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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Like most of you, who've been in construction and woodworking for a number of years, I've invented dozens of tools and machines to make various tasks easier quicker, and more accurate.

I thought I'd show some of those here, and hope that you will share some of the things that you've invented, big or small, to help with specific tasks you needed to accomplish in your life. Please join me in a show and tell.

Here goes:
After closing in my second house, during my relatively brief career as a home builder, I moved inside for the winter work of finishing the interior. With plumbing and wiring in place, insulation was on the agenda. Having just finished "energy efficient construction methods" classes at the local Tech School, I was seriously packing fiber glass into every gap around windows etc., placing insulation behind wiring and electrical device boxes, and covering everything with vaper barrier.

As those of you, who do insulate, know, fitting fiberglass bats under windows and into all the non standard widths between studs at corners and door ways etc, requires a lot of cutting. I tried utility knives, butcher knives, breakaway wall paper knives, but nothing worked very well cutting the 6 inch and 9 inch FG I was working with.

I thought of a large rounded blade that wouldn't snag as you draw it along, and would allow you to work with gloves and would keep your hand above and away from the FG. That was 1979. The thing worked really well, so when I used it recently to cut tons of insulation for my son's 40 x 60 ft shop with 16 foot ceilings, I was reminded how good it was, and the helpers working with us were also impressed, and encouraged me to put it on the market. We've since given up on marketing, but here are some photos of the newer versions.
 

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Great idea. I would like to see it in action. I still on occasion cut insulation and never look forward to it with the snagging problems that occur. what are the dimensions and how sharp is the blade? I'm wondering if I could rig something up that would mimic your invention that I could get to work for me.

As for my own invention? I can't think of one but I have used many from some very talented, smart and resourceful people. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Great idea. I would like to see it in action. I still on occasion cut insulation and never look forward to it with the snagging problems that occur. what are the dimensions and how sharp is the blade? I'm wondering if I could rig something up that would mimic your invention that I could get to work for me.

As for my own invention? I can't think of one but I have used many from some very talented, smart and resourceful people. :)
I've always made the blades from 24 gauge or thicker, galvanized sheet metal. The blades are sharpened to a kind of ragged edge on a coarse grinding wheel. You'll need to sharpen quite often. just a few passes does it. Always cut over wood, not concrete. The sort of semi circular shape on the 9.5 by 17 inch blade has a very long cutting edge so as you rotate, you get to use parts of the edge that are still sharp.

I tried to upload a video but it didn't work. I'll try again.
 

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Theo
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It's a ulu. They've been around 4 or 5,000 years. The one in the pic is supposed to be about 3,000
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
It's a ulu. They've been around 4 or 5,000 years. The one in the pic is supposed to be about 3,000
I guess invented is too strong a word here. What I mean is that I thought of these things , built and used them, not having seen them used or for sale anywhere else before. Obviously there have probably been lots of people to have had the same ideas before.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I guess invented is too strong a word here. What I mean is that I thought of these things , built and used them, not having seen them used or for sale anywhere else before. Obviously there have probably been lots of people to have had the same ideas before.
Here's another "idea.

It's a great little fast, accurate and cheap dowel drilling jig. Start by drilling a hole through a piece of hardwood which is the same thickness as the frame your building, very carefully mark the centerline on the face of the block, and mount it to a backer board.

Place the frame parts in the desired positions and mark the dowel positions across the joint. With the frame pieces held in a bench vise, clamp the dowel jig on with the center line aligned with the dowel position mark and drill your dowel hole.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Here's another "idea.

It's a great little fast, accurate and cheap dowel drilling jig. Start by drilling a hole through a piece of hardwood which is the same thickness as the frame your building, very carefully mark the centerline on the face of the block, and mount it to a backer board.

Place the frame parts in the desired positions and mark the dowel positions across the joint. With the frame pieces held in a bench vise, clamp the dowel jig on with the center line aligned with the dowel position mark and drill your dowel hole.
I've got lots more, but I'm going to stop now until you show some of your creations.

Art S
 

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I guess invented is too strong a word here. What I mean is that I thought of these things , built and used them, not having seen them used or for sale anywhere else before. Obviously there have probably been lots of people to have had the same ideas before.
Once I saw it in use it reminded me of seeing someone use something similar in a kitchen for cutting, a pizza maybe? Hey but Schmitt, that is a great idea and it works fantastic. Anyone who cuts insulation on a regular basis would love to use it and would shed tears if they lost it.
PS you wouldn't be the first one to invent something that already exists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I've got lots more, but I'm going to stop now until you show some of your creations.

Art S
These wood jigs do eventually wear out, but I've built whole kitchens, raised panel doors and face frames, with one jig made with a hard maple block. This was done before I built the improved doweling machine.

I'm still waiting to see some of The Creations that many of the forum members have come up with.
 

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These wood jigs do eventually wear out, but I've built whole kitchens, raised panel doors and face frames, with one jig made with a hard maple block. This was done before I built the improved doweling machine.

I'm still waiting to see some of The Creations that many of the forum members have come up with.
Schmitt, I looked at your web site and video. You created a nice system(s). As for inventions like some say around here "I Still Ain't Got Nothin" . Here meaning where I live.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks Marco
I was hoping to see some of the "inventions" that many you router forums viewers have come up with, but I just can't wait. I'm too old so now I'm going to show a few more.

This is a tool I made in 1978. I was working for a contractor building 4ea 16 unit 2 story apartment buildings. We'd assemble exterior wall sections up to 64 feet long on the deck, with the bottom plate about 4 inches in from the edge of the building. Complete with T111 vertical siding and windows, we'd get the whole crew to stand the sections up, then we'd have to pull the wall in tight so that the siding extending below the bottom plate was drawn tight against the skirt joist, and to make small adjustments lengthwise to its final resting place.

You take this tool, jab the point into the 1/2 inch plywood sub floor, and hammer the 3 small hooks into the bottom wall plate. One guy could easily move the whole section this way.


Wood Tool Composite material Metal Household hardware
Wood Art Metal Twig Artifact
Wood Hardwood Natural material Flooring Wood stain
 

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That cutter looks a lot like my wife's rotary cutter for quilting. I've seen them with a 3 inch diameter blade, which would be fine for FG insulation. I always have to compress it with a board to cut it, so this style of cutter would work fine.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That cutter looks a lot like my wife's rotary cutter for quilting. I've seen them with a 3 inch diameter blade, which would be fine for FG insulation. I always have to compress it with a board to cut it, so this style of cutter would work fine.
Thanks for your comment, Tom. This cutter is about 18 inches in diameter, and you don't need to compress the fg to cut it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks for your comment, Tom. This cutter is about 18 inches in diameter, and you don't need to compress the fg to cut it.
Tom, I've been thinking about your comment and think I need to clarify how I'm using the cutter. I don't press down and roll the blade as you would with the fabric cutting wheel (my wife has one also), but rather just rotate it back and forth sawing through the fg with a little down pressure. It's the roughly sharpened edge that does the cutting.
 

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I was hoping to see some of the "inventions" that many you router forums viewers have come up with, but I just can't wait. I'm too old so now I'm going to show a few more.

This is a tool I made in 1978. I was working for a contractor building 4ea 16 unit 2 story apartment buildings. We'd assemble exterior wall sections up to 64 feet long on the deck, with the bottom plate about 4 inches in from the edge of the building. Complete with T111 vertical siding and windows, we'd get the whole crew to stand the sections up, then we'd have to pull the wall in tight so that the siding extending below the bottom plate was drawn tight against the skirt joist, and to make small adjustments lengthwise to its final resting place.

You take this tool, jab the point into the 1/2 inch plywood sub floor, and hammer the 3 small hooks into the bottom wall plate. One guy could easily move the whole section this way.


View attachment 397741 View attachment 397742 View attachment 397743
I can imagine this was a real time saver.
 

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Thought I'd pop in with a jig I made for cutting splines in boxes and frames. It has an oversize sliding piece that acts as a stop block so I can cut splines on anything from half an inch up. The blue Track Bar makes it easy to adjust. I made this several years ago, and it is always a pleasure to use.

To make the 90 degree cradle, I simply cut a piece of ply at 45 degrees, and set the two pieces with the 45-cut down to form a 90 degree angle, double checked with a thick draftsman's triangle. The cradle is supported by two shorter pieces of ply, also cut at 45 degrees, but with the square cut end down.

One of the angled pieces is larger to accommodate the T-track. The sliding stop is three pieces of half inch ply, the face is large so I can clamp or hold the box or frame in place. It can be used with the 1/4-3/8ths Freud box joint blade set. The miter bars are wood, I used tape to place them after making sure the base was exactly 90 to the blade.
397748
397749
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Thought I'd pop in with a jig I made for cutting splines in boxes and frames. It has an oversize sliding piece that acts as a stop block so I can cut splines on anything from half an inch up. The blue Track Bar makes it easy to adjust. I made this several years ago, and it is always a pleasure to use.

To make the 90 degree cradle, I simply cut a piece of ply at 45 degrees, and set the two pieces with the 45-cut down to form a 90 degree angle, double checked with a thick draftsman's triangle. The cradle is supported by two shorter pieces of ply, also cut at 45 degrees, but with the square cut end down.

One of the angled pieces is larger to accommodate the T-track. The sliding stop is three pieces of half inch ply, the face is large so I can clamp or hold the box or frame in place. It can be used with the 1/4-3/8ths Freud box joint blade set. The miter bars are wood, I used tape to place them after making sure the base was exactly 90 to the blade.
View attachment 397748 View attachment 397749
Thought I'd pop in with a jig I made for cutting splines in boxes and frames. It has an oversize sliding piece that acts as a stop block so I can cut splines on anything from half an inch up. The blue Track Bar makes it easy to adjust. I made this several years ago, and it is always a pleasure to use.

To make the 90 degree cradle, I simply cut a piece of ply at 45 degrees, and set the two pieces with the 45-cut down to form a 90 degree angle, double checked with a thick draftsman's triangle. The cradle is supported by two shorter pieces of ply, also cut at 45 degrees, but with the square cut end down.

One of the angled pieces is larger to accommodate the T-track. The sliding stop is three pieces of half inch ply, the face is large so I can clamp or hold the box or frame in place. It can be used with the 1/4-3/8ths Freud box joint blade set. The miter bars are wood, I used tape to place them after making sure the base was exactly 90 to the blade.
View attachment 397748 View attachment 397749
Tom that is a great looking jig. But you'll have to explain more about what it's for and how it's used. I feel like I just climbed out from under a rock. I have no idea what you're doing with it.
 

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Tom that is a great looking jig. But you'll have to explain more about what it's for and how it's used. I feel like I just climbed out from under a rock. I have no idea what you're doing with it.
Sure. For picture frames, I glue up the basic frame, then drop each of the four corners into the jig, run it through the blade, then do the next corner. For frames the 1/8th inch cut is sufficient. Then I apply glue into the slot I just cut and then slide a triangular piece of 1/8 material into the slot and let it set. I use a japanese saw (pix) to cut off the excess then sand and finish the frame. Here is a simple example of this kind of a spline:

397750


A spline is really no more than a slot in into which you slide a small piece of wood. With glue, it makes for a very strong joint. Splines are also a good way to more or less invisibly connect the two corners of a box. Algning the mitered corners of a box can be very tricky, but using splines as shown is pretty easy. You start with the table saw, set to 45 degrees. (use that Wixey!!!) Cut the long and short edge pieces to length. You cut one end on all four sides first , then use a stop block on the cut end set to the length you want each, and push the 45 cut to the stop block. This assures both sides are exactly the same length. Cut the 45 on each of the other ends.

397751
Without changing the angle of the saw, you then lower the blade as the picture shows, and cut the slot into the 45s. This is the slot for the spline that forever connects the corners. Make the slot a little more than half the width of the spline you plan to use. In the next picture you can see a cutaway of how the spline goes in.
The drawing shows two ways to make a mitered corner.
397752

That is not the only use for splines. From time to time you may want to join two wide boards to make a wider one. Tongue and groove is one way to do that, but it's even easier to cut a long spline and join it this way:
397753


This kind of spline joint requires one thing, if you make it on a table saw (the easiest way. ALWAYS make the cuts with the finished or top side either in toward the fence, or allways out away from the fence. Line your boards up carefully for the best look, then use chalk to mark the best face and then number them in sequence, or draw a big V across all the faces. This way you will find it easy to realign them, This is a mothod for making table tops.

In a variation, you can cut the splines but stop short of the edge, then your spline won't be visible at the edges of the table top. This can also be used to join short pieces into panels you can use for raised panel doors.

There are also some very fancy splines you can make with a spline jig on a router table with a V shaped dovetail bit. You assemble the box using whatever method you want, then using a jig similar to mine, you run each corner through the bit and it makes a bow tie shape. You then cut triangular shaped splines to fit, glue them in and trim off the excess.
397754


Trimming off the excess can be done in many ways, but my favorite is with a Japanese pull saw. These rascals ruin you for old fashioned push saws. They have ultra fine teeth, razor sharp. You pull on them and because the teeth are not "set" at an angle, they don't mess up the wood around the spline. There are many types and models, but for frames I use the one with a stiffener on the back (About $36 on Amazon). You replace the blade when these get dull or the teeth get too damaged to use. For a box like the bow tie spline box, you would want one without the stiffener. Because you pull these saws, you have excellent control.
Office supplies Tool Font Wood Tints and shades


You can also use a hand plane. A small block plane of good quality is one of those small hand tools you will soon love to use. It allows you to shave tiny amounts from a workpiece. Here's one FYI:

397756

Some find sandpaper works for them for this purpose. Corner splines hang past the corner, so do many other joints, such as dovetails and box joints. You make them slightly large so you can plane or sand them back without a problem. I try to go light on sanding, and tend not to use anything more than 220 grit. Sanding on picture frames gets tricky because of the ridges and coves.

Making things is all about joining pieces together in ways that work best and allows for moisture seasonally changing the width of the wood pieces. One of my favorite references is called "The Joint Book," no, not that kind of joint, but it pictures a huge variety of joints with hints on how to make them. It is on hard, plastic coated paper so you can keep it around the shop. Well worth having when you're getting going in this woodworking addiction.
397757


Finally, attached is a piece I've put together based on the 18 plus things that really sped up my learning curve. Like many here, I've done DIY, repairs all my life, starting as a kid helping my dad keep a 1913 farmhouse from collapsing. But woodworking is far more exacting, so there's a learning curve. Don't let the length discourage you, it took me more than a decade to accumulate the tools and experience. I just hope it helps you move along faster, and to be patient about building up your shop.

Hope this wasn't too much at once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Sure. For picture frames, I glue up the basic frame, then drop each of the four corners into the jig, run it through the blade, then do the next corner. For frames the 1/8th inch cut is sufficient. Then I apply glue into the slot I just cut and then slide a triangular piece of 1/8 material into the slot and let it set. I use a japanese saw (pix) to cut off the excess then sand and finish the frame. Here is a simple example of this kind of a spline:

View attachment 397750

A spline is really no more than a slot in into which you slide a small piece of wood. With glue, it makes for a very strong joint. Splines are also a good way to more or less invisibly connect the two corners of a box. Algning the mitered corners of a box can be very tricky, but using splines as shown is pretty easy. You start with the table saw, set to 45 degrees. (use that Wixey!!!) Cut the long and short edge pieces to length. You cut one end on all four sides first , then use a stop block on the cut end set to the length you want each, and push the 45 cut to the stop block. This assures both sides are exactly the same length. Cut the 45 on each of the other ends.

View attachment 397751 Without changing the angle of the saw, you then lower the blade as the picture shows, and cut the slot into the 45s. This is the slot for the spline that forever connects the corners. Make the slot a little more than half the width of the spline you plan to use. In the next picture you can see a cutaway of how the spline goes in.
The drawing shows two ways to make a mitered corner.
View attachment 397752
That is not the only use for splines. From time to time you may want to join two wide boards to make a wider one. Tongue and groove is one way to do that, but it's even easier to cut a long spline and join it this way:
View attachment 397753

This kind of spline joint requires one thing, if you make it on a table saw (the easiest way. ALWAYS make the cuts with the finished or top side either in toward the fence, or allways out away from the fence. Line your boards up carefully for the best look, then use chalk to mark the best face and then number them in sequence, or draw a big V across all the faces. This way you will find it easy to realign them, This is a mothod for making table tops.

In a variation, you can cut the splines but stop short of the edge, then your spline won't be visible at the edges of the table top. This can also be used to join short pieces into panels you can use for raised panel doors.

There are also some very fancy splines you can make with a spline jig on a router table with a V shaped dovetail bit. You assemble the box using whatever method you want, then using a jig similar to mine, you run each corner through the bit and it makes a bow tie shape. You then cut triangular shaped splines to fit, glue them in and trim off the excess.
View attachment 397754

Trimming off the excess can be done in many ways, but my favorite is with a Japanese pull saw. These rascals ruin you for old fashioned push saws. They have ultra fine teeth, razor sharp. You pull on them and because the teeth are not "set" at an angle, they don't mess up the wood around the spline. There are many types and models, but for frames I use the one with a stiffener on the back (About $36 on Amazon). You replace the blade when these get dull or the teeth get too damaged to use. For a box like the bow tie spline box, you would want one without the stiffener. Because you pull these saws, you have excellent control.
View attachment 397755

You can also use a hand plane. A small block plane of good quality is one of those small hand tools you will soon love to use. It allows you to shave tiny amounts from a workpiece. Here's one FYI:

View attachment 397756
Some find sandpaper works for them for this purpose. Corner splines hang past the corner, so do many other joints, such as dovetails and box joints. You make them slightly large so you can plane or sand them back without a problem. I try to go light on sanding, and tend not to use anything more than 220 grit. Sanding on picture frames gets tricky because of the ridges and coves.

Making things is all about joining pieces together in ways that work best and allows for moisture seasonally changing the width of the wood pieces. One of my favorite references is called "The Joint Book," no, not that kind of joint, but it pictures a huge variety of joints with hints on how to make them. It is on hard, plastic coated paper so you can keep it around the shop. Well worth having when you're getting going in this woodworking addiction.
View attachment 397757

Finally, attached is a piece I've put together based on the 18 plus things that really sped up my learning curve. Like many here, I've done DIY, repairs all my life, starting as a kid helping my dad keep a 1913 farmhouse from collapsing. But woodworking is far more exacting, so there's a learning curve. Don't let the length discourage you, it took me more than a decade to accumulate the tools and experience. I just hope it helps you move along faster, and to be patient about building up your shop.

Hope this wasn't too much at once.
Thanks Tom. You've made it perfectly clear.

I have used the one labeled "case miters". We were building a set of casework for a jewelry store. some of the cases were 6 feet by 2 feet by 3 feet high with drawers one long face. This included an 8 inch high glass and aluminum showcase at the top. The lower part was glued up 3/4 solid oak boards. I used the splines to line up the corners for gluing. I had built a large fixture to hold the side panels at a 45 and then used my router to cut the spline groves. Your method would have been much simpler as I already had a nice factory built sliding table on my Powermatic table saw which had a left tilting blade.

I had been experimenting with concealed splines in raised panel door frames which I cut using a modified large diameter router bit. I made circular splines and glued them inside the corner joints. They made a strong joint and aligned the surfaces. This was probably after I'd heard about the Lomello ($500) machine.

We finally did purchase a Lomello biscuit machine before starting the auto dealership reception area made from that ugly oak "slotwall", shown in the photos(1988).

Art

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