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Building in between builds…

The family went to karate after all last night and I was in the shop a couple of hours. I didn’t want to commit to starting anything yet and looking around I saw that I really needed/wanted to put my drill press table into service. Having read a post where my buddy John from England used magnets to attach tools to his band saw “got-me-ta’ thinking”. I had been a bit hung-up over the simplest most functional way to secure my DP table to the press. All manner of clamping washed through my mind. The Porter Cable doesn’t have multiple holes to easily bolt it on although it does have one such hole. What about using a large magnet? Simple to install, use and functional because I could easily adjust the position of the table or remove it all together if required. Of course the magnet needs to hold things steady, that is a given.

To pursue my idea I found this at my “favorite” store Harbor Freight.

Round Magnet

The price was right, I had nothing to lose and if it didn’t work for the table, I could use it for something else around the shop. Brought it home, took it out of the package, plopped it on my table and….. I couldn’t get it off.  Yes, this is going to work just fine. In fact the 95 lb holding force is just about perfect any more and it really would be difficult to remove.

Last night I made a recess to house the magnet just flush to the bottom of the table. I did this with the plunge base on my router which was interesting because I had neither a circle template to use, nor have I used my template guides, nor have I used the router on either the fixed or plunge bases only on the router lift. These were some of the new yet unloved pieces around my shop that I haven’t yet learned how to use. Out come the instructions and I begin to sort out how it might work. I know that I can’t do precise work free handing it AND that I should at least make some test cuts but I decide this is a shop appliance and this IS my test cut.

I strike off sorting the operation as I go…..

Magnet Recess on DP Table

…and the result is not perfect (I knew it wouldn’t be) but serviceable. I was thinking that I would epoxy the magnet but it does have that nice mounting hole. With some anticipation, I bolted it to the base and dropped it on my drill press. As Austin Powers might say, “Yeah, baby, yeah!” Once affixed I could move the table but it was moving the DP, perfect. Separating the table from the DP can be done but it requires purposeful effort. This particular magnet is working more efficiently than I had even hoped it would.

Bolting the magnet does present a problem in that it is mounted directly below the MDF sacrificial insert causing it to not sit flush. So I’ll have to counter sink the nut for this to work.

Drill Press Table Top

So I move on the Poor Man’s T-track dados that I will use to mount the fence. I’m going with the general design the Steve Ramsey used with toilet bowel T-bolts along the parallel sliding track. I suppose that I could have made these dados on the router table but I had just purchased this unloved edge guide for the router and I had already removed the router from the router lift to make the magnet recess. I decided to use the edge guide and a stop block.

Toilet T-Bolt Track

With the base clamped, the router edge guide set, the plunge set on my router and stop block in place, I switched on. Clearly I don’t understand all there is to know about setting the depth of cut, but I ease the bit depth setting until I get the depth I was looking for. So far so good.

Now I just reverse the piece and do the same thing on the other edge of the board. The edge guide is already set, the depth of plunge is set now to re-clamp and… wait a minute this reverses things. The stop block now hits the back side of the router. I begin my cut, lowering the bit a little at a time and whoa stop, hold the show. This dado is WAY deeper than the other one. But the depth was set, what happened? I don’t know, what I do know is that I’m going to read up on how to operate this equipment and practice more. To fix the rather deep cut, I suppose I’ll glue a shim. No one will see it but me of course and I’ll add this to my lessons learned and experienced. For now I’ll scratch my head, put up my tools and tackle this problem next time!

You have been reading an excerpt from the shop journal of the Turtlecovebrewer.

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