How Energy Efficient is your Shed?

A bit of a strange question isn’t it?  I wonder how many of us have given any thought to the question (including myself).

I was reading through the latest Choice magazine, and came across an interesting letter to the editor, where the person had been concerned that their Ryobi 2000W SCMS (Sliding Compound Mitre Saw) handle was still warm a day after use.  The person suspected a fault and contacted customer service and found it was normal, as a transformer for the laser continues to draw power even when not in use.

So I started thinking about tools in my workshop, and just how much stand-by power I might actually be consuming out there.

There are a lot of transformers out there – from battery chargers to laser-equipped tools, a stereo, and potentially other tools that consume standby power for no good reason.  Including my air compressor that I occasionally forget to switch off.

In the case of some of these tools (such as the gentleman above’s SMCS) that should be unplugged when not in use for safety if for no other reason.  The rest, well, perhaps it would be good practice to ensure that as far as is practical, power is isolated so as not to unnecessarily add to the power bill.

Episode 14 E = mc Square

Episode 14 E=mc Square.

Squares (or tri-squares) are an essential part of every toolbox. In this episode, we have a brief look at various types of squares, from the cheapest through to some superb versions that are available. We also look at how to test a square for accuracy before buying it.

Particularly featured is Incra’s Guaranteed Square, available from Professional Woodworker Supplies. Their guarantee is that the angular accuracy, from heel to toe of this square is accurate to within 1/1000th of a inch, making for a square with incredible accuracy. Cost is $A112.50. It is made from a hardened material (not sure what the base material is), which has been anodised for durability and finish. Also from Professional Woodwork Supplies is a Wixey Digital Angle Gauge. Not strictly a square, but it is easy to use it as such, and accurate to within 0.1 degrees. This one will set you back $77.50. Since getting to use both these around the workshop, I have found them essential tools, and both can now be found in my shop apron, as they get used constantly.

From Australian Wood Review magazine is their multi-square. This is an accurately machined 45-45-90 set square, and is excellent for both measuring and checking angles. It is excellent for setting blade and bit heights, as well as checking for square (and checking other squares). Cost is $35 for the imperial version (currently on special), and $45 for the metric version. Drop this one on the floor, and you don’t have to think about buying a new one!

Finally, for those who love quality hand-made hand tools there is a Colen Clenton square, with an ebony stock, and a recalibratable blade. This is a fine tool, beautiful to look at and use. They are available through the HNT Gordon website.

BTW, sorry about the quality at the start of the video – think a camera is definitely needing a service. Hope the other videos shot around the same time are not too badly affected 😦

Update: Having a look at some of the feedback, and yes, there are a whole heap of other squares on the market, including some combination squares that are apparently very accurate. Unfortunately, I can only review what I have, or have come across (or in a couple of instances were generously supplied), which is pretty much the same situation for many woodworkers. If other suppliers/manufacturers would like to have their items included in a side-by-side review, please drop me an email.

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