Sticks of a Thousand Uses
Faithful reader Tammy McBride offers this great idea: Craft sticks (a.k.a. Popsicle sticks) and their larger cousins, tongue depressors, are handy for all kinds of shop tasks. Use them to spread glue, mix stain and epoxy, measure and transfer a cutting width, pad those metal vise jaws (hold them in with carpet tape), push putty into nail holes and hold little brads for nailing. Keep them conveniently stashed around your workshop—you’ll be surprised how often you reach for one. Craft sticks are available at craft stores for$5 for a box of 1,000. Tongue depressors cost$5 for 500 at pharmacies.
Well-Aimed Angled Holes
Here’s an improvement on the tried-and-true angled drilling block. Cut a curved opening in the bottom of the block where the drill comes through so you can set the drill point exactly on the mark before starting to drill.
Tapered Legs on a Thickness Planer
Using plywood or particleboard, make a skid for the legs, elevating them on one end with a wood strip to control the amount of taper. (This is the red strip in the photo.) Screw cleats on the skid to hold the legs while they go through the planer.
Taper one side, taking 1/16 in. per pass, then rotate each leg one turn and taper the next side. Add a second strip (shown in blue) and taper the remaining two sides. Note: Stop the taper 2 in. from the end when planing the last two sides so you’ll have ﬂat areas for attaching apron boards.
Our thanks to reader Robert Brundage for this slick, timesaving tip.