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.
Slant-Ruler Board Divider
Want to divide a board or sheet of plywood perfectly in half, thirds or any other equal fractions? Grab a Speed Square or try this tip. To halve the board, line up the end of a ruler or tape measure on one side, slant the tape to read 8 in. on the right edge and make your mark at 4 in. To divide it into thirds, slant the ruler to read 9 in. and mark the board at 3 and 6 in. The key is to select a measurement that’s easily divisible by the number of spaces you want. For example, if you want to cut a sheet of plywood into six sections, use the 60-in. mark on your tape measure. Measure at a 90-degree angle from one side to each mark to get the real numbers to transfer them wherever you need them. Also, see what a plumb bob can do to make a job easier. Thanks to John Vitka for this time-saving tip.