Note 7/2009: Woodwork magazine was sold to the publisher of American Woodworker. They published one issue of Woodwork. But it now appears to be defunct.

Here is another short item I wrote that appeared in the Tips & Techniques section of the October 2007 Woodwork magazine (No. 107):

I pin a lot of my tenons, using either square pegs or lengths of dowel. But I usually like my tenon-pins to end up a bit proud, with a “pillowed” shape, or perhaps carved to an Arts & Crafts-style pyramid. So a flush trim saw doesn’t work. I need pins 1/16 or more too long and then I shape them with a sharp chisel.

The less excess wood I have to remove, the quicker and easier the shaping is. I don’t like to saw them at all once they are in place. Assuming you use a drill press or a depth stop on a hand drill to assure you get the holes to a consistent depth, here is a simple way to cut pins quickly and consistently to a given length. I built a simple bench hook of pine. Then I cut a kerf in the back fence with the saw I use to cut pin stock, a crosscut Japanese dozuki. Be careful you keep the kerf square both vertically and horizontally. Then I made a short ruler, marked to 32nds, that I laid out on a computer and printed out. You could draw one by hand as well, or use some of that adhesive-backed, flexible ruler that can be purchased for use on chop saw fences and such.

Glue the ruler to the back fence with zero at the kerf and the ruler running off to the right. (If you’re left-handed, you would want to run the ruler left of the kerf.) I sprayed over the paper with a few coats of spray-can lacquer to make it more durable. To cut the pins, simply slide the end of the stock to the distance you want, hold the stock firm against the fence with your left thumb and saw at the kerf. Then you just slide the stock to correct length again and saw again, eyeballing the stock against the ruler each time. You can make quick work of cutting many pins.

Note 7/2009: Woodwork magazine was sold to the publisher of American Woodworker. They published one issue of Woodwork. But it now appears to be defunct.

My favorite woodworking magazine is called Woodwork. Here is a short item I wrote that appeared in the Tips & Techniques section of the August 2007 edition (No. 106):

I spent years shuffling a stack of Tupperware containers that held my waterstones. But they were clumsy and took up too much space in my very small shop. So I came up with this idea to store my three stones vertically in pieces of plastic pipe. I found a length of 4-inch PVC pipe at my local salvage yard. I bought three end caps to fit. I cut the pipe into three pieces, each about 1-1/2 to 2 inches longer than my longest stone. Using PVC pipe cement, I glued a cap to one end of each piece, so that they held water without leaking. Then I made three little crosses from scraps of oak, using a half-lap joint. The pieces of oak are about 1/2” by 3/4” and just long enough to fit snugly inside the pipe. You need to be able to push the assembled cross down to the bottom of the pipe to rest on the end cap. But it has to be snug enough so it won’t float to the surface when you fill the pipe with with water. The purpose of the cross is simply to prop the stone 3/4” or so above the end cap, to keep the stone out of the gunk that will settle on the bottom. Then I built a cradle to hold the three pipes, and hung it from the wall next to my sharpening station. Make this cradle as simple or elaborate as you want. I made wedges to hold the pipes firmly in place. And I put on hinged lids to keep dust out of the water. One final piece of advice: Put the stone in the pipe first; then fill it with water. You might be surprised by the amount of displacement, and the whole thing will overflow if you fill the pipe first and then drop the stone in.