ShopNotes #84 2005-11-01

November 2005
Issue 84

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Table of Contents

Readers' Tips4

Get a Flat Panel with Splines8

A hassle-free way to create a strong, flat panel with a minimum of effort is to use splines. Here's what you need to know to do it right.

To cut the slots for the spline joinery, I used a 1/4" slot cutter (53210) from Amana Tools. They also make a Quadraset Assembly (53600) that includes four cutters, a bearing, shims, and an extra-long arbor. This set allows you to cut slots ranging from 1/8" to 23/32" wide. You'll find both types available from the Woodsmith Store.

Shop Cabinet Levelers10

Keep your shop projects level and wobble-free from the ground up. Learn more about the best kinds of levelers to use in your shop.

Many of the levelers can be found at the Woodsmith Store. Home improvement centers and woodworking stores also carry a variety of levelers.

Easy-to-Use Toggle Clamps12

Once you start using toggle clamps in your shop, you'll find them versatile enough to handle just about any task.

Many of the toggle clamps can be found at the Woodsmith Store. Home improvement centers and woodworking stores also carry a variety of toggle clamps.

Shop Short Cuts14

Shop-tested tips and techniques to solve your woodworking problems.

Classic Cabinet-Base Workbench16

Every shop needs a heavy-duty workbench. This classic design has all the features you'll ever need, including a cabinet-style base for storage, two vises, and a large, solid top.

  • Page 18: Figure 1
    3 corrections on on piece A (leg). 1. The width of the mortise is printed as 1/2" but it should be 3/4". 2. The location of the mortise should be 1/2" from the front edge. 3. The location of the mortise back edge is printed as 3/4" but it should be 1 1/4".
  • Page 18: Instructions for Adding the Rails
    The text states that the legs are connected by a pair of 1 1/2" thick rails, but the rails are actually 1 3/4" thick.
  • Page 22: Figure 7
    A measurement is missing from the Drawer Front. The knobs should be placed 4" in from each edge.
  • Page 23: Figure 9
    The location of the knobs on the doors was omitted from the drawing. They are located 6 7/8" from the top of the door panel.

Online Extras

You'll need to find a fair amount of hardware to build the cabinet base workbench. Most of the basic items can be found at your local hardware store. But there are some items you'll probably need to order to complete the project.

The 2" x 1-3/8" antique, ball-tip hinges (00E08.05) I used to hang the center doors on the cabinet came from Lee Valley. And Rockler carries the cross dowels (31823) and shelf supports (33902) you'll need. The cherry knobs (88783) and magnetic catches (26559) came from Rockler as well.

You'll need a pair of vises for the workbench. The Veritas tail vise (70G09.01) and face vise (70G08.02) were both ordered from Lee Valley. The vises don't come with handles. So you'll need to make them or order them from Lee Valley (05G12.03). The Woodsmith Store also has these handles and vises.

To round out your workbench, you'll need to get some bench dogs. I used bench dogs (114141) that came from Highland Hardware. But you'll find that Lee Valley also carries bench dogs (05G02.01) that work well. It's a good idea to have the bench dogs in hand before you start work on the holes. That way, you can be sure they fit properly.

Wood & Brass Spokeshave28

Enjoy shaping and smoothing curves with your own shop-made spokeshave. This spokeshave features a micro-adjustable blade and solid-brass hardware.

The items needed for the spokeshave are available in most hardware stores. But you'll need to order a blade and brass bar stock.

I was able to order a 12"-long piece of 5/16" x 1/2" brass bar stock (bof.312x.5) from Metal Express. Brass bar stock (8954K188) is also available from McMaster-Carr but the minimum length is three feet.

The low-angle spokeshave blade (SP062) I used came from Hock Tools. It comes complete with threaded posts and brass knurled knobs. You'll want to be sure to order the larger, 4-7/16"-long blade.

Using a Spokeshave32

With the right setup and a little practice, you'll be creating thin shavings in no time.

Drill Press Accessory Cabinet34

Is the storage for your drill press bits and accessories bursting at the seams? This wall cabinet will keep everything organized and close at hand.

Most home centers carry the hardware you'll need to build the drill press accessory cabinet. But you may need to order some catches for the
doors. The 7/16" magnetic catches (29280) I used came from Rockler.

If you're going to build the lower cabinet, you'll need a way to support the door so you can use it for a worksurface. For this, I ordered lid stays from Lee Valley. You'll need a right-hand (00T07.22) and a left-hand (00T07.12) lid stay.

All About Bench Vises38

Securely holding a workpiece is the key to successful woodworking. Learn more about the types of vises every bench should have.

Workshop Fire Safety42

A $50 fire extinguisher -- it's the most important tool in your shop.

No Fuss Bridle Joinery44

Here's a strong, sturdy joint that's so easy to make you can do it all on the table saw. All you need is a simple shop-made jig.

Air Hose Reels46

Is dealing with your air hose a big hassle? Solve the problem with an air hose reel.

A good hose reel is a great help in controlling and storing your air compressor hose. You'll find many types and styles of hose reels available from a number of manufacturers. I picked up the two Amflo reels featured in the article at a local Home Depot.

The black, portable reel came from Rapid Reel. You can get dealer information by contacting them. The EZ-Coil system with a brake was ordered from Coxreels.

Roll-Around Tool Cabinets48

A metal, roll-around cabinet is a great way to organize and protect a shop full of tools. Learn all about choosing the right kind.


Scenes from the Shop52