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Sampling of WOOD's Top Tips, Part 2

If you love woodworking tips, you'll love each issue of WOOD magazine with dozens of shop-tested tips from our readers and the WOOD Magazine Shop.

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  • Slick trick for clamping corners

    While making several memorial flag cases for my nephew's Marine Corps unit, I realized that gluing and clamping a 45° corner is not as easy as it seems. After a little thought, I came up with the solution you see here.

    The location of the angled notches isn't critical; simply set the scrap a couple of inches above the bottom piece on the dry-assembled flag case and then mark where the sides cross. I used my radial-arm saw to make the 3"-deep, 45° notches.

    When you're ready to assemble, use a standard 90° clamp on the square corner. For the bottom angles, slide the clamping jig over the sides and clamp, as shown. If you use biscuits or splines in the joints, you won't have to worry about the corners slipping.

    —Ray Girard, Gainesville, Fla.

  • Super-quick fix for stripped screw holes

    The small screws needed for hinges strip out pilot holes easily. Fortunately a little cyanoacrylate (CA) glue fixes them just as easily. Simply fill the stripped hole with CA glue, let it cure for a couple minutes, and re-install the screw. It works for any size screw and any type of wood.

    —Erv Roberts, Windsor Heights, Iowa

  • Predictable pipe clamp pads

    You can buy more expensive ones, but pipe clamps are still my "go-to" clamp for large glue-ups. But the Achilles heel of the pipe clamp has always been the challenge of keeping clamp pads in place while you position the jaws. While this task is bad enough for a lay-down glue-up, it's a real headache when gluing vertically. I finally solved the problem by creating the magnetic wooden pads shown.

    To make a batch of pads, start by cutting out 2" squares of 1/4" plywood. Next, drill a 1/2" hole 1/8" deep in the center of each pad. In the hole, epoxy a 1/2" rare-earth magnet (item no. 30810, Rockler, 800-279-4441 or The pads cling to your clamps' jaws, and you can store them on any steel surface in your shop.

    —Gordon English, Salt Spring Island, B.C.

  • Precisely place routers in insert plates

    Here's a quick way to precisely center a router in a router table insert plate. After cutting the insert to the proper size, mark its center and drill a 1/2" hole there. With a 1/2" O.D. guide bushing mounted in your router's subbase-without the router attached-fit the bushing into the hole on the bottom of the insert and orient the subbase to ensure that the router controls are in reach and any through-the-table height adjustment holes are toward the front. Mark the locations of the screw holes, drill and countersink to fit the subbase screws, and use a 1 1/2" Forstner bit to enlarge the center hole. Then, mount the router to the insert plate and you're ready to rout.

    —Bob Hunter, WOOD® Magazine Tools Editor

  • A recipe for biscuits in thin stock

    When I needed to cut biscuit slots in the ends of 3/8" slats, it was necessary to hold them dead-solid and centered to keep the joiner's blade from blowing out a surface of the thin stock.

    This guide jig uses a layer of MDF and two pieces of scrap stock to form a workpiece-sized slot that guides the slat end precisely into the joiner.

    —Jim Culler, Bellville, Ohio

  • Just stick, square, and sand

    To square my disc sander's table to the disc, I use an inexpensive welding magnet (Harbor Freight,, item #1939). The powerful magnet holds the table at 90° while I tighten the table-locking bolt.

    —Michael Cyr, Westport, Mass.

  • Big "V" pushes pull jig to higher level

    As a woodshop teacher, I believe in "jigging up" to make projects easy and repeatable, especially because each operation will be repeated by 20-25 students in each class. That's why I loved your drawer-pull jig in the May 2010 issue (page 16). The version I use in my class has one handy improvement: A V-shaped centering window, as shown, makes the jig work even if the drawers are different sizes. Just center your line in the window, drill, and repeat.

    —Shane Burk, Lubbock, Texas

  • Skewers help fix an irregular joint

    I found a beautiful old walking stick at a second-hand store—a natural growth branch from some exotic hardwood. The handle was broken off and was obviously going to require a dowel, but without a single straight or flat surface, lining up dowel holes proved next to impossible.

    So, I drilled holes freehand as straight as possible and improvised a "dowel" from a bundle of bamboo cooking skewers. After adding epoxy to the holes, I poked the bundle in place, and fitted the pieces together. The skewers flex to offset any inaccuracies in my drilling.

    —Thomas Rockey, Northfield, Minn.

  • A fresh use for a flush saw

    I've tried every possible method for trimming excess veneer-type edge banding. From commercial trimmers to razor blades, from block planes to sanding blocks, I inevitably either nick the plywood veneer of the shelf or split the banding.

    Finally, I thought of using my flush trim saw with a 1" backing board clamped against the edge of the shelf as shown. The excess trim comes off quickly without marring the plywood veneer and the edge banding tidies up easily with a sanding block.

    —Joe Spurlock, North Vernon, Ind.

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