Why Didn’t I Make This Sooner? A DIY Track Saw

In repentance of last weeks post I am showing you the track I made for my circular saw.  This is a crazy simple jig that is worth it’s weight in gold and will forever change how you use your circular saw on sheet goods.

This method works with any circular saw.  The catch is that once you make this jig it only works for that one saw.

I made this jig to work with my Craftsman C3 Circular Saw.  It’s a great little saw.  However, in making this video I realized how badly I needed a new blade.  I replaced the blade and it made a world of difference.

Being a compact 5 1/2 saw I lost to much cut capacity by using 1/2 plywood.  I was able to adjust the jig to work with my Skil 13 Amp 7-1/4-Inch Circular Saw.  I’ll remake this jig out of 1/4 inch material for my cordless saw.

Another modification I did was glue a strip of 100-Grit Sandpaper to the bottom.  That really makes the track stay in place.  I can get by without clamps now.

Spicy Pencil Salsa

I don’t know about you, but I am always losing my pencils.  For Christmas last year I asked for A LOT of pencils.  I wanted a full crate.  I got a nice pencil sharpener and quite of few pencils.  I just needed a place to keep them and keep them sharp.  That’s where an empty salsa jar came in.  I drilled some holes in the lid with a step-drill-bit.  It now holds about 20 pencils sharpened and ready to go.

2014-09-15 19.39.14

 

Dust Collection? I Scoff at Dust Collection

It seems to be all the rage.  Every popular woodworker on YouTube makes an elaborate dust collection system for all their tools.  Festool guys brat about how great their $9000+ space-shuttle-look-a-like shop vac is.

I learned woodworking during my summers in high school doing construction and remodeling.  Table saws didn’t have riving knifes, nailers didn’t have safeties, your safety glasses were you squinting, and saw dust was what you breathed.  Good times…

Being a competition shooter I learned to protect my eyes and ears quickly.  I normally work in an open shop, not a basement so I rarely use ear plugs.  And I’ve never considered the nonsense dust collection.

You know what I do when my shop floor is dirty?  Cover it with more saw dust!

I’ll admit, I  now were ear plugs when at the band saw and router, but since my table saw set-up is outdoors I don’t feel the need.  I’ve also started to wear a dust mask (helps my allergies greatly).  Dust collection, however, seems to me to be a nuisance and just more crap to fill my small shop with.

At least I used to feel that way.

I picked up a shop vac for cheap from a friend who was moving, I never would have bought one other wise. (Well, it was far down the list.)  The Shop-vac then sat in my store room for a few months.  I would use it occasionally to clean out my band saw, but honestly I’m scared I’ll throw a breaker if I try to use it at the same time as a power-tool.  I only have one 20amp breaker going to my shop.

One day I decided to vacuum out my bandsaw good before putting in a new blade. I happened to vacuum my workbench to, as I had just drilled a bunch of pocket holes.  I then set out to cut dozens of letters from 3/16th hardboard.  I wore my dust-mask, safety glasses, and ear plugs and spent a good hour cutting away.  I have a fan blowing into my shop and a fan blowing out and figure that the dust goes to the floor or is caught in the breeze.  Nope,  When I was done I cleaned my glasses because I could barely see.  I was covered in brown powder.  My nice clean work bench was also covered in dust.  The shelves on the other side of my shop were covered in dust!

I honestly thought my shop-vac was under powered and wasn’t that impressed until the other weekend when I decided it was time to mercilessly go through my scrap pile once again.  There was sand, leafs, dirt, etc. in every corner of the shop. I decided to use my shop vac to clean it up.  Since it wasn’t performing well I decided it was time to clean the air filter.  It’s a single use filter, but I’d have to drive an hour for a filter,  and let’s be honest, there isn’t much 135psi from an air-hose wont clean.  Wow! What a difference that made. I cleaned all my tools, my floors are concrete! (I had forgotten).  The one downside is that I have the 1 inch hose not the 2 1/2 but I’m definitely going to get one when I’me in town next week and start using it.  It’s not that loud but if I use ear plugs like I should noise wont matter.

Yep, I’m converted.  Now I need a Dust Deputy, 100ft of hose, and blast gates.  I’ve seen the light, or rather the floor.

 

Quick and Easy Wood Vise Jaws

I’ve ruined the finish on several projects over the years a with the metal jaws in my vice.  Replacing the jaws with a non-marring jaw is the way to go.

2014-09-10 17.13.32My solution involved some scrap pine, a hot-glue gun and 5 minutes.  I have a strip of pine that I cut from a 2×4 that is about 3/8″ thick.  I cut two pieces slightly longer than the jaws of my vices.  I then used the hot glue gun to attach them directly to the metal jaws.  The vice is its own clamp so I closed it with moderate pressure until the glue dried.  It seems to be holding up pretty well.  When it fails I’ll just do it again.  I have two metal vices so one still has the metal teeth if I need it.

Hope this helps, God Bless,
Robert

PS: Now I have to put my wife’s hot glue gun back in her craft room before she notices again!  

Irwin Light Duty Bench Vise