1st World Problem

I bet it has never crossed your mind, but how often have you used a tape measure, picked up your pencil (or marking knife), and had to make a mark at a point by reading the numbers upside down?  (Unless you are left-handed).

Why?  Because tape measures are made with the expectation you would use your right hand to hook the tape on, then to extend it. That’s great, but when you go to mark it, you need to swap hands to hold the pen, and so you run the tape out again with your left hand…..and now the numbers are upside down!

And this situation seems to be accepted time and again, without comment, or solution.  Until now.

The R1 tape measure.  Designed for left-handed use, so you are free to mark lines against numbers on the tape that are the right way up.

Pretty simple concept really.  Just have to wonder what took so long for someone to come up with it.


Perhaps it is just another tape measure.  But the simple way to check is to go pick up any of your current tape measures, and see just how you use it when marking up a piece of timber.  Are the numbers the right way up?  If not, do you want them to be?

If you do, click here to source the solution (from PWS)

2.5 Million

Another small milestone reached – 2,500,000 direct visitors to the site.

This is not counting that about 50% of the site views are now done through social media – email, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, RSS – too hard to quantify, so I’ll stick with the site counter to keep track of a portion at least!

Still skating on the very edge of 400 Facebook followers (397), 417 email followers, 995 on Twitter, 11 Google+, 431 YouTube, 302 Feedburner, and I have no idea how many are now subscribed to the podcast!


And I still do it simply because I’m having fun!  For those keeping track, the site will be 8 years old at the end of June.

Owl’s Life

Bit of a test day today (isn’t every day?!)  Wanted to see how some new bits from Tools Today would go with the nested projects I have been working on recently.  Today’s test was on a scary looking bit – but not scary because it was big and mean looking – quite the opposite.

This bit is super fine, and a whole 1/16″ (1.6mm) diameter solid carbide cutting tip.  It looks way too fine and fragile to use, let alone in a CNC router!  However, I wanted to see if it could work, as it is currently the largest bit that I have that will cut 3mm MDF and not create oversized, and therefore sloppy joints.  This bit in question is the 45190 Amana Tool straight cutter – 2 flute, and is not up/down or compression.

Thought it would break in a heartbeat, but hoped not.  Even so, I slowed the feed speed down to 50mm/sec.

The result?  Not only did it survive perfectly well, it cut really cleanly, and did not have a tendency to try to lift or move the MDF around, even when the distances between components was at a minimum.

I’ll get more detailed views (and video) of the bit in action at another time.  What I was left with after my testing was this fellow.  The bit performed admirably – I’m sure they have a reasonably high attrition rate, but so far there have been no dramas, or casualties.


Owl-2Cool little guy, and probably not far off life size!  Still I might try him in 6mm MDF next!

Episode 114 CNC Master Collection



While John is discussing metal cutting bandsaw blades here, I am sure his observations also cross over directly to woodworking bandsaw blades

Originally posted on johnsmachines:

I have a band saw welder, but I find that blades joined with silver solder are more reliable.

The silver solder should contain at least 50% silver.

The jig below makes sure that the ends of the blade are held exactly correctly in position.

The blade ends need to be tapered at about 20 degrees to maximise the contact area to be soldered.

IMG_2589 The jig is held in a vice. The blade ends are held flat and against an edge which keeps them in line. The blade ends are scarfed at a 20 degree angle. The cap screws are finger tight.

IMG_2590 If you look closely you can see the scarf about to be soldered and joined. The edges to be joined are fluxed.

View original



Some incredible photos of engineering from the turn of last century.

Incredible what engineers can make with seemingly inadequate technology

Originally posted on johnsmachines:

I am republishing these photos, which I spotted on the net recently. They show a factory in about 1905 making steam turbines for installation in a ship. The belt driven machinery, and factory scenes I found fascinating.  Their are also some pics of triple expansion marine engines.007_stitch_zps77e99731006_stitch_zps054b3bae005_stitch_zpsb3b28bf0003_stitch_zps1d5a5cdd002a_combined_zps3034921c001_stitch_zpsf052a758009_stitch_zpsc0136bc1004_stitch_zpsaa48624a006_stitch_zpscc231d7e

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A SawStop Rival

Bosch have released their equivalent to the SawStop contractor saw, with a version that does not damage the blade when it pulls it under the table.

It would be very interesting to do a side-by-side comparison to see if this compromises the reaction time of the saw, and whether there is any difference experienced in operator damage between the two.  I’m not convinced that saving the blade is the most important consideration, but it is an interesting bonus if there is otherwise no difference in the reaction time between the two systems, or amount of injury the operator incurs.

It would also be interesting to know what mechanism Bosch have used to actually detect flesh, and how that differs to SawStop.


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