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Wood Shop

Low-Budget Mechanized Biscuit Joinery

Most finish work is a matter of repetition. And if you don’t come up with a good system for all that repetition, you’ll never make any real money. I had one job where we had to glue up almost 100 panels made from a mixture of recycled beech and maple. We wanted to biscuit all those glue joints, but the last thing anyone on my crew wanted to do was plunge a hand-held biscuit joiner a few thousand times. And the last thing I wanted to do was invest in a big-dollar tool that I might not have a real need for again. Read the full article…

Custom Rosette Head Blocks

Thirty years ago, if you needed an old house head block with a bullseye or rosette in it, you would have had to buy one pre-made or seek out one of the few rosette cutters on the market. Either way, it would’ve been too small for a typical renovation of an old house. Today, there are some rosette cutters that have interchangeable blades with the ability to have custom knives cut. But they’re too expensive, especially if you only need a few. And rosette cutters are hard to use on a drill press because they tend to chatter, ruining the work. My 1975 Craftsman has a little play in the bearings—it certainly won’t work with a rosette cutter! Read the full article…

Moulding Planes

Have you ever worked on an older remodel and needed a couple of sticks of trim to match but couldn’t find anyone who still stocked that profile? How about a piece to mate to a change in pitch on a rake run? Or have you ever had a designer draw something and then ask for a mock-up? There isn’t enough lineal footage (LF) to warrant having a knife made, much less the setup cost to run it. But there is an alternative—a good one. Make the moulding yourself. With a few moulding planes and some guidance, custom pieces can be made in the time it takes to find a millshop, explain what you need, and provide them with a scaled drawing! Read the full article…

Portable Pre-assembly Tables

 

An Easy Technique for Pre-assembling Casing

(Photos by Kirk Grodske)

I don’t do a lot of trim work. But when I do, it’s often stain-grade or pre-painted, and the miters have to be perfect! I mostly hang doors, so I rarely have a full-size work table set up—usually, I just have a door bench. Most of the casing I work with is small. At first, I thought it was too small to survive a Clam Clamp, but I’ve learned better (more on that later!). Read the full article…

Making Louvered Doors

…with One Router Sled

I live in an old stone barn that was converted to a house in the 1950s. The master bathroom needed a makeover, so I gutted it in preparation for a complete overhaul. I wanted to build a new closet and separated toilet area, both of which needed doors. I decided to build louvered doors out of Mahogany, which would normally cost approximately $600 from an online supplier. Read the full article…

Adjustable Closets

Custom closets with adjustable shelving are the norm for my business today.

About a year and a half ago, my friend Gary Striegler gave me the idea of building closets with adjustable rods and shelving. At first, I was a little confused about how the rods could be adjustable, but after I read an article Gary wrote for JLC, it all started becoming clear. The shelves adjust like any cabinet with adjustable shelves, but it’s the adjustable rods that make this system really cool. Read the full article…

Jobsite Work Table

Ever wish you had a work table that could handle all your jobs?

When I first started out over fifteen years ago, I would use anything I could find as a table. I’d lay plywood on the ground, I’d set plywood on wood blocks, and, finally, I grew up enough to use sawhorses. But most of the time my “table” was never big enough for the project I was working on. And it was never efficient. Read the full article…

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