Saddle-Style Push Stick
Any push stick adds a measure of safety, but I prefer
using one that straddles the saw’s fence. It lifts right
off when I’m done.
A saddle-style push stick has two clear advantages.
First, there’s no chance of tipping it into the saw
blade. Second, it keeps your fi ngers far, far away from
The right-hand side and top of my push stick are
made from hardwood. I attached a handle shaped like
a hand plane’s tote to the top board.
The foot—the part that does the pushing—is 3/4"
MDF, which is cheap to replace when I make narrow
cuts and slice into it too many times. Th e foot has a
hook on it to engage the board’s end and is adjustable,
up and down. Set to the thickness of the board, it acts
as a hold-down, too.
Precise fence adjustments are
a sure bet when I clamp this
shop-made device on my router
table. I simply drilled and tapped
a hole to accept a 1/4"-20
machine screw through the center
of a 3/4-in. by 1-in. by 3-in.
piece of hardwood. I covered the
tip that contacts the fence with a
cap nut. My “hi-tech” adjustment
mechanism consists of two square
nuts squeezed tight together. I've
blackened them with a permanent
marker and painted on white dots to
clearly identify each of the 4 sides. I
also added a third square nut, so I can
lock the device for repetitive cuts.
With the 1/4"-20 screw I used, one
full turn of the nuts corresponds to a
travel of .05-in. If you prefer working
with fractions, switch to a 3/8"-16
screw. Then, one full turn moves the
tip 1/16-in. A half turn moves it 1/32-
in. and a quarter turn moves it 1/64-
in. You can even make one-eighth
turn adjustments. Simply position the
nuts on edge, as in the photo.
The Third Wheel
All my shop cabinets are on wheels; actually, each cabinet
has two wheels on one end and two feet on the other end.
When I need to move a cabinet, I turn to my “third wheel.”
It’s just a swiveling caster mounted to a 3/4" thick board.
Th e board has rubber shelf lining on top to keep it from
sliding while in use.
Using a pry bar, I raise the “feet” end of the cabinet and
slide in the third wheel, which holds the feet about 1/2" off
the fl oor. Th e cabinet’s weight keeps the wheel from tipping.
I do have to keep my fl oor clear of debris to keep all the
wheels rolling, but a clean shop is a good thing, right?
All-Angle Miter Gauge
Attaching a triangular jig to your miter gauge enables you to safely cut shallow angles, or any angle beyond the normal range of the miter gauge.
The jig is just a 30-60-90 triangle made from 3/4" MDF, fastened with glue and countersunk screws. To cut the jig’s two 30° angles, tilt your saw’s blade and cut the parts flatwise. Screw a backer board to your miter gauge to provide clamping support for the jig. Be sure to clamp your workpiece to the jig.
Bullet-Catch Bench Dogs
When I built my workbench, I drilled
round bench-dog holes in the top so I
didn’t have to cut square mortises. Being
a thrift y sort, I didn’t want to shell out for
store-bought dogs, so I made my own.
At first, I thought all I’d need was a
couple 3/4" dowels with flat faces cut into
them at a slight angle. Th ey worked, but I
couldn’t leave the dogs in the holes when
they weren’t in use—they fell right through!
I had some left over bullet catches from
another job, so I installed a pair in each
dog. They’re spring-loaded, providing just
enough pressure to keep the dogs in place.
The catches have a lip, so I supported
the dogs in a V-block and drilled shallow
counterbores to sink the lips below the
I don't like to lay my router on its side with the
bit exposed, so I built a stand for it. It’s just a
3/4" x 8" x 8" board with a 2" dia. hole in the
center. The board sits on 2" tall legs. I added
shelf liner to the top of the stand to keep the
router from sliding.
After 37 years of pushing pencils and typing on a keyboard
at the office, my grip is not what it used to be. So I
found an easy way to get a powerful yet comfortable grip
on my clamp handles. First I wrap the handle with athletic
tape. Then I stretch on a piece of bicycle inner tube that is
slightly smaller in diameter than the handle. That’s it! The
tape helps hold the tube in place. If you don’t have any
used inner tubes, new ones are inexpensive, and a couple
tubes will cover a lot of handles.
Miter Gauge Grip
To keep stock from slipping when using my miter gauge, I rely
on this simple jig. Screw a 3/4" x 2" fence to your miter gauge.
Make it whatever length you need. Use a continuous hinge to
fasten a section of 2x4 to the fence. Glue a piece of sandpaper
to the inside bottom edge of the 2x4 where it contacts the
workpiece. This fence height works for stock from 1/2" to 1-1/2"
thick. For thicker stock, just unscrew the hinge and make a taller
fence. The jig holds the workpiece firmly against the table and
the miter gauge.
Cam-Action Bench Dog
I made a clamping device for my bench that can
quickly snug up a board just by swinging a lever. The
lever has a cam that pushes a sliding stop tight against
I made all the parts from 1/4" thick stock. The total
thickness of the device is 1/2", so I can use it for planing
or sanding any piece that’s more than 1/2" thick.
The base for the stop is 6" wide and 20" long. The
guide rails are 6" long. The inner edges of the rails and
the outer edges of the sliding stop are beveled at 10°.
The bevels on the rails point up, while the bevels on the
stop point down. This dovetailed arrangement keeps
the stop from lifting up when it’s tightened. The rails
are glued to the base.
The cam lever is 2" wide and 6" long; its rounded
end is a circle with a 1" radius. The lever rotates on an
8-32 FH machine screw, 3/4" long. The hole for the
screw is offset: It’s located 5/8" in from the left side of
the lever and 1" down from the lever's end. Drill this
hole first, using a 1/8" bit, then align the lever with the
sliding stop and continue the hole through the base.
Countersink the bottom of the hole, insert the screw
and fasten it with a wing nut.
Mini Router Tables
I've acquired a bunch of routers over the years—enough
so that I can aff ord to keep a few permanently mounted in
these mini router tables.
For lots of jobs, you don’t need a large table or a sophisticated
fence; a small, fl at surface and a board clamped
to the top will do. Th e base’s overhang provides room for
clamping the table to my bench; I use the top’s overhang
for clamping the fence.
When I’m done routing, these mini tables stack neatly
on a shelf. In fact, they’re handier than the cases that the
routers came in!
Filed under: Buying and Using Lumber, Tips, Jigs and Fixtures, Router, Shop Tips, skilled woodworker, woodworker, woodworking, woodworking tips, The Neighborhood Carpenter, The Jigs of Serge Duclos, Saddle-Style Push Stick, Gambler's Micro-Adjust, The Third Wheel, Bullet-Catch Bench Dogs, Router Sitter, Power-Grip Handles, Miter Gauge Grip, Cam-Action Bench Dog, Mini Router Tables