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Adjustable dado / housing joint jig

Want to create perfect dados without any fuss? Then you NEED this jig. It’s quick and easy to make and even easier to use….

Haven’t included any measurements as it can be made to pretty much any length (within reason) to suit your project. I made mine out of scrap I had in the workshop.

Head to Head Mitre Gauge Reviews

This review was meant to be done a long time ago, but as usual my health has put paid to any plans I make, and so my apologies go out to Charley and Incra for the rather slow progress.

The piece of junk that came with my saw
Even though manufacturers have been making table saws since Noah built his ark (well maybe not that long) most of them still refuse to take notice of their customers and supply a decent mitre gauge with their product. The internet is full of disappointed buyers (myself included) who after opening up the box to their shiny new cast iron saw find a cheap bit of plastic stuck on top of a crude length of steel or aluminium, which is often a sloppy fit in the slot.


f these companies are incapable of producing a good one themselves, then I am sure that they could do a deal with someone like Incra or Osborne to supply one of their gauges with each saw, and because of the large amounts purchased it should not add much to the overall cost. That way after setting...

How to make a Luthier clamp

In this new video from www.workshopessentials.com Steve Maskery shows you how to make a Luthier clamp with material from your scrap box.

Adjusting Wooden Planes

How to adjust the iron on a wooden plane – a common problem for first time users.

Woodwork: Setting gauge

A handy gadget for all Biscuit Jointer or Festool Domino users

Dealing with snipe on a planer & thicknesser

How to set up your jointer / planer / thicknesser to eliminate snipe, presented by Steve Maskery from www.WorkshopEssentials.com and British Woodworking Magazine.

Dust Extraction in the workshop

Steve Maskery from www.workshopessentials.com shows two ideas for improving dust control in the home workshop, one on the router table and one on the SCMS.

Sharpening a chisel

Sharpening a chisel using a Veritas Mk II honing jig, diamond stones and very fine (0.5 micron)microfinishing film.

Grinding and honing a chisel freehand

Using a high speed bench grinder with a Norton 3x 46 grit stone, to grind a chisel freehand. Then proceed to demonstrate how to hone the hollow ground blade freehand on a diamond (DMT) fine grit bench stone. Any minute burr left from the process is removed (stropped) on a piece of 3/4″ MDF with some metal polish (Autosol) used as a honing compound. Finally demonstrate how sharp the blade is with some paper, the hairs on my arm and some end grain pine.

The Ultimate Bandsaw Tenon Jig

New from Workshop Essentials is The Ultimate Bandsaw Tenon Jig. It references of just one face, as in traditional joinery, making it intrinsically more accurate then flipping the workpiece. It makes tenons, offset tenons, twin and angled tenons as well as lap and bridle joints. They are flush when they should be flush and set back precisely when they should be set back. The fit is guaranteed and there is almost no set-up. Right First Time Every Time.

Fine Height Adjuster for the PC7529

MKI (left), MKII (right)
I use the Porter Cable/Flex 7529 in my router table. It has a handy fine height adjuster which allows me to accurately set the bit height exactly where I want it. The trouble is the dial is small and when the router is inverted in the table, it’s working against gravity which makes it tricky and awkward to use. To get around this I made a simple ‘thingamajig widget’ which simply slips over the built-in fine height adjuster to give greater control. It’s simply a scrap piece of wood with the right diameter hole drilled in one end and shaped for comfort.

Turning the peice on the lathe

I made the first one a few years ago and as I didn’t have a lathe then I shaped it with just a block plane and sand paper. It’s had a lot of use over the years and is pretty worn now, so much that it’s lost its grip – time to make a new one.

I started by planing a piece of oak to the correct dimensions, then cutting it to the rough length. I then planed the 4 corners with a...

Cleaning Cast Iron Tables

A quick guide showing how to get your cast iron machine tables rust-free & looking like new…

In my workshop, like many people I have a problem with rust and without regular care my lovely, shiny cast-iron tables turn a not so lovely rusty brown. My bandsaw table is quite an extreme case mainly as it’s been stuck in a corner and hasn’t had any use for a few months. But fear not, it isn’t as bad as it looks, with a bit of work it can once again look like new. There’s no magic involved – just plain old fashioned elbow-grease…

The first step is to brush the table down and clear away any dust or chips. To get the rust off I use webrax. I normally either use the grey or brown sheets on my tools and machines. As the bandsaw table was in pretty bad shape I used ‘brown’ webrax which is courser then the grey sheets. I like to use CMT router cutter cleaner as it helps removes the muck and I find it’s a good lubricant for the webrax. I’ve also used...

Importing Power Tools from the US

Before I start I must mention that I am not a qualified electrician so therefore we can’t take any responsibility – the information below is just purely my experience of importing a power tool from the US!….

I’m quite fortunate that my sister has a US postal address and the other week when my mum was going to visit her seemed to be a good time to order a few bits from over the pond. I had a rough idea what I wanted and visited the WoodCraft, Rockler and Amazon websites to see what I could find.

I ended up ordering a Porter Cable 690LRVS router. Okay, I do admit I have a slight router problem, whereas certain people have a plane for every day of the week I seem to collect routers instead! Saying that, I only have two routers which I permanently use for hand held jobs, a T5 and an old and slightly knackered Bosch 500A which I often feel are under powered for most jobs – and I find my self having to take my 7529 out of the table which isn’t a job I enjoy. Also I’ve always wanted to...

Checking for square

A little gadget for checking a square corner

Small Step Stool

Cutting List

Job Title: Small Step Stool (all dimensions in mm)








340 230 15




200 200 20




260 130 20

When I was reviewing the Miller Dowel system, I needed a simple project to try it on. I got the idea to make this step stool from the Miller Dowel leaflet itself and you can’t get a project any simpler to make than this. It can be made in less than a weekend and only requires a basic tool kit.

I chose pine as that’s what I had in the workshop and I used the walnut dowels as I feel the contrasting timbers give a great effect. To read the Miller Dowel review and to find out where to buy it click here…

I started by preparing all the parts for the stool by planing then glueing and clamping up the pieces. All I used was glue – no biscuits.

When the glue cured I cut the pieces to their final dimensions.

I drew the centre lines on the two end pieces...

Houndstooth Dovetails

In my opinion, the most important considerations (in order) are:
Accurate stock preparation – no planer marks and very square ends
Marking out
Accurately cutting to the line

I used some maple that a friend gave me as an offcut and some mahogany I got from the old lab benches in my lab at work.

First off, I needed to resaw the wood. After resawing, I thicknessed all pieces before hand planing to final dimensions.

The hand planing is very important on faces and edges as we need to remove all marks from the machining operations to ensure an accurate joint. Rob Cosman says that this is essential and who am I to argue with him?

When planed, look at the boards and choose and mark the outside faces with a pencil.

The ends need to be absolutely square and a shooting board is the best method to achieve this. My board is designed to clamp in the bench vice and to clamp the workpiece and thus allows me to plane using both hands which I find more accurate and much easier


Introduction to Shellac

While I am certainly no expert at furniture finishing, I thought I would share with you my favorite method of finishing wood. I find the finish part of wood working to be the most relaxing and rewarding part of my hobby .I do not like to stain wood if I can help it, nor do I like the look and feel of polyurethane type finishes. I do admit though that they have their place, as there are times one needs a waterproof and heat resistant finish. I prefer to add color to wood, if need be, via shellac.
What is shellac? Shellac is made from the resin of the Lac Beetle larvae, most of which comes from India. It gets it's different color due to the time of the year it is harvested and the amount of refining that the lac went though. Some Shellac is dewaxed. This shellac has the wax that is found in shellac reduced to a low level.

Shellac is an excellent choice for a quick drying, non waterproof, finish for wood .It gives wood a wonderful warm natural look that enhances the natural beauty of...

Tenon Jig for the Router Table

The router table is one of my most favourite tools in the workshop. A lot of people don’t realise what a great job the router table does cutting tenons. Before I made this jig I used to use the standard mitre gauge to cut tenons then I saw this simple jig featured by Pat Warner in FineWoodworking magazine.

As you can see from the photo it can’t be any simpler. All it is, is two small boards of plywood and pair of toggle clamps.

It works great! Setting up a ‘stop block’ stops you from going to far and cutting into the jig and using a scrap of wood as a ‘back up’ piece helps prevent any tear out and again stops you from cutting into the jig.

I really need to replace the toggle clamps with bigger/stronger clamps as the ones I currently have are a tad to small. They cope fine with the work piece in the picture (45mm wide) but anything bigger and they don’t hold down as well.

It’s a very easy jig to build. Taking your time it will take less then half an hour to make. Just make...

Clear Wax Finish on Oak

Wax is one of my favorite methods of finishing, especially on oak. It’s
easy to apply, gives a great finish and you can see the results near enough

I start by filling any nail holes or marks there might be on the work
piece. In this case there was a nice big dent on the front where it was
knocked off the workbench. I’m using ‘Natural Oak’ Brummer stopping which
you can get from many places including Axminster.

Sand the piece thoroughly
and always sand with the grain.

An electric sander isn’t essential but it sure does take the effort out
of sanding. I normally start with a 80grit disc then switch to a 180grit
and finally finish with 320grit. I’m wearing a dust mask and I’ve got
the ROS sander connected to my shop vac to take away the dust.

I’m also using a ‘router mat’ (the blue mat) to keep the work piece from
moving about while I’m sanding. You can buy them from Axminster but I
got mine from Wilko’s in town.

Using a tack or damp cloth wipe the work
piece to...

Garden Planters

Nearly two years ago now I drew some plans to build these garden planters and do a guide for UKW – but they never got made – until yesterday, with the help of Tom. I’m glad we’ve finally made them! They look good, are very strong, easy to build (as long as you have a router) and the woodwork can be done in a day.

I’ve done a plan which includes a cutting list and you can download it by clicking here.

Start by cutting the 45x45mm posts and rails to length. We’ve used the powered mitre saw and set up stop blocks to make the process go quicker and to make sure all the pieces are the same length. Cut the four posts to 450mm long the eight rails to 350mm.

Take one of the four posts and on one face make a mark 30mm down from the...

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