WoodCentral's Book Reviews
Making Woodwork Aids & Devices

Making Woodwork Aids & Devices
by Robert Wearing

Guild of Master Craftsman Publications, Ltd.: 1999
pb, 219 pp., $12.95
ISBN 1-86108-129-4

     The most accurate adjective to apply to this small volume is 'useful.' With black and white line drawings, it illustrates 203 woodworking aids and jigs culled from the workshop of an experienced craftsman. Chapters include holding devices, marking aids, tools, lathe aids, drilling aids and sawbench aids. A section titled 'Miscellany' describes how to construct a perspective drawing board, how to easily recut tenon saws to a ripping profile, and hints on the use of adhesive tape to ease glue removal, pre-finish before assembly, or prevent tearout when drilling.
     Many different shop built clamping systems are shown, from light duty threaded rods and spinner nuts ("making a great reduction in the weight of ironmongery,") to deep reaching wooden cam clamps and handscrews. Lever cams are shown on planing boards held in a vise to handle the planing of small material. Overarm bridge clamping is described, to aid in securing odd-shaped or delicate workpieces, and an explanation of violin clamps is shown with directions on how to make them inexpensively and by the dozen.
     Homemade lathe steadies, chuck guards, and tool rests are presented, with text describing their advantages and adaptablility to unique uses. The author shows plans for an adjustable lathe table to use in sanding, boring or doweling operations.
     There are several pages describing homemade, built up planes and shooting boards for a myriad of uses. Shoulder planes, a router plane, compass plane and a scraper plane are presented, along with shop built adjusting mechanisms and alternative wedge designs for wood bodied planes.
     There are several tablesaw sleds illustrated, specific to everything from angle and dimension cutting, to simple and safe cuts for inlay stringing. A unique jig is shown for cutting 'shrinkage buttons' on the tablesaw, as is one for 'grooving,' which is offered for use in making divider trays for 35mm slides, but would work well for dentil molding.
     There are enough jigs and devices in this book to keep an average woodworker busy for years improving the efficiency of his shop. Just reading the text thoroughly will lead to several eye-opening revelations that prove 'simpler is often better' in woodworking procedures. Prepare to heavily dogear this one...reading it will definitely add to your To Do list.

. . . Barb Siddiqui