Flattening Wide Boards and Making Wooden Screws

More Experiments in the Wood Lab

This week the wood laboratory was in full effect working on a few shop aids that have been on the To Do list forever, but I never got around to it: A router jig that will flatten wide boards that can’t fit in the planer and a wooden screw making jig. I wanted to post the updates on my regular schedule, but keep an eye out for some video footage of the wide board flattening jig as well as the wood threader.  I’m finishing up the video taping this weekend, and I’ll get the videos posted as soon as I get it all edited and ready to view.

A Wide Board Flattening Router Jig

A router jig that will allow me to flatten wide boards using the Festool MFT table with MDF rails and a thick oak board with my Festool router attached to itI have been working on a design for the wide board flattener in my head for years now, but I just never got to it. The MDF rails are just a temporary solution for now, but I plan to create a more robust jig in the near future using extruded aluminum. I gave this version a try, and I was pretty happy with the results. The board I used to try it out was extremely cupped and had some twist in it, but the router plowed through and gave me a pretty flat board in the end. I learned some tricks on how to get better results during this practice run, and I will be ready to dive into some of the giant boards that I have been hoarding for a while now.

Prior to diving into those wide boards, I have a few tweaks that I want to add to the design before using it again. First off, I want to trade the oak board that the router is attached to for a thick piece of acrylic (or something clear).  I had a tough time figuring out where the router bit was and ended up bending over and looking under the board to see. I’m somewhat of a stickler on safety in certain situations, and I just don’t feel it is necessary to stick my head down there in the line of fire when I don’t have to.  Also, I want try some different router bits out. I started with a 1/2″ spiral bit, and that seemed a bit too skinny.  It took forever. So, I started using my giant pattern bit that I got from William Ng just because it was a larger diameter.  It worked better, but I don’t want to use an expensive bit like that to do this kind of work.

DIY Wooden Screws & Nuts

Beall Wood Threader 1-1/2 inch screw

As for the Beall Wood Threader, I had a fun time playing with that until I ran out of dowel stock.  Truthfully, I only had about 8 inches to work with, and it wasn’t actually the full inch and a half in diameter.  So, I didn’t get perfect results off the bat – but that was to be expected.  I mainly wanted to just give it a try and get a feel for how it works. I was impressed with the results given the wrong size dowel stock. I’ve since bought a few 4′ lengths of dowel rod (the correct diameter), and I’m rarin’ to give it another shot.  I did learn a few things during the practice run, so I am hoping to get some great results next time.

Wooden screws are something that I have wanted to be able to make myself for a while. I haven’t actually needed them, but I do plan to include wooden screws for the vises on my next workbench. I hope to build one soon, but in the meantime my little douglas fir wobbly bench will have to do.

Check out the result of my first trial run of the wood threader:

A wooden screw and nut made with the Beall Wood Threader system and a Bosch Colt palm router

Not Too bad I have to say.  The screw is a little loose, but it definitely works. I’m hoping that using the correct diameter stock will get rid of the sloppiness, and some fine-tuning of the router bit depth will help as well.

The Beall Wood Threader kit (I bought “The Big Threader” 1-1/2 inch kit) comes with the router mounting device shown above, as well as the white insert, a router bit, and the 1-1/2″ thread tap.  So with the kit, you can thread a dowel using the platform, insert and router; and you can tap your own nuts with the tap. Not too bad, and the price tag wasn’t outrageous.  It’s a really cool gizmo, as are most of the things that Beall Tool Company makes.  Check out their contraptions at www.bealltool.com.

Some Woodworking for a Good Cause

Walnut Picture frame with a Gretchen Leigh Photography wall art print mounted in it with white mattingAlso this week, I finished up a picture frame that I built for one of my wife’s wall art photographs which she is donating to be sold at a silent auction for charity. I built this frame out of walnut, and gave it an oil/varnish blend finish. I had some finish drying problems, so I also had to seal it with some shellac, which actually works out fine since it should also seal some of the oil smell that goes along with oil finishes.

I got to use my table saw cove-cutting jig that I love using to make the cove profiles on picture frames. I also got to dust off my shooting board to get those miters dialed in at exactly 45 degrees. Although I’m not usually a huge fan of making picture frames, this one turned out to be a pretty fun project for some reason.

I have a mat cutter, and did the matting and everything myself. I’m thinking that part of the reason I actually enjoyed this one was purely due to the fact that I nailed the inside cuts on the mat the first time. I usually have problems when cutting out the inside hole of the mat, but I got the cuts down clean… maybe it was because I actually read the instructions this time!

Overall, the picture frame turned out great, but the real eye-catcher is the wall art print. You can check out more of Gretchen’s beautiful photography in her Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/GretchenLeighPhoto).  It’s jam packed with nature shots, Hawaiian vistas, New York cityscapes, Nevada, and more!

Well, another week passed with quite a bit of work done. I didn’t get a lot of actual workpieces out, but I did plant the seeds for some great projects to come. I’m pretty excited to be able to make my own wooden screws now, and I am hoping to incorporate them into projects here and there. Secret compartments perhaps? 

Keep an eye out for the videos that will be coming soon covering the wood threader and board flattening jig.

Thanks for stopping by to check in on the happenings in the shop. Have you been experimenting with anything new in your shop? Leave me a comment to let me know what’s in your laboratory.


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