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As we were building all of the projects in this issue, we ran into an old problem: How do you plane one surface down perfectly flush with another without disturbing the lower surface?

edging around plywood. This was a problem on the edging strips used around the plywood top of the computer desk and printer stand. We positioned the strips so they stuck up about Vxi above the surface of the plywood. Then they could be planed down flush. But if you plane down too far, you can cut right through the thin veneer face of the plywood.

edging around formica. It's even more of a problem on the kid's table and chairs shown on pages 4 to 9. The top frame should be perfectly flush with the Formica center. But if you plane the frame just a little too far and scratch the Formica, the surface of the Formica will look dull. (More on this later.)

flush-trim bit. At first i considered using a flush-trim router bit. But there Isn't a wide enough surface on the computer desk to support the router. And on the kid's table, the framing strips are wider than the cutting edge on my flush-trim bit.

two-step method. i settled on a two-step, hand tool method. First, I planed off a majority of the cut with a block plane, see drawing below. Then, I scraped the rest down flush with a hand scraper.

Start by running a strip of masking tape right along the joint line to protect the plywood or Formica. Then plane the edging strip down with a block plane just until the masking ta|K* stalls to tear.

USK SCRAPER. Next, remove the masking tajM- ¡ind use a scraper (see Woodsmith, No. :{<•> to rape off the last little bit.

When iimiii' the scraper, position it so your index fim < r rides along the side of the edging -tup and keeps the scraper from going into the plywood (or Formica), see drawing below.

a tip. If you should slip and scratch the Formica, rub a little polyurethane varnish over the dull spot with a Q-tip to revive the satin or glossy look.


I've had a ta|x»r jig in my shop for years. It's the kind with two arms attached with a hinge at on«* end. (The commercial jigs are made out of aluminum channel, but 1 made mine out of wood.)

When using this jig you have to perform three operations at once. First, you have to hold the workpiece tight against the jig. Then you have to hold the jig (and the workpiece) tight against the table saw rip fence. Finally, you have to push the jig forward through the saw blade while trying to keep the workpiece against the jig and the jitf against the fence — not to mention your fingers out of the way of the blade.

a new jig. When I made the taper cuts on the arms and feet of the computer desk «uid printer stand, 1 used a different jig. It's not as easy to change the taper angle, but it's easier (and safer) to use. That's because» the jig rides in the miter gauge slot, not against the rip fence.

bask board. To build the jig, start by cutting a base board from a piece of plywood. I cut the board a little longer than the depth of my saw and 12" wide.

Next, cut a groove on the bottom of the base board about 3" from one edge. This groove must match the width of the miter gauge slot in your table saw (usually %"). Then cut a strip of hardwocxl to the same width as the groove, and to thickness to fit the combined depth of the miter gauge slot and the groove in the base board.

Now nail the strip in the groove. Then mount the jig on the saw, and push it thiough the blade to trim off the right edge, see drawing above.

The edge of the base board is trimmed like this so you know exactly where the blade w ill cut — right along the edge. (Note: Be sure to use the same blade that you plan to cut the taper with.)

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