Get Woodworking 2015: Boot Jack

By Jeff Williams on Woodworking

The cup of coffee isn’t just for warmth

I’m not sure why Get Woodworking Week is always in February but my unheated shop in Minnesota was only about 10 degrees when I made this. The cup of coffee definitely helped keep me warm (in addition to my Milwaukee heated jacket) but its real value is in its curves. Mark a center line down 3-1/2″ from the wide end of the board. Put the edge of the coffee cup on this line and center it side to side. Then trace partially around it. Use the cup curve in a similar manner at the corners of the board and then connect the lines. This is the business end of the boot jack.

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Then clamp your board down again and cut out the curves. Take your time on this step. There is no harm in going slow and making sure you make a quality cut. If you find that the jigsaw is having a hard time making the deep curve then pull the saw out and make a series of less steep relief cuts. If you do end up butchering it a little bit, it can all be cleaned up in the sanding step.Boot Jack-6

Sand, sand, and sand some more

Congratulations, you have made it through all of the power tool portions. Take a deep breath, count all your fingers, and pat yourself on the back, you have made it to the sanding stage. I know a lot of woodworkers don’t like sanding. It can be a long sometimes tedious process but it really cleans up a piece and can be a bit therapeutic. Now grab your sand paper and lets get after it. If you only have one grit of paper a 100 or 120 would work well enough for pine and wouldn’t take to long. For sanding the straight sections of the project I held the paper down on the table with one hand and ran the jack over it with the other hand. This eliminates the peaks and valleys if you had a hard time cutting in a straight line.

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For sanding the curves, your fingers are the easiest way to hold the profile. This step may take awhile if your curved cuts are a little rough. Take your time and sand them out, it’s worth it.

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About the author

Jeff Williams

Contributing Editor Jeff Williams is a carpenter for a commercial General Contractor specializing in concrete, steel, and wood buildings. Jeff comes from a long line of contractors. His parents started a commercial General Contracting firm many years ago and it has afforded him life-long, hands-on learning opportunities from rough and fine carpentry all the way to structural steel and concrete. Jeff has a Construction Management degree and loves the thrill of coordinating and successfully managing large jobs from start to finish. Inspired by the difficulties sometimes encountered to complete punch lists his motto is, "Work hard until the job is done."

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  1. Barbara says:

    Nice boot jack! Have you got a simple stool (4 legs) design?

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