Probably the handiest shop accessory in this list would be the woodworker's bench, complete with a vise. The bench is a stable-based table with a thick, hardwood top. In the top are a series of holes that are designed to accommodate bench dogs, which are little more than pegs that can be moved from hole to hole as necessary. The end of the bench has the aforementioned vise that works in concert with the bench dogs to hold pieces steady for the woodworker.
Clamp curved caul edges inwards so they align tabletop boards in the middle, then torque up the main clamps to draw the boards together. If the width of boards you’re using allow it, pre-glue boards for your tabletop in sections that are just narrow enough to fit within your thickness planer. Run these through the planer to clean and level the glue joints, then move back to clamps for final glue up. Working in stages like this reduces the number of glue joints you need to sand smooth and level later.
A piece of 1/2” plywood offers the best approach for determining the optimal size and shape of your tabletop because it lets you test and tweak various options in 3D. Cut the plywood to the maximum size you might want, set it up on something in the place where the finished table will go, then live with it for a while. Should the top be narrower? Shorter? Now’s the time to find out. Saw some off your plywood mock-up if need be, then live with the new size until you’ve found the sweet spot.
It’s important to have an understanding of wood when building DIY furniture projects. Not just how to cut, and assemble with wood but also to understand how it works. In Mistakes with Wood Can Cause Your DIY Furniture to Crack we talked about how wood is hygroscopic. Simply put, hygroscopic means it absorbs moisture from the air. Seasonal changes cause wood to absorb and release moisture.
Aside from this being a fun gadget to own it is one of the most versatile tools for use around the house. You can look down your garbage disposal for the ring you just dropped, inside your car engine to see where the leak is and on and on. I love to see whats clogging my gutters both in the gutter and in the drain. One of the more unique tools. It’s going to be your new favorite.
One of the best stud finders you’ll ever use is the Franklin Sensors ProSensor 710. It’s unique in that there’s a whole bar of red lights that light up whenever it detects a stud. Unlike other sensors, which have a single light that stays on as it passes over the wood, the lights on the 710 tell you exactly where the wood stops and starts. No guesswork. Push a button, drag it over the wall and those hidden mysteries reveal themselves. You won’t even need to read the directions!
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