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Super Simple DIY Track Saw

Well, I’ve needed a track saw for a long time, and I didn’t want to spend the money on one either. The solution sounds simple; just build one! The only problem was that I hadn’t found or came up with a design that would appeal to my nature. Meaning, I hadn’t found or come up with one that was cheap, simple, easy to build, and would still perform as well as something that was complex and/or expensive.

[Watch the Original Video]

UPDATE: I’ve made a new track and built it a little bit differently based on viewer recommendations.

[Watch the Updated Video]

I was stuck in a situation where I couldn’t get the cut I needed for my latest “real” build (an all in one board milling station). I had cuts I needed to make from sheets of plywood, and those cuts exceeded my table saw’s fence capacity. So with that pressure on, I HAD to come up with this idea pretty quickly because if I didn’t, it would have meant wasting a day or more…or going to the store to buy a track saw – not happening. They say necessity is the mother of invention, and that was certainly the case here. Even thought I had been kicking around the ideas for a long time, I never would have come up with the final design unless I needed it as badly as I did right then.

I was already shooting video, and had originally just intended the track saw to be part of the board milling station video, but I figured some people might be interested in it. As it turns out, it seems like a lot of people are interested and have been wanting the same thing. So far, this video has been off to a more popular start than any project I’ve ever posted before, and by a lot. I had no idea that there was that big of a need for something like this, but I’m happy to share and hope it helps a lot of people.

Oh, and by the way, somebody commented on YouTube saying that they would like it if you could make it without a table saw (with just a circular saw), and this is how you do it:

  • Buy a piece of plywood.
  • Cut one of the factory edges off (don’t worry about the cut being crooked).
  • Attach that strip to the sheet (with glue, screws, etc.) with the factory edge facing towards the meat of the sheet, and the crooked cut of that strip alongside the crooked cut of the sheet.
  • Cut the other factory edge off, and then finish up the track as shown in the video…which is this:
  • Using a paper shim, butt one side of the circular saw’s base up against the 1st strip you glued in place,
  • With glue on the other strip, butt the factory edge of it against the other side of your circular saw’s base and fire a couple nails to pin that section of the track there,
  • Repeat that for every section of the track.
  • Add end stops, drill holes, and cut the slot. You’re done!
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DIY Lathe Improvements

You guys wanted me to make some changes to the lathe, so here they are! I appreciate you all taking the time to let me know what improvements could be made.

(Watch the video.)

The most suggested change was lowering the tool rest, and the second was adding a protective strip of metal to the tool rest. These changes really made a huge improvement. I didn’t think it was that bad before, but this is way better. The chips now fly downward instead of towards my face, and the gouges now slide very nicely along the steel strip. This just makes it to where I can get a smoother more consistent line as I’m turning a piece.

Thanks again!

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How to Make a Wooden Drill Press Vise

You’ve probably seen me using spring clamps to hold small parts at the drill press. What I don’t show you in those videos is that often the parts push their way out of the holding force of the spring clamp. They stick to the bit, and spin around in a menacing fashion, threatening to fly off at any moment and take out an eyeball. Luckily, I’m pretty good about wearing safety glasses (although I have been razzed pretty good in the comments for not wearing them while making a cut in my table saw sled build video). I digress.

(Watch the Video!)

(Get the plans!)

I do have a metal drill press vise, but it’s too easy to damage the parts I’m working on. Also, a normal drill press vise has an opening in the center, which prevents you from drilling into the vise itself. That’s fine for most metals, but wood benefits from having a sacrificial piece directly behind it. The sacrificial piece prevents the fibers of wood from “blowing out” or tearing out in the direction of the bit’s travel – kind of like an exit wound from a gunshot.

When I drill small wooden parts, I usually poke a hole using a spike directly where I want to drill. This makes it to where the drill bit finds its way to that center point; the bit simply pulls the workpiece into the correct position. This technique is less likely to work correctly when using a metal vise because of the weight. This new vise is lightweight enough to allow this trick to work.

I haven’t put this vise fully through its paces yet, but I’m excited to have something that at least won’t let go of my workpieces. I’ll keep you updated on how it performs and what I learn from it!

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Angle Grinder Chop Saw

It seems like every time I build a project, I wind up doing something that would be easier if I had another tool. The last couple of projects I’d built all required me to cut metal. I have a hacksaw, and that works, but sometimes takes a while and is a lot of effort. It’s also not super accurate. So I bought an angle grinder. That was a lot better because it required less effort, but it still isn’t super accurate and sometimes feels dangerous depending on the position I’m using it in.

(Watch the video!)

(Buy the Plans!)

Enter the idea of a chop saw. I don’t cut metal often enough (or large enough pieces of it) to warrant a full sized chop saw. I also don’t have a lot of room in my shop, which you probably already know. I shopped online for an angle grinder holder and almost settled on one that was fairly cheap and had good reviews. I couldn’t help but think it would probably be more bulky than I wanted because it’s designed to accommodate a wide range of grinders. I was also concerned about the position of the power switch. The switch is designed to be pushed forward, not pulled towards you. It just seemed dangerous and uncomfortable.

So I settled on building one. With building my own, I could make it as streamlined as possible for my specific grinder (a very cheap – $15 – grinder from Harbor Freight). Building my own also allowed me to add a power switch where it was most comfortable.

I’m pretty happy with the chop saw. It’s not going to be a star tool for a daily metal worker, but sure beats a hacksaw for a woodworker that occasionally needs to cut some metal!

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Drill Powered Disc Sander

Okay, so this was a tough build. I take that back – the build was easy! The hard part was getting the design right. I saw a lot of designs on the internet for drill powered disc sanders, even some on YouTube, but I’m going to go out on a limb here and guess that most of those designs failed shortly after they posted the video.

(Watch the video!)

How can I be so sure? Because I tried and tested designs similar to everything I’ve seen, and all of them failed after 10-20 minutes or so of use.

Which is why I’ve been at this project for over a month now – I didn’t feel right about posting a video of something that was only going to last 10 minutes.

I tried a bolt/threaded rod as the spindle (I’m sure you’ve seen a similar video), which by the way created way too much wobble, and was not comfortable to use. You’ve probably seen YouTube videos of people using wobbly sanders. From the video, it might not look like that big of deal, but trust me – it is. I tried truing the face with a chisel with only mediocre results. Because the spindle can’t be set at 90 degrees to the disc, truing the disc is like spitting in the wind.

I tried to use hex nuts or bolt heads that fit into a shape that has been chiseled out in one plate while another plate with a counterbore covers it (I’m sure you’ve seen a similar video on YouTube). It failed very quickly. The head of the bolt/hex nut would tear through the wood after using it for a short time.

I tried reinforcing things with 5 min epoxy. That also failed…just a took a little bit longer. I tried using marine grade epoxy. In fairness, it held up for more than 20 minutes, but eventually shattered during light use because it was too brittle, too “glass-like”.

In the end, I’ve performed over 5 epoxy tests, built 3 sanders, and have made 5 disc designs for the last iteration of the sander.

So what’s the disc and joint design that’s currently winning? A non-threaded 5/16 plain steel rod, and old school JB Weld. Original formula. The non-threaded rod is a much better fit for the bearings, and using the method I did, I was able to get it dead straight at 90 degrees to the disc. Not only was I able to get it straight, I was able to easily repeat my success – every disc I’ve built since coming up with this method has been easy to set at 90 degrees to the spindle. And the JB weld is as hard as marine grade epoxy, but not as brittle. You can watch the video here to see how I implemented it.

And how is it holding up? I sanded a large piece of southern yellow pine today for 40 minutes straight, turning the machine on and off at random times to simulate using it in real world conditions where the spindle/epoxy joint will be under start and stop torque conditions. I sanded for intervals upwards of 10 minutes straight, would flip it off, flip it on, and go right back to sanding. After all that, I turned it on and off 110 times, letting it come to a full stop between so that it had to suffer maximum torque at start-up. The spindle and disc have zero play. I’m pretty happy! If you want to be happy with one of these too, you can buy the plans here!

 

 

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Mobile Stand for Benchtop Jointer

This has been a long time coming! Okay, so my benchtop jointer isn’t that heavy, so it’s not that bad to move around. It was certainly enough of a pain though that I desired a better solution. And this is definitely better.

(Watch the video!)

This build really solved multiple issues. If you know anything about my channel, you know that I’m always looking for ways to make starting a project faster, while at the same time finding ways to use my limited space efficiently.

With this mobile stand, I was able to hit all the criteria for what makes a good addition to my shop. It provides more storage in the shop WITHOUT taking up additional floor space. It lets me use my jointer much faster than before – almost immediately. And the fact that I don’t have to lift the jointer every time I want to use it is just icing on the cake. Finally, my jointer tables are now at a height of 30″, which is pretty standard, and just perfect for me – no more discomfort during use!

I’m also pretty stoked with the fit and finish of this stand; I really think it turned out pretty nice. I cover the build pretty thoroughly in the video. If you haven’t seen it yet, you can watch it here.

I hope you’re inspired by this project, and if you’re motivated enough to build one of these for yourself, you can buy the plans here.¬†And don’t forget to take pics of your build – you can post them to the One Minute Workbench Facebook page, or just send them to me via email and I’ll post them in the gallery!

 

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DIY Drill Powered Lathe!

I’m pretty happy with the results of this lathe, which you probably heard me voice in the video – if you haven’t seen the video, you can watch it here.

In all fairness, I’ve never used another lathe, so I don’t really have anything to compare it to. That said, I was able to use it to turn the wheels for my twin screw vise, and they….turned….out great! Sorry, I had to throw that pun in there ūüėČ

I had to purchase a full sheet of 12mm baltic birch, which cost me $30, but I was able to get the build done with only half of the sheet, so I still have the other half I can use on another project! I got the bearings on Amazon for only $1 each, and the rest of the stuff came from Home Depot. All totaled the¬†final build cost was about $35. You could probably even pull it off for less if you have an extra plug strip laying around that you can use as the safety to cut power to the drill — I don’t recommend it though. It’s worth it to have a dedicated switch.

It’s been suggested that the toolbar is too high, and that sounds correct to me. I’m working on the plans right now, and will lower the height of the toolbar in the final design, along with fixing a couple of other small issues that will make it an easier build. I hope to have the plans up within about a week. I’ll be sure to update this post when it’s ready!

Update: I have completed the plans & improvements (including lowering the tool rest)  and they are now available here for only 5 bucks!

If you’re inspired by this project and build one, please send me pics so I can add them to the gallery. I’ll be sure to give you the credit for you build!

 

 

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$10 Twin Screw Vise!

Years ago, watching YouTube videos of master woodworkers use their high end tools, I developed a strong desire for a twin screw vise. I was completely sold on the twin screw vise design, but when I looked to buy one (or even just the hardware kit for one), my desire turned to envy, because there was no way I could afford to spend $150+ for one.

(Watch the video!)

It didn’t take long before I designed my own version, and made sure I could make it for next to nothing. Is this vise as nice as one that’ll cost you $300? No. Will it clamp up a board with enough strength to hold my bodyweight, all while doing it for 1/30th the price? Yet bet your bottom dollar!

My YouTube video for this vise is probably everything you need to build one, but if you want nice diagrams and instructions, you can buy the plans here for just a couple bucks.

So if you’re suffering from from twin screw vise envy, give this one a try. And when you do, be sure to send me pics of your build so I can add them to the customer gallery!

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Get BOTH Ends of Your Jointer’s Fence Square!

Why is it so hard to get both ends of a jointer’s fence to be square?

I’m guessing it has something to do with the fact that no matter what mechanism is used, the engineers leave some play in it for ease of manufacturing, and/or lower cost of manufacturing. If the tolerances were set tighter, the components would have to be of higher quality and precision, or else the fence might not move at all! High quality, precise parts are harder to make and cost more money.

So what are we to do? Buy a really expensive jointer, or deal with finicky yet affordable fences. I’ve opted for the later of the two options because spending lots of money is not my strong suit. Also, expensive jointers usually take up a lot of room, which is another strike against the idea.

All that said, I think when it comes to getting the fence square, I’ve finally got it down, and can get it square, and at BOTH ends, in only a few minutes. By using two squares and spring clamps, I can monitor the squaring progress of both ends of the fence at the same time. The spring clamps allow the square to move to a new position, but still apply enough pressure to hold the fence steady while you tighten everything down.

You can see my technique in action here. Give it a try and let me know what you think. Also let me know if you come up with a better technique of your own!