Push piece, not the miter gauge

When I have to cut a long board on my table saw, I’ve had difficulty in the past pushing it through the cut without it twisting a couple of degrees one way or the other as it travels. It doesn’t matter if I’m using a miter gauge or my sled. This usually happens when I’m feeding a large piece through and I push either on the sled or the miter gauge, and that’s the problem. The trick is to push on the piece of wood itself not on the miter gauge. Another really big help is to wax your table saw top with car wax. That helps a lot and it also prevents rust.

Protecting inlay from stain

I remember a while back about how I was puzzled on how period furniture had parts of the inlay that were NOT stained dark, while the rest of the inlay and the furniture itself appeared to have a dark stain. How was that done?

After some investigation on the internet and asking around, the answer was very simple. You don’t use a dark stain at all, but you use darker woods like walnut or mahogany and put a clear finish on it. Duh!

During the process of figuring that out, maybe a few months, I actually did a couple of pieces where I had to figure out the best way to protect the white parts of an inlay (holly, maple, whatever) after they were installed. After all, staining the piece before installing the inlay had a whole different set of problems, and I didn’t want to even go there.

To make a long story short, it can be done, and quite successfully so. The steps are to apply a couple of wash coats of  1.5# dewaxed shellac on the inlay before installation. The cans of Zinnser SealCoat are 2# cut, so just add some denatured alcohol to get it to 1.5#. You could use it full strength though, but that’s what I had laying around at the time.

Install the inlay, and tape it off with Frog tape cut in thin strips. I also tried automotive detail tape that you can buy at most any auto parts store. Whatever you use get a good seal using the edge of your fingernail.

Now apply the stain, let it dry, and carefully peel off the tape. It usually turns out very well. That is what I did on the sacristy table pictured on this site. Not bad at all.

The downside is the shellac does add color to the wood, so if you want the holly inlay to be really white, scrap this idea, and do it correctly, i.e. use a dark wood and forget the dark stain.

UPDATE: I attended a finishing class by Peter Gedry’s (petergedrys.com) and he showed us a trick (much more of a skill), where he used a small brush and painted on the stain FREEHAND around the inlay. Not for the timid, but it works!

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.

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?!?!

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.