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

Drilling down

The saga of my drill press continues.

For years, I have had a full height drill press – Woodman series, that I purchased pretty early on in the scheme of things, making the best decisions that I could at the time.  That is to say in hindsight, I have been a bit disappointed in it from the start.

I tried many different ways to deal with the shortcomings – different table tops

penturning-23

zshed-4

(the second was very interesting, but WAY too heavy!)

different chucks, but what began the end-game was when one of the capacitors blew.  That was back in May 2014, and somehow I have been dealing without one ever since.

photo-3-05-2014-8-57-02

Can’t exactly remember the timing, but either late last year/earlier this year I finally got around to trying to fix the motor, replacing the failed capacitor with another.  Seemed to work, and a few 5 second runs seemed to show it was back to being functional.  Still, after having it out of action for so long, I’d learned to work without it, so it didn’t get used.

I finally needed to on the weekend – a small hole with a forstner bit.  3/4 of the way down (20mm or so), and the motor on the drill press was smoking more than the workpiece!  Soon thereafter, and the motor ground to a halt, and this time it will be permanent (at least as far as I am concerned).

So it was off to the store once-known as Masters (now in liquidation), and picked up a bench-top drill press a couple of friends have also purchased, and have been pleased with.

drill

Got it for 10% off (liquidator’s price), then an additional 5% with my soon-t0-be defunct Masters trade card.  Cost about $350.

That will keep me going at least until the Nova Voyager drill press is finally available from Teknatool.

Can’t wait!!

Panel Saw

Had a ‘new’ panel saw turn up over the weekend.  It is a Safety Speed Manufacturing branded H5 saw, made in USA.

Their website lists it as being around $A3500, although in this case the saw is well used (second hand), and doesn’t have the motor or blade any more, nor the counterweight.  (In Australia, it is listed as $A7300.  Does it seriously cost that much to land it from the USA?  In saying that, it makes my $100 investment about the best bargain I have ever done!)

H-series.jpg

In saying that, it is otherwise complete, and includes an aftermarket dust trap.  Adding a counterweight will be easy, as will mounting a saw to it.  So not bad at all for $100!  It is an ex-Bunnings saw, and came from the demise of the Woodworking Warehouse.

A mate with a truck dropped it off yesterday (thanks Dennis!)  It weights a tonne (actually 135kg)

The saw can cut panels up to 1600 wide, and can be orientated to also do a rip cut.  Additionally, the saw can be replaced with a router, and although I probably won’t, it is an interesting idea.

It is a bit of a monster to fit in, but I have it across the roller door, so that may be ok.  It is partially blocking the outfeed of the tablesaw, but only for large cuts, and well, large cuts are probably better done on this panelsaw now anyway!

Like everything, I’ll juggle it around until I get a good fit.  Hmm- wonder if it can double up to be a mount for the Frontline clamps…….  Not bad for $100 anyway!

T7 the big kid on the block? Not any more.

Tormek have released the T8 grinder for the ultimate in sharpening.  Available in Australia in July 2016.

While the changes over the T7 are probably not enough to make all T7 owners want to run out to get one, if you are in the market for a new grinder, the T8 is definitely worth considering.

They are currently available on pre-order from Ideal Tools.

The changes include a repositionable water trough, useful for the changing dimensions as the grinding wheel wears (of course, you have to do a fair bit of grinding to wear the wheel away!  Mine is still pretty close to original dimensions.  There again, if I used it more, I’d have sharper tools too.  Doh!)

The body is now cast zinc, and the drive wheel is also zinc.

The body is enclosed, and there is better splash and run-off management (and that is a good thing – I get quite a river happening after a long sharpening session!)

Tormek_T-8_w.accessories-768x629

While many still struggle with the whole concept of a wet stone grinder costing north of a $1000, for those who have been able to justify the expenditure, there is no question about just how good the machine is in achieving its purpose in life.  Ultimate sharpness.

More detail can be found on the Tormek website

Torque Workcentre for sale!

A regular of Stu’s Shed has a 3.5m Torque Workcentre for sale that has had very little use.

Given how rarely second hand Torque Workcentres come up for sale, and the lead time on getting a new one, I am pretty sure there will be someone out there keen to snap this one up.  It is being sold for $5000

“I have for sale a Torque WorkCentre. I have had it for a number of years, but have never really used it. It simply doesn’t suit my woodworking, or workflow.
The details and accessories are:

3.5m by 900mm WorkCentre ($5060 current new price (cnp))
Extension beam ($745 cnp)
Circular Saw Attachment ($245 cnp)
Copy Attachment ($190 cnp)
Triton Router Attachment ($160 cnp)
Dust Extraction Guard ($115 cnp)
Drill/Grinder Attachment ($60 cnp)

Also a pro router switch, multiple lengths of t&g T Track, various stops, fences etc.

All up new, that’s more than $6500. And I guarantee, my unit is as new (some shipping plastic wrap still on some parts!)

I am based in Gippsland. Please message me if you have any questions at simonleecreations@bigpond.com or call on 0478 401 013”

Vacuum Systainer

An interesting concept- Festool now have a vacuum that is inside one of their systainers. Makes for an interesting option, especially in space-limited situations, or when needing real portability.

  • Power consumption : 1000 W
  • Max. vacuum : 20000 Pa
  • Filter surface area : 5357 cm²
  • Rubber-insulated mains cable : 5 m
  • Container/Filter bag capacity : 4.5/3.5 l
  • Dimension (L x W x H) : 396 x 296 x 270 mm
  • Maximum wattage of connected tool : 1200 W
  • Volume flow : 3000 l/min
  • Weight : 6.9 kg

Called the Mini Extractor, or CTL SYS

Screen Shot 2016-03-15 at 9.59.25 amScreen Shot 2016-03-15 at 9.58.59 am

Blast from the Past – Cool Tools

Came across the video from when I headed over to Denver to appear on Cool Tools, demonstrating the Torque Workcentre.  Wasn’t that long ago in years, but it was a lot of grey hairs ago that is for sure!

%d bloggers like this: