 6) ,
then layout, aw and chop the tail
(Photo 7). ccurate layout is the
ke to the whole proce .

Mortises and arches
B fore a embling the base, drill
and chop morti e for the handle
(D, Fig. ). Although the base has
a 12° pIa, the top and bottom
walls of the morti e don't lean at
12°-they're quare to the faces of
the end piece. se a pencil to lay
out the morti e on both ide of
each piece. Outline the perimeter
of the mortise with a knife or chi el.
U ing a wide chi el, pare to
these cribed line to e tabli h a
hallow shoulder all the way around
the morti e. Do thi on both the
front and back side of the workpiece.
e a 5/ " For tner bit in a
drill pre s to remove mo t of the
wa te, then fini h the morti e by
hand (Photo 8).
There' one more task before
as embl : Cut arche on the bottom
ide of both ends. The arche form
four feet. They give the tool more
tability on an uneven urface than
if the end were left traight. Draw
the arche on the Out face of each
end piece. Tilt your bandsaw table
12° and cut the arche . Sand them
mooth. The e surface hould look
good, ince the 'II face up when
you tote the tepBox around.

Glue the base
Make four gluing block , tapered
at 12° (Photo 9). It ma ' be tempting to u e the offcuts from the base
40

AmericanWoodworker.com

APR I LI M A Y 1011

piece, but their grain run the
hort wa . They could easily crack
and break, and that would be reall
bad new during a glue-up.
Make the blocks from a oft
wood, uch as pine, with the grain
going the long way. Why use a oft
wood? if the pin stick out a bit,
the 'II cru h into the wood, allowing the block to continue pu hing
again t the tail -where ou want
the pre ure.

Insert a partiallysawn handle into
one mortise, then
pass it on through
the second
mortise. The ends
of the handle are
cut extra-long for
now.

The box's splay
makes it easier
to fish out tools.
Draw a line
Glue a thick piece of paper onto
the face of each block. The paper
will ab orb the glue queeze-out
and prevent the blocks from adhering to the base.
Glue and clamp the base. Plane,
crape or and the dovetail
0
they're flu h.

Make the handle
aw out the handle (D, Fig. E},leaving it I" or 0 exu-a-Iong on both
end . ( ote that the drawing how
it cut to final length.) Don't awout
the notche on each end of the handle yet-you'll mark their location
directl from the base.
lide the handle into the ba e
(Photo 10). Draw a line acros the
top ide of each end, using a bu ine card a a him (Photo 11 ) . Thi
shim de erve orne explanation.
Let' a you ju t drew the line for
each notch flu h up again t the
base. After cutting the notche,
you'd find that the di tance
between them would be too hort.
You have to allow the exua di tance
cau ed b the play of the ba e, and
that' where the shim come in.
Withdraw the handle and aw
and chop the notches (Photo 12).
tick the handle back in the base
and te t the fit of the joints. dju t
as nece ary. When all i well,
remove the handle and round over
tile ection between the notche
with a poke have. Te t how it feels

across each end
of the handle. This
line marks the
outside shoulder
of a notch you'll
cut in the handle.
Use a shim behind
the pencil to
compensate for
the splay of the
end pieces. Pull
out the handle.

Fig. E Handle and Wedge

I

I

,"

I

II
I
:>1
APRIL/MAY 2011

AmericanWoodworker.com

41

Saw and pare
the notches.
Slide the handle
back through the
mortises and see
if the notches fit
the ends. If all is
well, remove the
handle and round
its faces with a
spokeshave.

in 'our hand, and make it rounder
or Iimmer to uit.
Prepare two 12° wedge (E) for
locking in the handle. Make them
extra-long, 0 the 'II b easier to
make and in tall.

Learn how to make awedged-tenon joint at

AmericanWoodworker.mmIWebExtras

Glue the handle
to the base. Slide
in a large 12·
wedge to lock the
handle in place.
After the glue is
dry, saw the end
of the handle and
the wedge to final
length.

Oval hole

';~

42

AmericanWoodworker.com

APR I L I M A Y 2011

Attach the top.
It's fastened
through cleats
that are glued
to the base. The
outside holes in
the cleats are oval,
to allow the top
to move without
cracking.

Bru h glue on the handle'
notche and lide the handle in
place. Apply glue to the wedge and
lightly tap them in place (Photo 13).
Mter the glue is dry, cut the handle
and wedge 0 the protrude 3/ 4"
beyond tl1e end piece. often their
edge with a file and andpaper.

Add the top
Cut the top (A) to final ize. Cut
both groove in tl1e top using a
dado et in your table aw (Fig. D).
U e a miter gaug and fence for
making the 45° groove. To make
the notche , fir t dri ll a hole for
each one, then cut the notche on
the band aw.
Make the cleats (F) that will be
u ed to fasten the top. Note that
the outer hole in the cleats are
oval (Fig. ). Th i allow the top to
hrink and well without cracking.
Glue the cleats to the base.
Apply finish to the base and
top, then fasten the top to the ba e
(Photo 14) .

.A

n 0
i a elf-employed
carpenter and
furnituremaker.
He ho ts the
web how Wood hoppin' Time!
www.woodchoppintime.com. a
mix of riou woodworking and
light comedy.

WI

Our 25-Vr. DVD
Just take a brief online suney about
merican \Voodworker.
You'll be ligible to win a DVD
containing all our i ue for th la t
25 ear. The winner will b cho en
b a random drawing on Ma 31 , 2011.

To take the urvey, go to
AmericanWoodworker .com/ Survey.

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Email usat stories@americanwoodworker.com.

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Got a special way you do things?
Email usat techniques@americanwoodworker.com

Turning Wood

by Alan Lacer

Reading Glasses Case
Prot~ct

your "cheaters" in style.

SOONER OR LATER everyone'

eye need a little
help-e peciall for reading or do e work. One
popular olution i to bu a pair of "cheater ,"
tho e tyli h reading glas e that are available in
bookstore and practically everywhere el e. How
to protect the e delicate, inexpen ive glas e e peciall the compact ver ion -i alway an i ue.
turned wooden case with a friction-fit cap i a

perfect olution. It' a unique iftthat fits in pockets, pur e and briefca e . It can al 0 hold more
than glas e . It would make an outstanding oneci ar humidor, for example, if you u ed the appropriate wood. In either ca e, t11is project provides
an opportunity to develop kills in end-grain drilling, turning delicate details and creating ju t the
right fit between me base and the cap.

Fig. A Dimentions

I~

21/2"

f

I 3/lr"

L
>1

<I I/~" -------~

44

AmericanWoodworker.com

APRIL / MA Y 1 011

I~

>1

0:
~

z
z

....
z
o

'"<
>-

r
c..
<

..,o
0:

r-

oJ:

c..

0:

or-

Start by cutting tenons on both ends of the blank.These tenons
will be used later, when the cap and base pieces are drilled out.

Separate the cap from the base by cutting in with a parting tool.
Stop j ust before cutting through. Then twist the blank to break
the pieces apart.

Drill out the cap with a Forstner bit attached to an extension for
deep drilling and an adaptor for mounting in the tailstock. Slowly
advance the tail stock to move the bit into the spinning blank.

Face off the cap's rim by scraping with the skew chisel. The rim
must be flat or taper slightly to the inside. Mark the depth of the
drilled hole on the blank.

Materials and tools

Determine the proportions

A 1-1 / 2" quare b 9" to 10" long block of wood
hould be more than adequate, although the glas e '
ize i the ultimate determinant (the glas e hown
here mea ure 11 / 16" x 3/ 4" x 5-3/ "). Almo t any
wood will work, but stronger wood such a maple,
cherry, co obolo, purple heart, goncalo alve and
boxwood will allow creating thinner wall. Make ure
the wood i at the drier end of the pectntm.
pindle roughing gouge, a pin die/ detail gouge,
a partin tool, a thin-kerf parting tool and a kew
chi el will uffice for turning. You'll need a croll
chuck equipped with a mall et of ja\ to hold the
wood for ddlling (ee
urce, page 47). You'll al 0
need two high- peed teel or carbide Forstner-style
drill bits. An exten ion to allow drilling deep hole
and an adaptor/ holder with a #2 Mor e taper end,
de igned to mount in th tail tock quill, can be purchased with the bits (ee our e ). The glasse and the
wall thickne of the cas determine the bit ize . For
the las e hown here, I used a 1-1 16" dia. bit to ddll
out the case' lip-on cap and a 13 16" dia. bit to ddll
out its base (Fig. A, at left).

Mount the blank b tween center and knock down
the corner u ing the pindle roughing gouge. Then
turn tenon at both end (Photo 1). The e tenon
will be used later, to mount the cap and ba e blanks
in the croll chuck. The tenon hould be about 3/ 4"
long and about 1" in diameter, and their houlder
hould be lightly concave.
La out the base and cap on the blank. Their overall length depend on the depth of the hole drilled
in them. U e 'our glas e and the overlap of the fdction-fitjoint to calculate the depth of the e hole. I
nonnally allow 3/ 4" for the joint on both parts (the
tenon i on the ba e; the morti e i in the cap), and I
drill into the base far enough to hou e the glas e by
about two-third their length, 0 the won't easily fall
out when the cap i removed. For the gla e shown
here, I drilled a 3-3/ 4" deep hole in the ba e and a
2-1 / 2" deep hole in th cap.
The overall length of each part must be longer
than the drilled hole, of course-b at least 1/ 4".
o cid which end of the blank will be the cap and
whi h \\ill b the bas . When 'ou mark the di\iding

o
~

AP R III M A Y 2011

AmericanWoodworker.com

45

Follow the same procedure to drill out the base. Use a smaller
Forstner bit and drill the hole about two-thirds as deep as the
glasses are long.

Tum a tenon on the base to fit the hole in the cap. Start oversize
and reduce the diameter to create a very tight fit. A cone center
supports the drilled-out end.

Mount the cap. Make sure that the assembled joint does not slip
and that the ends of both drilled holes are marked. Bring up the
cone center to support the end of the reassembled blank.

Turn the case to a cylinder after establishing the ends by cutting
in with the parting tool about 1/4" beyond each end mark.

line on th blank, allow about 1/ 2" additional length
on both parts for haping their end, fini h andin
and partin off.
e a parting tool to parate th cap and the
base (Photo 2). Although not e ential, a thin-kerf
parting tool minimize the wood 10 ,r ulting in a
lightl b tt r grain match b tween the e two par
on the completed case.

Drill the holes
It' much easier to fit the tenon on the base to the

hole in the cap than vice versa, 0 tart with the cap.
Mount th cap blank in the mall jaw of the croll
chuck. Then lightl face off the end with a parting
tool or kew chi I-thi make it easi r to center
the drill bit. Drilling hole on -the lathe i different
than ordinary drilling b cau th workpi c rotate
in tead of the bit. Mount the large Forstner bit and
its exten ion in the tail tock quill, u ing the Mor e
taper adaptor or aJacob - tyle chuck. Then drill into
the cap b lowl advancing the bit (Photo 3).
Th cap' rim mu t b perfectl flat or tapered
to the in id , 0 crap it lightl with the kew chi el
46

AmericanWoodworker.com

A P Ril/MAY 1011

(Photo 4 ). Mark the hole depth on th outside of
the cap blank. Then r move it from the chuck and
mount the base blank. Li htl face off the end. Then
in tall the mall For tner bit and its exten ion and
drill into th ba e (Photo 5).

Turn the tenon
I in tall a con -type live center in the tail tock to upport the base blank while turning the tenon. Another
olution i to fill tlle drilled hole with a piece of wood
that' lightly tapered (like a bottle' cork), 0 ou
can u e a tandard live center.
I like the ure feel that a 3/ 4" long tenon giv
the case' friction-fit joint.
e a parting tool and
outside caliper to turn the tenon (Photo 6). Be ure
to round the caliper ' end, 0 tlley don't catch and
get launched at ou b the pinning blank.
t the
caliper about 1/ 16" over ize and then reduce the
diameter in very mall increments. top frequently
and u e the cap to ch ck the fit. The goal i to cr ate a very tight fit, 0 the joint won't lip-but not 0
tight that you can't remov th cap \\~thout breaking
the wood.

Create tactile surfaces and disguise the joint by adding
decorative details such as the beads shown here, using the skew.

Round the end of the cap by making rolling cuts with the
spindle/detail gouge. Then finish-sand both the cap and the base.

Use the skew to part off the cap. Then remove the cap from the
base and finish-sand its parted-off tip.

Tune the joint's fit by removing a tiny amount from the tenon
with a peeling cut. Ideally, you'll hear a vacuum pop when you
pull off the cap.

Shape the outside
Mount the fitted cap on the base and bring up the
tail tock for upport (Photo 7). T hen e tabli h the
final outside length, which are based on the depth
of the holes drilled in both piece (Photo 8). Turn
the case to a cylinder with the spindle roughing
gouge and add detail with the kew chi el or detail!
pindJe gouge at the arne time (Photo 9 ). This time
the goal i to leave ju t enough wood for trength in
both length and diameter, 0 the ca e doe n't feel
exce ively heavy. Obviou Iy, the hole in the cap ultimately determines the outside diameter.
Round the end of the cap and fini h-sand the
entire case (Photo 10). Part off the cap, remove it
from the tenon, and hand- and its parted-off tip
(Photo 11 ).

a vacuum pop when you pull them apart (the same
ound you hear when pulJing a cork from a bottle).
Round and fini h- and the end of the base u ing
the ame method u ed earlier on the cap. Then part
off the base and hand- and the tip. Apply the fini h
of your choice. I often u e pure tung oi l, e peciall
for darker wood. For the cocobolo case hown here,
I imply applied paste wax.
SOURCES

Choice Woods, www.choice-woods.com. (888) 895-7779, Maxi Cut HSS
13/16" Forstner Bit, #375120, $29.50; Maxi Cut HSS 1-1/16" Forstner Bit,
#375150, $31.95 (other Maxi Cut HSS Forstner bit sizes are available);
Rotastop 3-1/2" Extension, #375500, $25.95; #2 MT Adapter, #375700,
$41.95; 13116" Forstner Bit, $29.50.
Oneway Manufacturing, www.oneway.ca. (800) 565-7288, Oneway

Final details

Talon Chuck, #2985, $232; Spigot (small) Jaws, #3016, $40.95.

Fine-tune the fit between the cap and the tenon by
adjusting the tenon (Photo 12). Make a peeling cut
(not a craping action) to lightly remove a very mall
amount of wood. The goal is a piston-like fit. You hould
feel re i tance between the parts; ideally, you'lJ hear

i a wood turner, writer and in tructor
who live near River Falls, 'VI. To see more of AJan'
work vi it www.alanlacer.com.

A PR IL I MA Y 2 0 11

JlmericaaWoodworker.com

47

Where Our Readers Live

Rustic Shop

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MY BOARD-ON-BOARD SHOP rna look

like an ancient rural £ann building,
but it' real I onl ten 'ears old. I
built it using uthern bald cypre ,
which is native to this pan of Alabama, and just let the wood weather
naturall . The in ide i trimmed in
cypre , too. Even after ten years,
the w et cent of 0pre till permeate the hop.
De igned for large-scale wopdworking, m 24' x 36' hop has 10'
ceilin and plenty of LOrage uptairs. \\'hen the till ummer heat
hits, ceiling fan help to take off the
edge. During the occasional cold
winter blast, a pair of wall-hung catalytic heaters keep out the chill.
My tationary tool are located

cenu-ally and al ng the wall. The
high ceilin make it easy to maneuver long tock and allow overhead
dust collection to each machine.
Double doors and wide walkwa
benveen the tool facilitate moving large item. Mobile base and
flexible dust collection ho e allow moving thin to provide additional elbow room wh n necessary.
The tablesaw i po itioned to take
advantage of the double doors-I
just open them to rip long boards.
A mobile clamp rack and a mobile
compre ed air tation allow assembling projects anywher in the hop.
\\'hen I retired in 2004, I taned
a bu ine building lawn furniture
made from cypre . \\'hile orne

aspects of the busine were good,
assembling the furninlre and toring it benveen hm took quite a
bit of hop pace, and the con lant
loading, unloading and Udn poning quick! became tire ome. After
a while, I decided to switch to another woodworking business--one
that took up Ie
pace and was
easier to tran pon. My intere t in
woodturnin made pen making an
easy choice.
I taned turning pen as a hobb , using a mall mini lathe. To expand m capabilitie now that pen
turning had become a busine ,I've
purchas d a much larger variable
peed lathe. In addition to pen , I
also tum wild game calls and wine

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48

JlnwrlcllDWoodworker.com

APRIl/MAY 2011

bottle toppers, along with cane
and walking ticks; I'm con tantl
thinking of new de ign and unique
challenge to keep things fr hand
inter ting. My mini lathe i till going trong-it' now permanently
outfitted with a buffing wh el for
poli hing.
I mo tl work with tropical hardwoods and acryli ,and ince I live
in rural Alabama, white-tail deer
antlers are plentiful. (Antler turn
nicely, but it mell bad-like having a tooth drilled; m wife won't
vi it the hop when I'm turning it.)
Recentl I was ble ed to acquire
ome very old heart uthern yellow
pine; its tight, contrasting growth
rings make great-looking pen . A

hardwood
fore t
near my hop provide an endle
up ply of uniquely-shap d material
for my walking ticks and canes.
Had I de igned a hop just for
turning pen, it would have been a
lot maller, but I'm glad I've got the
extra pace. I'm ready for anyt11ing.

..6
Phil Freeman
J:.vergreen, AL

II PRill M II Y 2011

JlmerlcaaWoodworker.com

49


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