More Things Con­trac­tors Make for Them­selves

Popular Mechanics (South Africa) - - Project -


I cut th­ese from scrap 20 mm ply­wood. The one here is 250 mm wide by 660 mm long. Its hand­holds are 50 mm wide by about 150 mm long, set 25 mm in from each out­side edge. It eas­ily holds a 15 m 12- gauge cord. Mark out the pat­tern and saw it to shape with a jig­saw. Use a belt san­der to knock off any ir­reg­u­lar­i­ties, then run coun­ter­clock­wise around its perime­ter with a round­ing- over bit in a router. Do this on both faces to en­sure nicely rounded sur­faces that won’t dam­age the cord or give you a splin­ter. Some guys skip the hand­holds while oth­ers cut a slot to tuck in both ends of the ca­ble. I don’t. If it doesn’t give me a splin­ter or dam­age the cord, I’m fine with it.


Cut th­ese out of scrap 20 mm birch or AC ply­wood, us­ing the fac­tory 90 ˚ cor­ner. They’re great for hold­ing a sub- assem­bly at 90 ˚ as you drive screws into it. I make 150 mm and 200 mm models, but make them any size you like. Cut the open­ing for a clamp head us­ing a hole­saw, then use a jig­saw to make a flat sur­face par­al­lel to the sides. I don’t get too at­tached to them. I saw into them, drill into them, or screw into them as needed. When they’re chewed up, I toss them and make an­other bunch.


Ev­ery­body has a dif­fer­ent take on this thing. Con­tribut­ing edi­tor Richard Ro­man­ski built one with a fence and grad­u­ated set­tings marked on the board to suit dif­fer­ent san­ders in his shop – I think his next step is to roboti­cize the thing so it can rip while he sands. Mine I built from a scrap piece of 20 mm ply­wood to rip pa­per for an old­school rub­ber 3M sand­ing block. I de­signed it so that I hold and rip the larger piece of pa­per rather than the smaller piece. You can make your rip­per with the hack­saw teeth fac­ing the op­po­site way and rip the smaller piece. That weighty de­ci­sion is your call, but ei­ther way I’ve found that an 18-tpi hack­saw blade is about right for a clean, fast tear.

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