Sunday, October 14, 2018

File Blocks

Files can remove material quickly and depending on the grit they can cut smooth or aggressive. When you want to remove material quicker than sandpaper, files can do better.  They are also great shaping tools. 

These files blocks are simple to make and will sit nice in your tool case or fit in a small tool box. I know I will be using them a lot in my shop.

I bought a 10" file and cut 2  pieces from it. I used my Angle Grinder Miter to cut the file. This is hard steel but the grinder cut it quicker than I thought.

Of course you can use any file and  experiment with different files from fine to course. The one I am using is called smooth. 

                Grades of cuts- Files             
                      very smooth
                      second cut

The file cut alright but I will have to add a metal base plate for my Miter table to help prevent the table from burning. 

The tablesaw fence was set to the width of the file which is 28mm, this will be the same size as the bottom part of the handle. 

Now I will cut the lower part of the handle. I had some scrap Brazilian cherry hardwood flooring pieces. They will look good together with maple.


The maple will be the top of the handle, the blade was tilted to 7 degrees and both sides are cut. 

The cherry pieces are glued on to the maple block. Weights are put on and set aside overnight.

The ends were slightly tapered, this will make it look better. NOTE: This was all marked out earlier to match to exact size of the file.

A round over router bit was used for the top only, this will look best and feel comfortable when holding. I used a screw clamp to hold the block to keep my hands far from the router bit.

All to do now is some fine sanding, I first used some 150 grit then 220.

I brushed on  a couple coats of Polyurethane. Fine sandpaper and steel wool was used between coats. Two coats makes a difference, it will give you a smooth, even protective finish.

The file can now be glued onto the block. I used 60 minute  epoxy for this.

I tested a few pieces and I am very happy with the results. It took off sharp edges very quick and shaped the wood easily, and the wood still felt smooth.

This will be my go to tool when I want to remove small amounts of wood fast. The handle helps control the file and works on large flat surfaces which is difficult to do with a regular file.

I have 2 and one will be a dedicated tool for some of my piano work.

I came up with this idea because I felt a regular file could not do what a sanding block could and a file does not have the right handle. Now with a nice handle it works and looks  great. I certainly will get a lot of use from these file blocks. 

See Also

                                            Make a large bevel gauge                           Belt sander stand            

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Jigsaw Table with Quick Install and Release

I made this simple jigsaw table for my shop. It is very basic and can be made using  your cordless drill, jigsaw and a few other simple tools.  You can go to your Home Depot and get them to cut the base top and sides to the right dimensions.

I made the base and top 11"x 15". The height is 11". The box is inset to the base 2" this is to help with clamping the unit on a workbench or other table. 

You can make the first part of this table and clamp it to a table or workbench and use it right away. Or you can carry on and make the box. 

Here are a couple blocks, they will be for support/guides for the jigsaw. Four holes are drilled using a countersink bit.

Using a ruler carefully measure and mark the position for the blocks.
First screw on one of the blocks then put down the jigsaw and firmly place the other block on and screw it in. The jigsaw should now feel secure with no side play.

I can make the mark for the blade. To do that I found an old blade and cut it so it would fit even with the bottom of the jigsaw. This made the marking so simple.

The slot was drilled out using a 11/32nd drill bit.

Cupped 1" magnets are now installed. These are available from Lee Valley, they have a countersunk screw hole in the center of the magnet which makes them easy to install or remove.

These are very strong earth magnets so you must be careful, I made a video of  a simple  magnet separator which will come in handy.

 A front block is drilled on, this will act as a stop guide when the jigsaw is put in the box and also helps with removal. 

The magnets are very strong and after a few tests I knew they would work fine.

 Three sides are screwed together to make the support for the top. Remember to always use the right size drill bit for the screws or the wood will split.


With the jigsaw the corners can be rounded, this looks better and now there wont be any sharp edges. I did this only to the top since this is the work area.

Screws are countersunk and put on the top. I then put on a few coats of Polyurethane. After it was ready I made many test cuts using different types of wood such as hardwood, softwood and dowels.

Everything turned out great, I was very pleased with the table. Caution should be taken when using the table. Since pieces are not clamped the upstroke of the blade can lift the workpiece so you always have to hold the pieces firm.

                         You can watch the video Here

See Also:

                     Large wood clamp                                                                          Mini bevel gauge

Saturday, September 8, 2018

How to Build an Oscillating Sander

An oscillating sander is a good for controlled fine sanding. The best way I can think of is similar to sanding drywall. You would not use a  belt sander for drywall. Also, the drill helps to get the proper speed you  need.  

The base will be 5 1/2"x 17 1/2'. The guides will be 12 1/2" inches in length. They will be screwed onto the center of the base. There will  be 2 1/2" on each side of the base. This will help when clamping the unit on a workbench or table.  

Maple is used for the guides and the  rail. They are all cut at 20 degrees and fit together perfectly to make a smooth slide system.

This piece will be for the support for the shaft and wheel. A metal sleeve will be added to help reduce wear on the wood. 

A second hole is drilled for a pin. The pin will be screwed into the wheel and will fit in the slot to move the slider.                                                                   

See the video build here.


The slider will consist of a frame mounted on the rail. The slot will be for the pin on the wheel to move the slider back and forth. 

An aluminum rail will be added to help keep things slick. I found a piece in my junk bin and cut it to size, the same length as the guides.  I took a piece of fine steel wool and cleaned it up a bit.

I used my Angle grinder holder to cut the aluminum to 12 1/2" in length. It will be screwed onto the base. Two small screws one on each end will do.

Here is most of the pieces put together, it still needs a top and sandpaper.

A top is made from a block and screwed on. Slots were  cut on both ends, this will be for the sandpaper block to snap on and also for a screwdriver to fit in for the screws on the bottom of the slider. 

The base is 2 1/2 inches larger on each side so it  can be clamped easily on any table. 

Here is the bottom of the sanding block. to make the sanding blocks two dowels are glued in, they match the slots on the slider and snap on very secure.

The sandpaper block is very simple to make and replace. After testing I was very happy with the sander. I will make many more sanding blocks with different grits and am sure I will get lots of use from it.

See Also:                                                                                             

Make spoons with table saw                Easiest way to make dowels                                                            



Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Step stool

When storing things high up in the shop a step tool will help make thing easier to reach. Building a sturdy and safe stool is important. This one has a special feature, it has legs that fold in and out.  

Cutting all the pieces is easy using a table saw. I used 3/4" plywood. The height of the stool will be 10" and with the additional legs it will stand  at 15" 

I used my new bevel gauge I made in my last video, it sure came in handy for this project. 

After I marked the sides at 10 degrees I used a mitre gauge and tablesaw to make the cuts. 

To make the legs I first glued 2 pieces of plywood together to make a thicker piece, 1 1/4". This will help make the legs stronger. I drew and cut one leg then traced 3 more. This can be done either with a jigsaw or bandsaw.

A 3/4" Forstner is used to drill the sides, these holes will be for the magnets.

Now the legs are drilled, this will be for the washers. They must line up exactly with the magnets on the sides.  Later when the stool is assembled these holes may have to be drilled deeper to get the right pressure for the magnet attraction. Too much and the legs wont drop and having too little the will fall too easily. You may have to tweak this, but it is easy.   

Here  holes are drilled for the carriage bolts, they will match the holes for sides as shown below. 

The magnets can be glued in with Gorilla glue. I have used this many times and never had a problem.

The top is 17 1/2 x11". After it was cut I marked the centers and  used a 1 1/4" Forstner bit and a jigsaw to cut the slot for the handle. 

Here the pieces are laid out and ready for assembly.

I used drywall screws to assemble the main box and top. No brad nails or glue was used in case I needed to take it apart to make adjustments for the extended legs. 

                                  See the video here

See also:

                         Scissor Lift                            Mini Bevel Gauge