Episode 106 SawStop Guard

New Festool Product Demo

Headed along to Carbatec this morning to see the new Festool products that had launched. Unfortunately the edge bander was not on show- demo’ed at a recent session, but now saved until some show in Brisbane.

Saw the new cordless hammer drill, and yes, impressive if that is what you need. Lightweight, shock absorber built in etc.

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Comes with a really neat dust collector.

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It sucks itself onto the surface, and gathers dust right from where the drill bit is in contact with the wall (or whatever you are drilling). Also available as a separate item for about $35. Definitely have to get one of those!

Saw the new cordless saw in operation too. Brushless EC-TEC motor, takes either 1, or 2 batteries, and that can be a mix of 15V and 18V. Depending on the available voltage, the max speed varies from around 3500RPM to around 5000RPM

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Without batteries fitted

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Dual batteries fitted, each with charge indicators.  The saw must have a battery in the lower slot to operate.  The second battery in the top position is optional.

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Has a different handle, that prevents the saw being used on the CMS system.

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New lever to allow saw to be tilted to -1º

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Has a new design to the Fast Fix system, which allows the blade to be locked and lowered in a single operation for blade changes.

For a saw that can be used onsite, away from any available external power supply, I’m sure it will be of definite interest to many.  If you are in a shop-situation, you’d still stay with the TS55R (the corded version).  This one would be awesome to use with something like the Centipede Workbench to break down sheets before bringing them into the workshop.  No need to run cables etc outside!  Also if you were working in difficult-to-access locations (such as in a roof space), the portability would pay off well then too.

Saw with 1 battery attached.  Note, this was the first time the saw had been used with the rail, so you will see the sacrificial plastic of the rail peeling off as well.

Saw with 2 18V batteries attached.

Dear MagSwitch, we miss you

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The range of MagSwitch products seems to grow and grow, and rightly so, the industrial sector are the main benefactors.

However, I miss the innovative products MagSwitch was bringing out for woodworkers and workshop owners, each one being such a game-changer. I know the products are still available, but as there has been nothing new for us for so long, they just become part of the background view when you walk into a store. I still look longingly at the display, hoping to see something new.

I still love the products, and use them very regularly, I used to do the occasional woodworking show demonstration for them when they were still an Australian product.

Just reminiscing about the days when MagSwitch and woodworkers were so much closer.

Want to win some router bits?

Toolstoday.com are holding a quick woodworking comp through their Facebook page.

If you follow this link, you will come across the page, and where you can submit the photo of your project.  The winner gets $US250 to spend on their website.

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Bowled Over

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Routing a bowl, using the Amana Tool bowl bits from Toolstoday.com

Including rounding over the edge with about the smallest 1/4″ roundover bit there is (and the smallest bearing I think I’ve ever seen too!)

Check out the next edition of The Shed magazine for a full description and step by step for making this project.

One surface to protect them all

One surface to resist glue, One surface to deny it
One surface to protect the rest and save your machines besides
In the Land of the Shed, where the glue resides

The Wood River Silicone Bench Mat from Professional Woodworkers Supplies is the solution to a problem you forgot you had.  I know – seems strange, why solve a problem you didn’t remember?

The fact is, there are a number of activities in the shed that would cause problems if not dealt with, and we normally resort to a variety of make-shift solutions, that this simple 18″x24″ silicone bench mat solves.

First one – glue-ups.  You have a workbench that is used for a myriad of activities, including glueups, but the one thing you don’t want to do is drip glue all over it.  And more importantly, you don’t want to inadvertently glue your project to it!

In steps the silicone bench mat.  Problem solved.

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Glue will not stick to the surface.  Any glue that dries on the surface peels straight off.  Cleanup is simple, and the project will not become a permanent fixture either.  You can still use your good workbench (or your tablesaw!) for glueups, without risking the glue wrecking things, or sticking objects to one another that were not meant to be joined.

The silicone mat is also good as a non-slip surface, waterproof and oilproof, and with a couple of mm thickness, makes it a good surface to sand or plane on, or sharpen on as a couple of examples.

If you want to protect a larger area, a couple of overlapping mats works well, as the overlapping area doesn’t slip (easily).

Back to gluing for a second (and it doesn’t just have to be gluing).  Do you use a machine for some operations where glue, or a finish is easily dripped or flung off?  For example, using CA glue on the lathe (such as when pen turning), or applying oil to a moving surface.  The silicone mat can be used to protect the surface of the machine (or floor).

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Here the mat is protecting the bed of the lathe, as a CA glueup is completed.  It is also very useful when doing the polishing step, as the micro mesh acrylic sanders drip a lot of water onto the cast iron lathe bed – not a good idea.

I think Wood River could take the whole concept further, developing a small range of products from the material, including a shop apron particularly suited to very messy operations.

It is not only messy operations where the mat excels. As a soft, forgiving surface it is ideal for machine maintenance, such as changing blades.  Items put on the mat tend not to roll around or slip off, and the amount of give in the surface protects tools dropped on it.  Here, a blade change is operation is enhanced – the table top is protected from scratches, while the tungsten carbide teeth are protected from being chipped and damaged on the hard CI surface.

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I’m seriously starting to think that just one of these mats is not enough.  2, even 3 would not go astray in a workshop for all the different roles they can perform.

I don’t think the mats are listed on PWS’ website yet – contact Grahame for their availability – sure it won’t take long, especially if there is a bit of interest shown!

When visiting websites can be dangerous

To the credit card.

I was researching another article on the Professional Woodworkers Supplies website, and came across a product that took a few seconds to catch my eye.  After all, what is so inspiring or remarkable about full sheets of wet & dry sandpaper?

That is until I read just a little closer.  The papers are colour coded, and it was the description of the white paper that made me sit up and look.  The micron size of the white paper is 1µm.  Hang on…..what??!  1µm?!  But that is finer than an 8000 grade japanese waterstone!  My table of micron grit sizes to paper/diamond grades from 2008 doesn’t go finer than 8µm, and that can achieve a mirror finish on a turning tool or chisel.

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This pack of 6 colour-coded sheets (approx $20) includes 30µm, 15µm, 9µm, 3µm, 2µm and of course 1µm abrasive sizes.   These equate roughly to P500, P1200, P2200, P4000, P6000 and P8000 ISO sandpapers.

Now that is smooth.

Turning Point

Can never complain when what would be a typical weekday evening involves getting a good look at a quality range of woodworking tools.

I recently mentioned Carbatec’s Robert Sorby tour around each of their stores across Australia.

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So I booked into the evening session, and got a good look at the Turnmaster

 

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Along with texturing tools, the Excelsior chisels, and got the chatter tool demonstrated, as I was curious to see that in action.

I’m enjoying these presentation evenings at Carbatec – been to a couple recently (this one, and the Powermatic launch), hope for more to come.  While some people get along to the weekend days, I like the exclusive atmosphere of an evening weekday presentation, and really focus in on a particular product.

The Sorby range is well known as a quality range, but it is always better getting to see them in operation first hand.

Revelations

Now I know this will be a bit of a shock to the system, especially coming from me – the “Electron Murdering Woodworker”, but, not every job in the workshop is best done with power tools.

I know, I know – breathe – here is a paper bag each, we can hypoventilate until the panic subsides.

I’m not referring to pneumatic tools either.  I’m talking about handtools, and elbow grease.

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When sanding components, there are times when a power tool just is not the right tool – whether it is unnecessary overkill, or it cannot get into the area of concern, or it would turn a 2 second job into a 2 minute one.  When that happens, out comes some sandpaper, and it is wrapped around a sanding block to tackle the task.

Now there are some problems that can occur with this (at least by my experience)

1. The paper grips on the workpiece too well, and the block rotates rather than slides, and you give your knuckles a good rap.  Done it before, don’t know how – must be a handtool thing ;)

2. The paper slips off the block a bit, and you sand with an edge of the paper, rather than the middle (which then folds and scratches)

3. You catch the paper on a sharp corner, and it catches and tears

4. You regularly need to reposition the sandpaper on the block to expose a fresh portion

5. Some sanding blocks need the paper correctly sized, causing wastage

 

All these things to dissuade me from hand sanding in preference to a power sander.

 

But there is another solution.  How about using a belt of sandpaper, rather than a sheet?  It is cloth-backed, and much more tear resistant.  Being a belt, finding a fresh portion (without using a portion with a previously-created fold) is easy, and the entire belt can be used for sanding, rather than some of the sheet of sandpaper never being accessed, as it was just being used to secure the sheet to the block.

How about a block that carries the sandpaper firmly, yet with a quick-release allows the paper to be rotated to a fresh portion?

And one that isn’t just a lump of timber or cork (technically, a piece of cork is a lump of timber……), but the working surface can be larger as it will not waste sandpaper unnecessarily.

I refer to the Sand Devil, from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

It takes a standard belt of sandpaper, and has a quick-release lever to remove tension, allowing the belt to be quickly repositioned to expose a fresh cutting surface, or offset the paper on the block to get right into tight corners.

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As you can see, there are a few different profiles on the Devil – a square corner, a larger radius corner, a smaller radius point, and the tapered section to help get into tighter places.  The rear shoe is moved by the quick release lever to apply or release tension.

You can check out more details at PWS (including some videos Sand Devil have made)

The B-M Wars – World’s Smallest

A year or so ago, I wrote about the Bunnings-Masters battle that was heating up, with stores being co-located in a decidedly provoking manner (and equally pointless where it comes to community benefit of store-type availability). It would be no different to Burger King and Hungry Jacks stores being placed alongside each other – both have the same menu, same recipe, same prices.

It continues, in an interesting direction. A few years back, I blogged about “The World’s Smallest Bunnings”, about a store I came across in Sydney. Well, there’s now a smaller one. In the Carrum Downs shopping centre, a Bunnings Outdoor was set up, obviously to draw attention away from the local (massive) Masters. I had a look around, and it was pretty spartan.

However, in the meantime, they have received so many queries, that Bunnings have chosen to turn that store into a fully fledged Bunnings store. And I must say, the result is impressive!

It has a tiny floorplate in comparison to a normal Bunnings or Masters, but the product range is incredible. They claim to have about 90% of the range of a normal Bunnings- don’t know if that is quite legit, but what they have, how they have fitted it all in is worth a gander.

There is talk they may build a ‘normal’ Bunnings in the vicinity of the current Masters. Personally, I would be disappointed. For better or worse, Masters is already there, and it is of no benefit to the community for another identical store. This current mini-me Bunnings can definitely stay. It is a useful location (walking distance from the local supermarket, and the carpark), carries a great range in spite of its size, and is a point of difference to the Masters.

I know that opinion won’t matter to Bunnings- it is world domination or nothing, but this is a pretty cool model too, and reminds me more of the local hardware shops of my youth, before the monstrosities became the norm and drove the little hardware stores to extinction.

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