Monday, June 08, 2015

Panel cutting jig

I haven't blogged about anything woodworky for ages, mainly because I haven't done any for ages! I recently completed a cupboard built to cover some pipes in the extension. It is made from recycled wardrobe parts from Ikea. We had a double wardrobe and a single wardrobe left over when we moved into the house. With no room for them in the bedrooms and the need to cover up the soil pipe and a drainpipe in the corner of the extension (don't ask why there's a drainpipe inside, it's an old extension!), recycling the unused furniture is better than throwing it away and buying new timber.

Anyway, with the cupboard built there was still a fair amount of wardrobe left so I've begun building a work station for my workshop out of what's left. I had originally thought of building it out of ply, but the wardrobe panels needed a home. The idea is to make something that will take the sliding mitre saw I've inherited and create space for storage. I've got an idea for making  a sliding top for the mitre saw so that it doesn't have to stick out too far when it's not in use and maybe some sliding trays/drawers for power tools and other bits and pieces.

The place to start was by cutting the upright panels that will divide the workstation into sections. To make the panels all the same length I've got my saw guide that I made ages ago. It's a simple jig that give an exact cut with my circular saw. But measuring and repositioning the saw guide six times to make the panels seemed liked a time consuming process so I decided a quick jig was in order.

Using some spare panel off-cuts and couple of pieces of chipboard that were the rear supports at the base of the old wardrobes I made a stop with a return down one edge of the jig. Another piece of scrap wood was used to support the guide on the other edge and the guide was clapped down with 2mm spaces to support the guide just above the surface of the panel to be cut. It was then just a matter of sliding the panel into the jig, making sure it was tight against the the stops and running the saw across to get a repeatable cut.

I should have put the edge stop on the far side of the cut rather than the near side, but I did have an edge on the far side and a couple of shims allowed me to secure the panel so that it didn't move. In the end it didn't move so it wasn't a problem.

Okay, so the jig takes a little time to make, but it's worth doing because all the panels come out exactly the same size. I've used the same principle before, but it's given me an idea for making a saw bench designed around a circular saw rather than buying a saw table. I've seen some videos of circular sews turned into table saws by bolting them to a piece of wood with the blade sticking up through the sheet and with no guard and sometimes no riving knife. Cables ties holding the power switch on and an extension cord used as a switch. All very scary. At least, if you're going to do that, buy a no-volt switch!

I might post some pictures of the workstation as it progresses, but I'm not sure when I'll get round to finishing it.

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