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Flush trim band saw jig

Ever have to trim 1/16″ or 1/8″ from end grain but the piece won’t fit your shooting board, and the table saw is out of the question?

I had this problem on the morning bar doors below where I had to flush trim the ends of the book matched ash (unstained in the photo).

So I came up with a great way to do it, and it was soooo easy.

First, I got a squared block of hardwood. Brought my band saw fence as close to the blade without touching it, and cut a matching kerf halfway up the side of the jig. Then I reversed it and clamped it to my band saw fence with the back of the blade resting against the back of the kerf. That’s all there is to it. I was ready to go!

Then I just rested the edge of the door against the outfeed end of the jig as shown in the photo. I had to make multiple passes, each pass removing a kerf’s width of material until the full edge of the door rode flush against the outfeed end of the jig. I removed the band saw marks with sandpaper.

Easy peasy!

Here’s a short video of one pass.

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Sacristy table

This table was built with unusually long legs to accommodate a tall altar cloth container underneath. The table is sturdily built with a pleasing undercut beveled overhang to maximize surface area. This table was challenging in that a dark stain was used along with an inlay that could not be stained. The water based finish is a high urethane semi-gloss and will provide protection for many years to come. Custom dimensions are available to fit specific needs.

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Lee Valley Veritas cabinet scraper

Hey, never had one of these before. Wow, is it handy! This is the Lee Valley Veritas cabinet scraper. It is sharpened differently than a chisel or plane blade, but it’s really easy. Plus it has two burrs, once you go thru one, you have another ready to go.

Here’s a few pics and it being used on zebrawood for a morning bar top. Gets rid of any tearout very nicely and leaves the surface ready for a card scraper or sandpaper. I like it much better for flat surfaces because the bottom registers flat, as opposed to a card scraper. I actually like it better than my smoother because it’s fast.

It’s important to follow the instructions carefully, as they get you off to a great start in understand the sharpening process. Here’s a link to a great video on Fine Woodworking by Phillip C. Lowe about the use of cabinet scrapers, scraper planes, and hand scrapers.

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Altar made with red oak A2 plain sliced plywood, and air dried quarter sawn red oak, with 24 way red oak match veneer sunburst. Red oak columns, capitals and carvings (hand carved), and crown gilding were done by Jorge Posada. Gold accents by Shannon Pable.

Altar in Mary Mother of the Eucharist chapel at the Catholic Church of St. Monica in Duluth, GA.


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Holy water fonts

This interesting project was the result of being asked to install these 2 solid brass holy water fonts at the entrance to the chapel. The finish matches the dye/stain water based finish used on the altar and interior of the chapel itself. They were mounted with a theft resistant security hanger system from ArtRight purchased on Amazon. It was a challenge to mount the fonts because the backs were not flat at all, and both were different. I used clear rubber bumpers to even it out so the font sat against the wood. They won’t prevent someone from stealing them, but it is a great deterrent.

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iVac Blast gate review

You’ll never know how valuable and time saving this new product is until you actually use it. Well, you don’t actually “use” it because it’s totally automatic! Once set up and getting familiar with the options, I couldn’t be happier. That’s because I no longer have to open blast gates when I go to a piece of power equipment, and I no longer have to remember to close a blast gate when I’m done. Here’s what the blast gate looks like hooked up to my planer.

Blast gate
iVac Pro blast gate (Open and Close labels are mine)

I’m a big fan of all the iVac accessories. I started with the iVac switches a couple of years ago that automatically turned on and off my Rikon 1hp dust collector. Below is one of the original switches, which has been relegated to my shop vac that’s hooked up to my router table and chop saw with 2.5″ lines and manual blast gates. iVac doesn’t have blast gates for 2.5″ yet but if they did I’d get them.

iVac Switch Tool 110v
iVac Switch for 110v router table and chop saw.

More recently iVac came out with the Pro line which accommodates the blast gate shown above. After having difficulty sourcing them, I found them on the Lee Valley website at an introductory price. It was between $200-300 for a two blast gate setup if I remember correctly. Nowadays they are available most everywhere, and sometimes on sale. You simply plug both the dust collector and machine power cords into the switch, and viola, when you turn on the table saw, on comes the dust collector and the gate opens.

iVac Pro switch
iVac Pro Switch for dust collector

When the table saw is turned off the dust collector continues to run and shuts off after the lines are cleared, then the blast gate closes. The optional blast gates work in sync with the equipment and the dust collector.

What a time saver, and dust saver, and I can focus on woodworking instead of having to deal with turning on and off a dust collector and opening and closing blast gates! For a small shop like mine this is a dream, and for a larger shop it accommodates up to 4 iVac Pro systems, each capable of handling up to 8 tools.

Below are 2 iVac Pro 220v Tools that control the dust collector and blast gates for my Grizzly GO490X 8″ jointer and Saw Stop table saw.

iVac Pro Tool 220v
iVac Pro 220v Tools

There are numerous ways to customize the entire system to your needs, from setting the delays for the dust collector and gate closure, to even making sure that one gate is always open when your dust collector is on. There is a remote switch, and the customer service has been very good.

The only issues I had are the plugs on the 220v switches and tools had to be replaced to fit the 220v outlets I had installed in my shop. In order for iVac to get UL/CSA approval they had  to use NEMA 6-20 plugs and receptacles. A quick trip to Home Depot fixed that and I replaced the plugs with plugs compatible to my outlets. Also, for a short period of time I had issues with the blast gate not staying open during the entire time a Tool was on. I was told there can be interference in the wireless signals from the various components with wireless phones, etc. This happened only a couple of times many months ago but I’ve had no problems since.

iVac was willing to swap out the Tool for the dust collector which was out of warranty for a very reasonable price but the problem resolved on it’s own and has not happened since. Another small annoyance is that you have to run 120v power to the blast gates via a small gauge transformer wire which is easy to snag and pull out from the blast gate. But the signals between the Tools, Switches, and blast gates are wireless digital rf.

Jump in with both feet, and get both the iVac Pro system and blast gates, you won’t regret it.

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Lie Nielson small router plane

I recently needed a router plane for some inlay work to clean up the groove bottoms cut on my router table. So I proceeded over to the local Woodcraft to see what they had. I discussed it with Steve Quehl, the owner of the store who is a big hand tool aficionado, and he suggested a Lie Nielson small router plane. Most anything LN makes seems to be hundreds of dollars, but this little baby was about $80. What the heck.

But which one should I get? He suggested the closed throat so that it could be used for a mortise on an edge. He also mentioned that he saw Will Neptune use a clear acrylic base on an open throat model to accomplish the same thing. That apparently did not register on me because I ended up buying the closed throat.

I got back to the shop and immediately tried it out. I dropped the blade to the bottom of the groove I had made on the router table, tightened the knurled knob, and gently pushed. It didn’t budge. I pushed harder and it started to take a sizably thicker shaving than I intended to take. What a bummer! Is this how it’s supposed to work? I’ve seen them used before to make the groove depth uniform, but this one was especially hungry.

On closer examination I realized, since the blade is angled down slightly, that when I tightened the locking knob it was pushing the shaft back and the blade down. How you say? Not sure, but assuming the opening the shaft moves in is wider at the bottom than the top, it would certainly be possible.

So I called up LN customer support. The acknowledged that it was possible and there could be a problem. We even discussed an new micro adjuster they were getting ready to produce similar to the adjuster on their larger router plane. That sounded good. Of course they were more than happy to replace mine, but since I had just bought it that same day I went back and explained the situation to Steve. Sure enough, it did the same thing in front of him. We tried another, the open throat model, and viola, it held the setting perfectly. Problem solved.

This just goes to show that the best of brands can have issues. That doesn’t make the brand bad at all, because most everything I’ve bought for my shop has had to be tweaked in one way or another to get it to work right. The proof in the pudding is how they stand behind it. With Lie Nielson and Woodcraft, that certainly is not a problem.

Here’s some pics of my new “little beauty:

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Who says you don’t have to sand?

I bought a #4 smoother with the intent of using it for final prep before finishing, i.e. eliminating the need for sanding. After several projects (2 vanities, medicine cabinet doors, shaker table, etc.) I’ve come to realize that sanding is still absolutely necessary. My smoother and/or hand scraper inevitably leaves chatter marks that are visible after the finish coats go on. I even wiped on mineral spirits and used a raking light in both directions prior to applying finish. From now on I will sand to 220 or so before applying the final finish coats.

By the way, my #4 is very sharp and takes whisper thin shavings, and it is cambered. These projects were either red oak or ash. The ash seems to be especially susceptible to tearout, so I back beveled the bevel down blade to 72 degrees. Ha! I miscalculated thinking it was bedded at 25 instead of the 45, so I added a 27 back bevel. Boy it leaves a nice clean cut though. Who says you need a high angle frog?!?!

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How to add a full half bead to an inside curve

The fence of a router table prevents you from running a bead on an inside curve. I did some research online and found one guy that tapped his router base, added a pin (a bolt), and ran it hand held. Yikes!

So I came up with a way to do this much more safely by clamping my router lift and router vertically in my bench vise in portrait position (narrow dimension is left to right). Then I tapped an electrical nail strap for a bolt that became the “pin” that I ran my piece against. I then added a fence. It worked remarkably well. Watch a video here.