Precision Matthews 1022V Lathe

When I decided to replace my old Craftsman bench top metalworking lathe, I researched many options taking into consideration my budget, space limitations, weight and features of the machine.  I settled on a well known brand (hint – it’s green) and placed my order.  I was told that there would be a two month delay due to it being on back-order so I patiently waited.  Near the time it was supposed to be delivered, I received a post card stating there would be further delays.  A phone call to the company was disappointing because they could not offer a firm future delivery date.  While I was waiting, I continued looking for alternatives and now I’m thankful that the green lathe was delayed because I found Precision Matthews lathes had more features that I wanted for a little more money.  I canceled the order and then called Matt at Machine Tools Online and ordered the 1022V model.  Two days later, the lathe arrived!


Bench for Lathe

In anticipation for the new lathe, I built a very solid cabinet capable of holding the weight. Due to my shop’s space limitations, the cabinet was placed on wheels with a 1300 lb. weight capacity. This arrangement allows me to move the lathe for access to the change gears.

Delivery Vehicle

UPS has a freight division that offers home delivery with a lift gate. Since I don’t have a forklift, this was a necessary delivery option to transport the 400 lb. crate.

Moving the Crate

The UPS driver used his hand truck to move the crate from the truck into my garage where I have a chain hoist.

Secure Packaging

As you can see, the crate was not damaged, clearly marked, and very well secured with metal banding. The black bolt heads on top held the drip pan to the underside of the lid.

A Look Inside

The crate was opened revealing the contents covered with a sheet of plastic most likely to protect them from water damage.

Crate Packing

With the plastic sheeting removed, the lathe and accessories are visible. The packaging was well thought out because the contents arrived in perfect condition!

Lathe Coating

I have purchased other Chinese machines so I anticipated a lengthy cleaning process with this machine. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the lathe wasn’t coated with heavy red grease typically found on some machines.

Cleaning the Machine

The lathe was hoisted onto a couple of scaffolds so it could be cleaned with mineral spirits at a comfortable working height. Although the scaffolds are rated at 330 lbs., a couple of wooden supports under the scaffolds were added assurance that they would not buckle under the weight.


When I clean machines, I pretty much disassemble everything to see how it’s put together and to make sure that there is no hidden gunk left over from the manufacturing process.

Gear Cover Lockout

The bracket inside the change gear cover mates with a lockout switch on the machine. This prevents the motor from starting without the cover in place. I had to bend the bracket to fit a little better but that was no big deal.

Gearbox Lockout Switch

The rust colored switch near the power cord mates with the fork seen in the previous photo.

Motor Adjustment Bracket

The variable speed DC motor has a two step pully for low and high speeds. The low speed has a range of 50-1000 RPM and the high speed has a range of 100-2000 RPM. The manual suggests leaving it on the low range setting for most cutting operations. The belt tension is adjusted by the 4 bolts on the motor mounting plate.

Tachometer Sensor

The tachometer receives it’s signal from magnets embedded into the main spindle. The sensor is mounted on top. If you look closely at the writing on the drive belt, it was manufactured in the USA, a nice surprise.

Head Stock View

When the splash guard is removed, the position of the DC motor is seen. When the splash guard is in place, the motor is very well protected from flying chips. There are vents cut into the rear of the motor housing cavity for ventilation. There is no cooling fan necessary so the machine is very quiet when operating.

Tail Stock View

The tail stock has a quill travel of 2.5″ and the barrel is marked with both imperial and metric units. If you look closely at the hash marks on the imperial scale, you can see that the hash marks are in tenths instead of the usual sixteenths of an inch. In addition, the tail stock crank handle has a vernier scale as well.

Direct Mount Chuck

The chucks are “direct mounted” instead of screwing on to the spindle. The way it works is that the chuck is mounted to a plate containing bolt heads that protrude through the spindle plate and locking ring in back. The chuck is positioned and the locking ring retains the assembly which allows the bolts to be tightened, drawing the chuck plate tight against the spindle plate. The location is determined by the spindle and corresponding bore in the chuck mounting plate.

Backside of Chuck

Here is a look at the back side of the 3 jaw chuck showing the mounting studs and positioning bore.

Chuck Plate Alignment

The chuck and mounting plate are marked with “O” to make sure that if they are ever disassembled, they can be re-assembled using the same holes. Direct mounting is new to me so I’m guessing that the plates are made specifically for each chuck assuring the bore lines up perfectly with the spindle.

3 and 4 Jaw Chucks

Here are the 3 and 4 jaw chucks next to each other. The 3 jaw chuck came with the mounting plate attached whereas the 4 jaw chuck did not. Since the 4 jaws travel independently, it doesn’t matter if the chuck mounting plate is off center a bit.

Apron View

The compound slide was removed from the cross slide and the cross slide was unbolted from the screw for inspection and cleaning. I was amazed at how clean it was from the factory!

Compound Slide and Tool Post

The compound slide on the PM-1022V has an integrated post pressed in from the bottom to mount the 4 position tool holder shipped with the machine. I did not like this feature because I had an AXA quick change tool post that I wanted to use with this machine. Most QCTPs are held in place using a “T” slot machined into the compound. Precision Matthews offers a QCTP that will work with the pressed in post but I wanted to use my existing hardware. The solution can be found in the next few pictures.

Underside of Compound

The underside of the compound slide shows how the tool post is pressed into the casting. A roll pin keeps it from turning.

Tool Holder Comparison

The supplied 4 position tool holder is placed over the post and my AXA QC tool holder to it’s right. In order to use the QC holder, two corrections are necessary: the base of the post required a bushing to match the ID of the AXA unit and a special hold down bolt needed to be made to reach the pressed in stud.

AXA QC Tool Post Solution

Here is the solution for using a standard AXA QCTP with the PM-1022V lathe. A bushing with very thin walls was made to go over the base of the pressed in stud to match the ID of the AXA tool holder. A long nut was machined starting with a standard 5/8″ bolt machined to match the ID of the AXA holder, long enough to engage the M8-1.25 threads on the pressed in post.

QCTP Mounted

The standard AXA QCTP mounted on the Precision Matthews lathe. It’s very solid and was accomplished without modifying any of the lathe parts so the warranty is intact.


The wiring cavities were opened for inspection and tightening a couple of switches to the housing. All connections were tight and the wires were neatly routed


The motor speed control board is easily accessible if it ever needs replacement.


Wiring to the front panel.

Guard Lockout Switch

Before moving the machine to the basement, I attempted to start it and discovered that it has another lockout switch. The switch can be seen on the left in this photo and it’s activated by a cam attached to the chuck guard. It is necessary for the chuck guard to be in the down position in order to start the machine. Fortunately if the guard is removed, the bar can be left in a position that activates the switch all the time.

Top Pad

The manufacturer supplied a nice rubber pad to fill the top cavity so you can use it to temporarily store delicate tools while working on the machine. I thought that this was a nice amenity.

Transporting the Machine

The PM-1022V lathe had to be moved into my basement. Without the proper equipment, this would be nearly impossible because of the weight. The machine was bolted to a 2×12 and then the 2×12 was strapped and clamped to a furniture dolly. I enlisted the help of a big strong man (my son George) to do the bulk of the lifting. The center of gravity was close to the bottom of the dolly so it was stable and easy to handle.

Going Down the Stairs

With the right equipment, two men can easily move the PM-1022V down basement stairs.

The Last Few Feet

Safely down the stairs, George moves the lathe the last few feet under another waiting chain hoist mounted in the ceiling joists. About 10 drops of oil spilled out of the gear boxes during the transportation process, not enough to cause any concern.

Placing the Machine

The final lift was made and the cabinet moved into position for bolting through the top. I put some Silicone caulk under the drip pan so it wouldn’t rattle when the lathe was operating.

Missing Key

One tiny little glitch was discovered when I attached the crank handle to the cross slide. It slipped and when I took it apart, I discovered that a drive key was missing from the assembly. Not a big deal because my local hardware store had some 5/32″ key stock which fit the keyway perfectly. Not shown, but a not-so-tiny glitch was the fact that I had to remove the apron and file an internal cam so the carriage feeds would work properly.

New Home

A photo showing the Precision Matthews PM-1022V’s new resting place next to a bench top milling machine. Hmmm, what should I make first?

Lead Screw Pin Removal

Update 2017: The lathe has been performing excellent for a year or so with the exception of a small, persistent oil leak from the apron gear case. It leaks about an ounce per year but I wanted to eliminate it so the following photos show how it was done. Removing the apron gear case is quite easy beginning with the removal of the pin driving the lead screw.

Tapered Pin Removal

The other end of the lead screw is held in position by a block with tapered pins. I inserted a machine screw into the threaded pin and gently tapped it to remove it.

Tapered Pin

The two tapered pins were removed followed by the hex head cap screws. The lead screw then slides out of the apron gear case.  The 4 hex head cap screws holding the gear case to the apron were removed and the gear case drops off.

Apron Gear Case

Here is a look inside the apron gear case. Notice the two blocks attached to the back side of the case. I suspected that this was the area to investigate for the oil leak. Also noteworthy is that the worm gear cradled by the brass block on the right has a mating key that falls out. Make sure to insert the key prior to replacing the lead screw on re-assembly or the apron and cross slide will not advance properly.

Underside View

This underside view also shows the drain plug and a small set screw. The set screw secures a spring and ball bearing. It was removed and given a small coating of sealant as part of the leak control measures.

Block One Removal

After removing the hex head cap screws, the block was gently tapped with a soft hammer while pulling on the block. This action loosened the tapered pins and the block came off. Notice the lack of sealant at the mating surfaces.

Adding Sealant

After the surfaces were cleaned, I added sealant to the surfaces and re-assembled.

Block Two Removal

The other block was similarly removed and it was observed that the factory didn’t do a very good job of sealing the assembly.

Cleaned Surfaces

Here is a look at the cleaned surfaces prior to adding sealant.

Sealing Block Two

Sealant was applied to the second block and re-assembled. Installing the gear case was a simple matter of reversing the steps to remove it. The leak control measures slowed the flow to about 1 drop per week instead of a couple of drops per day. I suspect the tiny remaining leak is coming from the bearing that actuates the half nut block and there is nothing I can do about it. All in all, I consider the fix a success.


My Hi-Torque Mini-Mill arrived from the Little Machine Shop! An 18 wheeler made it’s way through the subdivision and parked so the tail was at my driveway. The truck was equipped with a lift gate in order to get the pallet to street level. I was concerned about getting the pallet into my garage but the driver graciously used his pallet truck to push the load into the garage. Once there, I could break the load down into manageable pieces for transport into the basement. The following photos provide details on my new machine’s arrival and setup.


Delivery Truck

An 18 wheeler is an unusual sight in our subdivision. The truck was outfitted with a lift gate that lowered the pallet to street level.

Moving the Pallet

The driver used his pallet truck to push the load into the garage. If he didn’t do that, I would have had to drag it with chains hooked onto my garden tractor.

Pallet with Mill

I was impressed with the packaging, banding and internal padding with the shipment. Little Machine Shop gets high scores for properly preparing the order for transport!

The Mill

I transported the box with the mill into the basement using a furniture dolly. The mill was securely fastened to the bottom of the box with bolts. The mill was coated with light grease and I spent several hours cleaning it up.

Mill Cabinet

In preparation for the mill’s arrival, I built a cabinet with lots of drawer storage. The cabinet was engineered to support a lot of weight as the mill weighs about 140 pounds.

Mill on Cabinet

I have a chain hoist and hydraulic lift table in the basement so I was able to move the mill to the cabinet without assistance from another person. The mill was bolted to the cabinet and checked for squareness. I had to adjust the gibs and tram the vertical column using shims that I purchased with the machine. All this took a couple of hours but now it is set-up to my satisfaction ready to make parts.

Milling a Slot

The first part off the mill was a brass strap that needed a slot for adjustment in a kinetic art mechanism. The strap was only 0.25″ wide and 0.0625″ thick.

Completed Slot

Here is a look at the slot in this thin brass strip.

Brass Strip Mounted on Arm

The brass strip was mounted on an arm used in a recoil chronometer escapement as part of a kinetic art piece called “Scimitar”. Look for another blog post with some of the details about the Scimitar project.

Mill with DRO

Task lighting and a Digital Read Out for all 3 axes were eventually installed completing my installation. The DRO is accurate to 0.0005″ and is a great help when machining.


Old Sawhorse

My old sawhorses had seen better days so it was time to build new ones.

I built my old sawhorses about 40 years ago using 2x4s and metal sawhorse kit brackets. They held up well but they were always wobbly. Over the years, the wobbliness (is that a word?) got worse so I decided to build new ones. Why? Because I’m retired and can spend some time on this sort of thing plus I now have the tools to make the angled cuts necessary for my design. The old sawhorses were a nice size and height so I took measurements from them as a starting point. There is nothing critical in my numbers, just the way I wanted the wanted the sawhorses to look. The new sawhorses will never wobble because all the components are glued and screwed. The following set of photos shows my new sawhorse construction.

Raw Lumber

The cross pieces needed to be flattened in order to make a sound glue joint with the legs.

Flat Cross Members

A little jointing and planing and now I have something I can work with.

Leg Angle Jig

The most challenging part of sawhorse construction is affixing the leg to the cross piece because it requires a sharp angle cut on the face of the 2×4. I constructed this jig to accomplish the task.

Leg Jig with Clamp

The hole in the jig accepts a Rockler fence clamp to hold the leg in place while cutting the steep angle.

Leg and Jig before Cutting

Here is the leg clamped to the jig before running through the band saw.

Cutting the Sawhorse Leg

The jig rides the fence of the band saw and the result is the exact angle I wanted for my new sawhorses.

After the Cut

This photo shows the result of the cut using the jig.

Determining Leg Height

The cross pieces were securely clamped to the table using 4x4s as guides for all subsequent measurement and assembly steps.

Determining Height

I cut a little off the end of the steep angled cut on each leg then clamped the leg to the cross piece and measured for a 30 inch height.

Cutting to Length

Each leg bottom was angle cut to rest flat on the floor and provide the 30″ vertical rise.

Attaching the Legs

The legs were aligned using the 4×4 as a guide. Glue was applied to the leg, held in place, and nailed to the cross piece. 4 screws were then driven to complete the attachment.

Attached Legs

Here is a look at the attached leg with the screws.

Final Leg Attachment

To complete the attachment, the top of each leg was sanded back so the cross piece sits high. Next, braces were cut and attached with glue and screws to the legs making for a very strong and stable configuration.

Added Feature

As an added enhancement to the sawhorse, a slotted riser block was constructed to provide height adjustment when needed.

CNC Router

The adventure begins by building infrastructure for the machine. A solid, flat table was built, a dedicated computer was found and an old computer case was scavenged to house the isolation board and motor drives for the machine. A new 120 volt outlet was installed and a network wire was routed to the area. The first couple of pictures show the infrastructure progress and subsequent photos will detail the actual machine build. I expect this blog will be lengthy because I will take several build photos so others can see whats involved if they decide to build a CNC from a kit. In case you’re wondering, I’m building a Pilot Pro 2626 DIY kit from PDJ Inc. My options included a control pendant, limit and home switches and an isolation board. Software includes VCarve Pro and Cut 3D from Vectric, and Mach3 from ArtSoft.

Building the stand

A neighbor had a pair of steel workbench legs which he graciously gave to me. Two hours of wire brushing and then a little welding and painting made them look like new. Some angle iron was cut to support the top and wheels were added for mobility. Next up, a cabinet needs to be built below to house the control modules.

Completed Bench

A week later, the bench is ready to accept the Pilot Pro CNC. The box has built in ventilation using filtered air from front to back. Inside will house the computer and control circuitry that will drive the machine. The computer screen shows the Mach3 post processor dialog.

Motor Drive Cabinet

I managed to piece together a complete motor drive enclosure from 2 old desktop PCs. Lots of fans will provide rapid air movement to keep things nice and cool.

Measuring Runout

I purchased a set of precision collets for my Porter Cable 690 router not only for the precision, but also for accommodating bit shank diameters from 1/8″ through 1/2″. My TIR (total indicated runout) at 1″ was less than 0.001″ which is pretty good for woodworking.

Control Box Components

PDJ sent the components for the control box in advance of the machine components so I could get a head start with wiring. Here we see the power supply, motor drivers, the control pendant, limit switches, UC100 USB adapter and the ISO3 Mach3 board.

Fitting Components in Enclosure

I cut a piece of masonite to fit inside an old computer carcase for mounting the control components. The parts were placed to accommodate wiring and air flow.

Control Box Nearly Complete

The ISO board is wired to the stepper motor drives and the 48 V power supply feeding the drives in in place. Two noteworthy items if someone is building a PDJ kit: a male serial port from the ISO board is not included so you will have to find one, second, the ISO board relay is rated at 10 amps maximum. My Porter Cable 690 router is rated at 11 amps so I added a relay (lower right in the picture) to take care of the current draw. The only thing left to do is wire the motors and limit switches but I have to wait for the final parts shipment!


The CNC machine’s sides are connected by a 3″ tall plate so I decided to add risers to the table. Another layer of particle board will be fastened to the risers and T-tracks will be secured to it. Finally, a layer of MDF will be added so that the top will clear the plate by 3/16″ and the top of the T-track will be recessed 3/8″. The rational is that I will surface the top with the router leaving 1/4″ above the plate. I should be able to re-surface it a couple of times before replacing the MDF. Everything else stays put.

Pilot Pro 2626 DIY Parts

The parts have arrived, at least most of them. A few of them are on back order and UPS managed to break a package and a linear bearing fell out. Oh well, these will keep me going for a while.
My first impression is that the Pilot Pro 2626 DIY parts are very substantial and high quality. The parts are nicely labeled and the stepper motors are pre-wired. The Z axis is assembled and ready for mounting.

Base Layer

Three pieces of 3/4″ particle board were screwed to the risers to provide a platform for the T-tracks and spoil board.


Next, the T-tracks were screwed through the particle board and into the riser blocks.

Finished Spoil Board

Finally, strips of 3/4″ MDF were screwed into the particle board base. The surface sits 3/16″ proud of the Aluminum plate that ties the sides together and all the fasteners were counter bored 3/8″. My rational for this set-up is the spoil board can be surface planed and still have a good 1/8″ that can be surfaced a couple of times before the MDF strips need to be replaced. The hole pattern is symmetrical so parts are interchangeable. The T-track spacing was determined by the X axis limits and the reach of the hold down clamps. There are no dead spots that a clamp can’t reach on the spoil board.

Spoil Board Complete 1

An unobstructed view of the built up spoil board

Spoil Board Complete 2

The spoil board showing height relationship to end plate

Beginning the build

The CNC machine build begins with lightly knocking off any high spots on shim parts 11A using 320 grit emery. Subsequent photos will closely match Phil’s YouTube assembly videos but will show greater detail.

Labeled Hardware

Hardware included in the Pilot Pro 2626 DIY Kit was clearly labeled.

Shim-Rail Assembly

The shims are sandwiched between the linear rails and the 8020 beams. No washers are used here. Notice that the linear rails are marked with arrows. Although no mention was made of this and although the rails look perfectly symmetrical, I mounted all the rails with the arrow pointing upward. A nice feature of the T-nuts is the spring loaded ball bearing that keeps the nut in place inside the cavity after the parts are slid into place.

Shim-Rail Assembly

A photo of the shim and rail with the T-nuts in place before sliding into the 8020 side support

Table Mounting Brackets

The T-nuts for the table mounting brackets are shaped differently than the linear rail T-nuts in that they can be inserted through the track instead of sliding in from the end.

Table Mounting Brackets 2

I took off the end plate to slide the table mounting brackets with T-nuts attached before I realized that this was not necessary. These T-nuts can be inserted without sliding in from the end.

Lead Screw Support

The lead screw support gets mounted so part of the support extends beyond the edge of the 8020 rails.

Linear Bearing Mounting

The linear bearings have the little black “keeper” installed with the bearing. Simply line up the bearing with the track and slide the bearing unto the rail and the “keeper” drops out and can be discarded.

Linear Bearing Positioning

Whereas the Y axis linear rails are mounted to the sides of the 8020’s, the gantry rails are mounted to the top of the 8020’s. The above photo shows the Y axis bearings – notice the two different size linear bearings, the longer mounted toward the front of the machine.

Gantry Rails

The gantry 8020’s with the linear rails mounted to the top. When the 8020’s are attached to the gantry mounting plate, they are turned 90 degrees so the linear rails face forward.

Gantry Mounting Plate

The gantry mounting plates are milled on one side. They are mounted with the milled side against the linear bearing blocks. The plate with the stepper motor mounting holes is on the left side of the machine.

Gantry Installed

The two 8020’s are mounted between the gantry mounting plates with the linear bearing rails centered. The above photo shows three of the 4 bearing blocks installed because I’m waiting for a replacement for the one that UPS managed to lose when they smashed my package.

Z Axis Assembly

The Z axis assembly is mounted to the bearing blocks as shown in this photo. It’s important to watch the PDJ Inc. YouTube videos on the screw tightening procedure so everything slides properly.

Movable Lead Screw Brackets

The moving lead screw brackets are secured to the ball bearing with the screw hole recess pointing toward the bearing.

Lead Screw Ends

The ends of the lead screws differ. The left shows the motor (rear) end and the right shows the forward (front) end of the screws. One axial ball bearing is installed on the front and two on the rear.

Front Stop

The front stop is installed about 1/4″ from the end of the linear bearing. The remainder of the space is an allowance for the router which is mounted on the forward face of the Z axis.

Lead Screws Installed

Installing the lead screws is very easy. The motor sides have two axial bearings and the thrust washer is tight against the support. The other end gets one bearing and the thrust washer is adjusted to apply a slight amount of tension to the lead screw. “Slight” is the operative word here because if too much tension is applied, the axial bearings will prematurely fail.

Super PID

I purchased a Super PID to control the router speed. The enclosure has MDF sides, a plywood back and a clear plastic front because the Super PID has a digital readout. The heatsink was scavenged from a computer motherboard. A fan will be mounted on the back and draw air into the enclosure from the filtered air supply inside the cabinet below the CNC machine.

Completed Machine

The final parts arrived and were installed. A little software tweaking and Wahlaaa! a working CNC router. The above photo shows the completed machine with my first V-carving of a Celtic knot in a piece of MDF.

Close-up of Celtic Knot

Here’s a closer look at my first carving with my Pilot Pro CNC router. Lots of potential here so now I have to work on design and marketing.

Table Revision

After using the CNC for awhile, I decided to remove the risers under the spoil board in order to give me more Z axis travel. For the times I want to make a long Y axis piece, I will either add a temporary riser or remove the end plates for an unobstructed flat surface.

CNC Setup

This job was longer than my Y axis bed so risers were used to elevate the work above the machine ends.

Updated Spoil Board

I decided to make the spoil board the same size as the cutting limits of the machine. This allowed me to take a surface cut across the entire bed assuring it is in perfect alignment with the gantry. It’s interesting how the design of this machine changes with experience.

Cooling Fans

The stepper motors get extremely hot when operating so I added an 80mm CPU cooling fan to each motor. PDJ offers the fans as an option but I purchased these from Amazon, strapped them on with wire ties and powered them from a 12V tap off the power supply. I inserted a thin piece of wood between the fan and the motor as a standoff and heat buffer because it seemed to be the right thing to do. I cut a 1/2 hour job and the fans really kept things cool. Five minutes after the job the motors were luke warm – fantastic!

New Stepper Motor Standoffs

I decided to make new standoffs for my stepper motors because the post type were cumbersome when removing or mounting the motors. I added a thin piece of gasket material between the machine and standoff to act as a vibration damper but I’m not sure it does any good. This mounting method is the best of the three I’ve tried and it’s a keeper.

Gecko 540 Drive

After owning the Pilot Pro for nearly two years, I decided to replace the PDJ motor controls with a Gecko 540 drive unit. I had some Y axis racking issues and limited rapid travel speeds that I simply could not resolve despite hours on the phone with Phil at PDJ. His support was excellent and I will continue to recommend the PDJ Pilot Pro to anyone looking for a solid CNC router. When I made the switch to the Gecko drive, I also replaced all of my motor control cables with shielded wires and took special care to ground everything properly. Since I made the conversion, I have not had any racking issues and I can run the machine at virtually any speed I want without problems. NOTE: I built the original control panel with parts purchased from PDJ using their wiring schematics. In fact, I sent the entire control panel to PDJ for evaluation during the time the problem was occurring and they could not reproduce the symptoms on their machine. It is possible that I had a noise issue that was resolved coincidentally when I replaced the non-shielded cables along with the Gecko drive. PDJ has many machines running perfectly with their control panels so I guess my situation was the exception.

Circle Cutting Jig

Cutting circles using a bandsaw is easy with a jig designed for the task. There are commercial jigs available and many variations of home made jigs can be found on the Internet. As far as I can tell, my jig is unique in the way it is constructed and uses materials commonly found in lumber and hardware stores. The idea behind all circle cutting jigs is to position the work on a pin at the center of the circle and slide the jig parallel to the cutting blade so that the pin is aligned with the front of the bandsaw teeth. Once in position, the jig must be secured in place and then the work is rotated around the pin until the cut is complete. By adjusting the pin to blade distance, different radii can be cut.  Dimensions for the jig are determined by your bandsaw table.  My jig uses the miter slot in the table.  If your table does not have a miter slot, add left and right side rails to hold the jig parallel to the cutting blade when sliding the jig into position.

Materials for my circle cutting jig are:

  • 3/4″ particle board for the table
  • 3/4″ x 3/8″ plastic miter track insert for table guide
  • T-track for the sliding pin holder
  • T-bolt and thru knob to hold the sliding bar in position
  • Threaded insert and mating knob with bolt to clamp table in position
  • 3/8″ bolt used for adjustable stop when positioning table
  • Misc pieces of hardwood to make stop/clamp assembly
  • 1/8″ diameter steel rod for circle pivot point


Jig Overview

This is a view of the circle cutting jig in position to make a cut. The work must be in place and the bandsaw running before sliding the jig to this position.


Starting with a square blank, the entry cut can be seen on the upper left. Once the jig is in position and secured in place, the work is rotated to complete the circle. The T-bolt used to hold the T-track securely in the dado slot is shown next to the work.

Pin-Blade Position

A dado is cut in the top side of the jig table to accept a T-track held by a T-bolt from the underside. Note that the pin is exactly in line with the front of the teeth when the table is slid into position.

Dado and T-track

A piece of hardwood was cut for a press fit into the end of the T-track. An undersized hole was drilled through the T-track and wood to accept a pin that was also press fit.

Stop clamp assembly

A hardwood block slightly less than the cast iron table thickness was glued and screwed to the jig table. This block was drilled and tapped to accept a 3/8″ bolt that can be adjusted to hit the table for positioning the pin relative to the blade. A hardwood clamp is held to the block using a tapped insert screwed into the block bottom. Note also the plastic piece that rides in the bandsaw table miter slot. It was positioned in a shallow dado and secured in position using countersunk flat head screws from above.

Underside view

This view shows the clamp block assembly in it’s final position. The slight gap between the block and the table is the 3/8″ bolt butting up against the table for fine adjustment.

Underside view 2

Another view of the underside of the jig showing holes drilled in the exact center of the top dado slot allowing the pin to be positioned without any “dead” spots.

Jig in action

My first project for the circle cutting jig was for a semi-circular shelf. This view show the work supported with auxiliary roller stands because the cut had a radius of 20″, far exceeding my bandsaw table.

Completed cut

To be on the safe side, I enlisted the help of Jerry, my neighbor and friend. Jerry helped insure that the work stayed on the pin and that the scrap didn’t hang up on anything as the cut was being made. I think that I can cut these large pieces by myself in the future but it’s always best to be on the safe side when attempting any tricky shop operation especially the first time.

Captive Ring Tool

There are many ways to cut captive rings and specialty tools are sold to accomplish the task. I decided to make my own captive ring tool from an Allen wrench, the tricky part being the shape of the grind. I tried many different shapes without success before hitting one that worked. The various grinds were tried using a grip lock pliers to hold the wrench while proving the design. I cannot give exact details on the tool other than show you a close up of the cutting edge. The tool is capable of cutting captive rings extremely close to the stem and the under side of the ring is nicely radiused.

Closeup of captive ring tool

Here is the shape of the grind that works excellent as a captive ring cutting tool.

Captive ring tool with handle

The captive ring tool is held in a Maple handle with a copper ferrule.

Captive rings on a goblet

A completed wedding goblet with a couple of captive rings made with the custom tool.

Engagement Goblet

One captive ring, this goblet made of Cherry signifies engagement.

Gluing Jig

I have made various gluing jigs over the years but never one specifically for pipe clamps. I have several of these versatile clamps but sometimes they are unwieldly because the handles hit the table, they are hard to align and they like to tip over. I saw an article in a magazine about a guy that used broom holders to solve these problems so I made a couple of them with evenly spaced spring clamps and they work like a charm.

Gluing Jig 1

Four foot lengths of plywood and Oak formed the base holding the broom spring clamps. Each rack can be moved to accommodate pipes of varying lengths and the racks can be clamped to the assembly table for stability. The risers are high enough so that the clamp handles do not contact the base.

Gluing Jig 2

The racks clamped in place with a strip of wax paper placed where the glue joint will be located to prevent staining.

Gluing Jig 3

Some strips of Maple and Walnut being clamped together for a cutting board.

Gluing Jig 4

Easily adjustable lengths of the pipe clamps make this jig useful for many gluing projects. When not in use, the racks can be stored with a minimum of space.

Tormek – First Impressions

Before I purchased the Tormek T7, I studied YouTube and manufacturer videos, read discussion forums, looked at PDF documents and the like to be certain that I wanted to make a significant investment to have sharp tools. I have enough experience with my wood lathe to know the importance of sharp, reproducible gouges, skews, parting tools and scrapers. Prior to the Tormek, I used One Way’s Wolverine sharpening jigs and have to say that they work extremely well for obtaining edges off a dry grinder. Since my tools were initially shaped on a dry grinder, I decided to get Tormek’s BGM-100 universal mount for the dry grinder to take the burden of shaping off the Tormek’s grindstone. If anyone is considering the Tormek system, I highly recommend that you do the same because Tormek excels at sharpening but is very slow at shaping.

The following photos show how I did with an old, cheap wood chisel that I used to practice. I didn’t have the BGM-100 for the grinder yet so the shaping was done on the Tormek and although the chisel was close to the proper angle, it was painfully slow to bring it into spec. Several Tormek website forum participants made comments about having difficulty with one or more aspects of using the Tormek but my impression is that anyone can successfully use it if they have any experience with sharpening.

Beat up chisel

Old, cheap chisel that has been abused.

Flattening Back Side

The back side of the chisel was flattened against the side of the stone. It takes some re-positioning to get the feel of where to hold the chisel and at what angle to the axis of the stone.

Grading the stone

The stone was first trued using the diamond then graded with the roughing stone to obtain sharp granules.

Setting the sharpening angle

Tormek uses specialty gauges to set grinding angles. The ability to replicate is one of their strong points.

Holding the chisel

Tools are held in a variety of holders depending on the size and shape. The holders work with the universal support to present the tool to the stone in a controlled manner.


Sharpening the chisel with significant direct pressure applied near the edge being ground. There was absolutely no heat detected with the water drenched stone.


After the edge was defined, the front and back sides were honed with the leather wheel.

Chisel backside

Following honing, the back side of the chisel looked like a mirror.

Chisel top

The top side of the chisel after honing. With some shaping, grading and sharpening, my first attempt took about an hour. I learned that shaping is best done on a dry grinder with the final edge left to the Tormek. Is it sharp? Like a razor! I sharpened 7 more wood chisels and built a storage box because with edges this keen, I didn’t want the chisels to contact one another like they do if thrown in a drawer.

Table Saw Modification for Zero Clearance Inserts

My cabinet saw’s stock inserts are metal castings with 4 set screws used for leveling the insert with the top. I like to make my own Zero Clearance Inserts (ZCI) made from 1/2″ thick MDF which rests a tad below the surface of the table when resting on the tabs supporting the insert. I made a ZCI and copied the hole pattern which meant that it must be leveled the same as the stock inserts so when it comes time to change it, I need to go through the leveling process with each new replacement ZCI. This is a pain in the butt! Why not level once and be done with it? My solution was to drill & tap set screw holes in the tabs supporting the insert and locate them so that they wouldn’t interfere with the stock inserts. It works just great and making new ZCI’s is a lot easier because there are 4 less holes that need to be drilled.


This is what the stock insert looks like on the reverse side. The set screws rest on the tabs which are part of the table saw’s cast iron top.


The tabs were large enough to locate 10-32 set screws without interfering with the stock insert leveling screws.


Here’s a closer look at where the hole was drilled and tapped. You can see the wear spot where the stock insert leveling screws rest.

stock and new ZCI

Here’s a look at the underside of the stock insert and the new ZCI without leveling screws.

Sawing the ZCI slot

Here’s a neat trick for safely drilling the slot for a new ZCI. Rest the new ZCI on spacers so that the insert is a few thousandths below the surface, clamp it in place (here I’m using a feather board), turn on the saw and raise the blade through the new insert. I had to extend the slot to the rear using a scroll saw to accommodate a riving knife. This method works much better than lowering a new ZCI onto a spinning blade.