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.

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

 

turnmastertoolsgroupAnd the Pro Edge Plus

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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.

Nailed It!

Where it comes to project assembly, one aspect can prove rather frustrating – just how slippery two parts become when they have a layer of glue between them.  Once you start tightening up the clamps, it is not uncommon to have the parts slip out of position, so you have to take the whole thing apart, reapply glue, and try again.

Sometimes it just is what it is, and you have to do the best you can.

If you have ever done any carpentry, and used a nail gun for framing, you know how satisfying it can be to get the two parts in their required position and pump a nail straight in.  Good fun :)

But it is not like you can take a nail gun to help you with project assembly is it?  After all, even if just using a brad, the head of the brad is quite obvious.

Or perhaps there is.

For my latest project, I did in fact do just that.  While attaching the wooden hinges, I applied some glue, held the hinge in just the right position, and fired a 23 gauge headless pin in to hold it in position. Worked a treat.  And if I hadn’t mentioned it here, if you ever saw the dartboard cupboard, you’d never realise that I had used a micro – pinner to assist with assembly.

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Can you find them?  There are 11 in that photo (and no, they are not covered up by the screws). (Use the full resolution image, which is 3264×4912). I know where they are, and I struggle to see them.

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The gun is the 23 Gauge Freeman Micro Pinner from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  Costs under $100, and can fire 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8″ and 1″ headless pins.

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In comparison to the hole created by a standard 16g or 18g brad, the 23g pin is tiny.  You can even tack a match in position, which demonstrates another aspect – the pin is so thin, the risk of splitting is negligible.

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It made the glue-up really easy, and could conceivably be used to attach trim, components (such as here) etc, all virtually invisible.  I won’t claim that you’d use it for every joint in every project – sometimes it is not the best solution, but it works perfectly as a tool when you can utilise it.

The Freeman 23G headless micro-pinner from PWS.  “Nailed it”

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Web broadcasting video

Received a rather interesting email tonight from Toolstoday.com.  They send out a regular email promoting their latest router bit, video, sawblade etc, (and I subscribe to it – makes a nice break from the mountain of work emails that come through!)

Tonight’s one will look rather familiar :)

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(And yes, they did seek my permission to put the video on their YouTube channel – I was more than happy to allow it)

 

 

Blast from the Past

Came across the Torque Workcentre segment I did on Cool Tools in Denver a few years back.

Those were the days!

SSYTC066 Blade FUBAR

For those just interested in wanton destruction!

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