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.
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.
Generally speaking, I’m pretty good about taking things in stride and not dwelling on myself. But honestly, this has been a really tough summer. You see, our family is in the process of moving to Virginia. My wife was offered a wonderful new employment opportunity in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and opportunity was knocking loudly enough to pull up roots and move. But therein lies the catch: the “moving” part. Continue reading
Even though we’re just days away from Christmas, our staff has propelled “full speed ahead” into 2011 to bring you lots of fine content for the February print issue. It’s due to arrive in your mailbox very soon. But Matt Becker, our Internet Coordinator, says I can share some details about the articles you’ll be reading at your leisure shortly. And so I will…let’s get a jump on the new year straight away!
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.
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
A couple years ago, I invested in a popular loose-tenon joinery system to see how that would work for me. As a tool reviewer, I’m always anxious to try a new gizmo on for size, and this tool was getting a lot of buzz. Heck, a faster, easier way to make mortise-and-tenon joinery. Sounded good to me!
Well, the product came, and I put it to work on my next few projects. It did the job swimmingly, chomping mortise after mortise in good time. The cuts were clean, the setup was pretty easy and those loose tenons dropped right into place. Really, there was no part of the operation I could complain about.
But as time went on, that new tool got less use than it first did. I ended up switching back to making M&Ts the way I’ve always done them: mortising on the drill press, followed by tenon-cutting on the table saw.