The New MagSwitch Range has Landed!

After whetting our appetites at the Melbourne Woodworking Show with the new products in their range, they have arrived and are now available for sale (which is great with the Brisbane Woodworking Show on next weekend!)

Some we have seen already, and have just undergone a colour change to “safety yellow”, a change that I am actually very pleased with – makes quickly spotting the required jig in the workshop a lot easier!

Now onto the new stuff.

A really cool one, and one that is awesome to see added to the range: the Universal Featherboard.  It goes both ways ;)

Universal Featherboard on the Tablesaw

Universal Featherboard on the Tablesaw

It doesn’t restrict you in its operation, being able to be used on both sides of the tablesaw (fence on the left or right of the blade), and also on the fence (if its cast iron!), and router table.  If I had to choose only one MagSwitch featherboard, it would be this one. It is so versatile.

Universal on the Fence

Universal on the Fence

Now one thing I was rather surprised about when I opened the package.  The Universal is based around a 20mm MagSwitch, and not a 30mm. However, after querying this with the company I found out what the thought process was behind it.  Obviously cost is a definite factor, and there is a price difference between having 2 x 20mm MagSwitches in a product and 2 x 30mm. The featherboard primarily has to resist a shear load, and so what they have done is applied a Titanium Nitride coating to the magnets, which boosts the shear load capacity of the 20mm jig up to the same of the normal 30mm MagSwitch.

You can see the colouring caused by the Titanium Nitride in the next photo.  It is also worth noting that a finish like this is not a surface, added to the metal.  The coating actually penetrates the surface, and turns the outside layer of the parent metal into an alloy, with its own properties (in this case increased magnetic shear strength).

Titanium Nitride Coating

Titanium Nitride Coating

This also gives a very good view of the double-sided aspect of this featherboard.

Next, is what a lot of people have been waiting for – the MagFence Combo Kit.

The vertical fences have either one, or two bearing rollers, depending on the application.  The kit itself comes with both, and one universal base (and two 30mm MagJigs).  The base is interchangeable between the two fences, so you can use whichever is suitable to the task at hand.

It is also a good value kit – if you take the $200 price tag, and then realise that the two MagJigs that it comes with are worth $100 on their own ($50 each). And these MagJigs can be used anywhere – switch them from task to task (and jig to jig) as needed.

The single roller one I have been particularly waiting for.  It is designed (and is perfect for) resawing on the bandsaw.  The idea is that because a bandsaw blade has a real tendency to track, the operator guides the work as needed to cut a uniform thickness piece (such as a veneer).  Setting a single point of contact the right distance away from the blade really aids this, and being only a single roller means it still allows the operator full control over guiding and compensating for blade tracking.

Resaw Fence

Resaw Fence

Here the fence is set quite away back from the blade (for the photo).  If I was setting up for a veneer cut, the fence would be within a couple of mm of the blade.

Back of Resaw

Back of Resaw Fence

This image of the back of the fence reveals a number of details.  The base is interchangeable as mentioned, and it only requires 4 hex bolts to be undone to switch between them. The diagonal members are the same as is used for the vertical attachment featherboard.  The difference is the addition of the ‘sled’ below the support member which has the butterfly bolt sticking out.  This is so the angle of the fence can be controlled to ensure the roller is vertical to the table.

There are the two 30mm MagJigs as mentioned. I have fixed them down with the supplied bolts, but that isn’t actually necessary – the jigs work equally as well without the MagJigs fixed down.

Used as a Holddown

Used as a Holddown

The fence itself (either one or two rollers can also be used on other tools, as here as a holddown on the planer.

Combo Fence Kit

Combo Fence Kit

Here you can see both the single and double roller unit.  The roller bearings are supplied equally spaced as you can see, but you can rearrange them if a different layout is needed.

The last part of the kit is simple, and clever – good engineering. The holes in the Universal base are designed for the 30mm MagJig, but you may prefer to use 20mm MagJigs (or fit 20mm MagJigs into another jig with a hole for the 30mm).

20mm Adapter

20mm Adapter

In the foreground you can see a standard 30mm MagJig (base).  Behind it, a 20mm in an adapter (also shown to the left).  Simple, smart.

The final item, and again really simple, and very clever, are adapters that allow the vertical featherboard to be converted to horizontal, resulting in a multiple (high) featherboard.

Vertical Riser Adapters

Vertical Riser Adapters

This is what is provided in a single kit.  There is a longer set of bolts required for the triple featherboard orientation that you have to provide.

These are the layouts you can achieve with the various combinations and orientations.

Dual Featherboard

Dual Featherboard

High Dual Featherboard

High Dual Featherboard

Triple Featherboard

Triple Featherboard

In the final image as mentioned, I needed to provide my own bolts, and the middle featherboard is one of the old ones.  There is no difference, except in colour.  That’s a bloody large featherboard when it is tripled up!

So that’s a look at much of the new range. Watch out for me at the Brisbane Wood Show (on the MagSwitch display), and even better, get some for your own workshop – they are great!

Scavenging from the Firewood Pile

This is a mini project in reclaiming timber, destined for the chimney.

It is rapidly approaching winter here down-under, and having a fire in the evenings is becoming commonplace.  I always wonder just what is being turned to ash, and if it could be redirected to more aesthetic purposes (not that staring into a fire in the hearth doesn’t have its own appeal).

This block of redgum seemed more interesting than some, so I thought I’d just see what I could find inside, and if nothing, nothing lost (even the sawdust gets used!).

Redgum Firewood

Redgum Firewood

The first step was running it through the bandsaw.  Given the thickness of the block, I fitted a 1.3 TPI 3/4″ ripping blade, which made short work of the task.  You can just see a short section of the blade behind the block in this next photo.

Creating Sawdust

Creating Sawdust

I slabbed the block in pretty thick sections, so I had plenty of material to work with when machining the boards flat, while still maintaining a reasonable material thickness.

As-cut boards

As-cut boards

So here are the resulting boards, still chunky and rough.  The next job will be to start running them through my stock preparation machines (the jointer/planer, thicknesser (although they are pretty short for that), and the drum sander (with some 60 grit attached).

The plan is, if I can get 4 reasonable boards from this, to then produce a dovetailed box and finish it, so it will be an interesting evolution.  If it all goes pear shaped, then I’m sure the fireplace will make short work of it!

Decisions part 2

To follow up on the recent post, and to cover what I finally went with:

The thicknesser (planer) is as mentioned the 15″ 381.  With a retail price of $1600 (minus their current offer of 10% off or a free dust extractor or something), it is more than something like the Triton 15″ (which was retailing at $1000, and can take moulding blades), but boy do you get a lot of machine for your money! It is, I am lead to believe, very very similar to the Grizzly 15″ Planer – the GO453. Other than the colour, I’d struggle to be able to tell them apart (not even sure I could).

I did buy the WDS400 in the end – there was a lot of umming and ahhring (and not it wasn’t “Speak Like a Pirate Day”), but in the end, there isn’t another machine out there that comes close in price, and it is a 16/32 drum sander (for some reason it has been metricised) (I don’t know if that is a word, but it sounds good). I did take into account the many opinions that were kindly offered – these were probably as much the cause of much of my uncertainty, and also my decision to proceed.  See, I listen to everyone, but in the end I have to make a final call, and in this case it was “suck and see”.

I also added the mortising attachment for the drill press.  I was thinking of a dedicated machine, but we’ll see how much demand there is for little investment before forking out for yet another machine that I am rapidly running out of room to house!

And finally, (and most importantly?!) I went with the Foxtel IQ2 for a DVR.  Strange decision for me perhaps, but by juggling my account requirements, I ended up getting it and actually having the overall package costing $5 less per month than what I currently pay.  And how is that related to woodworking?  Simple – this thing has quad tuners in it.  This means I can record the various woodworking shows when they come on Foxtel (or free to air (except channel 7 (currently), and not have to compromise shed time (or the other things we want to watch and/or record).  As with the other decisions, I did note and investigate the various other options.  Hard to beat getting one for nothing and saving $5/month in the process!

Some Decisions

Bit of a dramatic day as it turned out.  I was planning on getting over to Ikea, but they had limited stock of what I wanted to pick up, and would not put aside or guarantee that it would not be a wasted trip, so the door of opportunity opened for me to make some shed purchase decisions.

Based as much on price as features, I ended up choosing the 15″ CTJ381.  As much as I was tempted by the 20″, it was significantly more expensive, and the Powermatic is way out of my price range.  The Jets don’t have solid in and outfeed tables, and I really wanted to have solid tables, rather than rollers.  To my thinking, all the cheap machines have roller in and out feeds, so an upgraded machine would have something else (as in cast iron!)  I guess you can never have the perfect solution, but this unit is at a good price point, has solid cast iron in and outfeed tables, 3 blade cutter, 15A, 3HP, dual speeds, fixed head.

I had a close look at the drum sander while I was there, but I really struggled to decide to buy it.  Not sure what was causing the resistance, but there was something there, so I decided to err on the side of conservatism.  There are some other models out there that I’ll have another look at.

Getting home was a little tricky – had the forklift about to load the thicknesser into the trailer, and found that it was too high to fit into the cage.  Bugger.  The docs said it came in two boxes, just not the shape boxes I was expecting!  Oh well – have to wait a day or two before I get it home.  I’m still lamenting the choice between the 15″ and 20″, but I think I made the right decision (I hope!!!!)

Speaking of decisions, and totally unrelated to the shed, I bought a TiVo a week ago.  It went back for a refund today.  What a disappointment after all the hype.  It is undoubtably a different experience in the US, but the Australian implementation is very disappointing.  Now I have to find another dual HD tuner HDD recorder.

Researching New Tools, Part 2

Still on the new tool research wagon at the moment.  Unusually for me, I have the power available for the tool, and a space, and not the tool to fill it!

As I mentioned, I am looking for a new cast iron thicknesser (planer),  and drum sander.

At the moment, some models I am looking at (in order) are:

Carbatec
CTJ508 (20″, fixed head)

Carbatec CTJ508

Carbatec CTJ508

CTJ381 (15″, fixed head)

Carbatec CTJ381

Carbatec CTJ381

And for a drum sander:

WDS400

Carbatec WDS400

Carbatec WDS400

The main influence for the drum sander is that is is sub $1000.

Episode 41 Wetstone Jigs and Stone Dressing

Episode 41 Wetstone Jigs and Stone Dressing
The wetstone sharpeners are just one part of the system – the jigs that are available make it a very versatile machine.  This video covers both some of the jigs that are available, as well as dressing the stone, so it is flat and parallel to the jig support arm.
(Right-click, and select “Save Link As”) Best video quality is achieved by downloading then playing the mp4 version.

Update on Scheppach Planer Jig

All 380’s are now sold, and there are only two 320’s left.  If you want one for $100, you better be quick!

Update 2:

I had a quiet bet with myself that I could have all the units sold by the end of the day, and they are – all gone.  Not that I get anything from that (and I bought one myself remember!) but I did mention it to a couple of very dubious Carbatec staff yesterday :)

Perhaps I should be in retail after all!!

Planer Blade Sharpening Jig

I happen to glance at the sales table in Carbatec today, and completely forgot what I had actually gone in to get (scrollsaw blades).

On the table were (and are still there as of closing time), a small pile of Scheppach Planer Blade Attachments for the TiGer 2000 and 2500 wet stone grinders.  Of course this means they also fit the Triton, and Tormek.

Scheppach 380

Scheppach 380

What really caught my eye was that they were down from $306 to $100.  I never thought I’d actually have one of these, but at that price, I couldn’t refuse.

Initially it looked like they were all the Scheppach 320, but then I noticed some were the 380.  So I took one of those!  There are still about 2 of the 380s left, and about 4 or so of the 320s, all for $100 each.  (FWIW, the 380 is currently listed on another suppliers site at $350)

The Model 380 actually means it can handle a blade 380mm long (although in fact it is closer to 400mm), so a 15″ thicknesser blade is no problem.  It is not just planer blades it can take either – (narrow) chisels, hand plane blades etc all can fit.

The Model 320 can handle a 320mm blade (12.5″)

At that price, I don’t think they will be there very long, so if you want one, I’d be heading down to Carbatec (Melbourne) PDQ.

To prove the point, I’ve documented fitting it to the Triton:

Scheppach 380 Rods

Scheppach 380 Rods

The first time you set this up you need to assemble the unit.  Shown here is fitting the height adjustments and main supports for the jig.  They are in about 60% of the way , with the flat front face towards the screw.  They have a threaded height adjustment which is pretty cool.  Now I know they are upside down here (the adjustment knobs), but that is deliberate on my part.  This way, the adjustment knob pushes firmly on the top of the unit, rather than the thin shaft portion of the knob kind of half going down the hole.  That isn’t a problem on the TiGer 2500, but here I thought it better just to turn the knob over.

Scheppach 380 Bed

Scheppach 380 Bed

Next, the main track is added….

Scheppach 380 Support

Scheppach 380 Support

….and then an upright to provide a bit of extra stability (this isn’t part of the 320)

Scheppach 380 Blade Holder

Scheppach 380 Blade Holder

The tool holder then slips on, and it is a very smooth setup indeed.  This glides back and forth over the wheel, and because of the length of the track, easily covers the entire width required for the large thicknesser blades.

Scheppach 380 Stops

Scheppach 380 Stops

One very cool aspect of this tool are the stops (one as shown).

Scheppach 380 Complete

Scheppach 380 Complete

Here is the competed unit, ready for its first victi………uh….blade.

Scheppach 380 Unit

Scheppach 380 Unit

The ‘arm’ raised up for inspection, maintenance, fitting a new blade (and posing for the photo!)  Note the number of hold-down knobs, so a very even pressure can be applied along the entire length of a blade.

Scheppach 380 Toolrest

Scheppach 380 Toolrest

Here you can see just how close you can get the portion of the jig that actually holds the blade to the grinding stone. It doesn’t appear to be close enough to take those tiny planer blades from something like a handheld power planer, but it would easily cope with something like the blade from a Triton thicknesser.

Scheppach 380 Tools

Scheppach 380 Tools

Here you can see the jig being used to hold a standard chisel.  It can’t cope with one that is particularly thick, I could get away with this one for example.  I am going to be interested in finding out just what else can fit this jig!

Episode 39 GMC Unlimited Rebate Planer

Episode 39 GMC Unlimited Rebate Planer
(Right-click, and select “Save Link As”) Best video quality is achieved by downloading then playing the mp4 version.

In answer to a number of queries…..

…..no, there is no chance that the GMC Planer will fit the Triton Planer attachment – it is huge!

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