In-the-Bag Wood Filler
Mix up your own perfectly matching wood filler in a disposable sandwich bag dispenser. First, put a couple of squirts of two-part epoxy into a plastic bag and add some sanding dust from the project (to match the wood). Knead the dust and epoxy with your fingers. Add more dust or epoxy as needed to create the right color. Protect the surrounding wood with masking tape, then nip off one corner of the bag and squeeze out the filler like toothpaste. Smooth off excess filler with a putty knife and let it dry to form an unshrinkable, rock-hard patch. Even better, you’ll walk away without epoxy smeared all over your workpiece—or your fingers! Also, fix up rotted wood with epoxy to make it look new. Thanks to tech-ed instructor Bill Waite for this tip.
You can get good-looking joints on your boxes and drawers without taking a lifetime to cut them by hand. To cut these joints, you’ll need a router that accepts bits with a 1/2-in. dia. shank, a router table with a sturdy fence, and a lock miter router bit. (The bit shown and other lock miter bits cost $25 and up at specialty woodworking stores.)
When you’re routing, the bit remains at the same height setting for all the pieces. All you do is shift the fence when routing each part to expose more or less of the bit. To ensure perfectly ﬁtting joints, the height adjustment has to be just right, so make practice cuts on scrap boards from your workpieces.
These joints are easier to glue than a miter joint because they can’t slide out of alignment when you tighten the clamps. And because they have more glue surface, they’re stronger, too. Thanks to reader Fred Forquer for this tip. Check out our router basics.
Fence-Stradling Push Box
This little three-sided, handled box keeps your fingers a lot safer when you rip boards on a table saw. And you can make it in about 30 minutes.
Cut a 10-in.-long piece of 3/4-in. plywood the same width as your saw’s fence, and then saw out and screw on a comfortable handle.
Cut a notch on the front end of the1/4-in. plywood sides a little deeper than the board you’re sawing, then screw the sides to the top piece. Mount the push box on the fence. As you saw, the notches lock down on the end of the board to hold it flat on the table. You can further ensure safety and accuracy when you cut narrow boards by using a second push stick in the opposite hand to lightly press the board against the fence. Thanks to Bryan Fehn for this tip.