Decommissioning Tools

Been very busy the last few days, so a bit quiet on the posting front!  Had another good course on the weekend, with lots of sawdust made.

Tried my hand at an end-grain chopping board – a simple project but one I’d not gotten around to doing.  Nothing elaborate (I don’t exactly get much time to make things while running a course!), but it was still an interesting 5 minute experiement.

With the overall demise of the Triton demonstrator program (not sure it’s long-term outlook, but certainly it is in stasis for the forseeable future), I’ve decommissioned my “Triton Demonstrator Trailer”, as well as the tools therein.  The trailer is nothing more than one with a cage and a cover, but up until now it wasn’t useable for anything else being full of tools.  When a demonstration was on, all I had to do was throw it on the back of the car and go.  So I’ve now unloaded it completely, and have placed the tools into a storage shed (with some disassembly), and a coating of WD40.  They will get dragged out as required for any applicable videos etc for this site, but I’m seeing really as the end of my Triton Demonstrator era.

It is interesting looking at the shed colour scheme – at one stage it had a strong blue presence – lots of GMC tools (lathe, thicknesser, saw, sanders, drills etc), and that slowly became ‘infected’ by an orange bug that was carried into the workshop by one of the early additions, and the workshop took on a full-blown orange hue.  That is changing again, as each tool gets upgraded to a more serious version.  The transition will be over a long period of time, and I can’t currently imagine a time that there are not still some GMC, and some Triton tools out there, but I wonder if the involvement level of a person in the pursuit of the hobby could be graphed on a colour chart?

Ballarat Wood Show

Spent the day working at the Ballarat Wood Show. I’ve always enjoyed the provincial centre wood shows – they have a great feel to them, and a lot less stressful/pressure than the big ones. Good chance to catch up with a lot of people, and some great bargains.

Ballarat Wood Show

The show has a heavy craft basis, with lots of examples of work being done. I was quite busy today so sadly didn’t get around all the displays this time. Next year perhaps.

Carrolls Woodcraft Supplies

A friend of mine – Jim Carroll – was there with his shop Carroll’s Woodcraft Supplies, with a large amount, and range of stock. He certainly has a great collection of pen turning supplies among other things.

Triton

Our Triton display, associated with the local Home Hardware was working well once again, with quite a range of Triton tools there, and being used. The Home Hardware gets Triton at prices that are amazing, and worth the trip to Ballarat.

To list a few ( and these are not exact, so you can’t take them to Bunnings and expect a 10% discount – and I might have faked a few slightly low for the same reason (or not). Point is, if you want these prices, it’s the Ballarat Wood Show today or nowhere.)

Wet & Dry Sharpener <$150 (rrp $199)

Spindle Sander <$205

SuperJaws <$115 (rrp $199)

Spin Saw <$60 (normally over $200)

Mitre Saw <$100

WC2000 <$410

13″ Thicknesser <$550

15″ Thicknesser <$780 (rrp $999)

3 in 1 Sander <$550

Bucket of Biscuits <$30

Respirator <$200

2400W Router <$300

1400W Router <$240

82mm Planer <$70 (rrp $199)

Router Table <$145

Router Table Stand <$135

Steel Cutter <$141 (rrp over $400!!!!)

Anyone tempted yet?

I also got to meet and have a good chat with Chris (of Chris Vesper Tools) He makes some beautiful tools, and his large chisel is amazing!

Chris Vesper

Chris Vesper Tools

Chris Vesper Benchtop

Got to see some photos of his workshop, and we will do a tour of it in the near future! He has an incredible collection of historic woodworking (and similar) machines that he restores. Very jealous!

Ballarat Wood Show

Off to demonstrate at the wood show in Wendouree tomorrow morning.  I will only be there for the day – it’s about 5 hours driving just for the round trip.

Should be a good day – wood shows are always fun, and the small local ones have a charm of their own.

FWIW, if you are looking to buy some Triton tools, it is worth the trip – the discounts that are available through this show have always been the best I’ve seen anywhere.  There are some very good prices on some products that are being discontinued (I think they are being discontinued), such as the small mitre saw, and (sadly) the Steel Cutter.  Strange, I really questioned the direction Hills was taking Triton when it bought out the Steel Cutter, but it was quite a remarkable product, and deserved the Triton name.

Sharpening demo at Carbatec

Carbatec are going to be running a sharpening demonstration morning on Saturday April 5 from 9:00AM until 1:00PM.

They’ll be demonstrating a a number of different sharpening products and methods, including

Tormek, Veritas, Japanese waterstones , DMT diamond sharpening tools to name a few.  The demo morning is free btw.

If I have a chance, I’ll definitely be heading along.

Triton in Australia

There has been much discussion recently here “downunder” wondering about Triton, the brand, and what was once the flagship – the Workcentre 2000. Traditionally, the centre of the Triton universe was a tablesaw (the Workcentre 2000 (WC2000) and the Router Table, and accessories to match (finger jointer, biscuit jointer, height winder and so on).

A bit of a revolution started when Triton then introduced power tools, not made in Australia (but designed there, or at least with the design modified by Australian Engineers). They were (and are) some of the best power tools out there for their designed role. The router in particular (and it’s more recent little brother) is arguably the best table-mounted router in the world.

Moving forward again to the present, and there is now a fleet of Triton power tools, and although the emphasis on innovative design seems to have tapered off, a collection of these orange tools makes any suburban shed a woodworking haven (or heaven!). We are still waiting on the promised lathe btw (and the collection desperately needs a planer/jointer).

There are some new tools on the horizon as well – (there’s an earlier thread here somewhere on the subject), and Triton sound like they are starting to do very well in the USA.

However, here in Australia, the core of the system (and their related products) seem to be fading in preference to the power tools (and getting to actually see them is difficult at best, which makes choosing a Triton x over its competitor tricky), and in a recent forum discussion I made the following comments, that I thought I’d relay here. It centres around the WC2000 and a possible need of a successor (a proposed new version with an extruded aluminium top currently looks unlikely). So at the risk of stepping on lots of toes, this is what I had to say (with some minor amendments):

Click here to read full article

One Day Router Course – The Wrap

I was very fortunate to be generously invited to attend the One Day Router Workshop, run by a very recognisable personality in Australian Woodworking – Richard Vaughan. The course was organised by Professional Woodworker Supplies and the Woodworking Warehouse.

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The course was well attended (and fully booked), so it was not only a good day to pick the brains of a professional woodworker, buy lots of well discounted tools, but also just have an enjoyable day hanging out with and meeting fellow woodworking aficionados.

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There were jigs, jigs, door prizes, more jigs, more door prizes, many sighs of enlightenment, and a few more jigs.

Click here to read full article

Today’s the Day on Ebay

A bit of an era draws to a close today (although it is a bit of a soft ending). My Triton 2000 Workcentre and 2400W Triton saw will sell in a couple of hours time. Feeling a bit nostalgic about it.

Back in Christmas 2001 when my wife and I were married, I had a lathe on the wedding registry (little thing, but unbeknownst to me at the time, it was the key to a massive door that had been there in my periphery since almost forever). So I had this lathe, and I needed a bench to mount it to. Around our new property (bought 6 months earlier) there were a number of redgum sleepers, and I thought a couple of them would make a great lathe stand. I did have a handsaw, but no circular saw, and this was the justification I needed to head down to Bunnings and get one.

In Bunnings, I had long admired (from a distance) these amazing orange tools that looked to be for the professionals – workbenches that I hardly recognised what they were for (in hindsight, they would have been a Triton 2000, a router table, superjaws etc). But they looked GOOD.

So I went to get a saw. Dad’s had an Hitashi for a long time – serious looking tool, and so I had an idea of what I was wanting. While there, going through all the models, one that stood out was an orange beast – 2400W, 9 1/4″ blade (price tag to match), but it dawned on me that one day, I might, just might get one of those cool looking workbenches, so I might as well have the saw that matches. Boy, was that a good call.

Got home with this thing, and if you know me, you know I love toys (uh…..tools), and this thing looked mean. When I took it to the sleepers, I was in shock – it sliced the sleeper like butter, and that was it, I was hook line and sinker into Triton at that point.

Click here to read full article

SSYTC002 Nostalgia – an early woodworking video!

SSYTC002 Nostalgia

Going though some old files, and came across this 7 second clip of a modification I made to the GMC thicknesser. Guess this actually qualifies as my first woodworking video (despite its short length).I’d forgotten the clip even existed!

Not sure of its vintage – probably 2004 – 2005. Not that long ago, and look how online video quality has improved

Some Triton Info

Had a meeting with Triton and the Victorian Triton Demonstrators tonight and lots of really interesting info came out of it. Unfortunately I can’t talk about much of it yet – but will bring what I can when I can.

So, what I think is safe to say: Saw the new (2008) Triton catalogue. Over 50 pages or so, lots of interesting stuff in there, including about 7 or 8 new Triton tools (pause for the censor beep).

Got to have a first hands-on look at the new Triton 2300W Saw. Designed by the Triton engineers a couple of years or so ago, it is about to hit the market shortly. The Triton Demonstrators will be getting it pretty early, so I’ll be able to bring you a good close look then. What I did see is a magnesium chassis, laser guide (240V transformed, not batteries), geared height winder with a much better access to the locking lever, a well functioning dust extraction port that will fit directly to the Triton duct bucket hose. There won’t be any additional cutting height achieved with this saw – the TSA001 already pretty maximised the achievable cutting height with a 9 1/4″ saw.

Other product info centred around the Triton Wet & Dry Sharpener. Where it comes to tightening the nut on the grinding wheel, don’t be squeamish about it (ok, don’t go nuts :) to the point that the nut shears the threads), but tighten it well – the wheel can take it, and the last thing you want is to dress the wheel and have it move on the shaft at all, wrecking all that work. For those who think the Triton is a bit of an aftermarket rip-off of the Scheppach, sorry, but these are actually made by Scheppach for Triton, using the same German standards. For some reason they didn’t look at ensuring the support rail was straight, but that is now history, and they are now making the support arm by welding both uprights, rather than welding one and bending the other. Irrespective, I have one of the original sharpeners, and if you are prepared to spend just a little bit of time setting it up (and I mean a little), you can get some remarkably sharp tools straight off the machine (including the honing wheel of course), and for under $200, that is hard to beat.

Wish I could talk more about the new tools that are coming – will see what I can get permission to talk about!

A Router Table Tale

A friend of mine over in Japan asked today about the story behind my router table, and although its history is covered (and spread) over many posts both here and on the Australian Woodwork Forum, I haven’t ever really bought it all together into one consolidated tale. So here goes.

When the whole Triton thing exploded for me back in about 2002, one of the items I really became interested in was the router. It seemed to be a more versatile machine than just a bit of a roundover of edges, and the Triton video made that very clear. So the idea of a table-mounted router came into my awareness, and shortly thereafter, I was the proud owner of a Triton Router table, and 2400W Triton router.

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And it was on this table that I learned a huge amount about routing, and about woodworking. It is a very versatile form of a router table, and despite all my various upgrades, it still gets a regular use (particularly on site – good portability) It has an excellent fence, hold-downs, dust extraction, microadjusters etc. If you are looking into woodworking, this is an excellent point to start.

After a number of years, I started pushing the tolerance limits of the Triton, so started to seek ways of improving it. (Remember here, I still fully believe in the Triton tools as excellent products – I could not demonstrate them if I didn’t. I just got to the point that I was looking for greater and greater accuracy, and as I’ve said before, I rarely own something that I don’t try to fix/improve/modify and or rebuild!)

My next iteration was adding a single-piece top to the Triton, and a number of people have since copied my design (with my blessing).

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This was a very successful upgrade, as it retained all the functionality of the original table, could still fit all the commercial jigs, and still allowed the full use of the Triton fence. It is removed along with the router holder, and the entire process can be easily reversed. Constructed from 6mm structural grade aluminium, it is attached to the router mounting plate, so is lifted off at the same time as the mounting plate if you need to remove the router. Small shims of the same plate are added to each jig so all the Triton jigs still work.

The beginning of the end happened when I discovered a little thing called Incra. The sort of accuracy that owners can enjoy for years. I originally spent quite a bit of time trying to work out how the Incra system could be adapted to fit directly onto the Triton, but kept finding there were more compromises than I was prepared to make. I am a bit of a strange bird where it comes to accuracy, but this path is not a logical progression for everyone. I have made (and continue to make) quality items on the Triton router table, and where it comes to something like dovetailing, a Triton router table coupled with something like a Gifkins Dovetail Jig is a powerful combination. In all likelihood, I may not have progressed much further anyway if I hadn’t become a Triton Demonstrator. I know that seems strange, but I really do like the Triton Router Table, and didn’t want to loose having one. Once I had my demonstration gear, I was assured of not being without the Triton Router Table, so was free to indulge in this process.

Be assured too, we are not comparing apples with apples here. The Triton Router table is around $200 and for that price is a brilliant addition to the workshop (in fact, once I discovered table-mounting routing, I was absolutely sold). By the end of the journey, (which I haven’t reached as yet), we will be talking of a router table costing around 5 times that of the Triton.

So let me take you on the path that I took.

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My first test iteration was a combination of parallel decisions. Firstly, that the Triton table and the Incra was not going to be combinable without costing functionality. There was going to be no advantage to maintaining the original table, so it was best to start from scratch, than adapt. I got this router table top from Professional Woodworker Supplies, designed for the Incra positioning system. There is a lot of table behind where the router sits, and you will soon see why.

This was the original Incra positioner, and it did two things. Convinced me of the concept of fence positioning, and convinced me (personally) that I wanted more!

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To start using the router table, it was precariously balanced on two Triton multistands (well not unsafely, but not exactly a router table to speak of!) It was only a temporary arrangement, so I could test out concepts.

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I caught up with a mate and once seeing what was available from Incra, I couldn’t resist. (The mate was Steve Bisson, who sadly passed away earlier last year).

So the Incra LS Positioner was added to the lineup. As has been gone into in quite a bit of detail already in other posts I won’t talk about the fence, but as you can see here, I have the materials laid out for construction. Also too, the base has been improved (but sadly, is still in that sorry state, and will be the subject of a complete rebuild at some stage soon. There is some advantage in staging a project – you work out exactly you want in the final design!)

In the end, I was enticed by this, (from www.incra.com)

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and if there was a router table that could do that, I wanted it!

As detailed in an earlier post, I had the LS positioner with a home-made fence, and finally, the current version is thus:

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Now I think you can appreciate why I needed such a large top, with a significant area behind the router, and why I couldn’t adapt the Triton enough to take this monster. I have a whole set of the templates for the Incra, but the secret, if you can call it that is simple. Incredible, repeatable accuracy. Because of this accuracy, you can precisely position, say, a dovetail bit and make accurate joints. The templates are nothing more than a standard ruler with the lines you don’t need for the current job removed.

This is why I don’t consider the Incra system to be a dovetail ‘jig’. It isn’t. The fact that I can precisely position the dovetail bit where I need it means I can make dovetails, but I see the Incra as an accurate fence system, and not a jig (by my definition). (Accuracy to 1/1000th of an inch)

So that’s my router table tale. Even so, I still have a long way to go before this tool will be considered “complete”.

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