Thursday, June 25, 2015

A thin-rip jig

I use a lot of plywood on my projects because I don't have unlimited cash and hardwoods aren't exactly cheap. This leaves a lot of exposed edges that I have to deal with. There are times when I can use a face frame, but sometimes I like to work with the 3/4" width. I've been using 3/4 x 3/4 strips of solid wood on some of my projects like my chest of drawers and the tool cabinet I just finished up, but there are times when I'd want to use a thinner trim strip.

It's a well-known woodworking principle that cutting thin strips on the table saw using the rip fence can be a recipe for disaster. Since the thin strip can get stuck between the fence and the blade, binding and kickback becomes a real possibility. I also don't have the means to really push the stock through the blade since I don't have a push stick that has a sacrificial part that can get chewed up by the blade.

There are some thin-rip jigs available out there for sale. This allows you to set the strip to cut to be on the left side of the blade, where it can't get stuck since it'll fall away from the blade. This also puts the thick part of the stock to the right of the blade where I can use a push stick to control the work. It's much safer all around. I just didn't want to have to shell out the money for one.

When I mounted up my wall cabinet, I lost the space for my sandpaper storage. I never really cared much for my sandpaper storage since it was bulky and it didn't really suit my needs well. I took the thing apart and I had some nice pieces of plywood left over that I can use to make small jigs. It turns out I could make the jig from one of these pieces. I used plans that I found from a Shopnotes magazine, and got to work.

It didn't take long for me to size up the pieces I needed and I just followed the plans. I did have to make a slight modification to the standard plan because I didn't have a jig knob with a long enough threaded stud. I used a threaded insert instead of a T-nut, but that was the only change I had to make and it still seems to work fine.

I still have to test it out with actual cuts, but I think it'll work out just fine. I would have liked to have cut the adjustment slot a little cleaner, but I don't have a router bit in that size and I wanted to try to use the drill press to cut the slot and clean things up with a chisel. I really need to work on sharpening up my chisels so they cut better. I should actually probably just buy better chisels, but I'm not much of a hand tool guy and the chisels I have seem to work okay for what I do with them. I just need to find a way to keep them from rusting so quickly. I'm thinking about getting some Zerust capsules to throw in my tool cabinet and see if that helps.

I have some room cleared out in my garage now and so I think I'm ready to start building a couple of projects for my room that I never got to last summer. I have to finish Sketchup plans for those, but hopefully I can get it all worked out and then start building soon. I want to use some better hardwoods for my next project, so I need to check prices on that too.