July 23, 2016

Practicum: Application of Skills Part 1

I was considering going through all of the assignments in all of the lessons back to back, and posting them consecutively before moving on to any projects.  On further consideration (and the wife's input), I've determined that this would likely get boring quickly.  Not just for me, but also for you, dear readers!  Therefore, I will be going back and forth between skill learning with the assignments in the self-study course, and practical application by making jigs and fixtures from Power Tool Woodworking For Everyone.

This week I looked at tackling two different miter gauge extensions.

Both of these projects use, almost exclusively, the skills I learned and practiced last week.

Unfortunately, I ran into a snag right off the bat.  On Thursday, I finally remembered that I had read on the ShopSmith forums how to fix the orientation of my quill depth dial.  However, upon loosening the setscrew on the spring housing, the tensioning spring unwound.  I didn't think this was a big deal at the time, as re-tensioning the spring takes just a few minutes.  What I didn't know, and found out this morning upon attempting the process, was the that spring had slipped off of the internal pin, and wasn't re-engaging.  I ended up spending almost two hours disassembling the quill feed mechanism, reattaching the spring to the internal pin, then wrestling with that sub-assembly to get it back into the spring housing.

By this time, it was starting to get pretty warm in the shop, and the voice actuator on my camera decided to not work today, so I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked.

Adjustable Miter Gauge Extension

This is a pretty simple fixture.  I cut down a piece of 3/4" plywood to 3"x15".  Then, using a router, I made a 1/4" wide slot with a 5/8" counter-sunk groove running through the middle of the length that is about 1" from each end.

Set the fence for 3" from inside tooth

Rip to width.  Push sticks are your friend!

As you can see in the final picture, the carriage bolts are recessed from the face of the miter gauge extension, and it can be easily moved across nearly it's entire length.  I like to bring it right up the edge of the blade, so I know exactly where to position my cut line.

Miter Gauge Extension with Sliding Stop

This one took a lot more time than the other gauge, but I really like it!  This thing is a beast!  It's thicker than it should be, as re-sawing plywood is not particularly pretty, and it's tough to joint/plane afterwards.  So I didn't.  It's just under 1.5" think (two layers of 3/4" plywood), but it used every technique I learned last week, which is pretty cool!  I ripped some plywood down to 3" for the back, and two pieces 1.25" for the front track.  I then cross cut each one down to 23".  The two front pieces had a 0.25" x 0.25" rabbet ripped along one edge.  The stop had a 0.25" x 1.25" rabbet cut onto each side.  1/4" holes with 5/8" countersinks were driven in the rear board, and two small 5/8" cut-outs were made in the front  to accommodate the carriage bolts.  The whole thing was then glued up and later assembled.

Cross cutting rear section

Setting up to rip the front pieces

Gluing up the main assembly

Gluing up the sliding stop, I doubled up two pieces of 1/8" hardboard for the internal portion.

Drilling and counter sinking

Assembling the stop

Stop installed in the main assembly

Installed on the miter gauge.  This thing is massive!
All-in-all, this was a good day in the shop.  It started out with a lot of frustration, but I did learn a bit more about my machine, which is cool.  I also finally got my quill depth gauge set up so that I can actually use it without guesswork!  The miter gauge extensions are going to help out tremendously with future projects, and I've been wanting something more substantial than the little 12" extension that came with my machine.  I now have two very useful alternatives!

Part 2 of Practicum.


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