Wood Projects to Enhance Your Workspace: Intro and Article Index

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Wood Projects to Enhance Your Workspace: A selection of more than 100 projects to make your workshop more productive and efficient.

Making tools accessories and equipment for the home workshop, and that will stay in the workshop, is the focus of this comprehensive guide. More than 100 projects are presented in total, each with step-by-step instructions, detailed drawings, and materials lists. Ranging in complexity to suit any degree of skill, all are designed to help you do your work faster, more economically, and with greater accuracy. Projects include benches and other work-surface enhancements, holding devices and clamps, storage containers, and a variety of items that will enable you to obtain optimum performance from the lathe, hand saw, router, drill, circular saw, plane jointer, and oilier tools. All projects are designed to expand the capabilities of your workshop economically, by extending the capabilities of the tools you already own.

Whether the woodworking you do is a source of income or purely a source of pleasure and relaxation, your workspace influences the items you produce. Pick and choose among the many projects presented here to affordably customize your workshop to meet your needs and goals.

0. Introduction (this page)

1. First Considerations: Storing Tools and Materials—Access—Planning

2. Working Surfaces: Traditional Bench—Metalwork Bench—Butcher Block Bench—Folding Wall Table—Mobile Unit—Trestle—Folding Steps—Take-down Frame

3. Holding Devices: Bench Hooks—Bench Stops—Apron Wedge—Bench-top Supports—Traditional Vise—Holdfast

4. Clamping Arrangements: Wedged Bar Clamp—Double Bar Clamp—Flooring Clamp—Rope Clamping— Spanish Windlass

-- coming soon --

5. Setting-out Equipment: Shop Drawing Board— Large Square—Panel Gauge—Winding Strips—Adjustable Splines—Round Square—Beam Compass—Ellipsograph—Pencil Gauges

6. Hand Tool Accessories: Shooting Board—Miter Shooting Board—Fretwork Table—Olistone Box—Oilstone Case—Grinding Jig—Sharpening Guides

7. Storage: Wall Tool Racks—Bench-End Tool Rack—Tilting Bench-End Tool Rack—Material Boxes—Vertical Rack—Horizontal Racks—Add-on Drawers—Nest of Drawers—Bench with Drawers—Nail Box—Tool Carrier—Tool Cabinet

8. Lathe Accessories: Tool Tray—Tool Rests—Bowl Depth Gauge—Dowel Gauge—Center Finder— Shaping Octagons—Special Tools—Basic Lathe Stand—Stand with Storage— Working Helps—Drawing Stand—Back Steady—Swarf Tray—Tilt Bin

9. Drilling Accessories and Equipment: Center Marking—Depth Gauges—Drilling in the Lathe—Horizontal Drill Stand— Disc Sander—Drill as a Lathe—V Blocks—Drill Table Vise—Drill Holder

10. Circular Saw Aids: Push Sticks—Straightening Jig—Corner Block Jig—Taper rigs—Wedge Jig—Outfeed Roller—Portable Circular Saw Guide—Feather Boards

11. Band Saw Accessories: Ripping Fences—Table Extensions—Depth Stops—Cutting Cylinders—Storing Band Saw Blades—Band Saw Rejoining Jig—Circle Cutter—Copying Curves—Tapers and Wedges

12. Planing Aids: Flat Push Sticks—Thin Wood Push Sticks—Fence Push Stick—Side Push Stick—Jointer Blade Honing—Planer Blade Grinding Jig—Hand Planing Helps

13. Shaper and Router Accessories: Square Push Stick—Upright Push Stick—Angular Push Stick—Cutter Depth Gauge—Shaper Extension Table— Router Square—Double Guide—Gripping Straightedge—Hinge Templates—Router Compass

14. Glossary


If you enjoy making things in your own woodshop, you obviously have a keen interest in tools and techniques. This applies whether you have just a few tools and an improvised bench or have built up a comprehensive workshop with a large range of power tools.

Although the products of your shop are the outward evidence of its worth and your ability and you are proud of what you make and others admire, it is the steps that led to completion that provide you with the most interest. A well-made and -designed specimen of craftwork can be very satisfying. To others it might seem the justification for all the time and money expended on a shop full of equipment, but only you know of the personal satisfaction that comes from using your skill to the limit at many stages of construction. You had to solve problems. You had to find ways of doing things for which the available tools and equipment did not seem suitable. You had to improvise or make accessories or special tools so you could do the necessary work more expeditiously and with greater accuracy.

If you use your shop to the fullest, you will find you often need accessories and equipment that cannot be bought, or if they could, their limited use would not justify the expense. Because costs are something to consider, some things you make to use in your shop come about because of the need for economy. Even when ample funds are available, however, the interest and satisfaction involved in making rather than buying are all the justification needed to make what you need for your shop from available materials. Making something in the shop, which will then stay in the shop, is what this guide is all about.

We live in an age of stores trying to sell us all kinds of power and hand tools for all kinds of crafts. World communications are such that you can buy tools imported as well as manufactured in your own country. It is possible to buy the best tools in their class, and in many cases, it is best to buy selectively. The power of advertising might tempt you to buy the latest specialty, however. In general, it is better to buy the basic hand and power tools of your craft. They have stood the test of time. With them you can make many other things to use in your shop.

Not so long ago the carpenter doubled as wheelwright and undertaker. He had his shop next to the blacksmith. Between them they made everything their neighbors needed. They also made tools for each other. They did not have a tool store around the corner or a tempting tool catalog to look through. Although you might not want to return to those conditions, they are examples of what could be done with mostly homemade equipment. Look at a piece of furniture or a pair of iron gates of a century or so ago and think of the work you ought to be able to do with your store-bought equipment supplemented by accessories you can make.

Whatever your chosen craft, most shop equipment has to be made from wood and metal. Unfortunately, some woodworkers do not want anything to do with metal, and there are metalworkers rather proud of not being able to work in wood. Both are foolish and missing out on a lot. There is a tremendous satisfaction to be had from looking at something and saying, “I made that,” when it has both wood and metal parts fashioned by you. If you have the ability to work in one material, you have proved your manual dexterity and should be able to work in the other material. If you have not done so yet, try it.

Some craftspeople are more at home with wood or metal alone. For them, some of the projects in this guide are given in two forms for the alternative materials.

This guide contains over 100 projects of varying degrees of complexity, so there is something to suit any degree of skill. There are tools and accessories for a large number of applications and purposes. Whatever you normally produce in your shop, you should be able to find projects that will help you do your work more quickly, more economically, and more accurately. Of equal importance, you will get the satisfaction of using appliances you made yourself.

Although the projects described are functional, rather than decorative, you should spare the time to finish them properly. This will add to your enjoyment in using them. A well-made tool has its own type of beauty in the eyes of a craftsperson.

Note: Unless stated otherwise, all dimensions on drawings and elsewhere are in inches. In materials lists, widths and thicknesses are exact, but lengths are mostly full to allow for cutting to finished sizes.

Next: First Considerations: Storing Tools and Materials—Access—Planning

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Modified: Wednesday, 2016-06-22 13:19 PST