Woodworking Tools Videos

Pattern Making with the Router

flush trim bitLearning the tricks of how to use tools can make your woodworing life so - much - easier. The router is one of the perfect tools for making multiple, identical parts or components. Of course, you normally would need a router table with this as well, but depending on the part and the size, these can be done free hand, as long as the parts are held down firmly, and it's a great opportunity to use a "starter pin" to ease the wood into so that it makes a smoother transition.

In terms of a bit, a flush trim bit all that is needed. There are a few versions of these bits in both 1/4" and 1/2" shanks. You can get bits with bearing at the top of the bit, or at the bottom of the bit and you can even get some with bears at both top and bottom. The bits with the two bears are best because it gives you more options.

The actual template material that works best is 1/4" hardboard which is readily available at most hardware and wood supply stores. Although there is also a 1/8" version, which is also painted white on one side and is very nice for drawing your template outline on, the thinner version means more risk of running off the template which can ruin it, and your work piece.


The finished wood products from using this pattern making method are smooth well shaped products that are ready for the next step in the production of the finished product.  Pattern making can be used for a variety of woodworking projects but one of the best uses is in making "blanK" inserts for your table saw.

Setting Up and Using a Router Table

router tableWorking with routers and router tables is often one of the most frightening tools for new users and often one of the most mis-understood by more seasoned woodworkers. Part of the reason for the fear and misunderstanding is that this tool is pretty unique ... the router spins at speeds that makes one think it could easily lift-off the workroom floor and if you are not careful, it can ruin a piece of wood on you pretty quickly or fling it out of your hand before you know what happened.

The truth is, working with routers and router tables is not really not that daunting when you have a baisic knowledge of the tool and an understanding on some of it's principals of operation. The first thing that anyone using a router will do is to decide on what bit they want to use. Many of todays routers like Bosche, DeWalt, Makita and Freud will use both 1/4 inch or 1/2 inch shank router bits and will include both 1/4 inch and 1/2 in collets with the tool. The collet is the name for the chuck or bit holder for the router. When installing any bit in a router, it is important that it be seated properly. This means pushing bit all the way into the collet as far is it will go, then drawing back out about 1/32 of an inch. This draw back is to allow for heat expansion. Router bits can heat up pretty quickly while cutting through wood and they need a small bit of area to expand into at the bottom of the collet. Next the bit needs to be tightened firmly. This does not mean you need to crank the nut so tightly you damage the machine, but it does need to be tight enough that the bit will not spin inside the collet or have any chance of coming out.

Once the bit is installed and the router is seated in the router table, the next thing to look at is the fence ...

Making Raised Panels

raised panel bitsHalf the fun of making doors is deciding what kind of panel to use with them, and the list is endless. Once you have conquered making door frames or more specifically, cabinet door frames making the panels to go in them is often far less challenging. In our video we show how to make raised panels but this is only one of many possibilities. I have seen fabric panels, mirror panels, clear glass panels, stained glass panels and many varieties of simply plain panels of different specialty woods.

Making raised panels appeals to a large number of people because they are one of the "traditional" panels that are used in furniture and cabinet making, particularly kitchen cabinets. By mixing and matching wood some very striking alternatives are possible.

Making raised panels on a router is not difficult but there are some basic rules and techniques to follow. First and most importantly be sure to invest in a good quality panel cutting bit. Of course it will need to be carbide tipped but should also have the blade at a shear angle to make a better cut of the wood and to save wear and tear on your router. Freud bits are an excellent selection for raised panel bits.

Once you have decided on the type of wood you are going to use for the raised panels you will need to know 2 things, 1) what is the moisture content of the wood? and 2) what is the "wood movement" or wood expansion going to be for the wood and the environment that the cabinet will be in.

Band Saw Setup and Tuning

band saw setupBand saws are one of the safer woodworking tools and because they are so versatile, they are also one of the most popular tools. A band saw can make cross cuts as well as ripping cuts and of course all sorts of round and semi round cuts. And one of the most popular uses of band saws is in cutting thin strips of wood or veneers, that are used to enhance many woodworking projects.

But band saws have one inherent problem, and that problem is that most of them will tend to "drift" when they are cutting through wood. What this means is that if you are ripping a piece of wood, and following a marked line, there is a very good chance your band saw will develop a mind of it's own and start cutting off that line. This drift is caused by a variety of elements like the grain of the wood, they type band saw blade you are using (and how sharp it is), the tension on the blade and even whether or not the blade is running true on the 2 band saw wheels. It is often possible to reduce drift but in most cases you have to learn which way your band saw will drift and take that into account when you are cutting wood.

Another inherent feature of all band saws, particularly when they are ripping wood, is that at the beginning of the cut the saw will cut quickly but as it is cutting through the wood the speed at which the wood is cut is noticeably slowed.  Again this is typical of almost every band saw, small or large, so if you find this happening with your saw ... it is not "your saw" it is all saws that have this quirk.

Setting up a band saw is an important step in order to get the best cuts and help preserve the life of your blades and your saw. It is important that power to the saw be turned off before any setup is attempted. The first step is to set the BLADE TENSION, which, on most 2 wheel band saws is done by RAISING the top wheel with the appropriate adjustment knob or wheel on your band saw ....

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