Featherboard - Canadian Woodworking Magazine

Shop Jig: Safety should always be ‘top of mind’ when working in the shop.

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Featherboard



Illustration by James Provost

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Use one end of this jig to hold stock tight against the rip fence, and the other end to safely rip multiple thin strips from a wider board when you need to edge band sheet stock.
 
Making the Jig
Select a piece of straight grained stock, such as maple or ash, approximately ¾" x 3 ½" x 15".

• Mill the stock square and to ⅝" thick. Then rip it 3" wide and cut it to a length of 13".

• Draw a 30º bevel at one end, and then draw a parallel line 3 inches in from the end. The second line determines the depth of the fingers.

• Place the blank on edge with the long side down, and laying a scrap of ⅛" hardboard flat beside the blank, draw a cut line on the blank.

• Use a bandsaw to cut along the line to form the first finger. Place one or two business cards in the cut, register the hardboard spacer against the cards, and draw another line. Cut the second line on your bandsaw and repeat this until all of the fingers have been cut.

• Use a ¼" spiral bit to rout the slots for the 1/4-20 hardware (LeeValley.com). Mount end stops on the fence to limit the movement of the blank, and stop the grooves ⅝" from the end of the board and the bottom of the saw cuts.

• To add a micro adjust screw, drill a hole in the square end of the featherboard to accept the female half of an 8-32 Chicago bolt shaft (HomeHardware.com). You will need to cut off the head on the end of the female half before inserting it into the hole. Using a file, scratch the outside of the shaft to give the epoxy an edge to hold on to and then epoxy the female end of the bolt into the hole.

• Mill a piece of ⅜" stock 12" long and sized to fit in your table saw mitre track channel. Also mill a thinner piece for the feet, which will fi t the wider section at the base of the track channel.

• Rout a channel across the underside of the runner, 2" in from each end, to accommodate the feet.

• Using the same spiral bit and fence from above, set up end stops and rout a 5" slot up the center of the runner. Move the fence back ⅛" and set your bit to project only ¼" above the table and rout the recess for the bolt on one side. Flip the piece around and rout the recess on the other side.

• Use fast setting epoxy such as Elmer’s Super Fast Epoxy (Elmers.com) or a super glue, like Fastcap’s 2P-10 adhesive (Richelieu.com) to fasten the feet to the underside of the runner.
 

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Using the Jig
Set the featherboard to hold the material against the fence with firm pressure, slightly ahead of the blade. Your stock should be able to slide past the featherboard without excessive effort and it should have no side-to-side play whatsoever. To rip multiple strips of a consistent thickness from a wider board, place the featherboard in the mitre slot with the square end facing the blade.

Set the edge to the approximate thickness and rip a test piece. Use the micro adjust screw to fine-tune the fit; one turn equals 1⁄32". Set the fence to the width of your material and rip the piece from the board. The piece you want will be cut to the left of the blade, avoiding a potential kickback situation if the piece were cut between the blade and the fence. After the cut, place the board against the jig and move the fence to the edge of the board and rip another piece. Repeat as needed.