The Woodshop Shed

adventures in woodworking and home maintenance, from my shop in an oversized backyard shed

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Aluminum Extrusions For Woodworking

I wanted a way to temporarily attach featherboards, or a tall fence, or anything else I might think of, to my table saw fence. I saw people using aluminum extrusions clamped to their fences for this purpose, and I liked how it seemed to work really well, and it could be removed as easily as it was mounted. So I set out to find a good source for these pieces of metal convenience.

A quick google search for "aluminum extrusions", turns up dozens of companies that sell them, but I didn't want to have them shipped, because they can be bent in transit, and I wanted a six foot length, so the shipping weight and cost were prohibitive.

I ended up going with Grainger. They offer lots of different sizes and shapes, and they have retail locations all over the U.S., and I found one just 20 minutes away. If you're in the Providence, RI area, it's located at 78 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI 02888.

i didn't want anything too tall or too heavy. After paging through their extensive online catalog, I settled on item #5JTA6. I got a six foot length, that is 3" tall, and 1" thick. The three slots it has are each just a tad over 1/4" wide. It cost $54.64 ($9.11/ft), including tax, and there was no shipping charge, because I could just go pick it up once they notified me it was ready.

After I got it home, I measured my fence, and cut an equally long piece from the six foot length using a metal cutting chop saw. It cut like butter. You will need to file the edges of the cut side to smooth them over. Then I needed a quick way to temporarily attach it to my fence. I decided to use three 3/4" flat-head screws that would slide into the middle slot on the back of the extrusion, and into a piece of nice flat PVC "board" of roughly the same size. I counterbored three holes on the back side of the board, so that the bolts just poked through, and I could get a washer and nut on each one, and they were still below the surface of the board, so that it would sit flush against the fence.

Then I used universal fence clamps to attach the pvc/extrusion combination to my table saw fence.

I couldn't be happier with the final outcome, and I'm still pondering what cool things I can do with the rest of the extrusion. I'll post anything new that I do as well.









posted at: 9:44am on 09-Apr-2019
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Great Resource For Fasteners in the Greater Fall River, MA Area

For anyone who lives in the Providence, RI area, or more precisely, the greater Fall River, MA area, who is averse to ordering fasteners online, and having to wait, and pay those darn shipping charges, I have a recommendation for you... make your way over to Aquidneck Fasteners.

I can't say enough about them. They have fasteners of pretty much any size, shape, or specification, their counter staff is very knowledgeable, and their prices are great to boot.

Bottom line... you can't go wrong... you'll get what you're looking for... and you'll get it right away.


posted at: 11:07am on 08-Mar-2017
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Source For Lexan and Acrylic Glue (a.k.a. Solvent)

I wanted to incorporate bit guards and blade guards into the various jigs and fences I've been building lately, so I went to the orange big box DIY store the other day, and looked over their inventory of acrylic sheets and poly-carbonate sheets (sold as brand name Lexan.)

Just to clarify, acrylic is okay to use, and it's usually widely available in 1/4" thickness, but it's not shatter proof, so if you can get your hands on some 1/4" Lexan, you're MUCH better off. Lexan is a far superior guard material, because it is virtually shatter-proof, but it can be difficult to find in the 1/4" thickness.

There were plenty of smaller 2' x 4' acrylic pieces available, but the only Lexan they had was similar sized 1/8" pieces that seemed a bit too floppy.

And I cannot stress this enough, THEY DID NOT STOCK THE GLUE/SOLVENT MOST RECOMMENDED FOR CONNECTING TOGETHER PIECES OF ACRYLIC OR LEXAN (neither did the blue big box DIY store, by the way.)

So I picked up the acrylic (and no glue), but was determined to find a better source for both.

Later, I started Googling. What I found in almost every forum thread on the subject of plastic sheets and the glue to use with them, was that a person in the market for that stuff, should just Google "plastics retailers" or "plastics distributors", followed by "in the XXXX area", where "XXX" was the area where you live.

I gave it a try, and lo and behold, a ton of listings came up. I started calling them from nearest to furthest, and on about my fourth try (the first three didn't sell retail), I found what I would consider THE PERFECT SUPPLIER.

Their name is Laird Plastics. They have locations all over, and most of them have nice little retail shops right in the office end of their building. They not only had poly-carbonate sheets of pretty much any thickness, but the pleasant counter guy was happy to look out in the warehouse for a smaller cut off at a discount, AND STOCKED NEATLY ON A SHELF, they had the Weldon #4 acrylic solvent that's most recommended (I bought the 4.5 ounce canister, but there were pints there too), along with the applicator bottle, and even different sizes of special purpose drill bits specifically for drilling plastic.

If you're in the Providence, RI area, like me, they're located at 380 Jefferson Blvd., Warwick, RI.

Maybe I'm too easily excited about this sort of thing, but I'm THRILLED to have a plastics supplier so close. Hope you'll be too.


posted at: 1:03am on 08-Mar-2017
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