§ by Joel Hess on March 21st, 2008
You can sharpen your woodworking skills with helpful tips and techniques from the editors of Woodsmith and ShopNotes magazines. Get a FREE tip sent to your email address each week! Go to WoodworkingTips.com and sign up today.
Here’s last week’s tip from ShopNotes online editor Phil Huber:
I wanted to add an auxiliary table and fence to my drill press. But I didn’t want to spend a lot of money. So I built the simple drill press table and fence with a replaceable insert you see in the photo above. The fence is adjustable and has a sliding stop.
The table is two layers of ¾″ plywood that are glued together. A dado on the top side at each end holds T-tracks for attaching the fence. Two bottom-mounted T-tracks attach the table to the drill press, as you can see in detail ‘b’ and the photo at right.
The fence is nothing more than a length of aluminum angle. A slotted hole at each end accepts a flange bolt from the table so you can quickly mount and adjust the fence to meet almost any drilling challenge.
To help position and hold the workpiece, I added a stop block to the fence. It’s simply a block of wood attached to an aluminum bracket. A knob and T-nut, are used for adjusting the block and securing it in position on the fence (detail ‘a’).
Online Editor, ShopNotes
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§ by Randy Maxey on February 18th, 2007
Well, I finally got a solid weekend to “piddle” in the shop. It felt good after several weeks away.
Restore an Old Grinder. The first thing I did was restore a hand-cranked grinder similar to this one pictured here. It was made in the early 1900’s by Luther Grinder Manufacturing Company out of Milwaukee. It’s a “Best Maide No. 1551” with a “Dimo-Grit” wheel. (You can view a 1920 catalog here.) I had to disassemble everything, clean off the rust and old paint, repaint each part, reassemble, and add oil to the “crankcase.” I’m not sure if I’ll actually use it to sharpen anything, but it looks great and works like a charm! I was actually quite surprised at how well it worked. Read the rest of this article »
§ by Joel Hess on January 30th, 2007
Our friends at LumberJocks.com are continuing to grow. It’s one of my favorite woodworking blogs. (I’m jealous of their extensive woodworkers project gallery!)
The other day, I came upon this post about an Australian company called Piric Designs. The company makes several unique products, including the Easy Riser kit for your drill press.
It looks like a really great product and once I find out how much it costs in US dollars, I may have to consider one for my shop!
§ by Randy Maxey on November 11th, 2006
I was working on my long “Honey-Do” list this morning. The joints on one of our dining room chairs had broken loose from the kids leaning back on them. Do your kids do that? Anyway, I lugged it to the shop and discovered that one of the corner braces had broken out.
I found a piece of maple to make a replacement brace. I quickly discovered that the blade in my table saw was in no condition to cut maple. As I tried to cut one of the angled ends, I had burning on the workpiece. But, instead of taking the time to switch out blades, I forced the piece through to finish the cut. Stupid Act No. 1. Soon my shop was filled with smoke. My wife came out into the shop and asked, “What in the world are you doing?” I told here I was cutting hard wood with a dull blade. “You need some ventilation,” she said. So I opened the doors to the outside.
I finally had this piece cut and it was time to drill the four pocket holes for the screws. So I chucked the appropriate-sized drill bit in the drill press and started drilling. The first pocket hole went fine. As I was drilling the second one, my 11-year old boy walks in and asks, “Whatcha’ doin’?” About that time, the drill bit grabbed the workpiece and made hamburger out of the index finger on my left hand. I replied, “Well, I’m breaking a cardinal rule of woodworking,” I told him. “Always clamp the workpiece when using the drill press.” Stupid Act No. 2.
So I managed to get my wife to help me bandage my wound. I eventually made it back to the shop and finished the job. I delivered the repaired chair back to the dining room. And took a nap.
Now, I know better than this. I fell into the trap of thinking, “This won’t take long.” I was in a hurry even though I had nothing else on the agenda for the day. Was it stupidity? Laziness? Bottom line is that neither one belongs in the shop.
§ by Joel Hess on September 6th, 2006
If you were to sit down and try to redesign any tool so that it’s exactly what you’d want as a woodworker, what tool would it be?
Two of the first tools to come to my mind are the drill press and a contractor’s-style table saw. Most drill presses are made for the metalworker first and foremost. Features that a woodworker would find beneficial are an after-thought, if they’re thought of at all. And the contractor’s table saw, with its motor sticking out the back, is the price you paid for an affordable saw that supposedly is light enough to lug around to the job site.
But, a few manufacturer’s are starting to come around to offer tools with wood shop features. I’m talking in particular about the Powermatic® 2800 VS Drill Press, and the Jet® Pro-Shop line of contractor style table saws. I got a quick look at both of these new tools at IWF — 2006 in Atlanta last week, and are they impressive.
The Powermatic 2800 VS Drill Press has so many features that are great for woodworkers it’s hard to list them all. But I’ll try!
* Single handle variable speed adjustment (with a digital readout)
* A 5/8″ keyless chuck
* Twin LED lights
* And, a new dual laser guide system.
These are all welcome features that provide ease of use and accuracy that is rare on a standard drill press.Best of all is the extra-large table (it has dual extension wings to provide additional support for long work pieces). The table also tilts 90° and has a positive stop at 0°. Its large adjustment handle makes lowering and raising the table quick and easy.But that isn’t all, twin T-slot grooves for a miter gauge, hold-downs or shop-made jigs are milled right into the table top and an adjustable split fence with dust collection port is included.Finally, it doesn’t matter if you’re right or left-handed, because the feed handles can be mounted on either side of the drill press. Whew, that’s a lot of great features!
One of the more impressive new tools I saw at IWF is the Jet Pro-Shop Contractor Style Table Saw.
This table saw has a couple of features more commonly found on cabinet (or hybrid) style table saws. First, is the enclosed cabinet with a 4″ dust port for improved dust collection. The stand makes assembly of this saw significantly easier than a regular contractor’s-style table saw.The Pro-Shop saw has a new Pro-Shop fence with extruded aluminum side boards with T-slots and either 30″ or 50″ rails. The saw below is shown with steel wings, but cast iron wings are also available. A large paddle-style switch is also a nice safety feature on this saw. Once again, you can turn to Workbench Magazine for reviews and much more on these new tools and lots of others in future issues.
§ by Joel Hess on August 24th, 2006
Here’s a few of the new products (and their features) at IWF 2006 in Atlanta:
The Porter-Cable 342 1/4 Sheet Palm Grip Finishing Sander has improved ergonomics and a new rubber palm grip that reduces vibration. Dual dust ports allow you to hook up either a 1″ or 1-1/2″ dust hose. Or leave the dust canister in place. The canister is more durable than the old cloth dust bag.
Also from Porter-Cable is the 343 Random Orbit Sander. It has many of the same features as the Finishing Sander, including a new top cap design that allows you to get inside to clean and service the unit without having to totally dissasemble it.
Then there is the Delta 17-950L 16-1/2″ Drill Press. The “L” stands for….laser. This drill press was actually introduced in January, but I got my first look at it this week. It’s bright laser crosshairs highlight the drill point. And the table is one of the first that is actually designed for woodworkers. It includes T-slots, a removable insert and it tilts from 0° to 45° forward and 0° to 90° left and right with positive stops at 0°, 45°, and 90°.
Finally, I haven’t had a chance to stop at the Bosch booth yet, but I’m looking forward to seeing Bosch’s Litheon® tools — a new line of lithium ion powered cordless hand tools. These tools are great for the woodworker, homeowner and professional thanks to a complete line of 10.8-volt and 36-volt tools that Bosch claims is the most advanced lithium-ion battery technology available. The Bosch PS20-2 is a 10.8v drill/driver that offers 80 inch/lbs of torque in an extremely small package.
§ by Joel Hess on July 19th, 2006
Recently, Doug Hicks decided to build a much-needed end table for a spot between two easy chairs in his home. After spending some time with his wife Cathy, designing the table and making a cardboard mock-up, Doug got to work by making the bending jig. The jig makes bending the thin laminated leg strips to shape easy.
MAKING THE BENDING JIG
In building the table, I figured I would start with the most difficult part – the legs. And since the legs were to be relatively thin (1”) I decided that the strongest way to make them would be using a bent lamination technique. This involves gluing together a number of very thin, flexible strips and placing them in a bending jig to dry.
So the first step was to build the jig. I found some old exterior 3/4″ plywood left in the attic by the previous homeowner and decided to use that. Something like MDF (medium-density fiberboard) probably would have been better, but hey, “ya use what ya got,” right? Anyway the plywood worked fine. Read the rest of this article »