|Project by Chris McDowell||posted 05-04-2013 09:37 PM||7806 views||15 times favorited||13 comments|
This project was made the same way the wood whisperer made his; it’s just a little different. It took a few weeks to finish as I worked on it after work when I could and I went slow to make sure I wouldn’t mess up.
I had 3 of these old, black bookcase shelf-type things:
They are made of MDF and is the only wood I had on hand that I could make this out of, so I cut the top and bottom off of the biggest one.
I cut all the pieces I need out to size. I also had one leftover piece of S4S poplar that I got from the home store last year that I used for the edges.
I glued the edges to the fences.
Then I used a flush trim bit to trim the edges flush. I had to set the fences side by side so that the router would have enough surface to rest on. I used my very high-quality makeshift vise consisting of two pieces of scrap wood and some clamps to hold the work-pieces up.
I then had to make some slots for the adjustable fence. I don’t have a router table, so I used the drill press and drilled many holes.
I used carriage bolts and wing nuts for securing the adjustable fence. I would have liked to use a perfectly sized forstner bit for the task, but alas, the only size forstner bit I have is 2.5” for another project. The biggest drill bit I have is 1/2” which was still too small, so I just drilled around the hole until the carriage bolt heads were low enough. Messy, but it works.
I then attached the stationary fence. I put some glue and used my finishing nailer to secure it square. Once the glue dried I put 4 screws. I used my extremely accurate $11 Swanson brand combo square from Lowes to make the fence square. The other stupendously accurate carpenter’s square (of the same brand) was too big and difficult to manage, so I stuck with the 12 inch combo.
I realized I didn’t have a proper bit to do the dado’s with. The wood whisperer uses a top bearing bit and a guide bushing. I looked around and tried to find that exact setup, but it cost too much and I couldn’t find exactly what I needed to fit the router I have. My dad gave me a plunge router that takes a 1/2” shank, but it’s missing a plate on the bottom that the guide bushings would attach to. It is a no name brand router and I think I will have to take it to a woodworking store to figure out what I need. I went the easier, cheaper way and just ordered a 1/4” depth pattern bit with a 1/4” shank that I’ll used with the other router. It’s called a “dado & mortising” bit specifically. It’s by Amana.
So, now it was time to test it out. I put the work-piece under the jig and used the piece that was the width I needed the dado. I tightened it all up, and went to work.
I was so glad the bit actually worked OK. The dado is a tad bit loose because the edges made of poplar are not perfectly straight. If I had a hand plane I would plane them down like the wood whisperer to get them perfect. But, it worked out better than I expected and I am super happy with it.
It’s not as big as Marc’s, but that’s because I made this specifically for another project I plan on batching out. That project is small in size so I didn’t want some huge jig for it.
I had a lot of fun making this. I’ve been woodworking for almost a year and I still feel like a one-eyed monkey when I am trying to make something, fumbling around all over with dangerous tools (I am very safety conscious, though, and wear all of the proper PPE). I have no idea what I’m doing, but when something like this comes together and it actually works, it is very satisfying and fulfilling. I feel more confident with each project.
Thanks for looking.
I had said that I used a pattern bit to trim the edges flush, but it was a flush trim bit, with the bearing on the bottom. I keep getting confused with the names. I didn’t have any pattern bits which is why I had to order the one I did. I corrected the text in this post to avoid confusion.