I am just starting out in woodworking and have acquired all the major
hand and power tools for my workshop. I
am starting out with the basics and need to make some safety jigs.
However, I didn't realize that even making
a basic cut is challenging.
Let's say I want to ensure a square L-shaped cut, like the bottom of a
table saw push shoe jig shown here:
Assume that I have access to all the hand and power tools available.
What is the best method and set of tool(s) to use to make such a
simple cut? I could only come up with two methods: one involves
cutting the long portion using a table saw, up to about 1 inch away
from the corner of the next cut, then using a bandsaw or hand saw to
cut the the rest. The second method would use a stacked dadoe blade
and doing multiple cuts perpendicular to the face of the board.
Or maybe I can use a router but then how do I handle the corner?
I am sure many of you have made this kind of cut before hundreds of
times. What method do you use to guarantee that the end result is a
square and flat cut?
I would appreciate any tips and advice on how to handle this basic cut.
Bingo. If you don't have a bandsaw (I don't, wish I had one, hate
everyone who does), just use a handsaw to finish the cut. Since this is
just a jig, the cut doesn't have to be precise and surgically clean, but
with care, it is possible to get such a cut, say if the piece were part
of a piece of furniture.
Think simple, not about obtaining more exotic tools and jigs.
Found--the gene that causes belief in genetic determinism
With table saw, make the short cut with miter gauge, raise blade to max,
make long cut as far past short cut as necessary to release piece. That
assumes the stock is thick enough that a bit of over cutting doesn't matter.
Alternatively, make long cut to the short cut, finish long cut on bandsaw.
2. Hand saw
For what you are making, I wouldn't want it square, would prefer a slightly
acute angle. I'd make that angle by gluing a bit of thin (1/8"?) stock
about an inch long at the front end of the long cut. That way you can apply
pressure on a board being pushed either at the toe or heal end of the push
I would make the short cut first by setting the blade height to the
dimension of the cut and make the cut using the miter gage set at 90 degrees
and holding the board vertical.
I would make the long cut stopping short leaving the piece intact. I would
finish the cut with a hand saw.
Actually, I would make the cut using my bandsaw.
I agree, I think the OP is too, but I can sympathize. My first jigs were
measured to the nearest 1/64th, dead nuts square, planed to simulate a
baby's ass and either covered with BLO or gloss white paint.
For some jigs, I still worry about the accuracy, but I've worked myself
out of making them look like they were designed, built and finished by
To the OP: Keep at it, but before you start something, step back and
evaluate how important the accuracy or squarness is before you cut. I'm
not advocating being sloppy. I'm just saying spend the time and effort
where you really need it.
A good hand saw is all your need for starters, or forever for that matter.
That said, if you don't have a band saw, then run, don't walk, and buy
the best "jigsaw" you can afford.
Bosch is one of the better models out there:
(Amazon.com product link shortened)
With an EXCELLENT jig saw and a straight edge (a small speed square is
excellent for a straight edge for these type cuts with a jigsaw) you can
make cuts like this all day long.
Do NOT buy a B&D jigsaw, do NOT buy a Ryobi jigsaw, do NOT buy any el
cheapo jig saw, buy a top-of-the-line jigsaw and it will save you time
and money in the long run.
BTW, and IMO, you will find that push block a PITA to hold onto properly
... using that same "shoe" shape, make cutouts like the following and
you will find it much easier, and safer, to use:
scroll down to "Favorite table saw push stick design"
Thanks for the complement. I know a Steve Turner, actually two of
them. Do you live in Illinois and did you recently retire? If yes to
both questions I'm pretty sure you're one of the two I know.
There's square, and then there's *square*. For the push stick, you just need
mostly square. Almost anything that will cut an inside corner will be good
enough. Some glue and a few brads or screws will also work.
Thanks for everyone's input. I should have made it clear that I agree
that this is only a push stick and the
cut does not need to be dead square, but I was also thinking about
similar cuts found in other furniture
pieces, which is why I wanted to ask about the best technique for
obtaining good accuracy. Your advice
would help me with those future cuts.
Anyhow, I appreciate everyone's input on this matter. I'll stick to
the basic hand tools for now.
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