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How do you make a straight edge tool?

This is a discussion on How do you make a straight edge tool? within the Jigs and Fixtures forums, part of the Routers category; This is impossible to do perfectly unless you have a perfectly straight edge for a ...


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Old 02-17-2010, 09:16 PM   #1 (permalink)
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This is impossible to do perfectly unless you have a perfectly straight edge for a reference. I am going to go to the scrap yard and try to acquire a piece of aluminum tube or channel that can be used as a template. I may purchase a straight edge but I hesitate to because they are very flimsy and one drop or bang could render them useless.

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Old 02-17-2010, 10:53 PM   #2 (permalink)
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For small pieces I use the Joiner fence, good out to 3 or 4 feet. I think your idea of chanel or some other device is a good one. Once you get off it isn't long till your entire project is way off. Happy building and be safe!!
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Old 02-18-2010, 11:32 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I know several guys who have made winding sticks (essentially a pair of straight edges) out of channel aluminum from the hardware store.

You can make your own straight edges out of hardwood relatively easily but the trick is to make THREE, label them A, B and C. Then you start comparing them A to B, A to C and B to C in both orientations (ie spin them around). Make note of high and low spots (feeler gauges for low spots and the straight edges will pivot on high spots). Sand or plane down and test all combinations again. Eventually you arrive at a set of three with one straight edge. Then lock away one or two of them to have as your standards for checking on the piece you use every day.

If on the other hand you are thinking about making a ripping/routing jig, the factory edge on most MDF is pretty dang good. There is a good video tutorial over at the Wood Magazine web site that walks you through making the ripping jig to use with a circular saw and router.
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Old 02-18-2010, 06:17 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Today I took two pieces of oak...actually, oak flooring, and attempted to make a t-square. I first ran them through the table saw to remove the tounge and groove. But then when I joined them together in a "T" I found that if I squared up one side of the t-square the other side was out of square. I evenually determined that both pieces may have just the very slightest unevenness in the edges. So I used my #4 Stanley plane to true the edges up. I did a pretty good job since the t-square was now square on both sides. But then I noticed that farther down the t-square (its about a 36"er), past where my tri-square will measure to, that there appeared to be a almost invisible wave. So I planed it some more and screwed it all up. But with persistance I managed to get it to what appears to be near perfection. But now I can see that my edges on each board are not perfectly square. I apparently am not holding the plane flat on the edge of the board.
How do I make sure my plane rides flat on a 3/4" thick edge?
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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hi Daryl,

do you have the board locked in a vice with the edge your planing facing up?
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Old 02-18-2010, 07:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Yes I do. I had to rig up stop blocks and such to hold the board upright and in a stationary position. Then I clamped a board to the side of my plane. The board slide along the side of the board I am planing. This seemed to work a lot better...but what a job getting set up. I gotta build a proper bench soon.
Anyway, I got it done pretty well. But as before the t-sqare is not square on both sides.
Well, I'll let the glue set up and it will be usable for now but I want to get it better at a later date.
Any suggestions will be appreciated.
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:31 PM   #7 (permalink)
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hi Daryl,

i have to admit the last t-square i made was in the form of a tablessaw sled. and i have to admit, i cheat when it comes to straight edge tools, i use the following. i got a 24', a 36' and a 50' from rockler.

All-In-One Clamp Guides - Rockler Woodworking Tools
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Old 02-18-2010, 08:58 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I hope you meant " instead of '.

I found that my planing was defective. I made one end narrower than the other. I'll try again tomorrow. This should be doable eventially.

EDIT: Actually, what I should do is to run it through my thickness planer. AHA! Theres some stuff going on in the old head.

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Old 02-18-2010, 09:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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i may not be following you right. i would have thought you might need to run it through the jointer. sorry if im not following you right?
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Old 02-18-2010, 09:19 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I don't have a jointer. I planed the edges by hand, which I screwed up. What I am saying now is that I should run the boards, on edge, through the power planer to get a uniform board width. Get it?
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