Working on cutting and mending tools certainly requires proper safety standards and any degree of callousness on that front might prove to be a nightmare for a carpenter. There are different sets of arms and machines required for these purposes. These include axes, hammers, saws, workbenches, featherboards, jigs, nailset, drillbit, gate, fence panel, etc.
These different tools associated with woodworking are meant for specific purposes. Of these, a featherboard jig is quite an important tool for pressing and keeping the stock in the right position. It is basically a homemade woodworking device which is little more than a simple board and has some narrow strips cut out at one of the ends.
Here, we can surely conclude that featherboards are all about safety, efficiency and convenience. So it becomes quite important to know how to make a featherboard for router table and table saw.
Featherboards are safety devices which are user while working with router or power saws such as table saws or band saws. These help in putting pressure on a work piece, thus keeping it flat against a machine table. The shape and size of might vary depending on the kind of task for which they are brought to purpose. Featherboard is an important tool for every woodworker. These are particularly needed while cutting beads or engraving intricate designs on a router table.
These boards come in several varieties. These are fundamentally classified as shop made and readymade. A workman can manufacture these featherboards at workshops manually or could even buy them from market. Featherboards could be wooden or magnetic and depending on the requirements, one could choose the suitable option.
Benefits of Featherboard
The power tools always require accessories that are indispensable for the overall operations in woodworking. One of the primary benefits associated with featherboards is the associated cost of these tools. While the handmade featherboards are almost cost-free, readymade featherboards are also quite inexpensive to buy. They come in two basic types: wooden and magnetic. Woodworkers manufacturing these featherboards manually might not find it quite a big deal.
The choice for a readymade or custom featherboards depends on your interest and enjoyment in making these jigs, and of course on the time factor. The shop-made featherboards are generally more user-friendly when compared with their ready-made varieties. For manufacturing them, one simply needs to crosscut a wooden board at about 30 degrees and then make similar stop-cuts in the same direction. This would eventually result in a series of projected fingers bent at 30 degrees.
These featherboards are very handy in holding stocks in their right positions. In most cases, they could keep the stock on track more efficiently than a human operator. By applying constant pressure on the stock, they could keep them in their right track and the woodworker doesn’t even need to change the hand positions again and again while working with them. Further, as compared with human fingers, these featherboards could be positioned closer to the action, thus helping user to applying the pressure on the right spot. No wonder why they are preferred choice for working on delicate edges, grooving and rabbeting operations.
Then comes the safety aspect, which is quite central to their use. Through these bent finger-like projections, the stock could move along smoothly in the direction of bent and could easily save us from any associated injury.
How to make a Featherboard
Making a featherboards manually could certainly help us save on money and get a more customized variety for our personal use. The manufacturing process is as simple as it gets. It’s primarily about carving out finger-like projections that act like a bird’s feather and help moving stock in one particular direction. So, for eliminating bumps and to even-out surfaces perfectly, it is important to shape these “fingers” impeccably.
While costing almost next-to-nothing, manually manufactured featherboards are superior to market ones as one can custom fit them for ones machines. In terms of level of difficulty, manufacturing a featherboard should be an easy task for an experienced woodworker. It doesn’t require any special finishing and could be completed in 15-30 minutes. As for the tools required for manufacturing featherboard, one needs table saw, mitter saw, bevel, pencil, and a scale.
So in case one is wondering about how to make a table board for a table saw or a router table, here we have explained the complete method:
The safe and easy way of making featherboards is on the bandsaw. This method requires a simple sled and a miter slot runner. One could begin by cutting a 30-degree angle at one side of the board. Next, start marking parallel lines of about 2-1/2 in. along with the angled end. Set this board on the sled and make the starting cut from end of the line. Now by sliding the featherboard forward to the next mark, the second cut could be cut out and the process is continued through the width of the board.
As mentioned earlier, we can keep feather length at about 2-1/2 inches and the cuts could be made after every 1/8 in. This is the standard gap for the feathers and it provides for perfect balance between flexibility and strength. While putting in firm pressure on the stock, these standard measurements ensure that feathers do not snap off. Further, one could increase the feather spacing to 3/16-inches, in case one is using softer woods like pine or basswood, or regular hardwood plywood.
Now your featherboard is all set to be used for the required purpose. For a woodworker, it is always important to have more than one such featherboards and customize them as per the requirement for different machines. As mentioned earlier, the entire process doesn’t take much of your time and things could be arranged and completed in a matter of an hour.
Wooden and Magnetic Featherboard
While buying a readymade featherboard, one could choose from different options available. While magnetic featherboard is more about strength and durability, wooden featherboards could prove be cost effective and save you on bucks. But overall, though magnetic featherboards could be a bit costlier than wooden one, they are faster to set up and are quite versatile. They can give you a better grip on the board and one may find them quite convenient to work with.