Learning to design #2: Pine may simply not be the right material to test small designs + jig frustrations

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Blog entry by mtkate posted 09-29-2009 02:52 AM 1076 reads 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: My first sketchup plan - tea anyone? Part 2 of Learning to design series Part 3: Next sketchup version - thanks DaveR!!! »

I started to test my design that I sketched up. I am thinking I may have done better to make the mock-up in plywood. I probably don’t have a very gentle touch… the pine cracked when I tried to make my first finger joint. Now I have to wait another day as I glue it back together.

I made a couple of modifications already. I realized the box was 11cm by 9.9cm. Why 9.9? Because I did not pay attention in the sketch. I fixed it to 10. No need to have to be precise to a millimeter!

Also, the top was way too thin. It’s now 1.5cm thick so that the bottom rabbet is 0.5cm deep.

I also learned I should figure out the thickness of wood available to me and design around it if I am making small stuff that I cannot pass through the planer. It would make my life easier.

I tried to make a finger box joint jig for the tablesaw on sunday based on Taunton’s jigs and fixtures book. But I don’t like it. I find it too wiggly and the results are not consistent. Maybe it’s my miter guide, which I complain does not give me 90 degrees when I want. I think I need to build a sled type jig – something sturdier. The only one I saw so far was made by Scrappy – so I will try to copy it.

I have only one day this weekend to work in my shop. Looks like I will be making a jig and testing it before I go any further! I suppose it’s not unusual to spend a whole day doing that – especially if you are a beginner?

3 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4548 days

#1 posted 09-29-2009 03:29 AM

I find poplar to be a great wood to work with. It is inexpensive, it has consistent density, and it is more stable than pine.

Your experience has taught you a lot. Good to see you getting hands on in the shop!

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4470 days

#2 posted 09-29-2009 05:09 PM

You are comming along very well with the box jig project.
There’s nothing like putting a jig together to test out your ideas.
I never had much luck with box joints on the tablesaw and finally built a set of 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2” for my router table.
Now I’m happy.

Todd is right on about the poplar for prototypes.

-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View mtkate's profile


2049 posts in 3774 days

#3 posted 10-01-2009 03:01 AM

I just found a cool finger joint jig plan in an old shopnotes. Something to try… I haven’t done anything for the router because I hate my router. Sounds like time for a new one ;)

Thanks for the tip on poplar.

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