Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Department of de fence

When I went to make my first molding with shaped planes, I roon realized that you need to use a fence to guide the first cuts of the plane. Whoever made the video I cited earlier uses a plow plane. With the stuff I'm using, said I, I'll never get my plow plane to track -- the fence extends a full 30cm below the level of the stock. To get around this one. I must make, I said, a fence for the planes. It must be adjustable. And if we can use it on Makita-san the bandsaw so much the better. So off we went. First I looked at the bandsaw. Now bandsaws have a slot about 16mm wide running down the table, parallel to the blade. Mine came with a miter gauge, but no fence. I find miter gauges useless, but there you are. You can buy a fence, of course, but I never buy anything I can make. So I made a fence.
As you see, it is but two pieces of wood and two hardware store steel rods. I would like sturdier rod but I didn't have any! The brown piece of wood, species unknown, is from my daughter's old dining room table. Never waste wood! In it I cut a rabbet (or rebate) so that it would just fit the slot in the table. This turned out to be 16.33 mm, which convinced me it was RGU; sure enough 5/8". Sigh. Now to cut the rabbet I needed a fence. But that was what I was making! So I had to improvise. Eventually I did it.

There is a strange mortise in the piece of wood to the right, the slider. It came with the dining table, and serves no purpose now, but I hate to waste wood. As a bandsaw fence it works beautifully. The rods are epoxied into the leftmost wood, the fence itself. No fancy joinery here.

Now I have to adapt it to my vise. This means cutting a slot the exact width of the mortise slot in a piece of wood, which can then be clamped to the vise. Long ago I built Roy Underhill's bginner's workbench and acquired a woodworker's vise to go with it. It is 16 cm in grip. So I took off, bolted it to my general-purpose kitchen table and I now have a decent vise for wood. So time to cut a precision slot 16.3 mm wide. If you have a rabbet plane exactly that wide, you are done. But I don't. So I used the Peanut, Veritas's miniature rabbet plane.
Here you see the old/new vise, the slot being cut, Peanut posing for the camera, and shavings all over the place. This is very slow work. I am still at it. Peanut is much too small for this work (6mm wide), but everything else I have is too large. The fence will ride in the slot (I suppose it's a dado, but along-grain) I am cutting. I have clamped an old steel square to the works to keep Peanut from going astray. A fence, in fact. I suppose I could have made a 16.3mm rabbet or dado plane. That would take several day's work, though. I should be finshed tomorrow. All this to make moldings to make picture frames.

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