making and using finger boards - any good advice?

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Forum topic by Emma Walker posted 08-28-2012 11:39 AM 1876 views 1 time favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Emma Walker

560 posts in 1378 days

08-28-2012 11:39 AM

What type of wood is best for making finger boards?
Dementions and other good stuff.

-- I'm a twisted 2x4 in a pile of straight lumber.

10 replies so far

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2265 days

#1 posted 08-28-2012 12:27 PM

I just use some 1×4 pine or whatever. They are consumables. Saw kerfs in it about 4in long and about 1/4in between. Cut it off at about a 45 degree angle. Just leave enough extra length to allow clamping.

Keep plenty around. It is nice to be able to control stock without thinking about it.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View Loren's profile


7996 posts in 2915 days

#2 posted 08-28-2012 12:40 PM

They tend to fall apart if there are knots in them, so choose
clear stock for featherboards. In most applications species
doesn’t seem to matter much… featherboards get broken
and cut up anyway sometimes so they are sort of disposable.


View CueballRosendaul's profile


476 posts in 1407 days

#3 posted 08-31-2012 01:56 AM

I have a pair that I made years ago, but they’re really stiff, so I find myself using the small ones I bought at a wood show a few years back mostly because they have a nice little aluminum piece that fits into the miter slot on the table saw and a big black star handle. They’re some kinda cheap Chinese oak and I think I paid $7 for the pair. The ones I made are so stiff because I don’t have a band saw and made the kerf cuts on the table saw but had to keep the fingers wide enough to keep from breaking off as I cut them. As a result, they don’t have the flex that’s needed to really work right and prevent problems. If you could cut them on a band saw and incorporate a slot guide, go for it, but only if they’re safer and better than you can buy.

-- Matt CueBall Rosendaul. I don't think I've ever had a cup of coffee that didn't have cat hair or sawdust in it.

View chrisstef's profile (online now)


14815 posts in 2273 days

#4 posted 08-31-2012 02:33 AM

I used mdf and it was too brittle. One drop on the floor n lost a finger on it. I like the pine idea not too hard not too brittle. Your title threw me off a little … Little mini skateboards operated with your fingers was my thought lol. Musta been an early 90’s thing.

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View a1Jim's profile


114790 posts in 2844 days

#5 posted 08-31-2012 03:00 AM

I guess you mean feather boards? I use whatever I have sitting around Oak,ash,poplar,maple. I like to put magnets that turn on and off in some of mine for use on the table saw.

-- Custom furniture

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3160 days

#6 posted 08-31-2012 04:19 AM

pull a piece of wood out of the garbage can

cut one end at 45 degrees or greater

cut the angled end into a gazillion cuts of feathers as efficiently as passible …..little feathers ?

disgard when done

repeat when necessary and adjust as needed …retain failure notes on specie

success is only seconds away : )

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3160 days

#7 posted 08-31-2012 04:24 AM


-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View casual1carpenter's profile


354 posts in 1742 days

#8 posted 08-31-2012 01:22 PM

Emma, you might want to check out this page, it was the first page I found there could be others. I have not tried it yet myself but it’s on my list.

View gfadvm's profile


14775 posts in 1957 days

#9 posted 09-01-2012 03:02 AM

I was not happy with my shop made featherboards so I now use either my hand held ‘featherboard’ or my Rockler thin strip ripping jig with much better results: quicker/easier set up being the main advantage.

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1286 posts in 1339 days

#10 posted 09-23-2012 09:02 PM

The picture shows 1/2” baltic birch plywood. The feather board is about 6 years old. I wax it with a paste wax every now and then.
No cupping, breaking out, or other stuff with plywood.

-- Who is John Galt?

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