Introduction: Painting Spacer.... Block.......things.
I made these little block things to help with space when painting sheet components before assembly. They wedge onto either end and hold up the workpiece, and many same length or width workpieces can be stacked on top of each other whilst drying.
They do have some limitations. Obviously they obstruct the end of the board, however, most cabinets I make from MDF have butt jointed corners, so the end isn't visible, and best kept clear of paint as it's a glue surface. Often I don't paint on both sides at once (as these are usually kitchen cabinets, butted up to each other or with end panels added after install) so these work a treat. They only really work with ~18mm stock, but that's what I mainly use for cabinetry. In short, these aren't suitable for every project. But they are really useful for some.
Step 1: Materials
This really doesn't need much, and you could form this profile from pretty much any material you can think of. I'm using MDF because I have a lot of scrap right now. This piece is about 1200mm long, and 240mm wide. Use what scrap you have, sizes aren't massively important.
Step 2: Cutting the Components
I started off ripping the MDF down to 80mm wide strips on the table saw, with the basic plan being to have two ~30mm wide blocks, with an 18mm gap down the middle.
Next, I set the angle of the table saw to five degrees, and set the fence about 30mm away from the bottom of the blade and ripped down one of the strips. I then straightened the blade again and ripped the offcut to leave me with two long pieces of 30mm wide MDF with a five-degree bevel down one edge.
Step 3: Sticking It All Together.
Yes, I know. I could have used glue. So why didn't I? Time. I needed these blocks ASAP and drying time isn't something I had, so I went with double-sided tape. Glue and clamps would work very well if you have the time, or this method works fine for the impatient.
First off, flip both of the thin strips upside down, and lay them side by side. This way you can run a single piece of tape across them both at once, and then separate them with a knife - there's no waste and it's much quicker.
I stuck the first strip down to the 80mm wide MDF strip, lining up the long edge to be flush. Then to line up the other side at the correct position I used another scrap piece to act as a spacer. This is accurate enough - this isn't a tooling jig so meticulously measuring and marking everything isn't important.
Step 4: Optional: Trim Up
I decided to trim the long edges on the tablesaw to flush up the long edges. These will work without that but remember the long edge is what will be sitting on the bench, or on the previous block, so flat surfaces make sense here (and two passes on the table saw is hardly a big job). Since the overall width of this long piece doesn't matter, I adjusted the fence by eye to 'just a bit less than the current width'. Good enough.
Step 5: Cutting It Up
It's time to cut it down into individual blocks. put a stop 100mm ish past the blade on the mitre saw, and cut them all to length. Make them the length you want, but I wanted them to be wide enough that a single block at each end of a workpiece would suffice for anything up to around 400mm wide. The other option would be to go much narrower, say 25mm, and use 4 per workpiece instead of two. Or a mix.
If you used glue in step 3 - you'll be fine. If you used tape like me, take it slow on the mitre saw so the tape will withstand the cutting.
Step 6: Add Screws
If you used glue in step 3, then the screws are likely pointless, and I would skip this step.
I could have used screws earlier and no tape, but honestly I just found this to be the easier method. Waiting until the long piece is cut up also makes it much more pillar drill friendly.
I drilled four holes per jig, two in each block. Each of these is countersunk as well, and I suggest getting a pilot hole bit that has a countersink on it so you can do this in one go.
Set up all the screws by hand, and then get screwdriving.
Step 7: Finished!
That's about it. I got 12 out of a single piece of MDF.
To design and make all of these, including figuring them out and photographing them for here took about half an hour at the most so they really are quick to make.
As you can see from the photos they make very little contact with the board and stack well. They can also hold boards upright and can be used for other things, such as elevating a workpiece so you can use a jigsaw on it, or drill through a piece without hitting a workbench (just use more of them here, and make sure everything is stable).
Production line thinking when designing and making little jigs like this save a tonne of time. These are small, were very quick to make and essentially cost nothing, yet are really useful and far more flexible than a fixed drying rack.
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