Friday, March 25, 2011

Rabbit Push Stick

 If you use a tablesaw then you need a push stick like this:

I found the pattern of the rabbit shape online while checking out some woodworking sites that most of my readers wouldn't go to.  

I used to have this type of push stick:

The problem is, that is only contacts the wood on such a small spot:

So, I found this rabbit push stick online.  The long base allows you to have more control on the wood, push down more consistently over a larger area, and keep your hands away from the blade.  

Draw the pattern on 1/2" plywood:

Then cut around with a jigsaw making sure the bottom is as straight as possible so that it can sit flat on the wood you will be cutting on the tablesaw:


I sand the edges of mine, especially where the holder is, to make it smooth, and you can drill an eye hole to hang him up. It takes less than 10 minutes to make one!

My rabbit enjoys going for a ride when I'm cutting against the fence:

 Always play safe when using power tools!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Avoiding Splinters - Tips #1

I've been wanting to write a few posts about woodworking tips for a long time and I'm finally getting around to it.  What prompted me to do it today was a question on another blog Funky Junk Interiors where a follower asked  how to "keep away" splinters.

Splinters are known technically in the woodworking world as "tearout."   Tearout occurs when using a lot of different tools, today I will focus on tearout from a mitre saw.

The reason you get tearout is because the last part of the wood you are cutting is not backed by anything, it's headed into an open space. Woodworkers make them for their table saws and they are called a ZCI.  The technical short form term for a "zero clearance insert!"

On the mitre saw this might show you what I mean:

That far edge needs something behind it so that the wood fibres are supported.

What I do to avoid getting splinters like this, is put a backer board against the front of the mitre saw's fences.

If you are doing a lot of cuts then you can clamp a board there, if just one or two, you can place any narrow scrap piece of wood between the one you are cutting and the fence while you cut your piece. 

This is a piece of plywood clamped in place for multiple cuts:

I then make a cut in it with the saw:

As you can see, the space left is only the exact width of the blade.

(If you are doing angled cuts, you will need a backer piece that is angled the same as your cut.)

* These backer pieces stay in place while you cut your boards that you are trying to avoid splinters on*
Push your piece up tightly against the backer boards.  When you cut, what would be splinters has no where to go, and cuts cleanly. 

Here you can see the backer board, standing up, and the board you are cutting, laying down:

Here's the before and after cuts I made, on the same pieces of wood, completely unedited to show the difference without a backer board and with one:

I hope this helps you when making your wood creations.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Featuring - Mike Pounders "Thunderbolt" Carving

 I visit two different types of websites- home decor/craft/DIY type blogs and woodworkers forums. Since most of my followers are bloggers whom I don't think visit woodworking sites, I've decided to occasionally feature some special pieces that woodworkers have made.  Hopefully this will show my followers and readers what woodworkers are doing and creating.

The first fabulous creation I want to feature is a carving called "Thunderbolt" and made by Mike Pounders of Arkansas. At Mike's blog he says "This piece is approximately 20”tall and 12” wide, and is made from basswood, pine, and birch plywood. It is finished with acrylic paint, gold leaf, satin polyurethane, and has some leather and metal accents"

Here is the finished product, but I'll show some of Mike's steps along the way and the rest you can read about at his blog, Mike Pounders Wood Carving here: Carving Thunderbolt 



This is a moving, or automated carving, the cowboy actually rides on the horse using wooden gears and a crank that you turn to watch the horse try and buck the cowboy!

Here are the pieces Mike carved for the cowboy:

and here is the start of the horse:

He then finished the saddle details and put the cowboy on to see how he fit in the saddle!

 Mike made the horse's head from a separate piece of wood:

and he added a tail:

Of course the cowboy needed a big hat and here he is wearing it and sitting on the horse.  This shows the mechanical gears Mike made as well:

Mike first paints the carving in gesso to make it white and then does some wood burning and paints with acrylics.  I think this is just fabulous work:

 There is also a video link here  on youtube of the beautiful piece in action (unfortunately I have not been able to view it because I'm on dialup and it just won't load, so I hope it works for you all)

Please go and read Mike's blog where he describes more of the process.

A Special thank you to Mike Pounders for allowing me to share his wonderful creation with my readers!