If 2013 is your year to buy a new stationary tool, and Grizzly is one of the companies you’re considering for that purchase, they’ve just added a slick new search feature that could make the process quite easy. It’s a machinery comparison chart widget that generates an instant side-by-side cross-reference for up to four Grizzly machines at once.
Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category
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We’ve previously brought you other news of pending table saw legislation; in recent news, a Chicago jury decided earlier this month in favor of table saw manufacturer Ryobi Tools, against a plaintiff who claimed he was injured by a defective saw.
The plaintiff, Brandon Stollings, a carpenter who purchased a Ryobi BTS 20R1 a few days before the accident, claimed in the suit that the saw was defective because it did not include a SawStop sensing device or a European style riving knife. Additional lawsuits have been filed across the country with similar allegations, including a 2010 case decided in Boston in which the jury ruled in favor of the plaintiff, awarding over $1 million in damages.
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I remember the halcyon days when M2 high speed steel (HSS) turning tools hit the market. No longer did we have to worry about burning at the grinder, and HSS tools held an edge forever — compared to plain carbon steel, anyway.
The last decade has seen a proliferation of turning tools made from exotic powdered steels. Powdered refers to the manufacturing process where iron, with the necessary alloying elements, is mechanically mixed in powder form, then sprayed into a furnace where the powders become plastic but do not melt. The resulting blob is cold worked to form bars for machining. Powdered metal technology allows much higher amounts of alloying metals such as vanadium (which increases edge holding) than conventional blast furnace manufacture. The price of such special handling is significantly higher, but PM steels give extraordinarily longer tool life for metal cutting.
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For many woodworkers, the entire purpose of a garage is to house their tools. Any vehicles are an incidental. For some, however, the bikes are just as important as the woodworking — and we’re not talking about the kind they ride on the Tour de France.
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In the last two days, your intrepid editor has traveled to Venice, Italy and then up to Udine, Italy, to learn about Irwin’s newest entry into the circular saw blade market. Now, I understand that you might be feeling sorry for me … Venice in May is hard to take … but fear not, I am holding up well.
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A while back, we brought you news of proposed federal rulemaking that would influence table saws. This week, a committee in the California legislature approved a similar bill at the state level. The “AB 2218 Table Saw Safety Act,” originally introduced by Assemblyman Das Williams (D), “Prohibits the sale of any new table saw on or after January 1, 2015, unless that table saw is equipped with active injury mitigation technology.”
“Active injury mitigation technology” is defined in the bill as “technology to detect contact with, or dangerous proximity between, a hand or finger and the teeth of the blade above the table top of a table saw, and to prevent the blade from cutting the hand or finger deeper than one-eighth of an inch when the hand or finger approaches any portion of the blade above the table top at a speed of one foot per second from any direction and along any path.”
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The other day I was routing a little nameplate plaque for my daughter’s bedroom. It’s fussy and slow-paced work. I first cut the letters following a paper template, then pull the template off and rout them even deeper. Not a job you can rush, and it’s one that definitely takes a sharp eye.
I was using a RIDGID R2401 trim router for the job. Aside from its compact size, which I really like, it’s got an LED light underneath to brighten up the area you’re routing. In this particular project, that feature was flat-out indispensable.
Maybe it’s my mid-40s vision starting to go … I’m resisting that sinking feeling that bifocals are finally unavoidable. Or maybe my shop just plain doesn’t have enough light these days. Whatever the reason is, I’m appreciating tools with built-in worklights now more than ever.
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I’ve never been particularly adept at sharpening my edge tools (chisels, plane irons, etc.). It’s not that I couldn’t get them sharp enough to work, it’s just that I’ve always experienced inconsistent results. One time, I’d get a blade so sharp, it simply glided through hard oak and maple. The next time I sharpened that blade, I’d be lucky if it didn’t tear its way through soft pine. Freehand sharpening always seemed like something that would take decades to get right (an opinion no doubt influenced by the fact that the best tool sharpener I know has made nearly 95 trips around the sun). The trick seems to be locking your wrists and fingers as you pass the tool over the stone, to keep the honing bevel at the same angle during every pass. Fail this, and you end up with a rounded bevel face and an edge that’s none too sharp. Yes, hollow grinding helps, as the tip and heel of the bevel are easier to keep flat on the stone. But unless the tool has a wide bevel, like a big chisel or heavy plane iron, even hollow grinding is no guarantee.
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As they ponder whether new safety standards are needed for table saws, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has extended the time frame available for public comments on the issue. You now have until March 16, 2012 to share your opinion with the CPSC on “the risk of injury associated with table saw blade contact, regulatory alternatives, other possible means to address this risk, and other topics or issues.” (The extension of the public comments period comes at the request of the Power Tool Institute, Inc.)
If you have something to say to the CPSC, you can send them an email through this site http://www.regulations.gov (they’re no longer accepting emails that don’t come through this site), or submit written comments by following these instructions:
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Have you ever tried to chuck a triangular blank, cross drill a small hole off-center in a hardwood dowel, or keep a drill bit from wobbling while drilling in the lathe? The day-to-day work of machinists involves several tools useful to almost any woodworker.
To keep drill bits from wandering, a center drill works better than anything else I have tried. A center drill is also known as a combined drill and countersink or a Slocomb drill.
There are more than a dozen styles of center drills in 15 different sizes ranging from 1/8 to 1 inch. For woodworking, you don’t need anything more expensive than uncoated high-speed steel. The body diameter of your center drill should be the same as the largest drill you are going to use.
The Boring Head
A boring head is a more precise version of a circle cutter that can make a flat-bottomed hole of any size within its range. For the boring head shown, this is done by a dovetailed slide moved by a pair of set screws that push against the projection labeled “A” in the photo. Loosening one screw and tightening the opposite one moves the cutter to a larger or smaller radius. Always lock the dovetailed slide before making a cut. Any boring head needs a pilot hole. The range of the boring head shown is 3/8 to 1-1/4 inch. While most boring heads cost $100-$600, Taig Tools makes a good quality one (shown) that sells for $45 and includes two boring bars.
Because drill bits are too long to resist much side thrust and cannot cut sideways with their flutes, they have a troublesome tendency to wander when not drilling a flat surface. You can remedy this by starting your hole with a center drill, but if the surface of what you are drilling is at too steep an angle to your bit, using a center-cutting end mill will work. Center-cutting end mills are ground for plunge as well as side cutting. Avoid end mills that are not center-cutting; they only cut sideways. End mills should only be used in a drill press or in the tailstock of your lathe because they will not start a hole if they are used in a portable drill.
The Four-jaw Independent Chuck
Taig Tools makes a 3-1/4 inch chuck with four independently movable and reversible jaws, enabling you to hold blanks of any shape down to 1/8 inch diameter. Because each jaw moves separately, it can be difficult to center your blank in this chuck. To do this, set the tool-rest of your lathe at center height. Then rotate the chuck to bring one jaw level with the top of the tool-rest. Measure the distance between the jaw and the tool-rest, turn the chuck half a revolution, and measure again. Calculate half the difference between the two measurements and move the blank towards the larger measurement by that amount. When you have one pair of jaws running true, repeat with the other pair.
If you do not own a bench grinder, Taig Tools also sells a set of small grinding wheels that are useful for small sharpening jobs and an arbor to mount them on a lathe with a 3/4 inch 16 TPI spindle.
Lewis Hein is a machinist and woodworker who has been working with wood ever since he can remember. He lives near Casper, Wyoming.