Basic Power Tools for Woodworking
Various Styles Of Saws
There are many things to consider when choosing a saw blade – making safe, smooth cuts with your radial arm saw, table saw; compound slider miter saw or chop saw depends on having the correct blade for the tool and, for the kind of cut you would like to make. Performance varies from blade to blade and presently, not a lack of them in the stores today, so choose wisely.
Choosing the correct saw blade –
It’s not all that complicated, really. In order to put together a top rate saw blade assortment of your own, you required to identify a small amount about what diverse blades do and what distinguishes the top-quality from the cheaper ones. Once you figure this out, you’ll be able to decide the blade that is best for the type of woodworking you will be doing and you budget can afford.
There are blades that are intended to do a number of things. Some blades are for crosscutting wood, ripping wood, cutting veneered panels and plywood, cutting melamine, cutting non-ferries metals and cutting plastics and laminates. Combination blades and general purpose, these blades are for using two or additional kinds of cuts. The amount of teeth, the gullet, the hook angles (the tooth angle) and the tooth configuration all determines how good the saw blade is.
Amount of teeth –
Saw blades with less teeth move the wood faster furthermore blades with more teeth offer a smoother cut. For example, a 10’ blade considered for ripping wood usually has fewer than 25 teeth plus are intended to move the material quickly through the machine along the extent of the grain. With the least little bit of effort and leaving a fresh cut and a least amount of scoring, the higher quality rip blade will out perform a lower quality rip blade which is not designed to make mirror-like smooth cuts. (mirror meaning both edges are the same).
Alternatively, a crosscut blade is well thought-out to give you a even cut crossways against the grain of the wood without any tearing or splintering. Between 60 and 80 teeth are found on the crosscut blade. Remember, moving less material, each tooth comes in contact with the wood less and this means a crosscut sharp edge makes numerous additional single and smoother cuts than the ripping blades. A polished finish will appear on the wood if using a good quality crosscut cutting edge.
The space missing from the blade plate in front of each tooth, which allows for chip removal, is called the gullet. In the crosscutting blade, the chips are fewer and smaller per tooth so the gullet is much smaller. In the ripping blades the rate is much faster than the crosscutting action and the chips are bigger so therefore the gullet needs to be bigger to accommodate the larger amount of material coming through it.
The hook angle –
Rather than be perfectly in line with the blade, the teeth are tipped either inward or outward, depending on the configuration of the blade. Hook angle is the slant shaped connecting a tooth face and a line drawn down the middle of the blade across the tip of the tooth. A downbeat hook angle signifies the teeth tip away from the path of rotary motion and the reverse is said for the positive hook angle. A zero hook slant demonstrates the teeth are in line with the midpoint of the blade.
A very aggressive hook angle (degrees of 20 or more) will also have a very fast cutting rate. A negative or low hook position will have a slower supply rate and will stop the blade from ‘climbing’ the material as often happens.
Tooth configurations –
The way the blade cuts is often affected by the way the tooth is shaped and the way they are grouped together. The configuration has to do with the way a blade will cut, if it’s a crosscutting, ripper or laminates cutter.
Hand saws –
No one can deny the aggressive speed of a table saw or a sliding chopsaw, however, for joinery; it’s hard to beat the backsaw’s precision for slicing just what you need. Hand saws are much cheaper and easier to control than machine saws. The backsaw can hold the sharpest, thinnest of blades and they can slice wood with minimum waste and maximum control.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
Most woodworkers don’t give much thought to most basic tools in their shop, they are too busy picking out the best chisels, scrapers, clamps, special jigs, tool, woodworking machinery, hand planes and all manner of accessories to make their work go smoothly and more accurate. What they are missing is the measuring and marking tools.
Look at what you own in the way of measuring and marking tools. Many of the frequent troubles in woodworking are out of a four-sided figure frames, casework, joints that fit poorly, etc. can be traced back to the measuring and marking mistakes. The culprit is usually only a matter of using the incorrect measuring and marking too for the job. A tape measure was not calculated for the extremely accurate measurements that most woodworking projects require.
Making for some exacting work, in most woodworking projects, the first thing you do is marking and measuring linear dimensions. Miscalculations as small as 100th of an inch when marking and measuring in such complicated joinery or small, tight parts will later show up as gaps in joints or uneven parts or a host of other less-than-perfect results.
Depending on how correctly you are able to interpret a measurement into an objective mark on a piece of wood is the outcome of measuring from point 1 to point 2. Holding down a tape measure while trying to accurately mark off a measurement is a difficult task, mainly because tape measures are not meant to lay flat. An accurately calibrated and readable marking and measuring tool is needed for all woodworking projects.
Rules and tape measures –
Since even the best measuring tools are relatively inexpensive, most woodworkers acquire a variety of rules and tape measure to meet different need. However, it is advisable to use the same rule or measuring tool throughout the project, just in case there is any variation between one tool and another. Purchase both rules and tape measures with standard and metric graduations – but take care not to confuse one system with the other once you have begun to mark out a work piece. You can measure one piece of wood accurately and then use it as a template for the other pieces if more than one of the same size is needed, this will save you time in the marking and measuring department.
- Tape measure – retractable steel tapes, measuring from 6 to 16 ft (2 to 5m) long, are usually graduated along both edges. A lock button prevents the tape from retracting automatically. Some tape measures incorporate a liquid-crystal display that tells you how far the tape had been pulled from its case; a built-in memory retains the measurements when the tape is retracted. Self-adhesive steel tapes are sold without cases fro sticking along the front edge of a workbench.
- Four-fold rule – The folding carpenter’s rule made from boxwood with brass hinges and end capes is still popular among traditional artist. Most folding rules are 3ft (1m) in length fully extended. Because it is relatively thick, you have to stand a wooden rule on edge in order to transfer measurements accurately to the work. Similar rules made from plastic are sometimes made with beveled edges to overcome this problem.
- Straightedge – every workshop needs at least one sturdy metal straightedge, measuring between 1ft 8in (500mm) and 6ft 6in (2m) long. A beveled straightedge is ideal for making accurate cuts with a marking knife and for checking that a planed surface is perfectly flat. Some straightedges are etched with standard metric and/or graduations.
Squares and T-Bevels –
Squares are used to make sure things are at a right angle to one another. In a woodshop, these things might be the edge of a board, the shoulder of a tenon, the fence on a jointer and so on. However, square is an abstract term. Looked at closely enough, nothing is truly square; some things just approach the idea of being square than others. There are three types of square generally used in woodworking.
- Try squares – are the most commonly used squares among furniture makers. They have blades of brass or steel (generally from 6in to 12in long) set in a thicker wood or metal stock. If the stock is wood, it should be faced with metal to ensure long-term accuracy. The reliability of try squares can vary sharply, even among those made by the same manufacturer.
- Engineer’s square – these are similar in design to the try squares, but made entirely of steel. Blades lengths start at approximately 2 in. these squares are more reliable than try squares, probably because engineers are a more demanding bunch than woodworkers. Engineer’s squares can be used interchangeably with try squares in a wood shop.
- Framing squares – these are made for house building. They have two large blades that form a right angle. One blade is 2in wide by 24in long; the other is 1 ½ in by 18in long. Framing squares are not expected to be precise as try squares or engineer’s squares.
Marking tools –
- Pencils – every shop needs pencils for marking out your designs and marking wood in order to keep track of jointed surfaces and which piece fits together where.
- Knives – these are indispensable in a wood shop for tasks such as marking tenon shoulders and cutting cardboard templates. Knives are a preference, pocket knives, box cutters; utility knives with a retractable blade are all useful in a woodworking shop.
- Awls – these are sharp, pointed instruments with a variety of uses. They differ in the fineness of their points and the thickness of their shafts. A fine-pointed awl is useful for marking out joinery and scribing lines and a thick-shanked, broad-pointed awl is good for making pilot holes in wood prior to drilling. The dimple it leaves when tapped with a mallet forms an exact starting point for a drill bit.
There are only a few truly indispensable hand tools for woodworking today. Near the top of the list would be the basic chisel. This is a tool that does it all, from carefully paring away thin shavings in intricate detailed work to quickly scooping out large chunks of waste wood. You will find chisels in every basic aspect of woodworking from furniture making to trim carpentry to woodcarving.
There are several different types and sizes of chisels one should carry in their woodworking shop and each is designed for a specific job. You could consider purchasing a 4 piece set which includes ¼-, ½-, ¾- and a 1 inch beveled bench chisel with blade lengths from 4 to 6 inches. Plastic handles are best because they can stand up to being hit by a mallet and are comfortable to hold for long periods of time. If you only have the budget for one, purchase a ¾ inch chisel and be sure to purchase a reputable brand because quality counts, it will hold up to repeated sharpening longer.
Using your chisel –
To chisel a shallow mortise or notch at the border of a piece of wood, begin by placing the indentation edge with a blade grove. And then, place the beveled edge in front of the throw away area, position the chisel edge in the subsequent line, holding the chisel perpendicularly and tap with your mallet which makes the cuts around the border. Place the bevel downward; make one-sided cuts from the stock facade to the boarder cuts to make the indentation walls. Following the angled boundary cuts to the preferred deepness, rotate the chisel bevel side up and cut diagonally against the grain and taking away the majority of the unusable portion. When the indentation has come to its estimated dimension, use tiny cuts to help reach its final size and deepness.
Use a wide bevel chisel, with the bevel up in a semi-circular sweeping motion with the straggling end of the blade doing the slicing if you need engrain paring done.
The easiest and quickest way to slice a cavernous mortise is to first drill a sequence of holes with a drill bit that is to some extent tinier than the depth of the hole. Then use the chisel to shear away the throw away pieces amid the holes.
Concave curves can be trimmed by using a chisel so as to be somewhat wider than the width of the reserve. Press down on the blade while rotating downwards on the handle and pushing straight ahead all while holding the bevel down.
For fast cutting and clean, a sharpened edge is necessary as well as for individual safety. An unsharp tool makes a rough cut – you want everything to be smooth – but the additional strength necessary to drive the tool could cause you to have less control over the situation which could lead to accidents.
By honing a chisel regularly on a water or oil stone, you will keep it sharp and in top shape for cutting and scraping. The cutting edge bevel is typically around 20 to 35 degrees, however you don’t have to hone the complete bevel, in its place, hone a small, minor bevel at the top to a little more of an angle than the most important bevel.
Set the bevel steadfastly on the stone and then rise the chisel about five degrees. Shift the blade back and forth until a wire edge builds on the back of the blade. Flip the blade over and lay it entirely level on the stone, glide it back and forth a few times to eliminate the edge of wire. Pare across an end grain as a check for unevenness.
Nick Lieurance has made a career out of helping people build stuff with wood. He spent 12 years a cabinetmaker and devoted much of that time to drafting and engineering. Now he produces a variety of instructional content for hobbyists, including articles, videos, and online woodworking courses. When Nick isn’t involved in a woodworking project, he’s fishing the rivers around his northern Colorado home, or spending time with his wife and their two dogs.