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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.
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Now everyone has the pleasure of having "family heirloms" that can be passed down in families ... sometimes you have to start somewhere with something that can be passed down, which is precisely what this Arrowhead Picture Frame project was to accomplish. Many of the arrowheads in this collection were broken, probably during their making. I'm sure with the rudimentary tools that were used in the making of flint arrowheads, a good portion were damaged or broken during their making.
The few, more-less complete arrowheads that survived have been granted a special picture frame that can be handed down family to family over the course of time and will become a coveted collection over time.
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There is lots of good information on dust control all over the internet so this article is more about what I do in my workshop than it is about getting into the specific details and health hazards of wood dust which is already covered in detail on many other websites.
The most central part of my own dust control is my dust collector, which operates on a 110 volt system and consists of one filtration bag and one plastic reservoir collection bag. The dust collector is only turned on when I am using a woodworking machine and I have to manually plug it into each machine as I use that machine. It is the most manual system for dust control, but it works, and in my small shop it is not that big a bother to me. I have retrofitted the dust collector with a One Micron filtration bag and compared to the bag that was on the dust collector when I purchased it, the new bag does prevent the finer particles of dust from escaping the the collection system, I can see the difference.
The same dust collector is also used on my bandsaw, router table and reciprocating sander by using a 4 inch to 2 inch step down adapter to accommodate the 2 inch collection port on those tools.
The only tool that is still waiting for a more effective dust control system is my sliding mitre ... and I now have a solution, all I need is a bit of time to implement it.