Aug 312015
 

Some years ago I tailored the backstop system you see in the photo below to back up workpieces when cutting biscuit slots.  Totally independent, they can be clamped as close to or as far from the edge of the workbench as you like.  They can also accommodate any length of board just as simply.

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Cut out a couple of “L’s” with your jig saw, grab two clamps of any style, and you’re in business. Notice that I didn’t even bother to make them the same size.

I never found any shortcomings with the technique, but recently I was making a Western red cedar picnic table for our youngest grandchildren, and my stack of boards happened to be next to the front of the table saw.  I looked down, and saw the rail that guides the fence, and thought, “Hmm, seems like a perfect shelf for this.”

Using the table saw fence rail works great for short, thick, narrow boards like these beauties that started out as roughsawn 2x4s.

Using the table saw fence rail works great for short, thick, narrow boards like these beauties that started out as roughsawn 2x4s.

 A few weeks later I saw a tip from the Woodworker’s Journal E-zine sent in by Joseph Cassinick from Michigan, which involved using the table saw rip fence for a backstop.  Certainly that tip offers more versatility, as your table saw can handle workpieces of any width and length up to the size of your tabletop and accessory surfaces.  But, for the job I had at the moment, putting Domino slots into a bunch of cedar 2x4s, the rip fence rail was just right.

Joe Cassinick’s tip, using the table saw fence as a backstop when cutting biscuit slots or Festool Domino mortises was an excellent one, and I tried it here.

Joe Cassinick’s tip, using the table saw fence as a backstop when cutting biscuit slots or Festool Domino mortises was an excellent one, and I tried it here.

I found only two shortcomings of the rip-fence technique.  One, even though these 2x4s were almost 3-3/4″ wide, the Domino fence was a little wider, so it hit the table saw’s rip fence if I put the boards on the table saw one at a time.

Notice that the Domino’s registration plate is not against the board, which might introduce error for the placement of the Domino tenon

Notice that the Domino’s registration plate is not against the board, which might introduce error for the placement of the Domino tenon.

The second shortcoming was when I added another 2×4 behind the one I was cutting Domino mortises in. If its wide surface had a little bow in it, or if it was a little thicker than the board being bored, the backup board could hold the Domino’s fence subtly off the board being worked on.

To get the Domino’s fence an adequate distance from the saw’s fence, I placed another board behind the one being mortised. The slight bow in the backup board kept the Domino from reaching the surface it was mortising.

To get the Domino’s fence an adequate distance from the saw’s fence, I placed another board behind the one being mortised. The slight bow in the backup board kept the Domino from reaching the surface it was mortising.

That could lead to the mortise being out of position and even too shallow.  Such a problem could be solved by recognizing the problem and being careful to account for it, or by using a thinner 2×4.  A too-shallow mortise would lead to a joint not closing, with no external reason visible.  That would make you crazy at glue-up time!

This photo demonstrates several backer boards of the same thickness, allowing the Domino’s fence to be sufficiently far from the Biesemeyer fence and still overlapping the first backer board without being cocked.

This photo demonstrates several backer boards of the same thickness, allowing the Domino’s fence to be sufficiently far from the Biesemeyer fence and still overlapping the first backer board without being cocked.

The other alternative is to return to my original system, utilizing the L-shaped plywood pieces, where no backer board is needed.

The other alternative is to return to my original system, utilizing the L-shaped plywood pieces, where no backer board is needed.

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Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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Aug 212015
 

wt53This month we’ve got a great issue of The Highland Woodturner, our online newsletter dedicated exclusively to turning.

Our August 2015 issue includes:

Making a Guiro– A Guiro is a Latin-American percussion instrument turned out of a hollow gourd and played with a stick or tines. In this article, Curtis Turner discusses the selection process for the wood, turning the beads, making the handle, and cutting the slot that helps produce the recognized sound of the Guiro.

Topping off a Turning Lesson– Our newest blogger, Mollie Simon, just took Hal Simmons’ Beginning Turning class at Highland, and she has a full report of what she learned in the class and how it is a great class for beginning woodturners!

Show Us Your Woodturning– This month we are featuring the beautiful woodturning projects from by Eldon DeHaan, who makes one-of-a-kind pieces that start off on the lathe and are then embellished, carved, and colored.

Phil’s Turning Tip- Phil has a tip on the benefits of using Foam-Backed Sandpaper.

Our featured turning tools this month include:

The Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder

The Record Power SC3 Geared Scroll Chuck Package

All of this and more in our August 2015 issue of The Highland Woodturner.

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Aug 202015
 
Finishing Tiger Maple

The figure in tiger, or curly, maple is a feature of great potential beauty. But how can you finish it to bring out its full loveliness? You can, of course, give it a clear finish—like General Finishes Arm-R-Seal or a water-based finish such as General Finishes High Performance. This will reveal the curl as a […]

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Aug 182015
 
Topping Off a Turning Lesson

After seven hours around a lathe, three blocks of wood, a refresher course on angles, and one accidental projectile [no one was harmed in the making of this article], I am excited to have taken my first spin at woodturning. The setting for the course, Beginning Turning, was the shop and classroom situated on the […]

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Aug 132015
 

Recently, Master Carver Sabija Mutjaba collaborated with Scott DeWaard on a huge triptych carving for the Marian Chapel in the All Saints Catholic Church in Knoxville, TN. This project was a huge undertaking and the beautiful video below captures the creative process from start to finish. Video produced by Joan Karpeles (www.joanproduces.com)The video has gotten […]

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Aug 112015
 
Taking My First Spin at Turning

EDITOR’S NOTE: We would like to introduce our newest blogger/store reporter, Mollie Simon, a Journalism major at The University of Georgia who has recently begun pursuing her interest in woodworking. If I were to describe my current woodworking skill-level, I would put it about a half step below symmetrical bird feeder construction and a half step […]

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Aug 072015
 
The August 2015 issue of Wood News Online

We’re in the last stretch of Summer and woodworking season is just around the corner, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get an early start on your upcoming projects! We’ve just released our August 2015 issue of Wood News Online full of project ideas, woodworking tips, shop ideas, and more! This month’s issue includes: Carving […]

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