Glueups Progressing

Much of the evenings this week have involved short trips out to the shed for the next small step, primarily glue ups.  Sure have gone through a bit of glue this project!

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Sink Lip

I cut the opening in the top of one unit for the sink using the Worx Sonicrafter.   To stop the sink falling through (and add strength), I created a rebated mitred lip around the sink.  I don’t have four corner clamps the same, so ended up using both the corner adapter on the Quick Grips for to corners, and the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp Set for the other two.  Interesting comparison – the Quick Grips were more convenient, the Woodpeckers did a better job.  The design of it really allowed the corner to load up and get pulled together.  I also made good use of the Woodpeckers Mitre square.

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Woodpeckers

I can really see how having the Woodpeckers Mitre Clamp set mounted to a jig would give a very good result.

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Dry Fit

Tried the sink out (and no surprise), it fitted like a glove.  No surprise because I’d already tried a couple of times already :)

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Mitre Inserts

I wasn’t happy how the mitres went – not close enough for what I wanted.  I’ve not had good results from mitre joints so far, and this one was no exception.  Nothing wrong with the clamps, everything to do with my technique.

So I decided to try another idea.  I ran the sink back over the saw, with the blade carefully set to the height just to cut through the top, and created a kerf at each corner.  Into that, I inserted and glued a piece of Solomons Queen Ebony.  Once it is dry, I will sand it flush.

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Reinforcement

Finally, before I ran out of time, I added some support to the front and rear edges of the trays – didn’t want to risk a split/breakage when loaded up and in operation.

Still seems so much to do, progress is dragging.  And Christmas is only a few days away!

Knuckling Under

Being able to firmly secure a workpiece down significantly improves both accuracy and safety.  There are lots of different clamps on the market that engage with the working surface, and work with varying degrees of success.

The knuckle clamp from Woodpeckers is an innovative approach (as is typical for them!), using a reinforced polycarbonate body with seven pivot points to maximise the capacity of the clamp.  Either end of the body is a pivoting foot to ensure the clamp makes maximum purchase on the working surface, and the workpiece.

Clamping down the workpiece

Clamping down the workpiece

The clamp also utilises the Woodpeckers Multi-knob, which makes gripping the knob and tensioning it up easy.  Not sure just how much load the clamp can take, bit it certainly provided more than enough for the test job here.  They are said to be virtually indestructible, but I didn’t want to risk destroying the ones I had to prove the point!  You can use Knuckle Clamps on all sorts of tools and jigs (homemade and otherwise) which have T track slots. In this case I chose to use the clamps on the Pro Drill Press table from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  It would work equally as well on other items such as the router table, Incra Mitre Express, the T slots on a Torque Workcentre, and any homemade jigs that you have incorporated T slots.

Work holddown

Work holddown

As a bit of a test for the clamps, I decided to try a partial-width drill with a forstner bit.  Should prove a pretty good test of the hold capability of the clamp.

Partial width forstner bit hole

Partial width forstner bit hole

Clamps held well, without any suggestion of a kickback.  Didn’t know you could even do this with a forstner bit, especially when the central pin was not in contact with the work.  Something you must not do with a forstner bit mounted in a handheld drill – the risk of a kickback is too great.  On the drill press this is achievable, but you must keep hands well away.

Preset Clamp Height

Preset Clamp Height

The clamps can be preset, both in position along the track (and locked in position), and also preset for the degree of “opening”.  This is via a second nut on the bolt which has a spring to hold the clamp up.  This nut does not have to be moved while clamping down, so makes clamping, and reclamping work very easy.

Partial width forstner bit hole

Partial width forstner bit hole

After the first cut, I tried a few more with equal success.

Forstner bits are boring ;)

Forstner bits are boring ;)

So that is the knuckle clamp from Woodpeckers.  Sold in Australia through Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  They also have kits which includes track to create some useful bench-clamping solutions.

Knuckles

This is yet another interesting release from Woodpeckers.  I call it “Knuckles”.  It has 7 pivot points, maximising its versatility and ability to cope with varying stock thicknesses and shapes.

Solving problems one design at a time, even before we are aware the problem needed solving!

Wonder if Woodpeckers needs another design engineer?! :)

Fundamental Rules

Formula. Our lives are defined by formula. The mathematical depiction of reality.

E = mc2

F=ma

s = ut + (1/2)at2

So many of these derived so long ago, and yet still perfectly accurate. Nature defined.

There is one that is again, so simple, so exact. a2 + b2 = c2 This one has only been around a short while….about 2500 years! Known as the Pythagorean theorum, by the philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras of Samos.

Italiano: Busto di Pitagora. Copia romana di o...

Pythagoras of Samos (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It is such a simple rule, a theorem in geometry that states that in a right-angled triangle the area of the square of the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the areas of the squares of the other two sides. And the easiest version to remember is a 3-4-5 triangle. If your triangle follows this rule, you are guaranteed that the angle between the two shorter sides is a perfect right angle.

So if this rule is so perfect for ensuring you have a right angle, then why not have a tool based on such a perfect formula?

As a limited run (also known as “One-Time Tools”) from Woodpeckers, they have released a range of “Pythagoras Gauges“, available through Professional Woodworkers Supplies. The link takes you the set of all the sizes available as a set, but you can also purchase them individually, pricing ranging from $30 to $100.

They are accurate (I don’t know to what degree, but Woodpeckers don’t work to coarse tolerances!), and a lot cheaper than the equivalent square. The largest is around 1 metre (on the longest side): a square made to the same tolerances, to the same size would cost a fortune! Or be as (in)accurate as a carpenter’s square. The smallest is 178mm on the longest side, perfect for small boxes.

They look unusual compared to a traditional square, but what is important is accuracy and functionality.

If all three points are each touching a side (or corner), then the object is perfectly square. If not, then it is very easy to see not only which way the side needs to move to achieve ‘squareness’, but by how much.

I see one improvement that could have been made: additional marks on either end of the long side would have been possible to demonstrate to a very fine amount how much off from square the object is.

But other than that, a very interesting application of such an ancient theorum!

Woodpecker Unilift wanted

If anyone (in Oz) has a Woodpecker Unilift (the one that can mount a plunge router) that they are interested in selling, I have a club in Melbourne who would be very interested in talking with you.

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Apparently they are no longer available to purchase new which is rather disappointing (no longer being manufactured). The US don’t use plunge routers as much, so the fixed router lifts are still common, and available but not the one that will fit a plunge router.

Contact me if you have one available and I’ll pass your details on.

Wood Feeler Gauge

In the automotive industry (in particular), the feeler gauge is an invaluable tool for setting precise clearances.  You can get a cheap one for a few bucks, or spend significantly more for ones with a huge range of sizes and smaller tolerances of error.

Automotive Feeler Gauge

I do use one in the workshop, but there are not many situations that such fine gaps are required, or at least measured.  More often than not you will find many people talking about using a sheet of paper, a bank note or a post-it note to check gaps.  Seeing as you can get a feeler gauge for $7, not sure why you’d bother with paper, but that is just me.

Woodworking also doesn’t need the precision that an automotive feeler gauge offers.  It doesn’t mean that the concept of a feeler gauge wouldn’t be invaluable in the workshop though.  And no – I don’t mean the feeler gauge has to be made of wood!

Woodpeckers make just the thing – no surprise there!  Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies, there is the “7 piece set up block” (available in metric and imperial).

You can use them as a ruler, but better, you can use them as woodworking feeler gauges.

Metric Setup Blocks

The sizes are 0.5mm, 1mm, 2mm, 4mm, 8mm, 16mm and a precision block providing 25mm, 50mm and 100mm.

They are still precise to 0.0254mm (0.01″)

The more you use them, the more you find yourself using them.

Tablesaw blade height

By combining the gauges together you can measure blade heights with 0.5mm steps. This, for example is the blade set to precisely 32.5mm

Setting Fences

Or do you want to set a fence a distance from the blade (and in a very repeatable way)?  This is the fence set at 104mm from the right side of the carbides of the blade. You can slip the smaller gauge in and out in the same way as you do with automotive gauges, ensuring it isn’t too tight so something is potentially loaded up creating a false reading (such as the blade flexing), and not too loose so as to get a sloppy (and therefore inaccurate) reading.

Resawing on the bandsaw

Resaw

Setting the resaw fence on the bandsaw for 1.0mm thick veneers.

Setting up the jointer

Precisely measuring the gap underneath a rule to show the infeed table is exactly 1mm below the outfeed, irrespective of what the height gauge on the tool claims.

The set is equally at home on the drill press, and the router table, and that is just a few applications for the tool.

Stretch your imagination for others!

Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies. These are part of the One-Time tools, so once gone, they are gone for good.

Rule Conversions

After an unexpectedly disrupted evening last night, I didn’t get to do what I was planning, either in the shed or on the blog.  Still interesting – dealing with the aftermath of a (small) fire at work.

So a short session in the shed today, and used the time to firstly grab some video detail of the DVR, before returning to the Torque Workcentre to reestablish it being able to fit my favourite Walko surface clamps.

Surface Clamps

With the drill mount, this was an easy task, and along with the T Track, gives me the maximum flexibility for clamping options. Sorting out the positions of the holes was a good opportunity to use the new rule stops from Woodpeckers.  These clamp onto your existing ruler, improving its versatility and repeatable accuracy.

Rule Stops

There are two sizes, one ideal for a standard steel rule, and the other particularly suited for the Woodpecker Rules.

They are easy to fit, remove, and reposition.  With one fitted, you get a consistent measurement from an edge, preventing a misreading affecting accuracy.  It also turns a standard rule into a T Square (although not as accurate as a dedicated one), good enough for this operation.

Used as a T Square

Used for consistent measurement from an edge

The design positively locks the rule into place, with typical Woodpecker’s precision.  As the clamp tightens, the rule is pulled down and jammed against the guides, so with only a little pressure in tightening the knurled ended threaded rod, the clamp locks solidly to the rule.

Clamping on

Note the angled contact area on top of the rule, forcing the rule down, as well as the normal sideways clamping pressure.

Guides and Threaded Rod

The same method is used when clamping the thinner, standard steel rule

Standard Steel Rule Clamp

So some very nice accessories that can be easily added to an existing rule, improving accuracy and ease of use. Available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

 

Once Upon a Time

The Story of a Stick.

The Story Stick has been a useful tool for 100s of years, for recording and transferring measurements, without the need for a rule or tape measure. In its simplest form, it was nothing more than a straight stick, that had distances marked on it so there was consistency in lengths for multiple items, and one that could be stored for future reference.

The Royal Navy had a similar tool (and one still in regular use in various Navies), called a Gunter Batten. This consisted of two poles that could be slid apart to measure a distance up to about 10′ and a piece of string then jammed between and wound around to lock the measurement. When in combat and the ship has taken a hit, especially below the water line, water is pouring in and it needs to be shored up so the ship doesn’t sink, the last thing you need is a tape measure that you are trying fruitlessly to get an accurate measurement of the length of timber you need to support the bulkhead or deckhead to prevent collapse. With water pouring in, and slamming back and forth as the ship rolls, trying to get, and then remember a measurement is prone to disaster. The gunter batten, as a form of story stick, ensures accuracy in the chaos.

Woodpeckers in more recent times revived the concept of the story stick, not so much as one for semi-permanent storage of measurements (the Veritas blank tapemeasure was invented for that task- it was an April Fools joke that was so clever it became a limited run reality!), but at least one that was used for the duration of the project.

Woodpeckers have revisited the design of their story stick, and the result is this pro version, available in various lengths

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Now with transparent stops, it is even easier to use, store, and transfer measurements around the project, without having to measure, record, forget, remeasure etc the size of an opening, the thickness of a piece of timber (or length) etc.

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These are the straight stops. And as an optional accessory, they also have an offset finger, so you can set the opening of an interior measurement on one side, and the fingers/stops demonstrate the required size of the exterior of the related object. Imagine using this to build a set of drawers, getting an accurate measurement of the drawer opening and being about to easily transfer that measurement to the length of timber for the drawer front. Or a lidded box, or the many other times this sort of work/measuring is required.

It is not dimensionless woodworking, but it is a method where you don’t have to interpret the scale of the measurement tool in question, you can simply set the distance, and transfer it to another object.

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I haven’t the additional fingers to try, to be able to assess accuracy, but I would expect this to be very useful for boxmaking, and for wood turning, especially when creating fitted lid boxes etc.

The Woodpeckers Story Stick Pro, from Professional Woodwork Supplies Keeping a very traditional tool alive, and dragged into 21st century design!

One Time Tools

Woodpeckers have recently been releasing tools called “One Time Tools”, being a limited edition one-off production run (well kind-of..they are being used to release something of curious appeal, or to test the market on a new development. This means that downtrack some may get repeated, but once the initial run is sold, there is no certainty they will ever appear again).

The first few looked kind of interesting, but as the collection has grown, the overall theme is looking increasingly impressive – a case of the sum being greater than the parts…not that the parts are anything to sneeze at in themselves either.  They look very useful, as are all the Woodpeckers items I have in my own shed.  Not only that, but are not individually priced out of the reach of the average woodworker.  Which is a roundabout way of saying they are quality, and affordable.

Some of the One-Time tools have already sold out, and others are coming on line.

As mentioned in the Professional Woodworkers Supplies eUpdate (email newsletter) Woodpeckers has also released a Cross Dowel Jig.  So if you wanted to furniture to rival Ikea, this is the jig for you :)

Not to be factitious – every joint type has its place and purpose.  Like the Kreg Pockethole, it may not be used for fine furniture, but still can be used to produce a strong, quick joint that can be broken down when no longer required.  Consider for example, making a baby’s crib, it gets used for the first few months, then needs to be stored for future (potential!) needs.  Using this sort of joint allows the furniture to be broken down to a very compact form so it is easily stored until needed again.

So if interested, check out this one here, and One-Time Woodpeckers tool offerings here.

Torque Distributor for Victoria

I guess from recent articles that you’ve been able to determine my opinion of the Torque Workcentre!  With the Christmas madness coming to an end for another year, I’m going to (please, hopefully), have some more time to get some new videos made, and the Torque will definitely be featured in some of those!

In the meantime, Professional Woodworkers Supplies is now a distributor of the Torque Workcentres, which potentially opens all sorts of interesting doors with amalgamation of products from Torque, Woodpeckers, Incra and Wixey.  Something that will benefit all Torque owners (and potential owners) – taking the exceptional versatility of the Torque, and merging it with the incredible accuracies achievable with the other brands.  I’ve been touching on how it may be incorporated, but having fully developed solutions would be excellent.

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