Linbide 320 Rip Blade Review

Here is the first review from the “Battle of the Blades”. The Linbide 320 – 24 tooth ripping blade

I am particularly interested to know if this review (which is the first of many!) actually provides the sort of detail and data that you require to make a judgment about whether this blade would be of use to you.

If not – what is missing?

As the reviews are done, they will all be indexed from a common page, and there will be a separate page for each of the cuts with the photos side-by-side so you can compare the results from each blade.

A Couple of Shed Views (again)

Stus Shed View 1

Stus Shed View 1

This is still a transitional stage – I’m still working out exactly what is going to go where, and how I’m going to deal with the whole “I NEED MORE STORAGE” problem.

The dust extraction is not going to be running across the middle of the floor either!  I just wanted to be able to use the saw and not fill it with sawdust already!!

Take Two – New Triton Tools

A while ago, Stu’s Shed had an exclusive release of information about some upcoming Triton Tools. That post was then requested to be held, as some of the information was deemed not ready for release, and some tools unconfirmed.

The new Australian catalog is due shortly, and it will be interesting to see what has been retained between the draft and final copy, however, given a smaller US version is now in the public arena, I can at least reveal some of the originally listed tools that are coming (at least over there if not necessarily in Australia).

I can’t add much, if any comments about the products, as I only know as much about them as I’ve seen in the catalogs.

Cordless Coolflow Helmet TCCFH

A 6 volt, NiMH powered system that is basically a hardhat with a cooling airflow system. Other than the hardhat aspect, there isn’t any other safety system offered – ie this is not a competing helmet for the Triton Powered Respirator, but is intended for those who have to wear hardhats for long periods of time.

***Update*** The rest of the items have now been moved to the new post about the release of the full (global) catalog

The Battle of the Blades has begun

Had an opportunity over the weekend to start running the sawblades though their paces.  There were some unexpected, and rather surprising results from the tests.  I certainly haven’t gotten through all the blades yet, but already there were some definite stand-out blades, and some that fell rather short of expectation.

Had a couple of other woodworkers around to help (and I think they were interested in seeing what the various blades could do as well), so it was a good shed day.  (It was also the fomal commissioning of the saw 🙂 )

To start off, we replaced the standard insert with a zero clearance one.  There are two reasons for this.  Firstly, it minimises tearout, and secondly (and more importantly for this session), we wanted easy access to the riving knife quick release. It’s how the original insert should have been designed.  No so much the zero clearance (because the blade cannot be tilted with one – you need a different insert for each blade angle), but the opening at the back to allow the riving knife and guard to be added and removed without having to lift the insert and reach underneath each time.

Zero Clearance Insert

Riving Quick Release

Closeup view showing the riving knife quick release

Creating the hole was made significantly easier with the addition of the Pro Drill Table on the drill press.  Might sound like a bit of a sell, but I found that it really did make the drill press more functional, and particularly for this job, having the fence to keep the individual holes lined up, and of course the superior holddowns.  Ok, enough of that, I just wanted to say that it really is a good upgrade!

DrillPress Table

Of the blades themselves, I won’t do a blow-by-blow (as yet), but one surprising result was the Linbide 24 tooth ripping blade.  We were all standing back when it came to cutting the melamine sheet.  The teeth, we thought, was going to literally eat and spit out this sheet, but instead it was “I can’t believe it’s not butter” (or in this case “I can’t believe it isn’t a dedicated melamine cutting blade”) as it was the cleanest of all the blades so far (and that includes the 100 tooth ones), on both the top and bottom surfaces.  Where it came to its actual forte, ripping, it was butter (and what it was cutting went as easy as if it was butter too!)  Quite outstanding.

***Update*** btw, I also discovered why pine isn’t typically used for zero clearance inserts when there are anti-kickback pawls.  Trying to lower the sawblade (which carries the riving knife and attached anti-kickback pawls) causes the pawls to dig into the surface of the zero-clearance plate, and stops the blade from being able to be lowered.  This isn’t true for all saws obviously, as many don’t have an attached riving knife, or anti-kickback pawls either.  In my case, I will look at getting some appropriately thicknessed UHMD plastic, or in the interum some MDF cored melamine.***

US Hardware Shows

This is what we need in Australia – hardware shows that actually give a taste of what’s to come, rather than just be a sales show. In fact I’d like to see both the standard Wood shows as well as one (like a Car Show) where the current latest products are announced, and prototypes shown. Even if it was just one, once a year.

It’s a pity we have to rely on second hand news from the States, Germany etc about what’s to come, especially about Australian companies’ products.

This blog by Bob the Builder (and Tool Guy) on the Wood Magazine forums shows some interesting views of some of the latest tools that are out, and coming out (over there). Some great photos, that I won’t reproduce here for copyright reasons, but go check them out.

Things like a hydrogen powered GMC screwdriver (prototype), another that charges in 45 seconds, a GMC SCMS with a TV attached to show a closeup of the cut area, and announcing some of the Triton tools (that are already out here in this particular instance).

A previous trade show over in Germany showed a Triton Powered Clamp, using the technology incorporated in the Triton cordless screwdriver. Again, it may never hit the market, but why do they get to see these things, and Australians never get the same opportunities? Sure, the market is much smaller, but wish we didn’t always miss out, and have to rely on third hand accounts from the international shows.

I had some confusion from one photo – have a close look in the one of the GMC drop saw with the TV camera (SawCam). Just to the right of that saw is a tool that has been discontinued in Australia, but is being featured over there – the Triton Steel Cutter. Next to it, if my eye is not mistaken, is the Triton Spindle Sander, so the Steel Cutter’s inclusion is not a mistake, it is there with a purpose.

Triton Manufacturing 2002 Photo Tour

For those who have been asking, here are some photos I took in about 2002 at Triton Manufacturing. It was in full swing as you will be able to see in some of the photos!

Because of the number of photos, you’ll have to click on the expand article tag to see the whole article!

Triton Manufacturing

Triton Manufacturing, otherwise known as Mecca to the legion of Triton followers.

Triton Parts

A number of parts going though the enameling and heat treatment process.

The parts hanging include a component of the multistand (now made in China), and the WC2000 top

Click here to read full article

Local Manufacturing

I was down at Triton’s factory earlier today – always like having a look around, and had a chance to pick up a replacement top for the workcentre (need mine to look good for demos / videos / photos etc).

It struck me as I was watching the top being assembled just how much I appreciate having things manufactured in my own country – being able to actually see the work that goes into producing something.

For example, the tracks that get riveted to the top (which are straight) would become warped by the riveting process, leaving the ends sticking out proud of the surface if not for the fact that before they get inserted, they are put into a press and pre-warped to counteract the rivets’ forces.  That is just so cool.

It is a pressed metal top, so it isn’t as robust and inherently flat as a cast and machined top, but I was also impressed that before the top was handed over, it went onto another table and had a straight edge put across its surface, and any slight high or low spots were then subjected to another press to remove them.

It is no wonder that the Triton Workcentre occupies so many home workshops in Australia (and elsewhere).  It may not have the 0.001″ accuracy of my new tablesaw, but it is definitely more than sufficient for a majority of home workshops.  I know they have their detractors, but to put it simply, if it wasn’t for the fact that there was this range of tools that escalates the backyard shed into a small woodworking workshop, and that it was (and is) Australian made, then I can say with a pretty high level of confidence that I wouldn’t be pursuing this passion (obsession) today.

Local industry, despite the extra costs, are worth supporting.  I know they will all fade and be gone soon enough to a Chinese or Indian factory near you, but until then….

Reminds me actually of a tour I did a few years ago (must be 10 years ago now – where does the time go?) of the large engineering firms in England.  There’s a country with a large manufacturing arm!  Wonder how they are traveling these days?  I went right through the Rolls Royce Gas Turbine plant, and Dunlop Aerospace Braking Systems (Dunlop may make tyres, but then you also need good brakes to stop an aircraft, and that is some amazing engineering if you consider what those components actually go through – it may feel gentle inside the plane, but those wheels and connected components are slammed heavily into the ground with a very heavy plane above them, and the forces are quite unbelievable!), and a number of other heavy engineering industries.  Fascinating things to see, and a real loss I believe if it all gets shipped to 3rd world countries just because they pay peanuts instead of wages.

However, it is hard to deny that we have tools in our workshops now that we’d never have dreamed of owning in the past because of it.  I still think though, that we will rue the day that we lost our own manufacturing capacity.

Dust Collection Options

As I recommission the shed, and the equipment within, I am paying quite a bit of attention to the whole issue of dust extraction and collection.  Even though I currently have a 1hp 4″ system that I plan on running to each machine, it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

I’m currently investigating the options, and am looking at the possibility of upgrading to a 2HP collector, and even including an air filter unit.

My ideal would be a cyclone collection, but the budget doesn’t stretch that far!  I might have to resort to the cheap-man’s cyclone option, rather than a specifically built all-in-one collector.  It’s all going to have to be manual blast gates as well for the same reason.

Tool Sales, New Books and Staff Training

I was wandering around Bunnings earlier today, trying to find an intercom for the shed (preferably one that was a mains wire type (one that transmits through the house’s power line)).  Apparently they no longer sell them (but I could choose from a selection of those fake CCTV cameras for as much as a cheap real one).  Nor does Dick Smith, or apparently Jaycar.  I feel like asking if anyone has noticed that noone is stocking them anymore!  I did check the Jaycar site, and they are listed there, so either the site is wrong, or the sales staff were.

Back to the point – there is currently a large collection of sales items in Bunnings at the moment – lots and lots of very cheap GMC, and some Triton as they are ditching the product lines.  You can get a GMC framing nailer for about $125, Triton 1400W routers for $99 (for a $280 odd priced router, this is a bloody good price!!), drop saws, jig saws, mitre saw stands, air compressors etc etc.  There are definitely some bargains to be had, and I’d hesitate to say, this is a one-off event!  If you were contemplating an air compressor, or a router, now is most definitely the time to consider accidentally deliberately dropping the piggy bank.  Of course if you like premium tools, then you tend not to shop at Bunnings for tools anyway, but we all started somewhere.

I also dropped into Carbatec for a quick peak, and noticed that they have dramatically increased their range of books – some really interesting titles in there, on subjects including Pen Turning, Box Making, Tablesaws etc etc.  I didn’t have time to look too closely, but I suspect some of them will definitely find their way onto my bookshelf!

Finally, while leaving, I noted that they were having an after-hours staff training session, and apparently this is a weekly event.  Must say, that really impressed me – the fact that they are taking the time for the front-line staff to get to actually know the products that are on offer, rather than what seems to be the norm in many places.  Wonder if they’ve ever considered having an after-hours session like that once a week open to the public.  I’d certainly make dropping in to attend part of my weekly heading home routine!

An opening door

I’ve been approached to become a reviewer for the Australian Wood Review magazine, which is pretty exciting.  Not sure exactly what it’ll entail, but I’m definitely looking forward to getting some articles in print again (I used to write for the Australian House and Home magazine before it went out of print).  Of course there will be a bit of a probation, so I really want to make sure my first article is a hit.

Assuming what I write will prove to be up to their standard, I’ll certainly mention it on here when the mag (and the article within) hits the stands.  It’ll be a couple of months away at best, given the next issue is close to the newstands.

%d bloggers like this: