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Project by Michael posted 12-29-2010 10:11 AM 22922 views 52 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I love Bridge City Tools but don’t have enough money for all the nice things they make. Then I saw Treeman’s kerfmaker project and decided to make my own. I built mine out of Ipe (I have tons of the stuff lying around). Needless to say I have just made the most expensive kerfmaker on the planet. Besides hours of my time I burned my Forrest WW2 blade the Ipe. Hope there is enough carbide left to sharpen.

Anyways, it works great. I have given up on my plans to make a tennon maker copy. I have already paid my deposit to Bridge City for one.

-- Michael

16 comments so far

View Michael J's profile

Michael J

103 posts in 3744 days

#1 posted 12-29-2010 10:57 AM

Wow! Very nice work! Where did you buy your brass knobs? I’d like to make one myself and follow (ie. copy) your design.

-- Mike Minneapolis, MN

View bigike's profile


4057 posts in 3825 days

#2 posted 12-29-2010 12:58 PM

cool i wanted to make one of these for awhile now but i still dont know how to use it.

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop, http://[email protected]

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4127 days

#3 posted 12-29-2010 03:58 PM

Very nicely done, and most importantly it works!

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View mafe's profile


12135 posts in 3626 days

#4 posted 12-29-2010 04:01 PM

Perhaps the most expensive, but also so well made – I love your kerfmaker.
Best thoughts,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect. Democraticwoodworking.

View Ken Fitzpatrick's profile

Ken Fitzpatrick

376 posts in 4560 days

#5 posted 12-29-2010 04:01 PM

Beautiful job and it obviously works well. That’s a tool you you should be proud of


-- • "I have noticed that nothing I have never said ever did me any harm."....... Calvin Coolidge

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3393 days

#6 posted 12-29-2010 04:12 PM

Michael, that is a fine looking kerfmaker.

It must be a pleasure to use.

I bought mine. I will be making the tenon maker though.

I’ve tools handed down to me, so I thought I would get something to pass down and I like the Bridge City one.


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View Woodbutcher3's profile


461 posts in 3424 days

#7 posted 12-29-2010 04:30 PM

Great work! If I can work a set of plans, I’m going to add it to the Heritage Tools I am making to hand down.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3611 days

#8 posted 12-29-2010 04:36 PM

There are a lot of kerfmakers on this board, but this has to be one of the best made ones I have seen. Well done.

You are implying that this is the most expensive one because ipe is so expensive. I’ve used a lot of ipe in the past and I like it because it is very hard, heavy and durable and it is normally very reasonably priced. I tell people it is similar to teak about half the price of teak.

FYI – My deck (500 square feet) and all of my outdoor furniture is made of ipe.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 3367 days

#9 posted 12-29-2010 05:44 PM

So beautiful I’d fear actually using it!

-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

View Michael's profile


32 posts in 3422 days

#10 posted 12-29-2010 06:42 PM

The hardware is from Woodcarft. I found it in their pen turning section. It has a 1/4-28 thread on it. For the other hardware you can’t see I used 1/4” brass rod that I threaded to match the nut. Also there are a few pins and screws because Ipe doesn’t really take glue all that well.

You can see how to use it on YouTube. The directions on setup are at the end of the video. I followed their instructions and made a perfect joint my first time even with a super dull saw blade.

It’s expensive not because of the material (that parts was free) but from the amount of time I had to put in it. Normally I do work like this for at least $35/hr. Factor in the burned tooling and by the time it’s done I could have bought a stack of these from Bridge City and spent my time building something profitable.

-- Michael

View Woodbutcher3's profile


461 posts in 3424 days

#11 posted 12-30-2010 05:38 PM

Clever using the brass from Woodcraft – I have to think outside the box some more!

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View Sodabowski's profile


2388 posts in 3370 days

#12 posted 12-31-2010 04:01 PM

Talk about a gorgeous combination! This is a piece of art. Thanks for sharing.

(note to self: consider making a snakewood kerfmaker to beat Mike on the price tag ;p )

-- Thomas - there are no problems, there are only solutions.

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 3229 days

#13 posted 01-19-2011 06:00 AM

would you share with us on, how you made this? I would love to try and make one like yours, but I cant figure out all of the process. This is a great piece of craftsmanship.

-- Chuck

View Michael's profile


32 posts in 3422 days

#14 posted 01-23-2011 09:24 AM

Ok, so here is the breakdown of all of this. Not sure how much direction I need to offer bet I will give you the highlights.

1st. Some of what and how I did this is because I am working with Ipe and it does not really glue together well, so there are a lot of screws and pins. to fasten parts together that you would not need in other materials.

In general most of this is done on the router. I was able to setup a rabbit bit to cut the 1/2” wide rabbit down the middle and then without resetting the table I was then able to cut the 1/8×1/8 rabbits down the sides of the piece that fits in. Once I am down with the current project (I don’t want to adjust my router table right now) I will have a picture of this, it will save you some time being able to do two steps with one setup.

All the slots are 1/4” and the ones with the knurled knobs I then router with a round nose bit.

The brass thread rod I made to match the knobs that have a 1/4-28 thread. One of the brass rods is attached to the thin part of the slide, drilled and pinned that since there was not much to hold it from spinning. The other threaded rod is threaded in places and holds itself (Ipe tends to thread like metal) not sure that would work for other woods but if it starts coming loose I can pin it too.

All the other screw and pins you see are simply because Ipe is bullet proof and has to be assembled like an erector set and not like wood. If I built this out of maple I would probably only have the 2 threaded pins and the one pin in the thin section holding the threaded one tight. For everything else glue would do the job in regular wood.

Like I said if you time has monetary value you should support the guys at Bridge City.

-- Michael

View 58j35bonanza's profile


395 posts in 3229 days

#15 posted 01-24-2011 04:05 AM

Did you use your mac for the pictures? Thanks Michael.

-- Chuck

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