Extremely Average #41: True Dat

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Blog entry by Ecocandle posted 02-12-2010 03:50 AM 1566 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 40: To Build or Not To Build Part 41 of Extremely Average series Part 42: Amazing Customer Service »

Progress is accepting what was once the goal, as common place, seeing the new goal as within reach.

-Aki Haruki, world renowned sharpening monk.

I am not afraid to reference a blog post from my first week! Nor am I afraid to strive for greater accuracy in my cuts. After sanding the 2×4s to within 2.54 centimeters of their life, I made my marks and cut four friendly nineteen inch pieces. Though I am much better at using my Japanese hand saw, I am no ‘Aki Haruki’, mostly because he doesn’t exist, but if he did, he would be really good at making dead on perfect cuts.
When I checked to see if the angles were 90 degrees, they were pretty close. A month ago, that would have been fine. Instead I felt confident that I could do better.

I am sure that people with table saws are able to cut very accurate cuts, with perfect angles, and one day I too will have a table saw, but until then, I am going to get good results using the tools at hand. The most important tool, in my opinion and Hercule Poirot’s, are the little grey cells. Here is how I accomplished greater accuracy and trued-up my stretchers.

First step, determine which of the four boards is the shortest.

Second step, clamp this shortest piece to the edge of my workbench, which has a lovely 90 degree corner and two straight edges. I made sure that the board lined up on the long edge. Next I checked the end of the board, sliding it up to the edge of the bench until one corner was flush, while the other corner hung over slightly. I wanted the corner, with the angle that was greater than 90 degrees, to be at the corner of the workbench. In a sense, the slope is heading away from the corner. The reason for this is that I felt it is easier to start with zero material to cut and then ease into the excess.

Third step, I not only wanted to clamp the board down, I wanted to establish a ‘stop block’ for the length. After I had two clamps holding the board down, I placed a third clamp, behind the board. This third clamp would establish the correct length for boards 2 – 4.

Fourth step is to set up the router. The router bit that I used is a 2 inch flush trim bit by Amana. It is a very nice bit. I put this bit into my Bosch 2 ¼ hp router.

Fifth step, route the edge.

After this I simply unclamped the board and flipped it over, there was very little excess that needed to be trimmed off the other end, apparently I had come rather close to getting that one right on. Of course, I didn’t see any harm in making it slightly better, so I routed that end too.

I then repeated the steps with one change. I used one additional clamp and clamped the first board next to the other boards, just to provide a little extra support for the router base. When I finished all four, I checked the angles and they were great. The boards were also the same lengths.

One day I will have all the machines and tools that will render these steps obsolete. Until then, I am not going to let my lack of a table saw, band saw, or drill press, stop me from making fun stuff. I like fun stuff.

-- Brian Meeks,

7 comments so far

View rtb's profile


1101 posts in 4039 days

#1 posted 02-12-2010 04:38 AM


-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4211 days

#2 posted 02-12-2010 04:48 AM

Maybe you should do a Hercule Poirot after the Detective Wood case is solved there aren’t any new Hercule Poirot shows showing up on our TV stations here. Of course you might want to add another Detective Wood case next as we are growing quite fond of him.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View Ecocandle's profile


1013 posts in 3392 days

#3 posted 02-12-2010 04:50 AM


I love Hercule Poirot, but alas, if I were to write a story about him, I would be infringing upon Agatha Christie’s copyrights. I wouldn’t do that. Now another Henry Wood saga, that might be possible. Of couse, I need to finish this one first. I will likely continue with Henry in a day or two, in case you were curious.


-- Brian Meeks,

View patron's profile


13646 posts in 3667 days

#4 posted 02-12-2010 06:37 AM

good fix on the board ends ,

learning as much about hand tools and their drawbacks ,
is the basis of good woodworking ,
power tools just make things easier !

there is a simple test for your square ,
on the edge of a strait surface ,
( maybe your workbench ) ,
with a sharp pencil ,
make a mark on the edge of said surface.
with the blade of your square extended ,
align it to the mark ,
and mark at the end of the square .
flip the square over ,
and align with edge mark and mark other end of square .
if these to marks are exact ,
your square is true ,
if not , you will know how out of square it is ,
and can use it for rough work.
then get yourself a decent square for bench work .
most hand tools are mass produced ,
and errors occur there too .

you can do this at the store when you look thru them for a good one .
to buy a decent level ,
place it in the same place at the store ,
and flip it 4 times in the same place ,
and check if the bubbles are the same ,
even if they are off ,
if they are all off exactly the same ,
you got a good level .
and repeat for plumb against a post or shelf unit .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View a1Jim's profile


117592 posts in 3903 days

#5 posted 02-12-2010 07:11 AM

David always has good advise .

View sras's profile


5033 posts in 3455 days

#6 posted 02-12-2010 07:56 AM

Off to a good start Brian!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View stefang's profile


16660 posts in 3660 days

#7 posted 02-12-2010 07:41 PM

Great advice David! One other thing I would mention is that I’ve found most hand sawing to be easier by using a bench hook for the kind of work you’ve shown us here. You probably are familiar with them, but if not you might search FWW’s for some insight. I made mine so that I can use it one way for a regular saw where cutting is done with the push stroke or with my Japanese saws on the pull stroke. This has improved my cutting accuracy a lot. I also have an accessory to my bench hook that keeps the work pieces level while cutting.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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