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#121,MAY 2006

Bookcase Entertainment Center
Build a sleek cabinet around a giant flat-screen TV.

12Tips for 62 Better Biscuit Joining

Cut corner splines, store biscuits in kitty litter, make double-thick slots for added strength and more.

66 HowToHangInsetDoors
Doors look bestwith a small, evengap all the wayaround. ToolTest

72 BiscuitJoiners
The latest models have a terrific new fence grip.



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Stepsto B65 Foursquare Boards

Here's the classicway to make rough boards straight and square.


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8Tipsfor Milling RoughLumber

The least-expensivetype of lumber poses some unusual problems.

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& Answer B Ouestion
Remove stuck pulleys, select drill-press speed for small bits and discover the beauty of unsteamed walnut.



Make your own dowels, turn a cutting board into economical tablesawinserts, stretch a board using a scarfjoint and more.

Shop 20 Well-Equipped

Press Jet's cyclone dust collector, Thin Air vacuum bag, Kreg andJessEm miter gauges and a huge Starrett Protractor.

28 ModernCabinetmaker
Add Roll-Outs 10EasyWaysTo
Roll-out drawers make cabinet storage space a lot more versatile.


Skills BuildYour 34 BentWood Lamination

Dramatically curved parts add a new dimension to your work.

55 EO The FestoolTS
A precision circular saw and guide-rail syJtem makes slrper-smooth cuts in pl;'r'vood.

! 94 FreePlans Oops! 96 Shoehorn Vanity

Suspended air comPressor and bandsaw-blade hanger.

Join our online panel to receive 5 favorite shop-project plans.

Big cabinet vs. small door: The door lost.

4 American WoodworkerMAY 2ooo

'T!iD,tT! ffiilcu are $sts$m[u, 'iat0rtl0ins aeffilnncsat

GGS,,oo GffiGGt]iJCMTM
"It's neu) Gorilla line deliuers toq performance at a competitiue priin."
American Woodworker 2006 January

Dust 3hp Super Shown. Gorilla

Erlitor llxecrrtivc Etlitor Senior lltlitol .{ss,rri;rtc l-rlit, rls Tools aucl ProrlLrctsLclitol Iirlitorial Intenr Dcsign l)ircctor At-t Dittctols

Ken Collier RandyJohnson Tom CasPar TimJohnson Dave Munkittrick George Vondriska Luke Hartle SaraKoehler VernJohruon Joe Gohman

pleased "ljustwanted I am how toexpress and = cyclone I used to ownanimported cfclone. AllI cansayis &ez Gorilla. to the3hpDust uirgraded of Itf' Theamount difference. anamazing WdwtWhat is unreal, easily lllt machine I'mgetting ateach suction Youns machine. myold I gotwifi what double it'sa pleasure and ifsquiet, isbuilt like atank, need another l'll never Hopefully, to use. have mY butif I do,youguys cyclone, manufacturers forlife.Somany business product that, willdothisand that their claim Your but adud. tobenothing ittums out then wi$t asadvertised Shown bitasgood is every machine opUonal you." Thank then some, and
- Lou Miller,North Wales, PA

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C)opv I'-rlitor Jean Cook F : r c t( . l r t ' c k i r r g S p t r i : r l i : t r J e n n i f e r F e i s t Nina Childs;ohnson Plrcluction Nlanagcl Procluctiotr At'tist C)flicc Arlnrinistrative i!{an:rger Fitr;rncial Assistatrt 'lt'cltnical \'latlaser Rc:rclcr Scrvicc Spccialist Arhninistr-atilc .\ssistant Judy Rodriguez Lisa Pahl Knecht Alice Garrett Steven Charbonneau Shannon Hooge Roxie Filipkowski ShellyJacobsen

- $t&1.00 [ustEodllr 2hR - $895.00 llllstGorllla 2hR $uRot llu$t Gulllr-$tl$000 $urer Shn
in a class fesfed Our3hpGortila by itselfwiththemostairflow (CFM). fesfed Our2hpGorilla thanthe3,2.5, withmoreCFM exceptfor competitors andZhp unit. one3hp
performance resu/fs Woodworker SeeAmerican on ourwebsite.

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ADVERTISINGSALES 260 \latlison .'\'c., Nert \irrk. \\' I (X)I (l; (2 I 2) Uit0-722ti CIHI(l\()OJames Ford (31 2) ir'10-{80-1 Sherry Mallit (s:rlt:sassistartt) (llI2) it'10--1t]2{ \.EW \ORK Tuck Sifers (212) ,35(17197 (,lassilierlAclvcr-tisirtg, Thc IIcNcill C)rrrtrp'ltrc. (llassiliecl \lana$cr,Dorr Serfass, (215) 3:l g(i(iz:cxt. 30 P U B L I S H E D B Y H O M E S E R V I C EP U B L I C A T I O N S .I N C . , A SUBSIDIARYOF THE READER'SDIGEST ASSOCIATION,INC.

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Dedieatedto Dust Collection Since19%!

Cara L. Schlanger Lou Sassano

your Turns shopvacuum intoa cyclonic vacuum. Sand 50- lA0x longabetwxn filterclnningsl

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I07+9I52. I s s u c# I 2 I . A n r c r i c a n\ \ b o r l r v o r k c r @I.S S N " LISPS738-710Publisheclbinronthlr',cxcept nrouthlr t 'l c . . P L r b l i c a t i o t tIs O c t o b c r a t t r l N o r c t r t b e rb l H o t t t e S e r v i c e 260 \larlison .\'enrte, 5t h Floor, Nt'rvYrrrk, .r..\'10016. postagep:rid at Nerv\brk, NY artd ;rclclitiotral Perioclicals Seltd cltallge ol l<ldressnotict: nrailine officcs. Postnl:lst('r: r@. P(). Box Ul'ltt, Red ()ak. IA to Anrcricnn \\boclrvorke '.S. Singlconevcarr S2-1.98. Subscrilttion rates:f ir I ir9t -1l -18. (lirtrlcl:ronc-r'e:rr', S29.9u (L'.S. Frrnds);(lST # corrr. 55.91). (U.S. FLrn<ts) S2i).1)u nt?Zgggf;t l. Foreign srrrfhceonc-r'ear'. tlistribtrtiort ltv l-learstf)istribtrtion ()rortp. L'.S. nertsstarrtl Postagepaitl at f)atcrsar', \ervYrrrk. \\'10019. Itt Ciruacla; Senclreturtrs attd Outario; (lPlI# l4-17866. llississauga. adtlrcsschattgcst() .\rncri( alt \\trorllorker@. PO. Box ti l4t{. i n U S A .O 2 0 0 6 rintecl 1. R e r l O a k , l A , L : S A1 1 5 9 1 - l l ' 1 1 P FIorre Scrlice Publicatiorts,lnc. All right-stt'sctretl. r's l)iuestrnavshareittfcxrlation ltlxtttt r<rttrvitlrrcprttable Rcad< irt ol<lcr lirr tltclrl to ofler vott Pr(xlllclsatrrlsclrices cornP;rnics rather llc ll()1shareittlirlrtratitn, ol intcrcstto r'ort.If xrtt tr'ortlcl .\trrericltr l)igt'st Associatioll. pleirscrrrit< to us at: Reitder's (lttsttrncr Scnice Departtrtent'P(). Box 8l-lu' \\bo<lrrorkcr'. lalxl. rrrttr acl<lress a copr of Red Onk. IA 5l ir91. Plt aseincltrclc lf the Post Office alerts tts th:tt lttttr ntagazitrcis Srrbscribers: ne hile Ito fitrther ol;ligatiotr ttltlessrvc rrncleliverablc. re<cilt' it correctcclatldressrvithitl one vcAr.


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Amer-ic:rn \\boclrvorker-

MAY 2ooo

I am trying to swap cutterheads on my jointer (l'm
going c a rb i d e ), b u t l c a n ' t g e t th e pulley off th e o l d c u tte rh e a d . D o I need t o g e t a n e w p u l l e y ?W i l l I b e able t o g e t i t o n th e s h a ft o f th e new cutterhead?
You don't need a new pulley. You do need a pulley puller. You can buy or rent one at most hardware stores (see Source, below). Expect to pay around $5 to rent and as much as $30 to buy one. A puller is designed to hook onto the back of the pulley. A threaded rod screws down onto the shaft center' As the rod tightens against the shaft, the jaws pull on the pulley. There are two- and three-jaw pullers. Threejaw pullers cost more but are easier to use because the pulling power is distributed at three poins around the pulley instead of two. A twojaw puller can fit into tight spacesbetter. We found a combo nvo- and three-jaw puller (see Source). You may face the same problem in reverse when you try to put the pulley on the new cutterhead shaft. Here's an old machinist's trick for getting tight-fitting pulleys or bearings on a shafu Bake the pulley. Iron expands with heat, which should open up the hole in the pulley enough to get it on the shaft. There's no need to get the pulley red hot. Just pop it into an oven at 300 degrees F for 10 minutes or so. (Don't forget to use oven mitts!) Bake a tight-fittingpulley. The heat will expandthe pulley so it fits easily on a shaft. Source Enco,(800)873-3626, #891-4057, $34. Combo213jaw puller,


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If you have a question you'd like answered, send it to us at Question & Answer, American Woodworkel 2915 Commers Drive, q"if 799, Eagan, VfN SSfZt or imail o ilanda@readersdigesrcom. Sorry, but the volume of mail prevents us from answering each question individually.


F E.

American Woodworker

MAY 2ooo

Dntl-PRESS SpEeo

f Do I reallyneedto change >aJmy drill-pressspeed for bits?They seem small-diameter to drill OK at a slow speedand it's the belt kind of a hassle changing a l lt h e t i m e . \

On the road or in the shop, it's best to obey the speed limit. In the case of nvist bis, the smalldiameter bits rely on high rpm rates to clear the flutes of wood chips. At high speeds, the flutes are better able to carry the chips up and out of the hole. At slow speeds, the flutes tend to jam up with material, which leads to slow cutting and high temperatures that will dull bits prematurely. There's also a tendency to push harder to overcome thejammed bit, which can result in a broken bit.

Welruur Sreevrro vs. UrusreAMED

walnut looksa lot ls it true that air-dried betterthan kiln-dried?
Kiln drying acrually has little effect on walnut's I l-colof but steaming does. Steaming blends the natural colors and distributes them wenly throughout the wood fibers. The result is a rather drab, grayish-brown A board.I0ndriedwalnutisrxuallysteamedbecausefurni. . ture manuhcturers like the uniformityitgives to theirfurniture. That's why marry people have been led to believe it's the kiln that kills walnut's natural beauty.

Unsteamed walnut, whether it's dried by kiln or aiq pre serves the purples, reds, greens and browns that naturally occur in walnut As an individual crafisperson, you may sometimes want to avoid sifting through boards for good color matches. That's the time to picksteamedwalnut Forspecial projects in which you really want the rich, true colors of walnut dis played, go for unstafiied.


American Woodworker

MAY 2006


Makelbur Own Dowels

seem to have the right dowel. If it's the correct diameter, it's Jr,.u., Ithe wrong kind of wood. Rather than stocking dowels of every size ahd species,I make my own, using a tool that's probably been around since the Iron Age. My dowel maker is a l/4-,in steel plate with holes that decreasein diameter by l/ increments. Driving a square blank through the seriesof holes produces a round dowel that matches the smallestdiameter. The blank should be no larger than the largest hole; shaving one end to a point makes starting easier. The dowel is roughly shaped at refine it. Dowelsmade this way are perfectly sized, first; successive passes but they often show some tear-out. They also have to be made in short sections; hammering slender blanks that are longer than 12 in. causes too much deflection.

Each hole is drilled through from the top and then counterbored l/64-,in. oversizefrom the bottom. Stop the counterbore L/L6 in. short, so all that remains of the original hole is a l/l&in.-wide lip at the top. This lip provides the cutting edge. The counterbore provides clearance for the dowel. To drill accurately sized holes, you must firmly clamp the plate to your drill-press table and your drill bits have to be sharp. Use a centerpunch to locate each hole and keep the drill bit from wandering. Operate the press at 1,000'rpm (slower for 7/lG:in. or larger bits) and use cutting oil while you drill. . Flattening and polishing the top surface creates cutting edges around the holes. For this step, you can use your sharpening stones or sandpaper adhered to a flat surface' shrannon Hooge

E c o N o M r c A Ll r u s e H T S
made Commercially zero-clearance inserts cost about $20. I make my own for less than $3 from 3/8-in.-thick polyethylene cutting boards, which are flat and rigid. A 14in. x 17-in. cutting board ($10 at a discount department store) yields four inserts.
14 American Woodworker MAY 2006

rough-sawing the After blank on my bandsaw, I attach the saw's insert with double-faced tape. Then I rout the blank to final size using a flush-trim bit. I drill 71/ pilot holes and install the adjustscrews, which are 3/8-in.long #10-24 Allen-head set screws ment

(about 40 cents each at a hardware store). Raising the blade through the polyethylene to cut the zero<learance slot leaves plastic curls around the edge. They're easily removed by filing or sanding. Paul Boutin

Meter TheCorrect Moisture Using Products! Wood CanAssure Quality

Assure the quality of yourmanufactured with woodproducts \tlltlcJ 220 the Wagnet Digital Moisture Meter. P"*"r, tr fr**" & makers, flooring cabinet & installers, manufacturerc inspectors, architects, contractors, & engineers.
Includes:TheWagner MoistureMeasuring

Othermodels available:
nr .::-:' '-' HAedlnd -




r-Fl Testing thecure ltt of Waterborne 6H Finishes GfiS




CircleNo. 163

t-Boanp-SrnETcHlNG Jotrur
I bought a planer/molder so I could make my own moldings. My living room required one 28-ft.-long molding, but all I had to make itwere l2-ft. boards. I didn't want to settle for separate lZ-ft. molding sections NITS+l mitered during installation. I wanted this molding to be one continuous piece.Joining the board$with diagonal scarf joints beSrg molding them was the scilution. To mafre a scarf joint, lay using at least a out the afigtres 4to-1 rafl 4 in. of run for every l-ih. rise. Increasing the ratib- ,strengthens the glue joidt. The joint will be
lnco the and if you match

grain direction Use your bandto cut the saw or d*sabersaw angles. ffio" joint the edges by attaching a fence and routingWth u flush-trim bit. GlueJ$pe boards together
ona clamps rface. Install the ndicular to the u may the pieces from have to

sliding notch

edges of the old the clamps at angle. Daae Okon


American Woodworker

MAY 2ooo

Recently, a friend asked me to reglue the buckled veneer in a tabletop. The problem was located too far from the edge to clamp with my longest handscrew, so I added wooden fingers to nearly double is reach. I made the fingers of 3/4in. hickory though you could use any hard, stiff wood. I fastened them with 1-1l2-in.Jong No. 14 screws. The fingers reduce thejaw capaciry bv l-1,/2-in., down to 3 in. on my 8-in. handscrew. Longer fingers on a larger handscrew should be thicker to minimize deflection. To screw on the fingers, I open the jaws wide, like a yawning cartoon alligator. Leif Scott

\,t/e'll give you $150, this greatlooking shirt and a durable shop apron for your Worlshop Tipl Send your original tip to us with a sketch or photo. If we print it, you'll be woodworking in style. E-mail your tip to or send it to Workshop Thr, A,merican Woodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121. Submissionscan't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissionsand use them in all print and electronic media.
MAY 2006


Arnericau Woodworker

E A S I LY,,,,Fi N G A G E S




Parallel Clamp Voted "Best New Tool" for its tremendously innovative and easy to use features,the all-new JET@ Trigger.See your next set of clamps in simplifies clamping action with its exclusive Clutch Design and S/ide-GliderM action at a quality JET woodworking dealernearestyou or at

DyGeorge Vondriska

Jer'S Nrwesr



More thanjust a me-too entry theJet offers features not found on other

-7 collectors. One unique feature is the pressure tube that allows you to use a plastic bag in the barrel. The tube runs from the cyclone down to the collection barrel. It uses the negative pressure from the cyclone to pull the bag tight against the inside of the barrel, which keeps the bag from being sucked into the cyclone. Jet's unusual inlet design is an port that flares to a rectangular rectangle's height almost equals tor cylinder's height to enhance 8-in. round shape. The the separaairflow and


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separation performance. The JC-3 combines a 14in. backwardly inclined steel impeller with a 3-hp motor to produce excellent airflow performance. Airflow is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM); below. The separation performance on the Jet is excellent. A neutral vane inside the separator cylinder promotes smooth airflow and aids in separating the debris from the air stream. After this cyclone "ate" an entire barrel of dust from our workshop, only a trace of dust made its way to the collector bag under the filter. While working, it produced a noise level of 87 decibels. Jet uses a snap ring for quick, easy changes of the plastic collector bag. The cartridge filter features a built-in paddle wheel that allows you to clean clogged pleats with the turn of a handle. TheJetJG3 comes in two models: the JG3CF (shown above) with a 2-micron-rated cartridge filter and theJG3BF with a standard filter bag. The collector includes a sturdy tripod stand and a dolly cart for the dust barrel. The collector will fit under an 8-ft. ceiling.
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03691215 H20l Srerrc PnrssuRE(rNcHEs

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f ilter,JC-3CE with cartridge $1,700. www.iettools.comJet cyclonedust collector Source Jet Tools,(800)274-6848, with bag filter,JC-3BF, $1,400. Jet cyclonedust collector



American Woodworker

MAY 2006




VacuuM Bnc HnruD-PUMP


It exerts uniform

A vacuum bag is a great way to press veneer onto a substrate. that pressure across the surface-something can be especially tricky to do on large or curved parts. Avacuum-

bag system usually involves a specialized vacuum pump and can cost several hundred dollars. For a less-expensive option, try a Thin Air Press kit, $55 to $60. It uses a hand-operated pump and saves you a bunch of cash. It's also an economical way to try out vacuum veneering. In addition to the hand-operated pump, the kit includes a 20-mil bag with a one-way valve, breather netting and tape to seal the bag's mouth. Kits are available with either a 14in. x47-in.bag or a 2Gin. x 28-in. bag. When your project has been prepped and slipped into the bag, pressing it closed against the tape seals the opening of the bag. The breather netting, draped across your project, allows air to evacuate evenly so you get uniform pressure on the project. Start pumping and you'll see the vacuum bag slowly compress against your work. It takes about one minute of pumping to empty the air from the bag. The bag provides plenty of pressure to flatten veneer and holds the vacuum long

lrctuper o Finish hard to reach suffaces with 8 contour attachments o Built-in work light - increases visibility in dark comers o Dust canister for keeping a clean work environment Soft gnp handle for comfoft and better control


enough for the glue to dry. Two 14in. lengths of sealer tape are included with the kit. You'll want to keep some spare tape on hand, since the tape is the Achilles seal, er, I mean, heel in the system. One piece will work for a few applications, but any particles, like sawdust, that get on the tape will interfere with its ability to seal. Replacement tapes are available at $4 for two 14in. pieces. 938-4588, Skateboard Co..(416) Source Roarockit Air Press kitwith x 47-in. bag, #01300, kitwith 14-in. Thin Air Press $55.Thin x 28-in. bag, #01301, 26-in. $60.


American Woodworker

MAY 2006

NEw Mrrun GaucES

A good-quality, accurate miter gauge can greatly improve your tablesaw's capabilities. With a gauge, you FLtp STOP \ may even find you \ ^t don't need to eat ,^t Lrp more shop space by adding a miter saw. models Two new

examples of well-made miter gallges. The Kreg Precision Miter Gauge System, $160, offers lots of value for the buck. Commonly used angles, 10, 22.5,30 and 45 degrees left and right, are located by an index pin. Additional angles can be set trsing the protractor and vernier scale built into the head.

The flip stop is very convenient. .. _.g:t allows it to ",,,.""..-).-- shape -.,,-/' pivot up, out of the .way, when you slide in your material for your first sqlraring cnt. For yottr final cut, simply butt the sqtlare --tt .!'-end of your board against the side of the stop. It's a slick system that rarely needs to be flipped !_ completely out of the way. The head pivots 60 degr-ees j in both directions. Its crosscut capacity is 24 in. Setting the fit of the bar to the rniter gauge slot is a little fussy. You need to remove the bar frotn the table slot and turn each of five bar adjusters to customize the fit. After that's done, this proved to be a simple-to-use, accllrate miter gauge. Its curved

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from JessEm Tool and l(reg Tool are great


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24 Anrericart \Abodnorkcr'

The JessEm Mite-R-Excel, fi220, is a beautiful piece. It uses an unusual nvo-pin system to effectively and precisely adjust the miter gauge head to the proper angle. One pin positions the head to within 5 degrees of the angle you want. The second pin locates the head to the last half-degree that you want. If you'd like to go beyond that, a vernier scale allows you to dial the head into 1/10-degree accuracy. It's extremely easy to hit a precise angle with this miter gauge. The head pivots 45 degrees in both directions. The fence has a flip stop for repetitive cuts and a 3Gin. crosscut capacity. Miter gauge bars rarely fit miter gauge slots with much precision. The Mite-R-Excel bar is conveniently adjusted from above. while the bar is in the miter slot. gauge It's very simple to do. Sources KregTools,(800)447-8638, Tools, , 1 6 0 .. J e s s E m PrecisioM n i t e rG a u g e System# , K M S 7 1 0 2$ (8661 com J essEm M ite-R-Excel, $220. 272-7492,www.j essem.



JessEv Mrrr-R-Excel

American Woodworker

MAY 2006


qunl"n[,,/an *t n"^l^'''ot
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Su prn-AccuRATE PnornAcroR
all the .fust nhett I think I ktr<>n' an{rlcs, I gct bafllecl. Especiallv rvht'n it tlf colnes to ctttting uriters. Ncl c<lrttet-, coul'sc, is trtth' sqtlare. So -vott'r'eg()t to clo soure fletrrinq to set 2l sA\vto exactll' the right atrgle to proclttce tl're tniter that fits the cortrcr that istr't sqttareyikes! This carl be especiallv frttstratit'ltl if the protl'actol' on votlr satv istr't ven' precise. Enter the Starrett 505A-7 Pro Site prcltractor, $35. Use it to tnezrstlrea corlrer atrd vott'll kuort' the exetctangle crf tlre corlter nnd tl'te uriter ztngle that at to trlake ),ott'll ueed to set votlf saw the perfect ctlt. Ytrtt cau also ttse thc protractor as a scttlp tool to get those tricky angles establisl-redou 1'ottr nliter sA\\rof tablesarv. Tl-risis a haudv tool, et'ett if ,v<ltt'retlilt nitering all clav everv clal'. It pt-oviclesa cortvettiett t, acctll'ate \\'al' of sctting zrtrglesott A t'arie$' of tools' A larger version, the Pro Site 505A-12, is als<lavailable, $40. 249-3551, S o u r c e L . S S t a r r e t t(,9 7 8 ) 7o -m i n .P r o S i t e ,# 5 0 5 4 - 7 , http.//catalog.starrett.c , 40 . r oS i t e ,# 5 0 5 4 - 1 2$ $ 3 5 . 1 2 - r nP


.\tttt t'ir'lrll\\irotlir'orkt l

MAY 2ooo

bl Brad Holden

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Roll,Outs tclA{gn

Mounted these shelves give you easier access to boxes, jars and kitchenware. Yott can easily add roll-outs to existing cabinets as well. If you do, take three things into accottnt: First, determine whether you mlrst build out the inside of the cabinet so the roll-out and slide clear the door or face fratne, including the hinges. Second, choose rvhich kind of drawer slide to use: partial- or full-extension. And third, decide what shape and size to make the roll-ottt drawer box. These 10 tips cover tnost of the optionswhether you're retrofitting or building new cabinets.

oll-out shelving is one of the most popular features of new kitchen cabinets. on standard drawer slides,





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-\rnt'r'itrttr \\irotluolkt't-

MAY 2ooo

Use Zeao-PnornusloNHlruces
Zero-protrusion hinges (see Source, page 32) swing the door completely clear of the opening, allowing a rollout to be pulled out.withouthitting the door's edge. These hinges let you mount the drawer slides directly to the cabinet sides. hinges may be awkward to install in an old Zeroprotrusion cabinet, because they might require new holes.

Arrncu St-lors ro A Pnrurl

drawer slides to a new panel so the rollouts clear the existing hinges or face frame. Then screw the panel to the inside of your cabinet. Make the panel full height to create a finished look on the Mount inside of the cabinet.

Mourur Sltoes oru Plnsrlc SPAcERS

These spacers provide an eznyway to move out your slides so they clear face frames, hinges or doors. They're availablein 1/8-in., 3/8-in., l/Z-in' and 3/' heights (see Source, page 32). After screwing the spacersto the cabinet sides, attach the slides to the spacerswith No' 7 screws(seeSource). wood screwsor Pozi-system

Use MoururlrucBnncrETS
Mount one bracket on the face frame and the other on the cabinet back. The slides simply snap plywood back, into place. This cabinet has a l/*in. which is not thick enough to hold screws- An easy mounting strips on the solution is to installS/hin. back using construction adhesive.


ker MAY 2OOo

Mnrcr AolusrABLE


Make supports from 3-in.-wide boards that are thick enough so the roll-outs clear the face frame and door. Space dadoes at l-in. intervals. Mount the cabinet part of the slide to a3/4-,in. square strip of wood that is the same length as the cabinet's inside depth. Slip the strips into a set of dadoes and add the roll-out.

Use n Renov-To-lrusrau SvsrEM

Thissystemisasimple,quickwaytoaddadjustablerollto outs. It uses small blocks called hook dowels that attach interl-in. at spaced holes square into fit They the slide. vals in the standards. The mounting strips stand offeither from the cabinet side to clear hinges' face I or l-l/4in. (see Source, below) ' doors or frames

Bult-o Our FoR Mrrel SraruoARDs

Here'sasimplewaytoinstallroll-outsincabinets that have metal shelf standards: Mount your slides to plastic spacer blocks that have shelf clips on their tacks. The system is quick and adjustable but is only rated for 35 pounds per roll-out (see Source, below)'

Pnrverur Doon DavtacE wlrH

Install drawer bumPers to prevent slides from scratching a door. These bumpers extend beYond

Connel SrurF wlrH Tall Bacrcs

Buitd your roll-outs with tall backs and sides if theywill carry tall or
stacked items. Make the front low to keep items easily accessible. Fullextension slides Provide easy access to the con- --tents at the roll-out's back (see Source, below)' Th.y cost about twice the price of threequarterepoxy-style slides' extension, bottom-mounted, though.

most bottom-mounted epoxy-style slides, but you may need to add a

spacer, such as a washer or cardboard shim, behind the bumPer to keep a full-extension

ball-bearing slide from scratching the door.

Htor THE St-loEs

fronts to cover look, extend rollout an extendattach to dadoes Use slides. the ends of the use roll-outs, taller For roll-outs. ed front on shallow For a refined biscuits.

(800)383-0130' Source WoodworkersHardware, T7500' hinge'#B071 Zereprotrusion #8060'275,$0'58 ea' Face-frame plasticspacers, $8 ea. 3/4-in.(19-mm) brack$0'80 ea' Rearslide-mounting #KV8404, brackets, slide-mounting supportsets,#TN8520,$17 a set' Adjustable $t et, #KV8401, s|ides, "u. $3 ea. Full-extension #KV1303, System, mounting Shelf-standard ea' #KV8400822, g13a sei. Dta*"r bumpers,#8X1926WH' $0'30 pori-tytt"t screwsfor S-mm holes,varioussizes,$3 to $4 per 100'


American Woodworker

MAY 2ooc




s your woodworking ready to break free of the box? Check out bent laminations. You'll find a whole new world of possibilities to explore. Woodworkers use bent wood laminations for everything from chair rockers to drawer handles. Bent laminations do more than give your project a graceful look; when used as a structural element, such as a table leg, tfrey are actually stronger than if the piece were cut from a single block of wood. That's because the grain nrns parallel with the shape; there is no weak short grain. A bent lamination is simply a board sliced into thin, flexible plies and glued back together in a

form to create the desired shape (see photo above). Bent laminations don't take a lot of specialized equipment. You probably already have all the tools you need: a bandsaw or tablesaw to cut the thin plies and a planer to take offsaw marks and adjust each ply's thickness. You will also need a bunch of small bar clamps, two-part urea-formaldehyde glue, a glue spreader and some sheet stock to make forms. Here are 10 tips to get you started making your own bent laminations. Start small-try something like drawer pulls-and have fun. With a little practice, you'll be ready to handle any curve.




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American Woodworker

MAy 2006


American Woodworker

MAy 2006

Usr rHE RlcHr Glur

Use a two-part urea-formaldehyde glue for bent laminations. It sets hard but slowly. The hard set helps the lamination hold its shape. The long open time takes the frenzy out of glue-up. I recommend Unibond 800; it's a ureaformaldehyde glue with three shades of powdered catalyst to better match the wood you're using. It also cleans up easily with water' Epo*y is also a good choice for bent laminations, but it costs almost twice as much as urea-formaldehYde. Standard wood glue is not the best choice for bent laminations. Yellow glue sets soft and fast. It is also prone to glue creep, a phenomenon in which the cured glue creeps out of the laminations over time, resulting in unsightly, raised glue lines.



American \A/oodworker

MAY 2006

Lrnre rHE Fonv Wrpr Conr

Apply alayer of self-stick cork liner (available at home centers, 12-in. x 4ft. sheet, $6) to the form. This liner helps even out irregularities in the sawn form. Cork also creates a nonslip surface that aids in holding the lamination to the form as you apply clamping pressure.

Panr Fonvrs

SHanp Cunvrs

a one-part form for curves in excess of

180 degreesor for complex shapes.A onepart form is easier to make than a two'part form, but it does require numerous clamps and that can make glue-up more challenging. Becausepressure is applied only where the clamps are located, using a one-part form can result in some crushed wood fibers, an uneven surface and gaps in the glue lines. Most of these problems can be avoided by simply not overtightening the clamps. Use clamp blocks and plenty of clamps to help spread the clamp pressure evenly.


"', IJse a two-part form whenever possible to clamp the plies together. Two-part forms are the best choice for gentle cuwes under 180 degrees. The two parts apply even clamping pressure along the lamination's entire length. Llsing glued-up sheet stock is a quick, easy way to make a form blank. Waxed paper protects the form from glue squeeze-out.

American Woodworker

BuYTNG AnvrcE FoR SHop Grnn

-tirr frs-r'ooiL
THts PRECrsroN sAW

:fs 55F',,2

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Anrerican \\bodl'or-ker'

your trick for cutting up a tull sheet of /hat's ply'vood? Do you flop it onto your tablesaw t/ l/ Y Y and wrestle it past the blade? Do you use a circular saw and gnash your teeth over chipped veneer and a wandering, burnt edge? If so, help is on the way. A
rf' 1



h:.-; E:rl :.if+

The Festool TS 55 EQ plungecutting circular saw and guide rail ($430) make cutting plywood as easy as one, two, three. The results are alrrazine (Photo 1). You won't get ragged edges, even with such chipprone materials as melamine or oak plywood. And every cut will be right on the money (Photo 2). You can also use this system for cutting solid wood as thick as 1-15116 in. Best of all, you can do all your cutting on a pair of sawhorses. This system is a good alternative to a panel saw or a sliding table for your tablesaw. It's more portable, takes up a lot less space and costs less.



Absolutelystraight,virtually chip-freecuts are easy to make with the FestoolTS55 EO ($430). lt's hard to believethat a circularsaw can producethese results, but it's true.

HrcH-OuaLrrY Curs
The Festool TS 55 EQsaw and guide rail work together to reduce chipping to a minimum. Both have replaceable zerodearance splinter guards (Photos 3 and 4). The saw is engineered to minimize run-out in the arbor and blade. The result is a smoother cut than other saws can make. The blade that comes with the TS 55 EQis similar to a highquality tablesaw blade designed to cut plywood. A riving knife helps prevent binding in solid wood and scoring plywood as the blade exits the cut (Photo 5). The Festool TS 55 EQ has a lGamp motor with electronic variable speed (EVS). EVS keeps the motor mnning at a constant rate under load. This produces a smoother cut than cuts made by sawswithout EVS, which can bog down under load. Variable speed is particularly beneficial for cutting aluminum or plastic. The TS 55 EQs guide rail is an aluminum extrusion that's engineered to track the saw in a perfectly straight line. The guide rail has a raised bar that fits into a groove on the saw's base. The fit benveen the guide rail and saw can be fine-tuned by a couple a{ustment knobs on the saw. Once a{usted, the saw travels very straight. There's virtually no play. A low-friction tape on top of the guide rail helps the saw glide easily.


Making a precisecut is simple because the saw's blade cuts exactlyeven with the edge of the guide r a i l .A l l y o u h a v et o d o i s p o s i t i o nt h e g u i d e r a i l o n a p e n c i ll i n e . T h es a w t r a v e l si n a n a b s o l u t e l y straight l i n e a l o n g a r a i s e db a r o n t h e g u i d e r a i l .


3 Q{,f
The saw'szero-clearance splinterguard preventschipp i n g o n t h e o u t s i d ee d g e o f t h e b l a d e .


Ensv Serup
Accurate cuts are a cinch to make with this system. You just line up the guide rail with your pencil marks, or a line, and start sawing. Your cuts will be exacdy on the line. The guide rail has rubber strips on the bottom to help the plywood stay put. Although the strips do a pretty good job, it's best to clamp the guide rail, too. You can use spring clamps, but the Festool guide-rail clamps ($30 for two) are more convenient. They engage in a T:track on

A s p l i n t e rg u a r d o n t h e g u i d e r a i l p r e v e n t s chipping o n t h e i n s i d ee d g e o f t h e b l a d e .

American Woodworker

MAy 2006

the bottom of the guide rail, so there's no chance of them interfering with the cut. This saw gives you a lot of flexibility in how you plan your cuts. The spring-loaded plunge mechanism allows you to start and stop a cut anywhere on a sheet of plywood. Start the saw with the blade retracted and depress the machine to make the cut. Allow the machine to retract by spring pressure at the end of the cut. This plunging ability is helpful for getting the maximum yield from a sheet, especiallywhen the cuts don't line up with each other and you have to start or stop in a corner. It's very easy to preset the saw'sdepth of cut (Photo 6). The one drawback to this system occurs when making identically sized pieces. With the Festool TS 55 EQ you must lay out each cut and accurately position the guide rail each time. Ifyou're not careful, you could accumulate a lot of error. Identical pieces are much easier to make r,r'ith a tablesaw.


xw +H
TheTS 55 EO saw is engineeredvery differentlyfrom other circularsaws. Most importantly,its arbor has very little run-out.Thesaw has a riving knife to prevent binding,comes equippedwith a 48-toothplywood blade and has excellentdust extraction. ffi.HSW+ -'. ffiHTIoF.CUT ,. SCALE

WHnr Elsr Dors lr Do?

a pair of very long 24in.-wide pieces for a be tough to handle on a tablesaw, but would countertop TS 55 EQ.Just position the guide rail the it's a snap with Mitering right on the cutline. The TS 55 EQ also works well sawing long bevels for mitered corners. Again, all you have to do is position the guide rail on a pencil line. Even when tilted, the saw cuts right on the line. With the addition of a longer guide rail and new blade (see Source, below) the Festool system is a great way to straight-line rip solidwood. The TS 55 EQhas amaximum cutting depth of I-15/16 in. For thicker work, Festool will introduce the TS Tslater in 2006 ($450 to $500, including a guide rail). It will have a2-3/4,in. depth of cut. The guide rail is also compatible with the Festool OF 1010 EQplunge router ($325, Photo 7). saw, which means TheTS 55 EO is a plunge-cutting you can start or stop a cut anywhereon a sheet of plywood. lt's easy to lower the blade to a preset depth of cut.

@ ---'r


The TS 55 EQs standard guide rail is 55 in. long. An additional 10Gin. guide rail ($190) is available. To prevent the power cord and vacuum hose from catching on the guide rail's end, Festool makes an accessory called the Deflector ($11). I heartily recommend it. Festool also offers a large protractor-like Angle Unit ($62) for setting up diagonal cuts.

4;{"'-':s :,' ,,i '

. ..

fits on The FestoolOF 1010EO plunge router ($325) to t h e g u i d e r a i l ,t o o . Y o uc a n c u t d a d o e sa n d r a b b e t s join the piecesyou cut with the saw.

sheets of plywood for interior trim and casework. So, for the home shop, do you get rid of your tablesaw? Not quite. You still can't beat a tablesaw when it comes to quick repeatability and making a wide variety ofjoints. The TS 55 EQis a great companion to a tablesaw, but not a complete substitute.

TUE FrrunlArunlYsls
The TS 55 EQ produces impressively clean cuts in plywood. It easily reduces large pieces of plywood into finished pieces. When it's connected to a shop vacuum, there's almost no dust. For an installer working away from the shop, this system provides an accurate way to field<ut

(888) 337-8600, Source Festool, #439685, $30.106Ripping blade, #561174, TS55 EO, $430. guards for splinter Replacement rall, #491937, $192. guard for splinter #491473, saws, $13forf ive.Replacement #491588, Unit, $62' guide #483164, rail, $9.Angle 55-in. #489570, $30fortwo. #489022, Deflector. $11. Clamps,


American Woodworker

MAY 2006

Materials: Four sheetsof 3/4-in. cherry veneer-core plywood One sheet of 114-in. fibercorecherry plywood Four sheetsof 3/4-in. birch veneer-core plywood cherry 45 bd. ft. of 414 lumber

S e v e np a i r so f n o mortisedoor hinges T w o p a i r so f f u l l drawer extension slides G l a s sf o r d o o r a n d shelves S t a i na n d t o p c o a t

joiner Biscuit B r a dn a i l e r m i t e rs a w Compound Cordless drill Jointer Planer R o u t e ra n d r o u t e r table Tablesaw Clamps D a d ob l a d e

D o w e l i n gj i g iron and Edge-band trimmer 2 - i n .h o l e s a w r o u t e rb i t Rabbeting 45-degree chamfer r o u t e rb i t outer R a i l - a n d - s t i lre bit set

Hardware: S h e l fp i n s Connectorbolts Assorted screws Magneticcatches clips G l a s sr e t a i n e r Threadedinsefts No. 20 biscuits Gost: Approximately $1,100



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during assemblyand in'stallatlon.
50 Anreric:rn \4loodrvor-ker- MAy 2006

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the base.Brad-nailing makesquick 1 Start by assembling I work of fasteningpanelsto the frame,Along the front edge, however,I use clampsto avoid nail holes,which would otherwiseshow when the lower cabinetdoors are open.

to the baseframe using Q AOOthe solid-wood baseboard Q glue and clamps. No need for nails here.Themitered c o r n e rc o n t a i n sa s i n g l eb i s c u i t h a t h e l p sw i t h a l i g n m e n t and strengthens the joint.

The cabinetside overlapsthe baseboard ( A B )b y 1 / 1 6i n . t o h i d e t h e j o i n t w h e r e t h e baseboardmeetsthe base assembly's top panel (A5).

Lnv Our Youn PlYwooo Flnsr

Pick the best looking sheets for the sides of the lower side cabinets and sides of the upper side cabines (C2, D2). These pieces are arranged on the plywood layout (see Fig. M, page 59), so the grain matches when the cabinets are assembled. I used birch plywood for the inner parts of the lower cabinet rather than cherry plywood and saved about $250 on materials. When stained, the color of the birch plywood becomes very similar to the stained cherry plywood.

Burlo rHE Base ASSeMBLY

l. Assemble the base frame with biscuits and brads (Fig. B, above). The front and back frames (A1, A2) need to be spliced with patches (A3), because the base is more than 8 ft. long. The double stretcher boards (A4) provide support for the ends of the top panels (A5, A6, Photo l). 2. When the frame is assembled, add the cherry baseboard (A7, A8, Photo 2). 3. Rout the chamfer on the baseboard (Fig. B, Detail 1, above).

American \Abodworker

MAY 2006





e ,p Checkthat your cabinet boxes are square. Both corner., .,$ t o - c o r n e rd i a g o n a l m e a s u r e m e n t ss h o u l d b e t h e s a m e . l f t h e y ' r e n o t , r a i s et h e c l a m p s o n t h e c o r n e r w i t h t h e l o n g d i m e n s i o n a n d a p p l y p r e s s u r eu n t i l b o t h d i a g o n a l m e a s u r e ments matcn.

..,* Trim away the edge banding where the stiles attachto ""3"tfre top and bottom panels.This allows the stiles to be tightly glued to the paftitions.

Dernr 2 Bncr Pnruer Gnoove /'a(;;;{i'

EDGE Dernt 1 CourureRTop FRoNT Cnnuren

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*--r'"-' 114" x 114" O V E R H A NL G 114"





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Burlo rHE Lowrn CrrurEnCaerNET

4. Cut out the cabinet bottom, top, sides and partitions (B1,82,83, Fig.C, page52). 5. In the side panels, cut a groove for the back (B4, Fig. C, Detail 2). 6. Cut slots for the biscuitjoinery. 7. Edge-band the front edge of the top, bottom and side panels, but not the partitions (see Sources,page 59). 8. Sand the inside surfaces of the plywood parts-it will saveyou time and hasslelater on. 9. Assemble the parts with biscuits and screws.Use masking tape next to the joints to catch any glue that squeezes out. 10. Check that the cabinet is square. Use offset clamps to pull it square, if needed. (Photo 3). Slide the back in and secure it with screws. 11. Trim the edge banding (Photo 4) so the stiles (B5) can be glued tightly against the partitions (B3). First trace the location by holding the stile in place. Then cut on the line with a knife, heat up the cut section of edge banding and peel it off. 12. Glue and clamp the stiles to the partitions. 13. Glue the edge strip (86) to the countertop (B7) and rout a chamfer on the top edge and ends (Fig. C, Detail 1). 14. Attach the countertop to the lower center cabinet with screws.


f, nttactrthe lower cabinetsto eachother and then to the r.-,tbase.Connectorbolts make it easy to disassemble and reassemble t h e c a b i n e tf o r f i n i s h i n ga n d m o v i n g .



Nqr coNNEcroR BoLr\ /

Bun-o rHE Lowrn Sror CnerNrETs

15. Cut out and assemblethe parts (Cl through C4) for the lower side cabinets (Fig. D, page 54). Note that the cabinet sides (C2, D2) facing the TV opening have a groove on both sides (Fig. F, page 54). One groove is for the backs of the cabinets and the other is for the TV opening's back panel (E1). 16. Add edge strips (C5, C6, C7) to the countertop (C8) and chamfer the top corners. Also notch the inner corner of the countertop for the tongue of the TV panel (Fig. F) 17. Use connector bolts to join the lower side cabinets to the lower center cabinet (Photos 5 and 6); see Sources, page 59). 18. Next, join this trio of cabinets to the base with connector bolts and threaded inserts (Photo 7). The side cabinets should overlap the baseboard by L/I6 in. (Fig. B, Detail 1, page 51). This overlap hides the seam benryeen the baseboard and the top panel (A5) of the base assembly. 19. To accurately locate the threaded inserts in the base, I found it best to drill through both the bottoms of the lower cabinets and the base at the same time using a I / drill bit, which is the right size for the coupler bolt. Then slide the cabinets aside and enlarge the holes in the base to 3/B in. for the threaded inserts.


A,Use connectorbolts with LJnuts for the cabinet-tocabinetconnection.

connectorbolts and \V"" / threadedinsertsfor the cabinet-to-base connections.

Burlo rHE TV OpENtNG's

Bncrc Pnrurl

20. Becausethe TV opening's back panel (El) is 60-114in. wide, you'll need to edge-glue nvo pieces of plywood together (Photo 8). When carefully biscuited, these two pieces will glue up flush and only require a little sanding to knock down any ridge between the pieces. 21. \Arhenthe back panel is the correct size,rout a rabbet along the top edge and two sides (Fig. E, page 54). The resulting tongue fits into the grooves on the sides of the side cabinets and the bottom of the upper center cabinet. This joint holds the TV opening's back panel tongue-and-groove in place and prevents any gaps around its perimeter that might be caused by it or the side cabinets being slightly out of square. 22. Slide the TV opening's back panel into place between the lower side cabinets.

American Woodworker

MAY 2006


Asse-ble the center back panel. lt's so wide that's it's made of two pieces of plywood edge-glued together. Biscuits help with alignment. Masking tape keeps glue off the face of the plywood and simplifies cleanup. Q (J

to t h e u p p e rs i d e c a b i n e t s b o l t st o a t t a c h f) Useconnector c o u n t e f t o pi s s a n d w i c h e d J / t f t e l o w e r s i d ec a b i n e t s . T h e b e t w e e nt h e m .




MAY 2ooo

n Glue'the face frame to the upper center cabinet.The IIJ stiles overhangthe cabinetby a small amount.This ensures a tight joint between these stiles and the stiles of the upper side cabinets.


| | lnstall the upper center cabinet. Use support boards to I I hold the centercabinetin position.Join it to the upper side cabinets using connector bolts and nuts.


23. Cut and assemble the parts for the upper side cabinets (Dl through D5, Fig. D). Only the front edge of the bottom (D1) needs edge banding. The edges of the cabinet sides (D2) and top (Dl) are covered by the three-sided face frame. 24. Use coupler bolts and nuts to attach the upper side cabinets to the lower side cabinets. Sandwich the counr,ertop betrueen them (Photo 9). screu/s.The back is in nuo parts so the grain can nrn vertically. 27. Assemble the face frame (F5, FO) using dowels. 28. Attach the face frame to the cabinet. The face frame should overhang by 7/32 in. on each end (Photo l0). This ensures that these stiles pull up tight to the upper side cabinets' stiles when they arejoined together. 29. Position the upper center cabinet between the upper side cabinets. (Photo 11). The groove on the bottom of the upper center cabinet (Fig. G, above) fits onto the tongue on the top of the TV opening's back panel. 30. Clamp the upper center cabinet to the upper side cabinets and drill for the coupler bolts. 31. Install the coupler bolts and remove the clamps.


Cerurrn CaerNter
25. Cut out and assemble the para (Fl, F2, Fig. G above). 26. Slide in the back panels (F3, F4), and attach with

American Woodworker

MAy 2006


1 q Rout th'erails and stilesfor the doors. Featherboards Le keep the parts snug againstthe fence and table for router bit set with a accuraterouting. I used a rail-and-stile chamfer profileto match the chamferson the baseboardand countertops.

1 2 I\,

Rout a rabbet in the backinside edge of the doors that receiveglass.Chiselthe rounded cornerssquare,

34. Build the drawer boxes and install them on fullextension slides (see Sources, page 59). Add the drawer fronts. 35. Assemble the door frames for the upper and lower side cabinet and rout out the back lip to make room for the glass (Photo 13). 36. Mill out strips for the grilles (D9, D10) and cut the lap joints using a dado blade (Photo 14). 37. Fit the grilles into the upper side doors and glue in the filler strips (Dl1 through D14, Fig. H, left; Photo 15). Don't glue the grille to the door frame. Leaving them removable makes final sanding and finishing of the doors and grilles much easier. The glass will hold the grilles in place after it has been installed with retainer clips (see Sources,page 59). 38. Drill for door and drawer pulls (see Sources).

Burlo rHE Cnowru ASSeMBLY

39. The crown molding attaches to a mounting board and glue blocks, creating a single assembly (Fig. L, page 58), that is than attached to the top of the other cabines.

BurLD THEDoons
The doors and drawer fronts are all inset flush with the face frames. Inset doors are more work to fit and install, but they provide a nice clean look to the final cabinet. For a complete description of how to fit and install inset doors, see "How to Hang Inset Doors," page 66. 32. Rout the rails and stiles (B8, B9, B11, B12, C10, Cl1, D7, D8, Photo 12 and Fig. H). I used a router bit with a chamfered profile to go along with the chamfered details on the baseboard and countertops (see Sources, page 59). 33. Cut. out the panels (B10, B13) for the lower center cabinet doors and drawer fronts and assemble them.
56 American Woodworker MAY 2006

40. A lip on is bottom side fits over the top of the cab inets the way alid restson a shoe box (Fig.J, page 58). For this reason, it's important that the mounting board (made of Gl and G2) be correctly sized. I've provided "in a perfectworld" dimensions in the Cutting List on page 60, but you should take a measurement off the top of your cabinet and adjust the size of your mounting board accordingly. The length is the most critical measurement. If it's too short, the crown assembly will simply not go on, and you will have to do some creative chiseling or scraping to make it to fit. In fact, I recommend making your mounting board 7/32 in. to L/16 in. longer than the overall measurement at your upper cabinets. 41. When you have the mounting board cut, add the

Cutthe lap joints in the grille parts using a dado I I I-f blade.A notched stop block guaranteesthe location of the lap joint will be the same on all the grilles.Thenotch also holds the grille part againstthe saw table. front and back fi:ames (G4, G5, G6). Pay special attention that the distance between the frames and the mounting board's ends and front isl-1/2 in. (Fig.J, page 58). Anyvariation here will afiect the position of the angled glue blocks, which can be added next (Photo 16). Attach them by rubbing them into a generous squirt of glue and letting the glue dry completely before you attach the crown molding. 42. While the glue is setting, cut out the crown molding (G9, GlO). 43. The compound miters on the crown molding are most easily done on a compound miter saw.A tablesawwould work, but you will need to build a holddown jig for your miter gauge to hold the long front molding firmly while sawing. And you will also need to support the long end that hangs off your tablesaw. M. Onyour miter saw,set the miter angle to 35.26 degrees and the bevel angle to 30 degrees. Make some test cuts and see how the pieces fit. You may need to a{iust your angles slightly to get a perfect fit. 45. After you've fit the miters, it's time to slot the ends for biscuis (Photo 17). 46. Glue and clamp the crown molding to the mounting board and angled glue blocks (Photo 18). Hooked clamping blocks (Fig. K page 58) greatly simpli$ this task by grvingyou a flat place to clamp against and by app\ang even pressure to the molding. 47. When the glue has dried, the crown assembly can be lifted into place and screwed down (Photo 19).

1 K Glue filler strips into the rabbet in the back of the upper L..t door frames.Thefiller strips are the same thicknessas the grille and will leavea shallow rabbetfor the glass.


48. Drill grommet holes in the cabinets and cut wire and ventilation openings in the TV back panel and cabinet backs as needed for your specific TV and other equipment. Now that you've built your cabinet, it's time to take it apart for final sanding, staining and finishing.
American Woodworker MAY 2006 57

1 A, Attachthe angled glue blocksto the inner frame and w i l l s u p p o r tt h e IU m o u n t i n gb o a r d . T h e a n g l e db l o c k s crown molding.

. isS l o t t h e e n d s o f t h e c r o w n m o l d i n gf o r b i s c u i t s B 1n I J cuits' versatilityreally becomesapparentwhen you joint, such as this compound miter,to have a challenging assemble,

1" 114"LIP I



Tips for cutfing ^compound

mTterJolnts :

. .

o If the miter is open on the face or the back side, along the entire length of thejoint, you need to a{ust your saw'sbevel angle. o If thejoint is open atjust one end of the joint, you need to adjust the miter angle. I Getting a perfect fit usually requires fine-tuning both angles.
58 American Woodworker MAY 2006

1 a G l u et h e c r o w n m o l d i n gt o t h e m o u n t i n gb o a r d , T h e ILJ h o o k e dc l a m p b l o c k sm a k e i t e a s yt o h o l d t h e c r o w n i n p l a c e .U s e t h e e n d c r o w n m o l d i n gt o c h e c k the alignment of the front molding.

1 O Screw the crown assembly to the tops of the upper LJ c a b i n e t s .A f t e r a l l t h e d o o r s . d r a w e r s a n d h a r d w a r e have been fitted, take the cabinet sections apart for a final sanding,stainingand finishing.

(800) 4 4 5 - 0 0 7 7w , Sources Amana, R e v e r s i b lb ee v e ls t i l e - a n d - r a ro i lu t e rb i t a s s e m b l y# , 5 5 3 7 0$ , 1 0 0 .. G l a s s S o u r c e( ,800) 5887 4 3 5 ,w w w . t h e g l a s s s o u r c e . nG el ta s s f o r d o o ra n d s h e l v e sa , p p r o x$ . 2 0 0 .. R o c k l e H r a r d w a r e(,8 0 0 ) 279-4441 w , 1-1l8-in c.o n n e c t o r , 3 1 8 5 6$ , 31831$ , 4 . 3 9p e r p a c ko f no . n n e c t ob t w o 3 / 4 - i np . i e c e s# , 3 . 2 9p e r p a c ko f e i g h t .2 - 3 1 4 - i c b o l t sf o r j o i n i n g t h r e e3 / 4 - i n p . i e c e s# r o l t sf o r j o r n r n g h0 e x d r i v et h r e a d e d i n s e r t s# , 31872$ e i g h t .C a pn u t sf o r c o n n e c t ob , 3 . 4 9p e r p a c ko f e i g h t .1 1 4 - t n . - 2 , 3 . 3 9p e r p a c ko f e i g h t .N o - m o r t i s e r o l t s ,# 3 1 8 1 5 $ h i n g e ss , tatuary b r o n z e3 , - i n .o v e r a llle n g t h # , 90431$ , 3 . 2 9p e r p a i r . S - m ms e l f - c e n t e r i n bg i l , # 2 2 5 1 5$ , 2 0 .. W o o d w o r k e r H s a r d w a r e(,8 0 0 ) 383-0130, p a n e lc l i p sf o r l o w e rd o o r s , p a n e lc l i p sf o r u p p e rd o o r s , Gm lass , 4 per20.Glass 3 / 16 - i n .o f f s e t ,b r o w n ,# L A N 2 6 2$ , BWP2153 W O A , $ 5 . 1 3e a . F u l l #8WP2151 W O A , $ 4 . 3 8e a . B e l w i t hd r a w e rh a n d l e s# 5 / 1 6 - i no . f f s e t ,b r o w n ,# L A A 2 6 4 $ , 4 p e r 2 0 . B e l w i t hd o o rp u l l s , preglued extension d r a w e rs l i d e s , 1 8 - i n .# , K V 8 4 0 0 88 1, $ 11. 5 0a s e t . s - m m s p o o ns h e l fs u p p o r t sa , ntique b r a s s# , H8 2 14 , 5 2 . 2 0p e r p a c ko f 2 0 . C h e r r y iron-on , V 8 3 ,$ 7 . e d g et a p e / b a n d r nT g/,8 i n . x 2 5 f t . , # E T 0 7 8 P C H 2$ 57 , p e r r o l l .5 1 6 4 - i n s.e l f - c e n t e r i n bg i t f o r h i n g e s#








Material Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Cherry Cherry Birchplywood Birchplywood Birch plywood Birchplywood Cherry Cherry Cherryplywood Cherry Cherry Cherryplywood Cherry Cherry Cherryplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Cherryplywood Birchplywood Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherryplywood Birchplywood Cherry Cherry Tempered Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherry Cherry Polished edge Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Cherry Tempered Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherryplywood Cherry Cherry Cherry Birch plywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birchplywood Birch plywood Birchplywood Cherry Cherry Birchplywood Birchplywood

Dimensions(TxWxL) 3 / 4 " x 3 - 3 / 4 ' x9 6 ' x3-314" x 11-118" 314" 3l4ix3-314"x12" x3-314" x 19-7116" 314" 314'x 20-15/1 6" x 84-718" 2" 3x ' 314"x20-15116 13/1 x 109-112' 6" x 4-112" 13/1 6" x 4-1 12"x 21-314" x 19-911 6" x 58-1 314" 12' x"1 7 - 1 1 4 314" x20-3116 x x 19-911 6" 15-314' 314" 1 14" x 17-1 14" x 59" x 17-114 13/1 6" x 1-112" 3/8 x 1"x 60 x21" x60" 314" x 2-114" x 14-1 314" 18" x17' 3 1 4x " 2-114" 1 14" x 13-311 6' x 14-1116" x2-1/4" x15-112" 314" 3 1 4x " 2-114" x8-112" 1 14" x 15-7 6' x 4-11 116" 11 x 8-3/4 314x " 19-7116'1 x7" x 18" 314" x7" x 16-314" 314" 314"x6-318"x 16-112" 114"x17"x17-114" x" 22-112 314'x19-9116 x 20-31 16" x 25-314" 314" 114" x23" x25-314" 13/1 6' x 1-1 12"x 25-314" 3/8"x 1"x20-518" 3 / 8 x 1 "x 2 4 - 3 1 4 " 3 / 8 " x 1 "x 2 1 - 3 1 8 " 3 1 4x " 2 1 "x 2 4 " 314"x 19-7| 16" x 22-318" " 17-114" 314x " 2 - 1 1 4x " 25-112" 314x " 2 - 1 1 4x 1 / 8 " x1 l - 1 1 8x "2 1 - 5 1 8 ' x 15-9116" x 22-1 314" 12" 314" x 16-3116" x 46-314" 114" x23" x 46-314" 13/16 x 1-1 12"x 46-314" 1 3 / 1 6 ' x1 - 3 1 4 x"2 1 " 114" x 15-7116' x22-318" x2-114" x 45" 314" x 1l -114" 314" x 2-114" 1 1 4x " 314" x41-114" 114" x314"x 17-114" 114" x318"x 3-5/8" 1 1 4x " 3 1 8 "x 3 - 1 1 4 " 1 1 4x " 318" x32-112" 114" x3lB" x8-112" 1/8'x17-112 x" 41-118" 3la" x30-118" x 40-118" x 59-1 314" x 16-3116' 5/16" 314" x15-9/16'x13-314 114"x19-5/8"x14-114" 1 1 4x " 40-5116 x"1 4 - 1 1 4 13 / 1 6 "x 1 - 1 / 2 x " 12" 1 3 / 1 6 " x1 - 1 1 2 x"6 0 " 13/16"x 1 - 3 1 4 "6 x0 " 3 1 4x " 1 7 "x 1 3 ' x95 314"x17 314"x14"x14" 314"x1-112"x16" x 1-112" x95" 314" 314"x1-112"x12" 314"x1-112"x14" 314" x 1-112" x3" 314"x4"x19-718" 3 1 4x "4"x 113-11/16' 1 1 4x " 18-112"x 15-718" 1 14" x 18-711 6" x 95'

A1 A3 A4 A5

Longfront, backframe S h o r tf r o n t ,b a c kf r a m e Patch Stretchers

I nnn Qhnrt tnn fnn nenol nanal

2 2

1 1


Frontbaseboard E n db a s e b o a r d
Tnn ,v}J, hnffnm vvrrv,

Note: lf your plywood for the frorit and backframes (A1,42) is less than 3/4 in. thick, adjust the length of the stretchers (A4) so the final width of the plywood frame assembly, without the baseboard,equals 20-15/16 in.

B1 82
ttJ QA

| |


B5 B6 87 B8 B9 810 B11 812


Side Partition Back Face-frame stile

Fdno eirin

814 815
D to

817 818 C1 (^,) a? C4


Countertop B o o rr a i l Door stile D o o rp a n e l Drawerfront rail Drawerfront stile Drawerfront panel Shelf Drawerside D r a w e re n d Drawerdivider Drawerbottom Top, bottom Side Back Face-frame stile I n n e re d g es t r i p Frontedge strip outer edge strip
anr rn+orfnn

2 1 2 1 1
4 A

2 4


Note: lf your plywood for the sides (82) is less than 3/4 in. thick, adjust the length of the t o p a n d b o t t o m ( B 1 )s o t h e final width of the lower center c a b i n e te q u a l s6 0 i n . A l s o , i f your plywood for the top and b o t t o m ( 8 1 ) i s l e s st h a n 3 / 4 i n . thick, adjust the length of the ( B 3 )s o t h e f i n a l partitions height of the lower center cabinet,excluding countertop, . hen mease q u a f s1 7 - 1 / 4 i n w ured at the panitions.

C9 cl0 c11 c12


Shelf D o o rr a i l Door stile

G lacc nenal

Note: lf your plywood for t h e s i d e s ( C 2 )i s l e s st h a n 314in. thick, adjust the length of the tops and bott o m s ( C 1 )s o t h e f i n a l w i d t h of each lower side cabinet e q u a l s2 4 i n .

n? D4


D7 D8

D10 D11 D12 D13 Dl4 D15

Top, bottom Side Back Face-frame stile Face-frame rail Glass shelf Door stile Door rail grille Vertical glr i l l e Horizonta Shortvertical filler h o r i zonta f ill l e r Short Longvertical filler L o n gh o r i z o n t a f ill l e r panel Glass

4 4 4 I 8 4 4

Note: lf your plywood for t h e s i d e s( D 2 )i s l e s st h a n 3/4 in. thick, adjust the length of tops and bottoms ( D 1 )s o t h e f i n a l w i d t h o f t h e u p p e rs i d e c a b i n e t s e q u a l s2 4 i n .

TV Opening'sback panel E1 Back panel F1



Top, bottom
Qir{o nrrtitinn

- A

TO tt

Shortbackpanel L o n gb a c kp a n e l Face-frame stile Face-frame bottom rail Face-frame top rail panel S h o r tm o u n t i n g panel L o n gm o u n t i n g Joint patch Shortfront, backframe Longfront, backframe Joint patch E n df r a m e A n g l e dg l u eb l o c k Endcrown Frontcrown Shorttop panel
I nnd tnn nin6l

1 1 4 1 1

Note: lf your plywood for the t o p a n d b o t t o m ( F 1 )i s l e s s than 3/4 in. thick, adjust the length of the sides and paftit i o n s ( F 2 )s o t h e f i n a l h e i g h t of the upper center cabinet e q u a l s1 5 - 1 1 i 4 n.

Crown section

G2 G4 G5

1 1 1 2 2 2 14 2 1 1 1

G7 G8 G9 G10 G11 G12


Note: lf your plywood for the front and backframes (G4, G5) is less than 3/4 in. thick, adjust the length of the end frames (G7) so the outside measurementof the front and backframes in. e q u a l s1 7 - 1 / 2

American Woodworker

MAY 2006



Decorative corller splines sure make an ordinarv box look great. But they cau be a Let your platejoiner corne to the rescue.A simplejig holds bit dicey to cut on a tablesaw. The jig is the box and the joiner so you can cut slots quicklv rvitl'rrninirnal setup hassles. r-rothinglnore than a piece of scrap plpvood rvith nvo wood strips set at 90 degrees tcr base and keeps it from t-ockins on the each other. A cradle fits aroturcl the plate.joir-rer box corner. Tl-recradle is indexed to thejign'ith a couple dowels. Use spacer blocks to adjust the splir-respacing. Plturge tl-re.joiner into the rvood slowly to preverlt where the blade exits the wood. Witl-r this box, you only need one spacer block;jtrst flip the box over to ctrt the upper slot.



Arneric:rn \Akxrcll,olker

MAy 2006

BrscurrswrrH Krry Llrrcn


Nothing is more aggravating than a biscuit that won't fit into a slot-except maybe a whole bag of biscuits that won't fit. Biscuits swell as the1, 25ro.5 moisture, whether from glue or the air. To prevent swollen bisctrits, store them with a desiccant, such as kitty litter. The 'I ..1*.

[.:,,'ffi:;:::i::,il."i':'""i#o t

is lessmessy)onto a cloth, tie it up \* :urd toss it ir-rtothe container. No more
fat biscuits and thev'll always smell nice.


The cast-in alignment marks on a joiner can be difficult to read. If you're tired of squinting, use a permanent marker to highlight the marks. The difference it makes will amaze you.


ApPLYGlur wtrH AN Acln BnusH

Glue must be evenly applied throughout the biscuit slot ro ger the strongest joint possible. The easiestway? Squirt some glue into the slot and ther-r
nrn a glue bnrsh, sometimes called an acid brush, through slot until the glue is evenly coated on both sides and the bottom. Source Highland Hardware, 241-6748, 180CJ w w w . h i g h l a n d h a r d w a r e . cG ol m ue brushes, #166025, $3 for 10; #107792 $,1 0f o r 5 0 . the

Usr GaucE

flauge blocks are l-randy fbr cuttingdotrble biscuit ioints. Cut the first slot witl'r tl're .joiner base ref'erenced ofl' the work srrrface. Then, use il spacer block


,' \*

-/ ./

turder the .joiner base fbr the seconcl cut. The satrse block elirninates the h:rssle ancl conftrsion of' flipping votrr stock or resettine the fence. Make a u'hole set ancl vou'll be covered frlr' any biscuit-spacine need.


Ruw BrscurrsLoNG rNNannow Fnavrrs

You don't have to own a mini-biscuit joiner to assemblenarrow frames. If possible, simply shift the slots


' i ,

'jd . :,.. ,'..} -",,...




.* -\r ffi


where it won't be seen, for example, the top or bottom of a face frame. After the glue has dried, cut the protruding biscuit with a handsaw. Then flush-trim with a router or sander.


Hom rHE Frrucr

It's easy to misalign a slot with both your hands on the joiner's handles. Working that wa1', votr can't feel whether the fence is firllv in contact with the stock. The slightest shift up or down on the handle can callse the biscuit slot to be cut \^,'rong. Use one hand to hold the fence down onto the board and you'll eliminate errors.
t"+"-'oe!T:"*':* "*J" **!fr_.\_ *

QutcK, AccURATE FrrvcESrrrNGS

Gauge blocks work great for quick, accurate fence settings. All you do is pinch the block between the fence blades. This technique will also ensure the fence is set parallel to the blade. Joiners with rack-and-pinion fence adjustments automatically set the fence parallel with the blade. For this type ofjoiner, Lrse spacerblocks between the fence and a flat surface-like your fence settings. benchtop-for rapid


Amer-ican \\Ioodrvorker

MAy 2006

Tarcr A OurcK Trsr FoR THE RtcHT Fr

Don't use a biscuit that fits loosely in the slot. All yor-r'll get is a rveakjoint. Drr,.fit biscuits in their slots before gltre-up, The biscuit should slide into the slot n'itl'r hand pressure. Then, hold the board so the biscuits are hansing. A biscuit that is too loose u'ill fall otrt. Don't forset to test the other side of the joint in tl-resarneway. If vou have a slot that's too bis for an1'biscuit, gltre a shim into the slot and then recut the slot.


ArrrnNATEGnnrrrt DrnrcroN WHrnr Douelr Brscurrs Usrrvc

Bisctrits are r-nade frorn colnpressed beecl'r n o o c l . T h e q r : r i n n r n s d i a g o n a l l v A C r ( ) s st h e b i s cuit. Tl'rc bisctrit is rveakest irlons this gr"ain line. \A'l'rer-r vou install nvo biscuit.sin :r.joint, put thenr in rritlt tltt' r.tritirts lrttutittg itt opposite c l i l e c t i o r r s .T h i s r v i l l c ( ) u n t e l ' :lct the sh()r-t-q..r-ililr rle:rkness in eaclr ltiscrrit.




\- '\

t x

\I orRecron




s l o t i s u g r - e i r l\ \ ' a v t ( ) i r t c ' r ' t ' r r s r ' U s i n e t r l o l > i s c t r i t si n : r c l o r r l > l e - r l i c l e joint strcngth rvhcn the stock is too thin Ior-1\\'o sep:ll-ate s l o t s .T h i s i s e s p c c i i r l h ' u s c l i r l r v h e n . j o i r r i n e a l 3 / - 1 - i n . - t h i c kt : r b l t ' i r l ) l ' ( ) n t ( ) l I n c l r r c l e o r o l l ' e r - a J - n r n r s l ) 1 r ( ' ( ' l - t l r altl t s I e g . S o r r r e r r r : r r r t r { : r c t r r l e ri s r r n c l e l t h e f ' e n c c rI i r l t h i s 1 : r s k ,b r r t \ ' o r r ( ' a n t ' : t s i l r r t t : t k c o r t e r ' o t t t ' s c ' l l f ) ' o r r rs c ' r - l r 1 ur ' o o t l . ( l r e i r t e t l t e c k r r r l > l e - r v i c ls el o t l l i t t s e t ' t i r t g l h c s p : t t ' e r ' : r l i e r t h c I l l s t c r r t . - l ' h i sr v i l l l a i s e ' t h e b l a c l e i t r s t t h e r i g h t u r t t o r r r t t to ('l'eate l'ooln filr' :t seconcl biscrrit.

Cur A

\, I


Trsr rHE Slor DrPTH

Biscrrit skrts thut :rre t(x) sh:rllorr'\\'on't :rllorv the btxrrcls to go togcthcr'. (lrrt thc skrls too clccp ancl rrrost ol' tlre biscrrit is btrriecl in one sicle, n'eirkenins the.joint. Her-e'sa qtrick test to see n,hether vour icliner +\:*.,
: ! , , *

uo"*.i ,'" * a&-

is set r-iqht. (lut :r test slot, slip in zrbiscuit:urclch-zuv a pencil line. T:rkethe bisctritorrt, trrrrt it arorrncl:lncl reinscrt it. A sc-concl pencil line sliotrlclbe l / l (i in. beroncl the first line. This rvill proi'icleir l/il2-in. glrre. cle:rr':rnce:rrorrncl the bisctrit for-exc'ess
Relcl t() \'()rrr ou'ncr-'s nrantutl to aclirrst t h e c l e p t h o { ' c r r t ; r tl g i r e r r s e l t i n g .

]-*-o_*_" "'S,,r* --t)'"-,h*.




ryH thset D
by TimJohnson

Install butt hinges perfectly

and establish consistent, slender margins.

signals skillful craftsmanship like an inset door with elegant hinges and eye-pleasing margins. This challengingjob leaves no room for error: othing Uneven surfaces and unsightly gaps will tell the tale if the hinges, door and frame don't fit precisely. Like mastering handcut dovetails, successfully hanging inset doors on mortised butt hinges is a woodworking milestone. I'll show you a three-step method for installing inset doors that produces great results every time. First, you match the door to the opening. Then you rout mortises for the hinges. And finally, you create uniform, attractive margins between the door and frame. Of course, you can skip the mortising step altogether by choosing different hinges (see "NoMortise Hinge Options," page 70). To complete thejob, you'll need a couple simplejigs, a mortising bit, and a laminate trimmer. A laminate trimmer is a compact router that's a really handy addition to any woodworking shop. (If you don't own a laminate trimmer, this is a

greai excuseto buy one.)

Round out your door-installing iirsdnal with a pair of secret weapons-a plastic laminate sample swiped from the home center and a double-bearing flush-trim router bit. This great new bit should be a fixture in everywoodworking shop.




MAY 2006



CuoosE HlrucES
Your first task is to choose between extruded (also referred to as drawn or cast) or stamped hinges (see photos, above). Extruded hinges are machined and drilled, so there's virtually no play between the knuckles or around the hinge pin. Stamped hinges are made from thinner stock. Their leavesare bent to form the knuckles that surround the pin. Extruded hinges will last longer, because their knuckles have more bearing surface. I often use stamped hinges because they cost about onethird as much as extruded hinges and they're available at most hardware stores. They work fine in most situations. Examine stamped hinges carefully before bupng. If you notice large gaps between the knuckles and verrical play between the nvo hinge leaves,keep looking. Be aware that some stamped hinges are brass plated rather than solid brass. Hinges with loose pins make it easy to remove and reinstall the door, but they aren't widely available. Before you install the hinges, make sure the screws' heads recess fully in the chamfered holes in the hinge leaves. Amazingly, the brass screws supplied with brass hinges often don't fit. If that's the case,you'll have to deepen the screw-hole chamfers or use smaller screws. Brass screwsare delicate. The heads strip easily or break off, leaving the shaft buried in the wood. Avoid trouble with broken brass screwsby threading the pilot holes with steel screws, which are much more durable. Install the brass screwsonly once, after the piece is completely finished. Or forget brass screwsaltogether and leave the steel screwsin.

FnrcrroN-Flr rHr Doon

I make each door about 1/32 in.larger than its opening. Then I trim it to fit squarely and snugly. First I joint the latch stile until the door slips betrveen the face frame's stiles without binding. Then I check rhe door's fit: While holding the hinge stile flush against the face frame, I butt the door's top edge against the frame's upper rail. If no gap appears, the door and opening are square. Then I joint the door's top and bottom until the door wedgesinto the opening-I want a friction fit, so the door staysput. If the door or the face frame are out of square, I true them by tapering the door's hinge stile. I mark the end that needs to be tapered while I hold the door in position (Photo 1). If the gap along the top appears above the hinge stile, as in the photo, the side's taper increasesfrom top to bottom. If the top's gap appears above the latch stile, the side's taper runs in the opposite direction. The taper increases from zero at one end to the width of the top's gap at the other end. If the top's gap is wider than 7/76 rn.,I taper both the side and the end, removing one half of the gap from each edge. Routing is one way to taper the stile (Photo 2). You could also use a hand plane or yourjointer.Just make sure the taper runs the full length and the tapered edge is perpendicular to the door's face. \Arhen both the hinge stile and top edge fit properly without any gaps, trim the bottom edge so the door fits snugly in the opening.

I co E


a) cc \Z

F E F a f





E F I o-



2 tr
U cc

F E.

door by taperingthe side, rather I frue an out-of-square . I - t h a n t h e e n d . T h es i d e i s l o n g e r ,s o t h e t a p e rw i l l b e m o r e g r a d u a la n d l e s sn o t i c e a b l el.n t h i s c a s e ,m a k i n gt h e h i n g e stile narrowerat the marked end will eliminatethe gap at the top.

Qtaper the side with a straight board and a flush-trim bit. 4q Positionthe board so it's offset by the width of the gap at t h e m a r k e de n d a n d f l u s h a t t h e o t h e r e n d . R o u t i n gt h i s taper eliminatesthe guessworkassociated with creating tapers with a jointer.
American Woodworker MAy 2006 67

{ } U s e t h e h i n g e st o m a k e y o u r m o r t i s i n gj i g . T h i sg u a r a n After u,ltees that the hingeswill perfectlyfit the mortises. installing the guide blocksa , d d t h e f i l l b l o c kt o p r o v i d ec o n t i n u o u ss u p p o r tf o r t h e r o u t e r .

f Locatethe hinges on a test piece,using a projection -Tguide in. out from to positionthe center of the barrel 1132 gi t . the board's f a c e .D r i l l p i l o t h o l e su s i n g a s e l f - c e n t e r i nb



GUIDE BLOCK 112" x1-314" x 3-5/8"

Make two jigs, one for routing the hinge mortises (Fig. A, left; Photo 3) and the other to position the hinge in the mortise (Fig. B, left; Photo 4). Then rout test mortises to dial in the depth of cut (Fig. C, left; Photo 5). Laminate samplesmake perfect gap testersfor frame-and-panel doors with stiles and rails up to 2 in. wide; these samplesare usually slightly lessthan 7/ \6 in. thick. Doors with wider frame parts should have slightly wider gaps, because they'll exhibit greater seasonal movement. Rout mortises in the door first (Photo 6). Make sure they go in the correct stile! It's easiestto rout hinge mortises all the way through. If you want to rout half-blind mortises, to shoulder the hinge leaves along their length, simply modi$ your mortising jig by moving the fill block forward to meet the hinge leaf. This modification eliminates the need for the hinge projection guide, but it requires squaring the mortise corners by hand after routing. No hard and fast rule existsfor locating the hinges on the door. One method is to align the hinge with the door's rails. However, this doesn't work if the top and bottom rails are distinctly different widths. Another method is to divide the door's length by six or sevenand center the hinges one unit from the ends. Use your eye and trust your gut.


BOTTOM RAIL x5-112 1.1/8" OVERHANG 11/16'x2-112"

This jig requiresa mortising bit with a top-mounted bearing (Photo6; Sources,page 70). Both guide blocksare perpendicular to the bottom rail.Thedistancebetweenthe guide blocksis the length of the hinge.Thefill blocksets the monises' width; its setbackensuresthrough mortises.


This guide positionsthe hinge so the in. center of the barrel projects 1132 beyond the frame and door. Determine the exact overhangby trial and dependson the thicknessof your stockand the width of the hinge leaf (Photo4).

Your moftisesshould createa gap of 1/16in. or slightly less betweenthe door and the frame.Usually,this meansthe hinge leaves must be recessed slightly below the surface. lf they'reflush, the gap will be too wide. lf they'retoo deep,the gap will disappear and the door will bind. Calculate the hinge mortisedepth by subtracting1/16in. from the hinge barreldiameterand dividingthe remainderin half.
68 American Woodworker MAY 2006

Carefully transfer the mortise locations to the face frame (Photo 7). Your marks have to be perfectly located, because the hinges fit the mortises so precisely.Use the door's top-to-bottom friction fit to hold it in position, and make sure the door's hinge stile is flush with the face frame's stile. Rout mortises in the face frame (Photo 8). If you don't have a laminate trimmer, your options are to chop these mortises by hand or to change your entire procedure and rout these mortises first, before you assemble the face frame.


fifest the mortisedepth by mounting hinges on scrap rlstock.The gap should equal the thickness of laminate.lf the gap is too wide, the mortisesaren't deep enough.Widen a gap that's narrow by jointing the door stile.

f,Rout mortisesin the door stile. Locatethe mortise at uleast one hinge length from the top. Because of its small size,a laminatetrimmer works great for this delicatejob.

\Transfer the mortise locationsfrom the door to the face J frame using a straightedge.The door's snug top-to-bottom fit holds it in position.

QRout mortisesin the face-framestiles using the mortist r i m m e rf o r t h i s j o b , L J i n g j i g . Y o u ' l ln e e d a l a m i n a t e becausethe mortises are so close to the corner.

M o U N T T H EH r r u c E S A N D C n E n r E Evrru ManctNS
After mounting the hinges on the face frame, temporarily install the door by pressing the mortises onto the mounted hinges' loose leaves.Then mark the door's ends and latch stile for trimming (Photo 9). Remove the door, clamp on a straight board and rout the ends to final length using a flush-trim bit with two bearings (Photos 10 and ll). Clamp the board so is straight edge barely covers the line; the line indicates the laminate sample's thickness and the goal is to remove exactly that thickness. If you build during the summer's high humidity when your lumber is at its widest seasonal dimension, a one-laminatesample gap benveen the door's latch stile and the face ffame is sufficient. But ifyou build during the winter, it's wise to provide extra room for the door's seasonalmovement (Photo 12). SMark the door'sfinal size,using a laminatesampleto r.f establishuniform gaps.Slightly recessthe door in the opening, using the hingesand the top-to-bottomfriction fit to pencil,so there'sno hold it in position.Mark with a mechanical gap betweenthe laminateand the line.
MAY 2006 69

No-Mortise Hinge Options


U s e a f e n c ea n d a f l u s h Rout the door to final length. bearings to trim bit with top- and bottom-mounted a v o i d b l o w i n g o u t t h e b a c k e d g e .F i r s t ,r o u t h a l f w a yu s i n g the top bearing.

h i n g e si s n ' ty o u r i d e ao f w o o d w o r k f mortising i n g f u n , c o n s i d e ro n e o f t h e s e t w o o p t i o n sf o r m o u n t i n gi n s e td o o r s . h i n g e s o n l y r e q u i r ed r i l l i n gh o l e s f o r Euro-style h i n g e c u p s a n d m o u n t i n gs c r e w s .T h e y a l s o h a v e Once the door is the advantage of adjustability: you can easily move it up or down, side installed, to side and in or out-whatever it takes to even up T h e s e h i n g e st a k e u p a l o t o f s p a c e the margins. i n s i d et h e c a b i n e t t only , h o u g h ,a n d s o m e v e r s i o n s swing open to 95 degrees. l nd No-mortise h i n g e sa r e q u i t es i m p l et o i n s t a l a they leave an acceptablynarrow gap. Some nomortise hinges have elongatedslots for adjustability. Still, the door must be carefullyfitted to the h a v et o b e c a r e f u l o p e n i n ga n d t h e h i n g el o c a t i o n s guide, ly laidout. lt's a good ideato use a projection l i k e t h e o n e s h o w n i n P h o t o4 , t o e n s u r et h a t t h e door and frame faces will be flush. No-mortise i n a v a r i e t yo f f i n i s h e s ,i n c l u d h i n g e sa r e a v a i l a b l e i n g p o l i s h e da n d s a t i n b r a s s , b u t t h e y ' r e o f t e n made of plated steel insteadof solid brass.

Flip the door over, adjust the bit to use the bottom bearingand finish routing.


Allow for seasonalmovement betweenthe door's latch s t i l ea n d t h e f r a m e .M a k et h e g a p w i d e r i f y o u b u i l d d u r i n gt h e w i n t e r ,w h e n t h e h u m i d i t yi n y o u r h e a t e ds h o p i s p r o b a b l ys i g n i f i c a n t l lyo w e rt h a n d u r i n gt h e s u m m e r m o n t h s ,

'l Woodcraft, (800)-225-1 53, Drawn brass cabiSources n e t h i n g e ,2 t n . x 1 - 1 1 2 r n , # 1 6 R 5 9 ,$ 1 8 a p a i r . S o l i d - b r a sb su t t h i n g e ,2 t n x 1 - 3 1 8 r n , # 8 5 1 1 2 , $ 4 ap a i r . S e l f - c e n t e r i nh gi n g e - d r i l l i n bg i t , 5 1 6 4 t nf .o r N o . 3 a n d N o . 4 screws, #16143, $1 1. . Anrana Tool, (800) 445-0077 Mortising brt, #45460-5, $23. . Freud Tools, (800) 334-4107, www.freudtools,com T o p -a n d b o t t o r r - b e a r i n g f l u s h - t r i mb r t , 1 / 4 - r n s . h a n k ,# 5 0 - 5 0 1 ,$ 3 0

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.\rrrclic:trr \\iroclnt.'r'kt'r'

MAY 2ooo

PannLL"*,r" FF.Nc:r
You might think all biscuitjoiner fences automatically lock down parallel to the blade, but they don't. If you inadvertently tighten a fence in a crooked position, the slots on mating boards won't line up. In addition, the pieceswon't slip together as easilyas they should. This can spell real trouble ahead. We prefer biscuitjoiners whose fences travel on a rack-and-pinion or screw-and-rod system, which keeps the fence parallel to the blade (see photo, top right). With such a system,you don't have to check the fence each time you adjust it up or down. Other biscuitjoiners require an extra step to avoid locking the fence in a crooked position. These fences should be set by placing a block of wood between the fence and the blade or between the fence and a flat surface. This works OK; itjust takes longer to set up. The rack-and-pinion and screw-and-rod fences have an additional bonus: You can micro-adjust them up and down by turning a knob. It couldn't be easier. For joinery work, where a rail might be set back from a leg, for example, this fine calibration is very useful. The set-it-with-a-block fences are more difficult to micro-adjust. You must add a shim or make a thinner block. f, T h e l o n g e rt h e f e n c e ,t h e m o r e e a s i l yy o u c a n h o l d i t f i r m l y againstthe workpiece.Fence l e n g t hv a r i e sw i d e l y f r o m m o d e lt o m o d e l . The most convenienttype of fence to adjust automatically r e m a i n sp a r a l lelto the b l a d ea s i t t r a v e l su p a n d d o w n . T om o v e the fence,you turn a knob.


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Many woodworkers push down on a biscuit joiner's fence to hold it tight to the workpiece. This ensures that slots on opposing boards align with each other and that they're square to the edge. Longer fences are easier to hold down than shorter ones (see photo, center right).

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1 3 5 * D H c R r HF r r u c r
Biscuit joiners excel at aligning miter joints. There's very little room for error in positioning the slots, however. If the slots on one piece are a different distance from the edge than the slots on the other piece, you won't get a sharp corner. Instead, one piece will stick out past the other. The adjustment range of some fences is 0 to 90 degrees. To cut miter slots on these machines, you must set your fence at 45 degrees and register the slots from the miter's inside corner. The biscuitjoiner may easily slip in this position. We prefer fences that angle another 45 degrees downward, to a 135degree position (see photo, bottom right). On some biscuitjoiners, a clamp-on auxiliary fence also allows you to get to 135 degrees.With either fence, you can register from the miter's outside corner. This method is more accurate, and slipping is virtually impossible.

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For cutting accurate miter slots,we prefer a fencethat w r a p s a r o u n dt h e e d g ea n d h a s a w i d e s u p p o r ta r e a ,S o m e b i s c u i tj o i n e r sd o n o t h a v et h i s 1 3 5 degreesetting.

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Every biscuit joiner has a slide mechanism that controls the in-and-out movement of the motor and blade (see photo, top left). The less play in this mechanism, the closer slots will be to the oPtimum 4mm thickness. That's crucial for precision alignwill result minimumof play.This in accurateslots of consistentsize. ment, such as edge-to-edge gluing. The more play in the slide mechanism, the greater the chance that some slots will be thicker than others. Extra-thick slots allow biscuits to wiggle up and down, so your boards would be less likely to align with each other. It's possible to make consistently sized slots on a machine that has a fair amount of play; however, it takes practice. You must lock your wrist and arm just so, both pushing and pulling the motor. This cocks the machine up or down and, in effect, removes the play. Machines that have little play are much easier to operate. You can hold your arm and wrist any way that's comfortable, so making consistent slots doesn't require as much concentration.

Dusr CollrcrtoN
Biscuit joiners make los of dust. Most machines come with a dust-collecting bag. All machines have a port for vacuum hoses (see photo, left). We prefer machines whose round ports fit common hose diameters, although you may need a step adapter' Other ports have unusual-shaped openings that only fit the manufacturers' own hoses.

Drpru-or-Cur Serrtrucs
H o o k i n gu p a b i s c u i tj o i n e r t o a m v i r t u a l l ye l i m i n a t e s vacuu dust. Most models have bags, which work OK, but we prefer models that can also easily hose. connectto a generic-size Every biscuit joiner has depth-of-cut settings for the three most commonly used biscuits, the No. 0, No. l0 and No. 20. Some machines have additional depth-of-cut settings for specialized biscuits (see "The Weird World of Biscuits," page 78). The most useful of these unusual biscuits is the giant No. 5-6. Its extra-deep penetration and increased glue-surface area make avery strongjoint. The No. $6 biscuit setting is labeled M, or Max. An odd thing about the No. S6 biscuit, however, is that it requires two cuts made side by side. On all machines, the M setting produces a slot of the correct depth, but not enough width. You must make in. apart to make a complete two plungesl/4to3/8 No. S6 slot.

74 American Woodworker MAY 2ooo


Ai, r i.
Automaticallvoarallelfence Lenqth of fence 135o fence settinq Dust baq included M depth-of-cutsettinq .lh.

Lonq Yes


newest entries in the field are by far the most comfortable to use. I These Rvobi and Craftsman models have three features no other machine has: a D-handle, a vertical motor and a very long fence with a large front grip. The D-handle puts your hand and wrist in a natural position, unlike the barrel-grip on many other biscuit joiners. The vertical motor has the blade directly attached to the motor shaft, which eliminates noise created by the bevel gears in right-angle motors. The large handle on the end of the fence provides the ideal position for your other hand to keep the fence tight against the board. The fence is mounted on a rackand-pinion system and is micro-adjustable with a knob. One shortcoming in these machines is the slide mechanism. It has more play than any other we tested, which can result in making some slots much too thick. With practice, you can control the play and produce slots of a consistent thickness, but they'll still be slightly thicker than the optimum 4mm size. If not for this inconvenience, the great features and the low price ($100) would make these machines hands-down winners.

We love the ergonomics of these two similar madrines.They'rethe only biscuit joiners with a largefence grip, which helpsyou maintaincontrol of the cut.TheD-handle is very easyon the wrist.

(800],377-7414, . Ryobi, (800) Sources Craftsman, 525-2579,

Lenqth of fence

Yes Lono

135" fence settino D u s tb a q i n c l u d e d M depth-of-cutsetting

Yes Yes

Porter-Cable biscuit joiner has every feature you adjustments more Th" I could ask for. The fence is quite long and easyto adjust, time-consuming. The fenceriding on two rods and a center screw. This fence's heighttilting mechanism has two ranges, 0 to 90 and 90 to 135 adjustment knob is more sensitive than knobs on degrees. The slide mechanism has very little play. The hanrack-and-pinion machines. That makes dle located behind the motor is easy for even small FF-BtSCutT BLADE micro-adjustments easier but coarse hands to hold. The 557 has seven blade-depth settings, including one for small FF (face frame) biscuits unique The Porter-Cable has 557 all the best feato Porter-Cable. The large opening in the fence tures. In addition, it's the only model that makes it easy to view your mark on the board, but it comes with two blades:a standard4-in. also makes it difficult to balance the fence on bladeand a 2-in.blade.The 2-in. blade is used for joining face narrow stock. Sliding a plastic plate under frames as narrow as 1-1/2in. the fence solves this problem. It's includusing Porter-Cable's exclued with the biscuitjoiner. sive FFsizedbiscuits. (800) Source Porter-Cable. 487-8665,

* toN "n - - P l N cEAR . Or INSIDE



fence Thesetwo models have a rack-and-pinion that'svery easy to adjust.Thefence remains para l l e lt o t h e b l a d ea s y o u m o v e i t u p o r d o w n .
Sources DeWalt,(800)433-9258,

is a very user-friendly I design. The front ends r of both models are identical. They both have the same convenient rack-and-pinion system for adjusting fence height. The slide mechanism has verl little play. The tn'o models have different motors, motor housir-rgsand top grips. The DeWalt has a comfortably sizedhandle behind the motor and a trigger switch. The Craftsman'slarger-diameter motor barrel and paddle switch is less comfortable, especially for woodrvorkers with small hands. For a right-hander, we'd prefer more fir-rgerrooln between the motor and the dust bag on the Craftsman. Both machines have four depth-of-cut settings:three for standard biscuits aud otte for the M setting. We've got one small complaint: The knobs on the feuce are quite small. Larger knobs would make it easier to micro-adjust the fence height and lock the fence in place.

tsman n, (8001 377-7414, Craftsma

p a r a l l ef lence Automaticallv
Lenqth of fence

No Short JS102-Yes 135o fence settinq lJS100A-No Yes D u s tb a q i n c l u d e d Yes M depth-of-cutsetting

T) oth of these Freud models are basic, low-cost, no-frills -f)machines. The only difference between the two is the fence: TheJSl02's fence tilts, while theJS100A'sdoes not. The slide mechanism on both models has very little play. Both machines have six depth-of-cut settings. The fence on both models is less user-friendly than average. It's shorter than fences on all other models. Short fences are harder to steady than long fences. It's awkward to place your hand on this fence because of the four strengthening ribs cast into it. You mllst place a block under the fence when setting its height to ensure that it

, q remains parallel to , 44 i Ilven when wnen the blade. Even JS1o2 locked down hard, the fence slips out of position too easily. The large diameter of the motor housing makes it awkward for woodworkers with small hands to hold the machine. (800) Tools, 334-4107, Source Freud


Arnerican \A/oodrvorker

MAy 2006

Automatical lv parallelfence No Length of fence Medium 135o fence settino Yes Dust bas included I C3-No 20S3-Yes M depth-of-cutsetting Yes


precise, smooth operation is the hallmark of both I Lamello biscuitjoiners. They're ruggedly built machines designed for daily production work. Their silky-smooth sliding mechanisms have virtually no play. The Top 2053 has an unusual feature that's not on the C3: You can dial the Top 20S3'sblade up or down to micro.adjust its height (see photo, below right). This allows you to raise or lower the blade 2 mm (about 1/16 in.) from a cenrer

position without moving the fence. Turning the dial one notch raises or lowers the TOP20S3 blade 0.1 mm (about .004 in.). The Top 2053 has a fully electronic soft-start motor; rhe C3 does not. Precision aside, both models have a fence that takes extra time to adjust. It doesn't automatically lock parallel to the blade. To be precise, you should use a block to set it. Both models have six depth-of-cut settings. Their bases are easy to open to gain accessto the blade or to clear the dust port. A dust bag is a $33 accessory.The dust port is rectangular, designed to fit a Lamello hose ($49).

The auxiliaryfence on both Lamello biscuitjoiners can be attached to the basefor additionalsupport.

TheTop 20 is the only biscuitjoiner whose blade height can be micro-adjusted with an indexed dial. Source Colonial SawCo.,(800) 252-6355,


Automaticallyparallelfence Lengthof fence 135"fence settinq Dust baq included M depth-of-cutsetting -I-h.

No Lonq No No No

Virutex biscuit joiner has a good slide mechanism I with very little play and large locking levers, but it's short on other features. The fence is long but flexes under pressure. You must level the fence with a block when adjusting its height. The English markings for the fence height are in half-inch increments, which isn't very helpful. The only depth-of-cut settings are for No. 0, No. 10 and No. 20

biscuits. A dust bag is not provided or sold by Virutex. You can special-order a vacuum hose that screws onto the dust port ($2f 1. (800) Source Virutex, 868-9663,

American Woodworker

MAy 2006



lv oarallel fence Automatical Lenothof fence 135' fence setting D u s tb a q i n c l u d e d M depth-of-cutsetting

No Medium Yes Yes

Makita's slide mechafhe I nism has very little plar'. The fence has large locking levers that are easyto tighten. The 3901 has six depth-of cut settings.The fence has a rack-and-pinion adjustment mechanism, bttt unlike those on other models, on this one you can inadvertently lock the fence in a position that's not parallel to the blade. Its motor housing is rather large in diameter, which is awkward for woodworkers with small hands. (800) 462-5482, Source Makita,

The bottom plate of the Makita3901is much easierto open than those on most models.Youcan quicklyremove m a t e r i a lc l o g g i n gt h e dust port or switch to a blade. smaller-diameter

The WeirdWorld of Biscuits

l\ /lost woodworkers are familiar with but I V I No. 0, No. 10 and No. 20 biscuits, kindsof did vou know there are 14 different Theweirdpartis that and hardware? biscuits tell you much name of a biscuit doesn't the aboutits sizeor use.Most of are biscuits these unusual \ '\ only availablethrough dissome Lamello tributors. You
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joinerto make biscuit don't needa Lamello slotsfor them, but you do needextradepthof-cutsettings.lf you don't havethe rightsetting,though,you may be ableto recalibrate setting. an existing r No. 5-6. Thisbiscuit lt's3-3/8 is a monster: in. wide and in. long, measures1-3116 in.deep to 13/16 requires a slotthat's11116 in.wide.Theextradepthmakes and3-112 for slots in the face of it inappropriate

stock, but the No. S is perfectfor 314-in. joints in thickerwood. Cutting super-strong on a bissetting an M (Max) the slot requires cuitjoiner. e Duplex.Thissteelhingeis smaller than a a slot No. 6 but larger thana No. 20. Cutting a D settingon a to housethis hingerequires joiner. biscuit r Simplex. This twepart, intedocking aluis usedfor knockdownfittings. minumbiscuit



No. 5-6

Woodworker MAY 2006




biscuit joiner is a sirnple machine to set up :rnd operate. Ahnost every rnachine we testeclhas tl're three basic acljtrstrnenls: f'enceheieht, f( ansle depth-of-cut for clifl'erer-rt biscuit.s.We prefe. 'rachines with ;[: # fences that angle dorvnwarclto 135 degrees.\4realso like machines easy-to-adjlrst A I.
that have nlore than the three basic clepth-of-cut settings.

For a good value that's verv user'-fi'ier-rclly, we reall,v like the Ryobi (each share sisnificant drawback, hower,. 17539 The,v a $100). JMtt2K/Craftsman er. The slide mechanisrn on the sarnpleslve tested had zrmuch larger than zrverage amount clf play, which resulted in many slols that n'ere fhr over the optirnurn 4-mm thickness.This rnakesprecisior-r work cliffictrlt.You can remove mtrch of the play by operating the rnachine rvith a stiff wrist, but it's awkward. Makita 3901 Fotrr r-nore-expensive machines are fine f<lr precision rvork. Tl-rer ($172) ancl DeWalt DW682 ($160)/Crzrflsrnan2773 ($190) have loads of goocl features and tisht slide rnechanisms. The Lanrello Cllassic C3 ($439) is built like a tarlk ancl works as precisely as a Swiss watch. The f)e\Alalt/Craftsmztnfence is easier to set parallel to the blade than the f'ences on the Makita and l,arnello. For a biscuit joiner that has all of the f'eattu-es we like, we l-econ)rnencl the DW682, though. For Porter-Cable557 ($2001.It costs$40 more than the De\A/alt the extra money, you get a f'ence that tilts to l3ir clegrees (rvhich is better for mitering) and a special blaclefbr small f:lce-fr:rmebiscuits.

/ e"other Biscuit 'Joiner To Consider

Mrrrrr B r scur r C nnr T-sMA N J o r r . l r n1 7 5 5 0 . S 7 o
The Craftsman Mini Biscuit Joiner joinerthat is the only biscuit 'can cut slots for teeny,tiny R-1, R-2 and R-3 biscuits. ' That's all it does. These ,. :',, biscuits are perfect for small, narrow work, such as picture frames.The Mini Biscuit Joiner's fence is very basic.A plastic ridge on the fencefits into a seriesof slotson the machine to ensurethe fenceand blade remain parallel.Flipping the fence changes its angle from 90 to 45 degrees.

Its shorter thana No.20,but it requires a deeq joiner's er slotmadewith a biscuit S setting. r K-20. Thisplastic is designed for sitbiscurt in whichclamping uations the jointis impracinto a slot, tical.Oncethe biscuitis inserted it fromcoming out. the biscuit's teethprevent The K-20is the samesizeas a No.20. t C-20. Alsoa plastic biscuit, the C-20is used with epoxyto join solid-surface countertops. It'sthe samesizeas a No.20. r Fibro. Fibrobiscuits are madefrom com-

pressed fibersratherthan solidwood. They currently come in the No. 20 size.Fibrobisin thickness cuits are more consistent than wood biscuits, because they don't swell rn That'sa big advantage for aligning storage. when everybiscuit fit tightly in boards, should for slots the slots.Fibro biscuits arepreferred cut near the surfacebecauseglue causes Fibrobiscuits to swell less than wood biscuits.Fibro biscuits arenotas strong aswood biscuits,though, so they're not the best joint. for a structural choice r H-9.The H-9biscuit is desioned for narrow

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particularly faceframes. lt fits in rails as stock, narrowas 1-314 in.Cutting the slotrequires a special 3-1l'l 6-in.-dia. blade, available through Lamello distributors. r FF.Thisbiscuit is alsodesigned for narrow canjoin rails as smallin width as 1-112 in. Cutting the slot requires a special 2-in.blade,which only fits the Porter-Cable 557. FF biscuitsand bladesare available Porter-Cable through distributors. r R-1,R-2 and R-3.Thesebiscuits are used verythin or narrowpieces, for aligning such frames. The R-'1 is7l32 in. wide x as picture in.andthe 5/8in.long, the R-2is9132in.x3l4 R-3is 1/2in.x 1 in.Cutting thinslotsfor these smaller-diameter biscuitsrequires a special 1-112-in.-dia. blade. Onlvthe Craftsman Mini Biscuit Joinerhasone (see"AnotherBiscuit " above). Joiner To Consider.


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,ll rjir

MAY 2006






a 2

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Edqwe BOildS
Ir I I -It sounds obvious, but the key to accurate woodworking is to start with accurately machined boards. They must be straight, flat and square. Roughsawn lumber is anything but. Here's a time-honored order of procedure to turn rough boards into foursquare boards.



furTom Caspar
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JorrurOrur Fnce
Make one face flat and smooth using your jointer. lt's OK to leave some low spots here and there. lf you get tear-out,try feeding from the opposite end. Mark the feed directionthat gives the best resultson the end of the board. This mark indicatesgrain directionand reminds you to "start here."

Prarue rHE OpposffE SIDE

Use your thicknessplanerto make the other rough face parallelto the jointed face. Grain directionis easy to figure out: The grain on the second face runs in the opposite direction as the grainon the first face. That means the mark you made in Step 1 should appear on the end nearestyou, face down, as you feed each board into the planer.

Make one edge flat, straightand square.Grain direction matters here, too. lf you get tearut going one direction, turn the board around,place the opposite face against the jointersfence and try again. This is the reason you thickness-plane before you edge-joint:lf you only have one smooth face, you couldonly edge-joint in one direction.

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Rrp rHE Opposlrr Eoce

Use your tablesawto cut a second edge parallel to the first. Make the cut about 1/32 in. wider than the final dimension.Then return to the jointer and make a jl32-in.-deep cut on the ripped edge. Now both edges are smooth and squareto the board'sfaces.

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Use your tablesaw or miter saw to square one end of the board. Thenusea stopblockto cut it to length.

Cnosscur rHE Ewos

American Woodworker

MAy 2006


Get the best yield from the least-expensive truood.

a long, gnarly plank of rough lumber fransforming into a set of perfectly milled boards is immensely satI isfing. Not only do you save monel', but you become intimate with the character of every precious piece of wood. The biggest benefit, however, is being absolutely certain that your boards are truly flat, sffaight and square. That's the solid foundation you need to make accurate cuts, lay out precisejoints and glue boards together without gaps. Ilere are some helpful pointers to btrild that foundation.

4 Tom Caspar

Cur Brc Bonnos



You might think the best strategy for millingrough lumberis to flattenas largea piece as possible,then cut it into smaller parts.Not true. lt's better to cut a big roughsawn board into individualpieces, one for each part on your cutting list, more or less, and then startmilling. The problem with stratthe big-board egy is that the smallerpiecesyor, cut from it may not end up flat or straight. Some boardshavea lot of internalstress built up inside. When the board is whole, all this stress is in balance. When you rip the board, you releasesome of that stress.Eachhalfseeksa new balanceand a new shape.A flat, straight board ripped down the middle might well make two boardsthat aren't lt's hardto preflat or straight. dict which boards will react this way, so I assume every board could present this problem. I alwayscut my individual pieces slightly oversize, adding112in. of lengthand 114 in. of width.

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UsE THEBesr CnosscurrtNc Toot-s

Rough lumber can be tricky to crosscut safely. Its faces and edges are rarely flat and straight, so using a chop saw miter saw or tablesaw is not the best practice, because the blade could bind, stall or kick back. My favorite tools for crosscutting are a jigsaw, a circular saw and a Japanese tree-trimming saw (see Source, below). This very coarse handsaw cuts incredibly fast, even through thick hardwoods. I generally crosscut before doing anyjointing or planing. Crosscutting reduces a big board to more manageable sizes, so I can mill more accurately. I put my board on four sawhorses for plenty of sup port and mark it with chalk, a felt-tip pen or a carpenter's soft-leaded pencil. -8735, (800l. 267 Source LeeValley, pruning #EC710. saw, $33. Japanese Long-blade

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American Woodworker

MAY 2ooo

Avoro Baoly TwrsrED Boanos
Some rwisted boards are hopeless causes.You might just as well turn them into firewood. Sure, you can joint them flat, but a few rogue boards have a nasty habit of slowly continuing to twist, no matter how many times they're jointed or how short or narrow you cut them. If your rough lumber is only slightly twisted, however, don't get too alarmed. It doesn't mean you've got junk wood. It may remain perfectly stable after it's milled.Just cut it as short and narrow as you can in the rough state-but not less than 12 in. long-to get the maximum yield in thickness. ,,-

Boanos Resr


To make pieces dead flat, I usually let boards rest before taking them down to final thickness. I plane boards l/8 in. thicker than needed and stack them with stickers or stand them on edge so air can circulate around every side. After the boards rest for a day or so, I check each board for flatness by lapng it on my tablesaw orjointer. It's not unusual to find that some previously flat boards

have cupped or nvisted a bit. I rejoint one side of these boards, then plane every board to final thickness.


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Cracksin a board'sends are a common flaw. Cut them off beforeyou do any other crosscutting, so you know the true, usable length of your board.These cracksare also calledend checks.Largechecksare easy to see and remove,but you may also find hairlinecracksthat aren'teasilyvisibleon the board'ssurfaceor end. I cut off the end of a board a littlebit at a time, likeslicing a loafof bread. The slices are about114in. thick.As each slicefallsoff, I inspectit for checks. lf the slice breaks very easilyacrossthe grain,it probablycontains a hairline check.

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MAY 2006 89

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r{, " \\'hat rotrgh exzrctlv is rtncler that PARTIALLY PLANED SURFACE

surf ace? Sotnetitues it's

quite clif1lcult to rezrd the sririn, spot clef'ects or' figrtre ortt rvhere the s:rpn'oocl lies in a rotrghs:t\\rll boirrd-all the things vott'd rvatrt to knorv befole cuttir-rg it trp. If I'nr sttttnpecl, I t'tttr the rthole bo:rrd thrclusli tl're planer. I plzine jtrst enoueh to remove tlie hich spots :rncl skip over the lorv spots. I ck>n't need to see alt elttil'eh' planecl strrface to urark boarcl pieces. Wren I'ttr sttt-e \'ou'\'e seelt boztt'clslike the orre above n'hose graitt t'ttns o{1' the erlge itr lt ll:tcl r r , : u ' .I f ' t h a t b o : r r c l b e c o t r t e s l l t r - t o f ' : t l t r t t j e c t . i t s s l a n t i n g q r a i n s t : r t r c l so t r t l i k e l t s ( ) l ' e t h t r r t t l l . I pr-ef'erto elintitr:Ite tllis pt'oltlettt at tllc otttset. rvhile the boar-d is still rottsh. \'\'lrcn I'r't'sot this tvpe of'bozu'cl, attcl etrortgh rviclth to sltare, I cttt tltc gt'aill. A ne\\'eclqe thzttlll()fe tt'rrlr.foll<xt's firt- r'i1tltinu t'ottslt I pr-efer to Ltse the bzttrcls:tu' lurnber, bttt zt cit'cttlitt' satt tt'ot-ksn'ell, too. If r tltt't'tl ttse lt t:rll sttllotr tlte ltattcls:trt', rippine lotrg b<lztt-cls port ()n the orrtfereclsicle to sterl(h' the tvtlt-k1tiece. the boar-d col'nes otrt ol the planer, I clon't ASSurtlei t ' s f l a t . I'll ctrt it up ir-rto smalle r p i e c e s a n c l . j o i t " t to n e f ace of et'et'r' piece nrrrning it befrlre for cr.rttit-ts iuto trp tl-re srnaller

through tl're planer ag:riu. Yott lose a bit of tl'rebo:rrd's nraxirntrnr tliicknessrvhen vorr skip plane, brtt that's trslrallvno big deal.



A s l ' m j o i n t i n g t h e f a c e s o f r o u g h b o a r d s , I a l w a y s m a r k g r a i n d r r e c t i o no n t h e b o a r d ' s e n d . T h i s m a r k t e l l s m e t o " s t a r t t h e c u t h e r e " o n t h e n e a r e s tf a c e . T h i s l r n e w o n ' t b e r e m o v e db y l o i n t i n go r p l a n t n g . W h e n I s t a c k b o a r d sf o r p l a n i n g ,I l o o k a t t h e m a r k s a n d o r i e n tt h e m a l l t h e s a m e w a y : B o a r d s , "p a g e f a c e d o w n a n d p o i n t i n ga w a y f r o n r t h e p l a n e r( s e e " 5 S t e p s t o F o u r s q u a r e 8 6 ) . E v e n r f t h e b o a r d sf a l l o n t o t h e f l o o r a s t h e y c o m e o u t o f t h e m a c h i n e , l c a n e a s i l y reassemble t h e m w i t h t h e g r a r na l l g o i n g t h e s a m e w a y , a n d g e t r r g h tb a c k t o w o r k .


.'\rncrican \\irorlnorkt'r' MAY2ooo


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editedbrr ' TimT0hnson




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Suspended Compressor

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but on my garageshop flooq Jtou" my compressor, Iit's a real toe-stubber.It has such a low profile that it's easyto overlook until...boink! Following one particularly nasty run-in, I raised my head to yowl and discoveredthe solution to my problem: ceiling space. I installed 1/ eye bolts with nuts and washers in a3/4-lin plywood base.After nailing cleatsto the
base to contain the compressor, I attached vinylcovered chains with quick-link fasteners to the eye bolts and suspended the base out of the way, above my miter saw's extension table. I got all the supplies I needed at the home center for about $30. Now my compressor overlooks me! Luhe Hartk

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American Woodworker

MAY 2ooo

I never thought twice about the spring tension in coiled-up bandsaw blades until I dropped one. When it hit the floor, the coil exploded and the wild blade bounced right back at me. I was wearing shorts, so the teeth left nasty scratches as they raked across my shins. While shopping for office supplies, I discovered the perfect solution: binder clips. They're much more convenient to use than n'vist-ties and they make coiled blades easy to ca;rry and hang. Binder clips cost less than a buck each and they come in a rainbow of colors, so my blades are even color-coded by size. Sean Koehl'er

We'll gn/eyou $150,this great{ooking shirt and a durablesttop aPronfor your originalSmallShopTiPl
Send your tip to us with a sketch or photo. If we print it, you'll be woodworking in style. F-mail your tip to -V or send it to Small Shop Tips, American \riloodworker, 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121. Submissions can't be
returned and become our property upon accePtance and payrnent. We may edit submissions and use them in all print and electronic media.


American Woodworker

MAY 2006

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TimJohnson edited fur

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My wife wanted a satin finish on the kitchen cabinets I'd just built. I hadn't wanted done much finishing, but I to complete this


project single-handedly, so I bought a spray gun and satin polyurethane. Using a fresh can for each coat, I poured the polyurethane into the gun, being careful to stop before I reached the light<olored sludge at the bottom of the can. It turns out I have a knack for spray finishing. I didn't have a single drip or sag. But instead of a satin sheen. each coat looked glossier. After the third coat. I could've used the cabinet doors as a shaving mirror! A painter \,rong. friend knew that

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I built a 7-ft.Jongvanity in my garage shop for installation in an upstairs
bathroom. measurements of the doors, hallways and stairways indicated we could fit it Preliminary

into place, no problem. We willed the upended cabinet up the first flight of stairs, found the second flight was narrower than the first and had to remove the handrail. At the top of the second flight, we had to and ceiling light fixture. Then, while trpng to fit the vanity through the bathroom door, we discovered the opening was wider at the bottom, where we'd measured, than at the top, necessitating the removal of the door, door casing and jamb. To remove a thermostat f,rnally tilt the vanity into place, we had to remove a fold-down attic stairway, springs and all. Reassembling the house afterward took more time than installing the vanity had. Jon Frost

immediately what I'd done He explained is gloss satin polyrrethane with flattenpolyrrethane irg agents added. Over time, these flatteners settle to the bottom of the the funny-colored I'd so carefully was using sludge avoided the
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settledout flatteners. To create the satin sheen I wanted, I should have stirred the poly"rrethane. Dan Witelock

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Make your woodworking mistakes pay! Send us your most memorable "What was I thinking?" blunders. You'll receive $100 for each one we print. Dmail to oops@readersdigesLcom or send to AW Oopsl, American Woodworkel 2915 Commers Drive, Suite 700, Eagan, MN 55121. Submissions can't be returned and become our property upon acceptance and payment. We may edit submissionsand use them in all print ar-rdelectronic media.

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American Woodworker

MAY 2006