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techinque: work holding small pieces


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karincorbin

I think this is an important topic that needs to be covered. How to safely work hold pieces while doing various types of shaping operations on them. I will start the topic off with one of the better known methods.

 

One fairly well known method  for routing decorative profiles on longer lengths of trim molding is to route the profile along the edge of a board that has been thicknessed to size but left wide in width and then use a table saw to trim off the narrow molding section from the wider board.

 

This method is fairly easy to understand even without photos but photos are important so if you have them please do include them for your techniques. I will update this posting later to add photos after I get my new workshop space finished and operational.

 

 

 

 

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karincorbin

One day I needed to create an brass catch for a window hardware project. I need to create an unequal leg, C channel for the project. This is not available anywhere so I cut it from square brass tubing that had the height of the longer leg. Brass can be difficult to control as it is what I call grabby, machine teeth and drill bits will bind up into it so you need total control over it.

 

You can see in the photo below how I captured the piece with an custom wood fence that constrained all the movement except for feeding

the piece into the saw blade. Bear in mind that I was not cutting a long length of the tube, I only needed a half inch long section to create the two small catches.

 

By cutting grooves in wood to make custom fences you can create a lot of variations that can used for sawing, routing, drilling and milling operations on parts that would be difficult to clamp or hold otherwise. Your scrap box is a treasure trove of jig making materials.

safety%2Bpush.jpg

safety%2Bpush2.jpg

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miraclechicken

....."Your scrap box is a treasure trove of jig making materials".....

 

My motto: Junk is your friend :)

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  • 3 weeks later...
jackofalltrades

I often make work holding fixtures from scraps of bass wood and/or aircraft grade plywood.   I always use cyanoacrylate glue and zip kicker for speed.   On surfaces where wear will occur I try to expose end grain and saturate it with glue to toughen it for wear.   Sometimes I use plastic or Plexiglas or even brass or aluminum scraps.  My fixtures are made primarily for the table saw, mill, and drill press.

 

Though I have cut brass and aluminum on my Byrnes saw, I prefer to use a milling machine with Kurt type vise.  I have had a few close calls on miniature table saws.  When cutting sheet metal on the saw, for safety, I make a simple thin flat sled that holds the material more safely and securely.

 

I made an adjustable tennon fixture  and a "sled" as used on full size table saws but made them from glued up plywood.  The simple sled gets a lot of use.

 

For safety, I try to make table saw fixtures so they sit flat to the table.  They either run along the fence or incorporate a rail to run in the table slot.   Often a scrap of Masonite with a rail glued on the bottom and fixture on top makes producing zillions of duplicate parts easy and less tedious.  Having a bunch of precut and fitted rails ready to use is helpful.

 

Clamping can be done using machine screws that fit in drilled/tapped holes in the wood base that have been super glued.    The screw sticking out of the wood can accept another bit of wood through a loose hole and a wing nut for tightening.

 

I like auxiliary rip fences that are about 3"high.   They can have various types of guides and feather boards clamped to them easily.   I also have long feather boards to clamp to the table.

 

I plan to add a DRO (digital read out) to my table saw rip fence.   Accuracy and repeatability are so nice.  A DRO stop on the sled would also be tempting!

 

When  was making model kits in large quantities I found it very satisfying to make a fixture that made the job at hand easier, faster, and more safe!

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  • 3 months later...
Peter Jensen

Jack - If your pieces aren't too big you can make a cheap DRO from an inexpensive digital caliper.  Not as pretty as the real thing but a $25 investment is easier to make than a several hundred dollar investment.

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