Here’s a featherboard that locks into your table saw’s miter slot so you don’t have to fumble with clamps to hold it in place.
To make one, saw a 45-degree angle on a 5-in.-wide x 15-in.-long scrap board and then cut the slots with the band saw, leaving 1/8-in.-wide x 2-1/2-in.-deep “feathers.” Saw parallel 1/4-in.-wide slots into the featherboard 2 in. apart, stopping them 2 in. short of the feathers.
Now saw a 1/2-in.-thick strip of hardwood a smidgen narrower than the miter slot (so it slides without wiggling). Drill and countersink 1/4-in. holes in the strip, spaced to match the featherboard slots, and attach it to the featherboard with two 1-1/2-in. x 1/4-in. machine screws, wing nuts and washers.
Create the “strip-lock” by drilling and countersinking a 1/4-in. hole centered 1-1/2 in. from the end of the strip. Saw a slot lengthwise through the hole and slip in a 1-in. x 1/4-in. machine screw, wing nut and washer. Tighten the wing nut and the end of the strip will fan out, locking the featherboard into the slot and holding it solid while you saw. Thanks to Larry Minish for this tip.
Electric Carving Knife in the Shop
Got some rigid polyurethane foam, Styrofoam or soft upholstery foam you want to cut? Smuggle the electric carving knife out of the kitchen and use that. It works fabulously for any cut you need to make. Just don’t get busted at the border by the kitchen cop! But if you do, it’s safe to say you didn’t wreck the knife. Thanks to Chip Larson for this sharp tip.
Legible Sanding Discs
Hook-and-loop sanding discs work great on sanding jobs, and you can reuse them several times before they’re worn out. But it’s almost impossible to read the grit labels on the discs after you’ve used them once because the markings get scrubbed off by the loops. Do what Matthew Holmes does: Whenever you open a new pack of discs, write the grit label on the back with a permanent marker. Now you’ll switch from grit to grit without straining your eyes. Keep your eyes safe and make things easier to read with a pair of bifocal safety glasses.