Tool of-the-month (November)

The tool for November is the Wixey Digital Angle Gauge (featured in Video Episode 14) from Professional Woodworker Supplies.

In simple terms, you place this tool on one surface, zero the scale, and then move the gauge to another surface to find (and possibly set) its angle relative to the first. Hmm – thought I said simple terms.

For example, here I am zeroing the gauge on the bed of a planer, as I want to ensure the planer fence is exactly at 90 degrees. It doesn’t matter if the planer itself is level or not, so long as the angle between the bed and the fence is 90.


Next, I move the gauge (which is magnetic) to the fence of the planer to check its angle.


Here I can see the fence is 90 degrees +/- 0.05 degrees.

It seems a simple concept, even a novelty, but within a very short time I found it to be invaluable. No longer relying on the coarse gauge on the tool (where you’d often be lucky to get within a degree or 5), you can set extremely accurate angles.

Some examples that come to mind – the angle of the table relative to the blade of a bandsaw, or the table to the drill bit of a bench press, the angle of the blade relative to the table of a tablesaw.

It is an apron tool – one you keep in the pocket of your shop apron it is that useful.

Router Bit of-the-Month (November)

With the upgrade to the blog (and the new template that gave me the extra column), I was able to make use of the new real estate to add the ‘featured router bit and tool’ (and I may expand this further if new ideas hit me).

Both have featured in videos recently, but I didn’t expand my writeup at the time (and it was really back in late September….slowly getting the machine into gear…..December’s bit will be along shortly) Enough of the pre-blub, let’s jump into it.

The router bit for November is the Carb-i-tool Wheel Cutter (featured in Video Episode 11). It is not strictly a router bit, as it is designed to be used in the drill press (and would be very dangerous if used in the router), but I’ve included it in this category as it has many aspects in common with router bits. – method of manufacture, 1/2″ shaft, large chunk of Tungsten Carbide, the teflon or powder coating (depending on the bit’s purpose) (that is a standard on Carb-i-tool bits).

The bit itself is built on a 1/2″ shaft of mild steel (there are a whole range of steel grades that are used, depending on the specific bit in question, and the sort of loading it would be expecting during use). It has a removable drill bit held in place with a hex grub-screw (I guess in theory you could change the bit to suit different axle diameters, but I haven’t investigated this), and the two wings of the bit have hefty chunks of tungsten carbide which are the cutting surfaces (and edges). The bit itself is powder coated to provide a low-friction surface (although in this case, the body of the bit does not come into contact with the material being cut). Being that the bit is designed for the drill press (which is a much lower-speed machine than a router), and that it is an end-cutting bit, there are no anti-kickback features in the design. (One of reasons it would be almost suicidal to try to use this bit in a router).

There are in fact 3 wheel cutter router bits available – 40mm, 50mm and 60mm. With the quality carbide cutting edge, these bits will each produces 1000s of wheels.


The wheels it produces have rounded edges, and an inset hub. They work obviously well as wheels for toy cars, or doubled up as wheels for toy trucks etc, but they can also be used in other ways.


As toy taps, or knobs on stoves, even one cut into a 1/3 as a clasp to hold a hinged (toy) oven door shut.

To use the bit, you cut the first half of the wheel, then turn the blank over. Using the axle hole created on the first side, align the blank up for the second cut. The wheel will break loose leaving a very thin ridge of wood (that if this were a metal casting, would be known as a parting line – don’t know its term here) that is easily removed by being snapped of, or with a quick sanding.

Some timber is prone to tearout, and given the wheel is cut circular manner, there is with-grain and cross-grain portions. If there is excessive tearout, it can be minimised by taking longer to perform the cut, especially slowing near completion.

In any respect, this bit creates toy wheels very quickly and easily, and you soon find that you don’t want to throw offcuts away, at least not until you have cut as many holes as possible to make more wheels!

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