Last week, while making some parts for our September issue’s Jigs & Fixtures project, I needed to drill some holes through a stack of plywood. I was using a little benchtop drill press to do the job. While it chomped quietly through those holes, it reminded me of how handy a little benchtop drill press is.
Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category
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Earlier this month I was one of several dozen press people who got a first look at some exciting new tools and accessories coming soon from Bosch. It’s the second year I’ve had the chance to be “in the know” at Bosch headquarters for a very special event they call the Global Leadership Tour.
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Ten years ago, our family moved from the Minnesota to central Ohio. We had young kids, I was transitioning from a 9 to 5 publishing job to full-time freelancing and let’s just say, the budget was really strapped. I needed a workbench for cheap. I also didn’t have a lot of time to build it. So, I tabled those dreams of a fancy bench and drove to Lowe’s to buy my bench supplies. That amounted to a pile of 2x4s, two sheets of 3/4-in. MDF and a piece of subflooring. Oh, and some casters. I didn’t even have a clear plan for what the final bench would be, just a bigtime need.
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Our recent Woodworker’s Journal eZine Industry Interview with Rockwell Tools engendered quite a few comments, some of them unprintable, with the general take that if the tools are Asian-made, the name means little. While I will not agree with the contextual argument that an Asian-made tool is, without exception, of lower quality than a U.S.-made tool, I do agree that brand names move around a good bit.
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There has been copious amounts of virtual ink (and probably more than a little actual ink) used to discuss the recent settlement awarding $1.5 million to a Massachusetts woodworker who injured his fingers using a table saw.
I’m left thinking that Chris Marshall’s post, A Darker Side to Loaning Tools, was eerily prescient considering it was written almost three months before the court decision was rendered, and (as far as I know) completely unaware of the lawsuit. It almost begs the question, does this decision mean that there’s a darker side to SELLING tools?
So what do you think? Was this decision a good one for woodworking? Was justice done? Bad decision? Good decision? And more importantly, where could this decision lead us?
Editor in Chief
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Normally, I’m not one for chain emails. I generally delete them about as fast as they hit my inbox. But recently one of our readers forwarded the following email about tools that just caught my attention. It sure gave me a good laugh, because, well, truth is pretty funny sometimes. See if you agree:
BAND SAW: A large stationary power saw primarily used to cut good wood into smaller pieces that more easily fit into the trash can after you cut on the inside of the line instead of the outside.
DRILL PRESS: A tall machine useful for suddenly snatching flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the chest and flings your beverage across the room, denting the freshly-painted project that you had carefully set in the corner where nothing could get to it.
WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off of bolts and then throws them somewhere under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you to say, “Oh, crap!”
CIRCULAR SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.
PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation of blood-blisters.
BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor touch-ups into major refinishing jobs.
HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board principle… It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpredictable motion, and the more you attempt to influence its course, the more dismal your future becomes.
LOCKING PLIERS: Generally used after regular pliers to completely round off bolt heads. If nothing else is available, they can also be used to transfer intense welding heat to the palm of your hand.
TABLE SAW: A large stationary power tool that can launch wood projectiles for testing wall integrity.
HYDRAULIC FLOOR JACK: Used for lowering an automobile to the ground after you have installed your new brake shoes, trapping the jack handle firmly under the bumper.
PHILLIPS SCREWDRIVER: Normally used to stab the vacuum seals under lids; can also be used, as the name implies, to strip out Phillips screw heads.
STRAIGHT SCREWDRIVER: A tool for opening paint cans. Sometimes used to convert common slotted screws into non-removable screws and butchering your palms.
PRY BAR: A tool used to crumple the metal surrounding that clip or bracket you needed to remove in order to replace a 50 cent part.
UTILITY KNIFE: Used to open and slice through the contents of cardboard cartons delivered to your front door; works particularly well on contents such as seats, vinyl records, liquids in plastic bottles, collector magazines, refund checks, and rubber or plastic parts. Especially useful for slicing work clothes, but only while in use. Also cuts fingers.
There you have it—life with tools. We sure can’t live without them … and sometimes not even with them!
Catch you in the shop,
Chris Marshall, Field Editor
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For the June print issue, I’m building a big plywood shop project. Several pieces in the project include some rather thick edging strips, which can be difficult to clamp tightly in place. Especially when they’re on the ends of an 8-ft. sheet of plywood.
I’ve used thicker edging before in a few projects, and each time I’ve wondered about those funky C-clamps made for jobs like these. They’ve got three screw jaws instead of just one—the most helpful being the third that runs through the spine of the clamp, perpendicular to the other two.
Well, last week I took the plunge and bought a half dozen to give them a try.
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No matter how many years I’ve used a table saw, my blood still runs cold when I think about the potential for a kickback that leads to injury. Thank goodness it hasn’t happened to me. But, others in our community haven’t been so fortunate. You don’t have to search woodworking forums for too long before you’ll find direct proof. The scary photos and war stories are definitely out there. There’s no debating the fact that kickback is one of the leading causes of table saw accidents. We all know it, but what are we doing in our shops to prevent it?
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Those of you who’ve submitted captions to our cabinet saw photo have proven this: woodworkers can take a goofy photo and made something good of it. At well over 100 captions submitted—and counting—it’s clear we’ve got a collective funnybone!
I’ve been wanting to pick a “Top Ten” list, but between the captions posted to our Facebook page and here on the blog, there are too many good ones for just ten fingers. (And despite all those cabinet saws, I still have ten to count with.) So, with Matt Becker’s help—he’s got all ten digits, too—we’ve picked 20 of the funniest ones. If yours didn’t make the cut (yeah, couldn’t help that one), it’s nothing personal. These just made us laugh out loud…but there were plenty of chuckles and smiles for the rest.
See if you agree:
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Thanks to all of you who left comments regarding my recent blog post “Loaning Tools: What’s Your Take?”
That was lively feedback, and you’ve left a lot of food for thought on this topic. Responses ranged from “share and share alike” to “no way, no how, no matter who asks.” Clearly, we have definite opinions on this issue—and some of us have learned hard lessons from loaning stuff out. But, a couple of your comments suggest that there could be a bigger problem with loaning tools than not getting them back in tip-top shape. Chuck V and R Graf suggest that there’s potential tool liability we should be concerned about if someone gets hurt while using our tools. In case you didn’t follow the complete thread, here are their posts: