While metal machinists’ straightedges are ideal for setting up woodworking machinery, their high-tolerance accuracy and weight are overkill for most woodworking tasks. For centuries, shop-made wooden straightedges handled many layout and testing chores, and the tools are still useful today. Wooden straightedges are lightweight, simple to make in any size and can be easily trued with common workshop tools. While straightedges that resemble the machinists’ versions – essentially a skinny rectangle with parallel edges – are useful, these tend to go out of square quickly as the seasons change. However, by understanding a bit about the way wood works, you can make a wooden straightedge that is both accurate and durable.
Because these legs were salvaged they had old screw holes in them which were filled prior to painting. In retrospect, it probably would have looked cool to just leave them. I lightly sanded the legs with 100 & 150 grit sandpaper which smoothed them without removing all the saw marks. One coat of chalk paint and 2 coats of clear Briwax was used to finish the legs. Briwax yellows the finish a bit which aged the paint nicely. Between coats of Briwax I sanded through the paint on some of the edges with 100 grit paper to show wear.
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Hey, I want to build all of these (and I did read to the end), but my list of projects is so long that any one of these will have to wait ’til next year (and i don’t mean January). thanks for all these ideas. there is one more i read about in the Handy Family Man. It is an adaptation to your shop vac that puts the hose at your project so it sucks up the dust as it is produced. Wonderful, right? Maybe next year!
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