Triton 15in Planer/Thicknesser/Moulder

I’ve just been out to the shed shooting the final installment of three videos that I will have available very shortly (hopefully by the end of the week for the first). (This doesn’t include a fourth that will be an after-market upgrade of a digital height scale).

The three videos are 1. Using the unit as a planer/thicknesser – as with the 13in thicknesser video, this is more a look at the unit itself than a monologue on the techniques of flattening a board. 2. Installing the moulding blades and 3. using the unit as a moulder.

I had to shoot the videos over a couple of days (evenings), as thicknessers generally rather noisy affairs, and as much as my neighbours have not complained about my noisy pursuits to date, I really don’t want to push my luck!

Talking of noise, (rather loose segue here), for those who have seen the recent video, the intro (and music) is still very much a work in progress, and although this new one will probably be used for the next set of videos, I hope to have a refined one ready pretty soon – just have to master the technologies (and create a more original music track)!

Back to thicknessers for a sec – I’ve been very remiss in keeping up with some of the other quality blogs out there, but I did come across a very relevant post on Sandal Woods that reminded me of a couple of similar experiences I’ve had with thicknessers. Al’s post can be found here, but in brief summary, if you find your thicknesser is having trouble feeding timber through, and the rollers don’t seem to be pulling on the timber properly, the fault is probably NOT the rollers. If you don’t keep the table sufficiently lubricated (waxed), it can quickly develop quite serious feed issues. I’ve had this happen a couple of times, and each time I have forgotten the lessons from the past, and wasted all sorts of time trying to diagnose a machine fault, when a quick clean and wipe with a bit of finishing wax would have (and eventually did) solve the problem! So thanks for the timely reminder Al!

Spigot Turning

I mentioned recently that I found myself with a set of spigot jaws for my Nova lathe chuck. So I decided to find out what all the fuss was about, and try them out. (Made in New Zealand 🙂 )

Without going into much detail yet (have more to learn myself!), the spigot jaws can grip the end of a round blank very tightly, allowing you to work on the side, and end of the blank, without using a tailstock.

I first mounted the blank between centres and turned it round, and roughly shaped what I hoped was a goblet. The timber was Huon pine, purchased so I could experiment and have the only problems I come across being my errors, rather than some difficulties from the timber itself clouding the issues.

Next, it was mounted in the spigot jaws (and already I can see why people buy more than one chuck, just so they don’t have to keep swapping jaws over!)

Cutting a long story short (and leaving out all the catches etc that I had), this is what I managed to finish with:

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For a first effort, I’m pretty happy with it, but I still have a long way to go.

It isn’t an egg cup, but here is a photo with one, just so you get an idea of scale!

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(And no, it isn’t a Moa or a Kiwi egg)!

The Wood Whisperer Network

Marc (The Wood Whisperer) Spagnuolo over in Arizona, USA has been blogging and podcasting about woodworking for quite a while now, and has always been very supportive of others operating in the same genre (myself included).  He has recently added a feature called “The Wood Whisperer Network” which highlights a collection of blogs (and bloggers) around the world, and I’ve had no hesitation in joining the network. (Marc (or his wife Nicole) makes a very nice button depicting your site!)

I’ve already discovered that it is a bit dangerous though – I was planning on posting a bit more tonight, and instead discovered all my time had been eaten up reading through some of the other blogs also featured!

Triton Router Template Guides

There has been a bit of confusion about the Triton Router Template guide kit in a number of forum posts, so I thought I’d go through a few of the aspects here for the sake of clarity.

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This is the kit for the MOF001, the 1400W Triton Router.  However, I always recommend that owners buy this kit even if they have the larger 2400W router (although if you are in the US or UK, I would investigate the contents of this kit just to make sure my observations hold true over there).

The reason I strongly recommend this kit is

a. it is cheaper than the one for the TRA001

b. it contains ALL the contents of the TRA001 kit (and more)

c. if you end up with both routers, there is no need to get another kit!

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This is the heart of the system – the template guide base plate.  The Triton routers do not have the ability to fit a template guide in their standard as-sold configuration.  They need the addition of the template guide base plate to allow the guides to be fitted.  There is very little drawback from having the template guide baseplate fitted – you loose a tiny amount of plunge capacity, although there is a huge amount available, so this is unlikely to ever be missed.  The dust collection capacity of the router is maintained.  The only time I’ve felt a need to remove the baseplate was when I wanted to run a monster router bit, with a diameter larger than the hole in the template guide baseplate.  I don’t even rememeber which bit it was, as I’ve not had that problem since.

There are 2 baseplates shown here, and both come with the MOF001 kit.  The left-hand one is specifically for the 2400W router.  It can fit the 1400W router, but with some overlap at the edge. The baseplate for the larger router fits fully underneath the router plastic(?) baseplate.  The second (middle) baseplate shown is for the 1400W router.  This one fits into a recess in the plastic baseplate of the 1400W router (pic of this shown shortly).

The final ring is the baseplate alignment bush.  When you are first fitting the template baseplate, it must be absolutely centred on the collet, and this bush is used to achieve this (again, shown shortly).

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For either router, step one is to remove the four screws holding the plastic baseplate of the router.  There is often quite a bit of dust that has collected here, so worth cleaning out.  You can also see up the plunge tubes, and again, good opportunity to get any dust out of there that has collected, particularly if your router is normally table-mounted.  Another one of those occasions that an air compressor proves invaluable.

If you are fitting the baseplate for the 2400W router, it is placed directly on top of the router here, then the plastic baseplate is put back on top.

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If you are fitting the 1400W router baseplate, it is inserted into the recess of the plastic base.  There are a couple of tags that line up with the plate.  Note here, the recess in the template baseplate goes to the bottom of the router.  The 2 screws seen here are the ones used to hold the templates in position – it is not necessary to have them already screwed in place.

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The assembly is now placed back onto the router, but at this stage is not secured.  You then plunge the router so the collet protrudes through the base, and secure the  baseplate alignment bush into the template baseplate.  The two notches in this, and all the template guides are so you can get it past the screw heads.  Loosen the screws, drop the guide below the screw heads then rotate the guide so the notches are not lined up with the screws, then tighten the screws down.  For the alignment bush, this will, by default, cause the baseplate to be centred on the collet.  To remove, loosen the screws, twist the template guide so the notches are in line, then lift it clear.  Without the notches, you’d have to fully remove the screws every time to fit a new guide.

This centering is absolutely critical for template guides.  If the template guide is offcentre, you can be sure that the template will not work as required.  If it isn’t centered, then as you turn the router, the bit will be too far right, or left of where it should be according to the template you are trying to follow (leigh jig or otherwise).

You only use the alignment bush once – when securing the base plate in position.

You can now use the original screws to secure the baseplate to the router, and fitting the template guide baseplate is complete.

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Here, a template guide is shown fitted, with the router bit protruding through.  I’ll cover actually using template guides another time btw.

In some cases, you want to use the template guide with a router bit that is too large to fit through the hole in the guide.  In this case, you will put the bit through the template guide before actually fitting the guide, then tighten the collet on the bit, and then secure the template guide.

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You do need to ensure that the shaft length of your router bit is long enough to still be fully inserted into the collet.

As you may also see, the Triton template guides have gaps in them – this is so the dust collection system of the Triton router can still operate with the guides fitted.

There are 7 different template guide sizes in the Triton kit, and they are used with different router bits, and templates.  The smaller the template guide, the sharper the corner that can be achieved, but also the smaller the bit itself needs to be to fit.

So hopefully that helps answer any questions you have about fitting the Triton template guides!

Router bit of-the-month (January)

The router bit-of-the-month featured in Episode 19 is a raised panel bit from Carb-i-tool and has their typical quality features: low friction coating, high quality carbide, anti-kickback design and importantly, accurate dimensioning of the shaft. I have quite a few Carb-i-tool bits, as you may have gathered from other posts, and I always have a great deal of respect for the quality of the bits (and the subsequent quality in finish they produce), as well as the (for me) very important fact that it is a local manufacturer turning out such a good product.

There are a number of profiles available for the raised panel, it is a matter of choosing which one you feel suits the product you are making (and one that complements the rail and stile profile). This cutter is a horizontal style cutter, as opposed to a vertical raised panel bit. In other words, the panel you are routing is presented to the cutter horizontally, ie resting on the router table. I tend to prefer this type of bit, as it means the workpiece is fully supported by the router table, and I don’t have to balance the panel against the router fence. This is particularly important for large panels. So that is the positive aspect, and I feel this is the preferred orientation. However, it does mean the router bit itself has to be huge (and the raised panel bit is often the largest router bit you’d ever own). It is a huge chunk of steel and carbide that the router needs to spin, and as such, you need a strong, heavy duty router to cope with it, and essentially, one that is variable speed. (Check a post I made recently about matching router bit speed to the size of the bit).

If your router cannot cope with such a large bit, then the vertical raised panel bit is the way to go, as it is nowhere near as large a diameter bit, and the router can cope with it much easier. You do need a good, high fence to support the panel then, so that is the compromise.

I tend to use an unbearinged raised panel bit, as it leaves my options open for exactly where I position the fence, and I can centre the fence on the bit, or have it as far forward as I’d like. If the bit had a bearing, I would be limited to just how much of the profile I could expose with the fence. In any respect, I am always going to use a fence with this bit (and a router table). It is way too large to ever consider handholding the router.

Also, given the amount of material this bit can remove, it is highly advisable to take multiple passes to remove all the material. You can achieve this in 2 ways. Either by moving the fence, starting with only a little of the cutter exposed, then expose more for the second pass, then set the fence close to the final position for a third pass and finally set it for the full depth pass so that one is a very light pass (ie removing very little material) which really improves the quality.

The other method is to set the fence in the final position to start, then raise the router bit each time instead, until it is at the correct depth for the final pass. For some reason this is my preferred method, but either is perfectly valid. Both have the problem that if you want to produce another panel later, you need to reposition the fence and the bit depth exactly, so obviously, ideally, you’d have all the panels ready to go, and do the same pass on all the panels one after another before changing bit depth (or fence position), so each panel is at the same stage when you set up for the final pass. It is worthwhile also running a bit of scrap wood through the process at the same time, so that you can set it aside, and use it to help reset up the fence and bit depth if you ever do need to produce another matching panel at a future date.

Episode 19 Router Bit Review Raised Panel Bit

Raised Panel Bit. To complement the rail and stile bit featured last month, the raised panel bit is used to produce the panel that fits into the frame created by the rail and stile. The result is a very traditionally styled raised panel, used for cupboard doors, drawer fronts, and even the sides of some types of furniture.

Progress!

(Finally) was out at the shed a couple of days ago, getting some new footage for the next video, which I may even have finished by tomorrow (hopefully). It is a look at the raised panel router bit, and was my first chance to try out the new Incra Wonderfence that I have just fitted.

I don’t think that I can claim that there was any real difference (for this operation) between the old fence and the new, although I was able to fine-tune the outfeed fence very precisely, and it is that degree of control that you are really paying for with that fence system.

I always say that you can never really claim to own something until you have at least taken it apart and reassembled it, and ideally made some modifications, and even here I did a minor tweak of the fence. I was getting a tiny catch as the material was running onto the outfeed fence (despite being as inline as I could get it), so I have taken a bastard file and just put a slight radius on the leading edge of the outfeed fence. That helped dramatically, and solved one of my pet hates (and the very dangerous situation) of having your work get a hangup (ie getting stuck) partway through a cut.

When I have a little more time, I will make up some zero-clearance panels to use with the Wonderfence, and that will improve the situation even further.

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