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September 26, 2017

Archives for December 2010

Wixey Digital Angle Gauge – a Favorite Tool

Wixey Digital Angle Gauge

 

We often read woodworking tool reviews at the time when the tool is just released. However, this review is of a tool I have steadily used over the last 2 years and it is quite simply a joy to use. The Wixey digital angle gauge has the ability to take the woodworker’s skills to the next level because it is easy to use along with being very accurate. No longer does the woodworker have to rely on the less than accurate gauges of a table saw or a miter saw to approximate the angles to be set. One can set the correct angle effortlessly within seconds by using this wonderful setup tool.

During the time I have employed the Wixey Digital angle gauge in my workshop I have found all sorts of uses for it. It can be seen in many of the previous postings on this woodworking blog.
Here are a few examples:

Cutting wood inlay segments on the tiliting band saw miter sled - Wixey Digital angle gauge

Tilting Bandsaw Miter Sled
The angle gauge is used to set the tilting table of the bandsaw in reference to the blade to achieve cuts that are dead-on perfect.

Wixey Digital angle gauge - Setting the blade angle on the 10 inch compound miter saw blade.

The digital angle gauge accurately measures the bevel cut on the 10 inch compound miter saw blade.

Wixey Digital angle gauge and Table Saw blade

The table saw blade is set perpendicular to the table.

The Wixey Digital angle gauge can be used to set the angle on the jointer fence and also to set the angle on a drill press table. Once you start using this marvelous measuring device you will find more ways for it to be utilized in your shop.

The base of the Wixey Digital angle gauge has two super strong magnets that can be used to attach itself to saw blades or a jointer fence. Begin by setting the angle gauge on a reference surface and pressing the zero button. Once the gauge has a zero reading it can now be placed on the blade or the fence that you are adjusting. Now, simply adjust to the desired angle and lock the blade or fence in place. It’s that easy.

The Wixey digital gauge (model WR 300) is accurate within 0.1 degrees. It comes with a battery.

The Wixey digital angle gauge is simply a must have tool for the setup of power tools in the woodworking shop. The Wixey digital angle gauge allows the woodworker to save time, save material, and to work with confidence.

What are you thoughts about using a Wixey digital angle gauge?
How have you used your Wixey digital angle gauge?

Recommended Video:
Wood Turning…a Segmented Fruit Bowl…part 1

Recommended Article:
Dedicated Miter Sled…revisited

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Try Anti-Fatigue Mats…your feet will thank you!

In a recent woodworking article and video on this blog, Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings I mentioned the use of anti fatigue mats during a woodworking procedure. The situation called for me to be in one place for quite a hours as I would be working at my workbench fitting and installing wood inlay bandings into the dadoes of twelve picture frames. To be more efficient I moved my bandsaw with a mobile base closer to my bench where I could simply turn 180 degrees from the band saw to the workbench. It sure beats walking back and forth. Plus it saves time.

Having read the article and watched the woodworking video a viewer named Dan asked a few questions about the rubber anti-fatigue mats that are in my workshop. He also stated that his feet get quit tired and sore when standing on a concrete floor in the shop. So, I responded to Dan and I also thought it would be worthwhile to write a review on these feet saving floor mats to share with you.

Interlock mats for the shop.

Anti-fatigue mats for the woodworking shop

Each package of mats contains 4 individual mats. Each 24″ x 24″ mat has interlocking tabs that allow it to be joined with another mat. With one package you can can create a 2′ x 8′ area of cushion at your workbench if you choose or a 4′ x 4′ area. If you like you can make two areas of comfort that are 2′ x 2′ as the interlocking tabs make this system very flexible.

To give you an example I purchased two packages of these anti-fatigue mats. I have two workbenches where each has three mats connected together creating a 2′ x 6′ area. Also, there is a single mat in front of my table saw and a single mat in front of my wood lathe. It’s been over two years now that these mats have been in my shop and they simply make life easier.

Anti-fatigue mats for the workbench

Anti-fatigue mats for the woodworking shop

Here’s why the mats are a welcome addition in the woodworking shop.
1.) During the winter or summer they insulate the feet from heat and cold.
2.) Obviously, the mats cushion the feet.
3.) Tools are protected from damage when they fall from the workbench.
4.) The mats are easy to clean.
5.) Total installation is 15-30 seconds.
6.) They can easily be moved if need be.
7.) If you like, they can easily be glued in place permanently.
8.) They are inexpensive.

In summary when you decide to order the anti-fatigue mats you will feel like it was money well spent. Plus, your feet, legs, and back will thank you.

What are your thoughts on anti-fatigue mats?
What kind of mats do you have in your workshop?


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

33…Let’s Install Wood Inlay Bandings

Wood Inlay Bandings – How to Install

 

“Those who dream by day are cognizant of many things which escape those who dream only by night.”
Edgar Allan Poe…American Writer, Poet, Editor (1809-1849)

Cutting and Fitting the Wood Inlay Bandings

 

In this episode we are installing the decorative wood inlay bandings that we have created in the woodworking shop. The wood inlay bandings are going to be fit, cut, and installed into picture frames that are made from Cumala, a Peruvian wood. Since we are doing production work it is important to have a convenient setup and in this instance we have the band saw near the workbench. We are using the band saw miter sled to cut the miters of the wood inlay bandings. This allows for quick, accurate work. Once a miter is cut we simply turn around and touch up the miter on the sanding black to remove any possible edges. Then it is time to fit of the wood inlay banding. We simply work our way around the dado of the picture frame fitting the wood inlay bandings as we go.

 

Watch the video…Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter Sled

Notice on the workbench we have raised our working level another 20″ by utilizing a portable shop made tool tote. This makes our wood project easier to see and it also makes it more comfortable on one’s back. On the floor between the workbench and the bandsaw we have anti-fatigue mats which add comfort for the feet especially when standing for long periods of time.

When cutting the wood inlay bandings on the band saw miter sled notice how we keep the bandsaw bearing guides low. This is for safety reasons and also eliminates deflection of the bandsaw blade to provide a good cut for the miter.

 

Gluing the Wood Inlay Bandings in Place

Once all the wood inlay bandings are fit into the picture frames it is a matter it is a matter of gluing the inlay into place and allowing it to dry. When dry the picture frames will travel through the open drum sander to level the top surfaces of the wood inlay bandings and the frames. We will closely look over our wood project and apply a final sanding as needed working our way to 320 grit sandpaper. Then it is time to apply our favorite wipe on wood finish.

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

How to Make Spline Miter Joints

Spline Miter Joints

“Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.”
Goethe…(1749-1832) German writer, Polymath

 

The Beauty of Spline Miter Joints

 

Splined Miter Joints on a Picture Frame with Wood Inlay - Spline miter joints

Splined Miter Joints on a Picture Frame with Wood Inlay

Spline miter joints offers strength and elegance. It is a joint that wants to be seen and recognized unlike many other joints that serve a utilitarian purpose and are concealed. Often times spline miter joints are made of contrasting colored woods and that is this case of the species chosen for the joinery of this arts and crafts style picture frame selected for this posting. The frame is made from a Camala, a light toned wood from Peru and the spline miter joints for the joinery is cut from black walnut.

 

To create the spline miter joints we use a shop made spline miter jig that is simply made from scrap plywood in the woodworking shop. The jig has a 90 degree cradle that seats the picture frame and is held in place with a spring clamp. When cutting spline miter joints a flat tooth saw blade is used so that the walnut spline will fit into the saw kerf without any exposed gaps present. In this instance a 1/8″ dado blade is chosen for the task.

 

Watch how to: Make Picture Frames with the Dedicated Miter Sled for the Table Saw

 

Location of the Spline Miter Joints

 

It is a good idea to determine the location we want for our spline miter joints to be cut on the picture frame. Once this placement is made we can simply clamp a piece of scrap into the jig and to make a test cut. We will need to adjust the rip fence in or out as we will be sliding the miter jig alongside of it. Also, we need to set the saw blade height as this will represent the depth of the cut for the spline. Once these settings are adjusted it is simply a matter of carefully making a pass through the blade and then repositioning the picture frame for the next miter to be cut.

 

Learn: How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

 

Once all the cuts have been made for the spline miter joints, we can focus our attention on making the spline material. In this case it is 1/8″. Start by ripping the spline a bit wider than the depth of the miter cut and then dimension the material equal to the width of the joints’ saw kerf. Once we achieve the proper thickness for our splines it is time to cut enough triangular pieces for all joints. This is performed by using the dedicated miter sled for the band saw. It makes for quick work and it is very safe especially for working with smaller sized material.

 

Gluing the Spline Miter Joints

 

When all the splines are cut we simply brush white glue onto the spline and press the spline into the saw kerf. Now, it is just a matter of repeating this procedure for all the joints. At this point allow for the glue to set at least an hour before sanding the excess of the splines at the disc sander. (Be careful to just remove the excess of the splines and avoid sanding into the frame. Notice how the miter gauge was used to control the sanding.) When all the spline miter joints are finished with sanding at the disc sander we can then use a block sander to detail the joints in preparation for applying one of my favorite wood finishes.

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

How to Make Picture Frames with the Table Saw Miter Sled

Picture Frames Made with a Miter Sled

 

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”
Leonardo da Vinci…(1452-1519) Architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, and painter.

Picture Frames made in the Wood Shop

Making picture frames in the woodworking shop is fun especially when we have a system in which to work. In this case we are making the picture frames from picture moulding that was made on the router table and also on the table saw using dado blades. The dado on the moulding will house the decorative wood inlay that we have previously created in the workshop. (It is nearing the Christmas Holidays at the time of this writing and we have quite a few gifts to make.)

Cutting miter joints for picture frames

Cutting miter joints for picture frames

 

Picture Frames made in Production

 The picture frames that we are making have mitered corners so we are using the dedicated miter sled for the table saw. The sled is set up to cut perfect miter joints and this will allow us to go into production mode as we are building 12 picture frames at this time. Each of the picture frames will display pictures that are 5″ x 7″. The picture moulding is of a Peruvian wood called Camala.

 

The System of making Picture Frames

1.) Using the crosscut sled…Crosscut the moulding lengths slightly oversized.

2.) Divide the lengths into two separate piles (if the sides and top/bottom of the frame are unequal.)

3.) Using the dedicated miter sled… Cut a right miter on all moulding members.

4.) Determine the actual length needed for the sides, use a stop block to control the cut length, and cut the opposite miter.

5.) Determine the actual length need for the top/bottom, use a stop block to control the cut length, and cut the opposite miter.

6.) At the workbench… Assemble the frames by fitting, gluing, and using spring clamps to secure the miter joints in place.

 

Having a dedicated miter sled enables us to create wood projects that have miters with dead-on accuracy. Using the above system with the miter sled allows for production work that is quick and efficient. Appreciate the process and enjoy the results!

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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