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Some things in woodworking are just not that exciting and cutting backs and bottoms probably falls quite nicely in that category. So why am I even covering it, because I have had a number of emails and comments from subscribers on the topic and I know if a few people comment on something, there are probably hundreds who also have questions but just don't ask the questions.
So, cutting backs on cabinets or bottoms for boxes is really exactly the same thing. All you are doing is cutting rabbet around insides of the cabinet carcass to allow for the inserting of a back. The back could be plywood, or it could be a series of boards. Either way, the best way of putting these backs on is in such a way that the back of the back - is flush with the back of the carcass or it can even be inset a bit more, but definitely not sticking out from the back of the cabinet of box.
Back in the day when I first learned serious woodworking, we always cut the backs using a dado blade on the table saw. That's just the way things were done then. There wood routers, but they were uncommon, had very few bits and were really still in their infancy, so weren't even considered for this function back then ....
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Many many years ago I purchased a Wobble Wheel Dado Blade. For those of you who do not know this blade, it is an interesting invention where a single blade is mounted in housing that when you turn the housing base, it offsets the wheel in stead of running true. The more you offset the blade the wider the dado it will cut. The blade works fine, although mine seems to be a bit sticky and harder to move in recent years. I have also heard many people who don't like wobble wheel dado blades, explaining that the blades don't give perfectly flat bottom dados because of their design, the bottoms are slightly convex or hollowed.
If you check out the previous video I did on this, you can see that ... yes, there is ... barely a dip in the dado cuts, but honestly, I think in most situations this would be more than acceptable for most people. I also have a stacked dado blade set that I use most often, mostly because it is more accurate for cutting size of dados I need.
Personally, my only real complaint with wobble wheel dado blades is that in order to get a snug fitting dado, you need to fiddle around with them setting, testing, re-setting and re-testing. All this takes time and I have always thought it would be nice to have some sort of a jig that I could use that I could set the blade width before putting it into the table saw, that would be accurate and give me the kinds of dados I want.
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There are always new people interested in woodworking, and often these are younger people who have an interest in learning how to do woodworking and the best way of teaching them is getting them involved in making something. In the past I have made bird houses, and they are fine, but more recently I discovered another project that is still quite easy, but this one gives the woodworking student something to take away and something they can use in the future ... their very own tool tote.
It's easy to make, can be made with power tools or hand tools, there are many different designs, sizes and methods of making these all of them have their own unique advantages and perfect build for helping to teach newcomers to woodworking some of the finer techniques and methods.
I prefer to use Pine, or some other softwood as it is lighter in weight, so less to carry around. Softwoods are usually less expensive and easier to "work" than hardwoods, and if you make a mistake, it's not too costly to fix or replace. What's nice with this design is it doesn't take all that long to make, the tote works great and you can use a wide variety of tools in making and assembling it.
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Cutting small pieces on any power tool can be dangerous so we always try to think of ways to be safer while still maintaining the quality of cut we need. As we all know, table saws are notorious for kicking back wood and especially smaller pieces that are hard to hold on to make these risks higher and more crucial to address.
The jig outlined in this article addresses the kick back and other risks, but remember, working safely is always paramount. If you do NOT feel comfortable using any power tool for any type of cut, do NOT do it. There are hand tools and other ways of making cuts that may be slower for you, but they allow you the confidence of being in control of your work and your tools. Remember, you are always responsible for your own safety and well being and for making the right choices and decisions.
For this jig all that is requite is a T-nut and matching bolt and another nut that will be used as a locking mechanism for the bolt. You will also need a piece of hardwood that is at least 2 inches wide and at least 6 inches long. You will also need something called a "Mag Switch".
Mag Switches come in a variety of sizes and types and because of their Patent, they are the only thing on the market that I know of that can do these kinds of jobs. They are quite widely available and links are provided here to see the different sizes ...
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Working with Red Cedar is always an exercise in frustration for me. I am allergic to the wood so I have to be extra careful about wood dust and just trying to fasten Red Cedar together or to something else is a whole new world of "what works best".
The object of this build is to make something that will serve mostly as a place in which plants will sit on most of the time. I guess you could really call it a plant stand, BUT, from time to time it will also be used for light duty hauling and of course moving around the plants that are displayed on it.
This means it will be sitting out-of-doors for it's entire life, which should be at least 10 years and could easily be up to 20. That's due to the fact Red Cedar contains resins and oils that helps preserve the wood. Sunlight is the hardest thing on Cedar. It helps to leach out the oils which then makes the wood susceptible to rotting.
The same oils that help to preserve Red Cedar (and other out door woods) is the same oil that makes Cedar impossible to keep paints or stains on, or that that will hold a glue for very long. For someone like me who tries to use glue as much as possible, when it comes to Red Cedar, I have to rethink joinery.
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I am always astounded how much work and how many pieces it takes to build "small" items when compared to building larger items like furniture. I have to admit,
I often find building smaller items is more fun although you do need to be even more on guard with power tools when you are working with small parts.
This little drink tote idea poped into my head when I was out doing a quick trip to the grocery store and I noticed a display of soft drinks with the carboard carrying handles ... you know, you seen them hundred times. Little carboard holder with a handle that carries 6 bottled drinks around. I thought, I could make something like that from wood and it would be great gift idea, or for anyone who makes little wooden items for craft fairs, flea markets and garden markets, this would be a great little item.
The thing I like about it is that most of the drink manufacturers now have somewhat standardized on the sizes of their bottles because they all want them to fit in vending drink dispensing machines and even drink dispensing coolers are grocery and convenient stores.