What I want for Christmas this year!

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Forum topic by papadan posted 12-11-2009 01:46 AM 2583 views 4 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1165 posts in 2786 days

12-11-2009 01:46 AM

Topic tags/keywords: tip trick jig resource

What I want for Christmas this year is for all you great LJs to post one of your favorite tricks or tips for woodworking or tool usage. Let’s see just how many we can come up with. I’ll start the show with one of my all time favorites. Finding center on a board that is not an even width. Place a ruller or tape across the board with an even number on each edge. Mark at the number in the middle.

-- Carpenter assembles with hands, Designer builds with brains, Artist creates with heart!

40 replies so far

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17570 posts in 3093 days

#1 posted 12-11-2009 02:25 AM

Quick and easy way to add or subtract 2 odd measurements is to fold a tape to the longest and place the end of the tape there, move up or down to the answer.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

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2362 posts in 3799 days

#2 posted 12-11-2009 02:41 AM

Easy way to square a corner is using the 3,4,5 method

-- John in Belgrave (Website) ,

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78 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 12-11-2009 02:48 AM

Not much of a tip or trick, but I have my Mustangs in the garage, so when it comes to planing and jointing, it’s all done outside. to move my jointer or planer around, I use a cheap set of hand trucks from HF. I have a board that is as wide as the span of the legs with a cleat on it. I put that on the hand trucks and then sit the legs up against the cleat and then just lean the planer back and roll it out into the yard or wherever I need to go with it. It’s one thing to have your tools on mobile bases, but I can roll my planer to the back yard with this setup and do my own mulching.


-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

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78 posts in 2650 days

#4 posted 12-11-2009 02:49 AM

Hey John, my brother builds chutes and conveyor belt systems for Fed-ex. The 3-4-5 system is a mainstay in his business.

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

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133 posts in 2538 days

#5 posted 12-11-2009 03:02 AM

your all forgetting the number 1 carpentry rule/tip/trick Measure twice, cut once

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

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78 posts in 2650 days

#6 posted 12-11-2009 03:05 AM

Thanks Dad! That’s what he still tells me. So very very true!!! I really hope someone posts the plans to a board stretcher. :)

-- He who dies with the most tools wins!.....Just wait, I'm going to win!..ERR my wife will at least.

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10874 posts in 2976 days

#7 posted 12-11-2009 09:24 PM

Board stretcher?...........................I’m still looking for someone to bring my that dang skyhook….......

-- Jerry--A man can never have enough tools or clamps

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133 posts in 2531 days

#8 posted 12-11-2009 09:39 PM

Simple, dumb but saves alot of time and sometimes guesswork with sandpaper for my orbital. Sharpie the grit # on the underside (fuzzy side for hook and loop). Then you never have to do the “hold it up to the light” to try and see the grit rateing.

-- Jef Spencer - Refined Pallet -

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Blair Helgason

169 posts in 2831 days

#9 posted 12-11-2009 10:12 PM

What a wonderful idea Dan, I wish I had something to contribute. I’ll keep thinking.

-- Blair

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172 posts in 2532 days

#10 posted 12-11-2009 10:17 PM

My Christmas wish is that all the LumberJocks who post projects here have a little sympathy for all the beginners among us and write a good description of what skills, techniques, tools, etc. that it took you to get the fantastic looking final project.

I think teak dohickeys and purple heart thingamajigs are really pretty but how the heck did you do that?

My tip of the day is to keep a piece of 120 grit sandpaper handy to sharpen your pencil to a super-fine point for those accurate measurements. My mechanical drawing class in high school had small paddle boards with a pad of sandpaper glued to it. When you used up all the grit on one, you simply tore it off, like a post-it note, and used a new one underneath.

-- JoeR Nothing that I could make will ever be perfect but I'll use it anyway.

View dbhost's profile


5590 posts in 2649 days

#11 posted 12-11-2009 10:25 PM

Not universally applicable, but for those owners of the Ryobi BT3×00 series saws, and the Craftsman 22811 and 21829… (Can also apply to the Ryobi BTS-21 as well).

When using the sliding miter table with the miter clamp, the single clamp can allow stock to pivot as it goes through the blade. Pick up a second clamp and use one on each side of the fence holding the stock down to the SMT as wide as you can go without interfering with SMT motion. Your work piece will stay solid against the fence with no movement!

Another BT-centric tip…

Those that have the Ryobi router mounting kit for the BT3×00 know, the miter fence accessory faces are tiny, and lack T track to hold feather boards. Replace the OE fence faces with 3/4” MDF faced with 3/16” hardboard. Route a slot with the bottom 3” from the base of your new faces to fit T track in. Mount it up and you have MUCH sturdier fence faces and just the right height for router table featherboards so that they come within 1/4” of the table top.

Even though the BT uses an aluminum fence, keep a good coating of Johnson’s paste wax on that fence, and you will have a MUCH easier time sliding your workpiece along the fence.

Let the dust collector run for about a minute after you shut down the tool you are collecting from. This helps capture any ambient dust that got away from it. It’s not perfect, but it does help.

Kitchen wax paper keeps glue squeeze out from your glue up projects from bonding your project to your workbench, it also keeps your paper from being part of your workpiece.

If you smoke, a woodworking shop is a BAD place to do so. While not my experience, I know a fellow that burned half his standalone shop with a pipe he thought was tamped completely out. Keep smoking material OUT of the shop.

Handscrews lined up with the cut, are a GREAT way of keeping a chisel at 90 degrees!

Think you have enough clamps? Think again. But simple cauls made from shop scrap help distrubute clamping force allowing you to be able to use fewer clamps.

Remember to set the tension on the band saw blade before you start cutting. (oops…)

-- My workshop blog can be found at

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 2713 days

#12 posted 12-13-2009 03:58 AM

I was cleaning in the shop today, and pick up a nail file from the floor. Then I remembered this post…
I buy cardboard nail files @ the discount store and keep them on my workbench for sanding the edges of
the small diamond shaped inlay pieces that have been cut. They work great, and they’re cheap.

Merry Christmas !!


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

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199 posts in 3130 days

#13 posted 12-13-2009 04:47 PM

I use a mill file to sharpen my pencils.

-- Make every day the best day of your life. Chips, Mississippi

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5 posts in 2503 days

#14 posted 12-14-2009 07:54 PM

Nothing ever broke from being built too sturdy.

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2240 posts in 2687 days

#15 posted 12-14-2009 08:12 PM

I recommend keeping a leather barber type strop at your workbench or lathe to put a quick edge on your chisels, planes and turning tools… can make your own from a cowhide leather belt….make sure it is not dyed or treated (you can pick one up very cheaply from goodwill or a thrift shop that sells clothing). I keep a diamond hone (2 sided – coarse and fine) and a diamond chef’s sharpener the tapered round kind (great for the curved gouges or v tools) and a strop by my lathe to keep the tools sharp at all times….

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

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