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Archives for December 2010

How to Make Perfect Miter Joints

Making Perfect Miter Joints

 

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them.”
Michael Jordan…(1963- )Former American professional basketball player, businessman.

There’s something nice about seeing wood joinery that is well done. It’s a if the craftsman is making a statement about his knowledge of the trade, his set of skills, and his pride in craftsmanship. When you see miter  joints that are clean and tight the craftsman is sending a message that he knows what he is doing because he is well practiced and he cares about his craft. It can simply be seen in his work.

It could be said that miter joints are definitely one of the most common joints in woodworking or carpentry. This is a joint that we are taught early on in our apprenticeships because we will be cutting miters throughout our entire career. As an apprentice it sounds simple enough to just cut a left 45 and a right 45 and glue then together to form a 90. If it were so simple then why are there open miter joints? Let’s take a look at how we can make perfect miter joints.

Perfect Miter Joint Technique

 

In this article I will share with you the best method I know to make miter joints in the workshop. My technique for cutting miter joints is using a dedicated miter sled on the table saw. The sled is simple to build and it does not cost much to build it. In fact it can be made within an hour from scrap material in the shop. Once it is built it can serve the craftsman for a long time. The miter sled if built correctly offers unparalleled accuracy. The sled can easily be set up to do production work. With a good miter sled and a sharp saw blade one can cut perfect miter joints for a picture frames that are ready to glue. Simply put the miter sled is a joy to use.

 

Watch this video…Building a dedicated Miter Sled for the tablesaw

As you can see from the photos the woodworker is making quite a few picture frames. (These wood projects are Christmas gifts in the works.) Notice the stop blocks in the pictures. The location of the stop blocks control the lengths for parts of the picture frames and by having these stop blocks in place the woodworker is able to precisely cut uniform lengths repetitively. This allows for production woodworking as all the parts can be cut accurately and efficiently. Once all the lengths are cut it is just a matter of fitting and gluing the miter joints together.

 

Perfect Miter Joints & Ulmia Spring Clamps

 

When it comes to gluing the miter joints I highly recommend using Ulmia spring clamps. These clamps allow you to properly align the miter joint and then secure it. Once clamped the miter joints will not move. Of course there are different size spring clamps for different size miter joints. My spring clamps have been with me for over 30 years and they have clamped a lot of miters. The clamps are truly worth their weight in gold. If you have yet to experience these clamps you will quickly understand when you use them for the first time. When you decide to purchase spring clamps make sure to buy enough because when you go into production mode you will be doing a lot of clamping. Keep in mind that mitering with these clamps goes quickly.

 

Working with a dedicated miter sled and spring clamps is quick, efficient, and accurate. By following this route you will see your skills and miter joints improve. When finished you can also take pride in the craftsmanship of your work for a job well done.

 

A video for mitering smaller material…Let’s Build a Bandsaw Miter Sled



 

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

Thin Strips of Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Wood Inlay Strips Cut on the Band Saw

 

“Do something wonderful, people may imitate it.”
Albert Schweitzer… (1875-1965) Humanitarian, Theologian, Missionary, Medical Doctor

The Importance of  Thin, Uniform Wood Inlay Strips

 

It’s important to be able to cut thin wood inlay strips. One of the challenges in making bandings of wood inlay is maximizing the material. We certainly do not want to cut the wood inlay banding too thick or too thin as either would be wasteful of our decorative inlay that we took the time to make. We also want to be able to cut the wood inlay to a uniform thickness. Cutting wood inlay bandings to an equal thickness is a sign that we are on the right track to maximizing our material. So, just how do we get the right thickness of uniform thin wood inlay strips?

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

Wood Inlay Bandings in Picture Frames

Why Cut Thin Wood Inlay Strips on the Band Saw?

The woodworking video shows how ripping thin strips of wood inlay can be done on the band saw. The band saw is chosen because the woodworker in the video found it safer cutting on the band saw than the table saw. Also, the saw kerf of the band saw blade is narrower than that of a table saw blade. So, by cutting the wood inlay on the band saw there is a higher yield of bandings.

 

In the wood inlay video the woodworker has set up a thin rip jig with a ball bearing along with a shop made band saw rip fence. This band saw rip fence allows for the bearings and guide assembly of the band saw to be set to a height just above the material to be cut. Also, you will notice that this rip fence allows more room for the left hand of the woodworker than the manufacturer’s rip fence allows. These are two critical safety reasons in and of themselves.

 

The setup of the fence and rip jig controls the movement of the material being pushed through the band saw blade. The only movement is forward as there is no lateral movement of the material.

 

The following two things need to be achieved in order to maintain uniform thickness of the wood inlay bandings:
1.) The fence needs to be set parallel to the “drift” of the band saw blade.
2.) The material being ripped needs to be properly dimensioned, paralleled, and squared.

 

Recommendation…Take a piece of scrap material and test cut the piece and then check with a digital or dial caliper for uniform thickness. Make adjustments as necessary to properly set the fence to the “drift.”

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measures wood inlay banding

A Technique for Ripping Wood Inlay Banding

Once the fence is correctly set for the “drift” we can adjust for thickness of cut. This is just a matter of setting the bearing of the thin rip jig to a distance out from the band saw blade. This should be equal to our desired thickness of the wood inlay bandings. Take a piece of scrap material to test the cut for the desired thickness and adjust the thin rip jig as necessary. When we have the correct thickness then we will slide the bearing about an inch or so before the band saw blade. Now, lock the rip jig securely in place.

 

Now that we have accounted for the drift and have the thickness that we want it is time to set our material against the bearing. Now place the band saw rip fence alongside the wood inlay to be cut. Lock the fence, turn on the power, and take the first cut. After each cut simply repeat the process. If this process is followed the material cut will be of uniform thickness and we will have maximized our material. The woodworking video simply reveals this process of ripping uniform thin strips of wood inlay banding.

 

Related Videos and articles:
…..Creating Picture Frame Moulding
…..How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

 



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Creating Picture Frame Moulding

How To Make Picture Frame Moulding

 

“Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”
Aristotle…Greek Philosopher (384 BC – 322 BC)

The Importance of Picture Frame Moulding 

 

How to Make Picture Frame Moulding made in the Woodworking Shop - how to make picture frame moulding

Picture Frame Moulding made in the Woodworking Shop

Many of us are surrounded with pictures that we cherish. We may have pictures of family and friends throughout the years. Then again we may have photographs of special occasions such as births, weddings, or graduations. Simply put, we have pictures and art work that are everyday reminders of many pleasant thoughts and memories. In this woodworking video and article we are focused on how to make picture frame moulding that we have created in the workshop.

 

Picture Frame Moulding made in the Wood Shop

Now, it is easy to drive over to the nearest discount store or frame shop to purchase a picture frame, however we as woodworkers have a tremendous advantage. However, we can learn how to make picture frame moulding and frames right in our woodworking shop. We can be creative and make unique picture frame mouldings and custom frames for our own collection of pictures. We have many choices of woods and wood tones from which to select. We can also embellish our frames as we see fit. Moreover, we can take pride in using our acquired skills to make our own custom picture moulding and frames.

 

Picture Frame Moulding Profiles

 

For our picture frame moulding we are using a 3/4″ roundover bit in the router table and we are also using dado blades in the table saw. The dado blades will cut a rabbet and it will also cut a dado that will house a decorative wood inlay.

In the woodworking video we can see how the woodworker takes a flat board and turns it into picture frame moulding ready to be mitered. We can pay attention to how the woodworker sets up featherboards to control the cutting action on the router table and on the table saw. Then we can view how a sacrificial fence is used when cutting dadoes on the table saw and also how push sticks are utilized for safety.

Best of all, once the picture frame is complete with picture and hanging on the wall we will also have the enjoyable memory of our time well spent being creative and productive in the woodworking shop.

 

For more information on making picture frames see…How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay.



The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

How to Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

Make Picture Frames with Wood Inlay

 

The Problem…
When you want to apply quality wood inlay to to make picture frames, where will you get it? What designs will you get? How much will you have to pay for it?

 

The Solution…
We use our woodworking skills. We also make picture frames with our own shop made wood inlay.  (We will make  picture frames too with shop made mouldings!)

 

Make Picture Frames that are Decorative

 

In this post we sharing how to make picture frames with wood inlay. As you seen in previous postings we have been busy creating bandings of shop made wood inlay. There are a variety of wood inlay designs now available for our use at this time. So now we are in the process of creating picture frame moulding that has a dado which will house the wood inlays. The picture frame moulding was created on the tablesaw and on the router table using a 3/4″ round over bit with a ball bearing guide.

 

The gallery of pictures reveal the set up to make mouldings for picture frames on the table saw and for the band saw. (The router table was set up with the fence and featherboards as well.)

Make Picture Frames with Shop Made Bandings

 

All the wood inlay bandings are cut to a uniform thickness of just a hair over 1/16″ as measured by a dial caliper. The set up that you see allows for control of this uniform thickness. The shop made bandsaw rip fence has been adjusted for band saw blade “drift” and the Rockler thin rip table saw jig with a roller bearing is set to the desired thickness for the wood inlay bandings. Note: The jig remains stationary for this operation and the rip fence is adjusted before each rip cut is made. Simply slide the material over against the bearing on the right and then slide the rip fence alongside the left side of the material to be ripped. This technique works wonderfully. 1.) Maximize the material as there is very, very little waste! 2.)All ripped bandings are of uniform thickness!

 

The pictures of the table saw operation reveal a sacrificial fence for the dado blade. Notice how the featherboards control how the material will be maintained during the cut. The is no upward or lateral movement. The only direction for the wood is forward. (This is also applies to the band saw ripping technique…just one direction of movement…forward!)

 

We can also see the variety of wood inlays in the dados of the picture frame moulding. It’s nice to have a variety of choices to make picture frames. (The mouldings are made from a tropical wood called Cumala.)

 

Recommended Videos…Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Making Wood Inlay on the Bandsaw

Check out exquisite wood inlay designsBuffard Freres…The 1926 Wood Inlay Banding Catalog

 


The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

 

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