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Making a Depth & Distance Measuring Jig

measuring gauge jigI love making woodworking jigs, it's fun and intereting to see what improvements of adaptions can be made to suite every different woodworker's needs. This jig has been around for many, many years and has changed little during that time. Rather than follow one of the plans that are readily available on-line, I decided I needed to make this jig to fit my own needs that may or may not be available in the plans someone else has created. My main objective was to ensure that both legs of the jig would straddle the insert throat plate in my saw, after all, that was the whole purpose ... to build a jig that would accurately set or measure the distance from the top of a table saw blade to the top deck of my table saw and not to a measurement from the top of the blade to base of the throat plate, which is often the case.

To start off with I would need something thicker than 3/4 inch material for the main body of the jig because I wanted to use one of my plastic off-cuts of mitre slot material. I wanted something harder than many woods as this jig will be used a lot and I don't want the measuring arm to get dinted and chewed up by the table saw blades over time.

I started off with a block of wood that was 8 inches wide, 5 inches high and 1.25 inches deep. From this block, the first thing I did was to carefully cut a dado slot that would fit the plastic mitre slot material I wanted to use as the center measuring post. ...

Make a Wall Mount Tissue Dispenser

For me, woodworking is about building things and having fun doing it. I'm lucky in that most of the things I build are items that I have choosen to make, but once in a while I get requests for things that are either hard to find or are not easily available other than to have someone build them. This seemingly simple tissue dispenser turned out to be a lot of fun, I got to use a whole range of tools, even on this small build, and I did something I have never done before which is to purchase commercially available molding and use it for creating or augmenting something  I build.
I have seldom spent much time looking at molding in the lumber store and was surprised and how little variety there was when it comes to wide material with any kind of sculpture design. There was lots of plain molding, but not much in the "fancy" category, but I selected a couple that I thought might work. One was a baseboard molding which I  finally decided against, the other was a crown molding piece molding with a bit more charcter to it.

My challenge was to make a wall mount kleenex or tissue holder and dispenser and someone even gave me a tiny picture as an idea to help me with the build. I had no idea on sizes so went out to purchase a tissue box. To my amazement there are many different kinds and all sorts of different boxes, and none of them exactly the same ... similar, but not the same. I decided the best way to do this was to build for the largest tissue box and that way it would accomodate the smaller boxes too.

Making a Splayed Leg Side Table

splay leg tableSome furniture pieces are timeless and such is the case with these little splayed leg side tables. They are still as popular today as they were decades ago and little has changed. They seem to fit many decors with their tapered legs and small size, they can easily fit in a blank corner, or become a stand or showcase for artworks, plants or pictures, and they are not difficult to build despite their somewhat complicated look with the splayed legs.
Like all small tables, these want to at a comfortable "sitting height" which puts them around the 24 to 25 inch height so they are comfortable to use for anyone sitting down, which is another reason they are often called side tables, as in a table beside a chair or sofa. Most of what I have seen have been a solid color for whatever the wood they were build with, but in my  case I decided to make something a bit more showy by making the legs and the top of different colors.

 

I stared off with the legs that were 25 inches long and 1.25 inches square. I set these up on my tapering jig on my table saw so that the blade would leave about a 3/4 ionch square at the bottom and disengage from the top at of the leg about 6 inches from the top. then carried on a cut all 4 legs with this taper.

Make a Bevel Cutting Jig for the Table Saw

bevel cutting jig for table sawThe table saw is easily my favorite tool. For me, it is amazingly versatile in what it can do and when you start adding jigs to it, the table saw can do some amazing things. I am currently on my fourth, and possibly my last table saw. Since none of my saw, including this one, hand the same fences, many of my jigs I have had to re-make, including this bevel cutting jig. Hopefully this version will also be my last because I am going to make it with a small amount of adjustability in mind. Something I neglected on my last versions. To be honest, the last versions of the Bevel Cutting Jig that I made, were all rushed together quickly to satisfy an immediate need. This one I am making without that immediate need and with the knowledge that I will be using it in the future.
The biggest problems I had in the past with this jig was - storage. All my jigs needed to be stored in an unheated outdoor shed. This means the wood moved a lot. In the winter it is cold and damp and the wood expands to around 14% moisture content. In the summer it's often hot and dry the wood shrinks down to 8%. Now all this is not huge, but when you are working with close tolerances, like on a metal table saw fence. A jig I make in the summer, will certainly not slide back and forth on the table saw fence in the winter, in fact, some won't even fit over the fence they have expanded so much.

This time I am going to select my wood carefully and make the part the slides over the table saw fence, slightly adjustable without having to take it apart and re-make it ...

Make a Wooden Sushi Tray with Sliding Dovetail Legs

sushi trayAnyone who knows their way around a kitchen will tell you that cooking and serving good food has as much to do with the presentation as it does with how good the food tastes. I think I would have to agree with that statement because when ever I find myself at any kind of a fancy eatery for whatever occassion it might be. The food is always served in a manner that makes it look as good as it tastes. Often this has to do with the combinations and colors of foods, but sometimes what it is served on makes a difference too.
And so it was that a recent trip to a favorite Sushi Bar inspired me to try my hand at  making serving tray for sushi, and well ... anything else that you might want to serve on it too, like pastries, vegetables or any combination of assorted foods.

What I wanted was something simple, but it still needed to have enough detail to make it interesting without taking away from the food, after all the tray is to enhance the food not distract from it.

To start off with I wanted to platten part to be thick as this is part of the detail. A piece of 3/4" board would have worked as well, but something that is one inch thick makes more of a statement. I thought about what kinds of legs or stands I could use for a tray like this ...

Making a Wooden Cash Tray

cash trayWorking with cash and making change, especially for people who don't work with cast daily, it can be a stressful time ... making sure you give the correct change and not keeping people waiting. One of the things that can be be done is just making your cash more accessible and easier to see and count, just the same way retail clerks give change from their cash registers ... with a cash tray.
These are easy to make, but they do take a bit of time because there are a number of components, and you don't want to make they too big. The best way to start off is to determine how many slots for cash bills you want, and what the size of your money is. The size of your money and how many bays you want will determine the size of your tray and keeping in mind you may also want some change bins in case you are dealing with coinage.

I mad mine 2-3/4 inches high and that was plenty, I think 2 inches would be a better height if I ever had to do it again. I decided on 4 bays for paper money which also meant 4 bins for coins as these were used for the spacing with of the box.