Recent comments

Re: Time to Build a Drill Press Table

It's OK, he used a fancy word to go with it. Most people dig a piece of scrap out of the bin or stack. But he "sourced" the koa. :-)

Re: It's impossible to cheat at woodworking

I wasn't there, so can't hear the tone of his voice, but you must consider that some people use irony in their communications. If I were to look at that and say "that's cheating", what I would really be saying is "that's ingenious!"

But just in case he really did mean "cheating" in the negative sense, I do agree that it would be foolishness to think that. We can all go down to Ikea if we just want to put together a chest of drawers. We build our own because we want to. It's a hobby for most serious woodworkers. An art or a trade for the rare few. Nobody needs a dovetailed drawer, we just want them. Since it is all basically "selfish" (not in a negative way!) then however we feel like doing it is the right way.

So no, you can't cheat. Though growing your own wood to the correct dimensions is probably the acme of the craft! :-)

Re: Time to Build a Drill Press Table

Nice table. I've been meaning to build something like this and it seems easy and useful. I think I'll drop t-nuts into Forstner bit holes in the top to give it a bit more strength. I build things to last. But otherwise it looks fine.

Maybe someone would be interested to learn about my drill press setup. About 20 years ago I acquired a heavy duty bench drill press. Not the lightweight crap you usually see, but heavily built and with a 3/4 hp motor. I had no available bench space at the time and needed mobility, anyway, so I built what turned out to be the most useful drilling station I've ever worked at. Here's how:

I bought one of those bright red tool chests with wheels on the bottom. Decent quality - not a cheap crappy one or a Mercedes. It should have good a good loaded weight rating. I also bought the extra drawer set that attaches onto the side, though it isn't absolutely necessary. And I put wheels below this part, too. If you do get the side drawers, drill extra holes and attach with extra bolts. They are not adequate as sold.

I wanted to lay a sheet of plywood across the top, but those tool chests have a lip around the sides and back. So I marked and cut a piece of 3/4" plywood to fit tightly inside of the lip. Use a jigsaw and make it fit well so any weight is spread all the way to the edge to prevent sagging. Then I cut a 3/4" plywood top to cover the whole unit. I drilled a bunch of holes in the metal top of the chest and screwed the first layer of plywood from the bottom with 3/4" round head screws and washers. Then I glued and screwed the top piece down to the lower sheets, making a very strong top.

I attached a "backsplash" at the rear to keep things from falling off into the void and put some edging on the plywood. Use decent edging, not iron on stuff. It's not to protect you, it's to keep the plywood from splintering off. I usually get that 1/4 x 3/4 inch oak screen molding for things like this; glue with type II, drill pilot holes and put in some screws. #6 round head is fine unless you want to get fancy.

The base of most drill presses - bench or floor ones - comes with holes to bolt it down. So do it. Bolt your drill press to the bench top, using large 3/4" plywood disks or fender washers below. There is usually plenty of space for this above the top drawer, but do make sure the drawer will still open. Don't scrimp on this. Make them good, strong bolts with proper washers and use those nuts with the plastic inserts so they don't come loose. Do it right once and it will last you for at least 21 years, as I can testify to.

Now fill those drawers with all of your drill bits and other drilling accessories. Put lots of metal in there. The mass will make this a rock solid base for the drill press. This is why you don't want a cheap chest for your base! I have my general purpose and carbide bits in the top drawer, my nicer Forstner, brad point, and high quality bit sets in the next drawer, all of my hand drills in the third drawer, and Dremel tools and drill table accessories in the large bottom drawer. My little side drawer setup has thin drawers where I put all of my wood carving chisels and such and more drill press accessories.

Because my table is so long (about 5' or so) I mounted my drill press at one end and a bench shear at the other end. (I cut a lot of 1/8" rod.) This leaves a nice large work space in the center. I also used 5/4 stock for the backsplash and mounted a WIremold metal power strip along the top of it. This makes it very easy to plug in the drill press or any other tools I wish to use.

A bit about stability. Look at the size of the base. And the weight when loaded. This is a much more stable setup than a normal drill press. It is great for long and/or awkward pieces. I frequently cut so many pieces of rod at a time with my shear that I have to hang quite a bit of my 200 pounds on the shear handle. And the bench does not tip. But there is some play in the wheels that come with these chests, so it can wiggle and jiggle a little bit. In my new shop I no longer need mobility so I have thought about making a wood base to get the bench up off of its wheels, making it even more stable.

Sorry, no pictures. Hope someone finds this helpful. It's a bit of work and expense, but some of the best money I've spent in my shop. Sometimes it's the mundane things that make life so much easier.

Re: John Lee: Extra Texture with a Twist

Incredible creativity! So now I feel like a caveman with an axe.

Re: UPDATE: Mortise and Tenon Joinery by Hendrik Varju

Put me in the hat. Hey DanRM, the last thing I ever won was an Olivia Newton-John album in about 1973 or 1974, so I guess we are both due for another win. :-)

Re: AWFS: A Super-Glue for Furniture Makers?

And yes; I, too am interested in how long a chair will hold together with the typical 250 pound adult male American sitting down, sliding forward, sliding back, standing, sitting, standing, sitting, standing ...

Re: AWFS: A Super-Glue for Furniture Makers?

So here's how this works. A couple of people who know how to build and grow a business get together with a couple of engineers, presumably tops in their field. Like the "ORIGINAL" developers of Super Glue. The engineers design, develop and prototype something new. The management puts together a company in such a way that they look like a Great Investment. Capitalists invest in the company allowing the prototype to grow into a product. At this point, the company launches a press-release blitz and tries to raise as much free and carefully selected paid advertizing as they can to create a buzz. The product goes into production and if at all successful or promising, Woodcraft sells a lot of it, Fine Woodworking gets a new advertiser, the investors sell the company to a larger one and retire or if they are still young, take that money and try to do it again. Remember: "money, money, money, money, money makes the world go 'round."

That said, I use a lot of different adhesives for a lot of different purposes from luthiery to epoxying bolts into concrete and I will examine the pros and cons of this new adhesive and see if and where it will work for me. If it proves superior to another glue in real life, then I'll use it. If not, I won't. It's certainly too early to form preconceptions about it. To those too conservative to try it, I would suggest that white glue is also a very modern adhesive, compared to hide glue, for example. Or pitch.

Re: A Nutty Alternative to SawStop Technology

BTW, the guy standing behind him has an orange vest on. That has to count for something...

Re: A Nutty Alternative to SawStop Technology

chevypdx is on the right track. The fact that this guy works like this and has done it long enough to be able to produce such nice work tells me that he is very aware of safety, respectful of the saw, and most important, understands the forces involved. In addition to chevypdx's observations, I would also note that his right hand is resting on the saw table. This is a very important safety consideration and one that everyone should become familiar with. If the hands are well anchored to the table and the blade grabs the work, he might get a bruise on his forehead, but his fingers aren't going to wind up in the blade because they are attached to his hand which is resting on the table away from the blade.

I used to cut pebbles in half when I was in the fountain business. I used a regular MK-101 tile saw with a sliding table and I just hand-held the pebbles - down to 1" diameter - as I slid the table through the blade. Notice I did not say that I pushed the pebble through the blade. By anchoring my hands firmly to the table I was able to ensure that all my fingers remained intact, which they did.

I also use this technique with the bandsaw. I have put in a tremendous amount of time in front of the bandsaw. If you are cutting a small piece and must hold it close to the blade, you rest your left hand firmly on the table, hold the wood with your fingers - I do keep them as far from the blade as is practical - and cut slowly. If the saw grabs, you are not leaning on the piece and it cannot pull you into the blade.

It seems like the kind of thing that should be common sense, but it is not. Instead, too many people rely on technology to keep themselves safe, rather than on their brains.

And one thing that freehand cutting does is keep you focused. If you are not able to focus, then maybe it's not for you.

I do agree about the face shield, though. His biggest risk is that a grab will pup the nut up and give him a knot on the forehead. :-)

Re: Hidden Genius: The Extraordinary Furniture of Roentgen

That desk is amazing, but geniuses still exist even in the world of TV and smart phones. If I win the lottery, I will find someone to build me such a desk and prove it. :-)

Re: Neckties and Tablesaws Just Don't Mix

It's an ugly tie. Chop it.

Re: Should Woodworkers Say Goodbye to Ebony?

About re-planting. Plantation grown wood is generally pretty crappy compared to natural. What they should probably do is to re-plant two or three trees where they cut one, then come back in a few years and select the best of them to allow to mature. Something like that. Do what grows the healthiest trees and the best wood, not what grows the most.

Re: Should Woodworkers Say Goodbye to Ebony?

This is utterly and completely admirable. It is admirable from an ethical perspective. It is admirable from a business perspective. It is admirable from an environmental perspective. And it is admirable from a human perspective. I am in the market for a new mandolin and I actually hope it has colored ebony on it. The color won't affect the tonal qualities, just the appearance and I think it will give each instrument an individual character.

Now, what is he going to do about spruce, hard rock maple, and mahogany?

Re: Stephen Colbert Takes the Sizzle Out of SawStop

I think Saw Stop's mistake is in not starting with OSHA. They are in the business of industrial safety, not consumer safety. I bet the majority of those missing fingers are from professional hands, not amateur. Those guys are in a hurry and that's a recipe for accidents. All manner of guards and protective gear are required on the job site and this would just be another. Once manufacturers are geared up and competing, it will not add nearly as much cost to the machine as it currently does to the low volume product made by Saw Stop. I find it bizarre that people who complain about all the annoyances of safety gear and guards would complain about something that gives you so much safety without getting in the way at all. Look at a Saw Stop saw. You don't see the technology at all and you won't interact with it, either, unless it is to save your finger. What could be wrong with that? Somehow this has become one of those moronic Right -vs- Left contentions. I sure wish people would just stop and think about things before committing themselves to a political position on something that isn't political.

Re: AWFS Tool News: Say Goodbye to Numb Hands from Sanding

What is this infatuation with bigger, heavier, more powerful. What ever happened to the right tool for the job. My old DeWalt ROS was getting tired after who knows how many hundreds or thousands of hours of use, so I went to replace it. But DeWalt no longer makes it. They replaced it with a bigger, heavier, more powerful one. Pah! What a disaster that was. Now I can't sand any more boat hulls until my rotator cuff injury heals. Thanks, DeWalt.

So a new, even bigger, heavier, more powerful one from Bosch? Count me out. Doctor's orders.

Re: Router Injury Sparks Reflection on Safety

You have to be thinking all the time. Once I was nailing two pieces of 1x cedar (1-1/2" total thickness) together with a brad nailer. I opened the side-loading nailer and it was empty. I dropped in some 1-1/4" nails held the two pieces together with my left hand and shot a nail. It left a divot like it always does, nail or no nail. And the pieces just fell apart again. So I opened the nailer and everything looked fine. I shot a test nail and it shot. So I lined up my two pieces again, held them tightly, carefully lined up the nail gun with the existing divot and shot another nail ... into my finger. What the heck?

It turns out that there had been one 5/8" brad left in the nailer from a previous task. It was too far into the mechanism for me to see and it was too light to shake out. When I shot the first time, it went 5/8" into the 3/4" piece - not far enough to come out the other side, much less tack the two pieces together. When I shot the second nail, it pushed the little one on through ahead of it. 1-1/4 plus 5/8 equals 1-7/8. The excess 3/8" went into my finger. Thankfully it wasn't more.

You can bet that I am more careful to check that my nail guns are really empty now and I don't put my finger directly beneath the nail even if I'm sure the nails aren't long enough to go through.

Re: Could This Tool Change Everything?

I'm with you, Ocotillo Mike. I like mine blended on a hot day...

Re: Is the Radial Arm Saw on its Last Legs?

I forgot to mention: with a proper reverse-raked blade the RAS will not pull itself towards you.

Re: Is the Radial Arm Saw on its Last Legs?

I find it interesting that you have never seen one of your authors using a radial arm saw, and yet you seem to value their opinions of it. The opinion of someone who rarely or never uses a tool are valueless, regardless of whether the tool is a radial arm saw, a table saw, a skill saw and shooter board (way under-rated) or a chainsaw.

What it mostly boils down to is style. It is apparently stylish to use a table saw and to brag about all the brands and features and stuff. That's fine for people who are trying to impress you with their tools, but is not useful for people who are trying to do work. You can do a lot of work on the RAS without a lot of talk.

Safety - the RAS is as safe or safer than a table saw. Why?
1. You are always wary of the blade. It is when you lose respect for your tool that accidents happen. RAS users do not lose that respect. I don't know many woodworkers, but I know three who have removed fingers with a table saw. All three said they had become jaded and just forgot about the blade.
2. Yes, the blade can grab and move toward you, but the travel is limited and remains in-line with the arm. Since you are always aware of where the blade is going, it won't hurt you (unless you suffer a heart attach from the surprise.) I have had a few bad grabs in the 31 years I have been using my saw and none resulted in anything worse than marred wood and the need to partially re-adjust the saw.
3. It won't grab the material and throw it at you. Or a family member, pet, through the wall, etc.
4. This is big: your control hand is grabbing a handle which is connected to the blade, so the blade cannot get it. Your guide hand is (or should be) pressed to the table and just barely holding the workpiece. Assuming it is not on the groove, your control hand cannot accidentally wander into the path of the blade as it can with a table saw. Think about it: on the table saw you are often pushing the wood or holding the side of the wood with your hand and your hand is moving. Just a bit of inattention and there go your fingers as the wander into the blade. Yes, you are supposed to use guides and push sticks, but I've seen videos on your own site where a craftsman is pushing the work into the blade with his hand and coming pretty close to it, too.

Footprint: yes, the saw has the footprint of a table saw, but not exactly the same workspace requirement. It sits against a side wall, not out in the middle. In small shops there is no middle for a table saw to sit in. The material only moves through the blade in one direction (ripping) and so the actual work area of a radial saw is long, but not wide. The table saw needs some real acreage to use unless you want to move the saw around all the time.

Versatility: the Radial Arm saw can not only rip, crosscut, miter, compound miter, etc., but it can be adapted to do many other jobs, too. I once paid a few dollars for a collet for the "auxilliary output shaft" (the other end of the motor) and a couple of heavy duty router bits (3/4" round-over and 3/4" beading groove) and made hundreds of feet of 2x beaded trim right there on the job using my "overhead router".

My RAS is now setup on a stand (HTI, I think, it's been 15 years since I bought it and I don't remember for sure.) It has infeed/outfeed rollers that fold down. This combination allows me to rip plywood out to almost 24" without an assistant. It makes it much easier to crosscut long material, too. Having used both, I would take this setup over a table saw any day for my uses. I've done everything with this from making quality cabinets for my wife's store to building construction to bird houses to cutting kindling (very quickly!) out of my scrap. I have not done the really super finicky small woodworking projects like jewelry boxes, but if I did, I would probably rather use a super high quality table saw for that.

Re: Guitar Stand

This should have been first place. The jewelry box and tool box are nice, but this guitar stand required serious creativity as well as woodworking skills. Very well done.

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