Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Project Update: A Register Cutting Jig

It's been a while since I've posted anything because I've had some downtime for personal reasons and I've been working on a jig detailed in Mr. Miller's eBook Most Excellent designed to help with the register cutting process. What's a register? There are actually two flavors: Upper and lower; they are the slotted guides that keep the jacks (the pluckers) in place. The top ones have a rounded area for the jack tongue to swivel out and back during play. The bottom ones have a beveled top edge to make it easier to slide the jacks in because they are essentially hidden once the instrument is assembled.

The jig is used on a table saw and swings 10 degrees to the right and left to make the slot cuts and their attendant bevels. I wanted to make the thing from a harder wood than MDF or plywood, so I scrounged some walnut from the piles and started by planing one side smooth.

Once that was done, I could start laying out the measurements and making all of the holes necessary to get it finished.

Eventually, I had it near completion, but needed to buy a spring and some miter stops for the table saw. I have them now, so I'll be completing the final assembly this week. The jig requires some calibration for use on my particular table saw and I'm hoping to be cutting a test register by the weekend.

When I start cutting one, I'll explain more about how the jig works then.

On a completely unrelated note, I decided to start restoring a couple of the rusty, old Stanley planes I've acquired over the last year. Rust is removed by several methods, including chemical and electrical. My preferred method is to simply soak them in white vinegar for a day or two depending on how grimy the parts and pieces might be. I had soaked a No. 5 recently and it came out close to good, it just needs the body paint stripped and repainted. The next one I attempted was a No. 6 I had picked up for just a few dollars.

What you don't see in the photo above are the parts and pieces I dropped in, as well. I let everything soak for a couple of days. The photo below is the tub after just 24 hours.

It smelled as nasty as it looks. Unfortunately, this poor, old No. 6 is really too rusted and pitted to be saved for everyday use, so I'll just hang onto it for a plan weight - all of my plans and drawings are rolled up and always need weights to keep them flattened for use. I live to fight another day and the plane gets put to use after all. There are worse things, right?

Until next time...


  1. Try electrolysis for gentle stripping of the rust without damaging the patina on vintage tools.

    1. Thanks, I'll do that next time - I have all of the equipment, I've just had such good luck with the vinegar...