Comprehensive Triton Selection

I was in a local hardware store very recently, and was sad to see just how deficient the offerings of Triton equipment have become in a very short space of time.

I always said that I’d love to see a dedicated shop in each main city, but I guess that wasn’t viable. The other option would have been online sales, and combined with a slick multi-pronged advertising campaign, that could have been very successful. Especially for spares. Picture a 3d rendering of a tool, then clicking on a specific part to zoom in, until the part you want is obvious, then clicking on that component causes it, and any other parts that come in the same kit glowing, and fnally you click “add to cart”.

So many possibilities. So sad.

Sadly Deficient Triton Section

Dado Blades

I’ve spoken recently about dado blades, and the results are going to start appearing soon, but I haven’t actually mentioned what a dado blade is.  Seems a bit strange defining it, but there again a few years ago I wasn’t sure what a dado blade actually looked like (I knew a bit of their function from all the US woodwork shows, and their project plans often referred to them).

I went into one shop – a Tool Centre as it happened (since closed down), and asked in there.  What I was shown and was explained to be a dado blade I now know to be a coving blade – a completely different animal, so there are at least a few out there who don’t know what one is, and thus the point of the story.


CMT Coving Blade

Now don’t get me wrong – I’d love one of these blades for the tablesaw, but they are designed for coving, not for trenching!

The most common form of dado blade is called a stacked dado. This consists of two primary blades, one left, one right (and these are not interchangeable), and a number of chipping blades.  There are normally shims included for finetuning the width of the kerf that the dado set is creating.  You choose which combination of chipping blades and shims to create the width of slot (dado, trench, whatever your term).

Stacked Dado Set

Stacked Dado Set

As you can see in this example here, we have the two outside blades (orange CMT in this case), with black chipping blades in the middle, designed to clean out and flatten the bottom of the trench.  The outside blades are typically around a 24 tooth blade (8″ diameter blade), with between a 2 and 8 tooth chipping blade, depending on the brand.  Given that the ones I am trialing range from a 2 tooth chipping set, a 4 tooth chipping set, an 8 tooth chipping set, and a 9 tooth chipping set.  It will be interesting to see how the results (and cost) range between the sets.

The other sort of dado blade is one that you can ‘dial in’ the width you require, and it is a “wobble” dado.  This is a blade that literally wobbles to produce a wider dado than the blade would normally achieve.  With my recent blade review throwing up results that showed that even a little amount of runout in the blade had a drastic impact on the resulting quality of the cut, it sounds a stupid idea to deliberately cause that to occur.  Not only that, but do you really want a blade that isn’t properly balanced running at high speed in your tablesaw?

One of the things you need to do when using a dado set, is to have a table insert that can cope with such a wide ‘blade’.

There are commercial inserts available, but it is a simple job indeed to make your own.  I haven’t documented here how I made the actual insert to right shape and size to fit the tablesaw (will cover that another time), but in a nutshell, I took the original insert, copied it with a bearinged router bit, then used that to create a number of blank inserts ready to be cut from below with the dado set to create a zero-clearance insert.

Uncut Tablesaw Insert

Uncut Tablesaw Insert

The inserts are made from MDF, and I have cut a couple of finger holes with a forstner bit so the inset is easily removed and replaced.

The dado set is already mounted, and is wound down below the table.  I then bring the tablesaw fence across so it covers one edge, and assists in holding down the insert as the slot gets cut.

Cutting the Zero Clearance

Cutting the Zero Clearance

This is a very thin dado setup, with the two outside blades, and a single chipping blade.  As you can see I have already wound the blade up through the insert cutting the slot, and have set up here to conduct the first dado slot test.

Tool Store

After a few false starts, I finally got around to redressing the cabinets, and giving them sufficient support to carry to loadings I am expecting of them.

Along with the “spring cleaning” happening indoors, I’m tackling shed storage as well.  The first, and most succecssful way of dealing with it, is to eliminate anything that doesn’t need to be stored – ie disposing of items no longer required.  However, working out what isn’t required isn’t so easy!

At last my powertools now have a better home, and as much as there is some optimisation required, at least this is a reasonable first cut.

Power Tool Storage

Power Tool Storage

Somehow, I have a feeling that isn’t all the power tools I have, but will shuffle some around to make room for others.  The fact that my current count of circular saws is still 5 (down from 7) means that there is some optimisation still possible, and that isn’t the only tool type that I have some duplication!

Does it still look like a significant collection of orange to anyone else (with some blue scattered amongst it)  With the demise of GMC, I wonder if they will become collectors items?

I was in Bunnings the other day, and along with a near complete absence of GMC, and very little Triton, it doesn’t look like anything has changed.  It seems to be the same range of tools, with the same range of quality, just with different names on the sides.

The Year of the Spring Clean

Seems that this is the Inernational Year of Spring Cleaning.  All around the home, inside and out (including the shed), it seems that there is a big push to rationalise what we own, and how we store it.

There is a lot that we can, and have been doing to increase storage about the place, from the recent trip to Ikea, through to items such as attic stairs.

Of course, the first place to start is deciding whether a particular item is worth storing in the first place. I will shortly be applying this principle to the shed (in fact I have already started) after having started doing so inside the house. As I come across innovative storage ideas, I will certainly be documenting it here.

A Noticeboard (continued)

Just received a commercial quote for the noticeboard for work (the one I was working on a ways back).  Granted that they are using glass front (mine was perspex), and theirs is double the size, with some signage and is hung, so the playing field isn’t exactly level.

Total cost of the noticeboard I made: $78

Total cost of the quote: $2600

Think I should quit my day job immediately, and become a noticeboard maker!

Dado Blades

I’ve been running the Battle of the Dado Blades, (and yes I know it is taking longer than it should of to get the results out – sorry).

Been processing the results from the first blade, and I’m rather perplexed about them, so a little more research is going to be required to try to find the source of the defects in the cuts that I am observing.

One of the chipping blades is definitely oversized, but the groove it is cutting is significantly deeper than the oversize.  More research required.  I also originally didn’t think that the degree of runout was important for dado blades, but Ive been thinking about it, and have decided that it does have an impact – not on the quality of the finish (after all it doesn’t matter for a dado if the finish isn’t silky smooth), but it will affect the size of the ‘kerf’ and that will influence joint tightness.  Therefore the amount of runout has a definite impact on the choice of chippers and spacers to get a tight joint.

Blokes and Sheds

I knew about the Blokes and Sheds book by Mark Thomson for ages, but I’ve not had a chance to sit down and start reading through it, until today when I found a copy at the local shops.  (The copy I got is “The Complete”, so includes his second book – “Stories from the Shed”.)

Blokes and Sheds

Blokes and Sheds

So I find, with a sense of relief mind, that I am not as strange as people around me seem to think.  There are plenty of others out there who see in their backyards a space with the same potential that I see in mine, and not just potential as in the potential to create, but just a space to be, organised chaos.

Mess is allowed, and expected.  As are cobwebs, sawdust, and items that are far too useful to throw away, but I have no idea what they will be used for until they are.  One home truth from the book – keep an item for 7 years.  In that 7 years, you will find a use for it.  Of course the tax department got the same idea so expect us to keep records for that long too.  Now there’s a group of people who would benefit from a lot more shed time.

One thing that stood out like the proverbial, is the average age of the blokes featured in the book.  I sure hope that this isn’t a part of the traditional Aussie psyche that is fading away because the younger generation isn’t keeping it alive, and carving their own space out in the Aussie backyard.

It isn’t just Aussies that have sheds either, and it is a bit of a shame that the book doesn’t reference Australia’s closest neighbour, both physically, and socially – New Zealand.  I guess that could be the subject for another book :)

I’m glad to see that the dartboard is regarded as essential shed equipment, and I got mine last Father’s Day, so my shed is slowly gaining a sense of real credibility.

Finally, a reference to “The Institute of Backyard Studies” – Mark Thomson’s website.  Wonder if he know’s Stu’s Shed exists yet (in real or cyber space)?

An Innovative Approach to Featherboards

Reading a fellow blogger’s site recently, I came across a tool that I had to talk about here as well.  So after a couple of quick emails for permission, I can show you a brand new tool over in the States, that is so new that it isn’t even on the developers own website yet.

The blog I was reading is by Al Navas, who runs Sandal Woods – Fine Woodworking and Cabinetry Blog. A link is (and has been for ages) available under blogs down the left hand side of this page fwiw.

The tool company is Sommerfeld Tools, and I am going to have to pay closer attention to Marc’s products if this is the sort of thing he is coming up with.

Onto the product itself – it is called the Feather-Guard, and is, surprisingly (ok, not so surprising once you actually read the components of the name), a featherboard and a router bit guard in one.

Sommerfeld Feather Guard

Sommerfeld Feather Guard

For one, the approach to the feathers themselves is novel, and the fact this featherboard is designed to work at the point the workpiece encounters the bit and not before (or after) is really interesting.  It also covers the bit, and thus the guarding component.

I’d probably wish that it was made from a transparent material, but this isn’t compulsory for safe operation.

It runs in a T Track, and so would be absolutely perfect for an Incra Fence for example.

It can also be used mounted to the table as a horizontal featherboard, and again would need a T Track in the table for this.  Of course you know what I’m going to say next- needs to be able to have MagSwitches attached!

I guess it is unlikely that I’ll get to play with one in person anytime soon to be able to provide further insights into this product, but it certainly looks like one worth keeping an eye on.

A Question on Drill Presses

It was a good question posed in a recent comment, so thought I’d post the response here.  The issue experienced (and I’ve had it as well, as have many others I’m sure), is the morse taper that holds the chuck of the drill press falling out. (The other benefit of posting the answer here, is it then is a post about drill presses that I’ve apparently been somewhat remiss in my coverage ;) )

My first solution in this case, is to wind the jaws fully into the chuck (so they don’t get damaged), then tap the base of the chuck with a wooden mallet to drive the taper tight.

Over time, if there is any slippage, the taper can become rather polished, so rubbing a bit of chalk on it, then tapping the taper home can help dramatically.

Getting more involved, you can coat the taper with Engineering Blue, push the taper home, remove it and see where contact is being made.  If there are  few high spots, you can carefully polish them down with a bit of wet & dry sandpaper.

If the contact area is very poor (and that would be an obvious reason why a taper just won’t stay put), you can get a morse taper reamer for about $A40 or so.  Given it is pretty much a 1-use tool (you really are unlikely to ever need it again!), it is debatable whether it is worth going this far.

Finally, I’d recommend staying away from Loctite – it makes removal when required very nasty (needing heat etc).  I also would stay away from deliberately roughing up the surfaces.

I wouldn’t be against using a touch (as in a single small drop) of Cyanoacrylate (aka SuperGlue).  The reason is – it is a very brittle adhesive, so when the taper needs to be removed (assuming you have one with a slot higher up to use a wedge and hammer to remove the taper), the glue will fail under impact loading (hammer!), can be removed with a solvent, and does not permanently damage the metal surfaces.

So there are some options – hopefully one poses a good fit :) (pun intended!)

Site Comments

There is something new available for those who make comments on this blog, or if you’ve considered it but wondered about getting an answer.

When you post a comment, there is now a checkbox near the submit button that if you choose to check it, means you will be notified by email if anyone else posts a reply (such as me answering one of your questions!) to that comment.  It doesn’t mean you will suddenly be emailed every time there is a comment anywhere on this site, only for the specific post you’ve commented on. (Given the average post has at most 2-3 replies, this doesn’t mean your inbox will suddenly get inundated!

You don’t have to use it, but it is a tool that is available to you if desired.


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