Strange Structures and Little Cubes image

Strange Structures and Little Cubes

I usually start woodworking projects by building a very small version of the project first. It helps me work out the kinks without wasting spending a lot of material. Normally it works quite well, but certain cuts on a table saw with a dado blade can be dangerous when you're using a 2" cube piece of wood. Even without a dado blade, it can be sketchy when your fingers are anywhere near the blade. This post is about the solution I devised to work with small stock on a table saw.

It begins, as most woodworking solutions do, with a jig. This jig sits securely against my miter gauge and holds the stock from behind and on top, and because it's pressed against the fence, it's also secured against its side. As a result, the stock is very unlikely to move anywhere other than forward against the blade, and my fingers are far away. Here's how it works:

1 The jig secures the stock (in this case a 2" cube, the red wood below):

Strange Structured Little Box 1

2 The jig is stabilized against the miter gauge and the fence.

Strange Structured Little Box 2

3 After running the stock over the dado blade and rotating it, you can remove a strip of wood from its exterior. I sort of like this shape, like a pawn in chess.
Strange Structured Little Box 3

4 Repeat on the opposite end, and then rotate the piece.

Strange Structured Little Box 4

Strange Structured Little Box 5

5 Other woods look great too, and by adjusting the fence you can change the shapes.

Strange Structured Little Box 6

6 Here's a bunch of different ones, using different heights on the dado blade and different positions for the fence.

Strange Structured Little Box 7

Strange Structured Little Box 9

Strange Structured Little Box 10

Now I can cut small stock on the table saw without worrying about losing my fingers!