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A favorite gadget, jig or accessory?

2356 Views 6 Replies 5 Participants Last post by  DesertRatTom
I was just putting some stuff away in the shop and came across a couple of items that are favorites and thought I'd share them and have other members post about their minor items that they really like.

I'll start with a tool that is no longer made by the original manufacturer. It's called the Dado Wiz (as in wizard) This little aluminum gem, along with a fairly standard straight edge, allows you to use a router to cut exact size dados, grooves and stopped dados.
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The three arrows point to the pins, into which you place a piece of the shelf or whatever, you want to fit into the dado or groove. You can see the straight edge. The double outboard pins are set according to the size bit you're using. With the wood between the pins, you push the third, center pin block until it touches the piece. I found it's important to put a playing card in between to allow a little room for glue. Yes, it cuts that accurately.

I use a 3/8ths or a half inch, down spiral bit and you use a mark on the edge to line it up with the dado's position. Clamp the straight edge down tight and you make accurate multiple passes. Let the bit cool between passes. There is a bushing you can place on your router but it can change the accuracy slightly if you don't allow for that offset.

I'm so happy to have this thing because it is far easier to use than a dado set, which is a pain to set up perfectly.

I think someone else is making this now, but it has another name. I haven't made anything using dados for awhile, so this tool in its case has slipped onto a back shelf. But for its purpose, I don't thing you can beat it.
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Another odd tool my wife bought for me to make picture frames is this Grizzly Lyon style miter trimmer.
Tool Wood Saw Machine Bumper

It is a horizontal guillotine with incredibly sharp, low angle blades. You precut your frame pieces about 1/16 oversize, place it in this precision cutter and use the lever to shave about 1/32 nd off the ends. It is not only an EXACT 45 or 90, but it produces a glass smooth end cut that fits perfectly when assembling the frame.

After considerable research, I found that every frame shop has one of these or something similarly precise. This tool was invented back in the 1800s, and is still the go to tool for frames.

Clamping a frame in place while the glue sets is a royal pain. This little tool has been the best way I've found to hold it square. Squeeze the handles and that spreads the wire clamps. They leave a sharp indent, but I always use a corner spline to reinforce the corners.
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Since the 45 miters are perfect, when you put four of these little clamps in place the frame is perfectly squared. (Coat the cut ends with glue first, then again just before clamping them up. I lay down the glossy side of butcher paper so I don't glue the frame to the bench.

Last little specialty item for frames I just love is this little Logan framing points gun. It inserts a pointed little metal tab to hold the picture and backing in place. For pictures painted on canvas, I will often add a 1x1 pine framework to the back of the frame material so I can put in these little retaining tabs. Most pre-milled wood for frames is too thin to make a rabbet deep enough to hold a painting without that pine framework. No glass on oil paintings. The tab comes out of the black spot on the lower left corner. Sure beats trying to hammer in a brad.
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Here's one of my favorite paintings and frames, made with this process. Not bad, huh.
Bird Vertebrate Paint Rectangle Beak
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I have a jig patterned after one made by Woodhaven. Woodhaven has some neat stuff. I have a lot of tools, including a metal mill, so I can make my own versions of a lot of a lot of jigs.

This jig is foolproof - works every time, because you set the jig off the actual piece of material to fit into the dado. One side is fixed; the other moveable. You put the shelf, or whatever, against the fixed side and just move the other side until it just touches the shelf. Rather than explain it, here's a link to the web page with the instructions: Woodhaven Dado Jig. I can set up my jig a lot quicker than trying to adjust my stack dado to a perfect fit.
Here's a picture of the 26inch Woodhaven original. Many of us have made similar jigs, but this is aluminum and pretty nifty. One thing worth noting is the long bottom bar of the jig gives room for clamps so that neither the workpiece nor the jig can move out of position. Cool.
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