A featherboard is a Woodworking tool that comes in handy while cutting thin stock on a table saw / router table. In fact, it is so useful that I recommend every Woodworker to keep a set of them.

Featherboards keep the stock steady during the cutting process. It proves to be a valuable tool when working on things such as cutting a bead on a router table (read reviews at routertablereviews.net/). A single slip of the stock from the fence could lead to failed projects; therefore featherboards must be used to guarantee consistent, clean cuts.

In this tutorial, you will learn to build featherboards.

Here are the things and tools that you will need:-

Tools required:-

  1. a table saw
  2. miter saw or circular saw
  3. layout square
  4. A thickness planer
  5. pencil

Stock required:-

  1. 1×6 12-18 inches long

Step 1: Cut a proper size block from the stock

Cut a clean stock of dimensions 12” x 5” from a stock of 3/4-inches. These dimensions can be changed as per your needs. You can vary the length in the range of 12” to 18” and width in the range of 5” to 6”.

If the distance between the clamping point of your saw and the cutting head is more than 12-inches, change the length of the stock cut to make the featherboard longer.

Step 2: At one end of the stock, make a 30-degree cut

Use a mitre saw to make a 30-degree crosscut on one edge of the board. This portion will remain against the stock as it passes through the power tool.

Step 3: Make a stop line of 30 degrees

With a bevel set to 30 degrees, mark a line three inches from the cut that you made in previous step. This line should be parallel to the mitered cut and will serve the end point of fingers of the featherboard that we will cut in the next step.

Step 4: Cut out fingers from stock

Adjust the fence reading of the table saw to 1/4-inches from the blade.

Place the longer side of the board flat on the surface of the table and against the fence. Now let the board be cut by the saw till it reaches the end point, marked by line in the previous step.

Remove the board carefully and clean saw’s blade, preparing it for next cut.

Turn off motor of the saw, move the fence additional 3/8” away from the blade and do another cut. This new cut should be parallel to the previous.

Repeat the procedure again and make another cut 3/8” away from the blade.

Keep repeating till the board is entirely cut to finger of about 1/4 inches in width.

Step 5: Use the featherboard

With motor of the saw off, place the stock on the table, snug against the fence. Put the feather with fingers against the stock, position between the blade and yourself. This is to ensure that a kickback is avoided.

With feather positioned correctly, clamp it properly to hold the stock down on the table. Carefully move the stock against the blade for an excellent cut. Whenever in doubt, you a push stick.


Selecting the perfect sandpaper could make or break your Woodworking project

Sanding is the first and a critical step to finishing a project that involves wood. It doesn’t matter whether you select a power sander or prefer to do it by hand, you will have to choose a sandpaper of the right type and grit. If you do not select the sandpaper of the right type and grit, it could cause irreparable damage to your project.

This guide will assist you in choosing a sandpaper of right type and grit for your Woodworking projects.


Classification of Sandpaper on the basis of grit coarseness

Grading of sandpaper is done according to the number of abrasive particles per square inch present on its surface. A lower number indicates that the grit is coarse.

There are five classifications to grits of sandpaper depending on the coarseness:-

  1. Coarse – 40 to 60 grit
  2. Medium – 80 to 120 grit
  3. Fine – 150 to 180 grit
  4. Very fine – 220 to 240 grit
  5. Extra fine – 280 to 320 grit
  6. Super fine – 360 and above grit

To give a really smooth finish to your projects, you will have to use all sandpapers one after the other. For example, you will sand with coarse sandpaper, then medium, then fine and finally super fine. The concept here is that finer grits reduce the scratches made by previous papers on the surface of the wooden article.

Now as a beginner, you may be against the idea of using so many sandpapers. You may say, “Why can’t I sand my entire project with superfine sandpaper?” If you will ask any fine Woodworker, he will tell you that coarser sandpapers remove more the material and since sanding is probably the most time consuming job in Woodworking, the faster you can get through it, the better it is.

Quality of sandpapers available in market

There are basically two qualities of sandpapers available in market:-

  1. commercial grade
  2. industrial grade

Sandpaper is made of three components, the grit, the paper and the glue that holds the two together. Industrial grade sandpaper uses highly quality material for all three and thus is suitable for more complex projects.

Also, sandpapers are classified as open-coat and closed-coat. The different between the two is that open-coat sandpapers have significantly large spaces between grit particles. Because of these larger gaps, open-coat sandpapers are preferred in Woodworking, reason being less clogging, especially when working with soft woods that contain resin.

Classification of sandpaper on the basis of Abrasives used:-

  1. Glass paper – It is rarely used in Woodworking because it disintegrates quickly
  2. Garnet paper – It is generally used in wood sanding. It won’t quickly sand wood but gives excellent finish.
  3. Aluminium Oxide – It is more durable than Garnet paper is generally coupled with power sanders
  4. Silicon Carbide – It is used along with water as a lubricant for finishing wet metals. This process is also called “wet-sanding.”


A guide for beginners detailing the features different types of adhesive glues available in market

In most of your Woodworking projects, you will have to join two pieces of wood together. The way you do it is by using industry-standard glue. To ensure that your project stays in shape throughout its life, the strength of the joints must be high. If the glue joint is not strong, the pieces may detach and the material may dismantle.

In this guide, you will learn the types of glues available in market and the kind of projects in which they should be used to stick wooden pieces together.


The common Woodworking glue

If you are a beginner Woodworker, and have used glue to stick wooden pieces of your mini projects, then you already know about this glue. This common Woodworking glue is easy available at every hardware store and for most projects, provides sufficient strength.

For example, if your project involves securing a dovetail join or a tongue and groove joint, the common Woodworking glue should stabilize it with decent strength.

It is also waterproof and thus can be used for both indoors and outdoors projects.

Moisture-activated glue: with extra strength

In projects that require additional holding strength, Woodworkers generally resort to special glue called Moisture-activated glue. It is called moisture-activated because before applying it on the surfaces of wooden pieces to be joined, a wet cloth or sponge is used to dampen the wood, thus the name. This joint is much stronger than the joint of all-purpose glue because the moisture activates glue’s tensile strength.

Woodworking Epoxy glue: for even more strength

The joins made by epoxy glue are very strong and nearly permanent. To make a join from this type of glue, an activator is mixed with epoxy, which results in a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction activates epoxy and now it can be used to join wooden pieces.

The join should be made within a short period of time as epoxy hardens very quickly. If too much time is taken, the epoxy would harden to the point of becoming unusable. Woodworking epoxy glue is preferred in projects that required permanent bonds.

Caution: The chemical reaction between Woodworking epoxy and activator produces toxic fumes that may damage your respiratory system, hence wear protective gear and perform the mixing in well ventilated environment

Clamp the wooden pieces correctly for stronger holds

It doesn’t matter which of the 3 glues mentioned above you use to join, to get a strong bond, you will to clamp the two pieces and let them rest in stationary position, so that the glue can dry and the bond can get stronger. To ensure a proper bond, clamp the wooden pieces at several locations along the surface of pieces. Make sure you apply moderate pressure while joining. If large amount of pressure is applied the glue might pop out from the sides, which is not desirable.

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Routers are versatile Woodworking tools. You are going to find a variety of router bits for them.

Each of these router bits are designed to let you to give unique profiles to edges of wood stocks.

If you want some custom shape, you can route wood edges with different router bits in combination to produce a combined shape.

Most of the router bits you are going to find in the market would fall into two categories, based on the diameter of their shanks. Most of the router bit profiles are available either in ½ inches or ¼ inches.

Some of the routers in the market are made to support only either of the sizes, but if you believe you are going to use both sizes of router bits, buy a router than has 1/2 inch collet diameter. This is because a router with ½ collet diameter can hold ¼ inch bits, while vice-versa in not true.

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Which one of the two router bits sizes is better?

See, it depends on how long you will hold the router. If you projects require you to do routing for longer durations of time, consider use ½ inch router bits. Since they are heavier, they offer enhanced stability and lesser vibration, which will cause your muscles less fatigue.

If you’re also planning to get a wood router then you can make sure you read through a lot of wood router reviews before making the buying decision.

Other significant advantages of ½ inch router bits:-

  • they are more solid, thus produce cleaner cuts
  • they dissipate heat, generated during routing process, better than ¼ inch bits, thus helps to prevent burning of work piece
  • they are less prone to slipping out of collet because of larger size
  • you can use a guide bearing effectively with it, which is not possible in ¼ inch diameter router bits

Now, while it is clear that ½ inch router bits are definitely better than ¼ inch bits, it is not that ¼ inch bits don’t have any pros.

Following are some of the reasons why you might want to use ¼ inch router bits:-

  • they are easily available, you can find them at your nearest hardware store
  • they are much cheaper than ½ inch router bits
  • they are your best bet if you want to give a very thin profile to the edge of your work piece

Now that we know about the pros and cons of two different types of router bits, let’s learn a tip on using them properly.

Router bits should be used at proper speed to avoid improper cuts and bit breakage. Larger bits must be operated at slower speeds, because they generate more heat and may burn your work piece.

Routing bit sizes and appropriate speeds:-

  • up to inch diameter: 24,000 rpm
  • 1 to 2 inches diameter: 18,000 rpm
  • 2 to 2-1/2 inches diameter: 16,000 rpm
  • 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 inches diameter: 12,000 rpm

Orbital Sander

A comprehensive guide detailing the features and benefits of buying a random orbital sander

Random orbital sanders are the most commonly used power sander can be found in nearly all Woodworking shops. Modern Woodworking cannot be imagined without this excellent sanding tool.

Current generation of random orbital sanders available in market have advanced over the years so well that if you are looking to add a power sanding tool to your arsenal, it is the perfect choice.

You can set the speed of random orbital sanders to sand very quickly or very smoothly. This makes it a versatile power sanding equipment.

Also, it is much better than other power sanding tools like sheet sanders and belt sanders. Unlike sheet and belt sanders, it has a random action, which means random orbital sanders leave very little sanding marks on wooden articles.

Orbital Sander

Why are they called random orbital sanders?

They are called random orbital sanders because they sand in completely random orbits, at speeds as fast as 25,000 RPM. Because of this completely random motion, a superlative smoothness is achieved in finished product.

Sandpaper used in random orbital sanders (Read more about selecting the right sandpaper)

Typically, a sanding disk is used by random orbital sanders, which measured roughly 5-inches in diameter. It is fixed to the foam-rubber pad of the random orbital sanders with the help of hooks and loops. Sanding disks have excellent dust collection capacity; it has 8 holes in it that align perfectly to the dust collection holes present in the pad. This way most of dust produced during its operation never escapes the sander.

Sanding disks are available in a variety of grits, ranging from 60 to 220 (coarseness of the sander is inversely proportion of the grading value).

Features of random orbital sanders:-

When out in the market to buy a new random orbital sander, ensure that it has the following features in it:-

  • Dust collection – It should not only have a dust collection bag in it, but also a filter attached, to make the process even more effective
  • Sealed switch – Ensure that is has a sealed switch. If it doesn’t have a sealed switch, then dust can enter in the switch and make it tight, which would cause trouble in powering it ON/OFF.
  • It should have balanced weight and less vibration – Your sander should neither be too heavy, nor too light. It should also have moderate vibration. If possible, turn the sander on and check how it vibration. If the vibration is too much, avoid buying the sander, because lots of vibration would fatigue your arm and would make working on larger sanding projects cumbersome.

Tips to use random orbital sanders effectively:-

  • Move the sander with the grain of the material that you are working with
  • Never leave the sander in one place as it may result in uneven finishing
  • Do not use this sander to round over the edges