I just finished up a sleigh-full (well, minivan) of Christmas gifts in my shop—and just in time! I had been working on a china cabinet for my wife, but put that on hold so I could make some projects to give as Christmas gifts. As it happened, I was testing Rockler’s new box-joint jig for a router table. It works so well and so quickly that I just started whipping out simple keepsake boxes. I don’t build these from a plan, but rather make them from whatever scraps and cutoffs I can muster. Some I glue together, often mixing species, and let the size of the pieces dictate the size of the box. Then I fit it with a thin plywood bottom, make a lid and a handle, apply my mark (a cross to signify my faith in Jesus Christ), and finish it with oil and lacquer.
After spending the last two months building nearly 40 holiday gifts for family and friends, I’m really looking forward to spending the winter building a furniture piece or two. To build these presents, I needed a very accurate jig for crosscutting stock on my tablesaw, with a minimum of tear-out. To do that, I built the crosscut sled shown below. The sled measures 24x24”. The front and rear fence are 1” thick (two pieces of ½” plywood laminated face to face) and 3” high. The fences are glued to the top of the ½”-thick plywood base. The back fence (closest to the operator) has a ¾” wide groove ¼” deep running its length.
The 6” long stop has a mating cleat on its back side that slides smoothly in the groove. Read more
Matt Grisley, president of Leigh Industries, came by the WOOD magazine shop today to demo his company’s newest toy, the Super FMT (frame mortise and tenon jig). This product is a scaled-down, less-expensive version ($450) of the original FMT, launched about six years ago and soon to be called the FMT Pro, which sells for around $900.
With just a few hours in the shop last weekend, I got a lot done. I needed to dial in the router bit depth before routing dovetails on the drawers for my shop cabinet. The jig’s template and stops were already positioned, so I loaded a couple of test pieces into the jig, and set the bit for what looked like a reasonable guess at the proper depth. You can probably imagine what the test joint looked like.
Well, you’d be wrong! It went together beautifully! I couldn’t believe it. Taking this as a good sign, I started routing drawer joints. I rout dovetails so infrequently I took note of some tips that I plan to file away with my jig for reference next time I get it out. Here they are:
➢ Lay out your drawer pieces and label the inside bottom edges. Use BL for Back Left, BR for Back Right, FR for Front Right, and FL for Front Left.