Divide and Conquer

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is an interesting tool.

Capable of performing a function that would normally require a tape measure, calculator, and a number of measurements and marks to achieve.

Yet can do so without a single calculation, and in one step, not many.

So what can this tool do?

Take a board of a wide variety of widths, and divide it evenly across the width into anywhere between two and six parts, without having to actually measure the board width once.

PWS-5

PWS-6 

 This is the Point.2.Point, available from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  Simple concept, simply executed.

Drilling fine

While woodworking often doesn’t require extremely fine and/or accurate holes, there are times when a fine set of drill bits would be very handy, and when it comes to fine bits, they don’t get much finer than these sets from Zona Tool.  They are supplied in Australia by Professional Woodworkers Supplies.

Zona

Whether you are model making, making jewellery, working with wood, metal, plastic, glass, ceramic, even stone, the ability to drill incredibly tiny holes is achievable.

But what do I mean by fine? How about 0.3mm to 1mm in 0.05mm steps (then from 1 to 1.5mm in 0.1mm steps)?  0.3mm, or 300µm.  Sure, that doesn’t sound too small when talking about sanding, where we are working with particle sizes in the 10s of microns (or less), but these are drill bits we are talking about!

To put it in scale, consider the humble Australian dollar coin.  It may not be angels dancing on the head of a pin, but here are the three finest drill bits in comparison.

Zona-3

Of course you won’t be mounting these bits in your standard power drill!  So in the first photo, you can also see a couple of bit holders/drivers from Zona as well.  One is double ended for larger and smaller bits, the other is a twist-drive, which can hold the finest bits.  None of these are particularly expensive either, with the drill bit set around $25.

They are available in metric and imperial, and interestingly, the blue box above are diamond coated bits, which is why glass, stone, ceramic etc are also able to be drilled with this precision.

Now while talking about sanding, PWS also have sanding/polishing sheets that go from 30µm, down to a miniscule 1µm.  That is the same particle size as the extra-extra fine diamond stone from DMT.

Zona-2That is so fine, you can use these to polish out scratches on CDs and DVDs. (Let alone achieve a mirror finish on an object).

1µm. 6 times smaller than an anthrax spore. Around P8000 sandpaper!  If that isn’t smooth enough, you have a real problem!

When visiting websites can be dangerous

To the credit card.

I was researching another article on the Professional Woodworkers Supplies website, and came across a product that took a few seconds to catch my eye.  After all, what is so inspiring or remarkable about full sheets of wet & dry sandpaper?

That is until I read just a little closer.  The papers are colour coded, and it was the description of the white paper that made me sit up and look.  The micron size of the white paper is 1µm.  Hang on…..what??!  1µm?!  But that is finer than an 8000 grade japanese waterstone!  My table of micron grit sizes to paper/diamond grades from 2008 doesn’t go finer than 8µm, and that can achieve a mirror finish on a turning tool or chisel.

1350

This pack of 6 colour-coded sheets (approx $20) includes 30µm, 15µm, 9µm, 3µm, 2µm and of course 1µm abrasive sizes.   These equate roughly to P500, P1200, P2200, P4000, P6000 and P8000 ISO sandpapers.

Now that is smooth.

Revelations

Now I know this will be a bit of a shock to the system, especially coming from me – the “Electron Murdering Woodworker”, but, not every job in the workshop is best done with power tools.

I know, I know – breathe – here is a paper bag each, we can hypoventilate until the panic subsides.

I’m not referring to pneumatic tools either.  I’m talking about handtools, and elbow grease.

post-11442-Sheldon-breathing-in-a-paper-b-17Kp

When sanding components, there are times when a power tool just is not the right tool – whether it is unnecessary overkill, or it cannot get into the area of concern, or it would turn a 2 second job into a 2 minute one.  When that happens, out comes some sandpaper, and it is wrapped around a sanding block to tackle the task.

Now there are some problems that can occur with this (at least by my experience)

1. The paper grips on the workpiece too well, and the block rotates rather than slides, and you give your knuckles a good rap.  Done it before, don’t know how – must be a handtool thing 😉

2. The paper slips off the block a bit, and you sand with an edge of the paper, rather than the middle (which then folds and scratches)

3. You catch the paper on a sharp corner, and it catches and tears

4. You regularly need to reposition the sandpaper on the block to expose a fresh portion

5. Some sanding blocks need the paper correctly sized, causing wastage

 

All these things to dissuade me from hand sanding in preference to a power sander.

 

But there is another solution.  How about using a belt of sandpaper, rather than a sheet?  It is cloth-backed, and much more tear resistant.  Being a belt, finding a fresh portion (without using a portion with a previously-created fold) is easy, and the entire belt can be used for sanding, rather than some of the sheet of sandpaper never being accessed, as it was just being used to secure the sheet to the block.

How about a block that carries the sandpaper firmly, yet with a quick-release allows the paper to be rotated to a fresh portion?

And one that isn’t just a lump of timber or cork (technically, a piece of cork is a lump of timber……), but the working surface can be larger as it will not waste sandpaper unnecessarily.

I refer to the Sand Devil, from Professional Woodworkers Supplies

It takes a standard belt of sandpaper, and has a quick-release lever to remove tension, allowing the belt to be quickly repositioned to expose a fresh cutting surface, or offset the paper on the block to get right into tight corners.

2412_7082_popup

As you can see, there are a few different profiles on the Devil – a square corner, a larger radius corner, a smaller radius point, and the tapered section to help get into tighter places.  The rear shoe is moved by the quick release lever to apply or release tension.

You can check out more details at PWS (including some videos Sand Devil have made)

Nailed It!

Where it comes to project assembly, one aspect can prove rather frustrating – just how slippery two parts become when they have a layer of glue between them.  Once you start tightening up the clamps, it is not uncommon to have the parts slip out of position, so you have to take the whole thing apart, reapply glue, and try again.

Sometimes it just is what it is, and you have to do the best you can.

If you have ever done any carpentry, and used a nail gun for framing, you know how satisfying it can be to get the two parts in their required position and pump a nail straight in.  Good fun 🙂

But it is not like you can take a nail gun to help you with project assembly is it?  After all, even if just using a brad, the head of the brad is quite obvious.

Or perhaps there is.

For my latest project, I did in fact do just that.  While attaching the wooden hinges, I applied some glue, held the hinge in just the right position, and fired a 23 gauge headless pin in to hold it in position. Worked a treat.  And if I hadn’t mentioned it here, if you ever saw the dartboard cupboard, you’d never realise that I had used a micro – pinner to assist with assembly.

Darts-28

Can you find them?  There are 11 in that photo (and no, they are not covered up by the screws). (Use the full resolution image, which is 3264×4912). I know where they are, and I struggle to see them.

Darts-27

The gun is the 23 Gauge Freeman Micro Pinner from Professional Woodworkers Supplies.  Costs under $100, and can fire 1/2″, 5/8″, 3/4″, 7/8″ and 1″ headless pins.

8501423019_198ff3bf70_n

In comparison to the hole created by a standard 16g or 18g brad, the 23g pin is tiny.  You can even tack a match in position, which demonstrates another aspect – the pin is so thin, the risk of splitting is negligible.

8501423035_824bab0062_n

It made the glue-up really easy, and could conceivably be used to attach trim, components (such as here) etc, all virtually invisible.  I won’t claim that you’d use it for every joint in every project – sometimes it is not the best solution, but it works perfectly as a tool when you can utilise it.

The Freeman 23G headless micro-pinner from PWS.  “Nailed it”

1064

SSYTC065 RapidAir Installation Update

Most of the system is now in place and connected up, just need a few extra connectors to finish it off.

Have shot this quick walking tour so you can see the setup that I have put in place.

As mentioned, the system is sourced through Professional Woodworkers Supplies, and it makes it very easy to create a professional looking setup around the workshop.

It is not about the tools

In the end, it is always about what you do with them.

I do like a good tool, there is no doubt about it.  I do like a functional workshop, and the greater the capacity the better.

But what really counts is getting the enjoyment from using the workshop as it was intended, and despite the wide range of things I have (and will) produce from my workshop, my personal favourite is children’s toys.  Not that they all end up in the hands of kids!  Look in my office at work, and you’ll find wooden dinosaurs, a construction vehicle and other toys (the rest have been given away once made).

I’ve books and books of plans, but rarely get around to actually make one.  What I really want, are plans, ready to go.  And yet they are either really expensive, too basic, look like they were created in the ’60s, have to be imported from the US, or just do not inspire me enough.

So I’m genuinely excited by the latest offering from Professional Woodworkers Supplies – they now have plans on offer, a wide variety of vehicles and machinery.   These plans come with some of the critical components that are hard to fabricate. Even so, I may choose to do so anyway, using the parts supplied to make it easier to copy and duplicate (will decide that at the time!)

And what models they are! (Click on them if you want to go to the relevant page on PWS).

CraneFirefoxScreenSnapz002

There are toddler toys as well (my personal preference is realistic vehicles, but obviously that is when I am making something for myself 😉 )

Come on shed, hurry up.  I want to get busy!!!

My only problem…..I want to make them all!

 

%d bloggers like this: