Recent comments

Re: If this guy can make guitars in a refugee camp...

Very interesting. I watched it several times. There seems something disingenuous about what is shown and what is not shown. He obviously has some jigs and some more tools. I wish they had chosen to show them.

Re: You Can't Beat the Physics of Kickback

The physics of kickback can't happen when cross cutting with a radial arm saw. It is the safest crosscutting tool. That being said the radial arm saw is as dangerous or more so than a table saw for ripping. I had several kickback incidents ripping on a radial arm saw before I got a bandsaw which is the safest ripping tool in my opinion. Of course I am not advocating running out and buying a radial arm saw. I bought mine 30 years ago when they were THE main shop tool to buy. Maybe a good chop saw with extension tables would be a good, safe and accurate cross cut machine.

The radial arm saw was the "do everything" tool 30 years ago. Because of safety concerns the table saw became the "do everything" tool by 1990 or so.

The more versatile a tool is, the less likely it is to do any one thing well.

Re: Appeals court upholds Osorio tablesaw verdict: Feds consider landmark safety standard

Some observations:

There are some things that are available to purchase today that if they were invented in 2011 no manufacturer would consider bringing to market out of fear of liability lawsuits. Table saws, gasoline, motorcycles to name a few. These things are inherently dangerous and we accept these dangers because it is assumed that there is no way to make them less dangerous. There is now a way to make a table saw less dangerous.

People who learn how to use inherently dangerous things safely take pride in their knowledge, distain people who do dumb things, assume that all users have access to training and that an accident will never happen to them. Experts with decades of experience still get hurt. Everyone who gets hurt thinks it would never happen to them.

The first time you have a blade bind and throw a board you learn more than you ever read about kickback.

Americans don’t like to be told what to do (or buy). The organized lobby to repeal motorcycle helmet laws will never cease to exist.

Most standard safety features were not voluntarily included in consumer products. The world has been made safer through the passage of laws. Laws are like sausages, it’s better not to see them being made.

Re: New Hot Rod Powered Drivers from DeWalt

Dewalt tools and batteries ARE expensive. But you can find them discounted way below the big box store prices on E-bay. A lot of on-line dealers will sell just the tool so you don't have to buy the batteries and charger for every tool.
I have found that if tools are being used two shifts a day every day by ironworkers and concrete form builders the ONLY brand that lasts is Dewalt. They will take a lot of abuse. There are a lot of power tools out there that are designed for occasional use by homeowners that wouldn’t last eight hours around a scrum of ironworkers (on second thought they would probably last forever because the guys would refuse to touch them). There are also a lot of very inferior quality rechargeable batteries being made these days and I expect they are being used in the budget priced import tools. I have always been satisfied with the longevity of Dewalt’s batteries although I havn’t used the Lithium packs and I have read some bad reviews about them.

Re: Cutlists are a waste of space

Let’s say, for example, that you want to build a bookshelf with pine shelf boards from the home center and join the pieces with biscuits and attach a plywood back with glue and a brad nailer. All the parts for this can be cut in advance from a cut list and assembled like a model.

Now let’s say that you are making a chair with riven legs and a seat contoured by eye with travishers and a compass plane. There is no need for a cut list for this.

If you are going to make a table with dovetails, tenons and a drawer from wood with some knots and interesting grain then you are somewhere between the two above examples. The overall dimensions can be cut out to precise dimensions but the parts need to be made to fit each other. This is not obvious when we first start working with wood.

I enjoy designing what I am going to build as much as I enjoy building it. Many folks have no interest in designing and they want to get on with building something.

When I design something on the computer I enter precise dimensions for tenons, mortise depths etc because they help me envision the building process before I actually start building. This doesn’t mean that all the parts will end up exactly as designed.

Coming from an engineering background the exploded views in FWW look incomplete to me. No project would ever go from engineering to construction with such limited drawings. If I choose to build something from someone else’s design I would like to see all the dimensions. More information is better than less.

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

Prior to the 1980s radial arm saws were marketed as the shop tool that could be setup to do almost anything. By the 1980 the table saw was being marketed as a “safer and more accurate” alternative to the radial arm saw while still extolling it as versatile. If you started woodworking in 1975 (as I did) you probably bought a radial arm saw. The more versatile any tool is, the more things it will do poorly compared to a more dedicated tool.

There is no better or safer tool for cross cutting and creating dados and half lap joints in square stock than a well setup radial arm saw. There are three reasons for this. You can see the blade at all times. The stock does not move during the cut and is firmly against the fence so it can’t get angled to the blade which is what causes a blade to throw the work. The force of the spinning blade pushes the work against a stationary fence. The RAS is also very accurate but because it has so many adjustments it needs to be checked out every time you use any of it’s “versatility”. I use mine only for cross cutting so it is easy to keep it set up accurately.

As for ripping, a rotating blade on any machine is a poor choice from a safety standpoint. I always rip on a bandsaw. The blade pushes the work down against the table and the work can’t be grabbed and thrown. Bandsaw marks can be cleaned up in a few seconds with a jointer or jackplane.

I personally don’t like setting up tools. Each tool has a few things they do well and the RAS does a few things easier, safer and faster than any other tool.

By the way, I don’t own a table saw and I am not sure what I would use one for if I had one. That being said, few people can afford to buy a shop full of tools all at once so today most people buy table saw as a starting point because of it’s versatility. I would argue that if you could afford to buy a RAS and a bandsaw and never use the RAS to rip you would be better off than buying a tablesaw.

Re: Spalt Your Own Lumber: Nutrient Supplements for Spalted Wood (e.g. beer)

Warm, wet and dark?

The most spectacular spalting I have ever seen was on some white oak that I cut down in the fall and didn’t get around to sawing until spring. So it wasn’t warm (it was winter), it was probably greater than 20 % moisture content , although it was stacked off the ground so it was in the process of drying and it was in full sun every day.

I think if you want it to spalt it won’t and if you don’t want it to spalt it will.

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