Basic Woodworking Terms

Filed Under: Crafts, Do it yourself, Hardware    by: ITC

Before you can start a woodworking project, you need to be able to talk the talk. That means you need to understand the basic terms of woodworking. If you do not know a mortise from a tenon, then you will be lost on most projects. The following definitions should get you familiar with the types of joints and other terms used in the woodworking art and allow you to speak to others in a common language.

First, let’s start with some basic woodworking definitions. They are in alphabetical order for convenience in searching through them at a later date.

Bevel – A bevel is an angled cut through a piece of wood. Instead of having a square corner, a beveled cut softens the appearance for a more decorative look to elements in a piece of furniture. Bevels are measured and marked using a bevel gauge.

Butt joint – A butt joint is an easy but somewhat weak technique for joining two boards together usually at a right (90 degree) angle. These joints are made simply by gluing and pressing the two flat surfaces together. For increased strength, the joint is usually held together with screws and glue.

Chamfer – A chamfer is the removal of the sharp corner of a section of wood which produces a smooth, beveled edge. This is done to keep the edges from being dangerous.

Dovetail joint – A high quality technique for joining two boards using alternating slots (or tails) and protrusions (or pins). The ends of the joining pieces resemble the v-shaped outline of a bird’s tail. These pieces are snugly fitted together thus increasing the gluing area of the joint. A well made dovetail produces a joint that, even without glue, can be difficult to separate. This is regarded in woodworking as one of the strongest and most reliable forms of wood joinery.

Grain – Grain is the appearance of the annual growth rings of a tree. It is the result of the way the tree was cut.

Miter – The woodworking joint created when two boards are cut at an angle to one another. The most common miter joint is the 45-degree miter such as the cuts used to build square or rectangular picture frames. A miter gauge may be used to assist in making miter cuts at the table saw. A miter jig is extremely useful for most woodworking projects.

Mortise and tenon joint — A joint where the male end, or tenon, of one board fits into the matching opening, or mortise, of another board. This is a common, reliable and fairly strong form of wood joint.

Rabbet – This is a rectangular, stepped recess cut along the edge of a board. Typically a rabbet is cut along the back or inner edges of the four wooden pieces making up a square or rectangular object.

Spline – A thin piece of wood that fits in the mating grooves cut into two pieces of wood usually at right angles to each other. Typically the corners of quality picture frames are reinforced with decorative spline joints.

Table Saw Tips

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

Table saws are an essential tool for any well-equipped workshop. There are some projects, such as mortise and tenon, where a table saw is the best tool for the job. All power tools need to be handled with caution and diligence but table saws have some special requirements.

General workshop safety tips:

1) Never wear long, loose fitting sleeves.

Long sleeves can get caught in spinning blades and lead to serious injury. They can also become snagged on boards and damage otherwise careful cutting.

2) Wear appropriate eye protection.

Bits of wood and dust can irritate and damage eyes. If you wear glasses, make sure your safety glasses can be worn over your corrective lenses. If you wear contacts, switch to your glasses when working in your workshop. Sawdust and splinters in the eye are never fun and only further complicate injuries if they become wedged under your contact lens.

3) Wear appropriate hearing protection.

Saws are loud. It is a nature of the beast. Wearing earplugs can prevent permanent hearing loss. There are headphones also available that are designed to block loud noises but can still allow conversations.

4) Avoid working alone.

Accidents will happen. If you have a helper in your workshop, you are not only sharing the joy of working with and teaching someone else but you have someone there in the event you get hurt.

Table saw specific tips:

1) The ideal height is approximately 36 inches unless you are extremely tall.

36 inches is an optimum height for maintaining control and visibility of the work space.

2) Watch out for kick-back.

Newer table saws have a mechanism that can help prevent kick-back. Do not place all your safety expectations on those mechanisms. Keep a firm hold on your boards and work slowly.

3) Watch for pull.

Sometimes towards the end of a cut, the saw will yank the board away from you. Keep a firm hold to ensure a perfect cut stays that way.

4) Do not disable the blade guard.

The blade guard is designed to reduce the risk of injuries. However, this will not prevent all of them. Some of the newer top of the line table saws come with sensors that can detect the difference between a piece of wood being cut and a piece of flesh being sundered. Some sensors are so delicate that they will be set off with food such as hotdogs, spam, meats, etc. Never, ever, disable these invaluable safety devices and use a push board when necessary.

Table saw selecting tips:

1) Size matters. The larger a table saw is, the more work space you will have. Some table saws will fold up when not in use and others are meant to be semi-permanently set up and possibly bolted to your workbench. Take a long look at your work shop and determine what size you can handle. Bigger table saws are better than smaller saws.

2) Expect to pay for quality. Although there is always variation amongst brands of tools, table saws are generally priced according to functions, size and power. The higher end ones are more accurate than the lower end ones. Once you have figured out what size you can handle, think about what your budget is and then explore the reviews and ratings on various brands.

Jig saws and circular saws are wonderful for what they are but they are not always the best tool for the project.

When you need a table saw, nothing else will do.

Build Your Own Sawhorse

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware    by: ITC

Whether you dabble occasionally in home repairs, enjoy constructive hobbies or employ yourself full-time as a carpenter, one of the most basic and necessary tools is a good, sturdy set of sawhorses. Learning how to build them is simple and will give you a good head start on your hobbies, home repairs or new career.

Most sawhorses are constructed out of two by four pieces of lumber. The planks do not have to be high-grade construction quality lumber but they should be flat and not warped or bowed. It is also possible to build a set of sawhorses out of larger cuts of wood as well. For really large projects, using two by six pieces of lumber can create a sturdier and bigger set of sawhorses for a larger workspace.

To begin construction on your new sawhorses you will need a hammer, a screwdriver if you desire screws instead of nails to fasten your wood, a circular or miter saw and several pieces of lumber at your desired width.

For the completely hand-made sawhorses, start by cutting four lengths of wood. These four ‘legs’ of the horse will determine the height you wish your sawhorses to be. This generally varies from between 24″ and 36″ depending on your individual height and the needs of your projects.

Mark the tops of your new sawhorse legs at a fifteen-degree angle and use an adjustable circular saw to cut the beveled edge of the legs so they will meet at an angle. Next, cut to size the length of lumber you wish the top of the sawhorse to be. The nice thing about building your own sawhorses is that you can build it exactly to the dimensions that fit your workspace and needs.

Place the bevel cut top of each sawhorse leg against the four-inch side of the two by four top and use nails or screws to secure it. Once all four legs are fastened to the top of the sawhorse, measure the length between the spaces of the legs about halfway down and cut a piece of wood for a brace.

If you feel challenged by the need to cut angles in your sawhorse legs, most hardware stores sell brackets that will allow you to insert straight cut two by fours in and attached them to the top of your sawhorse. Nail the braces in place on either side and you are finished with a simple sawhorse ready to go to work for you in your construction projects.

Essential Tools

Filed Under: Hardware, Tools    by: ITC

There are five stationary power tools that are essential in order to make your shop a useful and pleasurable place to work on your projects. Once these tools are part of your workshop, they will make your woodworking life a joy and will allow you to create quality pieces for your home or office.

The table saw is obviously the most versatile machine in any woodworking shop and should be the woodworker’s first machine purchase. A good table saw becomes the centerpiece of the workshop as the woodworker uses it to rip, square, miter, groove, shape and join pieces. A quality table saw will make completing nearly any woodworking project easier. This vital stationary tool should be positioned in the center of the room to allow the maximum area for handling and maneuvering large pieces of stock. There should be more than ten feet of clearance on either side of the table saw if possible so that large boards and sheets of stock can easily be fed over the table surface.

The next item that should be near the table saw is a sturdy router table. After the table saw, the router is one of the most practical stationary tools in the shop. A stand-alone cabinet is perhaps the most desirable arrangement for a router table. It provides storage space for extra routers, bits, bases and wrenches plus it is heavy enough to be stable. Such a unit can be custom built to suit your own height and it can be outfitted with casters or locking rollers to make better use of limited shop space.

Several very useful power tools that should be located near to one another in the shop are the radial-arm saw, a chop saw and a 14-inch band saw. If shop space is limited, the radial-arm can be used as a chop saw also. Although it takes a bit longer to set up a radial-arm saw for miter cuts, it is just as accurate and quick as the chop saw when properly used.

The band saw is another of the five basic stationary tools that are considered the foundation of the craftsperson’s workshop. The band saw is used to cut irregular shapes. The radius of a curve that can be cut on a particular saw is limited by the width of the band.

The last of the five essential tools is the power planer. The planer trims a parallel surface which is a very important step in milling stock for furniture or other pieces that will be on display in a home or office. A good planer quickly converts low-cost rough lumber into valuable finished stock. You can use it to turn out perfect picture frame molding, quarter-round, casing, tongue and groove, etc.

The table saw, router, band saw, planer and jointer comprise the basic tool complement that is required as you begin to build your shop. You will find them invaluable as you progress to larger and more sophisticated projects.

Power Tools

Filed Under: Hardware, Shopping, Tools    by: ITC

When you need a job done right, you consult the professionals. But where do the professionals go when they need the right tools for the job? If the rest of us could latch onto that secret, then any do-it-yourself renovations or redecorating would become a breeze.

The answer is surprisingly simple however, for there’s no job too big or too small for the internet. The what!?! That’s right, the internet, as many reputable power tool stockists and innovators have launched their business directly online. This means around the clock shopping and savings as these companies offer significant price reductions on power and hand tools for your home and garden.

Whatever Black & Decker tool or Trend tool you need to complete your home improvement handy work, you’re bound to find it online. Through the internet, amateur D.I.Y weekend punters and the big bosses of commercial construction sites are able to shop to their heart’s and tool shed’s are content.

Shop around until you find the price and advice that suits your anticipated project and never go wanting again! Stock up your tool shed with reputable power tools and power tool accessories, and rest assured that you are paying the lowest price for the highest quality. Forget about trying to transport bulky, heavy or unwieldy tools from the hardware store – order online securely and have your purchase delivered to your door. Ultimately it gives you an assurance of a reduced work time, and that means more time for you to plan your project, or just put your feet up and enjoy your extra leisure time!

Building a picnic table

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Hardware    by: ITC

Building a picnic table is a hefty project. Here are some tips that will help you to build something both you and your family can enjoy.

Prep tips:

1) Placement.

Stand in the area where you think you will be placing the picnic table and think about which size and shape will work best with your yard or patio and your family size. A family of four will need a different table than a family of six.

2) Size and shape.

Do you want the normal rectangular table or do you want an octagon shape? How much sun does the space get and do you need to design a table that can hold an umbrella for shade? Will you be using your outdoor eating area for entertaining? How do you plan on accommodating guests?

3) Find a design or create one.

There are many very intricate start-to-finish details of building a picnic table but once you know the size and shape you want, you can hit the design books. Don’t forget about the internet. There are several designs available online.

If your space and family need something more creative than what is available in design books, you can try designing your own. However, review various professionally designed tables to ensure you are incorporating all the necessary elements.

Construction tips:

1) Cedar is an excellent wood for use outdoors. It is not just for closets. The oil inside cedar helps it stand up to the elements and the wood is beautiful with a nice even grain. If you include some pieces of aromatic cedar, you will also experience built-in pest control.

2) Lumber. Some designs call for the table to be made out of 2×4 pieces of lumber. 2X4 pieces of lumber work well for the support structure but 2X6 pieces seem to work better for the top and/or seating. Do not use anything smaller than 2X4.

3) Work outside. Unless you have a very large workshop, you may want to consider working on this project outside. You will need a good amount of space for cutting the long pieces of wood and for assembly. Make sure you check your weather report before beginning.

4) Use decking screws for the top and carriage bolts for the supports. Some designs call for nails to be used on the top and seating. Screws, however, work better in the event a board should get damaged and need to be replaced.

5) Paint, stain or varnish. Even beautiful cedar needs a protective coat. Most paints and stains, even outdoor ones, will fade with sun exposure. Using a varnish that will bring out the natural beauty of the wood will work better. Make sure you pick a tough varnish that can stand up to the elements and apply it properly. Marine varnish, sometimes called spar varnish, is an excellent choice for a picnic table.

If the varnish you use contains linseed oil, make sure you properly dispose of any soaked rags to avoid potential problems. As linseed oil dries, it oxidizes. As it oxidizes, it will generate heat and may cause wadded rags and towels to spontaneously combust.

As always, use diligence when dealing with any power tools. Always follow proper safety procedures including eye protection and hearing protection. If you properly build your own picnic table, it should outlast commercially available tables by years.

Independent Total Construction

Filed Under: Welcome    by: ITC

At Indy Total Construction we strive to bring you a wealth of tips and information about home construction. Be sure to check out our articles about tools as well as our regularly updated content with DIY articles and a whole lot more besides. The content of this website is updated regularly so don’t forget to bookmark us and keep checking back for more.

Thank you for visiting Independent Total Construction.

Jewish Kosher Kitchen Design

Filed Under: Do it yourself, Home repair, Kitchen, Redecorating, Remodeling    by: ITC

Take the steps needed to create a Jewish kosher kitchen design in your home…

A Jewish kosher kitchen design starts by understanding what living kosher means. To be kosher you will want to practice the ritualized separation of meat and dairy in your kitchen and your meals. This means that you will need to have one set of dishes, cookware, appliances and serving ware for parve Jewish recipes, one set of dishes, cookware, appliances and serving ware for dairy Jewish recipes and one set of these items for Jewish Passover recipes. As you can see, being kosher isn’t a practical way of life, but it is a spiritual way of life that has benefits that far outweigh its drawbacks.

The construction of the ideal Jewish kosher kitchen design needs to include a double triangle. One triangle will include a sink, refrigerator and range for dairy and the other triangle will include a sink, refrigerator and range for meat. The perfect kosher kitchen design will also include separate counter tops for dairy and meat. Finally, it will also include separate sets of dishes, cookware, serving ware, utensils, table clothes, napkins dish towels, cleaning products and hand held appliances for meat, dairy and Passover.

If you are a Jew that lives on a budget, or in a small apartment or house, then creating an ideal Jewish kosher kitchen is most likely not possible. However, just because you can’t afford all of the items just mentioned, you can still set up a kosher kitchen that you can afford. To do this all you have to do is make a few adjustments to how you organize your kitchen. That way you will enjoy making your favorite Jewish food recipes.

To create a modest Jewish kosher kitchen you can start by installing a double sink instead of installing two separate sinks. This will allow you to clean up after meat and dairy preparations without cross-contaminating the water. If you have a single sink then you will need to select a sink that is made from a non-porous material like stainless steel and you will need to thoroughly clean the sink between meat item cleansing and dairy item cleansing.

To create a single kosher refrigerator you will want to use one shelf for dairy and one shelf for meat. You will also want to allow hot dishes to cool before putting them into a single refrigerator. This will prevent dairy steam or meat steam from contaminating the other.

If you have a single dishwasher you can still have a kosher kitchen as long as it has a stainless steel interior that can be sterilized between uses and as long as you don’t wash meat and dairy dishes together. You can also make your dishwasher more kosher by buying a second set of removable racks for your single dishwasher. Use one for meat and one for dairy.

To set up your kosher kitchen you will need to buy items that will help you keep your meat and dairy items separate. Labels can be used to identify which cabinets contain meat items, which cabinets contain dairy items and which cabinets contain Passover items.

To keep your utensils, cookware and serving ware separated you can buy sets that have a distinct color, pattern or design. For example you can buy a green set for dairy items, a red set for meat items and a white set for Passover. Wire baskets can also be a great addition to a kosher kitchen. You can use these containers to utilize spaces in your kitchen that would otherwise be wasted.

After you set up you design and install your kosher kitchen you can enjoy your favorite Jewish recipes such as beef brisket and coffee cake.