Works for me

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Blog series by Dave Owen updated 11-02-2011 10:17 PM 15 parts 121935 reads 126 comments total

Part 1: Lumber Rack

02-06-2010 01:37 AM by Dave Owen | 8 comments »

I learned a long time ago that there are many ways to do just about anything imaginable. Some work better than others – but the main thing is that they do the job. I’ve decided to write a brief blog from time to time describing something that’s ‘worked for me’ in my shop. If you have a better idea – that’s great! If you can glean something from my idea that you can use, that’s great, too. I’ve decided to start with my lumber rack. ...

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Part 2: One-hand Dust Gate

02-13-2010 10:57 PM by Dave Owen | 4 comments »

A tip I submitted for improving the operation of metal dust gates was published in Popular Woodworking a year or so ago. They have given me permission to post this tip for the benefit of those who might not have seen it before. This tip allows you to avoid having to use two hands to position and secure a standard metal dust gate. The concept is to hold the gate in any desired position with rare earth magnets rather than with the small screw included with the gate. There are two ways t...

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Part 3: Mounting Pegboard

02-17-2010 08:00 PM by Dave Owen | 12 comments »

This should prove beyond all doubt that at least one retiree (this one) has more time than sense. I’ve always enjoyed having most of my tools on pegboards where I could find them. I used to find it annoying, though, when the ‘hole’ I wanted to use for a ‘hook’ was blocked by mounting strips. I tried using spacing washers made for pegboard mounting, but they didn’t make the board stiff enough and it was a pain in the neck to align them with studs. That...

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Part 4: Horizontal Pipe Clamp Rack

02-21-2010 10:53 PM by Dave Owen | 14 comments »

When you need pipe clamps, they’re great, and they need to be handy – but when you need them only occasionally, they can really get in the way! Hanging them vertically works well provided you have a vertical space available. Unfortunately, I didn’t, so yesterday’s project was a horizontal rack hung near the ceiling. The rack’s not elegant, and it’s certainly not pretty – but then neither are pipe clamps. The main thing is – it works! ...

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Part 5: Adjustable Bandsaw Sled

03-07-2010 10:12 PM by Dave Owen | 8 comments »

This adjustable bandsaw sled works on the same principle as a taper sled for a table saw. I initially designed it for quick and accurate repetitive cuts on the toy racer shown below, but it works great for any kind of angled cuts on the bandsaw. I believe it will also work well for shorter tapered legs, although I haven’t tried it for that yet. The body of the sled is 3/4” MDF, and the fence and stop are made from scraps of Phenolic-faced plywood. The anchor bolt for the...

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Part 6: Blade Cleaning

03-08-2010 07:06 PM by Dave Owen | 8 comments »

This morning I cleaned one of my table saw blades, so I decided to write a little blog about it. For any of you who don’t have a favorite blade cleaner – and for those who want to try something different, here’s a suggestion. The product I’ve used for years is “Lestoil Grease & Stain Remover” (a product of the Clorox Company). Some of you old-timers like me may remember their advertising jingle from years ago – “It’s so easy when ...

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Part 7: Tool Manuals and Parts Lists

03-18-2010 09:37 PM by Dave Owen | 11 comments »

As I was reading SPalm’s post about PDF files, it reminded me of something I do that might be of use to some of you. I’m sure most of you keep all your tool manuals and parts lists. I do too, but when I needed to refresh my memory about something covered in the manual – or wanted to look up a part number – I found digging it out of the file, using it, and putting it back was more time consuming than I wanted it to be. Now I keep all that information in my computer...

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Part 8: Poorly connecting vacuum fittings

03-25-2010 05:18 PM by Dave Owen | 3 comments »

Here’s this morning’s quickie tip. I bought vacuum hoses, fittings, extension tubing, adapters, etc. from a variety of sources over the years. Unfortunately, manufacturing differences often prevent a good connection, and the result is annoying accidental disconnects while vacuuming the floor – or some other operation. In my case it’s always been because one fitting won’t fit sufficiently deep into the other – and/or is too smooth to ‘grab’ p...

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Part 9: Fence Clamps

03-25-2010 09:47 PM by Dave Owen | 22 comments »

One of the most versatile (and inexpensive) shop accessories I have is fence clamps. I use one or more of them almost daily for a variety of purposes. The most common use for fence clamps is to hold a sacrificial fence to another fence – usually a table saw fence. In the photo shown below, the sacrificial MDF fence is being used in conjunction with a set of dado blades – allowing the set to be partially buried in the fence to obtain the rabbet desired. – - – but...

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Part 10: Fence Clamps - Addendum

04-08-2010 05:20 PM by Dave Owen | 1 comment »

My blog, “Works for me #9: Fence Clamps”, was about a number of uses I’ve discovered for fence clamps. Because of the positive responses to that blog, I decided to describe a couple of additional uses I came up with while building a small, portable table for a Bosch Colt trim router. (a blog on the table itself will be posted within a week or so.).The photo shows a portion of the table and the fence to illustrate both ideas. I decided to make a simple. one-piece fence for...

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Part 11: Drawer Dividers

04-14-2010 11:19 PM by Dave Owen | 9 comments »

Since I’m sure most of you are far better organized than me, this quickie shop project will likely be of little interest. In my shop, I’m fortunate to have a lot of drawers, but over the years they’ve become so cluttered and disorganized that I frequently have one of those, “I know it’s here somewhere” moments. Each time I do, I think about making drawer dividers – then I get busy on something else and forget it. Yesterday at Lowe’s, I foun...

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Part 12: Everything in its place

05-10-2010 09:11 PM by Dave Owen | 6 comments »

To me, good habits are hard to make and easy to break. Years ago, when I would misplace something, my wonderful wife would often chide me with, “If you’d put things in the same place every time, you wouldn’t lose them!”. My problem was that I had learned she had an uncanny ability to find any misplaced item within minutes of hearing its description – and I came to depend on that. I knew it wouldn’t be long before I heard, “Is this what you’re...

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Part 13: Tapered Leg Jig

09-01-2011 06:27 PM by Dave Owen | 6 comments »

A couple of years ago I made a small, adjustable angle jig for my bandsaw. That jig is shown below and described in my blog “Works for me – #5”. I’ve found that jig so useful I decided to make a similar, but larger, version for my table saw...This new jig pictured below works for making tapered legs, angle cuts on flat stock, trimming to a particular grain pattern, or for removing bark or other bad edges, as shown in the photos below...The photo above shows the jig positioned in the m...

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Part 14: Off-feed table for Jet SuperSaw

10-02-2011 07:08 PM by Dave Owen | 1 comment »

With reluctance, I’ll have to admit to being one of those woodworkers whose table saw guard gathers dust on a shelf most of the time. To provide for a guard on my off-feed table for my Jet SuperSaw that meant either having a gap between the rear edge of the saw table and near edge of the off-feed table of about 5-1/4” – or cutting a large gap in the off-feed top itself. I’ve realized that omitting guard provisions wasn’t the brightest idea I ever had, so it’s likely that I’ll soon grit my t...

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Part 15: Band Saw Dowel Cut-off jig

11-02-2011 10:17 PM by Dave Owen | 13 comments »

I frequently I need to cut multiple dowels to a uniform length. Some projects require only a few, while others – like the small race cars I make – require hundreds. In the past, I usually drilled an appropriately sized hole through a block of scrap wood, clamped it to my miter gauge, and rigged a stop block on my table saw fence to gauge the cuts. Although this worked reasonably well, ends were often splintered, and I never seemed to be able to find the block the next time I needed i...

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