Freud LP30M

The next review from the “Battle of the Blades”. The Freud LP30M, 40 tooth combination blade.

Woodpeckers Router Lift

The original gold anodised Woodpeckers Router Lift was always something to aspire to – costing somewhere between the cost of a good router and a Festool one (no I have no idea how much the Festool one is – they are always unrivaled on the size of the pricetag!)

Now Woodpeckers have bought out Version 2

Machined out of a solid aluminium block, with a toolless microadjustment (that’s the large wheel front right) it looks pretty impressive.

I have a couple of niggling concerns – the brake still needs an allen (or hex) key which is a bit frustrating, and secondly – what sort of router is it designed for?  The V1 was the same – could only fit a smallish motored router (non plunge), which I guess is where the concept of the Uni Lift came from (sold in Oz by Professional Woodworkers Supplies)

So I’m hoping that some of the upgraded concepts of the V2 will be incorporated into a new version of the Uni Lift, so we can still stick a Triton router under it!

Neither are on my router table though…..sadly.

Linbide 360

The next review from the “Battle of the Blades”. The Linbide 360, 100 tooth crosscut blade.

Table of Blade Measurements

I have added a page to the Battle of the Blades review which gives a table of all the blade measurements side-by-side. Table of Blade Measurements

There were a few unusual measurements that came out of it, but all in all, it is the performance of the blade that really counts. Other than perhaps carbide thickness, which gives an indication of how much resharpening the blade can take.

One item that offered some correlation between the measurement and the cut quality was blade runout.

There were a few blades with a significant degree of runout, and each also gave a poor finish. I only get to test one blade from each, so I can’t say whether it was just a rogue blade, or batch, or if that is typical. It really did highlight the fact that it is definitely worth testing a new blade’s runout before putting it to use, and if you are not satisfied, return the blade.

The typical runout found was 0.005″ / 0.13mm. The lowest was a remarkable 0.002″ / 0.05mm. The highest was 0.030″ / 0.76mm. That blade literally screamed when it was run unloaded, with the noise going from a typical unloaded (but running) level of 95dB to 105 – 110dB after a few seconds. Not sure if one resulted in the other, but it is interesting.

It is not just the blade runout that affects the quality – variation in tooth width (the kerf) plays a large role as well.

I didn’t get into the angle of the grind and how it plays a part in quality – perhaps a job for another day.

Crossing off the list

Had a mate drop in on the weekend, and we were able to cross a couple of items off the shed’s to do list.

We hung the Carbatec Air Filter (finally), and although it is not an ideal location for optimum performance, given the size of the shed, everything has to be a compromise.  Still, it is the dustier end of the shed, and with a fan placed in the opposite corner to encourage air movement towards the filter, I think it will do a pretty good job.  It certainly seemed to be working, even when it wasn’t plugged in…….

At least where it is, it is not intruding on my working area, and the noise level is very low.  In a very short time I forgot it was even running, so it is not going to negatively impact on my shed time.

With the combination of it, and the dust extraction system I found my nasal passages and lungs were a lot happier at the end of a day of dust generating activities!

The other (minor) bit was getting to hang the air hose reel (seen in the corner).  Given the length of hose, it can reach all areas of the shed from there (and well beyond).  As I have mentioned in the past, compressed air is a real asset in a woodworking workshop, from powering equipment to simply blowing dust off the tools etc.  The air compressor itself is in the small shed next door along with the dust extractor, so I don’t have to put up with the noise they generate.

CMT 290.250.24M – 24 tooth Rip Blade

The next review from the “Battle of the Blades”. The CMT 290.250.24M, 24 tooth rip blade.

IT Savvy

May not be of interest to many, but fwiw I have started a new blog called IT Savvy, with bits and pieces I pick up along the way (given I work in IT).  It is not meant for IT professionals – it is being written for everyone else so hopefully a few will find it a useful resource, especially as it grows.

Currently located at

Wooden Toys

Toy making is one of the most rewarding things I can do with woodworking.  It isn’t for everyone, and perhaps part of it is that is where the seeds were sewn for me to start this whole passion.

Perhaps in time, as skill levels improve that I will find something else that is even better, but at the moment, from the time I pick up the first bit of timber (or even the pen to come up with an idea), I can imagine the end result, and the pleasure it gives in its use.

I read recently about a 61 year old gentleman with a 60 year old wooden toy.  Nothing overly complex, or sophisticated, but of all the toys he received as a child, this one has stuck with him.  Not plastic, not die cast, but wooden.  I’m sure it isn’t a case of that is all they were ‘back then’ – I imagine of all the toys I’ve had over the years, the only ones that last the distance are the wooden ones as well.  It adds another dimension onto what you are making to know that if designed and made well, that there are generations of children who will enjoy your creation.

That might also inspire us to go that extra distance when building something to put a little more effort into it, use better timbers, make it just that much more sturdy etc.

I’ve been wandering around a few of the toy sales recently, Christmas shopping (sounds way too organised doesn’t it!), and the sensory assault is unbelievable, as is the amount of junk that is sold, at unbelievable prices.  So little of it are wooden toys too – yet there is something inherently tactile about a wooden toy that a bit of plastic crap (even one that walks and talks) can’t match.  So if they can’t be found in the shops, it is up to us as woodworkers to instill in the current generation of children a passion for the more traditional play things.

A couple of years ago, I gave a couple of young friends of mine a wooden marionette each.  One was a dinosaur, the other a duck, based on the designs of ones my uncle made my brother and I years ago (which I still have).  Of all the toys that I have seen come and go in their respective bedrooms, these are still hanging in pride of place.  They may not get played with much, but already they are treasured, and so the seeds are being sewn about the virtues of quality, longevity, hand made rather than mass-produced, traditional materials etc etc.  It is not going to change the world, but preserving a tiny corner of simpler times is worthwhile.

As I have written before, this is a sink and stove set I made for a nephew and niece.

It may not have all the bells and whistles of the current plastic fantastic toys being sold

But does it really make it less of a toy?  For a young child, does it matter if a car is a lump of wood with 4 wheels, or if it looks (and drives) like a Ferrari?  Often, it seems, they tire of the one with the bells and whistles faster than the simpler toy – perhaps because one supplies them with the details, and that wears thin, whereas the other evokes their imagination (for life).

I still remember the wooden toys that I’ve had, particularly the ones that were made for me.  The billy cart when I was 4, the marble roller, the dinosaur puppet etc.  I remember the ones that I made as a child too – planes that flew, cars etc.  I struggle to recall many of the commercial ones, other than perhaps the one company that made plastic toys that really evoked the spirit of a wooden toy – those of Fisher Price.

But back to wood – it is the duty of Parents, Grandparents, Uncles and Aunts, friends etc who are woodworkers to make toys for the young people in your lives.  You don’t suddenly have to become Santa’s Workshop, but you’ll be surprised just how much impact making a single toy can have on the recipient.  You may never know, it may be at 60 when that child looks for something to do in retirement that the seed that was sewn finally germinates.  Just a thought for the day.

Tags and Categories

I’m giving some thought to the whole tags and categories thing on this blog, and particularly to how people might be searching for past posts / areas of interest etc.

When I started, there was only the option of Categories, and through a series of changes, there are now also the ability to tag posts (which from a search point-of-view is exactly the same, so the difference in some ways is a bit academic).

However, the one noticeable difference, is Categories allow the use of the drop down selection, tags don’t. Also tags don’t allow any sort of hierarchy.

What I’m thinking of doing is limiting the number of categories to each of the main machines (tablesaw, router table, drill press, powered handtools, shed, etc), and have the tags be more specific, and varying.

Be a bit of work going back and adjusting all the old posts to the new format (over 360 posts!), but it might be worth the effort to get it more right. The category method has been altered by WordPress, and is a lot harder now to assign the right one, so for a while I’ve just been too lazy to bother, so that is probably going to be the final push to change to the new system. It has to work for me, as well as the readers!

Disaster – UBeaut EEE is no more

EEE Ultrashine (pronounced Triple E) was one of those amazing products – a cut and polish for woodturners. The name was a play on Tripoli – the mineral (like talc) that is used as the cutting agent in the wax.

Unfortunately, too many out there just didn’t “get it”. Not whether the product was any good or not, just the name 😉

So the product is still being sold, but now it is just called “Ultrashine” Whew 🙂

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