PreCAD (and marking up)

There is one (well there is probably more than one, but for the sake of this conversation), there is one aphorism that I really don’t like.

It isn’t that I necessarily disagree with it, but it is one I don’t follow very much anyway, because I have better things to do than doubt my own ability to concentrate on the task at hand.

The aphorism I am referring to is “Measure Twice, Cut Once”.  Boring.  Did you remember to turn off the gas? Better go back and check (again).  Not that we never make mistakes – happens often. (Although hopefully not with the household gas supply!).  Just that “I have measured from a known start point to the current one, and made a mark, why should it be wrong” creeps into my work practices.

So instead, why not use a better ruler?

There are a number on the market and Woodpeckers have decided to up the ante on their product range with some very stylish inclusions.  If only they had been making them 20 odd years ago!  Oh well, I can finally retire the wood and plastic one!

What I am referring to is their brand new T Square, supplied in Australia by Professional Woodworkers Supplies. Cost is (currently) $A215 while they are on special, and before the US-Au exchange rate goes insane again. (Note to banks – we don’t give our money to just anyone, perhaps you should try to be a little more sensible and a little less greedy).

Now historically, I have used a T Square solely on the drawing board, but there is no reason why it shouldn’t also be used directly on marking up stock ready for machining (or whatever your next operation is).  The advantage of a T Square, is it keeps the body of the rule exactly perpendicular to an edge (assuming that edge is straight of course).  It is the same principle as a normal woodworking square, just larger.

Woodpeckers T Square

Woodpeckers T Square

There are some added features on this T square that differentiate it from the norm.

The first is rather striking (ok, before that, it is a nice shade of red).  The presentation is very well done, with a machined and engraved storage designed to hang directly on the wall.  Very nice, and makes it a nice gift as well (plenty of room in the lower-right corner for a plaque or something)

Along the length, every mm as it turns out, there is a hole, just the right size for a 0.5mm clutch pencil lead. Therein lies the measure one only requirement – so long as you put the pencil in the right hole, how can it go wrong? (Ok, it probably can, but then perhaps you need to measure 3 times too!)  There are also holes at 32mm intervals for hinges etc – haven’t checked if that is relevant for anything I use it for, but they are there.  I wish there were also imperial holes, but how religious can a T Square get? (holy)

The junction between the arm and the base also has a zigzag cut – you can’t see it, but it ensures that the two line up accurately at 90 degrees.

There are other little features etc to make it easy to use, such as the 30 degree bevel etc, but you are either already sold on it, or not!

The picture above has my old drawing board I used (a little) over 20 years ago when I was studying Technical Drawing (before I had access to CAD (boy was that a revolution!)) and includes the compass set that I still have, and my final project, which is a full exploded isometric drawing of a bicycle derailleur, measured and drawn from scratch.  It took just a little while to do! (Click for a larger image)

Exploded Isometric Derailleur

Exploded Isometric Derailleur

If you are using the T square for drawing, rather than marking up, you also need some set squares – a 45-45-90, and a 30-60-90.  Woodpeckers have a 45-45-90 already, and I am encouraging them to also have a 30-60-90, as you need that for isometric drawings.  I haven’t seen them as yet, but I hope that there are also the holes at 1mm intervals all round as well.

French Curves

French Curves

I’m also hoping that they’ll produce some French Curves in their typical red anodised aluminium, because they’d look awesome (and it would complete the Tech Drawing set) (Yes there are so many more things as well, but they are the basics).  Again, very handy for either drawing, or marking up a workpiece.

So back to the T Square for a sec – very well constructed, and presented – for those of us who don’t like endless measuring, here is a tool that helps you get it right, first time!

The Rejuvenating Properties of The Shed

Did I ever need yesterday (and a whole heap more required, but I’ll take what I can get!)

Took a day off work yesterday because I really needed a bit of time out to recharge the batteries.  Not to sleep (although with a 20 month-old, sleep is a thing of the past!), but just to ground myself – my blood/sawdust ratio was obviously getting periously low!

And I had (and have) so many things to play around with.  I could take a week and not break the back of everything that could be done, but even a day out there sure helps.

There will be a few item-specific posts about the individual activities, but overall the day went such:

Unloaded the new tools down to the workshop. New tools? GMC are being very supportive of my activites which is very cool, and so there are some new tools to review, and use both in my workshop, and at courses I run etc, such as the upcoming toy course.  (Still looking for bookings for it (through Holmesglen), but there are going to be lots of ‘toys’ to play with, while making toys to play with!!)

So I had a Triton 3 in 1 to get down there, and boy, is that thing a monster.  Not physically large (still a reasonable size), but it feels like it has been carved from a solid lump of steel.  61kgs to be exact.

I also had to (sadly) pack up the Excalibur EX21 Scroll Saw that I have been reviewing for the next edition of the Australian Wood Review magazine.

Once there was a little space, I also had a small GMC benchtop drill press to assemble, the GMC 18V AllNailer to unplack and charge, a CMT Dado set (on loan from Carbatec), and I think that was about it.

Not sure about the AllNailer as yet – the first few nails I’ve driven, some have easily gone full-depth, but others don’t seem to have been able to penetrate to much more than 20-30mm of remaining nail.

I tried cutting a wheel with the 1/3HP GMC drill press (I’m hoping the Triton one will become available soon), and although I managed a 50mm one (in pine), it sure struggled.  The stalling was one thing – that’s just a fact of life that I was pushing it a bit hard, but each time that I did (and I did stall it often), I had to wait 30 seconds for the coil’s thermal cutoff to reset.  I’m guessing what was happening was – each time the motor stalled, the coils in the motor would get hot (immediately), and that there is a thermal switch in there that was tripping.  However, it is a VERY sensitive switch, so even a brief stall was too much for it, and the saw wouldn’t turn on again until the coils cooled.  Interestingly, the first side of the wheel went easily, and it was the second side that was problematic.

Once play time had ended, I went to work on a few prototype parts for a child’s table and chair, including trying out the Mortise Pal for making loose tenon joints using the router (rather than something like the Festool Domino (which looks great, but is miles out of my budget)).

So that’s a bit of an overview of the day.  I’ll go into more detail of the individual events later.

At least I feel a little refreshed.  More needed!!

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