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Tip #125
Machinist's Set-Up Blocks

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"One-Two-Three" Blocks speed rip cut and other machine set-ups:

Any tool and die maker who's been at it for long will tell you that a good set of "1-2-3 Blocks" used to be standard equipment in every machinist's tool box. These simple steel blocks are PRECISELY 1" x 2" x 3" in size and are used for speeding-up the process of making machine set-ups.

The principle behind these blocks also applies quite nicely to woodworking. You can easily make a set of these blocks out of a hard, stable wood such as maple or cherry and use them when you need to set-up your Table Saw quickly for a 1", 2" or 3" rip cut.

For even more versatility, cut some 6" long by 3/4" high strips to thicknesses of 1/8", 1/4", 3/8", 1/2", 5/8", 3/4" and 7/8" . Then, merely add the appropriate strip between your 1-2-3 Block and your rip fence to quickly arrive at the exact width you need to rip, to within 1/8", without measuring. Remember, like the 1-2-3 blocks, these strips must be EXACT in their thicknesses.

Do you often find yourself in a production or semi-production situation where you find yourself making a project that you know you'll need to duplicate again and again over time? If so, as you build your project, set aside some small scraps off each rip cut or cutoff, along with your project plans...then use these scraps as set-up aids whenever you have to make another duplicate. Be sure to mark the scraps so you can quickly match them with their specific cuts.

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