Shooting board

It wasn’t long after getting into woodworking that I started drooling over premium hand planes like Veritas or Lie-Nielsen. Fast forward 3 or 4 years and I finally ordered my first high quality hand plane.

I went with the Veritas low angle jack plane. It comes with a 25 degree A2 blade which is ideal for end grain work. I also opted for and addition blade, a 38 degree blade which is great for smoothing, effectively making the plane twice as versatile for 40 bucks. A no brainer.

Because the low angle is great for end grain work, I figured I would take Jay Bates advise and make a shooting board. A shooting board is basically a guide for a plane to ensure accurate 90 degree and 45 degree planning of a work piece.

To get started you must first decide what material you want to use for the platform. Something flat and stable is ideal and that’s why I used ½” Baltic birch. MDF would also be a good choice. The size of your platform highly depends on the size of your plane. My plane measures 15” long so I made my platform 18” long. The bottom piece of the platform is 12” wide and the top piece is 9.5” wide leaving me 2.5” for my plane to run on.

I made the top piece 3.5” shorter than the bottom piece because I need to leave room for the fence as well as a back piece. I also made sure the top piece was PERFECTLY square as this is what my fence will reference off of.

Before gluing the two pieces together, I made a curf cut at 2.5” in from one side on the bottom piece. The cut is only about 1/8”deep and this is to allow room for any dust build up.

I then could glue the top piece to the bottom piece.

I used some heavy weight till the glue set.

Next I could make my fence. I used walnut for this but any hardwood will do. The important thing is to make sure it is very straight grained and running vertically.


This is because the fence is going to fit into a slot and wood shrinkage could cause the fence to become to loose in the slot. Here is a great link explaining wood movement.

The fence is 1.5” square with two slotted holes and a small rabbit on the front face.

the rabbit is at the bottom of the fence. it’s depth is the same length as the slotted holes and its height is a little higher than the distance from the edge of the plane to the blade. If you didn’t have this rabbit than you wouldn’t be able to trim the fence flush because of the portion of the plane where there is no blade wouldn’t get trimmed and it would be left to long. now I can set my fence up against the top part of the platform and then sandwich the back piece against it. I used a small amount of glue to avoid squeeze out and then clamped it together till the glue set.

I added two ¼” T-nuts to the bottom of the platform. Theses will be used to bolt the fence to the platform

I then bolted the fence to the platform making sure the fence is a little bit proud of the edge so I could trim it flush with the plane.

An important function of the fence is to prevent chip out on the back of your work piece. As the fence wears, you will no longer have zero clearance and chip out may occur. Because the holes are slotted in the fence you can keep advancing the fence to keep your zero clearance.

I then could test with a piece of scrap. If its perfectly square in both directions than its good. Don’t forget you can adjust the blade angle if its out of square from the platform to the work piece. The fence should be perfect if you made sure your plywood edge was perfect;)

For the 45 degree fence I first took a piece of ½” plywood 6” square and cut a 45 degree angle on the chop saw. I added a slotted hole in the center to attach it to the platform.

Added another 5/16” T-nut to the bottom of the platform so you can easily attach and remove the 45 degree fence.

I then took a 1.25” square piece of walnut and added a 7/16” deep by ¾” wide rabbit to one side.

This will give me an easy way to glue the fence to the plywood while still making sure the fence is exactly 45 degrees to the platform. I used some heavy weights to hold the fence till the glue set.

Finally I could attach the hook, a 1/2″ piece of plywood held with some glue.

I then could advance the fence slightly and trim it flush to the edge.

A must have for any woodworking shop:)


Double blast gate- A dust collection upgrade

I’ve Been using my shop vac dust collection system for about a year now, Love it. Shop vacs make great dust collectors for tools that don’t have a large volume of dust (tables saw, planner, jointer etc.). Things like chop saws, routers and sanders really benefit from a shop vac oppose to a tradition dust collector because of the high velocity, they suck hard:)

The obvious down fall to shop vacs for dust collection is the small, prone to plugging filter and the  low volume (2.5” inlet). To help with the filter plugging, people tend to do one of two thing , a separator or bags. Both are good options. My system uses a really simple version of a bucket separator. This separator does not stop all the dust from getting to the filter but I’m guessing it lasts about twice before it needs to be clean compared to no separator at all. More complex separators can yield much better results.

My system is feed around my shop at ceiling heights witch works out well for a few of the tools like the sander and CNC but has become cumbersome with the miter saw and router. I want to redo the feed lines, mounting it at bench height for these to two tools because they are so close together. I think a double blast gate would be the most convenient.

The body of the blast gate is constructed out of ¾” plywood. I cut 2 pieces 3” wide buy 7” long for the sides, one piece 1 ½” wide by 7” long for the top and finally one piece 3” wide by 7” long for the bottom.

The “gate” is constructed out of cutting board material. Its 2 7/8” wide by 12 1/4” long.

The pipe I used for this dust collection system is central vac pipe. It has an outside diameter of 2”. To accept the pipe I drilled two 2” holes in the sides making sure I have a full 2” in-between the two holes as this will be the closed position when both tools aren’t in use.

To mark the location of the gate hole, I slide it hard to one end till I had about ½” showing (room for the stop) and then traced the hole.

I kept the construction fairly simple by sandwiching the gate and a piece of folded up paper in-between the two side pieces. The paper is for adding some clearance and will be removed after assemble is complete.

I then attached the top and bottom piece to the sides with some 1 ½” screws, no glue for maintenance purposes. I left my bottom piece wide for mounting under the bench but your mounting may require something different.

I then could epoxy a piece of ½” wide cutting board to the end of the gate for the first gate.


The stop on the other side is a piece of maple ½” wide and 4 ½” long. It’s bolted to the center of the end of the gate. This allows the stop to rotate giving you the third stop which is needed for the closed position. The video explains this better;)

I then drilled 3 holes on the bottom rail of my bench for mounting.

A couple of screws hold into place.

Finally I could attach my feed line and one hose to the miter saw and the other to the router table.

I’m Really happy that I finally got around to doing this. My chop saw moves much more freely now without the hose getting in the way and the gate is in a way more convenient location.

Drillpress table


Nine times out of ten, you don’t need a drill press table but it sure would be nice for that one time. Because it’s use is so limited I wanted to keep the design/build simple, no frills. Also mounting needed to be quick and easy.

The table itself well be two pieces of ¾” plywood laminated together. I just so happen to have some scrap plywood already doubled up in the shop from a pervious project so it was just a matter of cutting out a 15” by 18” rectangle on the table saw. The size is really just personal taste, I just wanted something as small as I could get away with to make it easy to store away.

To mount the homemade table to the drill press table as easy as possible I decided to make a ¼” deep recess the exact same size as my drill press table. I used my CNC router to do this because my two pieces of plywood were already laminated together but you could cut the circle out with a jig saw before laminating the two pieces together.

This should keep the table from moving around from left to right. To keep the table from rotating I decided to make a couple of keys the same size as the slots in my drill press table I then could glue and screw them right to the under side of my homemade table.

To clean up the edges, I used some ¾” maple for edge banding.

I then could cut two dados for some T-track. This will be used for the fence as well as hold down clamps if needed. I installed the T track using screws.

I then cut out a 3/16” deep recess using my dado stack right in the middle of my table. The recess is 3” wide and will be use for a MDF waste insert.

I already had a bunch of scrap MDF so I went ahead and cut a whole bunch of inserts.

The fence couldn’t be easier, its just two pieces of ¾” plywood laminated together and cut to 2” wide. I then could mark the location of my T-tracks and drill corresponding holes.

You could also add some T-track on the fence front if you want, I didn’t have any left and didn’t really feel it was necessary as I could just clamp a block onto the fence for a stop.

Probably the best feature about this table is how easy it is to take on and off. I love how quick and easy it was to build and also how easy it is to store away when not in use.

Zero clearance insert



I often get asked if I recommend the Ridgid R4512 table saw and the simple answer is always yes but that’s not because it’s a perfect saw. I recommend it because it’s a great deal. If budget is no a consideration than I’d have to recommend the sawstop just for the simple fact is may save you from loosing a finger one day. Back to the Ridgid saw, One of the negatives of this saw, is you can’t easily make a zero clearance insert plate (even though you could on the old version of this saw).


The reason why it’s so difficult to make an insert plate for this saw is because the OEM plate is only 1/8” thick. Unfortunately 1/8” would be to thin to make a wooden replacement version of the plate. To over come this problem I decided to make a 3/8” plate but then hollow out the areas for the leveling pads down to 1/8” which should give me a stiff enough plate but yet still sit flush in the saw top.

I went with maple for material but in hindsight I think Baltic birch plywood would be a better choice because you wouldn’t have to worry about seasonal movement. I started with a piece of 1” thick and about 36” long board and then I re-sawed it down and milled it to 3/8” giving me enough material to make 4 plates.


I than took the blanks and ripped them down to its final width (same width as the insert) on the table saw. Next I could trace my OEM insert onto each of the blanks.

and cut out the arcs on the band saw making sure not to cut into the line. I then could take the blanks to the belt sander and bring it right to the line.

If this was a “traditional” insert blank, we would be done but now we have to hollow out for the leveling pads.

I decided the best way to cut them out would be to make a template of the leveling pads and then use a pattern bit in my trim router set to the proper depth to cut the areas needed for the leveling pads.

To make the template I first made a copy of the insert plate we just made except a ¼” smaller all the way around to allow for the lip. I had to use 2 pieces of plywood glued together for the material because my top bearing pattern bit is to long, if you have a shorter bit you could use just one piece of plywood instead. To get the layout of the levelling pads, I laid my template centered in the insert opening. Then I opened up the back of the saw by removing the 6 screws and removed the panel. Next I could trace all the leveling pads. One of the pads I couldn’t reach but I could see its locating from the top and just marked its location by eye. Next I cut out the template on the band saw, making sure to cut all the pad locations oversized, leaving lots of wiggle room.


Another great option for hollowing out the area for the leveling pads is to use a forester bit. I decided on the template because I knew I was making 4 inserts now and possible more later so I thought a template might save time in the long run.

I then could center the template onto the back of my insert blanks(making sure the template is not upside down) and use two screws to how it into place. Next let the pattern bit do all the work;)

I then glued a little wooden tab to the back to help hold the insert in place. I also glued a metal washer (.030″ thick) to the front to catch the magnet in the saw.


I also drilled a ¾” hole to make it easier to remove the insert plate.


Finally I could install the insert and rise the blade up through the insert by using a block of wood to hold the insert down. You could also use the fence to hold it down.

They turned out well! the other three will be used for different sized dado stacks.


Scary Sharp – On a budget?

When you first get into woodworking, you realize really quickly you need to learn how to sharpen your tools. Dull blades just won’t cut it. Sharpening is a skill that has to be learned just like anything else but it also comes with a cost, possibly a big cost. In this article I want to go over a cheaper option for sharpening that yields great results. I really shouldn’t say cheaper, but lower initial cost because since this is a disposable system, in the long run may become more expensive depending on how much you need to sharpen. I would not recommend this system if you need to sharpen on a regular bases, I probably sharpen my two plane irons and 6 chisels once a month maybe even two so I think this will be a good setup for me.

What to buy:

options, options, options. There are so many choices of sandpaper out there, its really hard to decide what to buy. I’ll share with you want I decide on but I’m sure there are other great options out there.

First I went to Canadian tire to see what I could find local. They actually didn’t have to much to pick from for metal so I grabbed what they had which was 3M wet/dry sandpaper 800, 600 and 400 grit (aluminum oxide) which was 5 bucks for 5 sheets. Next I went to the internet to find some higher grits for the final polish. Lee valley tools was having there usually free shipping week so I went there and order some 3M™ Aluminum Oxide Films which is specifically made for Sharpening. This Stuff is a lot more money but I think it may be worth it because it should last longer and it also has an adhesive back for easy mounting to a piece of glass. I chose the 9, 3, and 1 micron which is equivalent to 1200, 4000, and 8000 grit. This stuff is about 3-4 bucks a sheet.

Now that I have the sandpaper, now I need something to mount it to. I didn’t want to buy anything so I looked around the house to see what I had laying around and I found a shelf to our fridge that wasn’t being used.  frame This makes a pretty good option because its temped but ideally something thicker like 3/8” would be better.


The sandpaper from lee valley was easy, I cut it into 2.5” strips (which will give me three strips per sheet) and just stuck it on. The stuff from Canadian tire on the other hand needed an adhesive so I went with carpet tape. Spray achieve would also work well.

Ok our system is ready to use. My first test is with my plane iron, which is and A2 alloy (harder to sharpen buts holds an edge longer). When you first get an iron the first thing you need to do is hone the back. This is done by going through the whole grit progression till you have a mirror finish. Once this is done you never have to do it again. Some people only polish the edge of the back by not laying the iron flat but rising it up slightly so its on an angle. This is much faster but has to be done ever time you re-sharpen your blade. My iron has already been polished on the back to 4000 so I’m just going start at 8000 to take it that little bit more.

This iron has 25 degree primary bevel and a 30 degree secondary bevel. This is probably the most common angle for a plane iron but 38, and 50 are also used on bevel up planes. Lee valley has a good article about the iron angle. To make sure I consistently sharpen the iron at 30 degrees a prefer to use a honing guide. I set the angle buy using a digital angle block on my table saw but you can use a protractor just as easy.

My iron has already been sharpened before to 4000 grit but has been used a lot since its last sharpening and is quit dull so I’ll start my re-sharpening at 600 grit. Using water to carry away the swarf, I run the iron over each grit about 10 times, making sure I get an even new surface finish in-between each grit.

Its always hard describe how sharp is sharp but for me,  if both sides have and even mirror finish, than your probably good. A few swipes with it mounted in the plane confirms.

In conclusion I was able to confirm you can get excellent results with this system which allows you to skip that high initial cost. I am however concerned about how long the sandpaper will last before having to change it, only time will tell. For just re-sharpening (which is what I’ll be using it for) I think it well last awhile. For new honing or repairing an old chisel, I think you might burn through the sandpaper fairly quick.











HDR landscape

I need a place to post some of these picots I’ve been taking and this seemed to be as good as spot as any:)


Shopbuilt – tool wall


This is a really fun project that is ever expanding. The idea was to make each holder unique as well as pleasant to look at.

Drill bit storage
Drill bit storage
Instead of just screwing a hole into the wall i are walnut wall mounts for anything that need to hang,
Instead of just screwing a hole into the wall i are walnut wall mounts for anything that need to hang,
More hanging storage.
More hanging storage.
Clamp rack for small clamps
Clamp rack for small clamps
Holder for screwdrivers
Holder for screwdrivers
Chisel holder
Chisel holder
Calliper holder
Calliper holder
wrench holder
wrench holder
Yape measure holder
Tape measure holder

hammer holder
hammer holder

DSC_1293 DSC_1291 DSC_1285

Shopbuilt – Tenoning Jig

This tenoning jig was inspired by the micro jig dovetail clamps. I seen the clamps scrolling through instagram and I thought I could probably come up with a use for them. The tenoning jig is self positioning for any mortise and tenon that requires the the mortise to be in the exact centre, like a cabinet door.

The jig is contracted using 3/4" plywood
The jig is contracted using 3/4″ plywood
To use the jig you first zero it by moving the front fence till it just kiss the blade and lock it. then move the reference plate into the mortise, tight against one side and the rear fence. than tabour first pass. now you can flip your workpiece and repeat. Had to explain, easier to watch the video:)
You’ll have to watch the video to see how it works because it to hard to explain:)
The rear fence is use to rest the stock against when referencing a mortise
The rear fence is use to rest the stock against when referencing a mortise
A piece of 1/8" flat bar is used to reference one side of a mortise when resting against the rear fence
A piece of 1/8″ flat bar is used to reference one side of a mortise when resting against the rear fence
Once mortise is referenced you can lock it.
Once mortise is referenced you can lock it.
I used cutting boards material as runners
I used cutting boards material as runners
runner slots are just dados
runner slots are just dados
Mircojig clamps are used to hold the workpiece.
Mircojig clamps are used to hold the workpiece.

Dovetail clamp
Dovetail clamp