An Opportunity to Share
While creating some detail mouldings for cabinet doors and drawers, I realized this would be a great opportunity to share how I handle these smaller pieces.
Simple But Safe
The methods that I use are very simple but create safe handling in a small production setting.
My work table is not a traditional style woodworking bench, it has a solid laminate top without bench dog holes. I like the clean solid surface for the type of work that I do.
This would appear to leave me with a lack of any methods for holding my work, especially small pieces. But I have some simple methods for holding my work that are quite effective.
When routing a profile on the stock, if it is not held in place it will drift away from the router bit. It needs to be stopped on the ends and on the opposite side of the workpiece from the cut.
We need to keep the workpiece clear of obstacles. The router fence needs to stay off of the table edge and if you are using a router with a guide bearing, the bearing may need to have clearance from the table surface.
Here you can see how the piece migrates away from the router and the router fence will end up riding against the table.
The solution is simple. I use stop blocks that have 90° cutouts in them to capture the corners of the work piece. These are clamped to the table with enough space to easily place and remove the workpiece.
The rules are simple, the stop has to be lower than the stock you are holding and it has to allow clearance for a router fence to enter and exit the ends. It is also important to realize that the stock is wide enough to safely remain on the table and the small profile will be removed from the stock at the tablesaw.
The stops do not need to clamp tight against the workpiece, they only need to act as a stop on both ends (hence the name.) You can leave a gap of 1/8” for ease of changing out the pieces and this is important when you have several pieces to work as in a small production run.
For this particular project I had stacks of short and long pieces to rout. I ran all of the short ones and then moved the stop to allow for holding the longer pieces.
You may wonder why I did not set up the router table. This could be done but I had to do a lot of climb cutting due to the difficult grain. Climb cutting is easier for me to do while holdinging a router on the workpiece rather than holding the workpiece on the router table. This worked best for this situation.
After routing the profile I needed to do a bit of sanding to clean up the profile. I used a stop placed at one end to hold the workpiece for sanding. This avoids the need to clamp the piece and possibly even move the clamp for access to work the full length of the profile.
I had several pieces to sand so this made sanding, changing sides, and swapping out workpieces a quick exercise.
I hope this gives you some ideas for working in your shop.
Share the Love~Share the Knowledge
-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com