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How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips

“The man who has no imagination has no wings.”
Muhammed Ali…3-time World Heavyweight Boxing Champion (1942-)

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

Hardwood Veneer cut on Band Saw

One of my woodworking shop accessories is drawing a lot of attention lately. Many viewers have seen it on my band saw during recent woodworking videos and they have asked me about it in their emails. While the name of the tool implies that it is to be used on the table saw, it has also found a lot of time on the bandsaw cutting thin strips of wood inlay bandings. What is it you ask? It is an invaluable saw accessory called the Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig.

One might ask “What makes this simple jig so special?” The beauty of this jig is indeed its simplicity. There is a roller bearing on the end of the accessory. The jig is adjustable from side to side and it can be locked into position in the miter gauge slot. When used on the tablesaw the roller bearing is set away from the blade an amount equal to the thickness of the desired ripping. Then the jig is simply slid about 4-5 inches in front of the saw blade and locked into position. Basically, that’s it.

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Tablesaw
1.) Place the surfaced edge of the board to be cut alongside the roller bearing.
2.) Slide the table saw fence alongside the opposite edge of the board.
3.) Lock the fence in place. When ready turn on the saw and take a small practice cut into the board.
4.) Check the measurement with a dial or digital caliper. Make lateral adjustments of the bearing as needed to obtain the desired measurement and adjust the fence to the boards’ opposite edge. When you have the right measurement for the ripping it is time to “rip away.”
5.) Simply, repeat the procedure of moving the table saw fence in alongside the edge opposite of the cut after every rip is made.

Band saw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

Bandsaw setup for ripping wood inlay bandings

How to Cut Uniform Thin Strips on the Bandsaw
Note: (The “drift” of the band saw blade must first be accounted for when using this technique.) In the picture to the left a small wedge has been set between the manufacturers’ fence and the L-shaped thin rip fence. This was performed to set the fence to the correct angle of the “drift.”)

1.) Set the roller bearing a distance away from the blade that is equal to the desired ripping.
2.) Now, place the roller bearing an inch or so in front of the bandsaw blade and turn the star knob down to lock the jig in place.
3.) Next, place the right edge of the surfaced board alongside of the bearing.
4.) We now want to set an L-shaped thin rip fence alongside the left edge of the board to be ripped.
5.) Place the regular bandsaw fence next to the L-shaped thin rip fence and clamp both fences together along the boards’ left edge. Lock the fence and for safety lower the bandsaw’s bearing guides to just above the boards’ surface.

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

Dial caliper measure thickness of wood inlay banding

At this point it is just a matter of taking a practice cut to check the accuracy of the thickness of the ripping with a digital or dial caliper. Adjust as necessary. When the correct measurement is obtained it is time to rip. To make the next rip it is simply a matter of placing the board’s right edge against the roller bearing and then sliding the fences over to the left edge of the board. Rip and repeat the process to obtain uniform rippings.

The Rockler Thin Rip Tablesaw Jig has been in my woodworking shop for over 3 years and is still going strong. It is great for making rips on the tablesaw. However, it is also terrific on the bandsaw as it allows me to rip wood inlay bandings to a consistent uniform thickness of 3/32.” This simple little jig allows me to perform operations safely, efficiently, and with accuracy.

So, give it a try. You’ll be glad you did.

Recommended Videos…

Ripping Thin Strips on Wood Inlay on the Band Saw

Cutting Thin Strips on the Band Saw

Band Saw Rip Fence made in the Shop

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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

The 5 Most Important Power Tools in my Woodworking Shop

As a beginning woodworker I was fortunate to have attended a two year woodworking/carpentry program. I was even more blessed to have a wonderful man named Mr. Wagner as an shop instructor during this time. He was the best. There were 12 students in the class and we learned how to use hand and power tools. We started off by learning to use and maintain basic and specialty hand tools and then we eventually moved on to using the woodworking stationary dado, dado sled, power woodworking tools, woodworking tools, machines.

It was then that I decided that I would have my own woodworking shop and I started to think about what tools for woodworking I would want for my shop. Interestingly enough, my choice of the 5 best woodworking machines is still the same today as it was back then. The power woodworking tools that follow are listed in the order of importance in my shop.

Table Saw
The table saw is the heart of the wood shop as so many functions can be performed especially with the use of woodworking jigs and sleds. (Miter Sled and Dado Sled.)

The jointer is great acquiring a flat, smooth, and straight surface. It can be a narrow edge or as wide as the jointer knives.

The planer works well for surfacing and dimensioning material quickly. Start with a jointed surface and make the opposite surface parallel.

Band Saw
The band saw is wonderful for cutting straight, cutting curves, or slicing wood veneer.

Drill Press
The drill press when set up with a drill press table is very accurate for boring holes along with other functions such as sanding.

Recommended Video… Let’s Build a Drill Press Table

When it comes to power tools my shop woodworking revolves around these wood machines.

Your choices may indeed differ than mine and that’s OK as woodworkers have a variety needs in this wood craft. There are a few woodworking tools that I absolutely love that I left off this list such as the wood lathe, the open end drum sander, and a good compound mitre saw. For me they would be a close 6, 7 and 8.

Just curious tho…What would be your top 5 power woodworking tools for the shop?

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Wood Turning Tools used for the Salt and Pepper Mills

Wood Turning Tools


This is in response to a viewer with a mini lathe who had questions concerning what wood turning tools were used during the video of turning the Salt and Pepper Mills.

Thoughts of wood turning tools used:
1. Turning salt and pepper mills is essentially spindle turning.
2. Due to the length of your wood lathe you may need to bore out on your larger lathe, the drill press, or carefully by hand. However, you may be very well able to bore out on your Jet mini lathe.
3. You can start out with this wood project and you will do fine. Suggestion…practice on scrap before you select your best wood. Work out any bugs. Do your best for accuracy. When you get dialed in then commit to your selected wood for turning and go for it.
4. Check to see what size your spindle is on your Jet lathe. My guess is that it is 1″. Check the specs to make sure. You will need to know this info if you need to purchase.
5. Check the necessary morse taper for your specific wood turning lathe. (you should be able to look that info up on the web.)
6. My grinder is 8″ at 1725 rpm.
7. Tried and True oil varnish is a food safe finish that was used for the salt and pepper mills.
8. Books or Magazines…check out your local library.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project

These are the basic turning tools used in the wood turning of the Salt and Pepper Mills. These wood tools are…Spindle gouge…parting tool…roughing gouge…smaller spindle gouge. Note: The spindle gouges both have fingernail grinds.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 1

Pictured above are the mechanisms for the Salt and Pepper Mills. These were purchased through Craft Supply. Included with the set is a diagram with necessary dimensions for height and also dimensions for the wood boring.

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 2

This is a sketch that was used for the layout when when the walnut blanks were turned to cylinders. (When laying out remember to include 1″ in length for the top’s tenon. Also, pay attention to the tenon’s diameter.)

Wood turning tools for a wood lathe woodworking project 3

Pictured above are an assortment of the lathe tools used for the Salt and Pepper Mills. Notice the “cone” of the “live center.” Make sure when purchasing that you match your specific lathe specs.

Hopefully, this posting has answered some of your concerns. Good luck with your turnings!

Wood Turning Tools and Accessories

Oneway Talon Chuck System

Oneway Live Center

Wolverine Vari-Grind Attachment

Oneway Wolverine Grinding Jig

Mini Jumbo Jaws for ONEWAY Talon Chuck

Sorby Standard Turning Tool Set, 6 Pieces

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The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

Precision Woodworking Tools…Dial and Digital Calipers

When we as woodworkers see a fine piece of custom furniture we tend to look at it very closely to observe the design and the choice of woods being used. We tend to want to touch the piece to get a feel for it and we eventually will inspect the craftsmanship of the joinery. Perhaps this is only natural due to the inherent nature of the woodworker to continually work to improve his knowledge and skill level. A piece of fine woodworking seems to set a standard. The piece could very well represent a personal best of the craftsman and be representative of all the training and experience collected during the individual’s career. Works of certain calibers are sometimes recognized as they find their way into museums and art galleries due to a specific standard that they have set.

Along these lines we somehow see quality works and think in terms of excellence, precision, and accuracy as well as the craftsman’s level of skill. So, my question is “How can we improve the quality of our work?”

Perhaps there are many areas that can be addressed as the question is rather broad, however we as craftsman are driven to continually improve in our chosen craft. After all, one of the reasons we got involved in the craft of woodworking was because we were driven or inspired to take on a challenge. Maybe when we started it it was just a small step to get us involved, but then we repeatedly commenced taking on greater challenges to test ourselves.

As we move forward in our craft we select various woodworking tools for the type of work we want to take on and it is only natural that we look for the best tool for the best price. Sometimes our choice of tool is simply limited by what we can afford. However, once again we are always looking for quality and this time we are looking for quality in our shop tools because this can relate directly to making the most of our skills. Now, maybe you will agree with me that great woodworking tools in the hands of an unskilled woodworker will not make much of a difference. However, a poor quality tool in the hands of a skilled woodworker can make all the difference in the world. So, what happens when you give a skilled woodworker a great tool?

When we measure it is typical to use a tape measure or a carpenters’ rule. In some instances we use a story stick and sometimes we are able to make a tick mark directly to the material we are going to cut and fit. Since we are always looking to achieve precision in our work perhaps we need to take a look at the measuring tools we are using. Are these the best tools for the job when it really comes time for precision and dead on accuracy?

Here is one simple tool that we can reach for to improve our accuracy. Enter calipers. According to Starret Tools, the digital and dial calipers came on the scene in the late 70’s and early 80’s. Originally, these calipers were used by machinists in metal working shops because of the high need for accuracy when tooling metal parts.

Well, somewhere along the line a woodworker found out about the dial and digital calipers and began using this measuring tool for his wood projects. To his delight his joinery improved immensely as well as the overall quality of his woodworking projects. His mortise and tenons now fit accurately and snugly just like in the woodworking magazines. Moreover, the shelves of the bookcase he built fit right into the dadoes without any play. All of a sudden his craftsmanship was taken to another level in his woodworking shop just because of using this more accurate measuring device. His confidence and pride of craftsmanship grew as well all because of using calipers in his work. For him there was now a new sense of confidence and new found freedom all because of using his new precision woodworking tool.

Our woodworker who continually wanted to improve came to the realization that the quality of his work was being compromised by his choice of tools. So for him the caliper now became one of his “tools of choice.”

The Apprentice and The Journeyman University

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