Formica is a popular countertop choice made of a plastic laminate material. It is durable and comes in a variety of styles and colors, making it an ideal choice when improving your kitchen. While the material may look nice, I understand how it can be a struggle deciding how best to cut it and get it applied on your own. There are a lot of different methods for cutting, and a number of tools that are needed to get the job done.
With tools found around the workshop, you can learn how to cut formica. The process may seem lengthy, but it is worth it to have that hard, durable material sitting atop your countertops and on your cupboard doors, enhancing their look and appeal. I have the items required and steps to do so here.
A pergola is something many people dream about for their gardens. This beautiful archway can greatly impact the look of your yard, with plants climbing up the sides and trailing the top. It is a gorgeous addition to any home, but you may have skipped it fearing it will be too expensive to manage.
If you have ever asked yourself, how much does it cost to build a pergola? You may want to continue reading to discover the answer.
You will want to apply Polyurethane to your wood project to ensure it is properly finished and left looking shiny and new. Applying this substance will ensure a protective coat is added and the wood will last longer.
The question is not whether or not you should add this protective substance to your wood. That is a given. It is how many coats of Polyurethane are needed to achieve a beautiful finish.
In order to make wood completely flat and level as needed, certain equipment, such as a planer, is required. This handy tool produces fabulous results for all your woodworking projects. It also helps to reduce some of the wood’s thickness.
The best planer of 2016 will allow you to work on your projects quickly and easily with little guidance. Many come with the blades, dust hoods, and guides that are needed to make the job go smoothly.
** Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can click links above to see current prices and customer's reviews on Amazon.
Many home projects featuring wood cannot be completed without a belt sander. This useful tool helps to level out porous surfaces and make them smooth to the touch. If you do not have a belt sander laying around, it is time for you to get one. Amazing home projects are made with the best belt sander of 2016.
**Below, you'll find more detailed reviews, but you can also click links above to see current prices and read customer's reviews on Amazon.
Cutting boards are a handy addition to the kitchen, allowing you to easily chop and mince foods on a solid platform. Not all boards are made with the same type of wood though. There are various options available that allow the boards to take on a unique look and texture that can add to the atmosphere of your kitchen. There are 19 varieties of the best wood for cutting board creations that you can choose from.
The woodworker as he progresses in his abilities to work with wood, realizes the usefulness of tools that can be used for more than one thing. They are also surprised that some of the simplest tools, are able to do a number of important jobs.
One of the most common tools in any wood shop is probably the cordless hand drill. The drill is powered by a rechargeable battery so can be used anywhere including upside down in small spots. The drill bits come in a vast array of sizes and shapes and are easily changeable. They drill holes for any size hole in the wood you need. They can drill holes for screws, bolts, wooden pegs or if there is a need for an open small hole in the piece being made.
The drill can put in or take out any size screw. Metal, plastic or wood. After drilling the initial hole, the screw can be placed in the opening and by controlling the speed then tightens down and worked into the piece. For removing the screw, it can be done easily by putting the drill in reverse.
The drill can also be used to remove the stripped screw by changing the size to a larger drill bit. Then centering it on the stripped screw and slowly drilling. This makesthe area slightly larger around the stripped screw. After a few minutes, the stripped screw can be removed, and the hole can be finished. Then a slightly larger screw put in the hole. This works on metal, wooden or plastic screws.
A set of Sockets can take the place of drill bits to do used on bolts and any other like shaped objects to be used in the wood pieces. While these are not threaded as screws are the smooth holes can be drilled using the right drill bit beforehand, and the socket attachment will put the piece into place and tighten it down.
Almost all woodworking craftsmen will agree that a wood router’s uses and possibilities are endless. The machine itself is light enough to hold and use on large or small pieces of wood. It can be mounted into a table for more accurate work. There is also an electronically controlled version of the wood router.
There are numerous bits that come in three styles for different uses. The helical style bits are for drilling, shaping your wood project and trimming. You can use this style of bit to make the threads on wooden screws.
The profile style bits can be used for a vast variety of projects from shaping rounded edges to carving into the wood. You can use this style bit to round the edges on straight corners or angels.
The third type of bit style are the fluted bits. These bits can be used for the cutting and shaping of edgings and trimming. The possibilities of these bits uses are only limited by the wood workers imagination and experience.
The Wood Lathe
The lathe is an awesome tool in the art of woodworking. By holding the wood and spinning it, the woodworker can use a variety of tools to carve and shape the wood. The use of the wood lathe goes back two centuries and is constantly being improved.
Today’s wood lathes come in a variety of sizes able to hold very large heavy pieces of wood, down to the very small table top wood lathes that hold small half -inch pieces of wood for tiny turned finished objects.
Using tools such as gouges, chisels, and end finishers the woodworker can create huge statues, legs for furniture, bowls, vases, and even tear drop size wooden pendants. A good woodworker knowing which tools to use and how to use them can start with a rough piece of wood and remove the finished piece of wood in a matter of an hour.
Chisels’ and their uses
Chisels are a group of hand tools used to refine and finish other wood tools cut and carving in woodworking. The chisels are tempered steel with different shaped ends. They usually have wooden handles on them. They are used by placing the metal end on the wood, and the handle end is then struck with a ball pin hammer or wooden mallet.
The most common uses for the chisels are finishing the joint holes. While a router is usually used for the making of a dovetail or mortises joint opening, it is usually a rough cut. The woodworker then comes back in with a beveled end chisel and slowly finishes the opening to the precise cut.
This is to be sure the joint fits together snugly. There should be no reason to use glue or any other type of adhesive on the wood joint. The use of glue or adhesive will cause the joint to loosen eventually and come apart.
The chisels are also used in hand carving. The woodworker can carve his design using different types of chisels, and each chisel has its signature mark as it cuts. This can be used to create different textures on the finished carving adding to the beauty of the piece.
Very small and thin ended chisels can be used to make delicate inlaying cuts in the base wood of an inlay piece the woodworker is making. Although this type of work is for the master craftsman and not a beginner or intermediate woodworker. More moderntools, such as a Dremel tool, are better used by less experienced woodworkers.
Wood rasps and files
Wood rasps and files have some uses for the woodworker. The rasps are easier to control when only a small amount of wood is needed to be removed. Also, if the area that needs to be thinned is in a spot that a larger power tool cannot get at. Sometimes the woodworker does not notice the thickness difference in the pieces of wood until the piece has been put together. The rasp is easier to use than taking the piece apart.
The use of wood files in most woodworking is becoming obsolete. But there are still a number of ways they can be used. The files can reach places most other tools cannot. Very fine wood files are as good as sand paper when used right.
Small wood files can finish any rough spot on wooden musical interments and smooth any rough spots on fine inlay work where the sand paper would be too cumbersome and destroy the area around the rough spot that is trying to be smoothed.
An Oscillating Tool
This is a tool that is not for the beginning woodworker. The reason being it is different than all the other power tools and the woodworkerreally needs to learn how to use it. The tool is fantastic in its abilities. This tool can do so many tasks that if the woodworker takes the time to learn how to use it will not regret the extra time spent learning how to use the tool.
The oscillating technology is very different in that the blades move back and forth. They do not rotate or move up and down. A lot of the time they do not look like the blades are even moving at all. There are about fifty different types of blades also that come with the machine. Each does something different. One type of blade is specifically for removing wood molding that has been nailed into place.
The blade can cut through the wood and metal nails with no problem. There is a series of blades that cut through different types of wood and make specific corner cuts. These work quickly and efficiently.
There are plunge cutting blades for making square cuts through the wood and carbide grinding blades for grinding areas of wood down. These and the plunge cutting blades work quickly and take a little getting used to.
A few final words
There are many awesome tools for wood working that have multiple uses. The biggest thing will depend on the woodworker using them and his or her imagination while using them. The choice is always the woodworkers on how to use their tools in the ways that work best for them.
Once you’re done working on your wood piece whether it is a piece of furniture, a frame for a painting or a Jewelry box the last part of the project is the decoration. There are hundreds of ways and techniques to finish your project.
Plain wood grain
If your wood you have used has a lot of beautiful grain in it, you might want to consider letting the grain patterns be your decoration. Simply smoothing the surface of the wood and polishing it. Bringing out the wood grain even more. Maybe a clear protective coat of sealer over the piece ad you are done.
Wood stains and finishes
Another idea for wood pieces that may have a soft, light wood and want a darker color wood, use a dark wood stain on it. After applying the dark stain, rub the excess stain off with a rag, then after it is dry, apply a sealant coat of clear enamel or resign over the stain. The woodworker can also polish the stained piece for a more natural, less shiny look.
Frames for paintings or mirrors
The making of frames for paintings or mirrors are often made with angels and raised areas. Some can have cut out designs or engraved designs already as they are being made. These can be free formed or cut using a pattern. When the piece is done, the woodworker has a few choices on how they want to finish them.
They can be finished with the last two ideas, or the woodworker may choose to paint the frames with any paint they like to use. They can also gold leaf the whole frame. Gold leaf can be purchased in most craft stores. Using white Elmer’s glue and water to apply the gold leaf and letting it dry.
There are other types of colored leaf available. The frames can be whipped down with a thin mixture of black ink over the gold leaf. Then whipped again using a soft dry rag. This gives the piece an antiqued look to it.
Decorating furniture can be done using different techniques and depending on what the woodworker has in mind for the finished piece will have a lot to do with the techniques used during or after the making of the piece.
Furniture legs are usually the most designed piece of the furniture. They are the most important part of the furniture because they have to be strong enough to support the rest of the piece. There are hundreds of shapes and designs available for the woodworker to consider and use.
For the woodworker turning a strong piece of wood on the wood Leith, he can choose to make bands and grooves as he shapes the legs of his wood piece. The actual bottom of the leg is usually rounded and then flat or squared and then flat.
Keeping that in mind the legs decorative design usually flows at the foot of the leg. The woodworker will then incorporate that design into the rest of the piece of furniture. Once the piece is put together, the woodworker may add designs to the whole piece also.
Raised or cut away decorations in furniture
Using a wood router or hand chisel, the woodworker may incorporate a cut-out design in the piece of furniture. Taking a simple drawing of the design he will start tracing the design on the piece of furniture. Then coming back with his tools of choice cut or carve the design into the furniture.
A drilled pattern or design
By taking a power drill, the woodworker can create a pattern or design with a series of drilled holes. Another idea he may set some holes with another color of wood doweling pieces. Creating a two wood color design.
Small thinly cut pieces of different color wood
Thin strips of wood can be cut out in different shapes from squares to abstract forms. These can be done with different color woods and inlaid into furniture in patterns and designs. Anything from abstract forms to whole landscapes can be designed andinlaid.
The woodworker needs to remember to use the same types of wood when doing the inlays though because different woods shrink differently over time and may cause problems as they do this. If the shrinkage is too great in one type of the wood, the pieces will pull away from the rest of the wood causing the inlays to split and fall out.
The use of other materials besides wood for inlay decoration needs to be thought through also. The foreign material may cause the rest of the wood to crack and pull apart if the objects shrink or change shape with age.
Wood carving used as decoration
While most tops of furniture are preferred to be flat, level and even, the rest of the piece except for the seat of chairs does not. The woodworker can use their imagination to create different designs, texture and carvings on the body of the furniture, sides, legs and arms.
Dresser drawer fronts can have any decoration carved into them as well as the sides. A Dremel tool is a great tool to use for intercut forms of carved designs. The tool comes with all types of bit attachments.
The Dremels even have tiny buffer attachments, and small wood files can be used to smooth down the tiny areas of the carving. The designs can be drawn out ahead of time, and they can be placed next to the piece the woodworker is working on so they can check the pattern every so often.
Burl wood is a beautiful wood to use in woodworking. For table tops or any piece of furniture. A slab of burl wood with the bark left on the outside can be mounted on four legs of strong wood. The Bark design can be reproduced on the legs carefully with a wood rasp. Then smoother down with a sander. The woodworker can then stain the textured wood the color of the bark and sealed with a clear finish.
I have seen a dresser done in the same fashion as the table using the burl wood for the top of the dresser. The effect makes a very beautiful piece of furniture. The burl wood itself can be thinly slabbed, so the top is not too heavy for the other wood used to support it.
Shapes and designed wood furniture
In the style of artnovue, the whole piece of furniture, or wood piece can be designed to be decoration and shaped something other than a traditional shape of furniture, frame, bowl, cup or? The woodworker can start with a round of wood. Hollow out the inside and carve the outside to resemble any animal or bird, plant or? Then make a flat top of a table or seat that the carved piece is holding up or balancing on the back. This would become a table or chair.
The decorating techniques of the woodworking project are endless. The woodworker can choose to be very simple or get as creative with ideas as the wood will let him. The simple and elegant plain wood grain can be just as beautiful as the most intricate carved design. It is all in the way the finished piece is presented.
The wood router is an incredibly versatile tool and you can increase this power tool’s versatility by including a router plate in your router table. The router plate gives you better mounting options and will facilitate better accuracy and excellent cuts. You can make various base plates at your home workshop by following some simple procedures outlined in this guide on making homemade base plates for router.
Some of the base plates you can make at home include: large-hole base plate, circle jig base plate, and a router table base plate. It will take approximately 30 minutes to complete each of these base plates.
Why make a Homemade Router Base Plate
There is nothing as annoying as when you have just bought a new bit and with all the excitement to use it, find out it does not fit with the factory base plate. This happens more often and the solution is not to get a new router bit. You should simply make a new base plate for the wood router, a plate that is compatible with your new bit.
By making your base plate at home you avoid the need to spend money on a new bit and divert this money to other useful purposes.
Procedure of Making the Base Plate
- You need to first of all remove the factory base plate, which is usually ¼ inch thick and made of plastic material. You can use a screwdriver to remove the mounting screws that secure the factory base plate in position.
- Try to figure out the location of the center hole and the holes for mounting in your intended base plate. You can use ½ inch thick MDF if you usually use scrap in your workshop. This thickness is sufficient for sinking the mounting screws. You should also mark the center for the middle hole which will be used for boring out the waste.
- Now that the locations of the holes are clearly marked, use a Forstner bit to drill the center hole. The hole should be at least ¼ inch bigger when compared to the size of the router bit cutter head. This is sufficient for free spinning of the bit. Clamp the base plate into the drill press table so as to prevent it from flying across the room.
- The next step is to drill and countersink the pilot holes where the mounting screws will hold the pilot plate. You can use some insulating foam when drilling so as to avoid marring the bench top. Since the new base is thicker unlike the old one, ensure the screw holes are sufficiently deep and use screws that are long enough.
- Your new bits will now fit the base plate. Sand the surfaces and the edged a little using sandpaper. For better results, wrap the sandpaper around a block. This will eliminate sharp or any kind of protruding spots from the base plate. In theory this procedure seems complex but in practice it is pretty easy to follow all these steps and come up with the best router base plate.
For the Router Table Base Plate
One of the other ways to make a router base plate at home is to prepare your own router table. Follow the same steps as outlined above but this time use a bigger piece of MDF, then clamp it upside down on the workbench. You can use an 18 inch by 22 inch MDF which is ideal for rounding over small parts. This way it will be safer to handle the router instead of using the tool upside down on your workbench. The bigger table is also more stable.
In case you need a fence, you can simply join two edges of a scrap of about 2×4 and create a void where the router bit will go through. If you want to use a straight edge then there is no need for the hole. Once done, clamp it where you desire and it will be ready for use.
Preparing the Circle Template
It is also quite easy to prepare a circle template with the application of the same procedure mentioned earlier. Create a base plate that is about 8 inch by 30 inches long then mark and drill the holes on one edge of the jig.
With the router blade turned parallel to the longer side of your jig, and the router jig mounted, measure about 1-1/2 the distance from the router blade edge. Mark that point using a pencil. If for example you need a 40 inch round table top, measure 20 inches from the bit to the center. You can now drill at the mark for the center of the circle at the bottom of your jig.
Take a screw and drill it through the center hole through the jig to the workpiece. You should drill through the entire piece if you want to make a template. If you are making a finished piece, secure your jig in the center hole at the bottom of the piece. You can use a plunge or a fixed base router to carry out this operation. Switch on the wood router and lower the router bit gently into the work piece.
Push the wood router gently through the piece of wood and the router follows the radius pre-determined. Make a number of passes while ensuring you lower 1/8 inch each time. This will give you the cleanest results and it is the safer.
You can now use your homemade base plate without spending a dime on another router bit. Choose any of the options above and embark on your wood routing projects.
The massive variety of router bits, guides, jigs, and fences that can be bought at specialty woodworking stores make the potential of the router unlimited. You can broaden the scope of your router by preparing your own base plate at home. With the guide above you can avoid using a lot of money every time your router bits do not fit the factory base plate.
Wood working joinery is an important component of any project. Many types of joints exist and each one has its pros and cons. However, biscuit joinery in wood working is very popular and many wood workers apply in most of their projects. A biscuit joint is popular since it can be used in any type of wood and wood combination. It has a thin and oval shape and is made up of compressed wood shavings that looks like a biscuit and that may explain where the name comes from.
The biscuit joiner is used is one of the tools that can be used to make this joint. You can also use a wood router to make a biscuit since it is a versatile tool with an ability to handle any project. In this guide on biscuit joinery in details, we shall cover all you need about biscuit joinery.
What about Biscuit Joinery? When is it used?
Biscuit joinery is a highly debated topic. Many comments such as “never use this joint since it adds no strength”, “they are great for most applications” just to name a few, exist online. All these are confusing and it makes you wonder whether this is a joint that is worth adding to your piece of work. However, according to professional wood workers a biscuit joint is useful depending on how it is used.
The effectiveness of a biscuit joint depends on the project in question. For instance, if your joint will be subjected to heavy pressure such as leg/stretcher joint, you will need heavier duty joinery. For small projects such as small boxes, cabinet carcasses, accent tables and others, a biscuit will suffice. You can also use biscuit joinery from time to time on some high stress joints but ensure you add in some reinforcement.
Types of Edges where Biscuit Joint is Used
Ideally, five types of joints use biscuit joints, namely:
- Edge to Edge joints: This type of joint involves joining the edges of two boards to form a disk shaped wood. The biscuit when used in this type of joint aligns the surface between the two pieces of wood.
- Miter Joints: A miter joint is normally used to hide the end grain of a board. They are used in picture frames, around opening, and in window and door trims. The biscuit joint is used to reinforce this joint.
- Corner joints: The corner joint are normally designed for welding 12 gauge or thinner metals. The biscuit joint that perfectly fits between the joints is selected.
- T-Joints: These T-shaped joints make use of biscuit joints. The biscuit that fits excellently between the slots is inserted.
- Butt Joint: This joint provides the desired strength when you are welding metals with more than 3/16 inch thickness. The biscuit is used to reinforce this joint.
The Best Tool for Biscuit Joinery
The biscuit joiner is the most popular tool used in making biscuit joints. It is also used other applications such as making cupboard, furniture, drawers, and many others. This tool is a great asset when it comes to joining sheets such as plywood, medium-density fiber board, and particle board. Besides this tool, the wood router is also an exceptional tool used when making biscuit joinery. It is highly versatile and powerful.
The use of the Wood Router for Biscuit Joinery
A medium-sized handheld router with at least ½ inch collet and a slot-cutter router bit of preferably 5/32 inch thickness is ideal for making a biscuit joint.
The Pros of using the Router for Biscuit Joint
- Ideal for those who do not have a biscuit joiner and cut 30 or less biscuit grooves every year.
- Delivers exceptional accuracy for flush alignment two pieces of work.
- Those who own the router already only need to buy a $40 biscuit joint router bit set.
- The body of the biscuit joiner makes it hard to reach some tight corners and the wood router easily reaches these areas.
- The router is slower when compared to a biscuit joiner.
- Routed grooves are not consistent as those cut by a biscuit joiner.
Size of Biscuit Joints
There are generally three options when it comes to the size of biscuit joints. These include:
- #0, equivalent to 5/8 Inch width X 1-3/4 inch length.
- #10, e4quivalent to ¾ inch width X 2-1/8″ length.
- #20, equivalent to 1 inch width X 2-3/8 inch length.
You should choose an ideal size of the biscuit depending on your project. Try in most cases to use the larger biscuit size that is a perfect fit for the project at hand, preferably #20. For your thin frames use the #10 biscuit size or alternatively #0 biscuits.
Procedure of Making Biscuits Joints
To rout out your grooves you need to mark the center mark, routing start and the stop mark. Have the layouts for the biscuits at hand then attach the slot-cutter bit into the router and adjust the bit height. Secure the workpiece on the router table or workbench. Allign the router sub base with the workpiece and plunge in the slot-cutter bit such that the bit shank is centered at the start mark. Align the bit shank with the end mark by moving the router right until this is achieved. You can then pull the slot-cutter from the groove. A clear sub-base makes this process so much easier.
For the #20 setup use 1-7/8 inch dia slot cutter with a bearing of 7/8 inch. Identify and mark the centerline then mark the start and stop mark on each side of the centerline 7/16 inch away. This will cut a 2-1/2 inch in length by ½ inch deep groove.
For the #10 groove setup, use 1-7/8 inch dia slot-cutter with a bearing of 1-1/8 inches. Idenify and mark your centerline then mark the start and stop mark at 3/8 iches radius from the centerline. The resulting groove from the cut will measure 2-1/4 inch in length by 3/8 inches deepness.
For the #0 setup, make use of the 1-7/8 inch dia slot cutter with a bearing of 1-1/4 bearing. Put a mark at the centerline and mark the start and stop marks within a radius of 5/16 inches on the side of the centerline. The resultant groove will be 2 inches long by 5/16 deep.
Biscuit joinery is essential for most wood working projects. These joints are quite easy to “rout out” and will help reinforce your workpieces. Practice often using them and with time you will realize it is hard to do without them.