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top prev next bottom Woodworking Tips (8-Feb-2010)

A collection of tips for both the novice and the expert. The newest tips are at the top of the list.

top prev next bottom Machining Rough Sawn Wood

Here are the basic steps to get from rough sawn wood to your final size project parts using wood working machines.

Preparation

Make one surface straight and flat

Make other surface parallel and to thickness

Make edges straight and perpendicular, rip boards

Board is too wide

When a board is too wide for the jointer (my jointer is only 6") then make one pass, rotate the board and make a pass with the other side of the same surface. The surface gets straight, but never flat. Use it as the "flat" side when planing, but remember that you have to make one or two passes with this surface through the planer too after the second surface is finished.

Now with the board being too wide for the planer (my planer is 12" wide) you have a couple of options. If you have the skill of the old master carpenters you can use a good hand plane and gradually take away the high points. I am not that skilled and prefer the next solution. Say you need a 14" wide board. Machine two 7" wide boards as explained above making sure that the board have good matching grain. Then glue the two boards together using biscuits about 8" apart to make sure that the board edges line up, and use good square clamps. Clean up the glue immediately. The next day when the glue is dry use a scraper to make the joint perfect.

And finally

You have machined a perfect board, but when you rip it to make two pieces out of it the pieces warp again. Not much you can do about that. In case you required large pieces of wood you can saw each piece roughly 1/4" thicker and 1/2" wider to get most of the tension out before doing the above machining. Another trick that I use often is that I rip very long pieces (6 to 8ft) to width plus 1/8", medium long pieces (3 to 5 ft) to width plus 1/16" and anything shorter to width plus 1/32". This gives you some leeway to correct secondary warp with longer pieces.

Make your work plan and work as quickly as possible. Don't let finished pieces sit on your workbench for weeks as your are bound to get secondary warp. After the machining finished the pieces with tenons, mortises, dado slots, etc., and then put things together with glue, screws and clamps before secondary warp gets a chance.

Finally, keep the leftover pieces of wood. They have a specific thickness which might come in handy in your current project as cleats or something.

top prev next bottom How to use a Dado

bench/table -- side view

A dado consist of two outside saw blades and zero, one or more chippers. The chipper(s) go between the two outside blades. The minimum width is obtained with the two outside blades only, and can be changed in 1/8" increaments by combining the various chipper blades. The dado is assembled on the arbor of the table saw and mounted like a regular saw blade. There are other types of dados on the market.

Cutting a groove using a dado is the same as using the regular saw blade on the table saw and does not need very much explanation.

A more interesting use of the dado is the cutting of tenons on a piece of wood, i.e. make one end thinner than the rest of the piece of wood. For that we use the table saw, miter gauge and dado. Put the dado set together for a certain width and mount it in the table saw. Clamp a block of wood (about 3/4" thick) to the table saw fence on the side of the dado several inches before the dado. Attach a piece of wood to the miter gauge so that stock is properly supported when run past the dado. Set the dado height for the amount of material that needs to be take away.

For example, to cut a tenon length of 1" you have to adjust the fence such that the block of wood is offset by 1" to the left of the dado as shown in the picture. The procedure is to put the stock against the miter gauge and the block of wood on the fence. Then squeeze the stock against the miter gauge and run it past the dado. Pull the stock to the right to clear the dado and pull back. Position the stock against the miter gauge again such that the remaining material can now be removed by the dado, squeeze against the miter gauge and run past the dado again. It is highly recommended to run a couple of scrap pieces first after each dado height and tenon length adjustment and verify that the results are what is expected.

top prev next bottom Finishing (31-May-2005)

There are many ways to finish wood. Our choice is a medium colour transparent stain for our red oak furniture, finished with a few coats of Acrylic Urethane varnish. Red oak has an open grain. You can fill the grain for a complete smooth surface, but we prefer to see and feel the grain. Some folks recommend a sanding sealer before staining and varnishing, but we have never felt the need for that.

Preparation

Staining

Varnishing

top prev next bottom Glossary of Terms (4-Dec-2006)

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