Do you want to buy a Torque Workcentre?

It doesn’t have the same ring as “Do you want to build a snowman?” so it is one of those ones that sounded better in my mind than on the page!

However, yes, I do have a Torque Workcentre (TWC) that I am looking to find a new owner for.  While it proved to be an incredible platform when I got it, my needs have changed quite significantly over the past few years and while it could be useful in the future (and I’ll probably lament its departure), at the moment I need the space it occupies for a new machine that it will help finance.

To give you some details, it is:

  • 2.5m long Torque Workcentre, which comes with both a 900mm and a 1300mm arm.
  • It has two circular saw mounts – one of the original style, and one that can rotate from crosscut to rip without remounting (rotating mount)
  • Copy attachment
  • Both a Triton router attachment as well as the generic router attachment plates
  • Dust guard
  • A drill attachment, and a prototype of the sander attachment
  • A prototype chainsaw attachment
  • and lots of additional bits n pieces – additional stops, extra support arms, copy pins etc

Total new price for everything is $6000.  I am asking $4000The photos don’t show the vertical support arm, of which I have two.  There is also an extra carriage for the arm (without the vertical plunge), so an extra tool (such as a mitre saw) could potentially be added.The MDF top is not supplied with the machine new, so while it is in well-used condition, it can be easily replaced when necessary.Viewings are welcome if you are local enough, and I can take other photos if requested.The drill press in the background is also for sale, as it is no longer functioning (burnt out motor).  I’d be happy to throw it in with the TWC if you are quick enough!

Update on the Kreg Plug Cutter

Have checked with Carbatec, and the Kreg plug cutter is expected to be in stock by the end of March.

Cost will be $119, and product code KR-KPCS.

I have used pocketholes on a number of occasions (can be a very useful tool), so am definitely interested in the ability to make my own plugs from the same timber that I am using, rather than purchasing ready made ones in a limited stock range.

Shagged the Thread

Had a bit of a problem last night, where the collet on the CNC router went on smoothly, but after a cutting job, it had jammed on solidly.  I suspect the collet was slightly oversized (or heated up more than the threaded shaft) and slipped a thread, causing a cross-threaded situation.

In any case, what it meant that once I managed to get the collet off, the thread on the router shaft was shagged.  Badly.

Crap.

In hindsight, if I had known it was going to be that bad, I would have been better off grinding a gouge in the collet, and used a nut cracker to snap the collet in two to remove it.  Hindsight is so 20:20


In any case, I now had a threaded shaft that nothing could be screwed onto.  I went shopping around for a die (as in a tap & die), but finding one that was 25mm proved a bit tricky.  Tried Total Tools, but not only did they not have anything close to the size I needed, but the guy serving me didn’t even know how to use a digital caliper.  How can you work in a tool shop, and not be able to use such a fundamental tool?

I ended up having a chat with one of the fitters in the mechanical workshop at work, and while they didn’t have an odd shaped die, they were able to lend me a thread file, and some lapping paste.


The thread file worked a treat, getting the thread to the point that I could get a collet threaded on.  Still bloody tight.  But what really fixed things up was the second stage, adding some lapping paste to the threads, and running the collet on and off the shaft.  And it worked.  After an hour or so of threading it on and off, cleaning, filing, I had the thread back to being about as smooth as it was, if not better.

The thread has been damaged a bit from the experience, but at least I have been able to recover it enough to be operational again.

Ever heard of a polissoir?

No, me neither!  Although in saying that, it was probably referred to in the bible for finishing: A Polishers Handbook, by Neil Ellis.  If you haven’t read or come across this before, it is well work the small investment. You can order it here.

And no, there is nothing behind that endorsement, other than it being highly recommended, and essential reading matter.

In saying that, seeing as there is a new edition (much newer than my current copy), and I don’t remember whether polissoirs are mentioned, it might be time for me to be reacquainted with it as well.

front cover 25%.jpeg

back cover 25%.jpeg

Anyway, back to the polissior.

It is an 18th century tool (if not from even earlier) for applying, abrading and polishing a wax finish.  Simply made from a tightly bound bundle of organic material (such as straw), it is then dipped in molten wax to charge it up, and then (once cooled) rubbed over the surface of the timber.

Polissoirs_001_adj.jpgThe polissior both burnishes the surface, and applies the wax, driving it into the pores (where open grain timber is used).

The excess wax is removed, either with a wooden scraper (or the other end of the polissior), then the surface buffed with a cloth.

There are a few on the market, such as the one pictured above from Skagit BroomWorks and Henry Eckert Fine Tools have a version as well.

One chapter ends, another begins

Long time friend and woodworking show personality David Eckert has decided to move on from the Henry Eckert Fine Tools company.

For those who are less sure of what that company is, let’s just say that they probably have a drool-cleaning budget at the wood shows, as they sell the Lie Nielsen range of handplanes etc (and have featured on here a number of times, again, complete with drool.

wwws-10.jpeg

So it isn’t all bad news – Henry Eckert Tool Works is now being run by one of their previously (obviously passionate) clients, so they will still be at the wood shows, still with the same sort of product lines.

In the meantime, David has another tool business, to slowly develop some Australian made products (among other product lines), which you can find here: The Toolworks

So while faces will move about, the products we know and desire are still available, and hopefully even more will become available through David’s newer project!

筷子大師

I knew I would have to be patient, and finally after a 6 month wait my Chopstick Master has arrived from Bridge City Tool Works

And it is as beautiful as a tool can possibly be made.

csmv2_complete_with_logo_800.jpeg

At approximately $US200 (plus postage), it is not exactly a cheap way to get some eating utensils.  But it is designed to do one job as perfectly as possible (as all BCTW tools are), and it does just that.

Now before you completely loose your mind over the price for making chopsticks, let me point out that it does come with the BCTW HP8 handplane as part of the kit.

hp8.jpeg

If you were planning to get this plane on its own, BCTW sell it for $US250.  Yes, you read it right.  By buying the Chopstick Master, I actually bought the HP8 plane for $US250, and got the rest of the chopstick master kit for -$US50!  That to me is a very reasonable price.

(Ok, I am sure there is some false logic in there, but that is what I am telling myself!)

So how does it work?  You can certainly watch the videos from my original post, and I would really encourage you to read the story about the process that resulted in the invention of the Chopstick Master by John Economaki.

What it boils down to, is a jig that accurately holds the chopstick blank at the required angle for a block plane to shave a taper.  That’s it in a nutshell.  But there is more to it than that, and the devil is in the details.  After shaving 2 faces, the final two won’t cut, as they need the blank held at a different, higher angle.  The Chopstick Master has this second setting and away you go again.

The blank is held at an angle, so the plane makes a shearing cut, and uses the entire width of the plane which is clever in itself.

The blank is then turned 45 degrees, and the last 4″ or so is shaved again, producing the octagonal bottom end.

What really makes a chopstick though, is the pyramidal finial on the top end.  The original jig needed a saw blade to cut that, but the 2nd gen (which I have) positions the chopstick so the handplane cuts each face of the finial to form the perfect pyramid, and nothing beats a planed finish.

It took me a little longer than the promised 5 minutes to make my first set of chopsticks, but that was from reading the instructions, and making sure I got it all right.  Before long, I had a pile of very fine shavings, and two near perfect chopsticks.  I have no doubt the next pair will be even better now I have it all worked out.

The jig comes with a red insert, which is used to make Chinese chopsticks, which is 5mm diameter at the bottom (I wonder if the colour was deliberate?)  I also got the 2mm insert (green), which allows you to make a Japanese choptick.

The combination of disposable chopsticks used in China and Japan (alone) is over 69 billion pairs a year.  That is 2.55 million m³ of timber, or 38 million trees.  A YEAR!!!!!

Interestingly, a single pair of quality, reusable chopsticks can fetch anywhere from $1 (for an every-day chopstick), to over $100 based on the finish, material, and decoration.

I can see more chopstick making in my future!karatekid.gif

A Comment

It is great to see Bunnings have stepped up with the demise of the competing Masters stores.

Went in tonight to buy about 20 sheets of 2400×1200 3mm MDF.  Couldn’t get a park in the store because they had filled all the parking bays with their trailers (it certainly wasn’t closing time).  Then went to get the sheets – they had 2.  When asked if there was any more, it was “that’s all we have, what can you do?”

Asked if I could get the equivalent in smaller sheets at the same price “nup”.

Back to the old days it seems.  Didn’t take long.

%d bloggers like this: