Cutting & Shaping Wood

  1. Getting Dadoes and Plywood Thickness to Match

    Have you ever used a 3/4" router

    Read more »
  2. Hand Cutting Dovetails for Drawers with a Handsaw

    Dovetail joint drawing The layout of dovetails involves cutting the

    Read more »
  3. Understanding Angles - Calculating Polygons

    Calculating Polygons

    Figure 1

    Polygon calculations come up frequently in woodworking. Finding the angles and dimensions of used in building multi-sided frames, barrels and drums (to name a few applications) begins with an understanding to the geometry of regular (symmetrical) polygons.

    Read more »
  4. Woodworking Tools Angle Scales and Terminology

    Not all woodworking machinery angle scales are created alike. In fact, there are two different conventions for the calibration of angle scales in common use on woodworking machinery. One type of scale is calibrated to treat a square cut as a 90 degree cut, while the other scale treats a square cut as a 0 degree cut. Along with that, the terms used in woodworking to describe angled cuts don't make the origin of the angle measurement perfectly clear. The result is often some confusion about what it means to cut a piece of wood at a certain angle. Fortunately, the confusion is easily clarified by looking at a couple of woodworking terms that refer to angled cuts ("miter" and "bevel") and at how the two saw scales are set up the measure angles.

    Read more »
  5. How to Test a Benchtop Drill Press to Ensure Even Cuts and No Runout

    Checking drill chuck

    To make sure your drill press is pushing through straight, use a dial indicator precision shaft to test it for any wobble. Among a variety of “setup” tests, I measured flatness and front-to-back squareness of each machine’s table. I also checked for runout (wobble) at the chuck by installing a precision shaft and taking readings off of a dial indicator while slowly rotating the spindle. Runout varied from .001" to .011", but that range of deviation from a single axis of rotation didn’t seem to transfer into noticeably smoother holes or out-of-round holes.

    Read more »
  6. How to Cut Finger and Box Joints for Simple Projects with a Router or Table Saw Jig

    Simple but attractive cut box joints

    Box joints might not be the most interesting or attractive joints, but they are very sturdy and simple to cut in most shops. Although not as dressy as dovetails, box joints are versatile joints great for all kinds of everyday projects. You can use them to build attractive boxes and trays, good-looking drawers and carcasses, and tool totes and chests strong enough to withstand daily use.

    Read more »
  7. Understanding Right Angle Trigonometry

    understanding right angle trigonometry

    For a woodworker, being able to "solve" right triangles is an extremely important skill. Compound miters, multi-sided structures and a variety of other complex building projects can all be understood and calculated using right triangle trigonometry. If the term trigonometry causes you to suffer a sudden onset of "math anxiety," you'll be happy to know that the trigonometry you need for woodworking isn't all that complicated.

    A basic knowledge is all that's necessary to solve just about any angle problem that will ever come up in woodworking.

    Read more »
  8. Getting Good Jigsaw Cuts

    Having trouble getting a uniform 90 degree cut from your jigsaw? It’s a common problem, especially when you’re cutting curves. The issue may lie with the blade, the saw, your technique or any combination of the three, as Michael Dresdner and Ellis Wallentine explain to this Woodworker’s Journal eZine reader:

    Read more »