One of the main reasons that I’ve been building furniture and writing about woodworking is because there is always something to learn. After more than 20 years at woodworking and growing up in a home-building family business, you’d think that I would seldom find a new technique or setup that floored me. It happens a lot. It recently happened while I was making a guest appearance on “Rough Cut: Woodworking with Tommy Mac.”
On the show, slated to air during the next season which begins Fall of 2015, Tommy and I are working through building a spice box like the one shown above. As we get to string inlay, Tommy tells me about a table saw setup that’s perfect to rip thin parts. I’m sure that I looked at him with my best “quizzical dog” look. You know, head tilted to one side, ears up and glazed-over eyes. You could almost see the cartoon caption above my head with the word “huh” typed in bold.
After taking a ribbing about how often I watch his show, Tommy set up the table saw and demonstrated the technique. Damn! All these years and I hadn’t seen this. Ever. Mark this day as another day that I learned something valuable in woodworking.
The setup involves an accurately positioned fence on the infeed side of the blade, and a second fence with a mitered end aligned with the outside edge of the blade. The trick is to switch your pressure to the second fence as you move through the cut. If you want to see the technique – more than simply a photo snatched from the “Rough Cut” ITunes podcast – check out the Season Four Federal Hall Table episode. (You can watch it here on youtube.) To see the technique in action is soooo much better than reading about.
And if you want to see the spice box build, be sure to catch the upcoming season of “Rough Cut.” (I’m sure I’ll remind you again as the air date gets closer.) During the show I think you’ll get the opportunity to see, in its entirety, the string work go into the center of the door. Yes, it will be sped up. Otherwise, you’d not see anything else.
Thanks, Tommy. This is a technique that I’ll use often.